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The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Music news, rumors, what you're listening to, how you're listening to it and whether it's all on the up-and-up.

Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby minicat » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:41 am

Kyle, the Erma Soul Sister LP is on Brunswick, FYI.

There's also an one on Epic from ... '62ish?

Agreed on Free. Like Sonny Bono's solo LP, they just sit there ... but are nowhere near as stupid and inadvertently interesting.

Yes, Free, you are worse than Sonny Bono's solo LP.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:43 am

Kyle Motor wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:JOHN FRED & HIS PLAYBOY BAND -- With Glasses...The Very Best Of... has got to be more John Fred than anybody could ever want, right?
Most of his stuff I've heard is pleasant & likable, but not exactly memorable.
I like your succinct summary better than mine.

Kyle Motor wrote:I adore "All Right Now", but they don't seem to have anything else even close.
I adore it too. But yeah, they never came up with anything so memorable before or after it. Oh, and here's that awful Isle of Wight version. And it seems to get worse as it goes along. Could they not hear themselves?
Last edited by Prof. Wagstaff on Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:46 am

minicat wrote:Yes, Free, you are worse than Sonny Bono's solo LP.
Take THAT, Free!
Does that LP have "Laugh At Me"? Because I'd rather listen to that on an endless loop than ever waste time trying to get into Free again.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby minicat » Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:27 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
minicat wrote:Yes, Free, you are worse than Sonny Bono's solo LP.
Take THAT, Free!
Does that LP have "Laugh At Me"? Because I'd rather listen to that on an endless loop than ever waste time trying to get into Free again.


No. That's how stupid his LP is. It does not include the absolute best thing he ever did. That's dumped as a filler track on one of the S&C LPs.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Igor » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:17 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote: (That's right, Bad Company rides the Boring Train to Fucking Dullsville too.)


I will quibble a little there - I think their first album is very good, but the material amazingly got worse every single album. Overplaying on classic rock radio has certinaly cut the appeal of many of the songs, of course. It seems pretty clear to me that their songwriting weaknesses were the biggest issue as time went on.

Prof. Wagstaff wrote: ACE FREHLEY -- His is easily the best from the Kiss solo album fiasco


As I have said here before, if the drunk guy in your band is the best musician, you do not have a very good band. But if I had to deal with Gene Simmons daily, I might take up drinking as well.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Kenneth Burns » Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:21 am

Kyle Motor wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:ACE FREHLEY -- His is easily the best from the Kiss solo album fiasco...

A damn-near perfect album, so long as you don't care about really dumb lyrics, which you shouldn't with 70s hard rock.

That's where the instrumental comes in. FRACTURED MIRROR.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Kyle Motor » Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:01 am

Igor wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote: ACE FREHLEY -- His is easily the best from the Kiss solo album fiasco


As I have said here before, if the drunk guy in your band is the best musician, you do not have a very good band. But if I had to deal with Gene Simmons daily, I might take up drinking as well.

That's not really fair. Gene & Paul wrote the bulk of the material for all the preceding KISS albums, and they both experimented with their solo LPs with varying success (aka not much). Ace probably had songs that got passed over, and he put together a great rock LP. He's no virtuoso, but he is an excellent rock player and his parts are melodic and memorable.

Gene was a damn fine bass player back then as well. The bass on "Detroit Rock City" is fantastic.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Kenneth Burns » Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:06 pm

Kyle Motor wrote:Gene & Paul wrote the bulk of the material for all the preceding KISS albums, and they both experimented with their solo LPs with varying success (aka not much). Ace probably had songs that got passed over, and he put together a great rock LP. He's no virtuoso, but he is an excellent rock player and his parts are melodic and memorable.

Yes. I've never thought it about this way. Maybe the Frehley album is good for the same reason (two-thirds of) George Harrison's "All Things Must Past" is good: productive bandmates and a backlog of songs that got passed over.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby nutria » Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:57 am

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Alrighty... a friend specifically told me how much he was looking forward to my Aretha write-up, so I promised to go into a little more detail. So brace yourselves. But if you ain't got the time or the patience, here's the tl;dr version: Aretha Franklin has one of the greatest voices ever committed to wax, and in the late '60s, she recorded some of the greatest music the world has ever known. I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You and Lady Soul should be in every discerning music lover's collection. Her star starts to fade in the early '70s and by the middle of the decade, she's in solidly meh territory. After that, she flounders into the disco age, I lose interest, and my collection ends.


You're the best, Wags. Totally agree with the mid- and late-period tail-off. It's been so long since I heard anything worthwhile from her. When I stop and think about it, I think the last new thing I came across was her playing "old & tired person" in a Snickers commercial. Before that, I dunno, maybe Blues Brothers 2000? Ouch.

But, no matter. The A-material isn't just her A-material, it is all of pop music's A-material.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:54 pm

nutria wrote:[Aretha Franklin's] A-material isn't just her A-material, it is all of pop music's A-material.
Well said.

