Frank’s Faves on Fridays

December 31, 2010

Grapefruit – “Round Going Round” (1968)

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Fabulous. As you know, I have a very soft spot for Sunshine/Baroque Pop, and this fits the bill quite nicely. Loved it. I’ve never heard this (or the group) before, and thanks to you I am extremely glad to have made its acquaintance. I may have a bit of trouble getting to your other suggestions this week, because I’m playing this track constantly (four times so far and counting). I’m now going to have to find as much of Grapefruit’s discography as possible. By the way, I just found out (here) that Grapefruit was led by George Alexander who is the older brother of AC/DC’s Angus and Malcolm Young. There are so many things I don’t know about music.

Billy Nicholls – “Would You Believe?” (1968)

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Hmm. I’m enjoying this, but it sounds to me like a clash of a few different musical styles. It starts off as Sunshine Pop but then drifts into Psychedelica. Sort of. Because it also sounds like that English style of slightly Vaudevillian, slightly rural, slightly Kinks-ian, majorly Swinging Sixties pop. I have a couple of rhetorical questions (that you don’t have to answer)… What’s with the banjo and tuba (at 1:41)? And what’s with those weird background vocals? It sounds like the Small FacesSteve Marriott wandered into the studio to shout random things. Update: Wikipedia tells me that it is indeed Steve Marriott yelling whatever it is he’s yelling in the background. What an odd song. But I like it. Sort of.

Eagles – “I Don’t Want To Hear Any More” (2007)

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I thought I was terribly, terribly, terribly familiar with pretty much all of the Eagles’ output*, but the title of this song doesn’t look familiar at all. Eek. I’m now listening to it. Coming after the first two tracks (Grapefruit and Billy Nicholls), this sounds horribly slick and soulless. And haven’t the Eagles used that same drum beat for every song they’ve recorded from The Long Run onward? Boy oh boy, this song is smooth. I must admit that it’s exceedingly pleasant while it’s playing, but I don’t know if that’s a good thing because it’s basically washing over me. It’s aural wallpaper. This song has all the trademarks of a reformed Eagles track: the spare instrumentation; the background harmonies in the choruses; the clean, clean guitar sound (it’s so clean that it sounds as if antiseptic has been applied to it); the steady drum beat etc. I can’t believe that I have so much to say about a track that’s doing nothing for me. I guess all I’m trying to say is that this song sounds exactly like a reformed Eagles track, and how you feel about it depends on how you feel about the reformed Eagles. Postscript: According to the tag of the MP3 you sent me, “I Don’t Want To Hear Any More” was written by Paul Carrack. I’m mildly dismayed, because Paul Carrack is currently my favourite English male singer (what a voice!), and this song is a big heap of nothing for me. I suppose I prefer Paul Carrack’s singing to his writing (although I adore Paul’s “Don’t Shed A Tear” – I think that’s a great song.)

(*For people who loathe the Eagles and all they stand for – e.g., soft rock, being pretend Wild West outlaws, not being The Flying Burrito Brothers etc – I thought I’d use the word “output” instead of “discography”, because people who loathe the Eagles would think that what they produced was “output”, not music.)

Little Big Town – “Don’t Waste My Time” (2002)

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I don’t know why, but while this country-pop song is playing it’s reminding me of Martina McBride‘s “I Love You” which is probably my favourite country-pop song. I love “I Love You”. I think it’s a great song – and it’s immaculately produced. Everything about it is superb. But you’re not interested in my views of a Martina McBride song. Much like that Eagles track, “Don’t Waste My Time” doesn’t do an awful lot for me. It starts, it plays, and three minutes later it finishes. Apart from that Martina McBride track, this kind of country-pop is not really my scene, baby. It’s all very well played, sung, and produced, but I don’t feel anything (e.g., joy, horror, elation, disappointment, ecstasy, disbelief etc) when I’m listening to it. Maybe I don’t have a country-pop “on” switch in my brain. (I know I don’t have one for hip-hop.)

[A non-Frank suggestion]
Martina McBride – “I Love You (1999)

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Bonus instrumental:

Walter Wanderley – “Summer Samba (1966)

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Ah, so that’s what this track’s called. I’ve known this piece of music for years and years but never knew its name. I don’t know how or why, but it’s always been a part of my musical subconscious. However, I’ve only ever been familiar with the first minute. I’m now hearing the rest of it, and I gotta say one thing: groovy! That’s some pretty nifty organ playing there. I can’t think of a bad thing to say about this track. (Not that I’d want to – it’s too groovy for criticism.) Viva Walter Wanderley and his splendid name!

Much obliged, Frank. Despite those Eagles and Little Big Town tracks engendering absolutely no emotional response in me whatsoever, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this week’s suggestions. Especially Walter Wanderley’s instrumental – and his splendid name.