Monday, October 02, 2006

Whoadie got crates- October edition (Every man a king)

I didn't watch any football this weekend. The Steelers weren't playing and, well, "life" interfered. And, as the saying goes, you can't win/lose if you don't play. That's a net gain at this point in time. One thing I did do was dig in the crates, which is the best way to forget about "life" when the quotation marks intervene, if youknowwhatimsayin.

So, it's been a while since the knowledge was dropped from on high, but let it suffice to say that...[drumroll please]...Whoadie got crates.

Randy Newman, Good Old Boys (Reprise, 1974):
This one is a classic-status imperative. It's no secret that I think Randy Newman is one of the great songwriters of the 20th century ("now she's lookin at Randy"). Good Old Boys is, musically, a Randy Newman album- plodding piano, good old 70s rock drumming, horns brimming with wistfull Americana- it's good stuff but nothing mind blowing. However, Good Old Boys inhabits the stratosphere of lyrical accomplishment. I mean, it is hard for me think of an album that displays the humor, depth and social awareness of this one without sacrificing coherence.

On the face of it, Good Old Boys is a sarcastic, erudite concept album about southern heritage (white and black) after the main thrust of the civil rights movement. However, a deeper listening proves it to be a broad-reaching Faulknerian opus with a barb on it's tongue. From the fraternity of southern poverty to Huey P. Long (including a remake of Every Man A King, HPL's old campaign song) to the emergence of suburbanization and it's companion economic racism...the breadth is wide, but the quality is even. Even now, this album resonates, as "Louisiana 1927" resurfaced last year as the dirge of New Orleans, brimming with rightgeous indignation and a thousand "I told you sos."

By the way, I've always found Huey P. Long to be one of the most fascinating and overlooked characters in American history. The Sean Penn remake of "All the King's Men" is apparently a piece of trash, so check out the old school Ken Burns documentary for the Kingfish knowledge.
Grade: A+
P.S. A good review of the reissue can be found here.

K.C. and the Sunshine, Band, "Do You Wanna Go Party" 12" (Sunshine Sound Disco, 1979):
When it comes to disco 12s pressed in 1979, I'm generally pretty lukewarm. The same can be said for any KC that doesn't come on a black label. This, however is the exception to both of those rules. KC's tight horn section gets put to good use backing a blistering high register synth line. The obligatory break is hard and funky. No flaky shit here.
Grade: A

Tangerine Dream, "Sorcerer" soundtrack (MCA, 1977):
I was pretty excited when I copped this one. After giving it a few listens, I have to say that Tangerine Dream, despite my electro-synth fetish, is disappointing at times. Their proto-techno stylings sometimes lag and relegate themselves to hackneyed elevator music. There are a few pretty meta cuts, but this one might get dusty on account of its headiness. Sometimes meta ain't meta.
Grade: C

Denroy Morgan, "High on Your Love" (Beckett, 1983)12":
My main man Denroy, everybody's favorite disco reggae rudeboi threw me through a loop on this one, with some distorted, Eddy Grant-ish guitar riffs. He's got his drums reversed on the breaks, too. This one doesn't have anything close to the chops that "I'll Do Anything for You" does, but I'm bout it. No half steppin.
Grade: B