Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#159 in the Series) is the Kinks, State of Confusion.
We’re running with the Kinks today. I wonder what they’re running away from on that cover anyway. I guess it was the graffiti, again! They also used a graffiti themed cover on the previous release, Give the People What They Want.
State of Confusion was more later day Kinks. This release was an album that I really liked. They were still putting out good music until the end. Ray Davies continues to get it done to this day. His album from a few years ago, Working Man’s Café, is brilliant.
But I digress. State of Confusion actually had the highest charting single in Kinks history. Yes, that is correct. Come Dancing peaked at #6 on the Billboard Top 100 singles chart. It tied, Tired of Waiting at that spot. I would have lost a boatload of money if you asked me that one. I would have guessed Lola, All Day and All of the Night or You Really Got Me.
Back during this era, 1983, I used to see many Chicago Blackhawk games at the old barn, aka Chicago Stadium. Then captain, Denis Savard was known for his creative skating. Evertime he would do his Spino-o-rama, the organist would quickly play out Come Dancing. I caught it. I don’t know who else did. But that wasn’t as obscure as when this player named Craig Ludwig came to town. I saw him get beat up once on the ice and then our creative minded organist played Todd Rundgren’s Bang On the Drum All Day. Ludwig, get it?
Once again I digress… So back to State of Confusion. Amongst the other great tracks..we have the title cut, Definte Maybe, Don’t Forget to Dance and Heart of Gold.
The kinks at this time were Ray and his brother Dave Davies on guitars, Mick Avory on drums, Jim Rodford, bass and Ian Gibbons, keys.
Ray Davies wrote and produced the complete effort.
It peaked at #12 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts.
Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#148 in the Series) is Nick Heyward, North of a Miracle.
Do you remember Nick Heyward? If you don’t remember his name, you may remember his band before he went out on his own. Does Haircut 100 sound familiar? They had a nice hit called Love Plus One in 1982. North of a Miracle was released in 1983.
Numerous tracks gathered some nice airplay from this disc. Whistle Down the Wind comes to mind first. But we also heard Atlantic Monday, Blue Hat for a Blue Day, Club Boy at Sea and The Day it Rained Forever.
Some players that added to the sound here that you might now included Pino Palladino, Morris Pert and Steve Nieve.
North of a Miracle peaked at #178 on the Billboard Album Chart in 1984.
Whistle Down the Wind hit #20 on the Adult Contemporary Singles Chart in 1983.
The album was produced by Geoff Emerick He was best known for being the long time engineer at Abbey Road Studio.
Here’s a studio version of Whistle Down the Wind and then a live Atlantic Monday.
Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#135) is Paul Simon, Hearts and Bones.
Hearts and Bones could be considered the ‘Lost Paul Simon Album.” It wasn’t Simon and Garfunkel. It wasn’t Still Crazy, It wasn’t Graceland. It was between all those classics and never received it’s proper due. Well not until now that is!
I myself hadn’t even played this for quite sometime. Then I was on facebook and saw a video that James Eves III had placed by Al Di Meola. In the thread beneath it, there was a comment by Richard Kent Burton who claimed that Di Meola had ‘the most pick control’ of anyone he could think of.
When I though, Al Di Meola and pick control, I could only think of one solo. That would be the one that he does in the Paul Simon song, Allergies. It’s nothing BUT pick control!!
So I was going to add that to the thread but I quickly decided to be selfish and add it to my blog instead!
Hearts and Bones was recorded right after the period in which Simon and Garfunkel held their huge Central Park reunion concert. In fact, I recently read that this was originally going to be a Simon and Garfunkel album called, Think Too Much.
It ended up being a Paul Simon record and Think Too Much became one of many great songs on the album.
The aforementioned Allergies is my standout track. Others are the title cut, Hearts and Bones, where Paul tossed in a great line about he and future wife describing their vacation travels referring to themselves as ‘One and One Half Wandering Jews.’
When Numbers Get Serious, Song About The Moon, and Rene and Georgette Magrette With Their Dog After the War are all outstanding.
But there is one last song that needs mention. A truly, truly masterful song called The Late Great Johnny Ace. There have been many, but this might be the best song written in honor of John Lennon. It was written my Paul Simon with a haunting ending piece that was added by Phillip Glass. This is a superb track. A must hear.
Al Di Meola was not the only big name musician brought in to fill the sound.
Steve Gadd (drums), Bernard Edwards and Nile Rogers from Chic (bass and guitar), Sid McGinnis (guitar), Richard Tee (piano), Jeff Porcaro (drums), Greg Phillinganes (keys) and Micheal Boddicker (synthesizer…. curve ball..OK, not THAT Michael Boddicker.)
Hearts and Bones was released in 1983.
It was produced by Simon, Roy Halee, Russ Titelman and Lenny Waronker.
It peaked at #35 on the Billboard Top Album Charts.
I can’t believe that I could nor find ANY videos for Allergies not Late Great Johnny Ace. So here’s the title track.
Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#131 in the Series is) R.E.M., Murmur.
I’m actually surprised it took me until the 131st entry to feature this album. Why, well you’ve all heard of Desert Island Discs. Those would be the ten albums that you’d take to an island if you only were able to live with ten. Well, this would be one of the first I’d toss into the boat if I was starting a three hour tour.
I had heard REM’s Chronic Town EP a few times when this was released. So I was aware of them. I was quickly falling in love with their Rickenbacker led jangly guitar riff sound.
Murmur was REM’s first full length album and was recorded in Charlotte, NC. It’s an interesting choice for this Athens, Ga. band.
Every song on Murmur clicked. No filler here, from the opening track of Radio Free Europe to the last notes of West of the Fields.
All the songs receive writing credits by all four band members. Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Bill Berry and Mike Mills. (note: Neil Bogan also got a writing credit for West of the Fields.
Ok, here’s my interesting story about Murmur. In 1983 I was working as an assistant managing editor for Night Rock News magazine. So I was able to get backstage for events from time to time.
I happened to get backstage at REM’s show at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City, Missouri. It was a great show. They did all of the album and most of Chronic Town’ I still have vivid memories of the show. The opening act was ‘Let’s Active’ which included Mitch Easter. Mitch along with Don Dixon produced Murmur.
After the show I had a chance to have a nice conversation with Peter Buck. There wasn’t that many people back stage. REM wasn’t close to being a house hold name yet.
As I’m on talking to Peter, his manager called him aside. They spoke for a few minutes and with a huge smile on his face, he returns. He grabs me by the shoulders and starts shaking me, saying, “Do you realize you’re talking to someone with an album that’s in the top 100!! The top100!!!” His manager had just found out that Murmur had gone into that coveted chart position. I remember it like it was yesterday. It’s was quite the moment. I wonder what he did when he first hit #1 a few years later!!
I learned something else from him while discussing the recording of Murmur. Check out the song We Walk. Give a listen to what sounds like thunder in the back round. It sounded more muffled when listening to it on vinyl. Those sounds are actually the sound of himself and a roadie playing pool directly beneath the vocal both! Once you know that, you can clearly hear the sound of a ‘break,’ Give it a spin, you can tell easily.
I had the chance to see REM about seven years ago. I had been following their set lists on the internet. I had seen that about the fourth of fifth song that they would pull out some real old tune that they had not played for years. Well on this night they played Shaking Through. They said they had not played since something like 1985. Did I pick the right show to see!! Long live REM.
Here’s a video of REM performing Radio Free Europe on Letterman’s NBC show back in 1983. They were the first band to play with themselves on the show. Previously, all the acts played along with Paul Shaffer’s band.
The second video is a compilation of many early REM songs. It was nicely put together by madreamax9 on YouTube.
This one really fits the bill as NRBQ “Grooves in Orbit” is indeed a very ‘cool’ album.
This one finds the worlds greatest bar band at quite possibly their creative peak.
It runs end to end with many tunes that stayed in their live show for years. Decades even.
Side one starts with the perfect, ‘Rain at the Drive In.’ A song about a couple that loves to go to the drive in when it’s raining because it’s easier to get the windows to fog. How can you beat that? Just the fact that it’s about a stinkin’ drive in makes it cool!
One of my other favorites on ‘Grooves in Orbit” is ‘Terry Adams gem, ‘A Girl Like That.” A story about a friend telling his musician buddy that his current girl friend isn’t good enough for him. It contains one of my favorite lines of all time. “She hears all music the same.” Perfect!!!
Other wonderful numbers include Joey Spaminatos’ ‘My Girl Friend’s Pretty,’ and ‘I Like That Girl.’
Also look for a couple classic covers, ’12 Bar Blues’and Johnny Cash’s ‘Get Rhythm’
NRBQ, the must fun you’ll ever have at a live show.
I was looking for a video of one of the great songs on this album but couldn’t really find one. SOOOooo instead I’m going to post ‘Ridin’ in My Car.’ I think this is one of the best songs I’ve ever hear and it’s my blog so why in the hell not!
Today’s “Cool Album of the Day” is Ministy, “With Sympathy.”
This was the debut album by Ministry in 1983. I know the band hated it, but I loved it.
Ministry is and always has been, Alain ‘Al’ Jourgensen. He’s used numerous sidemen throughout his career.
“With Sympathy” was their only release on Arista. They jumped to Warner Brothers for their next release which wouldn’t come for three more years. They did release some EPs to fill the void.
Ministry progressed into a much harder industrial sound. This was more synth-pop. 1983! Remember!
‘Work For Love’ got the most play. Other memorable tracks included ‘I Wanted to Tell Her, I’m Not an Effigy, Revenge.’ and ‘I Should Have Known Better.’
It was produced by Vince Ely. Vince ended up playing drums for the Psychedelic Furs.
The album peaked in 1984 at number 94 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts.
Here’s crude live version of ‘Work For Love.’ What a great song!