Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

House of Love – House of Love [#593]

The_House_of_Love_(1988).jpgLike most teenagers, I was fortunate enough to be Bez to my old school friend, Mike’s band Jean Pierre O Malley & the Gieger-Muller Tubes. I attended most practice sessions (mostly on the promise of a few pints of beer afterwards) and I accepted that they would do cover versions of songs I didn’t really know.

We did a set of two songs, the Stones’ Paint it Black and the more obscure Christine by the House of Love. We had a slight standing ovation (three people, mostly groupies) and a huge round of applause from all those present. The band then split un-acrimoniously but the strains of Christine resonated around my head for several years after.

Then, one evening, during the Great Internet Download Free-for-All of the mid-noughties I saw that the album House of Love was available for me to download. I immediately put Christine on and relived that night of proto-fame at the Bishop Eton Parish Centre Youth Talent Show 1992.

I have to say though, we were better.

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Heart Shaped World – Chris Isaak [#573]

Heart_shaped_worldTrouble all around, says Chris in this his third album.

This was the second Chris Isaak album I added to my collection and was the first that hadn’t been copied from a friend’s CD onto cassette (Thanks, Mike!) and the first I bought having seen Mr Isaak play at my first gig at the Royal Court in Liverpool.

As a single teenager the angst-ridden lyrics meant something to me. Well they seemed to. As with all Chris Isaak, they are songs about either a woman done me bad, oh noes my drinking buddy has died or  hey mrs robinson milf I’m a young and virile chap let’s do the jiggy.  Though admittedly, they are mostly about cheating on lovers and are a little whiney.

Isaak’s breakthrough album in Europe, with two albums already under his belt; Chris Isaak and Silvertone, the success of Heart Shaped World and his singles, Blue Hotel and Wicked Game meant that releasing his best of compilation, also called Wicked Game, as the next album was a clever marketing trick. Indeed, as Isaak himself, and his music, started to appear more regularly in films and on TV it wasn’t long before  his fan base started to grow in the UK and people stopped asking me “Who?” when I said that I liked Chris Isaak.

Sadly people I spoke to still daubed him with the Country & Western brush instead of the American Rock genre I liked to classify his music as. Indeed, as there was a bit of a wait until his next album San Fransisco Days to show how diverse his music skills were.

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Green – REM [#560]

R.E.M._-_GreenAfter the incessant hounding of “should liking” U2 ended (I liked original Waterboys instead, never saw the appeal of U2 to be honest) the incessant hounding of “should liking” REM began.

People kept saying “OMG! REM are teh bezt” insisting that Michael Stipe and his chums were something new and exciting. Except, much like what happened with INXS, I hated them. Every song I heard was happy pop bollocks and reminded me too much of god bothering They Might Be Giants. Then James H Reeve played “Orange Crush” on his show late one night and explained the reasoning.

People would say “OMG! REM are teh bezt”. I would say “Well, I liked Orange Crush but nothing else”. People would say “I don’t understand that album” or “I didn’t like the early stuff” and so my theory that to some misguided people, bands are only as good as their popularity and notoriety was proven.

REM are still shite though.

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Globe of Frogs – Robyn Hitchcock [#527]

HitcockFrogsHaving mentioned in passing that I happen to find the Robyn Hitchcock song Brenda’s Iron Sledge amusing, the person I mentioned it to foisted upon me a whole bunch of CDs of his work and told me that I “should” like them.

I should like Robyn Hitchcock. The whole “crazy” Brit thing is there and there are many similarities to and elements of Viv Stanshall, the Bonzos, HMHB, Gong and Barratt era Floyd but, I don’t know. It’s like some sort of crap tribute to all those people.

Maybe I just need to give it more of a chance.

 

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Fisherman’s Blues – The Waterboys [#477]

Fisherman's_Blues_Waterboys_Album_CoverMike Scott and his motley bunch of musicians and their fourth studio album.

I remember having a discussion with neighbour Ian Vickery outside his house back in 1988. We discussed the music of the day in depth and we connected for the first time in nearly 10 years as we realised that on our personal music journeys, although our tastes differed, we both were at a time where our tastes crossed.

