Sunday, October 03, 2004

From The Sublime To The Ridiculous

A few selections culled from the old LP collection...
Metro was the duo of Peter Godwin and Duncan Browne. Their debut album came out in 1976, and Criminal World is the first cut on it. Many of you who are David Bowie fans will recognize this from the version he did on his Let's Dance LP. I've always loved this song - I knew Bowie's version first and only recently came across a copy by Metro. I like the original even better. Bowie's version is a tight groove - this one is spacy, sprawling '70s art rock, with big fuzzy guitars and blissed out vocals. It's always fun to hear the differences in interpretations, and there are plenty here.

Joan Armatrading's I Can't Lie To Myself is a cut from 1981's Walk Under Ladders. I went through a few years there where I was a big fan of Joan's music. I had missed the earlier years of her career, but when she put out this record I was hooked . It's a blend of rock, folk and reggae mixed in with a few gorgeous ballads. The album features a host of guest musicians - Thomas Dolby, Andy Partridge, Jerry Marotta, Tony Levin and Nick Plytas. Her quivering voice fascinated me, so vulnerable and shaky in those softer moments, yet capable of being so big and booming and assertive. This tune is a blistering reggae and rock combo featuring the mighty rhythm section talents of Sly & Robbie - big dub rhythms, blistering bluesy guitars and Joan's honesty make this wicked.

The Feelies' brand of jangly, Velvets inspired indie rock always made me smile. Their '86 LP The Good Earth is chock full of catchy little nuggets. Let's Go has it's roots in VU for sure - the steady propulsive beat, those guitar riffs, that bass line. It's a totally blissful little rocker to help you get your jangle on.

And finally the ridiculous...
B.E.F. was little side project of Martyn Ware & Ian Craig Marsh, better known as one half of the original Human League line up and later as two thirds of synth funkers Heaven 17. They recorded an two albums of cover songs, each track with a guest vocalist. The first volume of Music Of Quality & Distinction came out in '82, and you get Tina Turner doing Ball Of Confusion, Glenn Gregory doing Perfect Day and Wichita Lineman, and a bunch of other oddballs - Gary Glitter, Bernie Nolan of The Nolan Sisters and Paul Jones. There are a few things I do like on it - Billy Mackenzie's Secret Life Of Arabia (a Bowie tune) & Sandie Shaw does a lovely Anyone Who Had A Heart, but for sheer silliness nothing tops Paula Yates on These Boots Are Made For Walking. It's peppy and squeaky, and I actually kind of enjoy it - especially the horns at the end.

1 comment:

Craig said...

i did a little feelies post a while back, Ilove to see these nj/ny bands from the 80's get some ink