Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

May 26, 2020

[Tricia]

If you’re craving some 1970s nostalgia, this is the book for you. It is a fictionalized documentary-style story of a band in the 70s, very reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac. It is a good listen as an audiobook, with a full cast of voices for the band members, managers, and family members. Like Fleetwood Mac, the band goes through a great deal of personal drama at the same time that they find enormous success. The best thing about it for me was that it led me to revisit the Fleetwood Mac album Rumours, which you can listen to on Hoopla. The whole experience just took me back to that feeling of sitting on the floor listening to an album for hours while staring at the album cover and reading the liner notes.

Daisy Jones & the Six - ebook

Daisy Jones and the Six is available on Libby/Overdrive.

Rumours

Rumours by Fleetwood Mac is available on Hoopla.

CD music review: Adele; 21

July 28, 2011

[Bill L.]

Release date: 19 January, 2011

 

When you are the 600 pound gorilla in the room you tend to forget or at least ignore everybody else. So it is with the United State of America, and so it has been since the Armistice on Nov 11, 1918 when by default we became “top nation”. Not for nothing until recently, was the “Group of 8”, and not without irony, known as “America and the 7 dwarves”. It was not inaccurate, just unkind. For America was and is so much greater than its allies and adversaries as to be without peer. Period. That there are others of ability and talent in the world is quite apparent. It is just that we Americans do not even notice them, so preoccupied are we with ourselves.

Our closest friend in the word, the UK, is in many ways a much smaller, slightly different, if vastly more neurotic, mirror image of us. The Brits are just unlike enough to be fun, without being foreign. We have our Grammies, they have The Mercury Awards. Like the Grammies they are held each year and there is, as with the Grammies, a great deal of speculation as to who will win. There is also a short list of nominees and there is much discussion as to their abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Topping the list this year is the astounding English singer Adele [Adkins].

If you have been living with a former Vice-President in an undisclosed bunker for the last year, or so, you may be forgiven for not having heard her sing. “21” is Adele’s second CD, written when she was 21, her first is “19”, written when, well, you get the idea… I am at a loss as to how to describe her ability, apart from as has everyone else commented, “what a set of pipes”.  Here is a woman who can really belt it out, who croons, who wails.

But what is she? Is it Blues? Rock? Folk? Country? The short answer is Yes. Here is an English gal who sounds American, perhaps thus her success here in America. Her “heartbroken soul” sounds like “one of us”. Misery indeed loves company. Be that as it may, I must say that I have yet to hear a poor song from Adele. And many are great, at least in my opinion.

Adele was unknown to me until just after the New Year, when a friend of mine suggested that I listen to her. I was silent as I had never heard of Adele. And so when a friend who is not known for suggestions makes one I like to think I am smart enough to listen. I did and I am hooked. So thanks to Tricia for her excellent suggestion earlier this year. You would be wise to take her advice too and listen to Adele and “21”. A pretty good trick that, getting Americans to pay attention, notice and listen. And that is not monkey business.

bill littlefield

 

Music CD review: Stevie Nicks, In Your Dreams

July 20, 2011

[Bill L.}

Release date: 5/3/11

It is a fact of life that there is a lot of crap in the music world. This should surprise no one as it merely reflects that sad dreary world itself. There is however a bright spot if a very small spot. And it comes from a most unlikely place. Indeed one of the last people you might expect. Stevie Nicks.

“In your dreams” is Nicks’ seventh solo album and one of the best tracks is “Secret love”. In it with its music video, we reprise for 3-4 minutes [at least] the world of the mid 70’s, the world of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” and it is delightful. Stevie has aged well, I wish I will look that good at 63 as she is now, and her voice is still beautiful. She and Mic Fleetwood’s performance is [again] a delight, in fact the whole album is superb. Well recorded and mixed. I suppose, I ought to “fess up” that “The Mac” are one of my all-time fav bands. So if I am prejudiced, at least I am honest.

The hedonism of the group Fleetwood Mac is legendary. And rightly so. They were and are a paradigm of and for my generation. Which probably says more there then I ever can. Even so, recently, as I was researching “In your dreams”, I came acrost a really great story. It was so great and selfless that it deserves to be told here and now at least in brief. I call it “Stevies’s iPod”, although she calls it “Soldier’s iPod”. So I have just cut and pasted from Wikipedia the paragraph below.

“In late 2004, Nicks began visiting Army and Navy medical centers in Washington, D.C. While visiting wounded service men and women, Nicks became determined to find an object she could leave with each soldier that would raise their spirits, motivate, and give them something to look forward to each day. She eventually decided to purchase hundreds of iPod Nanos, load them with music, artists, and playlists which she would hand select, and autograph them. She now regularly delivers these tokens of her appreciation, bringing her closest friends to share the experience. “

It is always great to be able to pass on a nice story and this one has a very nice ending. When Betty Ford died last Friday, July 8th aged 93 and there was a really great article in CNN Entertainment, the link is below, on how Stevie acknowledges that Betty Ford and her clinic have saved her [Stevie’s] life. The point is that Stevie spoke at length of how her addiction[s] were threatening to kill her by the mid 1980’s and that Betty’s attitude towards life essentially saved her.

