4 out of 3

Four out of three music bloggers agree that you can’t go wrong listening to Daryl Hall, Peter Gabriel, Robert Fripp or David Bowie. I agree that all three four of these artists are worth some time on the turntable, and that is what I did today. I started with a purchase of Sacred Songs by Daryl Hall; I didn’t have it in the library. I spent the next 47 minutes getting acquainted with this album. Next up were Peter Gabriel and 42 minutes of reacquainting myself with an album that was in the library and had seen more than a few spins around the spindle. I had listened to Exposure by Fripp recently, so I passed it over and jumped to Heroes by Bowie, which did not materialize from the library, so I had to stream it. A stop in Record Collectors Paradise will hopefully remedy this situation.

Record Collectors Paradise

Sacred Songs was recorded at The Hit Factory in August 1977 and released in March 1980. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_Songs. 

Exposure was recorded June 1977–January 1979 and released June 1979

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exposure_(Robert_Fripp_album)

Scratch was recorded November 1977 – February 1978 and released 2 June 1978

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Gabriel_(1978_album)

See the thread running through all four of these albums? Yes, you are correct, they were all recorded in 1977. The release dates are scattered a bit more, and I will address that as we go along. Originally, Fripp envisioned a simultaneous trilogy of albums comprising Daryl Hall‘s Sacred Songs, Fripp’s solo album Exposure and Peter Gabriel’s second album aka Scratch, both of which Fripp contributed to and produced. I am adding a fourth album that I think deserves to be a part of this trilogy, David Bowie’s album Heroes recorded July–August 1977 and released on 14 October in 1977.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%22Heroes%22_(David_Bowie_album)

Let’s flesh this out then, shall we? We can start with Daryl Hall and his first solo album Sacred Songs. Hall and Fripp had dissolved their previous musical ventures, Hall & Oates and King Crimson, respectively. While he was writing songs for the album Hall recruited Fripp who was also working on a solo album. Fripp ended up producing Halls album as well as doing guitar work on it. Hall wrote all the songs on Sacred Songs except Urban Landscape. Urban Landscape was a solo written and performed by Fripp featuring a ‘Frippertronics‘ solo), and “NYCNY” for which Fripp wrote the music and Hall the lyrics. “NYNCY” also appeared on Fripp’s album Exposure as “I May Not Have Had Enough of Me, but I’ve Had Enough of You” albeit with different lyrics. 

There are a few other names that we should remember, Tony Levin playing bass on “You Burn Me Up I’m a Cigarette”,  Jerry Marotta handled the drums on “You Burn Me Up I’m a Cigarette.”and Brian Eno playing synthesizer on “North Star.”

Despite being recorded in August of 1977, the album was not released until March of 1980. The recording company that Daryl Hall worked with was RCA, and they didn’t think Sacred Songs was commercial enough and might turn off the fan base that he had developed through Hall & Oats, so they shelved it. Pissed off at RCA Hall and Fripp gave away tapes of the album to music journalists and disc jockeys who gave it some air time which spurred his fans to start a letter-writing blitz directed at RCA. The album was eventually released in 1980 and went to #58 on the Billboard Pop charts without a hit single.

Meanwhile, Fripp was working on Exposure, his debut solo album, which was recorded in June of 1977 and released in June of 1979. Once again, we see a gap between the recording date and the release date, and once again it was Halls record label that held it up. They wanted him to have equal credit as Fripp due to Hall doing almost all of the vocals and once again RCA feared it would damage his commercial appeal. In the end, Fripp reworked the album and only used Halls vocals on two tracks and used Peter Hammill and Terre Roche for vocals on the remainder of the tracks.

