Kretchmer – Music in the Key of Minor

Doing a random search of good music to find on Bandcamp I came across this November 2018 release, and as it was only two pounds I thought it was worth a try.

This release is tagged as “detroit techno” as well as “electronic” on Bandcamp. The musician though is from Nottingham, and has only one other release titled “Music in the key of Major”, from 2016.

The music is nothing overly special, but quite listen able, and some of the song titles are amusing such as the first track which is called “Thinkin’ bout that galaxy, far, far, away”, and the last track “If we die, they live, a win-win situation ver 3.1471”.

Take a listen for yourself here. Using my fave music tracking website LastFM I found that I am one of only 49 people listening to Kretchmer, which puts me in an elite group I suppose.

Music count 2019: 3

Leningrad Cowboys – Total Balalaika Show

This is a CD album I have been seeking out for years, but I was just not able to find it anywhere here. It is available on Amazon Japan used for the nutters price of 20,000 yen (NZ$263, US$181)…some people!

Doing a search for it elsewhere was not getting far until I came across it on Discogs for the very fair price of 7.50 Euros. A chap in Germany was selling it, and I immediately bought it. Postage was also 7.50 Euro, but I was more than happy to pay it. It arrived this morning, only four days after it was posted in Deutschland.

I have heard this album several times before, but it was not very good quality, and as I enjoy the album so much it was my main purpose in life to find it on CD.

It is a live concert of the Leningrad Cowboys and the Red Choir, recorded in Helsinki in 1993. The sound quality is superb, and there are two discs worth of rock ‘n’ roll along with traditional Russian songs. There was also a DVD of the concert released, you can watch them perform the song “Delilah” here. I may consider getting the DVD too one day.

Unfortunately one of the songs did not rip well due to a slight scratch on the disc, so I am bummed about that, but it ain’t no big thing. And our pet bird, who recently loves to munch on paper, bit a small chunk out of the back CD liner (the CD was sent without the plastic case to save on postage costs). So if you have a bird just be aware of this potential situation.

An excellent listen, and my all-time favourite live album.

Edit: I ripped the song that was messed up again, this time using error correction, and it worked out just fine. Yay!

Music count 2019: 2

The 23rd Grammy Awards

The 23rd Grammy Awards were held on February 25th at Radio City Hall, New York.

Christopher Cross was a big winner, getting Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist. All of this for his “Christopher Cross” album (released in 1979), and the song “Sailing”. He was the first artists to win all four of these awards in one Grammy show.

Click on the image to hear the song

Best Comedy Recording went to Rodney Dangerfield for his No Respect.

Best Instrumental Composition and Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special both went to John Williams for The Empire Strikes Back. Totally deserved.

Best Country Vocal Performance, Female went to Anne Murray for her song “Could I Have This Dance?”, again totally deserved.

Anne released her final album in 2007, and her last tour was in 2008. She is 73 now, and seems to be taking life easy.

“On the Road Again” won Best Country Song, a given really. Willie released an album last year called “My Way”…

He is still touring, even at the age of 85. If he was to come to Japan I would certainly go see him.

Moody’s Mood” snagged George Benson the award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Male. George has won ten awards in all in the Grammy Awards. George also won Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male for “Give Me The Night”, an excellent choice there. I must buy a George album on vinyl.

Best Album Package was for the Against the Wind performed by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band.

Click on the image to listen

Kenny Loggins won Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male for his song “This Is It”. Kenny is now 71, and released his last album back in 2009. He seems to be doing charity work these days.

Pat Benetar won Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female for her album “Crimes of Passion”. Here is perhaps her most well known song from the album…

Her last album was in 2003, but she is still touring.

Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male went to Billy Joel for his “Glass Houses” album. The album sold 7.1 million copies. His last album was in 2001, but he is still touring.

I wouldn’t say it was a stellar year for the Grammy Awards, but there were some decent winners there.

If you click here you will see the top albums for 1980 in which the only Grammy winner to appear was Billy Joel. Clicking here will show you a list of number one albums in New Zealand in 1980 (and beyond), and here for England just for comparison.

Here are the top singles for 1980, many classic tracks there, but my pick of the lot would have to be “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc.

That song would turn out to be their one and only major hit, and they disbanded in 1985. It was a huge hit though, with the single going platinum in the same year it was released.

Some other albums from 1980 included “Remain In Light” by Talking Heads, “End of the Century” by The Ramones, “Pretenders” by The Pretenders, “Black Sea” by XTC, “Songs the Lord Taught Us ” by The Cramps, and “Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables” by the Dead Kennedys.

Doug DeMuro

The first YouTube channel I will write about is the first channel I subscribed to, I think.

Doug DeMuro is a writer for Autotrader where he writes about all kinds of cars. But, he is also a very popular YouTuber because of his car reviews in which he gives us a tour of a car’s “quirks and features”, takes it for a test drive, then gives the car a “Doug Score”.

