Saturday, April 27, 2013

Your opinion please - An Appointment with Mr. Yeats

A while ago I suggested a mechanism to encourage more participation in our blog, whose pulse has grown weak.  The concept is that we take turns selecting an album to put before the group and inviting comment.  Your reasons for selecting any particular album are unconstrained - an old favorite, something new and different or something that you believe to be overlooked or misunderstood.  Tell us about your choice and offer your own thoughts about it.  Each of us is then asked to listen the album in its entirety and post our own thoughts - short or long, positive or negative.  That was the original concept - it is open to improvement.

Brian responded in the classic management style - supporting the idea, and then assigning me with the action item to actually implement it.  So I'm going to give it a whirl - the album I've chosen to kick this off is "An Appointment with Mr. Yeats" by the Waterboys.  I don't know whether any or all of you are familiar with this album, but I was not until recently, though it was released in 2011.  I discovered it in February while searching for a birthday present for my brother.

I have been an enthusiastic Waterboys fan since I first heard, This is the Sea.  I particularly love Mike Scott's dramatic lyrics, with his "murderous skies" and his "sea of lights sparkling on the face of a pearl".  This particular album is a departure in that respect, as the concept is to put music to Yeats' poems.  Scott had already done this once, with "The Stolen Child" on Fisherman's Blues; not my favorite track from that album, but one that I quite liked.  That album is a good reference point for this one - the music is much more consistent with the Celtic folk inspired songwriting than with the more rock-influenced writing that he displays on albums like This is the Sea and A Pagan Place.  The Yeats lyrics lend themselves well to Scott's musical treatment - the resulting songs sound very natural and cohesive.  Having stumbled across this record years after its release, I was worried that it would be a weak album that had faded into obscurity deservedly.  On the contrary, I think it deserves a place among the top Waterboys albums - and a little research shows that I am not alone in rating it highly.  I don't know how I missed it when it was released!

The music is passionate and energetic, and, as I said,  it fits the poetry beautifully.  Particular favorite tracks for me are "The Hosting of the Shea", "Before the Worlds was Made" (with guest vocalist Katie Kim, whose distinctive voice I really like) and "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death".  The rest of the songs are also strong - I like it from start to finish.  I also found this cool link to a blog post from Mike Scott himself, with track by track notes on the album.

So there we have it - an opportunity for all of you to listen to something you might not otherwise have played, and a chance to voice your opinions.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts about An Appointment with Mr. Yeats, and to listening to the albums on which you choose to shine the spotlight.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Yet another artists RIP.... Richie havens , whom some of you may only know by the iconic woodstock performance "Freedom"    is an artist of greater depth then I originally thought. I bought a double album from the 60's recently on the advice of Bert (owner of Vortex records ...still around at Yonge and Eglington....) ...this album is a really fine slice of 60's pop/folk/psych    A mixed bag of covers and hangs together due to great songs and lovely arrangements......I love it.....worth well more then the 3 stars here

Saturday, April 13, 2013

For those of us still checking this blog space, a question from young Oliver (who is developing a taste for capital r rock music), which I thought worthy of group input:

What is the best / coolest / greatest guitar rock riff of all time?   Points for obscurity and depth of points for Smoke on the Water.

Monsieur Gaines, looking forward to a post on an artist we should all dive into, and trusting that the bed rest isn't too horrible.