Music Review http://www.culturecatch.com/music en How Charlie Parker Taught Me to Fly http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3893 <span>How Charlie Parker Taught Me to Fly </span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6775" lang="" about="/user/6775" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brian Boston</a></span> <span>November 11, 2019 - 10:51</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/73" hreflang="en">jazz</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UTORd2Y_X6U?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>It was just another Thursday on campus when my professor put on one of the Bird's popular recordings of "All the Things You Are" as an example of his work. Sitting in darkness in the back row, I found my mind racing as I was suddenly fourteen years old again, trying to make sense of that very same recording and why such a seemingly plain song was so important to jazz.</p> <p>“All the Things You Are” is often the first standard that budding jazz musicians will learn as it encompasses some of the most common chord changes -- 2-5's, chords moving in fourths diatonically, the chromatic walkdown at the end of the form, and that unmistakable intro/outro made famous by Bird himself. However, when lectured on the significance of this just a few years ago, I was left frustrated and confused with all questions and no answers.</p> <p>Coming into high school, I was a drummer -- nothing more. Three music classes a day, five days a week, and I still couldn't tell you what made up a scale or name a note on the staff. Each day brought humiliation. Ready to throw in the towel and daydreaming about transferring schools, those walks to the band room filled me with dread. While my peers worried themselves over Chemistry and History, Jazz had become the bane of my existence.</p> <p>As a teenager, Bird allegedly had a cymbal flung at him on the bandstand. If a sixteen year-old Parker could persevere, why couldn't I? Mama didn't raise no quitter after all. I relocated my lunch period to the practice rooms, and after school I spent hours hulked over the Vibraphone, fumbling over scales and arpeggios. Days turned to weeks, weeks to months, and soon I had upgraded from two mallets to four mallets, working on chord voicings and comping patterns.</p> <p>A summer of regimented practicing came and went, and I began sophomore year confident in my abilities. "All the Things You Are" showed me that I couldn't be any more wrong. I had all my scales down, minor, major, dominant, bebop, diminished, whole step, you name it. I was successful in teaching myself not only treble but bass clef in the span of a year. I could read down a lead sheet and comp the chords no problem. What I could not do, however, was improvise.</p> <p>The sole basis of <i>all jazz music </i>is improvisation. The art of instantaneous composition, of creating <b>your</b> own ideas and phrases over chord changes to tell <b>your</b> story -- that’s what makes the music. It’s what the greats from Monk to Miles were all renowned for. They say that the page is just a road map, a loosely interpretable guide to the music. Even still, staring at the first four chords (Fm7, Bbm7, Eb7, Abmaj7) I had no idea what to do with them, no understanding of what they had to do with each other. I was a dog, and my owner put the leash in my mouth and left me to walk myself.</p> <p>A new door had opened before me, a door to a previously unexplored world. Countless lessons and innumerable hours of practice later, I played my first solo at a concert (over Mingus' "Love Chant," in case you were curious). In time I was piecing together the puzzle, understanding the functions of each chord and what I could do to best serve them in my own playing. Armed with a new kind of confidence, it was hard to believe that music had seemed so grim and daunting just a few months prior. My playing evolved past any and all prior expectations I had reserved, and I began to experiment, pushing past my preconceived limits.</p> <p>The year I learned how to blow over "All the Things You Are" was the same year that I first composed music of my own. The same year that I took up playing the bass to sub in for a musical. The same year that I transcribed my first solo, Miles Davis' two choruses on "So What." The same year that I led a section for the first time, taking control of the drumline to arrange parts for the marching band’s repertoire. Although I began playing as a child, the flower of my musical career found the nutrients to blossom in high school.</p> <p>During those four years in high school, I had the privilege of meeting many great musical minds, orchestrating and performing my own written works, and learning four more instruments than I came in knowing. If I were lucky, I got to go home right after classes three or four days a month as I spent most of my time practicing in rehearsals or solo after school. I’ve played venues from the likes of Carnegie Hall to the streets of Little Italy and Chinatown. All of the things I am today, all thanks to Bird's "All the Things You Are." </p> <p><i>Mr. Boston is a Staten Island native studying Environmental Science at the Macaulay's Honors College at CCNY. </i><em>This is his first article for CultureCatch.com.