fjb, local currency: solo 1992-1998 (fayettenam)

the human hearts, civics (tight ship)

the human hearts on myspace

nothing painted blue, taste the flavor (shrimper)

info on older band and solo work; I have no idea who compiled the scarily complete discographies

free music, discography, etc. here

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21. The Paragons, My Best Girl Wears My Crown

(Trojan, 1992 comp. of various recordings 1966-8.)

Without having read up on the relevant history, this is just guesswork, but the Kingston vocal group from whence issued both “The Tide Is High” (the sad violin is really what makes their version, I think) and lead singer/lover’s rock pioneer John Holt is most easily comprehended (to me) as early reggae’s equivalent to The Drifters -- The Paragons have that same capacity to sound simultaneously urbane and innocent. Some material (“On the Beach,” “Silver Bird”) is fairly predictable though thoroughly enjoyable, but two tracks in particular surprised me, in ways that may merely show my ignorance: “I Wanna Be With You” has chromatic harmonies and cut measures (both evoking Bacharach) that I’ve never heard in Jamaican music of this vintage, and “When The Lights Are Low” has a completely non-reggae rhythmic basis -- for the most part it could be the Stax house band pinch-hitting for Tommy McCook and the Supersonics, with some pseudo-Latin congas thrown on top. That tune and several others bear “unknown” writing credits, but most of the rest is either by Holt or the group -- the only credited piece of outside material is an unrecognizable cover of Don Covay’s “Mercy Mercy Mercy”. Much as I enjoy this, I can’t recommend this particular release: I’m quite sure these songs are not presented chronologically, but the liner notes are no help, and most or all of this is evidently mastered from the vinyl -- I could swear the pitch of “I Want to Go Back” wavers, as though it weren’t centered on the spindle. The 2CD On The Beach (2007) is probably the thing to buy, and if I ever see it for less than the listed $50, I likely will.

20. Bruce Springsteen, Magic

"Radio Nowhere" appears to be one of those songs in which an artist takes the diminished size of their broadcast royalty checks as a sign of the irreversible unraveling of the social fabric. Sorry man, there's still a monoculture in whatever sense there ever was, which is to say a pretty contestable one, you're just no longer at its center. On the other hand, I enjoy the sound of the track, and much of this self-consciously meat-and-potatoes album, a great deal -- the best rockers ("Livin' In The Future," "Long Walk Home") have the relative concision and thoughful band dynamics I associate more with The Heartbeakers (Tom's) than with E Street's operatic bombast. I have almost as much trouble swallowing the vocal persona of "Devil's Arcade" as I do the average Bonnie Prince Billie record, and the alleged single "Magic" seems weak on several fronts -- the songs I'd want on that non-existent "good" AM station would be the Spector-scaled "Your Own Worst Enemy" (I'm not a sucker for orchestration, but actualorchestra bells usually get me) and "Girls In Their Summer Clothes," which has some damagingly awkward scansion in the bridge but scores extra points for with me for including a bank clock.


p. 123, you're it

I'm not going to extend the meme by tagging 5 people, but, at the behest of Elisabeth:

"But the tonality remains one of single sounds and their most primitive sequences. The necessity of following cues, and of producing harmonic effects without regard for the requirements of harmonic development, obviously does not permit of really balanced modulation, broad, well-planned harmonic canvases; in brief, real tonality in the sense of the disposition of functional harmony over long stretches. And it is this, not hte atoms of the triads or seventh chords, which constitutes tonal organization."

- Adorno & Eisler, Composing for the Films (orig. pub'd 1947, quoted addition at 2007 reprint [Continuum] of a 1994 edition)