Category: W

31 Days Of Halloween Albums – Day 28

White Zombie: La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. 1 (1992)

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My god how I hate Rob Zombie’s work. Him and Dave Grohl have been creating trash since they became things in the public eye. Is it David? Robert? Jesus Christ I can’t stand either one of them. Mass market fluff for fake fans of rock to embrace. Dave?

Gimmicky, overplayed with very little substance is how I would describe almost everything that can be associated with Zombie’s moniker. I mean, how can one expected to be welcomed into the world of film with a stupid name like that? Oops, is his surname actually Zombie? My bad. His films and music still suck though. Thank god for the damned music on La Sexorcisto though otherwise he’d be batting pretty rough in my stats book.

First and foremost, I don’t have a “book” filled with statistics. Secondly, I really can’t stand Rob Zombie’s films or solo outings but I can appreciate this album and passively enjoy Astro Creep 2000 just as long as I never have to hear the singles from the latter ever again. Gimme some Supersexy Swingin’ Sounds over the Astro Creep versions of More Human Than Human and Electric Head all day baby.

To put it briefly, the music on La Sexorcisto is incredibly fun. Imagine the fun of Russ Meyer with a coated underlining of classical horror cinema. It came before Astro Creep’s blatant bludgeoning of horror references and is better for it. Good gravy I fucking loathe those horror audio clips on that album.

Y’know? Listen to Astro Creep instead if you’ve never heard it but just know that La Sexorcisto was the good one. I don’t care anymore. While you’re at it, tell me how amazing his films are at ripping off Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Every single one of them including the Halloween reboot, re-boot, re-franchised, re-chainsawed, re-massacred, re-envisioned reworking of words that don’t actually exist in practical dictionaries. Words like Sexorcisto and Supersexy.


Scott Walker: Scott (1967)

Redevelopment: The action or process of developing something again or differently.

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Hip like Dylan and anti-rock like Lars Ulrich.

The Walker Brothers were a bubblegum pop group who didn’t manage to reach stardom until their relocation to Europe in the mid-sixties. When hits such as The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore) and Make It Easy On Yourself, they populated the European and US airwaves briefly with a bit more fandom overseas despite having been American. They disbanded in the late ’60s and the “brothers” officially went their separate ways for a few years before briefly reuniting in the ’70s. Scott is Noel Scott Engel’s first solo album after the disbandment and it is a doozie!

Following the trend of the “non-brother’s” Walker Brothers’ albums, Scott is 40 minutes of original compositions and covers. The breadth of music on display here ranges from Scott’s own to film scores and contemporary pieces. Among the most interesting of these songs are the ones penned and performed originally by Belgium musician Jacques Brel. For the most part, the translated Brel pieces are the standouts here. So much that Walker would continue to cover his music for the upcoming years. As a fan of Jacques’ music, it is a real treat to hear these renditions.

With such a diverse smorgasbord of inspirations to pull from, it is a surprise that the entire piece flows as well as it does. As someone who has never enjoyed the early Walker Brothers’ music I was surprised at how connected to this debut I instantly became. There is a dark sense of humor that exists on here with a peppering of the macabre. The cynicism on display here is also nearly palpable with songs like Mathilde, Amsterdam and My Death coming across as much more grim after repeated listens and under closer inspection. Passively, the music and vocal delivery is beautiful so it often pulls the wool over the listener’s eyes? Ears? Cotton swabs? What?

Scott is a helluva start for Walker’s solo career. I think it is obvious by my praise that I highly recommend it. From start to finish it is a well-crafted collection of music that is oddly coherent despite the varying arrays of influences. For those more interested in collections, there are a few different ways of purchasing this album. I’d suggest the box set containing his first 5 works if you’re interested. They are some of the best records available and the audio quality is much better than this Back In Black version on display here. Stay the hell away from Back In Black re-releases. They are hot vinyl trash.

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Track List:

Mathilde
Montague Terrace (In Blue)
Angelica
The Lady Came From Baltimore
When Joanna Loved Me
My Death
The Big Hurt
Such A Small Love
You’re Gonna Hear From Me
Through A Long And Sleepless Night
Always Coming Back To You
Amsterdam


Willie Bobo: Spanish Grease (1965)

Groovy: Fashionable and exciting.

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Delicious.Though, I prefer fried neck bones and some home fries.

The late ’50s and early ’60s were an interesting time in music. It seemed that anyone with an interesting look and a captivating swagger could garner a quick, fleeting hit single regardless of how homogenized and bland the quality was. American popular music was more about image than craft but interesting things were developing as the ’60s began to grow to be one of the most important eras with the burgeoning rock scene on the horizon and more experimental ventures stemming from jazz and folk.

Anyone who has read any of my past album observations know a couple of things: I’m not a fan of genre labeling and I have a huge admiration for late ’50s jazz. Willie Bobo (William Correa) was a percussionist in the mid-’50s but didn’t release his first album under that name until 1963. His music is easily identifiable despite how little has been written or studied about him over the years. It really is a shame considering how fantastically exciting and groovy his catalogue of music is.

