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The Arsenal: 21 April 2009

April 21st, 2009 · 2 Comments

What I plan on listening to and looking at this week, and other things that are making my world a better place:

  • 1975  (music)
    One of the fruits of my fastidiousness in cataloging thousands of mp3 files over the years is that I can organize and listen to my music library by year.  Lately, I have been listening to albums from 1975.  I know it doesn’t look brief, but here’s a partial list of some really good ones from that year:

America  Hearts
Joan Baez  Diamonds and Rust
10cc  The Original Soundtrack
Average White Band  Cut the Cake
Bee Gees  Main Course
David Bowie  Young Americans
The Doobie Brothers  Stampede
Bob Dylan  Blood on the Tracks
Eagles  One of These Nights
Neil Young  Tonight’s the Night
Wings  Venus and Mars
Steely Dan  Katy Lied
Bruce Springsteen  Born to Run
Patti Smith  Horses
Pink Floyd  Wish You Were Here
Joni Mitchell  The Hissing of Summer Lawns
Led Zeppelin  Physical Graffiti
The Kinks  Soap Opera
Daryl Hall & John Oates
Emmylou Harris  Elite Hotel
Elton John  Captain Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy
Keith Jarrett  The Köln Concert
Earth, Wind & Fire  Gratitude
Electric Light Orchestra  Face the Music
Fleetwood Mac
Kate & Anna McGarrigle

Nazareth  Hair of the Dog
Willie Nelson  Red Headed Stranger
…and even though it wasn’t released until 1976, Frampton Comes Alive was recorded in 1975.

    Some of the fun of immersing oneself in a “distant” sound world like this is hearing bands of today in music of then.  You know, i n f l u e n c e , that thing that music geeks love to talk about.  For instance, here is a track by 10cc that sounds like it could have come straight off of an album by current band Of Montreal:

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    “Blackmail” from The Original Soundtrack (1975) by 10cc

    10cc: The Original Soundtrack cover art

    I used to think that 1972 was the be-all, end-all year of pop music, and 1967.  Now I’m not so sure which one comes out on top.  There is a ten-year stretch in there between the mid-’60s and the mid-’70s when some of my favorite records of all genres were released.  I become firmer in my resolve about that with each passing year.

  • Guilty pleasures (books)
    On my immediate reading shelf and table are things I feel I should be reading, and intend to read.  Volumes of essays, the new TC Boyle novel about Frank Lloyd Wright’s women, books on U.S. history, Plutarch’s Lives, and a copy of The Tain that I am determined to like as much as I detested it nearly 30 years ago in college.  But the book I have been picking up lately and enjoying (and I know that I most likely won’t be enjoying Plutarch’s Lives much when its turn comes along) is Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons.  I’m not taking it seriously as literature, nor am I appalled at the evil machinations going on behind Robert Langdon’s back, but I am having one hell of a time turning the pages.  And there is a lot to be said for that.  There you go.
  • Airplane watching (marvels of technology and childlike wonder)
    When I lived near San Diego as a kid, it was always a treat to go to the airport and drive underneath the planes taking off and landing at the edge of Mission Bay.  We never went to the airport just to sit and watch the planes take off and land, however; we were always picking up or dropping off, and then scooting back along our way.  Yesterday, I happened to be out along East Lake Blvd. in Birmingham, which skirts parallel along the Birmingham airport’s runways.  There is a graded area of several hundred feet between the road and the airport’s chain-link fence where cars can pull over and just watch the planes arriving and departing.  Someone – I assume it was the airport authority – has even installed large garbage cans every few car lengths.  They seem like an invitation to sit a spell and marvel in wonder at the flying machines.  There were no cars parked there when I first drove by, but on my return trip – at about 6:30 P.M. – I counted no fewer than five cars.  It was like a Lover’s Lane scene from some Southern version of American Graffiti.  I’m headed out there again tomorrow for work, and I think I will spend some time munching on celery, eating a chicken sandwich and watching the planes roar back and forth.

Tags: books · fiction · film · food · history · music · The Arsenal

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Blair Cox // Apr 26, 2009 at 3:03 PM

    I agree with you that the stretch from the mid 1960’s to the mid 1970’s has some of the best albums ever recorded. I’ll have to look through the period to pick a favorite year. I would add a couple of albums to your 1975 list:
    Paul Simon-Still Crazy After All These Years
    Linda Ronstadt-Prisoner In Disquise
    Also, there were several country/southern rock bands that released albums in 1975 including Marshall Tucker, Pure Prairie League, Wet Willie and The Outlaws. This was probably my favorite genre in 1975.

  • 2 Melissa // Apr 28, 2009 at 7:41 PM

    I’m delurking as requested! You left off one important album–at least in my family. Bad Company’s Straight Shooter. My dad impressed my mom on their first date by knowing ALL the lyrics. She later learned that it was the only 8-track that he owned and wasn’t so impressed! Looking at the list of albums he could have purchased instead, I’m not so impressed either!

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