ODES OF MARCH

On a recent visit to Goldmine Records, respected Melbourne purveyor of albums both new and recycled, in addition to a couple of interesting LPs I scored a little extra something in my carrier bag.

It was a calendar produced by the good folk at Rhino Records to mark—nay, celebrate—their fortieth birthday. It’s great fun for us nerdy train-spotterish types who simply love knowing things like Johnny Winter and Howard Jones sharing a birthday (23rd February) or that Kate Bush’s first tour began at Poole on the south coast of England (a town that made a guest appearance at Vinyl Connection here) on 2nd April 1979.

As I sipped the last of a very pleasant New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc last Sunday evening and toasted Clifford (supplier of the calendar), it occurred to me that the almanac would make an interesting listening guide.

So here we go… the Vinyl Connection guide to March Music, Week 1. Feel free to join in, either by listening to some of the music, responding to the questions, or adding extra almanac points in the comments below.

(Unless noted otherwise, the entires are birthdays)

1 MARCH

Roger Daltry—1944, London

Having always been a tad ambivalent about The Who as an album outfit, I tend to reach for the best of LP rather than an album; they made some ripping singles.

Who’s Better, Who’s Best has a great selection of Who classics but, having been compiled in 1988 with Compact Disc capacity in mind, it sounds a bit thin on vinyl. Like those TV special LPs from times past that push half-an-hour per side.

There is much better sound and even more music on the 1994 boxed set The Who: Thirty Years of Maximum R & B. I’m not sure I’m up for four CDs of Townshend, Daltry, Entwhistle and Moon on day one of this project.

Got a favourite Who moment? Reveal all in a comment.

2 MARCH

Lou Reed—1942, Brooklyn, NY

Lots of choice here, going right back to the first Velvet Underground album from 1967. I’ve always had a soft spot for the rambling, laid back VU concert album 1969. I remember eyeing it off at the record stall that appeared each week outside the Union building at Melbourne University. It was a double LP with quite a racy cover (or so it seemed to me at the time). The gig, however, doesn’t race at all. Rather it meanders through the Velvet’s songbook with relaxed intensity (but without John Cale).

Who’s a Lou fan? Solo or VU?

3 MARCH

Alexander Graham Bell—1847, Edinburgh—Inventor of the gramophone.

It seems so hard to find the time to sit still and really listen to music these days. So in honour of Mr Bell I’m choosing an album of exceptional sound quality and committing myself to mindfully place it on the Rega for some dedicated listening.

What’s the best sounding record in your collection?

4 MARCH

1975: As part of their Live Dates Tour, Wishbone Ash played Festival Hall, Melbourne.

Great excuse to spin this fine live recording of the twin-guitar progressively tinged rockers. The fist side, with a trilogy of fantasy-themed songs from Argus, is just brilliant.

Love this album, and all the early Wishbone Ash releases. Sadly, I wasn’t at the concert. Equally sadly, it was announced not long ago that Festival Hall, scene of everything from boxing and wrestling bouts to Vinyl Connection’s first ever rock gig (Lou Reed, August 1974, since you ask) is being knocked down to build apartments. Bit sad, really.

Who (and when and where) was your first gig?

5 MARCH

Patsy Cline died in a plane crash in 1963.

John Belushi died from a drug overdose in 1982 (he was thirty-three)

I’m going to play the Blues Brothers soundtrack because it is wonderfully upbeat and always makes me smile. And who could resist Artetha Franklin reprising “Think” or James Brown demanding “Have you seen the light!”

Clearly I’m on a mission from the gods*.

6 MARCH

David Gilmour—1944, Cambridge UK

You know you’re potty about a band when you have most of their stuff on vinyl and CD, or when you buy the compilations and live albums as well as the studio recordings. If both apply you are beyond hope (but welcome here).

Time for a mini-Floyd fest, featuring the rather spiffing 4LP 2001 box set, Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd. It’s rather like a Floyd jukebox.

Fun/Sad factoid: Pink Floyd released 15 studio albums between 1967 and 2014. The Vinyl Connection catalogue has 49 Pink Floyd entries.

7 MARCH

Arthur Lee—1945, USA (Love) (d: Aug 3 2006)

Matthew Fisher—1943, UK (Procol Harum organist)

Peter Wolf—1946, NY (J Geils Band)

Think I’ll spin the third Love album, Forever Changes, one that should have been included in the 1967 series but wasn’t.

They are highly rated by rock writers, but do you love to Love? (And does your baby just love to dance?)

