i truly hate you.
I DO THAT BETTER THAN YOU TOO.
i truly hate you.
I DO THAT BETTER THAN YOU TOO.
"First off, she has a great voice. The best. She can sing anything; ballads, rocking songs. She was like a rocking version of Carly Simon. I used to dance embarrassingly in bars to her music in the ’70s"
That’s my dad, on the phone like 20 minutes ago, when I asked him why he loves Linda Ronstadt so much. It’s one of the facts I’ve known about my dad since I was sentient: That he loved Linda Ronstadt and used to embarrass my mom when they’d go out in college because he would sing her songs at the top of his lungs anytime they heard it. He also spent about 5 minutes selling me on a spanish language album she recorded that he has on tape, and apparently still listens to regularly. The thirst is strong with this one.
I don’t think I am at the same point in my Ronstadt fandom as my dad, but I have listened to this like five times since I took it off my dad a month ago. Don’t think I’ll be dancing in any bars to this either.
Sometimes your friend’s wife writes the funniest criticism of an album ever, based off the cover alone.
Hello y’all, it’s me again. How are you? I am fine. For the third time in as many weeks, I am having a guest writer over here at Vinyl in Alphabetical. This time it is my URL friend Andrew Martin. He wrote about Otis Redding.
Andrew is the tireless editor-in-chief of Potholes in My Blog, a site notable for having me write there sometimes when Andrew convinces me I should. I’m just playing; it’s a great blog and odds are that if you read anything, literally anything, off of it, it was probably written by A-Mart. We used to work in the salt mines at a blog that shall not be named, and if I’m being honest, the only thing I miss about being a music blogger is being able to G-Chat with A-Mart for like 4 hours a day. We have never met IRL, but that will change when I go see him around Christmas in North Carolina. I am praying he isn’t catfishing me. It’d be a pretty elaborate hoax, being that he wrote this awesome thing for me now as part of it:
As someone who was stuck in between the posted-up-at-the-record-store and download-everything-from-torrent-sites generations, I stumbled upon most older artists on my own. Sure, my older brother hipped me to everything he got into from decades ago, including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, the Doors, and other obvious choices. But when it came to hearing guys like Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, and Marvin Gaye—my three favorite soul artists in no particular order—it all happened by chance.
With Otis, it was weird, because I actually have to reveal some shame here in regards to discovering his music. During one of my many Limewire sessions, I downloaded Pearl Jam’s live cover of “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” and I was so immediately taken by the song that I had to know its origin. After some research (aka typing and clicking), I found that it was an Otis Redding original and I just had to know what the original sounded like. At the age of 15 or 16—I can’t remember the exact date, sorry—I had heard a few soul/R&B tracks from the ‘60s and ‘70s, but nothing quite like this.
Everyone has those “moments” with artists wherein you’re hooked on their music for weeks, months, and maybe even years. For me and Otis, this was that moment. Unfortunately, it didn’t strike my meager brain to explore his catalogue like I should have, partially because you couldn’t get me away from my Diablo II sessions and backyard wrestling escapades. A few years later, however? It’s all I wanted to hear.
Otis’ incredible and undeniable passion made me feel, you know? Everything about his voice and backing musicians is so warm and comforting without the cheapness of anything nostalgic related to it. Why? Because it’s so relentlessly raw. Take his final album, The Otis Redding Dictionary Of Soul Complete & Unbelievable, for example. “Try a Little Tenderness” hits you in the chest like a beautiful ton of bricks fueled by pain and glory all at once. “Day Tripper” is an irresistible foot-stomper that’s probably pissing off my neighbors right now as I listen to the record at full volume. “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)” is heartbreaking and low-key humorous with its call-and-response hook between Otis and his horn players. From front to back, the album transports you, holds you, and drags you off the wall to dance.
The only problem with an album like this one is that it’ll be all you’ll want listen to for days and days. As someone who writes about music for eight hours every day, it’s not exactly the best thing for me to get stuck in a “trap” like this. But fuck it. Andrew got me to listen to nothing else but Harry Nilsson’s Nilsson Schmilsson for the past week, so why not get lost in Otis’ catalogue for the rest of this week?
