Episode 61: Talk Amongst Yourselves

It’s been a busy week.  I started, but haven’t finished recording Episode 61.  If you’ve been with me from the start, you know I rarely miss a week.  The show I’ve cooked up is going to be great, so I’m not going to rush it, especially in light of some things this week.

In lieu of a show, I want to encourage you to do the musical selection and blathering.  Pick an album that’s important to your discovery of music, and actually listen to it.  That’s right, actually listen to it and then respond!  I’m guessing many of us could probably go on for hours about these records without listening to them, but I find great joy in returning to them.  Sometimes I discover things I just didn’t realize were there in my first 350 passes through the album.  So don’t merely make comments from memory.

Now, feel free to say anything you want about the record, but I’m going to give you some questions to consider (only as a starting point–feel free to expound upon these).  Post your thoughts about it in the comments section of this post.

  1. What album did you choose?
  2. How did you discover this album?  What memories or people do you associate with them album?
  3. Approximately when was the last time you listened to it?
  4. When you listen, do you find yourself re-evaluating the album or simply enjoying it?

In efforts to get the proverbial ball a-rolling, I’ll start.

I chose Genesis’ 1973 album, Selling England By the Pound.

Several times in college, I would housesit for a professor and seized the opportunity to watch their cable television.  One of these stays took place over winter break, when he and his wife went to Germany and VH1 ran a Behind The Music marathon.  I watched far too many shows, including Judas Priest and Motley Crue (twice, apiece!).  The episode that left the biggest impression was on Genesis.  Apart from Phil Collins’ solo career and Genesis’ song, “Man on the Corner,” I was unaware of anything else in the band’s canon.  Apart from bursts of mind-blowing music and cool, British-sounding album titles, I was taken by Peter Gabriel cutting shapes in his hair.  This was a band I’d check out on my next visit to Streetside Records.

The last time I listened to the album was probably a couple months ago.  (I’ve listened to A Trick of the Tail and And Then There Were Three a few times since.)

The temptation to turn listening experiences into academic ventures is strong for us discerning music lovers.  Nevertheless, no matter how I try to examine this album, it still blows me away.  Sure, I get the song structures and can predict everything that will happen next, but it’s still so overwhelming and exhausting.

Gabriel’s vocals are at their peak here: sometimes delicate, while other times he sounds like a decrepit old man.  The arrangements are tight, and the band literally picks you up and takes you places that Yes, ELP and the Moody Blues just couldn’t.  The mid-section in “Firth of Fifth” is the high point for me.  At the time, I thought the soaring organ/guitar lead starting around 5:50 that peaks at 7:40 reminded me of The Seventy-Sevens’ huge song, “Wild Blue,” exclusive to its live album 88. (I would later discover Mike Roe was a huge fan off the band and was obviously influenced by this record.  He even told me about seeing Genesis in the mid-70s, while Gabriel was still in the band.)  The record still provides quite a visceral experience for me.

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4 thoughts on “Episode 61: Talk Amongst Yourselves

  1. Selling England by the Pound is one of my favorite Genesis records as well. You can’t go wrong with “Dancing with the Moonlit Knight”. Nursery Cryme is another album of theirs I really enjoy. Steve Hackett’s guitar playing is on another level.

  2. My absolute favorite is Foxtrot. “Watcher of the Skies” and “Supper’s Ready” are epic. Like truly epic, not the way the word gets tossed around these days.

  3. Ben H says:

    I’m going to cheat a little and talk about a mix CD that was given to me by a friend Jim when I lived in St. Louis. After hearing me complain about being bored with all the music I had been exposed to, he gifted me several mix CD’s, including one revue of Guided By Voices. Talk about a mind expansion!

    This was also one of those mixes that came without a track list, and this was before Wikipedia was around. So, there was lots of mystery surrounding a) who the heck this guy was b) what the heck he was saying and c) why it rocked so hard. (Of course, now I’ve learned the GBV method of song naming.) I played it to the point that it became comfortable background music, and eventually it found it’s way out of rotation and got lost somewhere.

    Jim was my personal music guide. Fortunately, after moving to the KC side of the state, I met Jonathon. One of the earliest mix CD’s that he made me was a replacement GBV mix titled “A Serious Case of Cherry Picking.” It was pretty darn close to the one I had before, minus a rough recording of GBV doing an old R.E.M. tune. (I didn’t miss it much.)

    I obviously can’t listen to that original mix. Instead, I find myself enjoying it when I happen across the tracks within the context of their original albums. I’m doing this as I type and listen to “Do The Collapse.”

  4. Man, I forgot about the title of that mix. How appropriate for a GBV/Pollard mix!

    At the risk of getting too sentimental, I enjoy sharing music with you. Sure, you’re not always going to dig everything I throw at you (although you should), but you see music like I do. It’s simultaneously art as well as a medium for relationships to happen. I think GBV straddles this fence perfectly, making art rock as well as pop songs everyone can enjoy.

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