Archive | February, 2014

Weekly Vinyl – Leadbelly

28 Feb

This is not a collection of legendary blues-man Lead Belly, Huddie Ledbetter, singing his many songs. This is a soundtrack from a movie about his life.
I have not seen this movie, but I have enjoyed the album. The album is a nicely packaged, easy to listen to, well produced compilation of a selection of this great man’s body of work. The album is technically very well put together but it lacks the soul that an original recording of Lead Belly would have. I have no idea why the producers did not include even one original recording. There are quite a few recordings of the man in his prime.
The music sounds too clean, too earnest, too modern. It is blues/folk music from the 40s redone for a 1970s sensibility. The more I listen to it the more I am start to distrust the music and question the wisdom of owning this album.
Time to turn it off and save it for another day.

Weekly Wine – Frontera

26 Feb

SONY DSCConcha Y Toro Frontera Cabernet Sauvignon
12.5% ABV
$7.95 (LCBO)

I would like to make grand sweeping statements about how good or bad this wine is.
I would like to make specific arguments to support the above conclusions.
I would like to make brilliant observations about this wine.
I can’t.
I took this wine to a backgammon tournament I was playing and I downed it while playing the round robin portion of the tournament.
I made a few notes about the wine. It is light and easy to drink. I was drinking it out of one of those mason jar mug/glasses. It did not spoil the enjoyment of the wine. Perhaps it even enhanced it. I was concentrating on the game and the wine.
Backgammon is a great game. It is an ancient game. It is a pure mix of skill and luck. It is very Machiavellian in a sense where one has to have luck and skill balanced to be successful.
This wine suited the game. It was light and easy to drink. There were no heavy flavours that spoiled my concentration. It was entirely pleasant.
My round robin results were 2 wins one loss… and then the strength of the wines presence in my body lead me to victory.

Walking on Water

23 Feb

Walking on ice is like walking on water … technically speaking.
There are specks on the horizon, far off in the distance … these are ice fishing huts. We decided to walk to them. It was a desolate walk. To get back, we got rides on snowmobiles.

Weekly Vinyl – Schweizermärsche

21 Feb

Ernst Neukomm (conductor)
This review is late because I was battling a fever. I had chosen this record the day before the fever hit and this album was my soundtrack to the fever.
When one’s head is swollen, the body’s joints so stiff that movement is painful, the energy levels are below zero and dropping fast – the one thing you do not really want to hear in your head is marching music. Swiss or any other.
And yet there I was shivering in bed, with the sounds of raucous marching music beating a constant rhythm against the side of my skull. For a minute, it might have been an hour, I imagined that I was in a Monty Python sketch.
It didn’t help matters that with a few ounces of strength that I could muster I dove into the internet to try to find the release date of this recording. Surly the Swiss would have it all organized. Alas no, a fruitless search.
To drive the marching music out of my feverish head, I turned the album on again – and sank into a blissful unconsciousness.

Weekly Wine – Pebbles

19 Feb

SONY DSCPelee Pebbles Vidal Hibernal
$9.45 (LCBO)
I finally found one. A bottle of sub-ten dollar wine from Canada that is good. I’ve always wondered why Ontario, the province of my residence, just does not produce a good cheap wine. This wine from the southernmost point in Canada, Pelee Island, is quite fruity and not very light. It has a strong yellowish colour and is quite robust now that I think about it. It has presence. It has character. It does not have any harshness when drinking it or any bizarre acidic after taste. It is a nice wine. I even let it get to room temperature and it was still fine to drink. Which leads me to remember a good joke that I heard Mitch Hedberg say – “Every temperature in a room is room temperature.” Some inexpensive wine gets quite deplorable when the chill goes off. This wine gets a bit more fruitier and more robust.




Abandoned but not forgotten

16 Feb


There are always abandoned buildings in urban areas. Just like there are fallow fields in the country. I was walking on Girard in Philadelphia and this group of abandoned buildings did not stand out at first because they were well “camouflaged”.

Weekly Vinyl – Babylon

15 Feb

Babylon by Bus
Bob Marley & The Wailers
I was so happy when I pulled this album from my collection. It had been a few years since I listened to Babylon by Bus and I was really looking forward to putting these two disks on the turntable and listening to the music. I was going to worry about what to write later.
But the horror. The album had somehow warped. It was not warped the last time I had this album out. I franticly tore apart the area where this album was located to see if there was a reason for this album to be warped. Were other albums warped.


Only this album is so affected. What a damn shame. This is an excellent album. I could listen to the inner tracks – and the music is wondrous. I love live albums. This is (was) a fantastic album.
I will now have to search for a replacement which will no doubt be a financial hit.

P.S. Do not think that this is an example of why Vinyl has fallen out of favour versus CD and digital downloads. I have CDs which have stopped playing and skip like the dickens.

Weekly Wine – Beso de Vino

12 Feb

SONY DSCBeso de Vino Old Garnacha
13.5% ABV
$9.95 (LCBO)
A few weeks ago I wrote that I had a new favourite grape – Garnacha. Well here it is again. In a different bottle this time. This bottle has a whimsical label – A bull kissing a glass of wine. It might actually be just a cow but since it is Spanish wine I think it might just be a bull. The wine is great. It has good flavour with no harsh overtones and no unpleasant after taste. I was partaking this while making some pizza and lo and behold, most of the bottle just disappeared before the pizza hit saw the inside of the oven. This is a very nice wine suitable for any occasions where there are no wine snobs. They might find something to quibble about. But for most of the world of wine drinkers this is just a fantastic bottle to be shared.
Or not.




Sacre Coeur

9 Feb


You cannot take a bad photo of Sacre Coeur in Paris. You can’t. At night. Hand held camera. No Effects. No Photoshop. It is a remarkable place… Sacre Coeur and Paris. And you can’t take a bad picture. You really have to try to botch an image up. Click on the image to get a larger size.

Weekly Vinyl – Comes a Time

7 Feb

Comes aTime
Neil Young
When I randomly picked this album, I thought the review would be easy. A cakewalk.
After all, I know this album very well. I’ve had it for many years. The album is a classic. A piece of cake to review.
Well, not really. I had forgotten how good this album is. A mix of countryish tunes. Some rock and roll. Whimsical folk. I was listening for a weak song. Nothing doing. Each song is great. Some are more well known than others, but it is quite telling that out of the 10 songs on this disk, five are classics (this includes the Ian Tyson “Four Strong Winds” cover Neil does.)
This album was one of my guitar teachers in high school. I could play most of the songs on this album on my bannana-necked guitar. I knew a few chords and I could play along with Neil. What’s better than that. I recall ineffectively serenading a objects of my affection with the songs “Look Out For My Love” and “Comes a Time” among others.
Although this album is quite mellow and laid back there are hints of what is to come next in Neil Young’s musical odyssey. You can only hear this if you know that after this album come the sonic assault in the forms of the albums Rust Never Sleeps and Live Rust. You can hear the subtleties of noise yearning to breakout in the background of “Look Out For My Love” and “Motorcycle Mama.”