Odds and Ends


Today we catch up with all the junk cluttering our in-box.  First, a couple of reissues: Blondie‘s Parallel Lines 30th anniversary set, and War from U2.  Blondie was one of the first American punk bands to make an impact at New York’s club CBGB, and they were probably the first to top the charts.  When Parallel Lines came out in 1978, Blondie was a slightly different band with a few more musicians but the spotlight remained on lead singer Deborah Harry.  And rightly so – Harry was an ultra-hot ex-model who put a beautiful face and a not-bad voice on these polished not-so-punk tunes.  “Heart Of Glass,” with its thumping disco beat, hit No. 1 on the charts.  And rockers “Hanging On The Telephone” and “One Way Or Another” were worthy follow-ups.  Anyhow, the 30th anniversary reissue of Parallel Lines includes extra oddities like a French-language version of “Sunday Girl” and remixes of some of the other songs on the album.  Oddly, they didn’t include the original (non-disco) version of “Heart Of Glass,” which appeared on previous CD reissues of the album.  Toss in a DVD of videos and you have a so-so package.  Unless you don’t already own the album that kicked off American New Wave, you can pass this one up.

MP3: “One Way Or Another” by Blondie

Likewise on the remaster/reissue of U2s 1983 breakout album War:  Classics like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day” sound breathtaking on the reissue but the extras leave a lot to be desired.  The bonus disc is filled with dance remixes of “New Year’s Day” and “Two Hearts Beat As One,” and after listening to the fourth version of either song it gets a bit tedious.  The bonus CD is redeemed, however, with live versions of “Fire,” “Endless Deep” and other songs the band was performing about that time.  War is also an important album, because it paved the way for U2’s platinum triumph Joshua Tree a few years later and because it’s a great rock album.   Again, get it for the original music because the extras are lame.

MP3: “New Year’s Day” (Ferry Corsten remix) by U2

I first encountered Michael Franti and Spearhead a few years ago while on a family vacation in New York state.  Driving through the hilly countryside toward Manhattan, we tuned in to WDST, a fine rock station out of Woodstock, N.Y., and they spun the great “Yell Fire!” repeatedly.  Spearhead’s got a new one coming out, All Rebel Rockers, and although the group keeps some of its political rhetoric on this album they also crank out the reggae riddims.  Produced by the reggae masters Sly (Dunbar) & Robbie (Shakespeare), the album features love songs like “Say Hey (I Love You)” and dance grooves like “A Little Bit of Riddim.”  Franti’s social consciousness comes to the fore on “Hey World” and “The Future” and the whole thing winds up with a gentle version of John Hiatt’s “Have A Little Faith.”  Very nice.

MP3: “A Little Bit Of Riddim” by Michael Franti and Spearhead

George and I are looking forward to Labor Day, when we’ll both be in Austin for various reasons – and will sneak away to catch some live music.  The BoDeans will anchor Batfest 2008 along with Edgar Winter and Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush (!), and it’s possible we’ll drag ourselves over to the Continental Club for Heybale! or the Saxon Pub for Bobby Whitlock and CoCo Carmel.   Speaking of all things Austin, happy birthday to Antone’s Record Shop (associated with the world-famous blues club) which celebrates 21 years in business this month.  In-stores are planned, and there’s a sale on everything in the store!

MP3: “Heybalin'” by Heybale!

MP3: “Strange Universe” by Mahogany Rush

Hey, did anyone catch Foreigner on Saturday morning TV a couple weeks ago?  Their new lineup appeared on the “CBS Early Show” to plug their umpteenth greatest-hits collection.  Guitarist Mick Jones is the only original in the band, which now features new lead singer Kelly Hansen (a Steven Tyler lookalike) and drummer Jason Bonham (Led Zeppelin).  They really miss former lead singer Lou Gramm but they seem to be able to rock the old stuff and new songs like “Too Late.”

MP3: “Too Late” by Foreigner

Finally, have a good thought for me this weekend as I take John the Teenaged Metalhead to the big Masters of Metal concert featuring Judas Priest, Heaven and Hell (Dio’s Black Sabbath) and Mötorhead.  God help me.

MP3: “The Devil Cried” by Black Sabbath (or Heaven and Hell, whatever)

3 Responses to “Odds and Ends”

  1. you’re a good dad! Mine just yelled to “turn off that GD noise”

  2. 30daysout Says:

    I must admit, after an hour or so at these metal concerts it feels like there is a metal bucket on my head and someone is beating it with a baseball bat. Definitely getting older!

  3. There are no prayers that can save you from The Metal Gods. You will be blown away. If you have never felt the vocal powers of Halford and/or Dio…be ready to be amazed. These guys are pushing 60 and can still hit every note (thats 4 1/2 octaves for Halford.)
    I will be at the Phoenix show next Thursday, the 28th – and hopefully cameras will be allowed – I will be posting photos to flickr, which will be available via my blog here.
    As Jack Black of Tenacious D sings…”You can not kill the metal…”

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