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.

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.

R-8895458-1511215067-1816.jpeg

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.