And now, the last remaining CDs on this shelf. 16 down, 44 to go! (That includes 7 shelves of compilation albums which I probably will do but not the 2 shelves of Christmas music or 2 shelves of classical, which I probably won't.)

LEFTY FRIZZELL -- One of the greatest singing voices country music has ever produced, Lefty Frizzell is unfortunately not particularly well represented on CD. (I sure would love to get my hands on his Bear Family set.) This collection is nothing but greatness but is unfortunately all I really know from Lefty. Luckily, it's some of the greatest honky tonk ever recorded and nearly equal to the best work of Hank Williams. The playing is generally very sparse and simple (the arrangements get more Nashville ornate towards the end of the set) but the pleasures here are innumerable. The fact that some of my favorites aren't even on YouTube (seriously, where the fuck is "Don't Think It Ain't Been Fun (Cuz It Ain't)"?) is a sad commentary on how generally forgotten Lefty seems to be by the general public even if he looms large in the minds of lots of the country greats who followed in his footsteps. Here's a handful of fantastic tracks I did find: "You Want Everything But Me", "Mom And Dad's Waltz", "Run 'Em Off", and my absolute fave, "Just Can't Live That Fast (Any More)". But really, everything here is pretty great.

BLIND BOY FULLER -- This is a solid set of mid-to-late '30s acoustic blues (mostly solo, but with some nice percussion on some of the tracks.) My favorite stuff here is the uptempo ragtime numbers, but the whole set (plus a few stray cuts burned from other comps) is pretty solid.

BOBBY FULLER -- For a guy who died young and is only known outside of genre fans for maybe a couple of records, I sure have a lot of Bobby Fuller. Which is a good thing, because he is fantastic. Picking up where Buddy Holly left off, Fuller came roaring out of Texas with a great band and great taste. The good chunk of his recordings are covers, but they ain't filler -- as often as not, his versions match or beat the originals. The place to start is most definitely Never To Be Forgotten, which compiles all of his mid-'60s recordings for the Mustang label (and even throws in a few tracks by brother Randy Fuller's Four to boot.) This is probably more than enough Bobby Fuller for the casual fan and it includes his only hits, Buddy Holly's "Love's Made A Fool Of You" and the totally classic "I Fought The Law" (at least the hit version -- there are earlier, not-quite-as-good versions available on other sets.) This set proves Bobby could match the sound of many different styles -- he does basic rock and roll, R&B, countrified rock, straight pop, surf rock, etc. -- and if he'd only ever recorded "Let Her Dance", his place in the rock and roll pantheon would be assured (seriously, if you don't know this song and you like '60s rock and roll at all, do yourself a favor and go listen to it now. It's one of my all-time favorite recordings.) And he hits all the songwriting bases too -- there's songs with the name's of girls for titles, songs about Saturday night, songs about young love, songs about cars, and even a Wolfman Jack appearance. Great, great stuff. The set also includes the Celebrity Night At PJ's album, which in addition to poor sound, really ain't that spectacular of a performance, unfortunately. But it does have adorable pictures of Bobby with Ann-Margret and Sally Field on the back cover, so that's something. I've also got Shakedown! The Texas Tapes Revisited which compiles lots of pre-Mustang stuff for a variety of labels plus alternates, outtakes, demos, and plenty of early versions of tracks he'd later re-record to better effect for Mustang. It's not as good as Never To Be Forgotten but once you get hooked on Bobby, you'll probably want more. That said, a better place to get some of that stuff is on El Paso Rock Volume 1 and Volume 2 (there's also a Volume 3, but I don't own it.) There's a lot of duplication between these sets and Shakedown!, but they're better compiled and better listens overall, IMHO. Anyway, everyone enjoy some Bobby Fuller now: "She's My Girl", "Only When I Dream", "Linda Lu", "Saturday Night", "Another Sad And Lonely Night", "You Kiss Me". I could go on and on...

CURTIS FULLER -- I've got two albums from this jazz trombonist -- Imagination and Blues-ette -- both from 1959 (and both purchased because back when I picked'em up, I was a total sucker for the kickass LP facsimile packaging.) Both are very listenable hard bop sessions. As I've said before, I'm no jazz-knowing guy, so I lack both the expertise and vocabulary to go into much detail here, but it's all pretty great to my ears. If anyone knows of other Curtis Fuller I should check out, I would definitely do so.

