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Laurie Anderson: Live at Town Hall New York City September 19-20. 2001 (Released in May 2002, Rating 4+)
Disc1 1.Here With You
2.Statue of Liberty
7.Pieces and Parts
9.Dark Angel Disc2
2.One Beautiful Evening
7.Life on a String
13.Love Among the Sailors
14.Coolsville Produced by Laurie Anderson
I found this album today (22/june/2002) at the CD store. I mainly shop online, and don't read music magazine. I didn't know this release. I just picked up this album and bought it because I really love Life on a String (2001). It was very intimate album, and I like the natural sound of it.
Then, I heard this live album without any information, even without reading the title. It was really nice, and the essence of Life on a String is well conserved. And the good re-interpretation of her classics. But I had a strange feeling to hear this version of O Superman, because her singing seems to be too emotional.
After hearing everything, I saw the title. New York City September 19-20,2001! Just after 9.11... So, this will sound never same for me. I understand why she sang O Superman with emotion. She wrote:
"I know many artists had the feeling last fall that their work took on new meaning. For me, singing lines from "O Superman" like "Here come the planes, they're American planes. made in America," felt like I had written it yesterday. in fact, I wrote that song in 1980 during Iran-Contra affair, which now seemed like part of a longer conflict that continues to rage between the worlds of Islam and the West."
Can't write any better than this.
Lauryn Hill: MTV Unplugged 2.0 (Released in May 2002, Rating 3)
3.Adam Lives in Theory
9.I Find It Hard to Say (Rebel)
10.Just Like Water
12.Just Want You Around
13.I Gotta Find Peace of Mind
Disc 2 1.Interlude 5
2.Mystery of Iniquity
4.I Get Out
7.So Much Things to Say
8.The Conquering Lion
9.Outro Produced by Alex Coletti
Another new 2 CD live album. I bought this today (22/june/2002), and I heard after Laurie Anderson. This is not bad, Hill is really a good performer. I love her voice and her singing. But her guitar is too monotonous to hear 2 CDs of her vocal and guitar only performance. And after hearing Laurie Anderson, my rating becomes strict...
Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series Vol.5/Live 1975/The Rolling Thunder Revue (Released in 2002, Rating 4)
Disc1 1.Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You
2.It Ain't Me, Babe
3.A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
4.The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
5.Romance in Durango
7.Mr. Tambourine Man
8.Simple Twist of Fate
9.Blowin' in the Wind
10.Mama, You Been on My Mind
11.I Shall Be Released Disc2
1.It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
2.Love Minus Zero/No Limit
3.Tangled Up in Blue
4.The Water Is Wide
5.It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry
8.One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)
10.Just Like a Woman
11.Knockin' on Heaven's Door Produced by Jeff Rosen and Steve Berkowitz
Finally, the legendary live recordings of Bob Dylan and the Rolling Thunder Revue is released as the bootleg series 5.
From 30/October,1975 to 23/May,1976, Bob Dylan toured the U.S. and Canada, and had 46 shows. This tour is known as the Rolling Thunder Revue. The tour date was announced shortly before the show, sometimes not using mass media. It was a minstrel-show-like, gypsy-like or circus-like tour to re-discover America which was founded 200 years ago. Sometimes, it focused on the American justice. The famous song Hurricane protested against the racism and injustice of the U.S.. This song was close to his early masterpiece The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll . And song like Blowin' in the Wind recaptured its new meaning in this tour.
There were many famous musicians (and not musician) joined this tour. The basically the band was made of Bob Dylan, Bobby Neuwirth, Scarlet Rivira, T-Bone Burnett, Steven Soles, Joan Baez, Roger Mcguin, Mick Ronson, David Mansfield, Rob Stoner, Howie Wyeth, Luther Rix, and Ronee Blakely. And sometimes people like Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Allen Ginsburg, and Sam Shepard joined.
The music is played very spontaneously. The arrangement seem to be changed every day, and the song list was also changed everyday. Therefore, the sound production is very rough when hearing it from today's standard. It is the work of amateur, but it is very thrilling and full of surprise. It is live music in the true sense of the word. The music is created every minute.
The live recording of this tour was released as Hard Rain (1976). This is the recording of the last concert of the tour. It is very hard and intensive music. This show was also broadcasted on TV. I remember that I saw this program in the late 70s when I was a high school student. I was completely knocked down. So, the Rolling Thunder Revue became very special tour for me. And I've been longing to hear more of the tour. 3 tracks were released in Biograph and the Bootleg Series vol.3. However, it was never enough for me. (I bought some bootleg, but the sound quality was not very good. So, I sold them.)