</em></p> </div> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-add"><a href="/node/3893#comment-form" title="Share your thoughts and opinions." hreflang="en">Add new comment</a></li></ul><section> <a id="comment-1428"></a> <article data-comment-user-id="0" class="js-comment"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1573513773"></mark> <div> <h3><a href="/comment/1428#comment-1428" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="en">Beautifully written piece ,…</a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Beautifully written piece , awesome article !</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1428&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="RnxoY28Yw_xKGP6zXvXQWVUYqZ2fCPrAEyO6tQQTfbk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/extra_small/public/default_images/avatar.png?itok=RF-fAyOX" width="50" height="50" alt="Generic Profile Avatar Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> <p>Submitted by <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Chris </span> on November 11, 2019 - 17:11</p> </footer> </article> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3893&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="AG08D3q5hfbTBFV5oVz2yW1CdfI9RaHpkee0aELoaO0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 11 Nov 2019 15:51:41 +0000 Brian Boston 3893 at http://www.culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "Sunday Never Comes" http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3892 <span>Song of the Week: &quot;Sunday Never Comes&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>November 3, 2019 - 18:42</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/636" hreflang="en">indie rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LIMpGGDMAmo?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Robyn Hitchcock has always been a smart art/indie rocker -- clever lyrics, hook-filled arrangements, concise songs. His latest -- "Sunday Never Comes" -- is a tasteful mid-tempo ballad that confronts a middle-aged artist longing for his lover. As Robyn claims, "the theme is distance, separation, and resolution." It was written for the 2018 film <em>Juliet Naked</em>. Gorgeous arpeggiated guitars and Robyn's laidback delivery pull you in right from the top. The songs reminds me of his 1991 classic "She Doesn't Exist." Well played, Mr. Hitchock. </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3892&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="HxgHCGxJT4dGlxXaEYgfKF6-3DY7gj5DB-Erprs1sz4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 03 Nov 2019 23:42:35 +0000 Dusty Wright 3892 at http://www.culturecatch.com Missing Feat http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3888 <span>Missing Feat</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>October 30, 2019 - 09:19</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/144" hreflang="en">obituary</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9IyRNKleyyg?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Little Feat may have been one of America's greatest rock 'n' roll bands in the mid-1970s. With the tandem guitar duo of Lowell George and Paul Barrere, their funky, swampy gumbo mix of rhythms and rhymes were hard to top. I was fortunate enough to see them on the 1977 <em>Waiting for Columbus</em> tour which would sadly be Lowell's last major tour with the band as he died of a heart attack in 1979. But Paul kept the Feat flame burning bright. His songwriting, singing and playing was just as integral to Feat's rockin' boogie sound as Lowell's tasty slide work. Best one let the music do the talking. I would suggest listening to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLz6cAheObZcg_WXTIn-YKPOr3PUOkrXG0" target="_blank"><em>Feats Don't Fail Me</em> <em>Now</em></a> right now.</p> <p>Roll on, Paul Barrere. </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3888&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="zzUYIIWNj6CCfgBJkZHwi-J5IIWrpgWrqs1E7dlf6Q4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 30 Oct 2019 13:19:56 +0000 Dusty Wright 3888 at http://www.culturecatch.com A Darkened Light http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3885 <span>A Darkened Light</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/460" lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>October 23, 2019 - 14:47</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/636" hreflang="en">indie rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-mjQd2YnnEE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>Pat Dam Smyth: <em>The Last King</em> (Quiet Arch