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Don’t Be a Cluck

Bemoan Meghan Trainor all you like: This week in 1976, this was the number one song in the United States.

My Dad and I were reminded of this by a now-discorporated Casey Kasem on satellite radio on the way home from a nice visit to the home country for the weekend. There is nothing like a rainy gloomy weekend in western Pennsylvania. We three, my Dad, my Grandma and I are lazing in the house on Saturday afternoon, the sky looks like Scott the Engineer and the rain is beating down on the deck. My Grandma laments that, back in the day, on a day like this, they’d play cards. Kids don’t play cards these days. Because television.

Meanwhile there are like five 11-year-old boys playing some pretty rough football outside. I mean for hours they’re out in the rain, running, screaming, clearly neither distracted by television nor playing cards. I can’t help but suspect that the reason I never was much of a card player was because that was what the old folks used to always reminisce about what they used to do on gloomy rainy days. For me it wasn’t television of course, nor cards, it was repeated listenings of The Final Cut, complete with headphones. :: GOTTA COMPETE WITH THE WILEY JAPANESE :: That was how I liked to spend a gloomy afternoon when I was a kid.

Dad and I ended up hitting the road, first for the obligatory time spent downtown (and hey, a shout to the Edinboro Hotel for some really good wings) and then a trip outside of town to yet another antique shop, where my Dad scored a great bargain. I won’t detail it, but if you understand Blue Ridge dishware, you’d likely be pulling your hair out.

Nice visit, nice weekend, nice trip. I can always go back to Edinboro.

Life Is a Series of Dogs

You remember Charlie.

Well, Charlie went and hurt himself this week. Rather badly. One of his legs ain’t working and another is gimpy. He probably messed up his back.

He’s only 7.

Anyway, the Farm is trying to raise some funds to help fix him. Premium donors will get a year’s worth of horse rides.

Here’s the link. Thank you. I don’t think we’re ready for the next in the series yet.

Credit, Carlin.

I was just saying to myself, myself, I said, it’s about time for Prince to do SNL, isn’t it?

Eye no!

October 9 Nanu Nanu

I haz new pet dragonfly.

Or, I did. Little guy flew in the other night; he was big. He flew around a bunch, probably more frustrated to be in my little apartment than I usually am. Most because I reckon I didn’t have anything available for him to eat.

After a while, I stopped seeing him buzzing around. I hope he managed to backtrack his way to the window.

And, remember: “No, but if you hum a few bars” is perfectly acceptable on first reference.

And now a public service announcement from 8WK.

Mrs. Skanotto Halloween

Public Service Announcement

I’ve been looking for this:

“The advice for those who are throwing out ceremonial first pitches: Get the baseball early, pick at the stitches with your fingers for as many minutes as you can, and then aim at the catcher’s head. The ball should drop dramatically into his glove.” (Keith Olbermann)

I mean, you never know.

Prince Saves the World

Once upon a time, in a land very far away, the average Prince fanatic could count on at least one seminal album release per year.

You’d look forward to it as much as you looked forward to your birthday. For me, it was always pretty much a guarantee that I’d be in the record store that week, and that for the next week I’d be wearing new grooves into that CD. I’d usually be puzzled on first listen, then more accepting upon subsequent listens, then eventually fully adopting the entirety of it into my very being.

Then, for whatever reason, Prince got mad at Warner Bros., changed his name, and wrote “slave” on his face. In the process, he took on the distribution himself.

Which mean this nice steady source of sublime albums became less reliable.

Some releases were toss-offs, collections of stuff he never meant for public consumption, released just to fulfill his Warner Bros. contract. And, while I rather like Chaos and Disorder, the critics were lukewarm. Others were poorly distributed, one release just given away in a British magazine and never released in the United States. So by the time I finally saw the man live touring for Musicology, I didn’t feel like a current fan. I felt like I’d lost touch with this maniacal genius I’d come to crave.

Some refer to this as his “patchy period.”

So, here we are. September 30, 2014. Prince releases not just one, but TWO albums with his previous label’s backing.

I wanted to be that kid again. I wanted to go to the record store, to purchase the music, to take it home, to listen, and to continue to listen until it was accessible, then until it was joyous, then until it was simply inevitable.

Not disappointed. Not one little bit.

Art Official Age and PLECTRUMELECTRUM are instantly essential pieces of the Prince canon. I would, in fact, dare to say that Lovesexy is the last time Prince has been so supremely together. (Others I’m certain will think the same but will move the benchmark elsewhere, to Sign o’ the Times, perhaps?)

First, if you’re curious, you need to get these albums straight. Art Official Age is the solo project, a loosely constructed concept album around the story that Prince is somehow preserved for 45 years hence and wakes up in a futuristic society. Gladly, the concept does not overpower the music. The most irksome thing about this approach to me is that he can’t seem to not make an album without a concept moved forward by a broad with a nice voice. He did this on The Gold Experience; he had Kirstie Alley on 0{+>. But, okay, it’s a narrative device that works for him.

Besides, I should stop complaining. Lianne La Havas is rather pleasant to listen to.

Anyway. Art Official Age (yes, that is a pun) is the more standard Prince fare. Funky dance moves. Slow jams. The usual come-ons. It opens with “Art Official Cage,” a disco-tinged guilty pleasure that downshifts into “Clouds,” where we first hear the lovely La Havas lend her vocals. (For more of her work, give the iTunes Album of The Year 2012 a listen.) Despite the physics-impossible claim of a “place that does not require time,” and despite that some of the lyrics remind me a tad of “Sex Tips from Ronnie the Limo Driver,” “Clouds” is a pleaser.

PLECTRUMELECTRUM is the album by Prince and his supporting band, 3rdeyegirl. Giving the man props for raiding the metals sciences for his title. Opener “Wow” is a reworking of Liv Warfield’s recording of “The Unexpected.” From then on, PLECTRUMELECTRUM is pretty much a fun exercise in riff rock…so much so that by the time it gets to the title track, I’m thinking someone in that circle is listening to The Atomic Bitchwax lately. “BOYTROUBLE” is certainly a standout, featuring appearances by Lizzo and Sophia Eris (of “Batches and Cookies” doncha know).

Anyway. Prince, man. It’s good to have you back. I hope this is just the start of a new era for you.

See you next year.

Thursday October Seinfeld 1984

To Do Fryday

~ Take measurements for that little shelf I want to put in the batroom

~ Go to Record Archive and purchase PlectrumElectrum and Art Official Age

~ Get in the car and listen to PlectrumElectrum and Art Official Age

~ Bank

~ Farm. Get barked at by Charlie for 12 minutes straight.

~ Eat things

~ Haircut

~ Lowe’s : Clamp, Shelf

~ BBB: Humidifyer

What’d I forget?

That’s probably about it. Except: Expect some Prince blogging.

This Is The Voice

That time on The Voice when the music started and it was “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and the judges’ faces lit up, and then the guy on the stage, proceeded to sing the song horribly.

What I did walk away from it is how universally loved is that song. I mean I think Gwen Stefani BEAMED when she heard that intro. And, she’s right.

But Andy. Oh, Andy. C’mon. This is not a song on which you bring out your inner Roger Daltry.

Ya know? And, not to mention: I know you only have 90 seconds. But does that necessarily require rearranging the song until it’s barely recognizable?