27 years later from the concert, the more comprehensive collection of the tour was released. By this recording, we are able to know more of the tour. While the image of Hard Rain (1976) was very intensive, the image of the bootleg series vol.5 is softer and more relaxed. This album starts with Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You , which was originally in Nashville Skyline (1969), this might reinforce the impression of the soft and tenderness.
There are two highlights for me in this record.
First is the songs with Joan Baez. They sing together in the songs, Blowin' in the Wind, Mama, You Been on My Mind, I Shall Be Released, The Water Is Wide. Their voices make the good harmony. But it is not in a common sense. They sometimes don't sing close; they seem to sing separately. But it strangely fits well.
Second is the songs which was to be released in Desire (1976). Particularly, the series of songs in CD2, Oh, Sister, Hurricane, One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below) , Sara sound so exciting. It is not very different from the arrangement of Desire (1976), but they are thrilling maybe because they are just created and played in front of the public who don't know these songs. This tension made the music more thrilling. And I can feel that the audiences were really touched. And I also remember the day I first hear these songs in Desire (1976). (Because I have heard Desire so many times, I almost forgot the thrill of these songs.) The weeping violin of Scarlet Rivera is so good, too.
The first issue of the CD includes a DVD video of two songs from the tour. (No date information was given.) I strongly want to see the TV shows which I saw long time ago. (Actually, I have a bootleg video copy of the TV show. But the condition is not good...)
I put the song list of the Rolling Thunder Revue released officially as below (The date credit of the Bootleg Series vol. 5 is incomplete.) :
19/11/1975 (Worcester, Massachusetts) Mr. Tambourine Man (?) 20/11/1975 (Cambridge, Massachusetts) It Ain't Me, Babe
Romance In Durango Simple Twist Of Fate Blowin' in the Wind It Ain't Me Babe Knockin' On Heaven's Door
21/11/1975 First Show (Boston, Massachusetts) Mr. Tambourine Man (? double credited with 19/11, which is true?)
I Shall Be Released
21/11/1975 Second Show (Boston, Massachusetts) The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Mama, You Been on My Mind The Water Is Wide
It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry
Oh, Sister Hurricane (? no credit of the recording date)
One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)
Just Like a Woman
4/12/1975 (Montreal, Canada) Isis (B) Romance in Durango (B) Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
Love Minus Zero/No Limit
21/4/1976 (Tampa, Florida) Seven Days (BS3) 23/5/1976 (Fortcolins, Colorado) Maggie's Farm (HR) One Too Many Mornings (HR) Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again (HR) Oh, Sister (HR) Lay, Lady, Lay (HR) Shelter from the Strom (HR) You're a Big Girl (HR) I Threw It All Away (HR) Idiot Wind (HR) B = Biograph BS3 = The Bootleg Series 3 HR = Hard Rain Others are from The Bootleg Series vol 5
Harpers Bizarre: The Secret Life of Harpers Bizarre (Released in 1968, Rating 4)
1.Look to the Rainbow
2.Battle of New Orleans
3.When I Was a Cowboy
4.Interlude 5.Sentimental Journey 6.Las Mananitas
7.Medley: Bye, Bye, Bye/Vine Street
8.Me, Japanese Boy
9.Interlude 10.I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise 11.Green Apple Tree
12.Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat
13.Interlude - 14.I Love You, Mama 15.Funny How Love Can Be 16.Mad 17.Look to the Rainbow 18.The Drifter
19.Reprise Produced by Lenny Waronker
When we mention about "American Rock" , we image something straightforward. Not necessarily, earthy and simple rock music. There sometimes appear the strange musicians like Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart or Jimi Hendrix etc in America. Although their musics sound strange, they are straightforward to themselves. In other words, they can be described in "man-and-his-music" attitude.
However, America is also the country of Hollywood, which produces virtual reality fantasies endlessly. So, is there any musical counterpart of Hollywood movies? I think there are some, though it is not main trend in American music. (Maybe, American musical business is based on the "man-and-his-music" fantasy, not on the dreamy fantasy.)
In the late 60s, Warner Bros. Records produced many nostalgic, dreamy, Hollywood-movie-like, artificial musics, which are sometimes called "Burbank Sounds". Their sound production was far from the tradition of "man-and-his-music". The main players in "Burbank Sounds" were not musicians. It was the music made by professional producers and arrangers like Lenny Waronker, Ted Templeman, Randy Newman, Van Dyke Parks, Nick DeCaro etc. Though all these people became big producers and big artists in 1970s, I think their existence in 60s might be very ambiguous. Professionalism was outdated in the revolutionary 60s.
The third album of Harpers Bizarre, "The Secret Life of Harpers Bizarre" (1968), is the most typical "Burbank Sound" album. This album is a kind of concept album about the ordinary man who always daydreams. In his daydream, he travels beyond time and space like old dreamy Hollywood movies. So, there are many covers of oldtime good American songs. The sound is perfectly produced and music is sophisticatedly arranged with beautiful strings.