Records/Rough Trade)</strong></p> <p>Pat Dam Smyth couldn't be described as a man who hurries his muse along. Seven years have passed since the release of <em>The Great Divide</em> his perfectly structured debut album, so <em>The Last King</em> has an unfettered air and an inherent conciseness infused with flashes of darkened insights, painfully honest revelations and a playful kind of gloom. It is an album that resembles a broken diary, confessional, introspective and candidly revealing, but one that builds and captures the attention of the listener, to return, again and again to for fresh solace and rewards. It also has an assuredness of touch and tone that distances it from the crowd. Belfast born, but London based this Mr Smyth is the embodiment of a troubadour at large. His back story reads like a musician's version of Kerouac's <em>On The Road</em>. From a sojourn in Paris, to a breakdown in Berlin, and hanging out with comedians in Hollywood, this rolling stone has gathered and dispensed with some interesting variations of moss. </p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OAD73abAx_g?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>The album opens with "Kids" a Pink Floyd-ian dirge that references The Troubles, and their backdrop aspect to a childhood in Belfast that sets the controls to the hurt in this son. "I miss the sound of Chinooks/ in stormy weather/ Soundtrack to my youth/ That's all you'd ever hear," A powerful introduction that grows from a gloom of synths into a dark and melodic statement of remembrance and admission. This perfectly sets the tone for "Catch A Fish" where he confesses "I never understood the virtue/ Of the happiness I kept inside / with every dream and wish I ever had/ I watched myself die." There is a haunting honesty at play with his self-revealing that never slips into self-indulgence. With the title cut "The Last King" a menacing nursery rhyme with the quality of a bewitching melody of catchy poppiness reminiscent of early Prefab Sprout the album hits a confidence of stride. He deals lightly but powerfully with his breakdown in that city via "Goodbye Berlin" -- "And everyman's got pain you know/ The trick is to let it go/ I've got mine but it's not yours to see/ Only when you get to know me" is curiously prosaic and uplifting in manner which sublimates well with the Gothic country touches that annotate it. He follows through with 'Doesn't Matter Now' a confessional lament with certain lilting qualities that suggest Chris Isaak, albeit a rather gravel-laced version drowning in an eloquence of strings.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WZTYDzKdcJQ?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>"Another World" features the exquisite tones on Ren Harvieu on backing vocals. "We'll go walking in the city/ That never used to sleep/ And to listen to the silence/ Of the great and unwashed souls," suggesting "Ghost Riders In The Sky" on heavy downers. A Nick Cave-like tone and phrasing imbues "Juliette" via its uplifting swagger and surefire hook of a refrain that builds and grows till it gracefully burns low. With "Dancing" one is presented with a perfectly paced, country infused lament that slithers and twitches like the final throes of a dying snake, whilst "Teenage Love" is burdened by the kind of regret that the title infers, "And now I suffer in silence/ I'll take those words you never said/ To the grave." It blossoms to become a sinister mini epic based upon a swagger of growling guitar all power chords in dark attire. 'Where The Light Goes' holds elements of Bill Fay in its implicit but almost casually dour folkiness, a throwaway lament that hammers sorrow home with an optimism at odds to the sentiments it is laying bare.</p> <blockquote> <p>"After summer I could /Barely look you in the eye/ 'Cause what do you say when/ Somebody's lover has gone forever?" </p> </blockquote> <p>A perfect signing off to an album of subdued elegance and power. It can only be hoped that there won't be another gestation period of seven summers before we are gifted with further gems. Albums like this arrive all too rarely, are meant to be savoured, shared and valued, but primarily to be celebrated. It is easy to see what attracted Bad Seed Jim Sclavunos to this project. Integrity is a quality that's nigh impossible to manufacture. Bathe and savour in the darkening light of an honest and rewarding piece of work. In many ways it seems an album perfumed and informed by the powerful strains of exile.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3885&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="I6Fjs9q2oituhFjzO95T2SLPLm_whM71p4DOdJgDh0I"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 23 Oct 2019 18:47:14 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3885 at http://www.culturecatch.com The Return Of The Modern Masquerades http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3884 <span>The Return Of The Modern Masquerades</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/460" lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>October 20, 2019 - 15:56</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/629" hreflang="en">prog rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RmolfAAmTf4?