Next up... Funk, Inc. and then, the mighty Funkadelic!
(Whoops. I just realized I forgot about Lowell Fulson. Sorry 'bout that, Lowell. Funk's gonna have to wait a bit longer...)
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:08 am

Lowell Fulson -- or, depending on the disc, Lowell Fulsom (bizarre, but that spelling is pretty common.) An above-average west coast blues guitarist with a warm, if not especially distinctive, voice. His big break came with "Reconsider Baby" recorded for Checker. He went on to record for them for a number of years, without ever repeating that success. I've got The Complete Chess Masters and it's a pleasant-enough listen, but like a lot of blues, it's all pretty samey. That said, he's distinct from the majority of Chess artists because he mostly recorded on the coast, not Chicago, and he usually employed a triple-sax attack, which adds a lot of fullness to his sound. My faves from this era: "Can She (Do It)", "I Wanna Make Love To You" and the Little Richard/Big Joe Turner-ish rave-up "You Better Rock This Morning". For my money, much better are the recordings he made in the '60s for the Kent label. I've got two of his albums on one CD plus this comp. and it's all pretty delightful. "Make A Little Love" is my absolute favorite, but (as he mentions at the beginning of that track) the hit was "Tramp", more famously performed by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas. My second fave rave: "Two Way Wishing".

Funk, Inc. -- Instrumental funky-soul-jazz from the early '70s when few were really doing such a synthesis. But this is better in concept than execution. I have their first two albums and they're fine and all, but I'd generally rather listen to actual jazz or actual funk. This would make pretty ok background music for a funky dinner party, but I don't think it really rewards your full attention. Not good enough to really recommend, not nearly bad enough to purge.

Funkadelic -- OK, I'm actually only midway through these guys. They are easily one of my all-time favorite bands (and if I had to choose, I'd pick them over the more disco-fied Parliament. But they're the same exact band, just with slightly different missions, recording for different labels, so that distinction often ain't particularly cost-effective.) So here's the thing, I could do a full-on detailed write-up of these fellas like I did for Aretha, or I could just say that every one of their albums is essential in its own way because even the weakest (I'm looking at you Uncle Jam) have a couple or three absolutely killer tracks. When I was first exposed to P.Funk in my early college days back in the '90s, they totally blew my mind. As a white boy from a small Midwestern town, I'd really never heard anything like'em. (The only exposure I'd had at all was George Clinton's "Atomic Dog", which I took to be some kind of a novelty dance song when I saw it on MTV.) But this is 2014, and P. Funk has been sampled more than anyone this side of James Brown (someone else I really only became familiar with in college, past the one or two hits the oldies station played) so I find it hard to believe anyone interested hasn't already explored them on their own. So if anyone wants me to do a full write-up with lots of links to YouTube just ask and I'll do so happily, but it seems sorta unnecessary. They are The Funk, and IMHO, no collection should be without a whole shit ton of it. But if that ain't your thang, well... I guess you'd betta take your dead ass home.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby dave esmond » Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:17 pm

Paul Rodgers - Almost worked with Queen. Almost. So I'd argue he never had a good band behind him. Material not so much.

Aretha - I'll say it. Overrated. In a world where Mavis Staples and Etta James, just to name two, exist I just can't overlook how much of what she's done is meh at best. And the best stuff she's done was far too often someone else's idea. Not bad, just overrated.

Plus...and this is probably why I mostly feel this way....the time I saw her live she put on the absolute worst live performance I've ever seen. Ever.

I'm prepared for the pitchforks and torches.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:35 pm

dave esmond wrote:Paul Rodgers - Almost worked with Queen. Almost. So I'd argue he never had a good band behind him. Material not so much.
Exactly. And ain't it a shame. Such a great pipe.

dave esmond wrote:Aretha - I'll say it. Overrated. In a world where Mavis Staples and Etta James, just to name two, exist I just can't overlook how much of what she's done is meh at best. And the best stuff she's done was far too often someone else's idea. Not bad, just overrated.
Image
I'll deal with you on Saturday.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby minicat » Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:18 pm

Funkawhatsis?

Wags, has there ever been a good comp of the Parliaments, all the singles of the early incarnation?
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:53 pm

minicat wrote:Wags, has there ever been a good comp of the Parliaments, all the singles of the early incarnation?
I have this but I can't say if it's complete or not. The sound is awfully muddy, but I suspect the original 45s are as well.
I will gladly bring it for you when I see you Thursday.

For everyone else: This is most definitely not the place to start with P.Funk. Anyone looking to get with the pre-Funkadelic-existing Parliament before diving into the "proper" releases would be much better off with First Thangs which includes the entirety of their first album, Osmium, plus a few other stray tracks. But honestly, I would recommend newcomers begin with 1971's Maggot Brain, 1974's Let's Take It To The Stage, and/or 1978's One Nation Under A Groove, all by Funkadelic, or 1975's one-two punch of Mothership Connection and Chocolate City, and 1976's The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein by Parliament. Their compilation albums should generally be avoided, as they usually contain truncated versions and since Parliament albums (not so much Funkadelic) are often (vaguely) conceptual, the songs are better heard in the proper context. That said, completists will want to pick up Music For Your Mother which has a handful of cuts unavailable elsewhere (although I think most of that stuff has since shown up as bonus tracks on various reissues, so the desirability of this set might have waned since I acquired my collection in the '90s.) There's also a Parliament 12" collection available on CD, but that's really just for absolute fanatics and/or folks who just don't ever wanna stop shakin' their rumps.
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