I personally love the exotic sounds of "Me, Japanese Boy". It is a Hollywood misunderstanding of Japan. Very funny and lovely. And the "The Drifter" is beautiful and best fit as an ending song to the concept of this album.
"'Cause there's places/ That I've never been to / sunsets to be ridden into / not a lot I can do but give in to / the drifter / there's a drifter / In me"
It is amazing that this album was released in 1968. Needless to say, 1968 was the year of Tet offensive in Vietnam and assassination of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King etc; it was one of the hottest year in modern American history. When we look for the records released in 1968, there are the Beatles' "White Album" , the Rolling Stones' "Beggars Banquet", and Jimi Hendrix' "Electric Ladyland" etc. This record does not reflect any of the mood. It is so against the time of revolution. It is reactionary and uselessly perfect so that it almost reaches the point of insanity.
Dan Hicks: It Happened One Bite (Released in 1978, Rating 5)
2.Crazy 'Cause He Is
3.Garden in the Rain
5.Cloud My Sunny Mood
7.Vinne's Lookin' Good
8.Lovers for Life
12.Mama, I'm an Outlaw
13.Boogaloo Plays Guitar
14.You Belong to Me
15.Mama, I'm an Outlaw [Slow Version]
16.Vinnie's Lookin' Good [Slow Version]
17.Gone With the Wind
18.Walkin' My Baby Back Home
19.It's Only a Paper Moon
21.Lulu's Back in Town
22.Hummin' to Myself Produced by Tommy Li puma
Dan Hicks is another daydreamer of dreamy nostalgic America. He might be the most sophisticated man in American music business. His music resembles oldtime Jazz and country music. The sweet and smooth ensemble of guitar and violin reminds me of Django Reinhardt and Stephene Grappeli. The sound also features humorous vocals of male lead vocal and female chorus, of which idea came from the song of Glen Miller Orchestra.
This record was originally recorded in 1975 as a soundtrack for the animation film. Because the film was not completed after all, it was not released until 1978. The soundtrack works are sometimes regarded as collateral works of the artists, but this may be the best work of Dan Hicks. This is adequate for the man of Hollywood daydreamer.
Even though this is perfectly produced by Tommy Lipuma, this does not sound very artificial like "Burbank Sound". It may be because of the natural ensemble of acoustic instruments, and because of gentle and humorous vocal of Dan Hicks, which personally reminds me of Hoagy Carmichael. Yet, this was also released by Warner Bros. In 1970s, Warner Bros. also made nostalgic records of Maria Muldaur. The "anti-revolutionary" attitude was still there in Warner Bros. Ummm. It might be interesting to study the history of the company, and when this "anti-revolutionary" tradition faded. But it is not my job to do this. Please, someone do it.
Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band : S.T. (Released in 1976, Rating 4+)
1.I'll Play the Fool
3.Cherchez la Femme/Se Si Bon
5.We Got It Made/Night and Day
6.You've Got Something/Betcha' the Love Bug...
7.Sour & Sweet/Lemon in the Honey Produced bt Sandy Linzer
There used to be the old photo named "Saturday September 23.1911, Burbank, California" in inside paper sleeves of Warner Bors' records. In my memory there were palm trees in the avenue in this oldtime photo. But, as I just check the photo now, there was no palm tree, only usually trees in the avenue... I might be daydreaming too. The image of palm trees is connected with the image of Warner Bros. in me. Anyway, it is a West-Coast based company.
So, is there any counterpart in the East-Coast? In New York, there are many strange musics. But in terms of nostalgic, dreamy, virtual music, Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band may most fit to the category.
Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band is known as a band August Darnell formed before Kid Creole and the Coconuts. As for Kid Creole and the Coconuts, I like their music, but I am not in love with it because the vocal of August Darnell sounds too much for me. One of the Kid Creole and the Coconuts' song I love is "Maladie D'Amour", which is mainly sung by female vocalist. The vocal of Original Savannah Band is mainly by female vocalist, Cory Daye. Her vocal is not too strong. Standard disco vocal level. That is the good point of this record; it gathers the tracks like "Maladie D'Amour".
The musical idea of the band came from the old jazz orchestra like Cab Calloway. It was a jazz before modern jazz which became serious. The jazz used to be a fashionable dance music. It was a big entertainment music. Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band mixed the festival feeling of oldtime jazz, Latin music and disco music in the 70s.
This record makes me happy. And this multi-cultural mixed fake feeling might be close to "Taian Yoko"(1976) by Haruomi Hosono. And this record might be one source of imagination in making of the Yellow Magic Orchestra.
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