Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Simon Sweetman Comments on 2 Albums

Here's a post by Simon Sweetman from the Off the Tracks blog.

(Two of the) Five Albums I’m Loving Right Now

1.  The Last Waltz   -   This album is worth the purchase price just to hear Pops Staples delicately massage the third verse of The Weight before a high-as-fuck Rick Danko yells all over the fourth.  The Last Waltz isn’t new to me by any stretch, but it’s one of those albums I’ve always come back to. You always find something new there. It’s layered like that. My battered LP copy was dusted off, given a quick clean, and cranked solidly over the New Year period to rapturous applause from the neighbours (not quite). It’s perhaps my favourite album, but truth be told, I’ve probably spent more time talking shit about this album than actually listening to it.  It’s the album for lame musician discourse.
Memorable observations I’ve heard:

 1.“Clapton sucked so hard he deliberately lost his guitar strap so Robertson could school him”.

 2.“There was a room full of cocaine backstage and it was piled to the ceiling”.

 3.“You know Bob Dylan was going to fight Neil Diamond backstage, right”?

 4.“I can’t believe Wilco thought no one would notice that they ripped of Stage Fright”.

It’s a near flawless album, but it always strikes me how the film focused so heavily on Robertson. Let’s not forget he co-wrote Dry Your Eyes with Neil Diamond – he’s a great guitarist, but no one can polish that turd.

2.  It’s Too Late to Stop Now   -   This album rules. When Van Morrison breaks up a five-minute jam by screaming “I really wanna make love to you”, over a blaring horn section, you know he means business.  Recorded during his 1974 US/UK tour, this album captures him at the top of his game. It really is the best definition of a true ‘live’ album – there are no studio overdubs, splicing of tracks, or amplified applause. What you can hear is an 11-piece band absolutely killing it – carefully unravelling each track with precision, while creating the necessary space for Van Morrison to let rip.  For me, it’s John Platania that steals the show – carefully, slotting the guitar between the other instruments without detracting from the sound. When he steps up to take a solo it’s trademark big band (ala Henry McCullough before he got cheesy) – trebly and frenzied, with enough botched pitch harmonics to let you know he’s in the moment.

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