8 MARCH

A fertile date for birthdays:

Micky Dolenz—1945, LA (Monkees)

Mike Allsup—California (Three Dog Night)

Randy Meisner—1946, Nebraska (Eagles, Poco)

Dick Hyman—1927, NYC (organist, early synth pioneer, soundtrack composer)

Gary Numan—1958, London (born Gary Webb)

Gabor Szabo—1936, Budapest, Hungary (jazz guitarist)

Gaz Coombes—1976, Oxford (Supergrass)

And a death:

Ron ‘Pigpen’ McKernan—1973 (Grateful Dead)

That’s some playlist. Hell, there’s a week’s worth of listening right there, and lots of albums I’d love to share—Gabo Szabo’s 1967 sitar experiment, Jazz Raga, a bit of Gary Numan or some early synth from Mr Hyman—but what I’ll fling on the turntable is the first solo LP from Mr Supergrass, Gaz Coombes. Here Come The Bombs (2012) is bursting with energy and ideas; lots of effects, distortion and songs that bounce like a kangaroo on speed. But there are smoother moments too; music that could soundtrack a late night drive through the Brecon Beacons or a hot tub cocktail party. Whatever. It’s a strong album worthy of investigation by ‘Grass fans.

* The Gods of Vinyl (who love almanacs)

*

Hope you enjoyed the Odes of March.

44 comments

  1. I like the Velvet Underground fine, but I’ve never really latched on to Lou Reed’s solo stuff. I really like Cale’s stuff though. Is Dick Hyman the dirtiest name in music?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. More anatomical than smutty, really. But outside of the much-loved genre of ‘misogynous metal’, possibly.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I used to be the same way. I had the greatest hits of Lou and it never grabbed me. Then I started reading about the album Berlin. Steve Hunter (of Alice Cooper) and Jack Bruce play on it. It is produced by Bob Ezrin (Produced all those great early Alice Cooper albums and Kiss Destroyer….amongst others)…give it a listen if you haven’t yet. It was a great find for me, and helped me appreciate the other stuff.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I do like his early stuff a bit – Transformer is good, and I’ve enjoyed Berlin the couple of times I’ve listened to it. Just find him a bit dry solo.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh yeah… Dry as hell. Think of him as the Steven Wright of music… Real satire… Sarcastic bastard… Move to the end of Berlin, or better yet, check out his album, New York (1989). I’m not a huge Lou fan (more about Sabbath, Floyd, Jim, Cooper), but being an East coast boy, I love my sarcasm.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Yeah, New York and Magic and Loss are the ones I know best, probably because they were easy to find in CD bargain bins.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Whenever Lou Reed is mentioned, it generates discussion and opinions of the stronger variety. I imagine he’d be pleased.

        The tribute (I guess that’s what you’d call it) I wrote after his death was a post that still gets an occasional read. He was an icon, for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “Velvet Underground Live” is raw and hideously recorded, but the record is far from being as smelly as the stupid cover suggests.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Du hast rechts!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh yes beware the Odes of March, I will play along. Off to the Who.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good stuff Neil. Hop on the Magic Bus!

      Like

  4. Man, why isn’t there a yearly calendar like that?

    Velvet Underground over Lou, but I do listen to Lou more than Velvet Underground (I really like New York most of all). As for best sounding record in my collection… tough one, but perhaps the Gutter Twins, recent The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads reissues or recent Anolog Spark reissue of Blind Melon’s Soup (and a bunch more… but I love how they sound).

    … and don’t we all love to Love?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perhaps I should produce the annual Rock Almanac Calendar, J? Got all the data from when I did radio shows, so it wouldn’t be difficult. But would there be a market, I wonder?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. You bet. There’d be a line around the block!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. You really should give The Who’s Sell Out album a good listen, one of the better sixties albums in my opinion. Lou V VU – VU by a nose. First gig – Yes supported by Gary Wright, 1971 or 72. Best sounding album, God knows…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know Sell Out well and it is in fact my favourite Who album. Thanks for giving it a plug! Yes and the Dream Weaver, eh?

      Like

  6. I’m going to tip my head to the Vinyl Connection for the inclusion of Randy Meisner in this post. One of the unsung heroes of the Eagles in my opinion, a better than average bass player, and certainly no one should doubt his fine effort on “Take it to the Limit.” He’s fallen on some hard times in recent years, so it’s nice to see his name mentioned here. Well done, Bruce. – Marty

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    1. Good on ya Marty. I think I once had a solo album of Mr Meisner – solid West Coast country rock, as I recall.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Damn Mac laptop — I meant tip my HAT!

