Sunday, November 19, 2006

i have been thinking about heading back up the pike to tower records, and their going out of business sale. Last weekend, when I was picking up CDs of lps I'd never gotten around to updating, i toyed with the idea of purchasing some jackson browne.

I have a love-hate relationship with the guy. I used to love him - - - I mean that first album? With "doctor my eyes," "rock me on the water" and "jamaica say you will" - - -fantastic. the next one, goes into my hall of fame simply because it contains "these Days." Doesn't need anything else. And on and on. But later we started hearing that perhaps he wasn't such a nice guy...rumors of abusive relationships and stuff. Like other women I know my age, we shuffled JB to the back of the rack. And I've never really moved him forward again.

A couple of years ago, I was over at the coleman's. Robin and i were watching tv, and we came across a concert, or documentary, about JB. almost in unison we both said something like: "I feel guilty about it, but i still really like his music." Neither of us have ever met him, but her husband has played with many of the same people, and felt much the same way we do.

So that's why the only jackson browne recording i own is a vinyl version of the first album. perhaps I'll change that.

Speaking of love-hate relationships, I've also got one with Rod Stewart. But for a different reason.
What's my problem with rod? well, I can't think of another songwriter who's squandered so much talent. He was once one of the best song interpreters in rock music, and also a killer songwriter. consider his early output, and we'll only look at the solo albums, not the stuff with The Faces, or jeff beck. Starting in 1970 (or the very end of 69, if you want to be exact), and continuing through the release of smiler in 1975, when his deal with mercury ended, Rod stewart released an amazing number of good songs.

the originals include: gasoline alley, jo's lament, mandolin wind, maggie may, every picture tells a story, lost paraguayos, and you wear it well.

the covers were amazing, too. these just kill me: the stones street fighting man, elton johns country comforts, handbags and gladrags, tim hardin's reason to believe, i know i'm losing you, hendrix angel, twisting the night way, sweet little rock and roller, and, if when feeling charitable, pinball wizard.

I guess we should have started to get nervous with that stringy version of carole king and gerry goffin's oh no not my baby. because then it wasn't too long til we heard do you think i'm sexy and hot legs.

amazing. to think that the same person could write every picture tells a story, and hot legs. or choose to sing both handbags and gladrags, and some of the treacle of recent years.

that said, i(and other spurned fans) started thinking perhaps all was not lost when he released "when we were the new boys" in 1998. the self-penned title track sounded like, well, a rod stewart song. But the album, with covers of songs by oasis, graham parker and nick lowe, and even an re-working of Ooh la la, wasn't a hit.

after that, we've mainly heard cover album after cover album. yawn.

maybe he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for britt ekland??

What made me think of that? Well, a recent viewing of the wonderful Life on Mars. You know, that bbc series I've been going on about. the one that you have to describe as "this detective gets hit by a car, and wakes up in 1973, and we see him try to figure out why he's there and how he can get back to 2006," even though that's not really telling the story AT ALL! the one that features the best use of music I've seen on tv, or in the movies, in years. Not to mention wonderful actors, and fantastic scripts. with tossaway lines like these:

the setting is an interrogation of a mouthy, uncooperative woman:
I'm done with this game. Let's play another. Let's play hopscotch or pin the tail on the donkey, you pick, Dora.

I want a lawyer.

I wanna hump Britt Ekland, what are we gonna do??"

trust me, it plays funnier than it reads. you've got to remember that in 1973, britt was the epitome of hot. famous for being famous, and for being peter sellers wife. And, in the UK, for the wickerman. and already cast in the james bond flick "the man with the golden gun."

And lee, if you've read this far, what did you ever do with that scarf of Rod's? Oops...


Anonymous lee said...

You know, I forgot about the JB abuse allegations until I read this. I, too, loved his songs. Still do. Met his sister when I worked in LA. Very sweet and personable, and hated Daryl Hannah. We bonded.

As for Rod, what is this Great American Songbook crap? No, he should NOT be singing that - doesn't suit him. That lovely, gravelly voice should be wrapping around more bluesy stuff - like "You Wear It Well" - and I agree, he should be writing again. Pleeze??

Scarf? *blinks innocently* What scarf???

8:04 PM  
Blogger nm said...

I'm so sending this to ALM.

9:47 PM  
Blogger jk said...

can you tell that I wrote this after driving around town with a bunch of rod stewart songs in the cd player? I ended up turning it off though----both my ears are clogged up, and I seem to be having a problem hearing all my lows. Which means everything sounded kinda tinny.

as for the scarf......lee needs to come up with a nice fake name and write us all a book.

7:34 AM  
Blogger Mony said...

Now I am really curious about the SCARF.

You know, Ronda B admits to being a closet ZZTop fanatic, and I'm like, what's to hide???

I think of " the end you dance alone" all the time.
I am a closet JB fan as well.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Z said...

When I was in NZ, we ended one of our exchange student get togethers once with Rod's "Sailing" - may not be in the same category as his early stuff but you never get to hear it ever...and your post made me think of that.

10:14 AM  
Blogger jk said...

Z brings up a good point, that was a nice track. But I decided to divide his career into "the early mercury years, and "everything after he sold his soul to the devil and left britain for greener pastures."

and while he is a great "song interpreter" (with emmylou harris, or Maura O'Connell as the female standardbearer counterpart), i bemoan the squandering of his writing talents as the one of the most grevious wastes of talent. Oops, did I already say that?

There are a couple of good Rod collections, including: The Mercury Anthology (no faces stuff), Gold (only stuff from the Mercury years), and a bunch of others with much the same stuff. But I'd still go with the first four solo albums, because they give you a very good picture of what a solid singer and songwriter Rod Stewart was.

As for the scarf, well, it was a gift, wasn't it?

10:33 AM  
Anonymous lee said...

Yes, it was.

2:33 PM  
Blogger jk said...

and that is all she's going to say.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Z said...

There's a Rod altar in my lie. Our secretary not only has the Rod-'do but pictures and albums everywhere. Not the early stuff either. Not even the middle stuff. The Barry MANILOW stuff. Oy.

12:03 PM  
Blogger jk said...

(big sigh.) I am so sorry to hear that z.

the hair still rocks.

2:59 PM  

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