Saturday, 9 July 2011
The Rascals - Time Peace: The Rascals' Greatest Hits
I've been listening to a wide variety of music today as I have also studiously and stoically soldiered on to finish marking my exam papers. To anyone who has noticed, this commitment has affected my visits and contributions to this blog, but not my listening. I not only can listen to music whilst marking, but I have to.
Today has been a good day both in terms of nearly finishing my prime marking and, as I've said, listening to an eclectic mix of music. I began by playing two very recent self-made compilations. The first is a collection of favourite 'pretty', harmonious songs, the tracklist made up from the following: Bon Iver, Peter Bruntnell, Guillemots, Joseph Arthur, Leeroy Stagger, Wes Swing, Beirut, and [it will sound surprising] Kaiser Chiefs, the beautiful but painfully emotional song If You Will Have Me to which I have referred elsewhere. The second is one of my best heavier compilations, notionally named [yes, I am this nerdish] Not Ugly, But It Sure Aint't Purty [*] Music, the tracklist made up from the following: Eric Steckel, Henrik Freischlander, The Band of Heathens, Van Der Graaf Generator, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, Warren Haynes, Mountain Heart, and Ben Harper. [*] When you've marked your ten thousanth Of Mice and Men the word 'purty' insinuates itself into a linguistic urge. Thank you Lennie.
I've also listened to Peter Hammil, a live recording; a Randy Holden solo, Blue Cheer's best guitarist, and Shelby Lynne's I Am Shelby Lynne released to considerable fanfare and promotion in 1999. I hadn't forgotten how great that album is, but enjoyed being reminded, and it is superior to so much female vocal released over recent years, though much credit goes to the collection of songs, not least the sultry track Black Light Blue, co-written by Lynne.
But my favourite listen today, pulled randomly out of one of my cd trays, was The Rascals. Their Greatest Hits album bristles with 60s 'blue-eyed' soul brilliance as well as their more pop and then psychedelic explorations. I think versions of Mustang Sally and Midnight Hour are superbly genuine, Felix Cavaliere having such a distinctive vocal. Good Lovin' is fantastic fun, and Groovin' eases summer into your consciousness despite the English grey. How Can I Be Sure is pop personified, whilst It's Wonderful, released in 1967, reflects so well that year's psychedelic musical playfulness.
I cherish my Rascals' vinyl: 1969's soulful and bluesy See with favourite tracks I'm Blue and Hold On; also in 69 the adventurous if at times pretentious double album Freedon Suite [containing the hit and significant song People Got To Be Free] where I have the cross-carrying christ poster still wrapped in its cellophane, and the great 1971 Search and Nearness with one of the funkiest songs ever written, Cavaliere's Right On. These will be tomorrow's listening, when the last 19 scripts are marked and I have the time to actually play records.