Sorry, We're Closed

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Random Rock Thoughts

Byrd Watching
For some reason, I don't find myself going back to The Byrds' hit singles ("Mr. Tambourine Man," "Turn! Turn! Turn!") too much. Maybe it's just overexposure, but I don't think so.

"Mr. Tambourine Man" just doesn't swing--of the guys in the group, only Roger McGuinn was allowed to play on it, and the session musicians (the usually great drummer Hal Blaine and bassist extraordinaire Joe Osborn) don't do much. "Turn!," on the other hand, just seems a little long in retrospect. There are far better songs on each of the first two Byrds albums, including "I Knew I'd Want You," (there, the session cats rock up a waltz tempo), the great near-hit single "It Won't Be Long," and the first album's centerpiece, "The Bells of Rhymney," an adaptation of a folk song about a Welsh mining disaster.

When you get to albums #3-5, the classic Fifth Dimension, Younger Than Yesterday, and Notorious Byrd Brothers, the hit singles pretty much stop coming. "Eight Miles High," "Mr. Spaceman," "My Back Pages" were all minor hits, much less than any of them deserved, and that was basically it for the Byrds as a chart entity. With barely a shred of filler on any of the LPs, these three classics--which along with classic pop songs and great harmonies encompass jazz, psychedelia, country, straight rock, electronics, and Eastern influences--are truly the Byrds' greatest work.


Milk...it does a body good
When Kelis sings about her milkshake bringing all the boys to the yard, what is she talking about?? Her boobs? Is she lactating? Should she be shaking it up while she's pregnant?


Unleashed
The CD reissue of Public Image Limited's third album, The Flowers of Romance, contains several bonus tracks, one of which is "Home is Where the Heart Is," an amazing creation featuring a dub reggae bass and drums, Keith Levene's psychedelically phased and fuzzy guitar bursting in and out of the mix, and John Lydon's arresting monotone vocal, which splashes impressionistic images of domestic bliss and suicidal ennui on the spacious but completely realized musical canvas.

A truly essential song, buried the first time around on the b-side of the "Flowers of Romance" 45, here rescued and put forth to strike a new generation with awe.

8 Comments:

Blogger amo said...

milkshake. can't stand that song.

think about it a little longer (and lower), stu . . . you'll get it.

*shudder*

10:17 AM, January 27, 2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ann-Marie,

Milk?? She gets milk from THERE?

I find the song fascinating sociologically. The lyrics are really rather sad.

12:35 PM, January 27, 2005

 
Blogger hank said...

Agreed that the (big) hits mostly stopped after the first two albums...if you want a quick overview of some mid career work check out The Byrds Greatest Hits Volume Two. None of them more than marginal "hits", and of the eleven songs, nine are keepers. But "Tiffany Queen" is my favorite Byrds song that most people don't know about and any album with "You Ain't Going Nowhere" is pretty good.

1:29 PM, January 27, 2005

 
Blogger amo said...

>Milk?? She gets milk from THERE?

not "milk," per se.
but . . .

oh, are you really going to make me type it?

. . . something . . . milk . . . -y.

again, *shudder*

7:04 AM, January 28, 2005

 
Blogger Larry Epke said...

SPOILER ALERT!

Many years ago, when it was a Rock magazine as opposed to a Heavy Metal magazine, there was an article in "Circus" about the Byrds. At the time, they were recording an album, and recorded "Amazing Grace" while the reporter was there. The idea sounded interesting, and I always regretted that they didn’t release it. Well, a few years back, when I got all of the Byrds reissued CDs, I was wonderfully surprised to find that “Amazing Grace” is the hidden track on (Untitled/Unreleased). They did a pretty nice job of it, too!

1:50 PM, January 31, 2005

 
Blogger Stuart Shea said...

Larry,

Most excellent find! I don't have the Untitled reissue CD yet, but that's great. The other Byrds reissue CDs have interesting hidden tracks at the end, too--fascinating ones, actually, especially in the case of the intra-band argument at the end of 'The Notorious Byrd Brothers!'

Oh, and AMO, I think I got it now. Kelis is just mixing her metaphors on us. Or maybe she's milkshaking her metaphors...

10:44 PM, February 01, 2005

 
Blogger amo said...

yes, she's definitely mixing her metaphors. as well as her public images.

a friend told me she saw kelis interviewed and was pleasantly surprised by what an intelligent, well-spoken woman she was.

my response to that is . . . well, she's smart enough to know that sex sells, but she's not smart enough to realize that sexual imagery (verbal or visual) degrades her gender, regardless of the fact that it was her idea to go along with it, if not even conceive it.

11:46 AM, February 02, 2005

 
Blogger Stuart Shea said...

Amo,

Thanks for the comment. I appreciate your viewpoint on this issue.

To a certain extent, I have a hard time telling what about "Milkshake" is just basic booty-shaking titillation (bootylation?) and what about it is just a slice of dark realism.

There's enough going on in the minor-key music and the lyrics to lead me to believe that this isn't a particularly jolly little record. That's why I think it's kind of fascinating, to hear this character singing about how she can show her friends the tricks to freak dudes out, but that she's gotta charge for it.

Not a happy-go-lucky subject, but certainly a defensible piece of social commentary.

8:19 PM, February 02, 2005

 

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