Friday, September 11, 2009

Music Library: Gosdin Brothers, Gothic Archies, Gopvernment Cheese, GP's, Graham Parker, Gram Parsons, Grand Champeen, Grandmaster Flash, Grandpaboy, Grant Green, Grant Hart

The Gosdin Brothers - Sounds of Goodbye (1968).  Vern Gosdin and his brother Rex, fresh off of their stint as Gene Clark's backing singers on his debut solo album, playing a mildly psychedelicized version of classic country with a bunch of Byrds (and soon-to-be Byrds) on deck.  Great album, though sadly out-of-print in the US.  There's some definite Louvin Brothers/Everly Brothers sympathetic harmonies on display here.

The Gothic Archies - The New Despair (1997) and "Smile, No One Cares How You Feel." Another Stephin Merrit project, this one a goth-bubblegum act. Not up to the pop standards of the Magnetic Fields, but the single, part of their soundtrack to the books of sometimes-collaborator Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler), is fairly amusing.  Not as amusing as the band's name, of course, but what is?

Government Cheese - "Camping On Acid." Tommy Womack's excellent book The Cheese Chronicles should be mandatory reading for all you youngsters forming bands and taking them on the road.  This is a track from his band.  I wish I had more.  It's been a few years since I hunted down this song, and I'll bet that there's more of the GC material out there these days for those interested in it.

The GP's - Saturday Rolling Around (1991).  Actually a live show from 1981, this is the one-off band consisting of Richard Thompson, fellow Brit folkie Ralph McTell, and Thompson's frequent collaborators (and members of Fairport Convention) Dave Pegg and Dave Mattacks.  They play only a couple of originals, preferring to crank out versions of old folk and country songs ("Pretty Boy Floyd," "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," "Steel Guitar Rag," "Together Again") and some great rock numbers ("Great Balls of Fire," "Going, Going, Gone," the Band version of "Don't Do It"). It's pretty fun and it should probably go without saying that Thompson is rip-roaring on his guitar.

Graham Parker - "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down" and Squeezing Out Sparks (1979). The version of George Jones's classic single has some swingin' brass on it and sounds nothing like the original.  The album is rightly hailed as a classic, a taut rock album with Parker's clever songs hitting on all cylinders. All except one, that is: "You Can't Be Too Strong," an anti-abortion screed that stops the album cold.  My pal Alan Shelton calls songs like this "speed bumps," and this is one of the most prominent speed bumps I can think of.  Al Shelton is more fun to talk about than Parker, anyway.  He had a great line about Rep. Wilson's outburst during Obama's speech the other night, remarking that Obama should have turned to Biden and Pelosi and said "Play fucking loud!"  Dylan jokes: they don't work on everyone, but they're peachy for some of us.

Gram Parsons - Cosmic American Music: The Rehearsal Tapes (recorded 1972), G.P. (1973), Live 1973, and Grievous Angel (1974).  So everyone knows the story of Gram Parsons by now, right?  Lived hard (well, for a trust fund boy who never had to work a day of his life), died young, left a confusingly partially-burnt corpse?  He turned the Byrds onto country music (Sweetheart of the Rodeo), created the Cosmic American music of the Flying Burrito Brothers (The Gilded Palace of Sin and Burrito Deluxe), and then hired Elvis' backing band for his solo albums.  Along the way, he discovered young Emmylou Harris, who accompanies him on most of these tracks.  For a trust fund baby with a serious drug problem and no evidence of any sort of moral grounding, Parsons was surprisingly serious about country music and how it could be married to rock tropes.  He could sing gospel songs with the best of them and he always sounded utterly sincere and moving while doing so.  He had the ache of suffering in his voice, and I'm not the only one who rightfully considers these albums among the best ever made.  The first one is for fans only, basically a practice tape of Gram teaching Emmylou the songs and the two working out their harmonies.  The live album is a whole lotta fun, if not up to the heights of th studio albums.  But the studio albums are as good as it gets.

Grand Champeen - Battle Cry For Help (2002). Replacements-y Austin band suffers by comparison when following Gram Parsons.  But they're pretty good under most circumstances.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five - "The Message." Like I'm going to knock this?

Grandpaboy - Grandpaboy EP (1997). Speaking of the Replacements, this is Paul Westerberg messing around in a home studio.  Just five songs, but they're not bad for solo Westerberg, while not approaching the awesomeness of vintage 'Mats, natch.  I'm pretty fond of both "Ain't Done Much" and "Lush and Green."

Grant Green - "Green With Envy." I'm surprised I don't have a whole Grant Green album.  I know there's more in my collection down in the compilations.  But Green is fantastic, one of the great guitarists of the jazz world.

Grant Hart - All of My Senses EP (1987), 2541 EP (1989), Intolerance (1989), and Live in Cambridge 31 July 2005. The poppier Hüsker Dü songwriter, Hart is a freakin' national treasure.  The EPs and studio album date from just after the breakup of Hüsker Dü and before Hart formed the Nova Mob.  The music is definitely influenced by the garage music of the 60s, but guided by Hart's indie-pop sensibility.  The live album is a bootleg I found online at one point, just Hart and an acoustic guitar playing tracks from all over his career (including "Diane," "Flexible Flyer," "Books About UFOs," and so on).  Great find!


Anonymous 8:23 AM, September 13, 2009  

Nice, nice compilation. Thanks for sharing it.

About Shelton's line about Obama to Pelosi & Biden; "Play loud!" (LOL!), someone should have borrowed from the Gothic Archies to say to Wilson after his outburst, "Smile, No One Cares How You Feel."

Hayden Childs 5:19 PM, September 13, 2009  

So true!

My photo
Cary, NC, United States
reachable at firstname lastname (all run together) at gmail dot com

About This Blog

From Here To Obscurity, founded ca. 2003, population 1. The management wishes to emphasize that no promises vis-a-vis your entertainment have been guaranteed and for all intents and purposes, intimations of enlightenment fall under the legal definition of entertainment. No refunds shall be given nor will requests be honored. Although some may ask, we have no intention of beginning again.

  © Blogger templates Brooklyn by 2008

Back to TOP