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Fruupp - <em>Wise As Wisdom: The Dawn Albums 1973-1975 (</em>Esoteric Recordings)</p> <p>Fruupp always were a strange confection with an odd name. Depending on which story suits your taste the best, it was either the left-over letters from a sheet of Letraset or the moniker of the female ghost that haunted the crumbling house in Belfast in which they rehearsed. An inspired and eclectic sound. A fusion of folk, an underlying jazziness, with subtle classical shades they embodied the diversity at large in the early '70s, but they also packed a formidable punch both live and in the studio. Lilting and haunting they shared the stage with Queen, Genesis, and King Crimson, but despite consistent touring they never stepped beyond a cult following, and were finally eclipsed by the advent of punk. Formed in Belfast in 1970 the band that finally hit London had matured from rock covers into sophisticated and symphonic combo that could stir the heart, yet rock the soul.</p> <p>Their debut album <em>Future Legends</em> arrived in October 1973. Dynamic and blindingly original it showcased the strength and diversity they embodied, that rather put them against the grain of their contemporaries. Vocalist and bassist Peter Farrelly proved a charismatic interpreter of their songs. His voice had a restrained yet subtle theatricality that never dominates the drama of the music. The album has an inherent folk element that sets it apart, and yet is driven on by the dynamic drumming of former circus percussionist Martin Foye, the intricate guitar meanderings of Vincent McCusker which threads along neatly with Stephen Houston's exquisite classical keyboards, a boy from the Malone Road in Belfast on whom piano lessons were never wasted, even if they weren't necessarily utilised as his teachers might have desired. Entirely written by McCusker it is a perfect indicator of what lay ahead.</p> <p>The title track is a winsome Irish instrumental, steeped in strings and sentimentality, but is briefly and exquisitely beautiful.  "Decision" has an odd jazziness that wanders through the song giving it an unusual edge whilst "As Day Breaks With Dawn" rattles along with a rumbling intensity and heavy organ interspersed with lilting oboe. "Graveyard Epistle" is another hefty exercise in sublime vocals and driving rock. Heavy but definitely far from humble, and with an almost Indian element lurking.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_Wr_s2Wis3A?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>"Lord Of The Incubus" is altogether more catchy and instantly memorable, with a bit of cod rock 'n' roll thrown if for good measure, whilst "Olde Tyme Future" could almost be a patriot's lament and betrays some of the band's members prior showband histories. "Song For A Thought" is a combination of discreet classicism and a manic Irish jig which Farrelly delivers with sublime, leisurely confidence. A pastoral facet slips between the symphonic aspects and builds to a manic and crazed crescendo signed off with a wilful guitar screech. Exhilarating and almost exhausting it is an utter masterclass of a song. "Future Legends" closes things in a sad sing song way. They had also intended to feature "On A Clear Day" on this album and it snuck onto initial pressings before objections from the Holst estate meant it had to be removed since it borrows heavily from his "Jupiter" one of the movements from the "Planet Suite." It can now be included with the lapse of copyright, and it is a valuable addition to proceedings.</p> <p>A mere seven months later they delivered <em>Seven Secrets</em> in April 1974. Produced by former <em>Andwella's Dream</em> maestro David Lewis it is a more fluid and restrained affair. The opening track "Faced With Shekinah" beguiles via an ethereal aspect of voices in the opening track neatly underscored by Farrelly's pulsating bass lines ending as a baroque dance piece. This neat elegance is followed via picked and plucked strings and oboe in "White Eyes" an elegant ghostly song that again has an almost medieval theme, underscored by a certain off-kilter folk motif. The album seems deceptively effortless but is complex and and confident. Despite the beauty it contains it is less commercial in feel than <em>Future Legends</em> but is none the worse for that. More pastoral than symphonic "White Eyes" is a masterclass in restraint with Chopin-like piano that descends into a jaunty easy listening lounge-core of an ending. "Garden Lady" has a cohesive jazzy conceit with crazed organ and ethereal passages, meditative and flowing with some perfect guitar work from Vincent McCusker and perfectly understated piano from Stephen Houston, it builds to a swirling, dizzying conclusion. In "Three Spires," the most restrained cut on the album, a chamber baroque delight that merges and reminds of Clifford T. Ward at his most eloquent and wistful, and the end refrain is catchy enough to have seen it emerge as a strong if somewhat unlikely single. "Elizabeth" is a baroque hoe-down all strings and sparkling piano, Liberace meets Liszt, with Farrelly signing off at his most intimately mournful, a true and beautiful closer rather spoiled by the irritating whimsy of the ditty at the end "The Seventh Secret." A Jackanory-like travesty that mars slighty the sophisticated nature of things.