I remarked about U2, a band I knew he liked that I found distasteful due to their political leanings and how their music brought out a new tone of Irish music far removed from traditional Irish folk. He countered that other bands from Ireland showed promise and were similar in their political message and vitriol, and asked if I was aware of the band The Waterboys. I was aware of The Waterboys because of their song The Whole of the Moon from their album This is the Sea.  Later that evening Ian posted a cassette of This is the Sea through my letter box and so began my foray into the musical world of The Waterboys. The next week, armed with pocket money, I nipped out to HMV in Church Street and came back with the Waterboy’s latest album.

Far removed from the politically motivated This is The Sea, the album Fisherman’s Blues stylistically is so different that it’s difficult to see the join. Fisherman’s Blues is nearly all traditional Irish Folk in sound, the harsh “English bastards” undertones hidden amongst a heap of green grass, leafy glades and wistful fancies about long lost loves. I liked the album at the time but, as later albums revealed to me, the original sound of the Waterboys, that which Ian had hoped for me to appreciate, was soon lost. As, more than likely, the slightly religious undertones of the band’s music were lost on him.

Indeed, it was only until recently that I discovered that Fisherman’s Blues was in fact the band’s fourth album and not their second, the earlier Waterboys music much more slanted at those that do Ireland wrong through oppression and political tomfoolery and slightly less veiled in their religious undertones like their later albums.

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Even Worse – Weird Al Yankovic [#438]

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 06.56.24There was a time when I really wanted this album. I had heard Yankovic’s Fat on a yoof music programme on the telly in the eighties and was amused enough to look out for the album on my regular trips to HMV in Church Street.

I saw it once in the racks but didn’t get it because, like 90% of the music I was interested in, it was on “imported” only so cost a lot more than non-imported albums.

I’m glad I didn’t buy it though. Fat is the only track that’s not too irritating and it is clear that Even Worse was released at a time in Yankovic’s career when his humour started to struggle. Fortunately he claws his talent back in later albums but Even Worse and its predecessor, Polka Party, really are fan only albums.

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Classic rock: 1985 – 1989 – Various Artists [#277]

Classic rock: 1985 – 1989 – Various Artists

Oh dear. It seems yesterday’s album featured some memorable songs. Today’s contains a similar selection of non-hits by bands you’ve heard of occasionally. Again, during the period 1985-1989 there were some really good songs and yet, once again, the compiler has managed to forage completely dull, non-entity tracks from their record collection. It kind of makes me think that the compiler worked in an all night garage.

With Talk Radio on.

CD1

01. Georgia Satellites – Open All Night
02. Gregg Allman – I’m No Angel
03. David Lee Roth – Tobacco Road
04. Jethro Tull – Farm On The Freeway
05. Robert Cray – Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark
06. Status Quo – Burning Bridges
07. Bad Company – No Smoke Without Fire
08. Little Feat – Hate To Lose Your Lovin’
09. George Thorogood – You Talk Too Much
10. Doobie Brothers – Need A Little Taste Of Love
11. Hooters – Johnny B.
12. Steve Winwood – Split Decision
13. Fabulous Thunderbirds – Wrap It Up
14. ZZ Top – Sleeping Bag
15. Great White – Rock Me

CD2

01. Poison – Nothing But A Good Time
02. Billy Idol – Don’t Need A Gun
03. Pat Benatar – Sex As A Weapon
04. Foreigner – Say You Will
05. White Lion – When The Children Cry
06. Marillion – Incommunicado
07. Electric Light Orchestra – Calling America
08. The Stranglers – Always The Sun
09. Big Country – The Teacher
10. Europe – Superstitious
11. Pretenders – My Baby12. Lou Gramm – Just Between You And Me
13. Huey Lewis & The News – Hip To Be Square
14. Deacon Blue – Fergus Sings The Blues
15. Cinderella – Don’t Know What You’ve Got (’til It’s Gone)

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