stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
So I'm sitting at the computer, websurfing, and the randomized playlist brings up Pat Benatar singing "Out-a-touch". The song comes to the finale, as Pat warbles "I need you ... I need you!" and Buster comes up and puts his forepaws on my leg.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
For some reason, I've been thinking about Neil Diamond. It seems that when you buy a "Greatest Hits" album of a singer or group you loved in your youth, it never contains all of the songs you want (unless it's a "Complete Works", and even that doesn't always work - my so-called "Complete Diana Ross" omits several of her songs from the Supremes. I found those later.)[1]

I have three Diamond albums. Two of them - Beautiful Noise and I'm Glad You're Here With Me Tonight - are from the late seventies, early eighties; they're good albums (I love "Dry Your Eyes" in particular) but they're not the Diamond I grew up with. The third is The Neil Diamond Collection, mostly from the early seventies, and it has some great stuff ("Sweet Caroline", "Holly Holy", "Brother Love's Travellin' Salvation Show"), but it's also not the Diamond I grew up with. It does have one song from that era, "Cherry Cherry", but - no. That song was written for and by someone a decade younger, and hearing it sung live, by the older Diamond, complete with grunting... just no.

The songs that introduced me to Diamond were on one album, belonging to one of my sisters. (I have no way of knowing which; they themselves sometimes disagree on the issue.) It was very early, mid-sixties Diamond: "Kentucky Woman", "Red Red Wine", "You Got to Me", "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon", "Solitary Man"... Yeah, some of them have probably been visited by one of the Suck Fairies (probably the Sexism Fairy), but that's what teen heart-throb albums were like back then, and I still remember them fondly. One of these days I'll have to get the CD.

[1] I can't decide whether the period goes inside the parenthesis or outside, when the parenthetical is a sentence and a half long. My rule of thumb - if the parenthetical is entirely part of the sentence, then outside; if it's a sentence, or more than one, in its own right, then inside - doesn't handle fractions well. Probably parentheses should be avoided then, but quod scripsi scripsi. :grmph:
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
It is the first week of July. The temperature outside is somewhere around 95F. Not a snowball in sight.

Why the hell am I being earwormed by "Silver Bells"?
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Fifty years ago, the Beatles released Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Forty years ago, the movie then known as Star Wars (no Roman numeral, no nothing) hit the big screen.

Today, they are conjoined, in Princess Leia's Stolen Death Star Plans. Every track from the record is commandeered in the service of the movie. It is great. Check it out.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Album Title: Crimes of Passion

Why I Bought It: Out of a feeling that, if I liked Heart (and I do), I ought to like similar artists, and that Benatar was one of those. (I mentioned before that one of my mental categories lumps Heart, Blondie, Benatar, Roxette, and Joan Jett together.)

What I Like (Defiant): "Hit Me With Your Best Shot". Actually, several of the songs on this album could get that same adjective; take this one as representative of Benatar as Tough Girl.

What I Like (Protest): "Hell Is for Children". A song about child abuse, and a powerful one.

Overall: I don't think I like Benatar quite as much as I do Heart (or, for that matter, Roxette, a recent addition to my collection). She does what she does very well, but the constant intensity is a little wearing after a while. I will say that "Wuthering Heights" is oddly intriguing.

(My ability to comment on the album is a little constrained by the fact that I can't pull the songs up and listen to them, TYVM Microsoft!)
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Has it actually been more than three years since the last time I did one of these?

Album Title: The Blessed Unrest

Why I Bought It: Blame James Nicoll. He posted a link to the video of her "Gonna Get Over You" on his LJ. I thought it was fairly good, but nothing to write home about. I did like her willingness to poke fun at herself at the end of the video, though. A little while later, he linked to her "Brave". I watched it. Several times, I watched it. It was shortly after that that I ordered this album.

What I Like (Encouraging): "Brave". This is the same sort of song as Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance", although its message is more activist. I love both of these songs; they link in my mind with, among other things, the last scenes of Masque World, where we learn of the lasting effects of the masquerade on the stuffy old bureaucrat.

What I Like (Clever): "Cassiopeia". While writing the songs for this album, Bareilles read a book on astronomy, including a discussion of one of the Cassiopeia supernovas. This was a type IA supernova, the kind that involves a massive but not quite supernova-sized star sucking mass off a companion star until it crosses the line and explodes. Bareilles wrote a song about it, casting it as a love story, with the two stars as principals. ("Let's get together; it'll be a blast!", she doesn't say - but that's the import of it.) It's clever, and joyous, and delightful.

What I Like (Beautiful): "I Choose You". One of the most wonderful love songs I've ever heard, and that's all I'm going to say about it.

