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October 18, 2006

Some Old Music I'm Listening To

So I've been sitting here at my Inspiron in the wee hours, doing a little work and doing a little blogging, and listening to a playlist I put together at MusicMatch beforehand to listen to as we speak.

1970s stuff.

Somewhere in the 1980s, I lost my "zeal" for contemporary music. I enjoyed a lot of the material of the early 1980s, when groups like Bow Wow Wow, Berlin, Depeche Mode, OMD, and folks like Martha Davis got going, but then things got boring, and progressed into the 1990s with what I think of as Birdbrain Pop and Loud, Obscene, Aimless Rock. Though, I did find diverse, semi-sane and enjoyable musicians like Malcolm McLaren a pleasure to listen to.

What I hear on the radio today keeps me from turning on the radio. I have a great collection of Classical music, which is my favorite, my top composers being Mozart, Handel, Vivaldi, Bach, Borodin, Smetana and Ives, my favorite operas Carmen (sung by the awesome Maria Ewing), Don Rodrigo and La Traviata. Needless to say, I listen to a lot of Classical music.

I also love good Zydeco, good Jazz(both acoustic and electronic), Dixieland, Folk {J. Collins, J. Baez, Leonard Cohen( majorly!), ancient Dylan, P, P & M, Woody and Arlo, Marmalade in their folk efforts, such as Fight Say The Mighty, Paul & Art, Al Stewart}; late 1960s/early 70s Soul/ R&B, 1960s Rock, Rat Pack era and instrumental music of those times, and my all-time favorite music, second to Classical, late 60s-all 70s progressive (techna) Rock, such as Yes, ELP, Pink Floyd, Renaissance, Focus, Triumvirat, early Genesis, Starcastle, Druid, etc.

Back on track, over the last few hours, I've been listening to my two all time favorite female vocalists, the late, great Maggie Reilly, doing solo tracks like Every Time We Touch and Moonlight Shadow and some of her collaborations with Mike Oldfield, and the fabulously breathtaking vocals of Annie Haslam, who's alive and well and, despite her British origins, living in Pennsylvania. She was the singer in Renaissance, which ties with Focus and Yes as my favorite Rock music of all time. Among the Renaissance songs I've got in this playlist are Mother Russia, Ocean Gypsy, Northern Lights, Vultures Fly High, Can You Understand (Do You Understand), Trip To The Fair and the full album side track, Song Of Scheherazade. Annie sings easily in 5 octaves and, had she wished to go that route, could easily have been an opera superstar. Renaissance was more into a sort of Orchestral Folk than what most people perceive as Rock.

Yes tracks include Side 1 of Tales From Topographic Oceans (a double album prior to CDs), a 20ish minute track called The Revealing Science Of G-d: Dance Of The Dawn, To Be Over, Soon, Oh Soon The Light from The Gates Of Delirium, Survival, Parallels, Wonderous Stories and Awaken, the latter, about 16 minutes long, featuring some powerful church organ contributions by the mega-great keyboard genius Rick Wakeman.

I have on the playlist Triumvirat's entire Illusions On A Double Dimple LP, at the moment Lucky Girl is playing from that, and from Focus, Eruption, Bennie Helder, Focus II, Focus III and Sylvia, a wonderful and mellow guitar work by Jan Ackerman(Focus was a Dutch group. They broke up when Ackerman left to pursue a career of lute recitals and recordings, which he is still doing well in to this day).

And the end of my playlist, when it arrives, will consist of the entire Moody Blues, Live At Red Rocks collection.

Breathe deep the gathering gloom,
watch lights fade from every room
Bedsitter people sit back and lament
Another day's useless energy spent...

Cold hearted orb that rules the night
removes the colors from our sight
Red is grey, and yellow white
but we decide which is right

and which is an illusion... -- the poetry you hear recited during Moody Blues songs is written and recited by their drummer, Graeme Edge.

The ProgRock thing appeared during the 1970s, basically, in between the Rock of the 1960s and the lesser Rock of the 1980s, and incorporated Classical structure with both Folk and Rock. The music was awesome. Young people of today who venture out of the BS being played now and go to, say, a Yes concert (Yes, they're still around and they still sell out stadiums, etc, after 38 years in business, outlasting even Led Zeppelin) usually end up being enthralled by the music and becoming fans. I was at their Classic Yes concert at the Shoreline Amphitheatre about 3 years ago and the place was packed. The concert was spectacular!

