myelectronicjukebox

Just another WordPress.com site

Posts Tagged ‘fleetwood mac’

“Blue Letter”

Posted by purplemary54 on July 29, 2017

One of the side effects of taking melatonin is an increased vividness to REM sleep.  And I have to say that in the few years I’ve been taking this supplement on a semi-regular basis that my dreams have become markedly more odd and much more vivid.

The vividness comes from an increase in senses other than sight and sound, although those senses have heightened in my dream world as well.  I can feel, smell, and taste things in my dreams now.  It’s disconcerting but also kind of fun.  I feel like my emotions and lucidity when I dream are also increased.  That doesn’t mean I’m lucid dreaming in the sense that I’m controlling what’s going on, but that I know I’m dreaming more often than I used to.  I suppose if I were prone to nightmares this would be less pleasant than it is, but for the most part my dreams are weird but not disturbing or frightening.  I find myself replaying recent actions and activities with dream logic, or symbolically dealing with my various anxieties.  One frequent trope of my dreams is that I am either watching or appearing in a movie or TV show–sometimes both simultaneously.  One part of me in the dream knows what I’m seeing/doing is merely fiction while another part is participating in the story being told.  Like I said, weird but not unpleasant.

Last night’s melatonin-induced oddity included the Fleetwood Mac song “Blue Letter.”  It was being played for some reason, though I can’t remember why.  I heard the opening verse quite clearly.  This wasn’t a case of the song being played just before I woke up and seeping into my sleep cycle; I didn’t have the radio on and the TV was tuned to the NFL network.  It’s more like the music shuffle phenomenon I’ve had ever since I got an iPod, although that usually happens when I’m awake.  The song basically just popped into my head.  As a result, I haven’t been able to shake the song all day.  So now y’all can sing along with me.

Advertisements

Posted in Music, Rock | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“Monday Morning”

Posted by purplemary54 on February 3, 2014

Yes, I’m aware that it’s no longer morning.  But this is one of my favorite monday songs.

It was a pretty uneventful day, really.  I tidied up a little, puttered around some.  But mostly I just did nothing.  I won’t get that opportunity much else this week.  I’ve got tentative plans with friends, and the cleaning ladies come tomorrow (and I might do some cleaning in the garage).  Oh, and I have to start tutoring again on Wednesday.  My life isn’t a whirlwind, but obligations do tend to eat up quite a bit of time.

I also chose this song because I’ve got Fleetwood Mac on my mind lately.  It was announced a few weeks ago that bassist John McVie has cancer, although his treatment seems to be going well (Stevie Nicks is certainly optimistic).  There was also word that Christine McVie was considering rejoining the band.  She played a couple shows in England with them, and was waiting to see if they asked her back.  I don’t know how related these bits of news are, but the timing is interesting.  These people have such weirdly entwined lives.

Posted in Music, Rock | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Repost: Holy Cow Palace*, Batman!

Posted by purplemary54 on January 11, 2014

I got myself this awesome collection not too long ago, and it didn’t even cost me $100.

I’ve posted before about what is arguably the greatest break-up album of all time, but I’m a little stunned by the way Fleetwood Mac is celebrating the 35th anniversary of the musical superstorm known as Rumours.  (You can have a look at the deluxe box set Amazon is selling here.)

What’s flipping me out here is the amazing wealth of incredible music that came from these sessions that didn’t make it onto either Rumours or 1979’s follow-up, Tusk (I have always believed that Tusk should have been named Rumours II: Lindsey and Stevie Have It Out).  In addition to a disc of live tracks from the Rumours tour, there are two full discs of outtakes and demos.  The DVD documentary on the making of the album probably just adds further insight into the creative process of these five people in conflict and turmoil.  If you’re even the most casual fan of Fleetwood Mac, there is probably something in this set that will interest you.

