Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Blast from the Past: 1979 music

2015/12/27

Hey, remember how back in August I talked about music? I’m going to do it again, but this time, in December!

I’m still doing that thing where I’ll listen to almost everything from a particular year on Spotify, and then curate a playlist of my favorites.  After I finished 1971, I moved on to 1979.  And. Oh man. 1979 was an amazing year. I still operate under the illusion that a single other person would want to listen to the playlists, so I try not to have the things be insanely long, but my full playlist for 1979 ended up being my longest yet at 436 songs (131 more than the one for 1982).  It hurt me physically and made me cry to remove some of the songs from the full list, so please listen to it so my suffering will have served a purpose.

Anyway, so much good stuff here!

Not all of it’s disco, but a lot of it’s disco. I guess I’m just a disco fan. I know, I know, disco was just about over by then, but there were still some solid albums in 1979: Grace Jones’s “Muse”, Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls”, Kool & the Gang’s “Ladies’ Night”, plus almost any disco album out of Europe (France Joli, Baccara, ‘Luv, . Seriously, you need to listen to Paul Jabara’s “Disco Wedding” as soon as possible. But, basically, when it comes to disco, Michael Jackson just strolls in and shows everybody how it’s done with “Off the Wall”

Also there’s lots of funk!  Despite the fact that, with every funk song I listen to, I’m less sure what “funk” actually is, I’ll probably never get enough of it. (Faves: “Gap Band II”, Parlet’s “Invasion of the Booty Snatchers”, Faze-O’s “Breakin’ the Funk”)

Plus you’ve got early electronic music from artists like Telex, Kraftwerk, and Roberto Cacciapaglia.  And then New Wave! (Sparks, Cars, Boomtown Rats. The Motels.) And just some poppy crap that I like anyway (Dollar, ABBA, Captain & Tennille)! And punk!… well, okay, I’m not that into punk, but I think there’s a few songs in there).

1979 seems to have been this nexus of great music because there was just so much going on, and so many great people doing it.

Top 10 albums? Geez, this part’s hard:

  1. The Ann Steel Album – Robert Cacciapaglia2.
  2. Tusk – Fleetwood Mac (this was my third time listening to it over the course of 6 or 7 years, and I finally get it. It’s a beautiful album.)
  3. Joe’s Garage – Frank Zappa
  4. Bad Girls – Donna Summer
  5. The Wall – Pink Floyd
  6. Breakfast in America – Supertramp
  7. Muse – Grace Jones
  8. Sheik Yerbouti – Frank Zappa
  9. The Fine Art of Surfacing – The Boomtown Rats
  10. Three Hearts – Bob Welch

Again, the idea behind this musical journey is I got tired of listening to the albums and artists I already knew over and over again, so I wanted to just dive in and listen to new stuff.  Just like with every other year I’ve done (so far 1971, 1974, and 1982) there’s a bunch of crap, but a bunch of gems that I may never have come across otherwise.  So here’s the bands I discovered that are pretty cool and that you should give a chance:

  • Baccara
  • Paul Jabara
  • Rickie Lee Jones (holy crap what a voice)
  • Scherrie & Susaye
  • Bob Welch (okay, I *suppose* that’s not entirely true because of his time with Fleetwood Mac, but still)
  • Suzi Lane
  • The Motels
  • The Flying Lizards
  • Rockets
  • Tantrum
  • Parlet
  • Fred Wesley & the Horny Horns

Super-special mention for 1979: Pink Lady

Unfortunately, Spotify does not have any of Pink Lady’s albums, but I was so intrigued by the idea of a Japanese female disco-pop duo that I bought four of their main albums: Pepper Keibu, Hoshi kara Kita Futari, Magical Musical Tour, and We Are Sexy. They are seriously amazing, and their career went sour well before it should have. If you ever get the chance to listen to them, take the chance.

Now, without further ado, here’s a couple embedded playlists.  First, the short one, 56 songs clocking in at 4 hours and 33 minutes:

spotify:user:jimmyjone:playlist:2h3k8bvSsoRzjPkDtzrzdA

And then, the full list of my favorites, 436 songs with a total playtime of 34 hours and 15 minutes:

spotify:user:jimmyjone:playlist:0vuvNqB2yCU31DqEMxcT5y

Of course, that second list is a little curtailed for whatever reason, so if you want all 436 songs, you’ll need to go here: https://open.spotify.com/user/jimmyjone/playlist/0vuvNqB2yCU31DqEMxcT5y

I hope someone out there enjoys these, even if you only listen to a few songs.  Next time, I’ll be doing 1984!

Thanks for reading!

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Blast from the Past: 1971 music

2015/08/18

Here’s another thing I wanted to follow through on since I mentioned it on here last December. I’ve still been listening to (almost) every album I can find on Spotify for various calendar years.

