Tag Archives: youtube

112. Buffalo Tom – “Let Me Come Over”

This was the first BT album I bought. Listening to it in the context of it’s predecessors highlights what a huge leap it was for the band.

buffalo-tom-album-cover-let-me-come-overFrom the opening track it is obvious we are listening to a new and exciting Buffalo Tom. Staples is confident and measured, and substantially better than anything they’d recorded before. The drums are more powerful. The guitars are so swirling and layered that it is stunning they were still a trio.

The band then step it up further with their breakthrough single, the magnificent Taillights Fade. In case, you’ve somehow never heard the tune, here’s the vid:

The song’s a winner, and captures the sound of the album very well.

There is more killer on here. Velvet Roof ranks alongside the two aforementioned tunes as their best work. Porchlight mines a similar rich vein. Appropriately, so does Mineral.

What made the difference? The production is more sympathetic to the slower tempoed tunes. The vocals are less strained and more emotive. The lead guitar work is often more lyrical.

The album isn’t perfect. There is a slight sameness to several tracks. But it still stands out as an all-time fave for me.

File under: An invitation that is hard to resist

109. Buena Vista Social Club – “Buena Vista Social Club”.

I, like so many people fell in love with this bunch of haggard old Cubans through the stunning Wim Wenders doco of the same name.

buena-vista-social-club-album-coverThe film was a beautiful insight into the joy of music and the staying power of some ancient troubadours.

This album has been played to death around my place (as well as in many, many cafés around town). It’s been ages since I’ve seen the film (although I’m sure we own it on DVD). As such, I only vaguely remember what the subtitles to the tunes revealed. I seem to recall one was about being on fire(?).

That’s a bit academic anyway. The main point of the album is that it showcases a music that was pretty unfamiliar to me before the film. It’s a music that is sensuous and warm and heartfelt.

The various voices on here are all honey-smooth. The piano is delicate. The finger-picking flamenco-style guitar is light. The rhythms are subtle but hypnotic.

This is perfect dining music, lounging music and waltzing music.

Even the front cover is cool – Ibrahim Ferrer is a dude of the highest order – as is Ry Cooder for heading to Havana to record this time capsule and revitalise the various Clubbers’ careers.

In case you’ve been living in a cave for the past decade, here’s a clip of what you’ve been missing out on:

File under: Buena Música

104. James Brown – “Star Time Disk Four”

The last disc from the box set gets a spin.

I travelled north a few years (2004) back to see James Brown live at Byron Bay’s Bluesfest (As an aside, my missus was very surprised to see him on the bill. She thought he was dead!). We endured some seriously rib-impinging crowd crush up close to the stage in anticipation (as well as a pretty lame Max Merritt set).

james-brown-startime-box-set-album-coverIt was well worth the wait. At 70 years plus, he was still able to belt out some grunts and wiggle his hips. In the end, of course, much of his appeal lies in the groove laid down by his ever-growing band and choristers. I suspect he could have phoned in the vocals with out much complaint from the crowd.

To some extent that is what is going on with this final disc in the box set. JB is going through the motions on the majority of tracks. He also seems less confident in the material on occassions and more prone to imitation of new contenders.

This is most noticeable on Public Enemy #1, which sounds like an attempt to match Wonder, Hayes and Gaye. There is still some killer (e.g. the two versions of The Payback – the latter with Afrika Bambaataa), but it is clear the best was behind him.

I hate to end on a negative, so instead will leave you with a great dance lesson from Soul Brother Number One:

RIP James.

File under: I don’t know karate, but I do know ka-razy

103. James Brown – “Star Time Disk Three”

Sorry for silence – I was interstate for work (and with James Brown for company).

By CD number three, JB has got almost too funky for his own good.

james-brown-startime-box-set-album-cover2This album is a fiesta of multi-movement pieces. Five out of the 14 tracks clock in at over 5 mins, 4 at over 7 mins. The man has moved beyond normal pop song constraints into a world of musical mastery. This is the foundations on which the lunacy and other worldness of Parliament and Funkadelic (I guess that’s the Bootsy Collins connection).

His band is just outstanding, responding to his commands, understanding his various grunts and signals, and laying down grooves that rise and full and bubble along in such a timeless fashion. The horns are sharp, fast and sexy. Again, this is rich pickings for samplers wanting an infectious hook.

Sorry Andy, I do think Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine is Brown’s true masterpiece, and it sits perfectly here between Funky Drummer and Super Bad (Parts 1 & 2). But let’s have some dialogue here. Which do you all prefer?

Cold Sweat

Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine

In a race I would back Disc 2 as slightly more diverse than this volume, but you won’t find too much to complain about here.

File under: Jump back and kiss yourself

100. Dan Brodie and the Broken Arrows – “Empty Arms, Broken Hearts”

How appropriate that this blog should hit triple figures with a killer release that so confidently swaggers through the rock’n’roll oeuvre.

dan-brodie-borken-arrows-album-cover-empty-arms-broken-heartsThis album sees Dan Brodie delivering on his promise. He hardly takes a wrong step.

The opening track is flawless – slow vocal-heavy intro cataloguing the status of his family members and his own trials with the bottle, a plea to Jesus Try and Save Me, drums kick in, addition of important rider to title “(from myself)”. This CD is the one where Brodie transforms from Ryan Adams clone to the next Steve Earle. It’s all tales of a slightly lawless life on road breaking hearts and facing inevitable reciprocity.

Take a Bullet is even better and should have been a huge hit. He probably didn’t do himself any favours with this video (which muddies up the mix in the name of art – but also captures my typical reaction when hearing it – i.e. singing along):

In searching for that vid I found one of his first album which is better (and in a century-acknowledging indulgence I have added it into yesterday’s review)

This clips a ripper though:

There are several more stand out tracks on this album and I cannot recommend it highly enough. As a sad footnote, I awaited his next release with much hop, attended the CD launch and was mightily disappointed. He went all soft and MOR and he won no custom from me.

File under: Brylcreemed bluesy rock brilliance

99. Dan Brodie and the Broken Arrows – “Big Black Guitar”

I had a big soft spot for the work on Dan Brodie for several years. He was a bit of an outlier on the Melbourne pub scene, strongly wedded to a country-blues ethos.

dan-brodie-and-the-broken-arrows-big-black-guitar-album-coverThis was his first full-length release, and does a reasonable job of capturing his life persona, although the recording leaves a bit of the energy and rawness out.

Brodie could be described as the Aussie Ryan Adams, as he shows enormous passion for the roots of country-rock, and also portrays a life filled with misadventures in love. Brodie lacks some of Adams’ songwriting acumen, but also a whole lot less of the pretension. His tales are very likable and honest.

The title track is a good rollicking life tale (of following in his dad’s musical footsteps). Ride On is the rockingest effort and presages his greater confidence and where’s his strengths really lie – in almost Hank Williams-esque honky tonk.

There are a few too many forgettable tracks on here for this be a real fave, but Brodie certainly showed a lot of promise.

Here’s the standout track in thigh-slapping living colour (yeeeeehaaaaa):

File under: A rising star