Thursday, February 12, 2009

GMVW # 58: "In Search Of"

Gem Music Video of the Week # 58:  In Search Of
Song: Way Down Now by World Party
(Songwriter: Karl Wllinger)
February 12, 2009

It’s a grand thing, discovering quality music from a new band/musician, or one who has been around a while and whose music you’ve always wanted to dive into beyond the surface, but for one reason or other never got around to it.  If it is someone who is already established, the next big step is to pick the right album.  Often, it takes a bit of research, in part because a hit song is not always the best indicator of a strong album.   Most of the time, you need a good tip from someone in the know.

This week, I’m looking for that tip.  Below is a list of musicians I’ve had interest in, but I have not yet seized the moment.  I’m hoping for a compelling argument within the next month for purchasing an album of a musician on the list.  I will consider any feedback and weigh out a choice based on power of persuasion (no need to be verbose).  I will then make a purchase, listen intently, and do a future write up with an attached Gem.  If there are none on the below list whom you can make a case for, I will contemplate another suggestion.  My only criteria are that: 1) I’m not already a fan (if you email me a suggestion, I will let you know); 2) the album is an original studio album (not a greatest hits/compilation); and 3) I can bear the thought of giving it a go.  The best bets though, are albums from the following:

Ø             Tom Waits
Ø             Leon Russell
Ø             Graham Parker
Ø             Billie Holiday
Ø             Hank Williams (Sr.)
Ø             Waylon Jennings
Ø             Link Wray
Ø             The English Beat
Ø             Jolie Holland
Ø             Ray Charles
Ø             Gram Parsons
Ø             Leon Redbone
Ø             Mozart
Ø             The Small  Faces
Ø             Muddy Waters
Ø             Woody Guthrie
Ø             Anyone who released their first album in the last 5 years

While on the subject of being introduced to new music, I want to thank cousin, Tom, who has been tossing me a few bones over the past year, including songs by newer acts like Spoon and The Kaiser Chiefs (it helps that he has a son who plays a mean guitar).  Below this week’s Gem are some of the videos he has sent my way, which go to show that there’s still innovative music brewing out there.

Oh yeah, this week’s Gem….

What got me to think of this week’s theme was a hot-off-the-presses album purchase I made back in 1990 by the then emerging band, World Party.  The lead singer songwriter, Karl Wallinger, broke off from The Waterboys in 1986 to form World Party. The song “Way Down Now” was a favorite of mine off that 2nd World Party album (“Goodbye Jumbo”) and qualifies here as Gem # 58.

Thanks ahead if you have a suggestion.  Here are the prompts for the 3 part response:


- Pete…and Peter (hovering over my shoulder) who says ‘Hi’

Gem Video ‘Way Down Now’

Snow Patrol ‘Take Back the City’

Spoon ‘Don’t You Evah’

Kaiser Chief’s ‘Never Miss A Beat’

Vampire Weekend ‘Oxford Comma’

The Killers ‘Human’

About the Video: Rare made-for-MTV type video

Video Rating: 1 (unless there is a great live version out there)

Feedback: Jeff

holyshit PETE!!! well there are a few on that list I couldn't do without,

gram, WoodyG, and Billie Holiday to begin with.  I played a lot of Billie in that window room next to you at the Marlboro office.  Lately I have been seeding several bittorrents (filesharing) of Ribbon of Highway shows I recorded.  These are shows where several singer-singwriters play Woody songs.  Some include Sarah Lee Guthrie and her husband  Johnnie Irion, most include Jimmy LaFave , also Eliza Gilkyson, Ellis Paul, and others,  All great musicians in their own write.

I can make you a copy of the Gram GP/Grevious Angel compilation, some of the Ribbon of Highway stuff, and a recent Gandalf Murphy recording. I've been hesitant to suggest youtube links for Gandalf, because you really have to see them live, or at least listen to a whole recording, to get the idea.  I have a number of decent Chris Hillman live shows where he invariably does some of the songs he wrote with Gram, and songs they did in the Byrds.

Also: John

I don't know if you like country music, but I respectfully suggest "Hillbilly Deluxe" by Dwight Yokam.  It's almost 20 years old by now, but every song on the album is a good one, he is backed by a talented band of guitarists and percussionists, and he sings with a relaxed, even lazy measure, but still very tight and precise, with that distinctive Nashville sound (although the album was recorded in Los Angeles) long after the Nashville sound had been abandoned by most country artists.  Every song is about a part of America that is gone, probably forever, and you'll no doubt wax nostalgic. 

It’s good driving music on long rides, and you will find yourself singing along. 

If you have seen the movie "Wedding Crashers", he plays the husband in the hilarious opening scene, where he is trying to mediate a divorce settlement with his wife, played by the looking better than ever Rebecca De Mornay.  In a fit of rage, she calls him a "hillbilly", an irony not lost on this old timer.


And: Pat Shea

Hey Pete

I haven't checked my email for a week or so otherwise you would have gotten this message immediately.  I like to think I am partly responsible for you having placed Tom Waits at the top of this list. And if I'm not solely responsible then my job to convince you of your need to listen to this man will be that much easier. I first came across his music when I was watching a movie called Smoke. Oddball movie - just my thing and great soundtrack with one song called Innocent When You Dream. I went out and bought the album, Beautiful Maladies: The Island Years. It starts with one of his best, Hang On St Christopher, through Clap Hands and the Black Rider, more classics, to a spoken word story, Frank's Wild Years and the surreal lyrics of Shore Leave (The captain is a one-armed dwarf, He's throwing dice along the wharf). Closing with I Don't Wanna Grow Up, an upbeat lament on the desire for non-conformism, and Time, one of the best (as I see it) bar closing songs ever.  My nephew had the pleasure of seeing Tom Waits live twice this past summer.  He flew from New Brunswick to Houston solely for this purpose, then drove to St. Louis for the next concert the very next night. He would do it again in a minute given the opportunity.  This is a great album to start with, you will either be hooked for life, (my expectation) or you will think "what is this shit" (what my kids think of him). Try it Pete, he will not disappoint.

And: Steve

Hi Pete;

I've been thinking about your list of albums that you wanted to tackle or if someone could come up with something worth listening to. I've been pretty mainstream over the years on music. You introduced me to The Who and the Stones which really opened my eyes to how music is made and the personalities behind the artists. I remember you, me and Maria sitting in your little room smoking funny things and you telling us Kieth Moon party stories while we listened to Who's Next or Who Are You albums. Good times my friend, good times!

There have been lots of albums to cross my path since then but none compare to staying up all night playing Risk and listening to The Tragically Hip - Fully Completely over and over! The Best Canadian Rock Band Ever! They have over 10 albums out but I still like this one the best for overall quality and sing along ability. It came out is 1992. Ever listen to it? If not - buy it - listen to it twice and you'll be hooked.

Also: There were several other recommendations that should play out in the upcoming Gems.

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