Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Greatest Hits Vols 1 & 2 – Queen [#556 & #557]

Queen_Greatest_Hits-1440px-Queen_-_Greatest_Hits_2It often seems like people tell me that I should like bands more than I do.
I’ve never liked Queen that much. Sure I appreciate the groundbreaking style of Bohemian Rhapsody, I also like their soundtrack to Flash Gordon but as I’ve said previously, I never held much love for Freddie Mercury and his pals.

Whether it was the type of person at my school that liked Queen, the sound or the way Freddie Mercury and Brian May, like Annie Lennox, made me feel uneasy. I remember being very young and ill in bed with a fever and Queen was on the radio as I was  having hallucinations featuring Benny from Crossroads, the Yorkshire Ripper, big brown leather cushions and a needle and thread. I guess that swung it.

So I’ve never bought any of their albums, obtaining these two via the generous internet download free for all of the mid noughties. Even so, like with Abba, Guns N Roses and similar artists of the time, their music features on my life soundtrack, so it’s hard to rule them out entirely hence their Greatest Hits being in my collection. Maybe if it wasn’t for Benny from Crossroads, Paul Midgeley’s dad and his Ford Sierra and Nick Gosney’s overly freckly round face, I might have given them a bit more air time.

 

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Friends of Mr Cairo – Jon & Vangelis [#498]

TheFriendsOfMrCairo2FrontBThis was another of the first CDs I bought for my first CD player and I played it over and over and over.

Chris Rose, a boy at my school, was also a fan of the album and we would spend free periods in sixth form discussing the album, the film Maltese Falcon and Dashiell Hammett. We fostered a good friendship through the two years we were in sixth form together solely based on him seeing the albums title written on one of my cassettes while I was reading the book Maltese Falcon listening to the album on my Walkman.

The song from which the album takes its title, Friends of Mr Cairo, is a tribute and nod to the film noir genre made famous by the likes of actors such as Humphrey Bogart, Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre, Mr Cairo being a character played by Peter Lorre in the film Maltese Falcon.

This is Jon and Vangelis’ “difficult” but popular second album.

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Excalibur OST – Trevor Jones [#440]

500px-Eurovision_Song_Contest_2007_logo.svgHi there! Steelrattus again, on day 2 of his 10 day guest stint.

Today’s album is the soundtrack to Excalibur by Trevor Jones. This is the first of the two albums in this 10 day stint that I actually know something about, albeit I’ve never owned it. I first saw Excalibur when it was recommended to me by the lovely UniversityRichard™ – I’ve mentioned UniversityRichard™ previously, as he introduced me to a shit ton of music and film-ery back at… well, university. Excalibur is an odd old thing, filmwise. Whereas most Arthurian films (he says, trying to think of an example… A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court?) paint the legend as rather glamorous and freshly polished, Excalibur has this gritty feel to it. It feels about as real as make believe a legend can be. Aside from having relatively fab productions values, it is also rich with acting talent, including Nicol Williamson’s fantastic portrayal of Merlin (which UniversityRichard™ does a great impression of).

In terms of technical shtuff, the film was released in 1981. The soundtrack sounds rather familiar, because a lot of it is recycled classical tracks, including pieces from Orff’s Carmina Burana and Wagner’s Ring and Tristan und Isolde operas. I can’t seem to find anything on why they didn’t use an entirely original soundtrack though. There are 18 tracks on the album.

A lot of soundtrack albums have that issue of standing apart from the source, assuming that they have to of course. It’s not so bad in Excalibur’s case, because there are some literal classics on there. Jones’ tracks vary from the more medieval in style (think lutes and reed-y things), to the more traditional classical film soundtrack. Do I like it? Well it’s OK, but I can’t say I’d go out of my way to listen to it, which probably explains why I’ve never bought it.

Here is the Jones’ penned track, Igrayne’s Dance…

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Completion Backward Principle – The Tubes [#299]

The_Completion_Backward_PrincipleSometimes, on reflection and looking at things in their chronological placement, you realise that an album you like is actually more evolutionary for the band than you first thought. Completion Backward Principle is The Tubes’ sixth studio album. Again, another concept album, but this is was never evident to me until recently.

It’s evolutionary for the band because it sees them signed to Capitol records following their previous recording label, A&M, dropping them like a hot coal. It is also perhaps the pivotal album in their career as Outside Inside really starts to reflect the band’s decline which culminates in Love Bomb (1989).

My older brother recorded this onto a cassette for me. Home taping killed music. That’s why nobody has heard any new music since 1986.

 

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