Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Magical Mystery Listening Tour #55

Beginning this batch with a few albums I missed the first time around because they've just been added to my iPod. After those, we continue on with more "F" albums. So I warn you, this is a big batch of albums!

The Smiths - Apollo Theatre, Oxford 3/18/85
Grant Hart - The Argument
The Smiths - Barrowlands, Glasgow 9/25/85
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Bayou Country
The Smiths - BBC Sessions 1983-1986
The Smiths - Brixton Academy, London 12/12/86
Morrissey - Civic Hall, Wolverhampton 12/22/88
The Smiths - De Meervaart, Amsterdam, Holland 4/21/84
Pink Floyd - The Final Cut
Ride - Firing Blanks: Unreleased Ride Recordings 1988-95
Jimi Hendrix - First Rays of the New Rising Sun
Mansun - Five EP (She Makes My Nose Bleed)
Paul McCartney - Flaming Pie
Husker Du - Flip Your Wig
The Rolling Stones - Flowers
Paul McCartney - Flowers in the Dirt
Rush - Fly By Night
Flying Colors - Flying Colors

A bunch of newly added Smiths recordings make up the bulk of my new additions, which include several excellent concerts (including their last ever concert, from December 1986) as well as the remainder of their live BBC radio sessions that weren't officially released. Grant Hart's new album from 2013 is a sprawling concept album based on Milton's "Paradise Lost" and William S. Burroughs' adaptation "Lose Paradise" and is a challenging but rewarding listen. And CCR's Bayou Country album is one of their best and one of the greatest albums of the 1960s, with such classics as "Born on the Bayou," "Proud Mary," and "Penthouse Pauper," as well as a bunch of other great CCR tunes. Wrapping up this batch is a show by Morrissey right before Christmas 1988, which was the unofficial Smiths farewell gig. Morrissey's band were fellow Smiths Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce, with former Smiths (sometimes) touring guitarist Craig Gannon. They only played Smiths songs that had never been done live before (and a few new solo Moz songs, too) and admission was free as long as you were wearing a Smiths or Morrissey shirt. This is a newly found soundboard source of the gig and sounds great but it makes me sad to hear what the Smiths could've been had they continued on past 1987 (with Johnny Marr, of course!).

Moving on back to the "F" albums, the last real Pink Floyd album (in my mind) is first...the Final Cut is a good album but a bit ponderous and takes Roger Waters' concept albums and personal whinging to its logical conclusion...it's more a Waters solo album with Gilmour and Mason as his session men than it is a true Floyd album. Firing Blanks is a collection of Ride outtakes, demos, and rare tracks and is pretty good although inessential. The album that Jimi Hendrix was nearly finished with before his untimely death in 1970 was released in 1997 and is fantastic, showing that he was most definitely still on top of his game when he passed away. Five EP (the She Makes My Nose Bleed single and B-sides) by Mansun is yet another example of the quality of their B-sides, with Flourella and The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail in particular as real standouts. One of Paul's best solo albums, 1997's Flaming Pie, is joined by his "comeback" album from 1989, Flowers in the Dirt. I find Flowers to be a bit overrated although I do really like several songs from it. Husker Du's Flip Your Wig is about as perfect a power pop album from the 1980s that you'll ever find, while the Stones' compilation Flowers (disowned by the band at the time) has a few cuts on it that make it worth having for any fan. The batch is finally wrapped up with Rush's classic second album (and first with Neil Peart), Fly By Night, which is the first inkling of their prog tendencies married to their hard rock, followed by the debut album from the supergroup Flying Colors. They consist of Mike Portnoy, Neal Morse, Steve Morse, Dave LaRue, and newcomer Casey McPherson and is a wonderful slab of pop melodies married to prog rock.

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