Friday, September 02, 2016

Not That You Asked For It - My Top 10s - the 60s


This might be as good a time as any to do some of my Top Ten lists. Usually this is done at the end of the year for that preceding year. But since I’ve been giving your my tour of the last 40 years, that’s where I’m going to begin.

I haven’t addresses the 60s. That is because I didn’t really experience music in the 60s (having been born in 1959) because I didn’t really think about it until the very end of the 60s. My memory of that time was sitting on the floor watching television, usually the news and constant coverage of Viet Nam and all the unrest that resulted in our society. So I’m going to start there. The first two years will not be a full ten, but I feel the few albums must be recognized. 

Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan - whether you like is voice or not, directly or not, he influenced everything after 
Time Further Out - Dave Brubeck

Please Please Me - the Beatles - nothing needs to be added :)
Surfin’ USA  - the Beach Boys - America’s response to the Beatles
The Freewheeling’ Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan
With the Beatles - the Beatles 

A Hard Day’s Night - the Beatles - not just a soundtrack to their movie
Beatles for Sale - the Beatles
The Times They are A-Changin’ - Bob Dylan 
The Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones - rocks bad boys, heavy blues influence in the earlier albums
Another Side of Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan
The Kinks - The Kinks - although never really poplar in the US, very influential 
The Animals - the Animals
Stay With the Hollies - the Hollies - takes the Beatles vocal harmonies to the next level
Here I Go Again - the Hollies
Wednesday Morning, 3am -  Simon & Garfunkel - helps begin the folk influence on rock

Help! - the Beatles - again more than just a movie soundtrack
Rubber Soul - the Beatles - their creativity kicks into high gear
My Generation - the Who - a four man band, each a genius 
Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan
For Your Love - the Yardbirds - throughout their career, will feature rocks greatest guitarists
Mr. Tamborine Man - the Byrds - America’s version of the Hollies, however not inferior
Turn! Turn! Turn! - the Byrds
December’s Children (And Everybody’s) - the Rolling Stones
Whipped Cream & Other Delights - Herb Alpert - rocks first horn star. You’d recognize the songs.
A Charlie Brown Christmas - Vince Guaraldo Trio - ok, which album off all time deserves to be in everyone’s collection

Revolver - the Beatles - consider it Rubber Soul part 2
Pet Sounds - the Beach Boys - the ultimate BB album was mostly a Brian Wilson solo album, a true masterpiece
Buffalo Springfield - Buffalo Springfield - the most influential band you’ve probably never heard of
Fresh Cream - Cream - the debut of the ultimate power trio, featuring Eric Clapton
Jefferson Airplane Takes Off - Jefferson Airplane - debut album before Grace Slick proves they would have made it without her
Blonde on Blonde - Bob Dylan - keeps pushing the envelope of song writing featuring Just Like a Woman
A Quick One - the Who
The Monkees - the Monkees - yes, that’s right, used the best songwriters and musicians of the time, can anyone say Neil Diamond?
Sounds of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel
Soul & Inspiration - the Righteous Brothers - blue eyed soul magnified

Are You Experienced? - the Jimi Hendrix Experience - the first of three perfect albums before this star burned out
Buffalo Springfield Again - Buffalo Springfield
The Who Sells Out - the Who
The Doors - The Doors - debut of the Lizard King and classic band, what a wonderful mess
Mr. Fantasy - Traffic - supergroup featuring young Steve Winwood
Surrealistic Pillow - Jefferson Airplane - now with Grace and White Rabbit and that other song that’s played every seven minutes
Disraeli Gears - Cream
Days of Future Passed - the Moody Blues - starting to dip a little into prog-rock with extended orchestra
Forever Changes - Love - I don’t quite know how to describe it, just incredible
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hears Club Band - the Beatles - yes, number 10, so many of the albums above it inspired it and did it better

Electric Ladyland - the Jimi Hendrix Experience - amazing two album set
Wheels of Fire - Cream
Last Time Around - Buffalo Springfield
Astral Weeks - Van Morrison - the perfect poet and songwriter debuts after leaving Them
The Beatles - The Beatles - the end of a era featuring many successful experiments, a great single album, too bad there were two in the sleeve 
Cheap Thrills - Big Brother and the Holding Company - Janis Joplin, ‘nuff said
Tons of Sobs - Free - debut album featuring the vocal gold of Paul Rogers
Child is Father to the Man - Blood, Sweat & Tears
Bookends - Simon & Garfunkel
Three Dog Night - Three Dog Night

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin
Crosby, Stills & Nash - Crosby, Stills & Nash
Tommy - the Who
Goodbye - Cream
Blind Faith - Blind Faith - only release by supergroup with Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood
Chicago Transit Authority - Chicago
The Allman Brothers Band - The Allman Brothers Band - blues and southern rock debut
Yes - Yes - the year progressive rock expends
The Rod Stewart Album - Rod Stewart - did you know Rod used to be able to rock-out? 
Abbey Road - the Beatles

There you have it. So many fantastic album but not enough room (Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Fleetwood Mac, the Guess Who, Santana, Grand Funk Railroad, Elton John, David Bowie, the Zombies, Cat Stevens, Spirit, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Genesis, and others).



Thursday, September 01, 2016

Comic Book Movies (Part 1)

Let me throw some ugly truth out there.

Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill were both better Supermen than Christopher Reeve. For no other reason than the Reeve movies were crap. Yes, Superman is supposed to be the ultimate boycott, but Reeve portrayed him so wimpily, there really wasn't much human about him. More sad puppy than man of steel. Also, the supporting characters were cast badly and it felt like the Superman version of the old, campy Batman TV show.

Ben Affleck is the best Batman. Better than Christian Bale, George Clooney, and YES, even better than Michael Keaton. Similar reasons as above. Keaton looked like he weighed 105lbs WET!! That's not Batman. That series of the Batman movies let his suit do all the heavy lifting. The real Batman doesn't need armor (except to fight Superman, of course), because it would just slow him down and get in the way. Batman is a big, strong man who has worked long an hard to get that way. Keaton should have just done more Beetlejuice movies. That's what he's good for.

So, come at me :) This is my opinion having read the comics for the last almost 50 years. I too grew up on the Reeve and Keaton movies, but they failed to satisfy. And I think a lot of fan-boys out there would say the same except they're too caught up in the "mob mentality" of trashing the new movies. So many people complained that Man of Steel was "too dark". So DC lightened things up a bit for Suicide Squad, and suddenly it's "not dark enough". Ok "baby bear" guess what, there probably isn't a "just right".

Over all, Marvel does a great job with their movies. But after what,11 years now, it's getting a little old. Last weekend I finally watched Captain America: Civil War". I think the action sequences were great, the story flowed well, the pacing was good: but I was underwhelmed. It felt like, "here we go again". (Which remind me of something else I've noticed. People complaining about Superman fighting Batman. "What's the point", "they're both good guys", etc. But what dues Marvel do in every one of their movies? Heroes fighting heroes. To the point that there was practically no reason to have a villain in CA:CW).

I hope DC keeps making movies. They have the better characters by far. As long as they stick to the cannon, hire good writers and directors, it should come together. And guess what else: there is plenty of room for Marvel and DC movies. When one gets it right, EVERYBODY wins, regardless of who.

I am most looking forward to Doctor Strange. After that, the Justice League movies. Beyond that, who knows. Things and schedules change all the time.

Let's just have some fun while it lasts, shall we?