Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pre-Christmas Rant

Well here it is December 7th, and I haven't blogged anything since October. We're only a couple of weeks away from Christmas, in fact today is the first official celebration of the season (our Holiday Luncheon at work). I've planned to sing perhaps the most obscure "Christmas" song I could find...Arlo Guthrie's "The Pause of Mister Clause".
Over the past two months I've seen a couple of great shows, and heard some very interesting music. I'll tell you a little about what's been going on.
After Jimmy Webb at Hugh's Room the first album I heard was the 2-disc set from Keith Richards Wingless Angels. It's an acquired taste for sure, raw pre-reggae chants, but give it a little time and it grows on you.
Reading David Clayton-Thomas's autobiography gave me an urge to hear his new CD, Soul Ballads which is just what it says...DCT singing soul music, and it's not bad at all, the guy still has quite a presence. And the band is big and swingin'. Wish I could say the same for Phil Collins' Goin' Back. The original tracks are vastly better than Phil's take on them.
The new Clapton is a mellow but pleasant look to the past, as Eric settles in to a groove remembering songs he grew up with. David Gilmour's guitar is front and centre all over the electronica of The Orb's Metallic Spheres. Dhani Harrison is the best thing about Fistful of Mercy (his band with Ben Harper and Joseph Arthur)...and it's just because he reminds me so much of his father.
Went to see Steve Earle at Hamilton Place's Studio Theatre, and he did not disappoint (well...truth be told, I was disappointed not to get him to sign his book, but...) he played a broad selection of tunes from his whole career up to and including an unreleased song.
Read a couple good books, Bill Flanagan's Evening's Empire a novel about the management of a 60s rock band through good times and bad. It really captured the
era. Bob Dylan in America by Sean Wilentz was a tad academic for my taste, I shouldn't have been surprised, since Wilentz is a history professor. However there was enough fascinating detail to keep me plugging through it. Keith Richard's Life was probably the book of the season, and I've been listening to the e-book version read by Keith and Johnny Depp. Highly entertaining.
It's been a big season for Dylan with the release of The Witmark Demos, the mono versions of his first batch of albums in an expensive box set, the afore-mentioned Wilentz book and a collection of Dylan essays by Greil Marcus. Ooh, mama, can this really be the end?
Then I went to see Leon Redbone at the Studio Theatre. His shtick grew a tad tiresome, but he sure can play the guitar.
The last show I attended was Lunch at Allen's. Ian Thomas, Murray Maclachlan, Cindy Church and Marc Jordan, blending perfectly on old classics or new songs from their recent release More Lunch at Allen's. Beautiful.
The big news has nothing to do with music, film, literature, or any other such frivolity...My son came home from Afghanistan. Safe and sound. Whew, what a relief.
Then this week he and I both bought iPads...so it's been dueling apps ever since. I'll report further when I have more information.
(Oh, and here's a drawing I did of David Lindley)