It’s Just Me and the Little Brown Dog

Here I am, back in the Blogosphere! Yeah, sitting perched high above the F Line with The Little Brown Dog. It’s been awhile, an unforced hiatus if you will, but I’m anxious to start spewing flotsam and jetsam on the most trivial of matters, like what’s currently on rotation on my iPod™ ….

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WRECKING BALL • BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & THE E STREET BAND

I know, everybody and their dog has reviewed the new Bruuuuce LP, but now it’s me and my dog’s turn.

I think it’s fair to say that no musical artist since Woody Guthrie has tapped into the Working-Class Everyman’s American Psyche the way Springsteen has over the course of his career. His was the most eloquent and touching of the millions of 9/11 treatises with 2002’s, The Rising. He paid homage to the great Unwashed Folk Tradition of the mid-20th Century with his Seeger Sessions and continued to carry the banner of the Average American Rock & Roll Soulster with his back-to-back-to-back classics, Devils & Dust, Magic and Working On A Dream. With Wrecking Ball he may have hit his pinnacle.

If Woody Guthrie had the Dust Bowl and The Great Depression, Bruce has glommed onto the Occupy Wall Street 99%er vibe goin’ down nationally and provided all the anthems the movement will ever need. A

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OLD IDEAS/LEONARD COHEN

The Master is in his 70s and the singing is mostly a whispered recitation set against sparse instrumentation (aside from the “live in the studio” feel of Darkness, which was recorded with his well-groomed, road-tested touring band) but this masterpiece could not have been done any other way. What I love most about this collection is that it seems to settle in on your soul a little more with each listen. You should play this one at least once every three or four days for a month or two and let it wind like smoke through your neurons. Really nice stuff. A+

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ALL WE ARE SAYING • BILL FRISELL

This is a 2011 release but I just picked it up a few weeks ago (one of those Amazon sale downloads) so I’m including it here.

Not usually a fan of “tribute” albums, but in this case I think it’s interesting enough to warrant a little discussion.

Of the duo, John Lennon was considered a “word guy” while McCartney seemed unequaled as a master of melody. What guitarist Bill Frisell manages to show us here is that Lennon knew his way around a tune as well. Frisell, a veteran guitarist with an eclectic style that makes me think of Robert Fripp on warm Bosco, finds the beauty of Lennon’s compositions in sometimes the oddest of places. Beatle songs as old as Please Please Me float incandescently alongside solo works like #9 Dream and Woman – they all sound new in the Frisell translation.

Oddly, the least-interesting cuts are the ones considered John’s most accessible. Imagine is just boring Musak when stripped of its personality. Frisell mines musical gold in between the lines of songs like Nowhere Man and the opener, Across The Universe (the album’s best cut). The interplay of guitar and pedal steel is mesmerizing throughout the entire LP. All in all, a neat take on familiar material. Worth a listen. B

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As most of you guys know, the Lovely Miss Beans and I have high-tailed it from the wilds of Redding and found ourselves on the 22nd floor of a big, obnoxious box on San Francisco’s Market Street. We’ve been ensconced in our little nest for a little more than a year now and are starting to feel acclimated to City Life.

The above photo was taken from the infamous balcony on a nice, clear SF day (thought that was an oxymoron, didn’t you?) … there seems to ALWAYS be something goin’ down out there…

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Baseball season is upon us!!! My Beloved Bums are gonna surprise some folks this year! (I think.) Andy has moved to Chicago and lives within walking distance of Wrigley Field… Zac will be visiting Fenway and Safeco (probably catch another Pirates or Phillies game before heading West), Nick has stops planned at Fenway, Wrigley and Miller Park before heading to L.A. with me and Sam for their first visit to Dodger Stadium. Hey, what can I say? We likes a little hardball!

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I’m still coming to terms with the recent loss of my friend and mentor, Peter Bergman. Look for Peter Bergman’s Big Brouhaha, A Tribute By The Firesign Theatre on April 21st. Plans are still in the formative stage, but a live web streaming is in the works. Also, look for Chromium Switch #3 coming out soon as a downloadable e-mag.

See you all soon!

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3 Comments on “It’s Just Me and the Little Brown Dog”

  1. Scott Steele Says:

    I am glad that the 3 or 4 Crazee Guys are going to get together and make a presentation about Mr. Bergman. In jazz parlance, he was a monster.

  2. ianbalentine Says:

    Bruce Springsteen is still releasing albums? Really? Johnny Cougar is better…

    🙂


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