The Wolf That Lives in Lindsey & Joni Mitchell

From Mingus (1979).


Watcher of the Skies & Genesis

From Foxtrot (1972).

Tony Banks (organ), Phil Collins (drums), Peter Gabriel (lead vocals), Steve Hackett (guitar), Mike Rutherford (bass).

When I did the last Sunday special, Sis and I discussed the paucity of English classical composers BUT the high number of great British rock groups from the 60s and 70s that sort of compensates for that. Then Sis challenged me to start posting some of the latter, so, here goes. The genre I know best from that category is the surrealist progressive rock of the 70s. At a certain postpubescent stage of life, a friend of mine and I thought early Genesis albums were like revelations from God or something. The wisdom of years forces me to make a more modest assessment, but still, this stuff holds up pretty well!

Hejira & Jaco with Joni Again

Because, admittedly, Zappa can be a little exhausting.

Hejira, from the eponymous album (1976). Nice visual interpretation here that stays close to the lyrics. Though I must have heard this song before, I have to say I didn’t know it until now, and I arrived at it through my Jaco explorations. To be honest, I wouldn’t like it that much without Jaco’s bass filling it up and enveloping it. Good call, Joni!

Steely Dan Aja Documentary

Nightsky set me on a Steely Dan kick. I don’t think anybody will complain. Great documentary here on the Aja album by the Classic Albums series.

Now I think “Josie” might be becoming one of my favorites.

Subtitles in Japanese. Doesn’t surprise me that Steely Dan has a major constituency of Japanese fans.

Update: Journalist Andy Gill’s point toward the end (10:40) is very interesting.

Jazz rock was a fundamental part of the 1970s musical landscape. On the one hand you’ve got groups which are basically rock bands with horn sections–like Chicago and Blood, Sweat and Tears–but on the other you’ve got some jazz musicians who, following Miles Davis’s lead, were working in an area which was then called fusion–people like Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and pre-eminently Weather Report. Steely Dan were unlike either of those. It wasn’t rock or pop music with ideas above its station, and it wasn’t jazz’s slumming. It was a very well forged ally of the two. You couldn’t separate the pop music from the jazz in their music.

“Jazz’s slumming” is harsh as a characterization of fusion and rather unfair (Jaco got his chops playing all kinds of music), but he’s onto something. But I think Zappa’s music fits into a very similar “uncategorizable” category.

Nother Update: Refreshed the embed.

Jaco with Joni & Coyote

From Hejira (1976).

I’ve usually been a Joni Mitchell admirer, but not exactly a fan. Since I started tracking Jaco’s steps, though, I discovered the work he did with Joni. Or rather, I found out that it had been Jaco in some of those haunting, vaguely familiar songs that I liked more than the others. So now I’m listening with different ears.

Joni goes way up in my estimation just for having the imagination to ask Jaco to play with her. The critical opinion is that Joni brought out a lyrical side of Jaco that nobody else did. I think that’s about right.

Lyrics here at Lyrics Freak.

Steely Dan & Deacon Blues

Nightsky is the only reason I’ve been doing this at all, so here’s one for the resident Steely Dan fan.

This was one of my favorite Steely Dan songs. The video includes the lyrics, which conveniently match the color scheme I got here! They also have some explanatory notes in the middle, which is great because for half of the words I didn’t have any idea what they were about. I’m not good at listening for lyrics in general, but there are some great turns of phrase in this one.

I’m not sure I got the categories nailed down at all (for categories at this place you pass the cursor over the atom on the left). Steely Dan is hard to categorize. One of a kind. They’re their own category.