Don’t be afraid to give yourself away…

Some records take on a life through memory. Camel’s Rain Dances is one of those records for me. I have a distinct memory of borrowing the album from the library, taking it out of the sleeve and placing it on the turntable.

After that I have nothing, no memory at all.

I just paid $2 for a copy, brought it home took it out of the sleeve and played it and have no memory at all of the music even though it stopped playing about 5 minutes ago. It was pleasant while it played, there was no reaction beyond that is nice. I cannot remember a melody or even any strong reaction to the music positive or negative. It is very curious.

camel

My memory is that I liked the album. The sleeve has been fixed in my mind since that 14 yr old sat in his room staring at the cover and inner sleeve. My memory says this is an important album in my musical journey. My memory was so strong that when I saw a copy for sale I bought it almost immediately. I was expecting to be transported, to be reminded why this record seems to be stuck in my mind and is apparently so important. It has been on my mind recently and I was excited to see it in the rack but I still have no idea why.

I like other Camel albums, I have memories of I Can See Your House From Here, Nude and MoonMadness and I know I don’t want the Snowgoose.

I like prog. It has Mel Collins on it, Eno makes a guest appearance, Andy Latimer plays a tuneful guitar and it has a great cover. Everything is there to make for a great musical journey except it has had no effect whatsoever on me. I will try again but my fear is there is little substance to this memory or album despite the great lineup and the vague impression from years past that it is important to me..

In desperation I turned to the Fleet Foxes and Helplessness Blues to regulate my fevered thoughts and allowed their take on folk-rock to settle over me like a warm blanket on cold day. I have memories of this album, stopping the car at the side of the road the first time my friend played Montezuma to me. Mainly because he kept shaking my arm as I tried to drive on a muddy gravel road in the dark.

foxy

Tryin’ to make it real…

It’s been a week of Prog Rock insanity and the family have gone the beach leaving me alone in the house with the animals and the records and the thoughts in my head.

The dog woke me up at 4:30 a.m. and I couldn’t get back to sleep. So I made coffee and played King Crimson albums form Larks Tongues In Aspic through Red and Fracture from Starless twice. I then mowed the lawn and went to work.

On the way I rocked out to David Bowie and drank more coffee.

I have been hyper ever since and it is almost 100 degrees.

Came home played Richard Thompson’s Daring Adventures, ate dinner and watched Hell on Wheels and realized there was no way I was ready for sleep.

Digging around in the pile of records I found this. I bought it the other week and forgot about it:

flack

About three tracks in I am now soothed by the soulful voice of Miss Flack and some ace arrangements, hopefully the animals keep to themselves in the morning.

 

 

Play Me My Song

Been a few weeks, it’s not like I was busy I just had little or really nothing to say.

There has been much music and a few books, the books are mostly about work, Farrell’s the Myth of Male Power and Gurian’s How Do I Help Him? Both are really useful if you live with a man or boy, or work with one.

With science fiction. I became disappointed by Frederick Pohl’s Gateway, it was an incredible idea but the main character was so unlikable.gateway It was set in a universe were humanity was a disposable commodity, starvation the norm and medical care something to be striven for, far too close to reality at times maybe? It’s a shame as I’ve really enjoyed the other Pohl books I’ve read.

It  has been a struggle to read, I have spent much more time watching TV, Glee, Once Upon A Time, the new season of Grimm and the new Sherlock Holmes show Elementary, although there is no need for the Sherlock connection apart from to attract an audience which I guess it did with me. Most promising worst TV has to be Arrow, it’s so out there and yet cliched that we may become hooked and another season of Being Human.

Thanksgiving has now come and gone, the turkey, well most of it, is eaten and all that is left is the remains. The carcass may be destined for soup but by then we may be tired of turkey all together. It was a good day and as an Englishman living in the USA it is my favorite holiday as there is no pressure to bring a gift for anyone.

Musically it has been a Genesis fest,revisitiedI am not ready to admit that Duke is my favorite but it is the one I know all the words to. This all began with Steve Hackett’s latest Genesis revisited album. Out of curiosity I bought it and the versions on the album were so close but the singing so different I had to revisit the originals. Of course Gabriel’ s  reading of the lyrics will always be the best but Hackett has managed to revisit the songs with enough passion to make the album enjoyable.

Genesis are a band I have obsessed over as much if not more than Fairport Convention and Pink Floyd. They are also the band I have managed to shamefully hide my love of over the years. Let’s face it they are not as acceptable as most of their much more pompous contemporaries. It is still alright to love Yes, enjoy ELP and King Crimson have become beattified. Genesis however largely because of their success in the 80’s have become the prog band everyone loves to ridicule. Even in their 80’s shame they could still knock out Mama or Heathaze, yes they would never sing about giant plants, supper, or mythical beasts but they could still crack the 8 minute barrier when they wanted to and the magic of Genesis was always the melodies. Even if their guitarist invented tapping they were never going to shake their heads although their lead singer might fly and wear a flower or foxes head and a dress.

Genesis were never as flamboyant as a whole, they left that up to the singer.gen gabriel They did however always have a pop sensibility that could be heard in their melodies. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway may be an almost indecipherable prog rock masterpiece but it is filled with 4-5 minute classic songs, the longest being In The Cage. It is a series of short songs tied together by an at best tenuous story, and what other English band would attempt to write the bizarre story of a Puerto Rican punk sucked into the underworld from Times Square. Carpet Crawlers, Fly On A Windshield and the others are all great songs that do not rely on the story to carry them, they succeed almost despite the story.

When Gabriel left the melodies remained and the costumes and theatrics left, Collins filled the void with his charm. For some reason Collins is blamed for the demise of Genesis but they entered their most successful phase with him out front. Yes they got more approachable as a band but they always acknowledged their prog roots, live and even on record. We Can’t Dance had Fading Lights to end the album, it was a brave move for a “pop” band to throw a 10 minute track on an album, Invisible Touch had Domino and the Genesis album had Home By The Sea and 2nd Home By the Sea, all adventurous tracks nestled among the pop songs.

gensis collinsThe Collin’s years also had A Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering, two albums filled with progressive masterpieces such as One For The Vine, Ripples and so many others. Live they were still knocking out White Mountain and Supper’s Ready almost to the end. The true reason for fans distaste is that they actually progressed as a band and allowed their love of pop music to spill out and become part of their sound. Without some of that awful 80’s production the albums would have sounded so much better but that was the time.

Well this post has been a long time coming. It’s kind of fun to put my love of Genesis out there. I watched Prog Rock Brittania the other day on youtube, it’s a fascinating look at the Prog movement and how it is viewed as the porn of music, anyway take a look it;s wirth the hour and a half:

If after all that you want to listen to Genesis here is my considered list:

Nursery Cryme

Foxtrot

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

Wind and Wuthering

Seconds Out

Duke

Of course you could just go an immerse yourself in the music and have fun with all the albums.

I started writing this in November and so much has happened since then, anyway my hope for this New Year is that we pay attention this year to our similarities and not be so focused on our differences and that politicians can look beyond their reelection hopes.