Fripp’s original vision of a trilogy did not work out as intended although all the albums were eventually released. From Exposure the track “Urban Landscape” also appears on the Hall album Sacred Songs, as does “NYCNY”, on Exposure as “I May Not Have Had Enough of Me But I’ve Had Enough of You”, with different lyrics written by Hall. The Gabriel record also features a version of “Exposure”. “Here Comes the Flood” had previously appeared with a prog-rock arrangement on Gabriel’s first album, but Gabriel disliked the production, and created a simpler rendition of the song for Exposure.

Remember those names I told you to take note of, Tony Levin and Brian Eno. Well, they are on Exposure at well, Levin is the master of the bass guitar and Eno contributed synthesizer on several of the tracks. Jerry Marotta does drums on a couple of tracks, and Phil Collins from the band Genesis plays the drums on two tracks. Peter Gabriel who left Genesis in August 1975 to pursue a solo career did vocals and piano on “Here Comes the Flood” as well as voice on “Preface.”

Speaking of Peter Gabriel, the third album in this list is Peter Gabriel’s second album, Scratch, produced by no other than Robert Fripp. Most online music outlets refer to the album as Peter Gabriel 2: Scratch. The name Scratch is a reference to the front album cover designed by Hipgnosis that appears to show Peter Gabriel making scratch marks. Other musicians that contributed to this album are Tony Levin on bass and Jerry Marotta on drums. Fripp played guitar and ‘Frippertronics‘ on the track “Exposure” which is co-written by Peter Gabriel and Fripp and appears on both the Exposure and Scratch albums.

I would venture to add a fourth album to the trilogy, an album that is, in fact, a part of another trilogy. “Heroes” is the 12th studio album by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, released on 14 October 1977 by RCA Records. It was the second instalment of his “Berlin Trilogy” recorded with collaborator Brian Eno and producer Tony Visconti, following Low (released earlier that year) and preceding Lodger (1979). Of the three albums, it was the only one wholly recorded in Berlin. “Heroes” continued the ambient experiments of its predecessor, albeit with more pop elements and passionate performances, and featured contributions from King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp. Brian Eno contributed synthesisers, keyboards, guitar treatments. Tony Visconti was on percussion,[41] backing vocals, and was the producer.

So, in conclusion, Robert Fripp started with a grand vision of a trilogy of albums. That never really worked out, although we did get three good albums out of the deal. I added a fourth. What comes after a trilogy? Usually a disappointment, there are plenty of good trilogies, but very, very few good fourth parts… 😉

I stole that last sentence from Quora. I hope you enjoyed this musical exploration as much as I did. I listened to a lot of really good music, not just the four primary cuts but the rabbit trails such as the music of the Roche sisters. Take the time to explore and enjoy the music along the way. Happy listening and play safe.

Twenty Nineteen In My Rearview Mirror

Music Book That I Enjoyed In 2019

 Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life by Steve Almond

Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life

New Release That I Enjoyed In 2019

 Schlagenheim by Black Midi. I realize that this album may not be for everyone but it was good for me and to me. The video is a runner up for my favourite of the year:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc3LSW_XTwI

They are fresh, different and incredibly good musicians that I want to see live, perhaps on my next trip to the U.K.

Black Midi

Most Listened to New Release Of 2019

 III by The Lumineers, this album grabbed my ears and I didn’t want to stop listening. I think it may be because of the content of the songs, they are built around the stories of people struggling with addiction, which creates struggles with relationships, and struggles with life in general. I could relate to what I was hearing and that encouraged me to hear it again, and again. In fact, I am going to listen to it again right now.

III Lumineers

Most Listened to Album

 The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 by Bob Dylan, for some reason 2019 was the year of Bob Dylan. Perhaps I was trying to erase the memory of his live concert at Calgary in 2017 which left a dirty taste in my mouth. Anyhow, I listened to this CD set over and over and over. For a Dylan fan, it is a very well done time capsule of his early years as a recording artist, we find him trying out some folk standards alongside some new material. It may not be the best recording if you are a new fan of Dylan, but for a long time fan such as myself, this was a very rewarding listen.

