In which Yazoo (or perhaps merely Yaz) remind us that in the early days of synth-pop, it was pretty much obligatory that an album include some genuinely experimental side-trips, because why not? But in the case of In My Room, it ends up being way more than just some mucking around with tape loops and sound effects. It’s a smart, soulful examination of angst, loneliness, confusion – all the things that go on in one’s room.
“In which the band known as Guadalcanal Diary take a campfire singalong about God (or whoever), apply rock and roll thunder and voila! a glimpse of what might just be heaven (or whatever). From 1984’s Walking in the Shadow of the Big Man, which is the first thing I ever heard from them, and the last thing I really needed to. The whole album’s a gem. Even the cover.” (Philip Random)
“Second of two in a row from Gilded Palace of Sin, the Flying Burrito Brothers’ debut masterpiece of countrified rock. Because you can’t really hear one Burrito without the other, both apparently concerning the same girl, the same tormented relationship, which of course only makes the country stylings more relevant. Or as Motron puts it, ‘the country stuff set the drugged out hippie rock stars free to mix whiskey and heroin and broken hearts – a terrible way to live, but it sure made for some kickass and essential music.” (Philip Random)
“It must’ve felt very weird when the Flying Burrito Brothers first hit in 1969. Out of all the psychedelicized weirdness and envelope smashing wildness of the previous years comes … country rock!?!? My friend Motron’s theory is that it was all tied to the assassination of Martin Luther King – that up until springtime 1968, the big dream of All You Need Is Love was alive and well and thus the white man’s pilfering of the black man’s music was all just part of the shiny happy game. But after that – it just didn’t feel right anymore. And thus Nudie suits and pedal steel and so-lonesome-I-could-die ballads suddenly felt somehow relevant – the white man’s soul music, as it were. Bob Dylan, of course, was ahead of the game as usual, but it took Gram Parsons and crew (by way of the Byrds) to really make it a fact. And it’s all there on Gilded Palace of Sin – one of those albums that truly does not have a weak moment.” (Philip Random)
In which the good captain (Beefheart, that is) kicks out more of those blues so authentic it can only feel surreal to hear them coming from a white man. But then you actually listen to what’s going on and you realize, this isn’t authentic at all. It’s positively mutant, working curves and angles that feel positively alien. Of course, he did go to high school with Frank Zappa. Which raises the question, who the hell else went to Antelope Valley High back in the day? And what was in the water?
Installment #48 of the Solid Time of Change aired on Saturday September 30th (c/o CiTR.FM.101.9).
Youtube playlist (not entirely accurate).
The Solid Time of Change is our overlong yet incomplete history of the so-called Prog Rock era – 661 selections from 1965 through 1979 with which we hope to do justice to a strange and ambitious time indeed, musically speaking.
Part Forty-Eight of the journey went as follows (22-13):
- Van Der Graaf Generator – killer
- David Bowie – space oddity
- King Crimson- larks’ tongues in aspic part-1 
- King Crimson – talking drum
- King Crimson – larks’ tongue in aspic part -2
- Beach Boys – good vibrations
- Yes – sound chaser
- Yes – heart of the sunrise
- Led Zeppelin – Kashmir
- Pink Floyd – set the saucers for the heart of the secrets 
Installment #49 (the second to last) should air Saturday, Oct-14, starting 11 pm (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9, with streaming and download options available within twenty-four hours via our Facebook page.
Roberta Flack had a huge hit in 1972 with First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, a soft, deep, slow mover that was so good even twelve year old white bread suburban me couldn’t help but pay attention. Which is how I eventually ended up with Quiet Fire. Spotted maybe fifteen years later at a yard sale (hard to miss that hair on the cover). How could it not be worth twenty-five cents (or whatever)? But it wasn’t a slow mover that hooked me, it was lead-off track Go Up Moses, biblical, revolutionary and groovy, and co-written by the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Pharaoh Must Go!” (Philip Random)
“It seems insane to think about it now, but in 1972 Jethro Tull conquered the world with a 43-minute-44-second song called Thick as a Brick, which comprised the entire album of the same name. Adventurous, dense, continuous, it even half made sense, both musically and lyrically. So what did Ian Anderson (Tull main man) and his talented crew do for a follow-up? Another album long song, of course, this one called A Passion Play, which proved even more dense and adventurous than Thick As A Brick. And I’m still trying to figure it out. Actually, that’s a lie. I gave up a long time ago, because as a friend concluded, ‘Man, you’ve gotta be Ian Anderson’s f***ing brain to know what any of that’s supposed to mean.’ Which doesn’t mean I ever stopped listening to it, just thinking about it. I guess I just pretend I’m the guy’s brain for a while.” (Philip Random)
By 1973, The Guess Who were mostly on the wane, certainly as a commercial force. Randy Bachman was long gone, and what had been a outfit that couldn’t seem to help cranking out the hits now seemed more interested in just being an improper rock ‘n’ roll band, drinking and drugging and whoring around. Which doesn’t mean the music was dead – you just weren’t hearing it that much on the radio anymore. Musicione for instance. A smart rocker with a loose jammed-out feel that ends up feeling like a hymn toward something or other. Who makes the music when you die? Somebody else, obviously.