I purchased one of the songs from itunes, a Stevie Nicks demo called “Planets of the Universe.” (I stopped at one because I very quickly realized that the digital version of this set would not be enough; I’m gonna shell out the $100 for the hard copy as soon as I can afford it.)  And listening to it helps me understand why it might have been left off the original album.  This is intense stuff.  It’s beautiful and angry, just Stevie and her piano.  She’s pouring everything out in this song: fear, disappointment, grief, love, and rage.  You get a real sense of how co-dependent and dysfunctional her relationship with Lindsey must have been.  I’ve always wondered how the members of Fleetwood Mac felt hearing their personal lives blaring from every direction.  But the songs on Rumours are tame when compared to “Planets of the Universe” (even the searing “Gold Dust Woman” and “The Chain”).  I can’t even begin to imagine the pain Nicks would’ve felt hearing this song played every two hours on some Top Forty station.

I’m glad Fleetwood Mac has gained enough perspective on Rumours and the surrounding recordings to allow their fans to share in this music.  It’s one of the most amazing musical treats I’ve heard in a really long time.

*For anyone who doesn’t get the reference, the Cow Palace is a venue in San Francisco that Fleetwood Mac has played many times.

Posted in Music, Rock | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gone to the Movies: Sound City

Posted by purplemary54 on February 28, 2013

So last Sunday I got out of the house and saw a movie with my BFF.  We’re both huge music fans, and have an intense interest in the stories of how the music got made, so it seemed logical for us to go to the Art Theatre in Long Beach and see the one and only showing of Sound City.  What’s Sound City, you ask?  Just one of the best music documentaries I’ve ever seen, about one of the great lost music landmarks of SoCal.

Sound City was a dumpy little industrial building in a dumpy little industrial section of Van Nuys, which is might as well not be on a cultural map of Southern California.  But inside those unassuming walls, Rock & Roll history was made.  From 1969 until 2011, Sound City was the birthplace of some of the greatest albums of all time.  Rumours by Fleetwood Mac.  Damn the Torpedoes by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.  Nevermind by Nirvana.  Music that shook the world and shaped the lives of entire generations.  When the studio closed down a couple of years ago, Dave Grohl purchased the sound board from studio A, and installed it in his home studio.  The board was one of the very few built by Rupert Neve, who is apparently a genius (I can’t be entirely sure about that, because I don’t know that much about technical stuff, but I’ll trust the sounds I hear that were recorded on his board).  Grohl was so in love with the studio that helped make him a star, he decided not only to keep the sound alive, but to also tell the story of a time and place that is vanishing.

Thus was born the documentary, which is awesome and funny and heartbreaking.  Grohl gets many of Sound City’s biggest recording stars and long time employees to talk about the place they called home for so many years.  Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham owe their careers to Sound City.  If they hadn’t recorded their unsuccessful debut there, they might never have come to the attention of Mick Fleetwood.  Rick Springfield became a superstar because Joe Gottfried, one of the building’s owners, managed his career in the early 80s (they had a not-so-nice split, but made up before Gottfried’s death).  In addition to the movie, Dave Grohl and friends made an album of new music called Real to Reel.  There’s some great songs on there, so I highly recommend tracking down a copy.  See the movie, too.  It only had a limited release in theaters, but it’s available on video on demand from a lot of providers (we can get it from FIOS).  It’s worth spending a couple of hours to see how many people loved that dumpy little building in Van Nuys, one that most people only heard of if they bothered to read the liner notes on . . . a pretty sizeable number of albums, it turns out.

Posted in Gone to the Movies, Music, Rock | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Holy Cow Palace*, Batman!

Posted by purplemary54 on February 17, 2013

I’ve posted before about what is arguably the greatest break-up album of all time, but I’m a little stunned by the way Fleetwood Mac is celebrating the 35th anniversary of the musical superstorm known as Rumours.  (You can have a look at the deluxe box set Amazon is selling here.)

What’s flipping me out here is the amazing wealth of incredible music that came from these sessions that didn’t make it onto either Rumours or 1979’s follow-up, Tusk (I have always believed that Tusk should have been named Rumours II: Lindsey and Stevie Have It Out).  In addition to a disc of live tracks from the Rumours tour, there are two full discs of outtakes and demos.  The DVD documentary on the making of the album probably just adds further insight into the creative process of these five people in conflict and turmoil.  If you’re even the most casual fan of Fleetwood Mac, there is probably something in this set that will interest you.