</p> <p>Not resting on their laurels they delivered <em>The Prince of Heaven's Eyes</em> in November 1974. Widely viewed as their masterpiece I find it something of a curate's egg. The cover isn't one of Peter Farrelly's fetchingly mystical servings, but a rather heavy-handed cartoon that doesn't best serve the project  There are moments of stupendous beauty and delight but the production, their own alas, has a muffled dullness about it that deadens the majestic elements that it contains. Much of the music sparkles whilst most of the production fails to. "It's All Up Now" is a perfect example of Fruupp at their most hauntingly eloquent best, building to a symphonic delight interrupted by "Hold on! Hold on! What'll I do? I don't want to end up in a pot of stew!" which still sounds irritatingly cringeworthy as lyrics go, yet the song transcends that carried by the spirited aspects of Farrelly's delivery and Foye's delightful drum fuelled ending.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CZrCMdlRZjU?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>"Prince Of Darkness" sounds laboured and twee, a nursery story set to music with a Beatles-esque undercurrent. Opaque and irritating. I recall a review in the NME that said the album reminded the reviewer of the theme music to a Czech cartoon and this track belies that opinion perfectly, as indeed does the kitschy sounding "Jaunting Car" that appropriately ended up as the radio theme to a show in Northern Ireland by Gloria Hunniford. Things improve with 'Annie Austere' a dynamic piano driven epic perfectly embellished by some fine guitar adornments by Vincent McCusker, and again Foye spars manfully with Houston's sparkling piano. 'Knowing You' has all the melody and aching eloquence one expects from Fruupp. A beautiful vocal it pulls at the heart strings till it builds to an epic ending of pure dynamic fury and melancholy.</p> <p>"Crystal Brook" continues the upward turn in proceedings and 'Seaward Sunset' is a delightful piece of piano prettiness that perfectly preludes "The Perfect Wish" which really brings to the fore Fruupp at their sophisticated best. Fleeting, effortless and strident it is seamlessly sophisticated with Houston delivering glittering piano crescendos and motifs whilst Farrelly indulges his finest Cleo Laine jazziness. The closing embers of the song is about as magical as it gets, and builds from nowhere to an exquisite moment of pure grace, beauty Dynamism and poise combine to leave the listener sad, beguiled and longing for something more.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/S6H1aZ-vV6I?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>February 1975 saw the release of <em>Modern Masquerades</em> completed in the wake of Stephen Houston's departure to enter the business of bothering God. His leaving also scuppered their audition for Seymour Stein at Sire Records, which in his absence proved a disastrous affair. Their fourth opus was a marked change of direction. Houston's replacement John Mason gave the band a more warm and enveloping feel, a shimmer of sublime sophistication aided and abetted by the production duties being transferred to the capable hands of former King Crimson member, and future stalwart of Foreigner Ian MacDonald. It opens with "Misty Morning Way" a delightful slab of mystical meandering. Mason's keyboards have a shimmering sheen and blends perfectly with the guitar dynamics of Mc Cusker. It resembles European proggers Nova and PFM, with elements of Greenslade to boot. 'Masquerading With Dawn' skips and dives with effortless ease. This is Fruupp at a more cohesive and strengthened level, refined via a freshened lightness of touch but delivering a calculated symphonic punch. Mason composed the Mervyn Peake inspired 'Gormenghast' again a sweepingly assured palette of textures and poignancy that wends well with Farrelly's sensitive vocal delivery via the implicit fluidity of the backdrop, perfectly abetted by some sublime sax from Ian McDonald. 