Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Music And Radio 2015

Quotation du jour ~ Groucho Marx: Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.

There was a time, when i would buy around 100 vinyl albums a year, but that's pre-history, let's forget it.

There was a time when i would buy maybe 100 compact discs a year. I have a huge collection, far more music than i could possibly listen to in a lifetime – and i don't have a lifetime left.

Then there was another time – i spent years and a lot of money copying many of my old vinyl albums to CD-Rs, cos i really only ever listen to music on my computer these days. I had over 3000 of them (CD-Rs), they became like an infestation taking over my apartment, it was ridiculous. But then i discovered that quite a few of the older ones would no longer play – whether it was because the CD-Rs were poor quality or because of the crappy freeware i used to use to burn them, i don't know (although i suspect it was the former) and in a fit of pique i threw them all out, yes i did. Thank goodness i kept the original albums, although i have no way to play them these days.

And although i download music all of the time (and not always legally, shhh) i vastly prefer something that i can physically hold rather than a bunch of digital ones and zeroes.

In 2015, i bought a grand total of 28 CDs (oh, and several music DVDs, although i don't really watch music DVDs much). Here's the complete list. You knew there's be a list, didn't you.... (Titles with an asterisk are those i already have on vinyl.)

The Allman Brothers Band – Brothers And Sisters*
Arkells – High Noon
Jeff Beck – Live+
Birth Control – Backdoor Possibilities*
The Cars – The Essentials
Paula Cole – 7
Elvis Costello – The Best Of Elvis Costello: The First Ten Years
Fairport Convention – Myths And Heroes
Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Rory Gallagher – Cradle Rock
Rory Gallagher – Irishman In New York
David Gilmour – Rattle That Lock
Peter Hammill -- ...all that might have been...
Honeymoon Suite – The Essentials
Colin James – Hearts On Fire
John Jones – Never Stop Moving
Kensington Market – Aardvark
Kensington Market – Avenue Road*
John Kirkpatrick – Tunes From The Trenches
Van Morrison – Astral Weeks*
Jone Osborne – Relish (20th Anniversary Edition)
Steve Rothery – The Ghosts Of Pripyat
Runrig – Party On The Moor
James Taylor – Before The World
Thin Lizzy – Live And Dangerous*
Richard Thompson -- Still
Van der Graaf Generator – Merlin Atmos
Max Webster – Mutiny Up My Sleeve*

I suppose that, of the new releases, the Richard Thompson and the Steve Rothery were my favourites (i'm a little disappointed that there is so little new music coming out these days that interests me), and of the old schtuff, i would consider the Van Morrison, Joan Osborne and Thin Lizzy albums to be essential.

So let's talk about (or should i have written “let me blether about”?) radio stations for a bit. I don't have cable, and where i live there are exactly zero (0) radio stations that i can receive on my radio that i like, so i listen to radio online, and there are four stations upon which i click in the mornings. (I rarely listen to the radio other than in the morning.)

The primary one is KSHE, from St Louis (www.kshe95.com). I don't like them as much as i did when i first was told about them – they've changed somewhat and now play performers i detest far too often (Aerosmith, Ozzy Osborne, Guns 'n' Roses every bloody hour!) but they also have two of the greatest programs ever: Tommy T.'s “The Rock Magazine” (it runs from 4:00 – 5:00 a.m., my time, every weekday). On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Tommy spotlights an artist and plays schtuff that rarely gets played anywhere – deep tracks, in other words. On Wednesdays, he has a “theme” edition, i.e., all songs with a certain subject, songs about cars, songs about the weather, etc. Friday it's anything goes – miscellaneous classic rock songs that are never heard elsewhere.

But the jewel in KSHE's crown, IMFFHO, is the Sunday morning Klassics show, hosted by John Ulett, a.k.a. Uman – a legend in St Louis broadcasting, i'm told. It is four hours (9:00 – 1:00, my time) of classic rock that's rarely heard elsewhere and it is invariably magic. I used to work every Sunday and would listen on my phone (i have the KSHE app), but i could barely hear the music most of the time (i work in a noisy place). I fought for literally a year for Sundays off and they finally, a few months ago, gave them to me. I love having Sundays off!

There's another St Louis station i listen to a lot, too: an Internet station called St Louis Classic Rock [dot] com – the link to their audio stream is www.slcr.tv. I listen to them on my laptop at work every morning, and they play a huge variety, most of it great but some of it pretty obscure, too. An extraordinary station.

Sunday is my day off and i generally listen to KOCI, from Newport Beach, California. Find them at http://www.kociradio.com/ They play classic rock, too, but schtuff that's a bit more mellow and they include more soul, folk, and blues than KSHE & SLCR. I like to ease my way into Sunday morning, and they're my ticket, until, obviously, i switch over to KSHE at nine o'clock.

On weekday mornings, after “The Rock Mgazine” ends, i generally switch to K-ROCK, from Kingston, Ontario. Yes, a Canadian station! http://www.krock1057.ca/ It's pretty much a generic rock station, playing a mix of the old and the new. I started listening because my old friend Wendy Boomer went there, and, although she has now moved on to a country music station (and i have no intention of following her there!) I'm used to them now, and although Kingston is quite a long way away from me, i still like them for “local” news and weather. And i like the jocks there, and i like the music, so there ya go.

And , ooh, here's a playlist:

Rory Gallagher -- Notes From San Francisco
Steve Hackett -- Watcher Of The Skies
Chicago -- Chicago III
Yes -- Fragile
Afrocelts -- Seed
The Albion Band -- Live At The Cambridge Folk Festival
Jon Anderson -- Olias Of Sunhillow
Jethro Tull -- Heavy Horses
Stan Rogers -- Fogarty's Cove
Soft Machine -- Third
Happy Rhodes -- Equipoise

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