Monday, January 31, 2022

Overheard at Table 1: Moving Pictures vs Who's Next

Someone asked about comparing Rush's 1981 Album MOVING PICTURES with The Who's 1971 Album WHO'S NEXT

Having heard both, multiple times throughout my life, and having my own impressions about them, I have attempted to put my initial reaction aside, listen to both of them today, and see if my previous opinions about each have moved in any noticeable way.

First, let me lay out my criteria: rating of each song 1-10.  However, since Moving Pictures has 7 tracks and Who's Next has 10, I decided to use the average, instead of cumulative points.

Then, I would give a 1-10 scale for the following criteria:

Track Order: do the songs flow well with each other

Cohesiveness: do the songs compliment each other, considering the album as an overall unit?

Cover art: While this shouldn't rank very highly, it's a plus to have a cool album cover.

Production: Quality of the sound.

Performance: Quality of the musicianship

OK, so here we go:

For Moving Pictures, opening with Tom Sawyer was perfect.  The following track could have been moved to side 2.  tracks 3,4,5 are a nice transition, then the rest just kind of flitter around.   The final track has a nice fade out, a good closer.

Track 6 is practically unlistenable and should have been cut from the album entirely.  Blech.

The cover art is fantastic.  The production is stellar. Love that recording sound.  and yes, Rush are fantastic musicians, but as always, sometimes they just seem to be playing in different tempos because they can.  YYZ is a perfect example as to how they just seem to be showing off.  

Still, though, this album contains Tom Sawyer and Limelight, which are two of the band's best and rightly so.  Both are absolute perfect examples of the best of Rock and Roll.

And it is for those two tracks alone that Moving Pictures has any chance of going toe to toe with Who's Next, and its two rock anthems, Baba O'Riley and Won't Get Fooled Again.  I deliberately listened to the original CD without any of the subsequent CD releases, which contain more of the band's attempt to make this another rock opera.  Even though the Lifehouse project fell apart, the Who were able to produce one of rock's masterpieces.  Each of these songs stands alone.  The order of bookending the album with the anthems was a solid choice, and it seems to flow from stronger songs to weaker songs to a strong middle number, then build back up again to the end.

Even though the sound quality of Moving Pictures beats Who's Next, it was made ten years later, but even so, Next, gets a 9 because other albums of the period do have a better quality sound.  That said, on the non-song metrics, both albums rank pretty much the same.  It's the songs themselves that make Who's Next the winner of the two.  

Regardless of what Rush fans might think, no, Moving Pictures does not have "every song a hit."  Who's Next does.   The songs are just better: more solid, more rocking, more fun.  

Who's Next is an album you can listen to while cleaning the house, rocking in the car on a road trip, hanging out at the beach, working in a factory, or really anywhere you want to be.

Moving Pictures is an album you listen to when you are with friends and you want to smugly diss other bands for not being able to change tempo as quickly as this trio can.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Overheard at Table 2: Movies at 50

MR: Oh, my God, I'm 52 this year and still, STILL! my wife and I, when we're watching movies, we can be seeing blood splatters all over the camera lens, and body parts flying everywhere, and if there is even the HINT of one side-boob, she's all like 'Cover your eyes!  Don't look at that!"

DH: Hah!  She wants to protect your delicate sensibilities!

Monday, January 10, 2022

Overheard at Booth 1: Style Part 2

After hearing Bukowski read his poem "Style" this morning, I wrote this poem in response.

Style Part 2

Bukowski wrote about style,
because Bukowski had style.

He did dangerous things with style, 
like boxing, loving, opening tins of sardines.

Standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square,
now that’s style.
Sticking a flower down the barrel of a rifle,
that’s style, too.

Jesus, saying nothing, drawing words in the dirt
in front of a village full of people reading
to smash some woman’s skull to pieces with rocks.


Most dangerous things are done today without style,
Which means the world is devoid of art.

You and I make art, 
every night, when we fall asleep,
as we kiss each other, and promise 
till death do us part.

A dangerous thing, that.

… to love that nakedly.



Friday, January 7, 2022

Overheard at Table 2: DC Breach by Dead Kandinskys

Last year, MR wrote the poem "DC Breach" in response to the January 6 insurrection.

This year, the Dead Kandinskys set the poem to music ("The discordant chords of riot" as they call it).  

NOTE: the video was found on YouTube and the original link is referenced in the description.  While the length is perfect, the images do not track exactly with the poem.  MR recalls that, on the evening of Jan 6, after the sun had set, several news outlets showed live feeds of quiet streets of Washington DC.  An eerie calm.  Why were the insurrectionists allowed to walk around?  Wander about?  Strangely though, as the Dead Kandsinsky went to make this video, they could not locate footage of those media outlets from that night.  Perhaps they didn't look hard enough, but hey, everything is supposed to be at your fingertips with Google, right?

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Overheard at Booth 2: The Big Year (2011)

The Big Year (2011)

We found this movie highly enjoyable, even though I knew that there would be some criticism from the aficionados of the activity.  The devotion that they portray to these adherents definitely makes them seem like a group of people who would nitpick the smallest inconsistency.   I've linked some other reviews that confirmed that feeling.

But beyond that, this is a beautiful movie about birding, about obsession, and ultimately, about friendship.  Also, it's a movie about integrity (don't see much of those).  Two devotees of the sport (sure, let's call it a sport), one who is risking losing his low-paying job (Jack Black) and a corporate CEO who is risking losing control of his company (Steve Martin), embark on the Big Year - to see as many different bird species as possible, in order to overtake the record of the man who has already lost everything to this sport (Owen Wilson).

This movie is hilarious, funny, sweet, and tender, and seriously ... we need more movies like this.



Watch The Big Year | Full movie | Disney+

The Real Birdwatchers Behind Hollywood's 'Big Year' : NPR,as%20Alaska%2C%20California%20and%20Maine.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Overheard at the Counter: In Memoriam ... Verble Gherulous


I keep drafting this post and it doesn't seem to write itself well no matter how I draft it, so I'll just come out and say it.  My uncle, Verble Gherulous passed away on December 8, 2021.   One day after his 80th birthday.

While he was really a private person, I know that he had a few good friends from his Twitter time, and I hope that they know that he really enjoyed his interaction with them.  He actually encouraged me to get more on social media as a way to grow as a poet, and some of those friends are now mine.

For anyone who didn't know him: he was an avid reader and audiophile, of the kind that you don't see any more these days.  He hated ebooks, preferred to read physical books, and he truly despised streaming music platforms.  He constantly bemoaned the rise of Apple and how it killed the album.  

He is survived by his wife, his two children from that marriage, 3 children from previous marriages, plus 2 step-children from his second wife.  And even though he often said that most of his contemporaries had already passed away, I hope he knew that he was indeed loved by all those who had the chance to know him.

Over the years, he and I had worked on this blog, swapping ideas for stories, plays, comedy sketches, and just general goofing around.  He always had the vision of the CafĂ© as a place where people could come and swap ideas, but that never really took off, and I know that kind of made him a bid sad.  It was kind of a chess game, he'd knock off an idea and I'd try to flesh it out.  And while over the past year or so, he worked on it less and less frequently, but I plan to keep up the blog in his memory.

My uncle was a Christian, in the best way.   Even though these last few years, he seemed to be saddened by his own aging and the decline of the state of the world, he held onto his faith and that gave him great comfort.  I know that he is now in Heaven, and all this earthly pain is behind him.  And I know that he is at peace.

I love you, Uncle Verb.