Oh, yes, also on the playlist is the original recording of Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman's solo Journey To the Centre Of The Earth. And I have included some Asia, which consists of members of Yes, UK/ Buggles, ELP and King Crimson, another of my favorite groups.

This is all some seriously good listening. Anyone who hasn't been exposed to this genre of Rock is missing some music worth hearing.

Even the most anti-Rock person on earth would love, for example Eruption by Focus -- it's more Classical/ chant/ ultra-mellow than anything one would expect from a Rock group, and is one of my favorite all-time musical compositions. It is 23 minutes and 30 seconds long, and beautiful.

Well, there's my taste in music. I'm pretty much what they call eclectic, though I do have a couple of preferences, as mentioned above. I can also get right into John Mayall's Blues Breakers, the Jefferson Airplane, Paul Butterfield, Hot Tuna, the Jethro Tull, the Allman Brothers, Cream, out-of-Cream Eric Clapton, CSNY, Led Zeppelin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, a whole passel of C & W, which I came to appreciate during my weeks on the beach when I was working offshore(oil rigs/ tug boats) out of Nawlins in the late 1970s -- drinkin', effin' an' fightin', as it were, LOL.

Well, the only conclusion to a post like this would probably be,

"Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, Ladies and Gentlemen, Emerson, Lake and Palmer!"

Posted by Seth at October 18, 2006 11:33 PM


"What I hear on the radio today keeps me from turning on the radio."

I couldn't agree with you more! Unlike you, I also enjoy Country Western, but the older Country Western, not today's junk, which is not really Country at all. It would be pretty hard to be a Texan and not enjoy good Country Western, but then I don't know why that should be, as I live in Texas and don't enjoy Football! :)

Posted by: Gayle at October 19, 2006 03:49 PM

Gayle -- My own tastes re Country & Western, and those in my collection, run to fairly old school also, such as Charlies Pride and Rich, Conway Twitty, Reba McIntyre, Loretta Lynn and also, more Rock oriented, Charlie Daniels and Marshall Tucker.

I remember fighting in a good sized brawl at the Circle View Tavern in Nawlins, circa late 1970s, tables going one way, glasses and teeth the other, while the jukebox was blasting out the story of the lady wearin' "Tight Fittin' Jeans", LOL!

Posted by: Seth at October 19, 2006 04:39 PM

the worst thing that ever happened to pop music was MTV. It shifted the whole idea form vocal-audio to visual. 30 years ago that Simpson girl would not have stood a chance because her figure could not supplement her voice. Truly great singers like Karen Carpenter and Mama Cass would not stand a chance today because they were not Mega-babes.

Posted by: Shoprat at October 19, 2006 05:45 PM

Shoprat --

This is true.

I can honestly say that MTV has never been tuned in anyplace I have lived. The whole Rock/Pop video concept is nothing more than a commercial venture having nothing whatever to do with the musical talents of those involved, a way to milk every last dime out of a recorded track.

BTW -- I own quite a bit of music by both the Mamas & The Pappas and Karen Carpenter, and listen to them. There is always music of one kind or another playing in my house, though none of it is Hip-hop, Rap or any of the whiny stuff that passes for "Top 40" music these days. :-)

Posted by: Seth at October 19, 2006 06:11 PM

If you like Karen Carpenter, keep your eyes and ears open over the next couple years for a young lady named Traci Carpenter (Richard Carpenter's daughter, Karen's neice.) People who have heard her sing are very impressed with her.

Posted by: Shoprat at October 19, 2006 06:33 PM

Shoprat --

Thanks for the heads up. I will keep an eye (ear?) out for her.

Posted by: Seth at October 19, 2006 08:48 PM

I was enjoying reading about some of the old music you were listening to and I have the great pleasure of being able to tell you that Maggie Reilly is still great and not late!
She even has a stunning new record out called 'ROWAN'

best regards

Posted by: John Elder at November 16, 2006 05:12 AM

John --

Welcome to Hardastarboard, and many, many thanks!

If there is one thing I now know for a fact, it is that I will own Rowan shortly!

I've always thought that alongside Annie Haslam, Maggie Reilly has one of the 2 most beautiful voices I've ever heard.


Posted by: Seth at November 16, 2006 11:20 AM