Overall: This is a great album. I particularly like "Little Black Dress" (a fairly standard post-breakup song) and "Chasing the Sun" (rather opaque, but exciting in the same way that "Brave" is). I've also bought her album of songs from "Waitress", and plan to buy more.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Yesterday, the song "Easy Come, Easy Go" came into my head, and I decided to look it up. (There are several songs by that title; this is the one with the lines "She wasn't kind / I wasn't smart".) It seemed to me to have a 50s-ish feel to it; I figured it was sung by someone like Frank Sinatra, or maybe Der Bingle. (Not Perry Como, certainly.) Nope; it was first recorded by Bobby Sherman in the late 1960s. Surprise!

Today, I was being earwormed by, um, "Today". (This is the one with the chorus beginning "Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine".) Thematically, it's pretty much the same song as "Gaudeamus Igitur", so I thought it was a fairly old folk song - "fairly old" meaning 16th century, maybe? Wrong again: it was written by one of the New Christy Minstrels, and first recorded by, of all people, Bobby Goldsboro, in 1974.

Arnold Zwicky writes of the Illusion of Recency, in which some linguistic phenomenon is taken to be a novelty (and, usually, reviled). There's evidently an Illusion of Antiquity as well.... (I suppose that would cover things like Scottish tartans and other pseudo-traditions.)


Mar. 7th, 2017 07:27 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Browsing through YouTube, I decided to give ear to some more recent singers. (I've been listening to a lot of 50s & 60s lately.) I started off with Katy Perry's "Roar", which I still like but which brings back memories of the campaign video she cut for Hillary last year. That sore's still a little raw....

I then tried Adele's "Hello". I haven't, to my knowledge, heard her before, but oh, my, she has a powerful voice, in more than one sense. I may have to look further.

Meanwhile, my list of groups/singers to go after next shopping trip currently includes Katy Perry, Sweet, Lou Rawls, Joan Jett, Chad & Jeremy, and the Kinks; I also want to get the 2007 reissue of Al Stewart's Last Days of the Century album, for "Helen and Cassandra".

Music YES!

Mar. 4th, 2017 03:17 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Default)
I just placed an order for more music, as predicted earlier. The haul:
The Best of Brook Benton (mainly for "Rainy Night in Georgia")
The Very Best of Tower of Power (mainly for "So Very Hard to Go")
The Very Best of Ray Charles (because of course)
Alannah Myles (for "Black Velvet")
The Very Best of Starship
Hitchin' a Ride (by Vanity Fare, for the title track)
Roxbox (by Roxette, mainly for "It Must Have Been Love")

I also need to get some books, both paper and e-, but I wanted to get this order in so that I'd have it before break ends.


Feb. 11th, 2017 10:53 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
With my computing split as it is between desktop and laptop, and with the two at opposite ends of the house, listening to music has bifurcated. I haven't moved my music collection to my laptop; instead, I've been relying on YouTube. Between songs that I think of and the suggestions YT makes, I've had a decent diet of music.

The suggestions have included a couple of songs by Roxette, and I realized she belongs to another of my clades, along with Heart, Blondie, Pat Benatar, and Joan Jett. I think I'm going to move towards completing the clade; I have several Heart albums and a Benatar, and I'm not sure I want Blondie, but I'll probably try to pick up albums by the other two.

I'm also thinking of adding a Starship album (yes, I want "We Built This City"), and I suddenly, desperately, want Alannah Myles' "Black Velvet".
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
How great is Aretha Franklin? This great: once, when Luciano Pavarotti was ill, she stepped up and subbed for him - and brought the house down.

Aretha is retiring from touring, though she'll still be recording. The lady's seventy-five years old, after all - but she's still among the greatest.
stoutfellow: (Winter)
Mary Chapin Carpenter's lovely elegy "This Shirt" includes the following lines:

This shirt was the place your cat
Decided to give birth to five
And we stayed up all night watching
And we wept when the last one died
Do you read "the last one" as meaning "the last one to be born", or "the last one to die"?

Number Two

Nov. 26th, 2016 09:26 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I once mentioned that Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge over Troubled Water was my favorite of their albums. I stand by that, but I have to add that Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme is an extremely strong second.

It's got "Scarborough Fair". It's got "Homeward Bound". It's got "The 59th Street Bridge Song", and it's got "For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her". All of these are great songs.

If that's not enough, it also has such not-quite-great (IMO) songs as "Cloudy", "Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall", "A Simple Desultory Philippic", and "7 O'Clock News / Silent Night".

Man, those guys were great together.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
This is what happens when you feed the output of a tuba into voice recognition software....


Sep. 15th, 2016 01:53 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
It's been a while since my last post. Work's been a little heavy - classes, committees, a seminar or two - but not so much as to justify my laziness in posting.

