Cold Country Funk

While hiding from the extreme cold we have been experiencing, down to -38c, I locked down and listened to some tunes, first up on the turntable was North Country Funk by Joey Gregorash, I bought this record without hearing a single note from it on the advice of my friend Bruce from Record Collectors Paradise and I have no regrets. I have returned to this album for repeated listens and the one song that stands out for both Bruce and me, is Down By The River, which I think is equal to, if not better than Neil Young’s version. Either way, this is still a good winter album, the cover photo says it all.

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Next up were Explosions In The Sky who told me with their album that, The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. To step outside at -33C makes the earth feel like a cold dead place, however, we Edmontonians are a hearty lot and life goes on, a bit slower perhaps for those of us with arthritis, but it does go on.

Another song by Explosions In The Sky, Snow And Lights, from their album How Strange, Innocense. This is a favourite band of ours, Joel and I, so I didn’t mind queuing up another listen by them.

A blast from the past came next, The Mamas & The Papas are California Dreamin’ on such a winters day. I am personally Jamaica dreamin’ on such a cold and snowy winters day.

A little levity came next with Frank Zappa, Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow, a 45 this time so it was a short cold shot.

A Hazy Shade of Winter by Simon & Garfunkel, another blast from the past that gives us another shade of winter in case we ever tire of the frozen white one we are stuck in.

Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, this is from the album No More Shall We Pass, which I think is a masterpiece of music. This line is particularly apt for our recent weather:
“I’m beginning to freeze
I’ve got icicles hanging from my knees”
Listen to the entire album if you have a chance, this warrants a comfortable spot on the recliner and listening on the big speakers.

White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes from their self titled album

Snow Blind by Black Sabbath from Vol4

I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm by Billie Holiday from Holiday Blues

Snowblind from Drowning With Land In Sight by The 77s

Snowblind Friend by Steppenwolf from Sixteen Great Performances

Snowin’ In Brooklyn by Ferron from Shadows On A Dime
I think the remainder of these songs speak for themselves, except for the last one, by Ferron, it’s actually snowin’ in Edmonton, but I’ll give her credit all the same because it probably is snowin’ in Brooklyn as well. I saw Ferron live at the Edmonton Folk Fest and fell in love with her music and the Shadows On A Dime album, which I go back to every now and then, just because it feels so good to reminisce about that performance. It may be cold outside but the turntable is still spinning and up next is Hot Buttered Soul by the great Isaac Hayes, it gets the blood flowing and the feet moving, good stuff.
I hope you manage to stay warm and listen to some good music, it warms the soul.

Norman’s Summer Music

 I finished reading David Bowie’s biography by Marc Spitz. It was a good read with plenty of references to songs that I liked listening to while reading the book, which is tricky because I only read the book in my car and I don’t distract and drive. Anyhoo, that’s another story for another day, let’s just say for now that I listened to Bowie over the last couple of months which brings us to the topic of this posting. Namely, what have I been listening to lately?

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 Bowie, mostly his early to mid-career tunes. Space Oddity from his eponymous second album is still a great listen. Aladdin Sane is such a nice play on words, and The Jean Genie is as catchy today as it was in 1973, which is saying a lot because 1973 was the year I became a Drooling Fanatic (page 7 of Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life by Steve Almond).

 I think I started into Bowie in July, just back from a jaunt to London where I scored Alladin Sane on vinyl.

 These lads are insane. black midi, with their album Schlagenheim. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc3LSW_XTwI

   I also scored Sons of Kemet, Your Queen Is A Reptile. Fresh sounds from the London jazz scene, thanks to Rough Trade Records.

 What else have I been listening to? Lots of New Wave (ish) music. Nick Lowe, Soft Cell, The Psychedelic Furs, That Petrol Emotion, etc. The mid to late eighties new wave scene has been on my playlists since, well, the mid to late eighties.

 Another band that never leaves my playlists are The Pink Floyd. I saw David Gilmore Live at Pompei on the big screen and then Roger Waters Us and Them on tour, on the big screen again, and in between those two stellar movies I read Nick Mason’s book, Inside Out. Which was as good as the movies, just a slower format.

 Another perennial favourite of mine is King Crimson, who I was very fortunate to see live at The Royal Albert Hall in London. And of course, I came home with hard copies of their music so I can keep listening to them.

 The Barr Brothers, saw them live and bought their CD’s and would pay to see them again.

 Flash And The Pan, a group from Australia that I keep playing at least once a year. The song Hey St. Peter is a favourite of mine.

 Talking Heads, Tom Waits, Joy Division, Tonio K., Van Morrison, Decemberists, Lifesavers, Michael Knott, The Swirling Eddies, Frank Zappa, … and the list goes on. A good chunk of this music dates me but I am comfortable with that.

 We Are The City, I liked them live. Spiritualized, And Nothing Hurt, a great piece of music. Nuella Charles, some very good homegrown talent on our homegrown vinyl plant, https://moonshotphonographs.com/.

 Low Roar, one of the best live shows I have ever seen and a darn good recording to boot. 

 Syd Arthur, tough to find hard copies of anything they have recorded but I managed to score Apricity on CD this summer.

 Godspeed You! Black Emperor, an amazing show, simply amazing. Their records are good but live… I don’t have enough superlatives.

 Russian Circles, a really good show that satisfied my heavy metal craving for that month. Best crowd award goes to the metalheads that were there that night.

 The Needs, some good Scandinavian power pop. Völuspa, aka Kirsten Knick delivers some Scandinavian synth-driven pop music.

 Rhye. I don’t know where to start. The spelling, yes that is spelled correctly, Rhye. The show, it was mesmerizing. I love it when all the ingredients come together and make the two hours fly by so fast it seems like the show just started, please don’t stop now!

 Cody Jinks. His new album, After The Fire, got me hooked on him and I went on a binge listening to his back catalogue. I am hooked on him now and I hope he tours up here in the great white north much like another country rebel, Sturgill Simpson, who also dropped another great album.

 Last but not least, The Lumineers, III. This album struck a chord with me due to its subject matter of addiction and messy lives.

So, that’s my summer and early fall listening, a new blog will be coming out early next week. Snapshot reviews. Until then, happy listening my friends.