Tag Archives: Album review

Weekly Vinyl – Banjos

28 Jul

The Thoroughly Modern Hits of Today
The Banjo Barons
(year)

I feel thoroughly ripped off.
I was expecting banjos.
I was expecting to hear duelling banjos playing the “Modern Hits of Today.”
I realise that the term “today” is relative. As is the term “hits.”
What this album is, is just your standard cheesy orchestration of a few known tunes with a bit of banjo thrown in as garnish.
What thorough disappointment.
What a thorough let down.
What thorough shite.
At least the cover is cool.

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Weekly Vinyl – Marimba-mania

21 Jul

Baja Marimba Band
Baja Marimba Band
(year)

This is a tacky album. I think this is one of those that I picked up in Switzerland many years ago. It is an Austrian pressing.
There is really nothing to this music except fake Mexican pastiche. It is rather szmaltzy and overblown. IT is cheap and uninteresting.
The only thing that makes me want to listen to side two is the hear the song The Portuguese Washerwoman. I want to hear this because I am drinking a rather bad cheap bottle of Portuguese wine at the moment and want to see if the song will make the wine palatable or the wine will make the music sound better.
Nope.
Bad Song. Bad Wine.
Time to move on.

Weekly Vinyl – Manfred

14 Jul

Chance
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
(1980)

The liner notes at the rear of the alum say a lot about the music that is on the vinyl disk.
It lists the producer, Manfred Mann, first. Then the rest of the engineering crew. Then the locations it was recorded, London England and Portugal, and then the musicians involved.
I have no problems giving due credit to the engineering people who work on recorded music. Their work is frequently overlooked.
In this case the producer and musician is one and the same – Manfred Mann. He wrote some of the songs – One is by Bruce Springsteen incidentally.
But like the liner notes emphasise the production crew before getting to the musician’s, the music contained here is heavily over produced and very much lacking in passion. There are pop hooks all over and each song is trying to be a hit, but they all fall flat because they are overproduced.

Weekly Vinyl – Yes Songs

7 Jul

Yessongs
Yes
(1973)

This is a great live album of Yes performing at the height of its mastery.
How do I know this was the pinnacle of YES as a band? Their drummer Bill Bruford said so – he left Yes at this point because he felt that the band achieved all it could artistically and went on to join King Crimson. Bruford appears on three tracks of this album and if you listen well you can hear his distinct drumming. Yes had a few interesting compositions after this album but in reality, looking back, this was their peak.

What I love about this album is that it is rather unpolished – it is a good depiction of what they most likely sounded like live. Some of the mixes are muddled. There are a few instances where you can hear that the band is not 100 per-cent together – this should be expected as they are playing with a new drummer. I love this as it is raw and real. Prog rock is supposed to be refined symphony-like perfection. This album shows that it is still rock.

Weekly Vinyl – Bavarian Yodelling

30 Jun

Bavarian Yodeling Songs and Polkas
Artist: Bavarian Yodellers?
(1975)

This is a rather new addition to my collection. I found it at the Salvation Army store and had to buy it.
The groans and eye rolls that I received at home when I showed my newest purchased were quite expected. When I cranked it on the turntable … well it cleared the room.
This is such a fun album.
It is jaunty.

It has accordion.
It has yodelling.

The yodelling is very much in keeping with the yodelling song from The Sound of Music. Some of the songs are slower in tempo. They are love songs I assume and some feature yodelling duets.
True love I gather.
The liner notes are about live in Bavaria and gives no clue as to who is on the album, what the songs are about, nor who performs them.
These are but a few questions this album raises. The main one is why did they misspell Yodelling with one l?

Weekly Vinyl – Barry White

23 Jun

The Best of Barry White
Barry White
(1977)

Wow!!!
K-Tel presents the best of Barry White.
You get all the hits.
20.
Count them … Twenty of Barry’s greatest hits. You can listen to them in the privacy of your recreation room with friends and loved ones.
What could be better?
Perhaps only an album titled the Very Best of Barry White.
But I don’t have that one. I just have this one.
I’ll settle for these 20 and slow groove to the funky beat, the heavy orchestration, and the golden bass-baritone voice that just drips with passion and love.
This is the 70s in a nutshell.
And it is a K-Tel record. I think this is my only one. K-Tel was a company that did hard sell commercials touting compilation albums. I have no idea what they are up to now.
But this album is so 1970s it hurts. Barry White was brilliant. 40 years ago I probably dismissed him as I was into prog-rock, punk and all that. But now I can listen to this syrypy smooth music and groove.

Weekly Vinyl – Singing Nun

16 Jun

The Singing Nun
Soeur Sourire
(1963)

When I think of singing nuns I think of Julie Andrews from The Sound of Music and that insipid song Dominique (-anique -anique). That’s the song that leads off the album.
The rest of the album is rather quiet and staid. Gentle French fol tunes waft from the speakers and through the air. It is quite a nice album after all.
The production of this album’s packaging is fantastic. It has a brilliantly illustrated 12 page book that tells the story of Soeur Sourire as she goes from Brussels to a convent with her guitar called Adele.
Where to start with these titbits.
I always thought that song Dominique-anique-anique was a French song. It’s Belgian. Like French Fries and TinTin. Who knew?
And her guitar called Adele … does Adele know that?
I searched the story of Soeur Sourire and it is actually quite a tragic tale. But that is for a different time.
This album is nice. It is in great shape and I’m glad I have it in my collection.