Anyway, it's also been a while since my last trip to Amazon. One prompt for doing so now was a conversation with a potential Senior Project advisee. Normally, if they want to do something in geometry, I give them a copy of a certain book and ask them to pick a topic from anywhere after Chapter Three - but I'd already lent my copy to another possible advisee! The library didn't have a copy, so I told him I'd order one to lend to him. (It's probably good for me to have two copies of that book, anyway.) So, this morning, I went upriver and ordered that book. I also had decided to buy some more CDs, but instead of seeking out new performers, to get more albums by performers I didn't have much of. The result: I ordered Al Stewart's Past, Present and Future, Sarah McLachlan's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, and Sara Bareilles' What's Inside: Songs from Waitress. On top of all that, I downloaded copies of Martha Wells' The Ships of Air (#2 in the "Fall of Ile-Rien" trilogy), Andrea Höst's The Pyramids of London, and Carrie Vaughn's Kitty and the Midnight Hour, and ordered dead-tree copies of Barry Strauss' The Trojan War, Brian Fagan's The Little Ice Age, Terry Pratchett's The Shepherd's Crown, and Bill Willingham's 1001 Nights.

I'm still plowing through Lyell and Fustel de Coulanges (although the end of the latter is in sight); I've finished off Andrea Palmer's Too Like the Lightning, P. G. Wodehouse's The Adventures of Sally (amusing; a bit less manic than his usual, though), and Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper (short, but very creepy - it reminded me a bit of Robert Chambers' The King in Yellow, which I think is roughly contemporary with it). Current fiction includes a reread of the 1632 books - Ring of Fire at the moment - and Harry Connolly's The Way into Chaos.

Today I have no reason to go onto campus, and I'm feeling very sluggish. I think I might take a nap.

River Song

Jul. 3rd, 2016 08:02 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I hadn't bought any Enya in quite a while, but I picked up their Amarantine the last time I was in a music store. I can't say that it's made much impression on me, but "The River Sings" harks back to the formal, rhythmic beauty of some of their earlier work. I really like that song.

Just thought I'd mention that.


Jun. 24th, 2016 07:44 am
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
After last night's catastrophe (and it's only going to get worse; keep an eye on Wilders in the Netherlands), I am profoundly grateful to be listening to one of Elvis' greatest songs.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Judy Collins was the last of the Mitchell/Snow/Nyro/Ian/Collins clade to join my collection; I bought this album about two and a half years ago, and I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to write something about it.

I don't know quite what I was expecting. I knew of her as a singer of songs like "Both Sides Now" and "Send in the Clowns" - substantial, kind of gloomy - and placed her closer to Phoebe Snow than any of the others in this category. But now, having listened to the album repeatedly, I really have to modify that impression.

Item: two of the happiest songs I've heard in a long time, in "Song for Judith" (a celebration of friendship) and "Cook With Honey" (a celebration of love). The latter is straight-up happy; the former is the kind that makes me cry a little.

Item: a couple of songs that are kind of spooky and allusive: "Suzanne" and "Farewell to Tarwathie". I first heard "Suzanne" sung by a friend at a religious retreat when I was in grad school, and I loved it even then; Collins' rendition doesn't move quickly as far as pitch goes, but it pulls me along. "Farewell to Tarwathie" has some eerie harbor sounds and whale calls in the background; that sort of thing doesn't always work, but Collins pulls it off here.

Item: excellent renditions of "Someday Soon" and "Amazing Grace", plus a passable, not-quite-as-good-as-the-Byrds version of "Turn, Turn, Turn". (I suddenly have four versions of that song, with Pete Seeger and the Seekers also contributing covers. Neither of those is as good as Collins'.)

Item: melancholy and nostalgic songs like "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" and "My Father", and "So Early, Early in the Spring", a folk song along the same lines as "Peggy-O". (Now that I check, "Farewell to Tarwathie" is also listed as "Traditional" - but I bet her arrangement isn't!)

I like this album a lot; there's a good range of topic and mood, and Collins' voice is fuller and richer than Mitchell's or Nyro's (although not quite as pleasing to my ear as Janis Ian's). It's one of several fairly recent purchases that have really hit home with me, and I hope to post about some of the others soon.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
A couple of days ago, W and I had a conversation involving, among other things, the authors of Strunk and White. As a result, I've been thinking about (and looking up) the various notable twentieth-century authors named White: E B, W A, and the two T H's in particular. The T H's both have (very different) associations with Camelot...

I have been earwormed all day by "C'est Moi", which is very far from being my favorite song from the musical.


Toto Too?

Mar. 27th, 2016 09:40 am
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
I am given to understand that, when asked what their favorite Toto song is, the vast majority (of those who don't say "Huh?" or "Meh") will name either "Africa" or "Rosanna". So I guess I'm in a minority of a minority; I really like "I Won't Hold You Back", specifically for the variations they use for the lines that begin "to realize...".

I just thought I'd mention that.


stoutfellow: Joker (Default)

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