Sunday, April 18, 2021

Entertainment for a pandemic?

I wrote a post about "pandemic pals" last May, but the movie list in that blog entry needs an update. 

Even with vaccination widely available now, repression continues. Small business owners remain in reluctant league with unelected public health officials and self-aggrandizing politicians to keep mask mandates and so-called "social distancing" in effect. 

(If you're distancing, you're not being social. Words mean things, as I'm fond of saying).

In any case, movies watched since last May have helped to pass the time:

  • A Fall From Grace (2020)
  • The Maltese Falcon (1941)
  • Sully (2016)
  • Fatman (2020)
  • Nobody's Fool (1994)
  • Finding Ohana (2021)
  • Parasite (2019)
  • An Ideal Husband (1999)
  • Lincoln (2012)
  • Apollo 13 (1995)
  • Nomadland (2020)
  • Risen (2016)
  • White Nights (1985)
  • The Terminal (2004)
  • Concrete Cowboy (2021)
  • Miracles from Heaven (2016)
  • The Untouchables (1987)
  • The Zookeeper's Wife (2017)

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Hobbits of the music world

 I have a few thoughts about artists who are underrated.

The most underrated singers:

  • Patty Smyth: If you haven't heard her song Wish I Were You, you're missing out. And her duet with Don Henley on Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough still grabs me after almost 30 years. Goodbye to You and The Warrior (1984) were Patty's biggest hits. She's hardly unknown, but she ought to be in the same musical conversations that Ann Wilson and Pat Benatar are. And I miss the early Eighties music videos that bands made just by hiring a videographer to capture them dancing around a studio. 
  • John Popper: Sure, he wailed like nobody's business while fronting Blues Traveler with a diatonic harmonica, of all things, but anybody who sings Hook (1994) as well as John Popper does also has serious vocal chops. And Hook wasn't a one-off, as you'll know if you also listen to Run-Around or The Mountains Win Again.
The most underrated guitar solos:
  • When The Knack made a splash with their monster single My Sharona in 1979, the pretty braless woman on the album cover and the take-no-prisoners drum beat got more attention than Berton Averre's guitar, but what Averre brought to the party still stands in perfect propulsive counterpoint to all the other energy in the song. Everything you'd want in a lead guitar solo is in there somewhere.
  • (YouTube legend Rick Beato agrees with me on this one): What Tom Scholz does with his lead guitar on the Boston anthem A Man I'll Never Be  (1978) is too often overlooked by people who recognize Scholz for his producing and arranging, or the home studio he used to put together Boston's legendary debut album way back when.
  • The original recording of Paul Simon's Late in the Evening (1980) doesn't feature a traditional guitar solo from Eric Gale, but only because it already has a propulsive duet between bass and drums plus horn parts you can dance to. With drummer Steve Gadd using two sticks in each hand, Gale has to content himself by playing fills throughout the song -- but they're very tasty fills.