I purchased one of the songs from itunes, a Stevie Nicks demo called “Planets of the Universe.” (I stopped at one because I very quickly realized that the digital version of this set would not be enough; I’m gonna shell out the $100 for the hard copy as soon as I can afford it.)  And listening to it helps me understand why it might have been left off the original album.  This is intense stuff.  It’s beautiful and angry, just Stevie and her piano.  She’s pouring everything out in this song: fear, disappointment, grief, love, and rage.  You get a real sense of how co-dependent and dysfunctional her relationship with Lindsey must have been.  I’ve always wondered how the members of Fleetwood Mac felt hearing their personal lives blaring from every direction.  But the songs on Rumours are tame when compared to “Planets of the Universe” (even the searing “Gold Dust Woman” and “The Chain”).  I can’t even begin to imagine the pain Nicks would’ve felt hearing this song played every two hours on some Top Forty station.

I’m glad Fleetwood Mac has gained enough perspective on Rumours and the surrounding recordings to allow their fans to share in this music.  It’s one of the most amazing musical treats I’ve heard in a really long time.

 

*For anyone who doesn’t get the reference, the Cow Palace is a venue in San Francisco that Fleetwood Mac has played many times.

Posted in Music, Rock | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“Gold Dust Woman”

Posted by purplemary54 on August 19, 2012

I spent a little time with Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors in an earlier post about break-up albums, but I neglected this weird little gem from Stevie Nicks.  “Gold Dust Woman” closes out the album, and leaves you unsettled and haunted.  Listening to the studio version, with the tribal drums and spooky howling at the end, it’s kind of easy to see how people could accuse Nicks of being a witch.  This song, and her performance of it, is spellbinding.

Like the most of the rest of the album, “Gold Dust Woman” is emotionally turbulent–angry and defiant with just a hint of sadness.  But exactly who the anger is directed at is a little unclear.  The first lines, “Rock on gold dust woman, take your silver spoon and dig your grave” is clearly a reference to the dangers of the drugs they were probably all using (Nicks had a notable problem with cocaine that lasted well into the 1980s).  But she also seems to be referencing Lindsey Buckingham and their fractured relationship: “Well is it over now, do you know how to pick up your pieces and go home?”  She also seems to be calling out his possessive and controlling attitude with “Rulers make bad lovers, you better put your kingdom up for sale.”  Nicks seems to jabbing at both Buckingham and herself simultaneously.  It can also be read as a critique of fame and life on the road; the line “Wake up in the morning.  See your sunrise loves to go down” didn’t come out of nowhere, I’m sure.  (Rock stars get all the fame, money,  world travel, drugs, and groupies; they also get to live these weird lives where they have no privacy, sleep all day, work all night, never see anyone they love and never stay in one place more than a few weeks. It’s a trade-off.)  This song simply refuses to be pinned down, a wonderfully mysterious musical experience.

I love this clip from their reunion concert.  Time and experience add weight to Nicks’ performance here, giving the song a little more substance and meaning.  It’s also really fascinating to watch her interact with Buckingham.  They’ve been orbiting around each other for over 40 years now, constantly and consistently drawn to back together, like Pluto and Charon (our former 9th planet and its satellite, which are so locked into their orbits that they don’t rotate, the same sides always facing each other).  The little dance of glances they cast back and forth tells almost as much of a story as the song.  (At another point in the concert, when they play “Landslide” together, just the two of them, it’s almost magical.  Their relationship might not have always been a healthy one but it’s always been special.)

Posted in Music | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Art of the Break-up Album

Posted by purplemary54 on March 18, 2012

Note: Up until now, my methodology (such as it is) has been to listen to songs on my itunes until something catches my attention, and I write about it.  This has been uneven and frustrating when my mind refuses to settle on something.  I’ll still employ the random method, but I think I’ll expand my repertoire to include more general postings (not that I couldn’t do that anyway in more frequent posting, but I’ve yet to master multiple posts a day).  So, today’s entry is a little less specific.