    Like

  8. I’m looking forward to March 22nd!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry, Geoff, but we don’t do Morrissey here.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Not to worry Bruce, I’ll listen to it twice!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. QoA
    Got a favourite Who moment? – no sorry – they are fine sure but not special to me.
    Who’s a Lou fan? Solo or VU? – I am and both.
    What’s the best sounding record in your collection? That is an awful hard question – so easy to go PF so I won’t – let’s say: My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
    Who (and when and where) was your first gig? 1974 – “K.B.-Hallen”, SLADE
    They are highly rated by rock writers, but do you love to Love? (And does your baby just love to dance?) – Love never got me no.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well done, tamijo, for completing the questions, er, completely!

      Like

  10. I’d wager I’m the only person who’ll post a comment admitting to a soft spot for Mickey Dolenz. My sister (9 years older than I) was a huge Monkees fan and had all of their LPs; a lot of their music was appealing to this 6 year-old’s sensibility! My knowledge of The Who’s catalogue isn’t deep, but one cut I absolutely love is Slip Kid from Who By Numbers: the shuffle beat, the count in, and then Townsend’s guitar riff. Impossible not to play air guitar when I hear it. I must add that I loved the film, Nosferatu…there’s some gorgeous Eastern European scenery, and Klaus Kinski is seriously creepy (in a good way that serves the film)…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. D’you know, I’ve never seen Herzog’s Nosferatu, despite it being a cult favourite when I was at uni. Love Popol Vuh’s music though.

      Good on you for standing up for the Monkees. Some terrific songs in their catalogue. As for Who By Numbers, I don’t know it at all well (other than the mediocre nudge nudge wink wink single). I bought a s/h copy years ago and only realised later that someone had joined the dots. Sacrilege! I felt compelled to dispose of the vandalised item in case anyone saw it and thought I was the perpetrator. Must check if I ever replaced it…

      Like

    2. My reply to the eternal question, Beatles or Stones, is always “Monkees dude, Monkees” . Massively underrated.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You would say that, Kid. And I mean that in the most complimentary way.

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  11. Today I revisited Lou Reeds, New York in honor of all things Lou, damn that was a great album, thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cool. I know New York is a favourite of J. too.

      Like

  12. Cool stuff Bruce.

    I’ll give you my favourite Who moment (and they’re not a band I like very much at all, apart from half a dozen singles). I watched a 1965/6 edition of the BBC pop programme ‘Ready Steady Go’, thinking it would be great and I’d see all these great 60’s acts …. ugh! Bobby Vee was as rocking as it got. UNTIL … the Who doing ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’. It was just like dropping aural napalm, a later generation (not yet my one) would say it was as punk as fuck! I’ve always liked them a bit more ever since.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great story Joe. (And a great song!)

      With you on the singles, though if you ever stumble across a copy of The Who Sell Out, I’d grab it and spend some time with it. A fascinating and rewarding 60s album.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Ambivalent about The Who? That can’t be. You should watch a documentary called ‘The Kids Are Alright.’ That’ll clear up any ambiguities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Kids Are Alright is a fabulous doco. For that matter, the song is terrific too. In fact, many of The Who’s singles are brilliant. But I remain unconvinced by many (most?) of the albums – too patchy, too inconsistent, too overblown in some cases. Great singles though.

      Like

  14. Re The Who, I was lucky enough to see Tommy at the Myer Music Bowl, 31March 1973 with some great Aussie performers. I’d have to google the cast to be certain but it seems everyone of note in the Aussie pop world was in it.
    Re best sounding album, a tough Qn but I do really like the spatial quality and soaring sound of daz nuance, divaria.

    Thanks.

    Like

  15. Cool title! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mr Zum!

      Like

  16. Gabor Szabo? Sitars? The Who? Clearly you’ll be needing to dig the magnificently named Lord Sitar’s stellar cover version of I Can See For Miles. Loved Live 69 but never owned it. Disappointingly it didn’t turn up on my encyclopedic 5 disc box set. Philistines.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have heard that Lord Sitar cover. Twangily fabulous as I recall!

      Like

  17. I guess I should start getting some birthday cards out. CB was a combination between a Mod and a Rocker. “Modker?”. Went to a Who concert and my buddy got into a scrap and got thrown out before the show started. He blamed it on the gallon of gin he drank.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘Blame it on the gin’ could well be a mid-period Who album track, couldn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it could because they lived above a distillery. George Jones was their neighbor and I think he wrote the song already.
        Since you asked the question, CB is a Lou /Cale solo guy. I could comment further on your idea (I like it) but I won’t.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Some things are best discussed over a gallon of gin and tonic.

          Liked by 2 people

  18. Good selection not all my cup of tea, but plenty to listen to with a bottle of wine.

    Like

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