.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

I Read Comics

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

52 Songs #16 - It Ain't Easy When You Fall, Ian Hunter

This week: It Ain't Easy When You Fall, Ian Hunter, from the lp Ian Hunter, released in 1975.

Another legacy from my brother. He was lucky enough to see Mott the Hoople in NYC in 1974, when Queen opened for them, and we listened to a lot of Mott - and later, Ian Hunter's solo stuff - for many years after that. His first solo album began his long collaboration with Mick Ronson and this song shows off the kind of anthemic, honest music they were capable of. The lyrics touch on loss, and loneliness, and isolation, but end with a flash of hope. Listen all the way through the spoken word part.

I only saw him & Ronson once, opening for the Kinks in, um, 1979 or 1980, and they fucking rocked. I haven't followed what old Ian's been up to lately, but he's got a great website and is still recording and preforming. And damn: he's 70 years old!

"...but sometimes when I've written a song...it's alright."

Come back next week for another of the 52 songs!

Labels: ,

Monday, December 21, 2009

52 Songs #15 - The Monkees, Angel Band

This week: The Monkees, Angel Band, from the lp Missing Links Vol. 3, released in 1996.

You knew we'd get around to the Monkees eventually, didn't you? Or at least Nesmith. Anyway, this Michael Nesmith production comes from the compilation of unreleased stuff called Missing Links Vol 3. As you might guess from the title, they were really scraping the bottom of the barrel to find enough shit to make a record, so this comp includes things like "Kellogg's Jingle" and "Love to Love (Alternate Mix)", for which no one waited with bated breath. However, there are a few Nesmith gems on it, and this is one.

Note that he didn't write Angel Band; it's a traditional Appalachian/bluegrass hymn and has been recorded many times by many artists, including the Stanley Brothers and Emmylou Harris. Nez' version is rather overblown here, with too much orchestration, but I like his vocal performance. I don't know why he chose to do this song, but it's an interesting exercise in production and you can see what he was aiming for: a grand, showy song without a trace of subtlety.

Now, on the other end of the spectrum, listen to this version, recorded in 1969 in Arkansas as part of a folk song collection. Nez only wishes he could be this honest. I still get chills every time I hear it.

Come back next Monday for another of the 52 songs!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Iron Man 2 Trailer: YEAH.

Courtesy of TrailerSpy:

HD version over at Apple.

And some leaked footage from Comic-Con, I think - I don't know how I missed this! Nick Fury! Sam Rockwell! Tony in a diner in full Iron Man costume!

All I ask is lots of shirtless RDJ, k?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

52 Song #14 - Queen, The Night Comes Down

This week: Queen, The Night Comes Down, from the lp Queen , released in 1973.

I was a little too young to appreciate this album when it was released, but again, my big brother's musical taste made it possible for me to discover it a few years later. It is no exaggeration to say I was obsessed with Queen for a long time; they were the first "real" concert I ever went to at age 12, and I paid a stupid amount of money to join the British Queen fanclub for many years. I wonder if I still have all that stuff!

So, from Queen's first wacky album, please enjoy this song. It is so English. It has acoustic guitars, falsetto vocals, and amazing harmonies on the guitar (the Queen trademark). I found out recently that this song was actually a demo that they included on the record - the take was so good that they didn't bother to re-record it. The album version is a little cleaned up; this version is the demo and to me sounds just a little rougher, and has some kind of nervous energy that got flattened out in the lp mix.

Why has Brian May turned into such a cranky old man? He used to be such fun.

Come back next Monday for another of the 52 songs!

Labels: ,