I love break-up albums.  Not that I think it’s so wonderful that couples break-up.  There is nothing wonderful about heartbreak; I’ve had my heart broken, so I know just exactly how much it sucks.  But it does lead to good, sometimes great, art.  And some of the best albums I own came in the aftermath of the end of a relationship/marriage.  The timing of them varies, so the main emotional thrust is often very different.  Bruce Springsteen put out Tunnel of Love before his marriage to Julianne Phillips ended, so the album chronicles the confusion and uncertainty of a marriage as it dissolved (“God have mercy on the man who doubts what he’s sure of”).  Tom Petty waited a couple of years before his divorce album, Echo, was recorded and released.  The time gave him a more circumspect attitude to his divorce from Jane Petty; it’s very loving and sympathetic, a rarity for this particular genre.  I think you might even classify The White Album as a break-up record, even though it took them a couple more years to actually admit it (maybe that’s why I like it so much).

The ultimate break-up albums are, of course, Bob Dylan’s masterpiece Blood on the Tracks and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors.  Both of them were written and recorded in the midst of divorce and separation.  They are both miraculous in their own rights:  Dylan’s because it is the best thing he ever recorded, IMO; Fleetwood Mac’s simply for existing.

Dylan first.  Blood on the Tracks is simply stunning.  The depth of emotion and revelation is almost unheard of for a Bob Dylan record.  He seems almost as naked as the production, which is stripped down, primarily acoustic.  Even though he never makes any clear statements about his estrangement from his wife, the references are thinly veiled at best.  Many of the songs are about love gone wrong.  “Simple Twist of Fate” comes closest to drawing overtly on the break-up, especially at the end, when he sings “I still believe she was my twin, but I lost the ring.”  The sadness is palpable through most of the songs, as is wry humor and nostalgia for what’s been lost.  He really only rages on “Idiot  Wind,” and then it’s not entirely clear who the rage is directed at.  It seems to shift direction from Sara to himself to the press for digging into his personal heartbreak like vultures.  The only track that seems out of place is “Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts,” a bizarre, drawn out western about a bank heist and a barroom romance that ends in death (although it at least fits thematically).  Dylan knew his marriage was over when he recorded this, although they didn’t divorce until two years after it’s release.  Blood on the Tracks is sort of the musical equivalent to lying in bed with all the curtains drawn because you just can’t face the heartbreak.

Rumors is the musical equivalent to having a huge screaming fight, complete with name calling and thrown dishes, in the middle of your anniversary party.  Which makes perfect sense, since two of the break-ups occurring during the recording of the mother of all break-up albums happened between members of the band.  (It was such a messy affair, that it spilled over into the next album, Tusk, two years later.)  The fact that they managed to continue working together through all of this is a testament to their sheer stubbornness if nothing else.  And Lindsey Buckingham kicks off the festivities with a bang by declaring himself “Second Hand News” in the first track.  (There is absolutely no reason to pretend these people are singing about anything but themselves and each other here; this is the single most autobiographical work I’ve ever heard.)  Stevie Nicks seems less angry and more circumspect about the end of her relationship with Buckingham, but she’s no less accusatory: “Players only love you when they’re playing.”  Christine and John McVie’s simultaneous divorce seems a quieter affair, but that may be only because John was the bassist; he didn’t get to sing.  Christine, though, seems to be moving on, with songs like “You Make Loving Fun,” about a relationship she had shortly after splitting with John.  She seems to be rubbing his nose in the fact that she’s a lot happier without him.  While the other four members were fighting amongst themselves, Mick Fleetwood was in the middle of divorcing his first wife.  The album reaches its emotional climax on “The Chain,” which is a reaffirmation of why they remained together as a band even as they broke apart personally.  It gives voice to all of Fleetwood Mac’s members, with Mick’s drumming and John’s bass forming not just the rhythmic spine but much of the emotional tenor.  John McVie’s bass is especially evocative; it’s simple technically, but he makes his brief solo shine with everything he couldn’t say.  The song builds itself around the beat and the chant of the chorus, “And if you don’t love me now, you will never love me again.  I can still hear you saying we must never break the chain,” and finally erupts into a blistering guitar solo by Buckingham.  There is a unified vision in this song, even as the vitriol spills out.  They will hang on to each other through the chaos, burned by the crucible into a single entity.  The band was simply bigger than they were.

Which explains the optimism of arguably the most well-known song from Rumors: “Don’t stop thinkin’ about tomorrow.  Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here.  It’ll be here, better than before.  Yesterday’s gone.  Yesterday’s gone.”

Posted in Music, Rock | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »