Frank’s Faves on Fridays

June 11, 2010

Austin Roberts – “Something’s Wrong With Me” (1972)

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This song would give Bread a run for its money. When the chorus kicked in, it sounded to me like an amalgam of two other soft-rock classics: “Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me” and “I Write The Songs“. (The “I Write The Songs” flavour is especially strong in “Something’s Wrong With Me” at 0:49 when Austin sings “…hanging around you…”) I like “Something’s Wrong With Me” – there’s something soothing about those gentle sounds. It’s a warm cocoa drink of a song. It’s the kind of song that can take me straight back to the days when I’d have a transistor radio held up to one of my ears as I listened to that sweet, sweet music.

Basia – “Run For Cover” (1987)

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Just plain horrible. I tried listening past the ultra-80’s production for anything I could like in the song’s structure, tunes, instrumentation, singing, harmonies – anything – but for me there was nothing of redeeming value. Just plain horrible. It’s yet another reminder of why the 80’s is my least favourite musical decade of all. The song also reminded me of plenty of other 80’s songs, but I can’t remember the names of any of them. Now the mystery for me is exactly why you chose it. Is it associated with a monumental moment in your life? For example, was it the song that accompanied your very first kiss? Was it the song that was playing on the radio in the fire truck when the fire brigade came to rescue your cat when it was stuck up a tree? Or was this song playing on the radio in the fire truck when the fire brigade came to put out the flames when your house was on fire? Does this song have anything at all to do with fire trucks? Leaving aside the mystifying attachment you have for this song, I think the thing I like most about anything associated with this song is Basia’s last name. It’s Trzetrzelewska.

Billy Cobham – “Quadrant 4” (1973)

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How did you know I was a fan of jazz fusion? (Maybe it was my post about Animal Logic in which I professed my love for the bass playing of Stanley Clarke that tipped you off.) When the drumming started, it reminded me of Van Halen‘s “Hot For Teacher“, and I was expecting Eddie Van Halen to come in with his guitar playing followed soon after by Diamond Dave. (It’s not very often that a jazz fusion track will remind you of Van Halen.) Because of this, all throughout “Quadrant 4” I was half-expecting Eddie to make an appearance, which distracted me somewhat from the track itself. After a few more listens, though, all thoughts of Eddie vanished (maybe that should be Van Ished*). I was mildly surprised that “Quadrant 4” pretty much stayed in the same time signature (4/4) and ended up having basically a 12-bar blues structure, which is highly unusual because jazz fusion is renowned for its brain-hurting time signature changes. (“Let’s have a bar of 13/8, followed by three bars of 2/4, then a bar of 7/8” etc.) But overall, I sort of liked it. For me, it wasn’t the best jazz fusion I’ve ever heard (that would be Return To Forever) but it was OK. At least it had Billy Cobham playing drums on it. What a drummer. Incidentally: I know it’s jazz and all, but I’m pretty sure the synthesizer in the left channel plays three wrong notes at 1:33-1:35. (It’s a descending riff that sounds like it’s in the wrong key – but jazz artists can always defend themselves by saying “It’s jazz!”).

Buckingham Nicks – “Don’t Let Me Down Again” (1973)

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As soon as this started I thought “Yep – that’s definitely Lindsay Buckingham.” I can hear a whole lot of Fleetwood Mac in there – it’s in the drumming, but especially in the acoustic guitar strumming (It’s the “Drummin’ ‘n’ Strummin'”©). The rhythm track of the song instantly reminded me of the Mighty Mac’s “Second Hand News” (the opening track on Rumours). I enjoyed “Don’t Let Me Down Again” for a while but then found myself irritated by the repetitive electric guitar part in the verses. (I wouldn’t have minded Lindsay playing something else just once in a while.) The harmony guitar playing starting at 1:58 sounded to me like The Allman Brothers Band had sat in for the session. I thought that “Don’t Let Me Down Again” was a decent enough song, but overall I prefer “Second Hand News”.

Thanks for this week’s tunes, Frank. I didn’t like all the songs, but I liked the variety.

(*Sorry about that.)

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