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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Just Shows How Wrong You Can Be

I spotted an article in The Guardian the other day where critics were given the opportunity to revisit and revise some of their old reviews and opinions.

My own nominations might include;

A Passion Play by Jethro Tull.
As much as I loved Thick As A Brick when I heard this too-clever-for-its own good toshery I hung up the codpiece for well over 20 years, missing out on Minstrel In The Gallery, Songs From The Wood and Heavy Horses when they came out. It was John Kimber who strapped me into the chair and proceeded to persuade me of its (very) elusive charms. That said, I still prefer a burn of the album that misses out all that Hare and spectacles nonsense.

Discipline by King Crimson
I was a fan of Talking Heads and Steve Reich so the concepts weren’t hard to assimilate. It was the lack of Mellotron and (gasp) another guitarist that was hard to get my head round. Met with cries of “They’re not worthy” when I first heard this one I now regard this album as one of the of the four truly classic essential KC albums.

Mr. Gone by Weather Report
Despite the worryingly commercial “And Then” and the lack of killer Wayne Shorter licks, it was great seeing one of my favourite bands getting some much deserved recognition after the hit-happening Heavy Weather. A couple of months later and I heard it for the gimmicky grandstanding and ultimately empty assortment of half-baked ideas it really is. This was when the Weather got very damp indeed.

Most albums by Pat Metheny I like when I first hear them and then the noodling gets to me and they have to be discarded. The exceptions to this slash and burn policy are Off Ramp and Witchita.

Any other nominations out there?


Norman said...

Mine would be Bob Dylan. I went off rock music completely during the late 60s (talk about timing!) then got into reading the underground press, which was full of how revolutionary Dylan was. The last I'd heard of him, I think, was some Peter Paul and Mary or Hollies covers. Anyway I sought out a friend who had a Dylan album and asked to borrow it. It was 'Nashville Skyline'. I thought Eh?

It was probably another year before I heard John Wesley Harding and got Greatest Hits Vol 2, so realising what the fuss was about.

Will said...

It has to be Bitches Brew for me. I first heard it and thought it was dreadful. However, I did go out and buy a copy as I had the strangest feeling I might like it one day. ABout eight years of sporadic visits later it has become one of the desrt island albums.

Darren said...

It's worse the other way around when you like something that is universally panned by every other critic. I know it is not an album per se, but I remember when I used to submit movie reviews to "What Video?" magazine and I turned in a glowing appraisal of "The Cable Guy" with Jim Carrey. I thought it was a modern indictment of the TV obsessed X-Generation. Boy, the editor disagreed and rewrote my copy. The swine! But you wait, there'll come a day when that film is re-evaluated as a classic...then I'll have the last laugh. :-)

djaitch said...

In my case it has been a couple of albums I bought in the early 80's during my anal period for completeness of the Allan Holdsworth cannon (canon?). These were LPs from what I call his 'French period' and recorded with Gordon Beck: 'Sunbird' and 'Things You See (When You Have Got Your Gun)'. Import albums spotted on London day trip taking in Dobell's, bought with the expectation of Holdsworth's distinctive, electric legato and fast runs. However, with these elements largely missing the albums didn't grab me and so taken down from the record shelves on rare and irregular occasions, until...... Then last year with access to audio clean-up software, I spent some hours removing hiss/scratches and equalising these records onto CD. When I got hooked. In all probability it has taken me 20+ years to mature into this type of jazz from my preferred jazz rock fusion. Look out for the twoforone CD issued by the French label JMS, holding both LPs. This has lots of what now can be considered rarities from Holdsworth: acoustic guitar, a vocal, some violin playing, and doing what Holdsworth does best, interpreting other people's compositions, (here Beck's). In passing Holdsworth exploratory work in the late 70's has hardly surfaced recording wise, although the free jazz under John Steven's lead can be found. Rumour has it other recordings remain in the can , e.g. with Danny Thompson and John Stevens.

However, one album that has not gained in attractiveness is 'Tales Of Topographic Oceans' from the day of its original release and I've tried. A band with the bit between its collective teeth - although Rick Wakeman's anedotes about the making of the album suggest he was unhappy...Sampling the CD remaster of TOTO reminded me why I was all too ready ready to buy the Stranglers' 'Rattus Norwegius'.

And how about albums sampled many years ago, which after a long time have been heard recently - with the realisation that fond and distant memories can become quite false? I found two albums heard at drunken parties in the late 60's and early 70's, respectively 'Haphash & The Coloured Coat Featuring The Human Host And The Heavy Metal Kids', and 'One Live Badger', turned out to be real stinkers when bought on CD format 30 years later.


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