'Mystery Might' lives up to the title, a forceful slab of driven sophistication, yet sensitively interspersed with achingly eloquent vocals and sense of exceptional drama driven furiously along by Martin Foye's relentless drumming. With 'Why' we can see the bare subtle refinement of Vincent McCusker's song-craft and the precise beauty implicit in Peter Farrelly's voice. A beautiful piano track underscores the simple sentiment of wondering about making a phone call. It has more in common with piano drenched maladies of the late Jobriath. A tender and exceptional masterpiece of a song.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ec1egL7rcE8?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>"Janet Planet" -- a single in Ireland and a lost opportunity elsewhere -- is a wonderful ditty about Van Morrison's muse and lover. It skips along like an utter gem that reminds me of the Beatles and and the effortlessly whimsical nature of many of the songs of John Howard. Proceedings swerve to a resplendent conclusion with "Sheba's Song" a searing and glinting fantasy about a big cat, it shows the band at the height of their powers, full of distinctive riffs and a wonderful dynamic effortlessness, A cinematic aspect, it hints at much more in the future, but the future can rapidly change, and often sadly does.</p> <p>Fruupp ground to a halt in September 1976 after a final gig at The Roundhouse. John Mason had already departed and despite recruiting a new member and recording a fifth album <em>Dr Wilde's Twilight Adventure</em> they called it a day after a fire at their flat in London almost killed Vincent McCusker and Paul Charles, destroying the master tapes for their new album, and the recordings for a projected live one. John Mason died a few years ago, but the original members remain. With this re-issue they might regroup for a final masquerade whilst time and health prevails. One can only dream. They had a strange revival of sorts in 2007 when Talib Kweli sampled "Sheba's Song" featuring Norah Jones for "Soon The New Day" on his <em>Eardrum</em> album which hit number 2 on the Billboard chart.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WPPVnu0LqQ8?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Despite the prettiness of the package, there are numerous faults and flaws afoot. Bar the release dates and recording details there are scant biographical details. The whole enterprise has the air of an a swiftly assembled repackage, and yet previous re-issues had copious informative liner note from Paul Charles their former manager and occasional lyricist. These could have been easily utilized to make <em>Wise As Wisdom</em> the tribute it deserves to be. There is nothing here that hasn't been previously available yet there are numerous quality live recordings out there that are calling out to be compiled, and deservedly so. There is also a plethora of ephemera concerning them that would have better served this re-issue than the instantly available stuff that has been lazily appropriated. It is perfectly imperfect primer for the uninitiated, but is far from definitive nor an improvement on prior re-issues. </p> <p>Still, as was once said, "Best to be looked over than be overlooked" and Fruupp remain a band worthy of remembering or discovering afresh, even if on this modern masquerade they are not best served, they still have a future from their extraordinary past.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3884&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="IqAb5cOYGMJyllhhEFwKOac4ZCf7rDya2wpVS9FM0PA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 20 Oct 2019 19:56:00 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3884 at http://www.culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "A War On Everything" http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3881 <span>Song of the Week: &quot;A War On Everything&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>October 3, 2019 - 11:39</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/94" hreflang="en">rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fhi95aiHO5c?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Cool tune. Way cool tune. Vibe. For days. Feel good. Moving. Great vocals. Singer. <a href="https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&amp;rls=en&amp;sxsrf=ACYBGNR6gKhNLMyawosT9FR9XJ3ibU6C0w:1570116871774&amp;q=Brett+Emmons&amp;stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgVuLVT9c3NEwyqypJz0sufMTozS3w8sc9YSmnSWtOXmO04eIKzsgvd80rySypFNLjYoOyVLgEpVB1ajBI8XOhCvEsYuVxKkotKVFwzc3NzysGAOMHb39uAAAA" target="_blank">Brett Emmons</a>. Great lyrics. Great band. <a href="https://www.theglorioussons.com">The Glorious Sons</a>. Great electric guitars. Great tones. And separation. Groove along with it. Then groove more. And then again. And add it permanent playlists. From Canada. Stars there. Risings stars here. Burn it down, Sons.