I hope I am not being mawkish, as it is hard for a cynic [like me] to believe that there is unrequited love in the world, but there is, even if it is rare. It would seem that both Betty and Stevie have something in common, love for others, and that is simply beautiful. Please listen to this CD, but more importantly please buy it. It is a delight from a living legend.

http://marquee.blogs.cnn.com/2011/07/11/stevie-nicks-betty-ford-saved-my-life/?hpt=hp_bn5

bill littlefield

Music Reviews – Tear the World Down by We Are the Fallen

September 8, 2010

[Bill L.]

“Tear the World down” by We are the Fallen

Listening to this disc causes me to recall the phrase “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” Fanatical Evanescence fans who quite rightly have been moping [as only Evanescence fans can] for more goth/metal/piano rock pain these last three years will already be aware of this disc, and their thoughts are best left to the darkest regions of their soul. For the rest of us, this disc attempts to recapture the sound of the phenomenal discs “Fallen” and “The Open Door.” This is not at all bad or surprising as band member Ben Moody, who was one half of the original Evanescence duo, is clearly present on “Tear the World Down,”  as is guitarist John LeCompt and drummer Rocky gray, both late of the band . All promise a great listen.

The tracks go through the motions and yet … it is unfulfilling. It is seemingly dark but without the – dare one say genius of Amy Lee’s [the other original half of Evanescence] delicious lyrics with her bottomless pit of pain and despair, to say nothing of her semi-operatic voice and virtuosic piano playing. One finds that with the exception of “Bury me Alive” which is rightly a feast for proto-Goths and its delightful video music, proving no doubt that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we are left empty. Indeed there is even piano in several songs on this disc — imitation as flattery indeed.

Nevertheless, Carly Smithson’s vocals are powerful and sincere and yet, and yet … We are the Fallen’s attempts at musical pain, loss and regret ought to be more heartfelt and more moving and deeper and ought to delight.  More is needed than the seeming desire for revenge. As the phrase goes, I really wanted to like this disc, I really, really did. But . . .

It is odd that one should spend so much time in a review of one band in commenting on another, but in a larger sense it is/was the same band. And in goth brooding fashion it has generated even more pain and discontent over time. For those who do not know, “evanescence” is a meteorological term describing what happens to nighttime fog as the rising sun, after dawn, scatters and burns away those nighttime mists. As a mental image it is really cool. And to a certain extent, that act of scattering has dogged Evanescence almost since its first disc, “Fallen.” Thus the new band’s name. The implication is that they are the true band.

I await Evanescence’s third studio album which hopefully will be released this fall. Let’s see if that dish too is served cold – or will it be suitably seasoned with the lively passion of Amy Lee and as she has sung, in the darkness before the dawn.

– Bill Littlefield

Music Recommendations from Bill – Muse, Florence and the Machine and Lady Gaga

May 4, 2010

[Bill]

Do you like the Moody Blues? Are you one of those people who still have your “Days of future Passed” LP from 1967-68? Do you go misty eyed when at some point you hear the strains of “Nights in white satin”? if you answered yes, you are or will most likely become a Muse fan. What if you stepped into Doctor Who’s time and space machine and brought the “Moodies” forward in time by 40 or so years? You might just have this other powerful English rock band. Do not mistake me, Muse are not a 60’s rip-off band. My point is that they seem to write the kind of music that the Moody Blues would write today as young men. Clever lyrics, well written music and compelling vocals. You should give Muse a listen. We have “Black Holes and Revelations” and “The Resistance”. We hope to get more.

Occasionally, a singer’s voice will become instantly recognizable. Frank Sinatra, Elvis or Stevie Nicks.  So it is With “Florence and the Machine”. Florence Welch’s   release of “Lungs” in July 2009 was well received in the UK and USA. In the indie pop and alternative rock vein. Florence seems to sing at 33 1/3 rpm whilst the band plays at 45 rpm. An amazing voice and haunting songs.

Usually “divas” require a while to become established. Not so with Lady Gaga. She burst onto the music scene with a vengeance in 2009. Whatever you think of her, there is no doubt that she is a show-woman. One either loves or loathes her. Oddly, I fall into a third category, as I do neither. I merely observe the spectacle. Yet, the persona of Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta of Brooklyn NY, is now ubiquitous. She will rule the world, or rather she does rule the world. Her voice, piano playing and what are conservatively called “costumes” astound. Lady Gaga’s debut CD “The Fame” I am certain that we will continue to be shocked, amazed, mesmerized and entertained by her. As with Elvis and The Beatles the music world will never be the same.