And to be completely forthright with you, Otis will probably never take that number-one spot from Sam or Marvin for me. I simply love their records too much. I mean, I know I’m not the only one who tries not to cry like a baby every time I hear “A Change Is Gonna Come”. Still, without Otis, who knows when I would have found Sam and Marvin.
Andrew is on Twitter @andrew_j_martin. He proposed to his girlfriend at a Foreign Exchange concert.
This is Richard Pryor’s last standup album, and probably he’s weakest since he went on a tear starting in the mid-’90s. But here’s the thing; Richard Pryor at 60 percent is so much better than so many standups. He had a way of cutting through the bullshit of society, he had a way of making his personal stories universal, and he was the best at making you laugh.
I remember watching a Richard Pryor standup special late at night on Comedy Central when I was like 16, and then realizing that I was seeing the real McCoy. The real shit. Not some cornball that my friends all liked, not some standup who was trying to get a sitcom. Just the best fucking comedian saying the realest shit. Still feel that way today.
I don’t think there’s much I can say about this album that hasn’t been said by people more knowledgeable, more familiar, or better writers than me, mostly because I didn’t get to this album until about 2011 after a friend told me the second Pharcyde album, Labcabincalifornia, was an underrated, underselling second album, just like one of my favorite rap records of all time—Digable Planets’ Blowout Comb. I got into the Pharcyde after that, and realized they were a stoned-out, uh, bizarre version of the Native Tongues stuff that was happening in New York in the early ’90s.
Since the group started splintering after this album came out, they’ve been something of an acrimonious soap opera. Members have come and gone, been sued over using the name. I think of all the groups from the early 90s, they might make the best movie. Here’s an L.A. Weekly story about the group from last year.
"How could they embarrass me like that? I was humiliated. They also added guitar licks and bass lines. How dare they second guess my artistic decisions? Can you imagine saying to an artist, say Picasso, ‘Okay Pablo, you’ve been fooling with this picture long enough. We’ll take this unfinished canvas and add a leg here, an arm there. You might be the artist, but you’re behind schedule, so we’ll finish this painting for you. If you don’t like the results, Pablo, baby, that’s tough!’ I was heartbroken. I was deeply hurt. Motown went behind my back. That’s something I’ll never forgive or forget.”—Marvin Gaye, on the release of this album, an underrated classic in his oeuvre.
When I was 20 and in college, I wrote a review that got more attention than a lot of things I ever wrote for the newspaper; I wrote a negative review of a Joshua Tree reissue, mostly because it was basically just the album with some live shit attached. I said it was bad because it was a way for U2—then at the height of their arena-filling, MOR-powers—to sell the same shit to the same people. A lot of people read it as if I hated the album—I think it’s OK—so I got a lot of Facebook hatemail. People fought the assertion that they were dumb enough to buy the same thing twice, mostly.
Then I am 27 and I am in the record store, and I buy a live Marvin Gaye album that doesn’t sound all that live—it sounds like they touched up his vocals after the fact—and it’s the same track list as every Marvin Gaye album I currently own on vinyl, and I realize this fact only after I literally buy the same thing twice. It turns out the strawman I was writing about is me. I am my own strawman.
1. This is the part where I fake outrage at the cover, clutch my pearls, and say some stuff about how THIS is the line I won’t cross, that I’m finally no longer willing to overlook the ickier parts of being an Action Bronson fan—the lyrical misogyny—that he’s deplorable, that he’s gone too far.
But I’m not going to do it; there’s a point where you look past the pecadilloes of the artist and enjoy the music. And for my money—this is literally the first money I’ve spent on a piece of Bronson’s music— he’s one of the most enjoyable figures in music right now. Bronson is a guy who makes it safe for the weirdoes. This is a guy whose best songs are about food, wrestling, and sex and are often as funny as they are good to listen to.
I mean, I feel like this is catnip focus-grouped to me in the best way. I am listening to a rapper whose formative years were spent watching Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and thinking about women and his weight too much, just like me. I can’t relate to everything, obviously, but I can relate to Bronson more than about any other musician.
His album cover might be offensive, but John Lennon treated the women in his life like shit, and no one even talks about it. There are compromises made all the time when we talk about being a fan of an artist.
2. That said, I did make sure this faced towards me when I brought it home on the bus this week. Felt weird carrying it in front of people traveling home.