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3881&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="HEs3DZfFpkqJB20knlEiSlTSOLi_EJ6TaZEqHC2xF2Y"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 03 Oct 2019 15:39:51 +0000 Dusty Wright 3881 at http://www.culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "Sucker Puncher" http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3880 <span>Song of the Week: &quot;Sucker Puncher&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>September 27, 2019 - 17:56</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/780" hreflang="en">classic rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Pc1AvxIUgWw?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>One of my favorite rock 'n' rollers <a href="http://annarosemusic.com" target="_blank">Anna Rose</a> is set to release her latest kick-ass album <em>The Light Between</em> on October 4th. She's currently on tour, too. Her fall tour dates included Franklin, TN's very rightteous Pilgrimage Festival and shows with another favorite artist Texas troubadour Paul Cauthen. The single "Sucker Puncher" is just one of ten killer tracks on her latest long player. It's infectious as hell. Turn it up, rock on; indeed. You can check out more videos and tunes <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNapxoX-iucF_9ShYFMKGmg">here</a>. </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3880&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="e1SVe44Zy-v6hI2A_SrUTZecmcaT32MF264Rtc0QDxU"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 27 Sep 2019 21:56:08 +0000 Dusty Wright 3880 at http://www.culturecatch.com Friend of the Dead http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3879 <span>Friend of the Dead</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/webmaster" lang="" about="/users/webmaster" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Webmaster</a></span> <span>September 24, 2019 - 15:48</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/553" hreflang="en">celebrity obit</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/b9SKxL9CnW0?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Robert Hunter, one of my favorite songwriters, has left this mortal coil. For the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia and Hunter teamed up for many of the band's most iconic tunes, including "Friend of the Devil," "Uncle John's Band,” "Sugaree," “Truckin'," "Franklin's Tower," "Casey Jones," "Eyes of the World," and many others. Hunter also worked with Bob Dylan on songs from the late-'80s onward and more recently collaborated with songwriters like Jim Lauderdale, David Nelson, Bruce Hornsby, and Steve Kimock . He deservedly received the Americana Music Association's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, and then he was inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame with Jerry Garcia in 2015. He will be missed by one and all.</p> <p> </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3879&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="mvG8gQTcHk5SsDfERhl3ZuJTK5j3MroG7q2axDiN4A4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 24 Sep 2019 19:48:42 +0000 Webmaster 3879 at http://www.culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "Colors" http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3877 <span>Song of the Week: &quot;Colors&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>September 17, 2019 - 11:47</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/548" hreflang="en">R&amp;B</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0G383538qzQ?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Black Pumas' frontman and former Santa Monica busker Eric Burton has a voice that would make Donny Hathaway smile. His bandmate/partner Grammy Award-winning guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada heard it immediately. The buzz around their camps in Austin, TX brought them together shortly after Burton moved to Texas. Born in the San Fernando Valley, he grew up in church and then got heavily involved in musical theater. His vocal chops married to Quesada's timeless tunes keep their organic vibe infectiously delicious. The funky single "Colors" is from their self-titled debut out on ATO Records. The band will be performing on Friday, September 20th at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg. <a href="https://www.brooklynbowl.com/event/1872259-black-pumas-brooklyn/" target="_blank">Grab your tickets here</a>. See you on Friday.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3877&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="rmnefzjlXVR26H1D92x8JVE-83oQdPXxD-ljlUwtBIY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 17 Sep 2019 15:47:18 +0000 Dusty Wright 3877 at http://www.culturecatch.com The Joys of Wonderful, Obscure Folk Music Finds http://www.culturecatch.com/music/little-sisters-joys-love-mgm-records-1963 <span>The Joys of Wonderful, Obscure Folk Music Finds</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/460" lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>September 6, 2019 - 10:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/735" hreflang="en">folk</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7CJtcTcA_8I?