Witmark Demos

Most Listened To Artist With A New Release In 2019

 Tool. Their album of the year, Inoculum, was a close second to III by the Lumineers, but Tool was the most listened to artist because after multiple listens to Inoculum I would then listen to their back catalogue and then I would return to Inoculum which meant that as, an artist, Tool achieved the most listens by any single artist of 2019.

Tool Inoculum

Best Album Artwork/Packaging

Tool, Fear Inoculum. A double winner and justifiably so, the music and package worked together and were so well crafted that it would be a sin to not mention is.

Most Listened To Artist Of Any Year

 Bob Dylan, it was a runaway this year, I listened to him twice as many times as the second-place artist.

Most Listened To Band Of Any Year

 King Crimson, they edged out Pink Floyd this year even allowing for the viewing of Roger Waters: Us + Them (Film Screening) @ Cineplex South Edmonton October 2, 2019. I only listened to two King Crimson albums twice, the other dozen listens were of a dozen different recordings by the band, yeah, I do like them a bit. I was also influenced by seeing them live again this year.

Most Listened To Format

 I would have bet that I listened to more streaming music including Apple music but to my surprise, I listened to more music on CDs than any other format. Apple Music came in second and LPs were third.

Music Video Of 2019 That I Liked

 I don’t watch a lot of music videos but here is one that I did watch, multiple times, and I enjoyed it every time I watched it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNKD6TstzUk

Music Video From Any Year That I Still Like

 Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel, this is still an amazing video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJWJE0x7T4Q

Pleasant Surprise Of The Year

 Close Talker presents Immersion: (3d-360 Headphone Concert) @ Art Gallery of Alberta on August 6, 2019. This is brand new tech and I was grateful to be one of the first to hear it. I walked in there not knowing what to expect and walked out in awe. This is another one that I can not put into words, you have to hear it live to appreciate it.

Event Of The Year

 Moonshot Phonographs Grand Unveiling Party @ Moonshot Phonographs April 13, 2019, check them out: https://moonshotphonographs.com/

I am so happy that my good friend, Todd, got the vinyl printing press up and running.

Moonshot_Est._2017

Concert Of The Year

 A tie for this category which is no surprise because I walkout at the end of just about every concert saying it was the best. Many of the shows I saw this year were the best, unfortunately, many of them were only the best for a day. There were two however that kept their glow:

King Crimson @ Royal Albert Hall in London England on June 20, 2019, this one was a Christmas present and I loved every minute of the show in a venue that was actually on my bucket list of places to take in a concert. So many wonderful acts have graced the stage and now I can say that I was there. This was my second time to see King Crimson live, the first was in Calgary at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in 2015 and both shows were mind-blowing good. They remain a favourite of mine after many, many years of listening.

Review: King Crimson at the Royal Albert Hall | Times2 ... 

Godspeed You! Black Emperor w/Kevin Doria @ Starlite Room August 27, 2019, was the other show that topped this category. They are an amazing collective of amazing musicians that held me spellbound from the moment they graced the stage till the moment they walked off. This wasn’t just a music concert, it was an event. The lighting was provided by four projectors at the back of the house, we were right beside them, that a very talented gentleman used to such good effect that he should by all rights be listed as a member of the band. I can’t describe it in mere words, you had to be there, if they come back to Edmonton grab some tickets, I will be there for sure.

In Summary

 Twenty Nineteen was a good year for music. It started slowly with only a handful of live shows here and there and not many new releases that hooked their riffs into me, but the pace gradually crept up through the summer and it ended up being another good year for music in my sphere of listening. There were numerous live shows and way too many albums that deserve to be on year-end lists, but I don’t want to bore you to tears by listing them all here. You can check out our live show compendium at WeatheredMusic.ca and if you want to know everything that I have listened to this year send me an email and I can send the list with all the albums, 567 so far but I have 10 more days to go as I write this. Bon voyage, I am off to see 20-20.