My process:

I use the lists on Wikipedia (typically called “19xx albums”) to create Spotify playlists. Even when I weed out artists I know I can’t stand to listen to, or genres I generally don’t like, the lists are incredibly massive (like, 200+ hours massive). I tend to skip over some country music, a lot of reggae, and a lot of punk once you get into the late 70s and early 80s. I then listen to the albums while I draw Jimmy Jone, and I mark the ones that I like upon first the first listen. Then, after however many months THAT took, I’ll give myself a breather from that year and listen to another for a while. Once my previously marked “favorites” have sat long enough to be semi-new to me again, I’ll cull the list. I shoot for around 250-300 songs in my final “favorites” list, but I know better than to think anyone’s going to give an actual shit about my tastes for 20 hours. So I create a smaller, more focused list of the songs that really blew me away in some way.

I’m doing this mostly for me, because there are definitely some nuggets buried amongst all the crap and also-rans for any given year. It’s been a worthwhile endeavor, and lets me just not have to think about what I’m going to listen to next while I draw.

Anyway, let’s see if I actually have anything to say about 1971!

First of all, 1971 is full of artists who really, really want you to believe that they’re desert-dwelling hippies attempting to return to a Native American way of life. Even if they weren’t out in the desert, they were still all about being the love generation (check out Les Crane’s Desiderata if you don’t believe I imagine it was still quite a few years after this that music got most of the 60s out of its system. In fact, you could probably argue that 1971 feels like mostly 1960s holdovers. What we think of as 70s music hadn’t quite asserted itself yet. After all, this year only saw the debuts of bands such as Electric Light Orchestra, Sparks, the Doobie Brothers, Kraftwerk, ZZ Top, and R.E.O. Speedwagon. Even within my playlists, there’s a surprising amount of sameness to the music. It’s got a definite feel.

You do see some strong indications of things to come with prog rock. Yes were going great guns by that point, with both Fragile and the Yes Album out that year. “Echoes” from Pink Floyd’s Meddle is still my all-time favorite prog track, but make sure to check out Catapilla and Jade Warrior as well if you’re into early 70s prog. A number of regular bands had some strong lengthy tracks as well (see Bloodrock, Traffic, and Barclay James Harvest, to name a few).

Also some of my absolute favorites from 1971 were foreign bands. The French were just crushing it back then using tons of strings and orchestration for their grooves. And Osibisa, through hailing from Britain, was made up mostly of African expatriates. Seriously, go check out Osibisa, they’re my new favorite prog band. Also, I’ve heard a fair amount of Santana and Barrabas already, but they were amazing even back in ’71.

Let’s see if I can determine what my top 10 albums were, based on these playlists I’ve created. This will be simply 10 albums, not in any order.

Hawkwind – In Search of Space
Traffic – The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys
Jethro Tull – Aqualung
Yes – Fragile
Serge Gainsbourg – Histoire de Melody Nelson
Al Kooper – New York City (You’re a Woman)
Osibisa – Osibisa
Santana – Santana III
Barrabas – Wild Safari
Caravan – In the Land of Grey and Pink

Okay, so most of those albums I’d already heard. So here’s artists that I didn’t know before listening to 1971 that I now like:

Osibisa
Catapilla
The Sunday Manoa
Long John Baldry
Kevin Ayers
Al Kooper
Michel Polnareff
Shuggie Otis

Okay, I think that’s all I have to say about 1971. If you like playlists, I hope you like these!

The “best of my favorites” list (50 songs, 4 hours)

spotify:user:jimmyjone:playlist:2sNvxXQhoKBbl6GvjICZUO

And the full list (273 songs, 20 hours)

spotify:user:jimmyjone:playlist:7xxdg9XPinEOqXexU6aD5j

2014: Year in Review

2014/12/28

Well, another year’s gone by.  I’d like to think this was a relatively eventful year for Jimmy Jone.  I got the new website up back in March, and since then, I’ve posted six whole issues.  Sure, 2 months go by between issues (it took almost all year for Diana to break up with Jimmy!) but at least I’ve got a consistent rhythm going for the creation aspect of things.  If I can keep up the pace, you’ll get another six issues next year!  For those of you keeping track at home, Jimmy is now in the second semester of his sophomore year.  Here’s what you can expect for next 2015:

  • Jimmy gets scared!
  • The return of everybody’s third-tier superhero sidekick, Socrateen!
  • 100% more Campus Hobo!
  • The return of the prank war!
  • A mime!
  • And, if I did things right, at least a couple of jokes!

And of course, if I get a kidney in 2015, I may even put out more than 6 issues.

Another thing I’ve been doing is listening to music while I draw.  I’ve been systematically listening to every album Spotify has for specific years.  I finished up my journey through 1974 earlier this year, and I just completed 1982 this month.  Big whoop, you’re thinking.  But wait!  I put together some playlists of my favorite music from those years!

1974

1982

For 2015, I’m doing 1971, and then 1979, if I get that far.  I’ll let you know when there’s playlists!

I plan to put out the next Jimmy Jone comic (#66) at the end of February. I say “plan to” because I know better than to promise things on the Internet by a specific time.

See you in 2015!