Quaint ramblings and occasional reflections of a journeying Aussie musician...

28 February 2006

Mike's Top Ten Albums - Notable Mentions

Just back from Amsterdam, so full write up on the way! Incidentally, I only just managed to figure out how to put links on the page, so look to the right for some mate's blogs and some I've picked up - more to come.
In the meantime, thanks to all who have enjoyed my previous raves over the music I love...the following was originally going to be part of the second five(ish) but it turned into a bit of a thing itself, so here 'tis:

Notable Mentions:

Joao Bosco

I only own one album, a compliation, but this guy is the real thing - Brazilian singer-songwriter-guitarist, used to write for Elis Regina (?), and then after her passing came into his own light. Some of it is cheesy pop, but there is loads from an early 80s live solo concert, one track of which, 'O Bebado E Equilibrista', is my favourite recorded piece of music in the whole wide world (so there you go!). Compared sometimes to Gilberto Gil, and admittedly their live shows are kind of similar, but it goes without saying that each has their own thing. I used to own a Gilberto Gil compilation, so I'd probably be more into his studio albums - Bosco can definitely leave the super-studio trash at home. Anyhow, the first major gig I went to see when I got here in London was Bosco at Jazz Cafe, and it was by far, once again, one of the best live musical experiences I've ever seen.

Black Eyed Peas - Bridging the Gap

Okay, so we're entering a bit of nostalgia-tripping here....this is Mike's party time album number 1, as it always takes me back to the early sharehousing days with Z back in the lovely easygoingness of Canberra's inner North (pre-yuppiefication, right Z?!). Any bunch of deliberately fashion-consciousless blokes who word their way around classic samples, with some cute chick singing the chorus, has got my thumbs up fur shuuuure!

Vivaldi - 'Four Seasons', Bach - 'Brandenburg Concertos'

Another nostalgia call....my Mum used to play this stuff in the car all the time....those endless harpsichord and violin lines are totally interweaved with memories of family drives through winding country roads....endless fields of yellow wheat stretching to rolling hills on the horizon...cotton wool clouds, porcelain blue sky....

Steely Dan

More nostalgia I'm afraid, but with a twist....this is what my Dad used to play in the car, and it's definitely for that...I seem to remember it mostly on family holidays down the South Coast...originally I dug the 70's rock sounds of the band as a kid, getting into it because my mum and dad were...then, after moving to Melbourne and discovering what the music 'scene' is really about, I came back to it and finally got around to reading (and thereby understanding) the lyrics!
Donald Fagen and Walter Becker are the supreme storytellers of a certain brand of people us musicians get to know. After a certain time dealing with the numerous difficulties of plying our trade on the scene, we start to encounter the people surrounding the music, those characters that don't quite fit in with normal society but are totally in their element in that often shadowy nightworld of nightclubs and bars, as it allows them the license and freedom to indulge in whatever pursuits they desire....the fringe-dwellers.
Glowing example of this - selected verses from 'Deacon Blues', second track on 'Aja'. It's essentially about the Beat Generation, but it could also definitely apply to a few people I've come across along the way:

My back to the wall / A victim of laughing chance....Sharing the things we know and love / with those of my kind / Libations, sensations / that stagger the mind...
I crawl like a viper / Through these suburban streets / Make love to these women / languid and bittersweet...
I'll rise when the sun goes down / Cover every game in town / A world of my own / I'll make it my home sweet home....

Gold! And the chorus?:

I learn to work the saxophone / I play just what I feel
Drink Scotch whiskey all night long /And die behind the wheel
They got a name for the winners in the world / I want a name when I lose.....Call me Deacon Blues

'Kid Charlemagne' is about an adventurous drug dealer - 'Everyone's Gone To The Movies' is about a pedophile who shows porn flicks to teenagers - 'Throw Back The Little Ones' is about a guy who's not welcome in a particular neighborhood - 'Home At Last' is a reference to Homer's Odyssey, for goodness sake! Terrific stuff - a highly unique chapter of pop music not to be missed.

Okay, that's enough of that! I'm sure you can find most of this stuff on Amazon for dirt cheap...that's what I've been getting stuck into lately....I've only just discovered that you can actually buy CDs with your credit card on the Net....and how long has it taken me!?...... But in all seriousness, my sincerest hope is that, in whatever musical output I may engage in, whether it be composition or live performance (or even just raving on about stuff I love to listen to), I can somehow honour the great work of people like these, that I can somehow pass on the love, happiness, karma, collective consciousness or whatever, that I have drawn from these recordings.

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