Chips From The Chocolate Fireball

 

XTC’s 1985 psychedelic trip down the rabbit hole.

A Scandal in Bohemia

 

In the early days of jazz, the vibes were popularized by giants like Lionel Hampton and Milt Jackson and his Modern Jazz Quartet. When used here by the Jazz Butcher on their 1984 release A Scandal in Bohemia they are both ridiculous and absolutely brilliant. This record is probably my favorite album (you will hear me say that a lot) of the 1980s. It symbolizes and encapsulates all the fear, frustration and insecurity I felt in my 20s. Just like a Southern Mark Smith, I couldn’t relate to anyone, especially myself, trying to get along and compete during that time of extreme materialism and excess.

The music here is bright and uplifting and is set juxtaposed to Pat Fish’s lyrics which have a dark undertow of sarcastic cynicism for the world (particularly the United States) and the time. Songs like Betty Page seem as squeaky clean and wholesome as hot dripping wax as an aphrodisiac.

You have me as far as I can see, roped and trussed just like dear Betty Page.

Real Men from Hell has a queer macho spirt, yet the melody and vibes will have you humming right along.

The Butcher’s Scandal is a long lost hidden gem. It tastes delicious, goes down smooth and easy, and has a bit of a bite.

Caroline Wheeler’s birthday present is made up entirly from the skins of dead Jim Morrisons.

Abraxas

 

No tricks or black magic on this one. Just great keyboards, percussions and of course guitar from Carlos Santana. Just put this one on and listen to the miles roll away.

“Is that you, looking for a good time? Is that you, searching for the sunshine? Is that you? Well I hope your feeling better, Yes I hope your feeling good…”

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The Who By Numbers

 

Last night I laid in the hammock, sipping cocktails in the blue, red and grey, listening to this album. And I couldn’t wait to take it on my run this morning. The Who By Numbers has the perfect balance of soft introspective songs and hard loud rockers, and I enjoyed it equally during these two very different extremes. In full motion, or at full rest.

Throughout my life I have always struggled, still do, with moderation. Too much of anything is not good. Everything in moderation. Finding the balance. It’s a pretty simple, basic principle, but so many people, myself included, find it hard to maintain. Our lives are rittled with peaks and valleys. Up hill climbs and downs. Especially in this day and age where everything is instantaneous, and we all need to move so fast, at the speed of light, just to survive. It’s sometimes hard to moderate. Go to the extreme and you may blow out your knee, or your ankle, or in my case a lung. Go the other direction and you’ll probably just plain Blow Up. Lean to far either way and you’ll tip the hammock and land flat on your face.

Lots of people think this classic rock stuff is pretty parochial. Only about sex, drugs and well, Rock &Roll. And most of the time it is, but there is so much really good philosophical insight in the The Who’s By Numbers. The lyrics are very powerful. You just have to connect the dots. Get it? And you feel good while your doing it too, because the music and the sound is really pleasing and sincere no matter what time of day it is. And I like every minute of the day…

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