Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Magical Mystery Listening Tour #58

This is going to be the last entry in this series for a long time because I lost everything on my iPod and have to reload it all from my CDs...

Steely Dan - Gaucho
The Who - Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn, London 12/15/77
Pete Townshend - The Genuine Scoop
The Rolling Stones - Get Yer Ya Ya's Out!
Aerosmith - Get Your Wings
The Police - Ghost in the Machine
Blur - Girls and Boys (single)
The Smashing Pumpkins - Gish
Paul McCartney - Give My Regards to Broad Street
The Kinks - Give the People What They Want

Here come the "G" albums! First up, Steely Dan's final album (until their reunion in the late 1990s), 1980's Gaucho is a slick, immaculate album that is rather dark when the lyrics are taken at face value. The apex of their studio perfectionism. The Who's penultimate live gig with Keith Moon, from late 1977, is a ramshackle debacle, but once the band realizes this in the middle of the show, they loosen up and rip into the rest of their set with a ferocity that is stunning, showing that even on a bad night, they were the best live band around. Keeping the Who thread running in this batch, a mammoth 5 CD collection of Pete Townshend's home demos between 1964 and 1978, covering the entirety of the Who's real career, makes for fantastic listening. His demos were almost always fully realized songs and recordings, where he would build a song up from nothing, layer by layer, playing every instrument. What is incredible to hear is how finished the songs were, to the point that apart from Moon and Entwistle's embellishments and Daltrey's vocals, the arrangements and melodies were for the most part fully formed by Pete. A true genius. Moving on to contemporaries of The Who, the Stones' legendary live album documenting their shows at Madison Square Garden on their mythical 1969 US tour is one of the great rock live albums, now in an expanded 40th anniversary edition that gives us the entire show. This is my favorite incarnation of the band, when Mick Taylor was the lead guitarist...he and Keith pushed each other to new heights and it's no coincidence that the greatest period in the Stones' career (from 1969-1974) coincided with Taylor's tenure in the band.  Aerosmith's second album is great and includes radio staples like "Same Old Song and Dance" and their cover of "Train Kept A Rollin'."  I'm only a fan of their first four albums so this is a good one! Ghost in the Machine is one of the Police's biggest albums with hit singles like "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic," "Demolition Man," and "Spirits in the Material World." As with most Police albums, there are also some clunkers and a few downright bizarre experimental tracks (the latter penned by Andy Summers and not Sting). Blur's first top 5 single, "Girls and Boys," has some of the better B-sides from the otherwise surprisingly fallow period during the Parklife album, whereas the Smashing Pumpkins' debut album from 1991 is surprisingly good. I have fond memories of listening to this when it came out and I still enjoy the album, especially cuts like "I Am One" and the great and epic "Rhinoceros." Wrapping up this batch are two 80s albums from 60s legends: the first is the soundtrack to Paul McCartney's disastrous 1984 film of the same name that inexplicably contains modern re-recordings of his past Beatles and Wings hits. However, there are a few new original songs on the album that are great, including the hit "No More Lonely Nights." Finally, the Kinks' 1981 album came smack dab in the middle of their late career renaissance as megastar stadium rockers in America and includes standout tracks "Destroyer," "Yo-Yo," "Back to Front," and "Art Lover."



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