notes from
the MUCK . . .

How does your garden grow? With muck, muck and more muck! I spent much of today finishing the final muck box and then shifting muck from one box to the next. The first box, which the Big Lad is enthusiastically pointing out, has been rotting down for two years now and once we’d removed the top quarter of unrotted material, we found we’d hit the pay dirt.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Year in Music (Ben's choice)

I concur there have been great records released this year, however, to be honest, I don't own enough of them to really compile a top 10; what I am going to do instead is list the top 10 records that came into my life this year. Some were released this year, some were released last year, some were released over 30 years ago, and some were never released. I apologise for this sloppiness but I just never would have gotten a list together and I do so like to share. Here we go... (please excuse the order, it is pretty fluid and is not definitive).

10. Sam Cooke; "Live at the Harlem Square Club" 1963 All praise to MBI for this little shout out. Most people know about Sam Cooke through sugary love songs such as "Cupid", but like people say, this is the real Sam. It's gritty, it's sexy, it's magnetic. His voice sounds like he's trying to comit GBH on his audience's ears, and they are certainly given as good as they get. What I love about GOOD live albums is the way an audience works puts the artist in a whole new context; they either sink or swim, or, in this case, rise to the top of New York City and shower down upon it their pain and passion.

Cooke turned up to the club after his band had arrived, got into his suit, and, whilst walking down the stairs to the stage was confronted by a 6 inch scorpion. Without missing a beat he stepped on the scorpion, and proceeded on stage. Poor scorpion, but that was his relationship with the stage, the audience, weren't nuthin getting in the way. Maybe the scorpion did bite him, and its venom was dripping from Sam's voice as he sang "Bring it on Back".

If I do have a gripe against it, then it's because it doesn't have the song "Change is gonna come" that Spike Lee used to such good affect in "Malcom X".

This album wasn't released till 1985, but I only heard about it this year. If you're hearing about this for the first time, take MBI's advice and go forth and listen to it. Now.

9. Bruce Springsteen; "Greetings from Asbury Park"I love Bruce Springsteen, but for sometime I didn't own that many of his CDs. I had the greatest hits, that revolves mostly on his hits from the 80's and 90's for ages as my sole representative. Then I bought his Live album 1975-1985; which I loved; it didn't really change my perception of Bruce though, just gave me a LOT more of what I
liked. Then I got his essential collection which had earlier stuff on it, including "For You". This was a different Bruce. his voice has an amazing power (which he utilised in his big hits such as "Born to Run", and "Born in the U.S.A." but with an agility and nuance I had not heard before. It's like he's turning on a vocal sixpence with a burnt out 69 trying to lure back Sandie from the arms of her loverboy...I bought "Greetings from Asbury Park" and was rewarded with more of the same. "Mary Queen of Arkansas" is exquisite;Bruce and his guitar appear to be dancing with each other, "The gallows wait for martyrs, whose papers are in order/but i was not born to live to die"...Shame on me for not having this sooner.

8. Jay Zeezer; "The Black and Blue Album" I have always liked Jay Z, I like his delivery, his attitude, his rhyming, even his catchy "this is the anthem getcha damn hands up"...I don't think I really appreciated him as an artist till people started putting his "Black Album" on top of anything. Dangermouse of course started the ball rolling with his revolutionary "Gray Album". The black and blue album was the cream of the crop of other offerings I found trawling the
internet...One of the things that I like so much about it is that apart from being a consistently strong mash up album where some others have some great tracks while others just don't work or appear forced, is the way that Weezer's music help to give Jay Z's voice and lyrics a new profound context..."Moment of Clarity" shows a Jay Z desperately trying to show us what flows beneath that seems to have been written for "Only in Dreams" and is muted by Eminem's mix on the original. I'm not saying its better than the Gray album, but I've listened to it a lot more and the heights it reaches show us a glimpse of just how infinite the possibilities of music are.

7. Lyrics Born; "Same Shit Different Day" Sorry for some repetition but this is a great album that only gets better to me. Jeff is more qualified to comment on it and I don't really have anything to add to his eulogy, but everytime I listen to this album I think that Lyrics Born would be a cool guy to hang out with. Jesus I wish I'd seen him live in Cville. Bugger.

Thanks to Mathew for putting me onto this; it's rare to enjoy an album this much.

6. Deltron 30 30; "Deltron 30 30" Jeff and Mathew certainly gave me some great music; this being up there amongst the best; thanks Jeff. Again, I don't think it was released in 2005, but I started listening to it then so that kind of counts. I first heard Del the Funky Homosapiean through the Gorillaz (which may or may not receive a mention in the final 5) on the track "Clint Eastwood". I think his
delivery may well be one of the most distinctive around and this album really shows that off. It's a ridiculously strong album while managing to be edgy and experimental at the same time. I'm also listening to it right now which may or may not have influenced my decision.

Stay tuned for the climax folks...