He always does this wearing shorts, sneakers, and usually two layers of T-shirts. He is also quite funny, sometimes quite goofy, but is always entertaining. He gets to drive the most amazing cars, mostly borrowed from local car dealerships, or viewer’s cars. Mostly they are luxury cars, and occasionally hypercars such as the Bugatti Veyron or Porsche 918.

Here is a best bits video that will give you a good idea of what the channel is like…

He now has over 2.5 million subscribers, and is in the top ten of most popular car channels.

Highly recommended for car buffs.

Old Skool Grime

I have been curious about Grime music recently, so I decided to find out what it is all about by purchasing this Bandcamp compilation of “old skool grime” by a chap named DJ Perry D. It cost only 95 pence.

There are 36 tracks and I got through ten of them before I had too much. Even though all of the songs are by different artists, they all sounded the same and the music is really in your face kind of stuff, so it wears you down a bit. I wouldn’t say the music is bad, but it does get a bit much.

Here are a couple of examples…

For 95p I am not complaining at all, but from now on I will listen to a maximum of five tracks at a time.

Music count 2019: 1

The 1974 Academy Awards

The 1974 Academy Awards was a good year for handing out film awards, and there were plenty of stars accepting them or handing them out.

The Awards were held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles on April 2nd, and were presided over by Burt Reynolds, Diana Ross, John Huston, and David Niven…quite a lineup.

The award ceremony is most remembered for a streaking incident: from Wikipedia:

The 46th Academy Awards ceremony is perhaps best remembered as the ceremony in which a streaker named Robert Opel ran across the stage naked while flashing a peace sign with his hand. In response, host David Niven jokingly quipped, “The only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings.” In 2001, this incident was voted as the most memorable Oscar moment in history, coming in first over Marlon Brando’s 1972 boycott of the 45th Academy Awards, in which he nominated Sacheen Littlefeather to explain why he would not be coming to collect his Oscar for The Godfather.

Read the Wikipedia page about Robert Opel, it is interesting and unfortunately his life came to a tragic end only five years later.

There were plenty of big names handing out various awards, but the most interesting pair was Linda Blair and Billy Dee Williams as the presenters of the Short Subjects Awards. Other big names included Alfred Hitchcock, Marcel Marceau, Yul Brynner, good ol’ Ernest Borgnine, The Bronson, and The Heston. See them all here.

There were plenty of performers too, including Henry Mancini, Liza Minnelli, and Jodie Foster. The one I would have most liked to have seen was Telly Savalas singing “You’re So Nice To Be Around” from Cinderella Liberty. I can’t find it on YouTube, but I did find this gem. I have seen that film, good one.

Here are a few of the notable awards given…

Best picture – The Sting
Lizzy fluffed her lines but recovered magnificently. Click here for a video clip.

Best actress – Glenda Jackson for “A Touch of Class” (presented by Susan Hayward and The Heston)
Glenda is mostly doing theatre work these days.

Best actor – Jack Lemmon for “Save The Tiger” Presented by Liza Minnelli and Gregory Peck)
Jack beat Marlon Brando for “Last Tango In Paris”, Jack Nicholson for “The Last Detail”, Al Pacino for “Serpico”, and Robert Redford for “The Sting”…some pretty stiff competition there, but I am sure Jack deserved it.

Actress in a supporting role – Tatum O’Neal (presented by The Bronson and Jill Ireland)
She was ten at the time and to this day remains the youngest winner of an Academy Award.

Costume design – Edith Head (presented by Peter Falk and Twiggy)
Edith was nominated 35 times for best costume design, and won eight times, with this film being her last award. She did costume design for Roman Holiday, and won for that too.

Honorary Academy Award – Groucho Marx
Jack Lemmon gave a good introductory speech. Groucho was 82 at the time.

It was a fine year for the Academy Awards. The Exorcist was the only other major film to win an award, and films that lost out included American Graffiti, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and The Day of the Dolphin. The biggest winner by far was The Sting with seven awards, with The Exorcist getting only two (Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, and Sound).

To see all of the awards, click here.

As far as I can ascertain Kirk Douglas was not at the awards.

And here is a funny photo taken outside the awards…

MBMS changes

Due to my severe lack of film watching in recent months, and less purchasing of music, along with my increased reliance on YouTube for instant gratification entertainment, I have decided to add the YouTube category to this blog. I want to blab on about the various YouTube channels I follow, or stop following for whatever reason. Most of the channels I follow are probably of no interest to others, but I like them and need more blog fodder.

I will continue to write about films, music, and books of course. In fact I do have some recent music to blog about, no films though. I will also continue with my Oscars and Grammy Awards posts, in fact I might just do one soon.

To round this post off here is a great photo of The Kirkster…

Kirk in 1955.

Addendum: It just occurred to me that I should add podcasts as well, I have been an avid podcast listener for many years, so I have many I can write about. That, I shall do.