Monday, April 16th, 2007
So here are some of the albums that I have been listening to and am meaning to write about:
- Olé! Tarantula (2006) -- this is the record that re-alerted me to the existence of Robyn Hitchcock. Bought a copy at the Knitting Factory show.
- Spooked (2004) -- I learned about this record when I was watching the documentary, the night before the show; and bought it at the show.
- Perspex Island (1991)
- Moss Elixir and Mossy Liquor (both 1996) -- when I was listening to this show I heard Deni Bonet playing fiddle on some of the songs -- immediately took a look at her web site and found that she is on one of his records; this be it. Also her two solo cd's, Acoustic, OK? and Bigger is Always Better are on my list.
- Robyn Sings (2002) -- a double album of Dylan covers by Hitchcock. And look at the track listing!
- I Often Dream of Trains (1984) -- classic Hitchcock. I bought the cd at the KF show.
Friday, April 20th, 2007
"I gotta split/ -- It's a quaint old fashioned way to leave the room" what a fantastic line that is! This lyric is hilarious. Like it fits together but the logic is a little otherworldly. It stands out from the album rock and roll in the middle of a lot of choral and sweetly poetic songs.
Sunday, April 22nd, 2007
The more I listen to this record, the more it is growing on me. I ordered it after I heard Deni Bonet playing with Robyn at the January 9, 2004 show -- looked in his catalog and this was the record she made an appearance on. Then on first listening I was a little disappointed to hear that the only song you hear a lot of violin on is the first. It took a couple of listenings to get past that to the point of hearing the record's greatness...
The order of the songs and transitions between songs seems less important on this record than it did on Perspex Island. The songs are all beautiful and there is a common thread linking them but less of a sense of overall narrative structure.
Bob and I are going to try learning to play "Alright Yeah" -- found tablature for it at The Asking Tree.
(Hitchcock says "All the songs on this album were there for a purpose, not just to create the right texture." And, here is another interview from when the record came out.)
Tuesday, May 8th, 2007
A bunch of records that I had ordered from various places showed up in the mail yesterday, which I'm happy about. They include Mossy Liquor, an alternate cut of Moss Elixir, which I am meaning to give the same treatment I gave Perpex Island -- it is equally great an album. Also two records by Deni Bonet, who playes violin on Moss Elixir and who toured with Hitchcock for a while in the late 90's. And Volume 4 of the Suzuki method -- I have decided to try re-learning the Seitz concertos therein.
Deni Bonet has put up some videos of herself with other musicians on YouTube. Audio and video quality is a little spotty; but I particularly liked Driving Aloud and Arms of Love, with Robyn Hitchcock, and Phillip Larkin, with Kimberly Rew. And if her web site is up to date, she is broadcasting a "Duets with Deni" show every Sunday at 10 pm, at Manhattan Neighborhood Network (Channel 56).
Sunday, May 20th, 2007
The most laid-back of the songs on Moss Elixir is "Alright Yeah". It is a beautiful way to finish the record -- he's sorry to be going but he's sure we'll meet up again -- the lines "I've gotta split/ It's a quaint old-fashioned way/ to say good-bye.../ good-bye..." reliably crack me up, especially because of the beauty of the chord change at the end there, from Bsus4 to E (chords transcribed here). Here is how Mr. Hitchcock introduces the song in Storefront Hitchcock (he has just finished playing "Freeze", from Queen Elvis):
I'll remove the third cone, and there's Captain Keegan and the tomato.
Totally exterior [not sure this is transcribed correctly], and why not?
Um, this is a really comfortable song. It's, it's, it's a musical equivalent of a sofa or a contour-fitted chair. It's unable to cause you any pain whatsoever. I mean, I mean unless actually hearing the harmonics of this kind of thing is painful, but it's designed not to upset you in the least, it's, it's not even bland. You know, you couldn't say "this is annoyingly comfortable." It's like, I was in a lobby once in Minneapolis, and -- the fact is, there was a whole hotel on top of it as well -- and I was in the lobby, and it was icy outside -- there were people with icepicks just hauling themselves along the surface, like they do when, you know, when they turn the screen horizontal. And they were inching their way along Nicollet Mall, and there was a howling blizzard, and inside it was just, there was this Muzak playing in the lobby, and I had a hangover. And I was carrying a meat cleaver, and I went up to the desk, and I said, um, "Could you turn the Muzak down please", and they said "I'm sorry sir, we can't", and... I took my cleaver out... and I said "Why not?" And they said, "because it's pleasing."
Okay... if you start, then I'll follow you.
After Hitchcock and Keegan play "Alright Yeah" -- the performance is if anything even better than on Moss Elixir -- come the credits, along a split-screen shot of Robyn playing "I Don't Remember Guilford".
You know when you think you're right about things, that can make you very -- bitter. And if the rest of the world hasn't happened to go along with your...way of seeing things... and if the rest of the world includes someone you've been close to, then you feel worse.
I don't understand the song but it is a lovely impressionistic piece.
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