Monday, May 31, 2021

Doing the Pandora shuffle, 6th edition

"OK, Google. Shuffle my Pandora."

"Trip to the Fair," Renaissance (Scheherazade and Other Stories, 1975).
This is the 10-plus-minute opener on Renaissance's sixth studio album, the fourth with the Annie Haslam-fronted classic lineup. It's exactly what you would expect to hear from this band by this point -- heavy on John Tout's classically influenced piano and Jon Camp's melodic Rickenbacker bass and centered around Haslam's remarkably versatile, crystal-clear voice. This tune was written by Tout, acoustic guitarist Micheal Dunford and lyricist Betty Thatcher. Wikipedia says the song was written about Haslam's first date with Roy Wood, formerly of The Move and Electric Light Orchestra who was Haslam's boyfriend at the time. Renaissance had a nice three-album run culminating with this one in which every track is pure gold. "Trip to the Fair" is no exception.

"Red Letter Day," Viva Voce (Rose City, 2009).
I wrote about Viva Voce awhile back. This is about is heavy as this husband-wife duo got. Rose City was their hard-rock album, recorded as a quartet. Kevin Robinson delivers a nice mid-tempo number, singing in tight harmony with wife Anita, who delivers some nice lead-guitar flourishes.

"Do You Want to Know a Secret," The Beatles (Please Please Me, 1963).
The Beatles' first U.S. Top 10 song with George Harrison as lead singer, it reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 as a single released by Vee-Jay Records in 1964. It failed to surpass The Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love" at the top of the chart. It's a John Lennon composition, inspired by a tune from a Walt Disney movie his mother would sing to him in his childhood.

"(Don't Fear) The Reaper," Blue Oyster Cult (Agents of Fortune, 1976).
This song put Blue Oyster Cult on the mainstream radar after they spent a few years as critical darlings in the rock underground. It reached No. 12 on the Hot 100 and remains the band's biggest hit. Lead guitarist and singer Donald Roeser, known professionally as Buck Dharma, apparently was obsessed with a belief that he would die a young man. He maintains that the song is a celebration of a couple's eternal love, though common speculation is that it's about a couple in a suicide pact. Roeser is still working at age 73, the only member that has been with BOC since its 1967 formation.

"E-Jam (Daydream Intonation)," Kinski (Spacelaunch for Frenchie, 1999).
I was wondering when I was going to get to Kinski in these Pandora posts. This four-piece from Seattle is the hardest-rocking band I have heard out of that post-rock/shoegaze movement of the 1990s. Most of Kinski's work is instrumental, but they do toss in a few vocals, generally one track per album. Spacelaunch for Frenchie was their debut. They're still around as far as I know, having recorded nine or 10 studio albums as well as a few EPs and split albums as of 2018. I like this band a lot. I've purchased most of their albums on either CD or digital download. This particular track was one of four demos they recorded that landed at the end of the debut album as CD-reissue bonus tracks. It's a driving six-minute instrumental featuring your basic two guitars, bass and drums, guaranteed to get your head bobbing and your air guitar playing.  

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