Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas shopping...

Picked up the new 3-DVD set The McCartney Years, which features all Macca's videos for 30 years of singles, plus some live material drawn from out-of-print videos. For the Macca-fan it's a goldmine. For anyone who doesn't care about the ex-Beatle it's a waste of money and time. So you have to decide which camp you fall into and then decide if the $30 price tag is worth it. I like having this material, but music videos wear out quickly. And Sir Paul has a look about him that is increasingly growing tiresome. He's too old to have that gormless smirk on his face, and his eyebrows (which form the front cover design) are taking on a life of their own. He's just so precious...there, I've said it. That said...he remains one of the world's greatest melody writers!
Better viewing appears on Eric Clapton's 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival. Two discs boasting some amazing guitar pyrotechnics. Doyle Bramhall, John Mayer (great guitar, vocal mannerisms annoying), Vince Gill, Robbie Robertson (sizzling on "Who Do You Love"), Albert Lee (can anybody play that fast...and accurately?), Sheryl Crow, Bill Murray (playing "Gloria"!) and more. Not a dull minute. And at a dandy price!
We're just mourning the passing of another national record store. Remember when they were called that? Music World is closing its doors, following Sam the Record Man into the history books. Where am I going to shop when I get to Toronto now? HMV I guess!

Monday, November 19, 2007


Here it is in the 2nd half of November. The Grey Cup is only a week away. Winnipeg & Saskatchewan? Hmmm. We've seen the first of the snow, but certainly not the last of it! Took a trip up to St.Jacob's on the weekend, bought another hand-made broom (you can't beat 'em!). Went to see the Steve Strongman Band a week or so ago. Excellent show. Sure he looks like the guy from ScoobyDoo but man he makes that guitar smoke!
New music from Ray Davies! They were giving the new CD (Working Man's Cafe) away with the newspaper over 'ome, and a friend sent me one. Good stuff. I remember seeing the Kinks one night at Maple Leaf Gardens Concert Bowl. We had seats up in the greys! So everything was way small! Except the volume! Rockin'!
Then last week the Beatles' second movie HELP! was issued on DVD. The sales clerk at Future Shop said, "What's that?" I said, "It's the Beatles' 2nd movie." "Oh, I didn't know the Beatles made movies." Well...I took it home and watched the documentaries, because I knew what would happen if I watched the feature! And sure enough...after about a hlaf hour I dozed off, woke up in time to catch the exciting conclusion,'s no A Hard Day's Night that's for sure.
James Taylor released a CD/DVD package on Starbuck's Hear-Music label (like Joni Mitchell and Paul McCartney). It's called One Man Band and features stripped down versions of his classic tunes. The movie is watchable, kind of fun, with James's folksy ways, and his odd sense of humour. As always...great playing.
I bought a copy of Bernie Leadon's most recent album. Mirror comes in two editions, regular, and limited. I bought the limited, signed edition. Bernie was an Eagle way back when, but here he sounds almost Nick Lowe-ish. Good guitar playing, some intriguing songs and vocals from Emmylou Harris. Ken Whiteley's One World Dance is a dandy collection of blues and folk. Led Zeppelin's 2 disc best of is called Mothership, and is all the Zep anybody really needs. The Bob Dylan film footage from three Newport Folk Festivals has been edited together to make a fascinating study of the early Bob from shy folksinger to radical rocker. Don't miss the Other Side of the Mirror.
I just re-read the first Rebus novel by Ian Rankin. Knots & Crosses has been re-issued in an anniversary edition, and it's a cracking good tale, but long time Rebus fans will notice how much our lad has changed from then to now. Well, haven't we all!

Thursday, November 1, 2007


The Eagles. It's called Long Road Out of Eden, and comes in a cardboard sleeve, not unlike a double vinyl package. Two CDs and a lyric booklet (which is seriously hard to read). Why do people print song lyrics in long square formats with designs as line breaks? Why do they do it? reduces the carbon footprint by using less paper (I guess) but what's the point? Who's going to take the time to read these lyrics? They're not numbered, so you're listening to the album and you think, "Hmmm, what was that line?" then you have to check the CD player for what number the track is, look on the back cover for the title that goes with that number, then look in the booklet for the correct lyric. You can't just say, "it's the 2nd verse" because the lyrics are printed in this full page block! So...what's the point? And...obviously, Henley and Frey want us to read the lyrics because they've made so many political comments.
Why is this CD only available at WalMart? You know, when WalMart came to Canada, they used a lot of leverage to stop other department stores from being built in the neighborhood, they paid their employees low wages, etc. You've heard it all before.
Ah well...back to the album. The photos are all from out of Eden...deserts, dunes, clear cut logs, and the four Eagles. The songs? Well, they sound just like the Eagles. It's been 28 years or so since the last time they put out an album...but all the solo stuff and changes in the music world over those three decades have had no impact on the Eagles at all. In fact, it sounds like a Greatest Hits album...with songs you don't quite remember. So...I guess the point is...if you liked 'em'll like 'em now. And $10.88 for a double CD is pretty good...even if you have to go to WalMart to buy it!