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>The Little Sisters: <em>The Joys of Love</em> (MGM, 1963)</strong></p> <p>Some album covers can intimate to a vinyl junky too rewarding and intoxicating a hit. Imagine a pair of blonde girls <em>a la</em> Edie Sedgwick -- beautifully and perfectly shot in black and white -- with lazily dressed blonde hair. The one in the background is laughing, whilst the other looks dreamily skywards. Both appear timelessly and unbearably chic. It can only be hoped that such a delightful promise can deliver even a fraction of its beatnik suggestion. <!--break--> The liner notes by the legendary Johnny Carson -- they appeared three times on his show in 1962 -- beguiling reveal: "The Little Sisters are actually sisters. Mary is 22 and Patty is 21. Each girl is married; Mary to a poet who speaks only Spanish (she speaks only English) and Patty is an artist. They live in Greenwich Village, New York City, a gathering place for artists, poets, and folk singers, as well as writers, sculptors, and musicians. A casual stroller through the haphazard streets of the Village might see the girls bustling about in the course of their daily routine. They usually wear plaid leotards, beige car coats and beanies -- one red and one green, but which one wears which one is a point I haven't yet pursued. Their father is a cartoonist. Their grandmother was a vaudeville artist." Forty-three years later in an English Record Fair, all that sounded too good to sound any good, but the sleeve was worth more than the dump bin price of a pound. Sometimes things turn out far better than one could hope. What emerged was a stunning record of remarkable brevity and freshness. The longest track is 2 minutes 18 seconds; the shortest 1 minute 30 seconds, whilst the entire affair lasts a mere 24 minutes. These little sisters understood the dictum that less is better.</p> <p><em>The Joys of Love</em> is a remarkably assured debut. It has elements of Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Emmylou Harris, and Nanci Griffiths, but possesses a knowing maturity that one would expect an album from this time to contain. Imagine the theme from "Dueling Banjos" mixed with Francoise Hardy, filmed by David Lynch. But then again, it was produced by Creed Taylor, the found of CTI Records, and engineered by Phil Ramone. There is a strange mix of enthusiastic innocence and artful experience. Greenwich Village 1963 collides with a Kentucky Barn Dance from a hundred years earlier, but surreal isn't one of the many words such a time-warp proposition conjures up. According to Carson's liner essay, the girls decided to go on the road in their own adventurous and endearingly eclectic way: "They wrote letters to towns they planned to visit, and took whatever engagements at whatever prices were available. As a result they sang in homes for old folks, in schools and auditoriums and classrooms, in tiny clubs, and, on occasion didn't sing at all. To support their travels they took side jobs when they had to. They have been waitresses, shop clerks, and car hops in the cities and towns of the East and South. Much of the music included on this album, their first, was collected first-hand on their travels.</p> <p>The songs aren't "discoveries," of course, but they are authentic because the girls learned a lot of them from their friends in Kentucky and Virginia and the Carolinas." This record is their record of an American sojourn. Appalachian melodies and banjo picking of extraordinary freshness results in a strange slice of American folk music imbued with an air of Greenwich Village worldliness. It seems to be their only long player -- a postcard from the past, which makes you wish you could have been there. It is all too romantic to thinking of these two striking young women continuing to stagger gracefully around Greenwich Village in aging splendor, a pair of Bohemian Beatnik Baby Janes who occasionally burst into song to startle the young. Songs such as <a href="/tunes/cuckoo.mp3">"Cuckoo,"</a> "The Joys of Love," and <a href="/tunes/blackgirl.mp3">"Black Girl"</a> have such a vitality about them, it is surprising that this album rests so far below the radar of those who value the work of exceptional quality. Ripe for sampling, the record has a sweetness that is never cloying, but is far from tongue-in-cheek. A stimulating experience resides in such sophisticated simplicity.</p> <p>Do yourself a favor and get searching. Probably grandmothers by now, these sisters should sing again, and this record deserves to be heard. There is an enthusiastic air of beginning from this that now reeks of unfinished business. Two albums in over forty years wouldn't exactly be overstating one's talent, and Mary may have finally learnt how to speak Spanish, and if she hasn't, at least that would be another story.</p> </div> <section> </section> Fri, 06 Sep 2019 14:00:00 +0000 Robert Cochrane 295 at http://www.culturecatch.com