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Fantastic quality pressing. Par for the course when it comes to Verve records.

Spanish Grease is a respectable outing though, it must be made clear that it is a collection of covers from the era with only the title track being an original number. Now, typically I’d steer clear from offering praise to a “covers album.” They aren’t quite as bad as “hits collections” but they are close in their laziness and transparent in their cash grabbing intentions. The thing that makes Spanish Grease the exception is that the songs being covered were vapid, vanilla pop tracks from the aforementioned era of pretty faces often mumbling a ghost lyricist’s shallow messages. Willie Bobo and his timbales make these tracks sound fresh and hip.

The title track is unfortunately the biggest standout here. It is a nitpick but production-wise it feels like they put the cart before the horse or eating the dessert before the meal. One more quality original piece on this record placed closer to the middle or the end would have balanced the sequencing out a bit but as it stands the other tracks are consistently great and flow well. The first song is just so amazing that it plateaus the remainder of the album leaving little room for exciting surprises.

Willie Bobo’s entire catalogue of music is something I’d urge anyone to check out. It is rare that a band can bridge the gap between dance-able and musically complex this creatively. There is a style and presence on Spanish Grease that is often missing in popular music. It is percussion-driven music at its best.

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Track List:

Spanish Grease
Hurt So Bad
It’s Not Unusual
Our Day Will Come
Haitian Lady
Blues In The Closet
Nessa
Elation
It’s Not Unusual (Instrumental)
Shot Gun/Blind Man. Blind Man


Tom Waits : Frank's Wild Years (1987)

Theatrical : Marked by extravagant display or exhibitionism

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With accordion packed, Frank is ready to take on the big city.

With as extensive a musical library as Tom Waits’, it can be a bit daunting to choose one to discuss. After all, nearly every record can be considered a momentous treat for the ears. Here, I’ve opted to take a look at what is possibly my favourite of his works to date. Frank’s Wild Years manages to capture everything I love about Mr. Waits’ music on one piece of vinyl. It is theatrical, somber, odd and conceptual.

Co-written by Wait’s wife, Kathleen Brennan, Frank’s Wild Years follows an aspirational young man from rags to riches and concludes with his spiral into despair.
Act I (The A Side) follows protagonist Frank as he reaches for the top. The songs are groovy, fun and sassy in a way only Waits can deliver. Straight To The Top is an upbeat Rhumba that gives the listener plenty of hope for the character. Every song that follows Frank on his journey is extremely varied. From the jazzy blues of the opening track, Hang On To St.Christopher to the finally, Innocent When You Dream (78) the listener is taken on a roller coaster of a ride.

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I’ve never been so happy to see lyrics printed out for an album.

There aren’t enough superlatives to express my love for this album. Waits always impresses by breaking conventions on each record but this may, arguably be the most far out that he has ever reached. Each track can be separated from the whole and enjoyed without the narrative of the accompanying tunes but it is worthwhile to listen from start to end. There are days when I think Act I surpasses Act II but others when I feel the exact opposite. One thing is certain, each act is distinctly different. Act I is the rise and Act II is the fall. There are reprisal counterpart songs in the second act that are share an opposite feeling. For instance, Straight To The Top in Act II is a maudlin tale of a man broken by poor decisions and fame. Contrast that with the mentioned Rhumba version and you begin to hear the story unfold in a very effective way.

To pick out some personal favourite songs on this collection is nearly impossible. While listening to it again to write this article I left the record in my turntable and have been spinning it over and over. This has been a part of my collection for over two decades but it never gets tiring or old. It is a masterpiece that transcends music. There are some playful theatrical moments but it doesn’t sound like stage music. Catchy tracks are sprinkled amidst the melancholic ones to prevent it sounding too upbeat. It is an anomaly of a record that sounds more like a compilation than an intended LP. I can’t begin to imagine the sorts of things that went through their heads in order to create such insanity. Telephone Call From Istanbul is a prime example of the type of craziness on display here. The lyrics alone are terrifyingly hilarious. Give it a spin and jauntily bob your head to Waits warning you that it might be a bad idea to drive a car when you’re dead.

Frank’s Wild Years is a contender for the best Wait’s album. Stacked up against his other works that is no easy feat. If you’re a fan of music in the slightest, give this a spin. It has something for everyone. Everyone with ears.

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Track List:

Hang On St.Christopher
Straight To The Top (Rhumba)
Blow Wind Blow
Temptation
Innocent When You Dream (Barroom)
I’ll Be Gone
Yesterday Is Here
Please Wake Me Up
Frank’s Theme

More Than Rain
Way Down In The Hole
Straight To The Top (Vegas)
I’ll Take New York
Telephone Call From Istanbul
Cold Cold Ground
Train Song
Innocent When You Dream (78)