Tag Archives: The Beatles

My Best of 2017: Music

The end is coming, the end of 2017.   With it comes the best of what I have come across in 2017; the best of book; the best of my blog posts and today the best of music I have listened to.  What follows are some of the best discs of the year, according to my ears.

Michelle Branch – Hopeless Romantic

Hopeless RomanticThis is my album of the year!

From the opening refrain of ‘Best You Ever’ Hopeless Romantic signals the return of Michelle Branch. Her song writing has matured, the stronger songs are a result of years of collaborations while trying to come up with material her record company would stand behind.

Her sound has filled out and her vocals reflect the sensitivity of the material filled with the fragile emotion of a break up, ‘Fault Line’ is a great example of this. However when she breaks out the acoustic it is solid.

It was so good when it came out in April; Hopeless Romantic has not diminished at all in the past year. What was a summer album; Hopeless Romantic is a permanent go to for a good listen.

You can read my post on the return of Michelle Branch here: The Return of Michelle Branch

Beatles – Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

IMG_20170601_1205497Okay, so it’s not new but it is still relevant. The 50th Anniversary of the Sgt. Pepper was like the return of an old friend. We all know the music, but the re-issue brought back the lore and history and my love of not only this Lp, but the entire Beatles catalogue (something that still baffles Liz).

George Martin oversaw the original and the 25th Anniversary remixes, for #SgtPepper50, Martin’s son Giles was in charge of the mixes, which produced a new stereo mix from the original mono masters. I still have yet to take the shrink-wrap off the double vinyl package, though I have heard that as good as the new mixes sound on CD, the vinyl is even better. It may only be a matter of time before the wrap comes off and I get see all the extras that first appeared in June 1967.

My post on #SgtPepper50 is here: Sgt Pepper at 50

Ryan Adams – Prisoner

Ryan Adams PrisonerPrisoner follows the release of a complete remake song by song of Taylor Swift’s 1989. Creatively, Prisoner is Adams’ most complete work of music on one disc since his work with The Cardinals. For whatever reason, Adams’ creativity and energy towards his music has been incredible. Prisoner captures that energy as has the tour he embarked on through 2017.

Prisoner swings from rock, to country folk and back, his voice lends to being able to commit to any style wants.  His musicianship shines throughout this disc; he loves his guitars and different sounds he gets from the many he owns. It brings diversity not on many discs.

It’s not too late to catch on to Prisoner and a masterpiece from Ryan Adams.

Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie – Buckingham/McVie

BuckinghamWhat drove the musical dynasty that propelled Fleetwood Mac in the ‘70’s, still has a presence 40 years later. Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie put together a good collection of songs, contributing their own and collaborating on other songs.

Fleetwood Mac fans; this is a something for you. It can be called, though it wasn’t, a reunion album for the band with everyone from “the Mac” performing with the exception of Stevie Nicks. Listening to this album took me back to 1975’s Fleetwood Mac Lp, the beginning of a good run of discs.

Ruth B – Safe Haven

Safe HavenIt took me forever to learn that it was Ruth B behind the song ‘Lost Boy’, only after seeing her perform the song at the Juno Awards did it click just how good the song was. On that performance I went and purchased the EP “the Intro”, then “Safe Haven came out. Ruth B has an amazing voice and just might be the soul/r&b singer that Canada has been waiting for. In fact the comparisons to Alicia Keys are very much warranted.

Through Safe Haven, Ruth B surprises and presents a sound that may have been in the works for years. It is a maturity that could be equal to, yes – Alicia Keys. With key tracks like ‘Dandelions’, ‘World war 3’, ‘First Love’ and ‘Superficial Love’ make Safe Haven a Summer Album for me.

Ed Sheeran – Divide

DivideAlong with Michelle Branch, Divide has been playing all year for me. It is refreshing to hear this modern troubadour consistently bring great music. Divide is a gift that keeps on giving hit singles. Divide started with ‘Shape of you’, ‘Castle on the Hill’, ‘Galway Girl’ and now a Christmas Number 1 on Billboard this week with the wonderful ‘Perfect’. Haven’t caught on to Divide? It’s not too late.

 

Up Next: My Best of 2017 Blog Posts

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net

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When I’m 81. #SgtPepper75

 

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In 1988 I purchased a Phillips Compact Disc player and three Compact Discs; Yes: Fragile, Roxy Music: Avalon and The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Sgt. Pepper was 21 years old when I bought the CD. I had already had the vinyl at home.

There was not much of a celebration for the 20th Anniversary. The 25th Anniversary only had interviews released about the making of the album.

The 50th, my goodness, the 50th has a Deluxe Box, Anniversary editions of the CD and Vinyl that each had a 2nd disc with out takes, demo and alternative versions.

The 50th Anniversary even had a hashtag: #SgtPepper50

George Martin oversaw the 1992 mixes. In 2017 for #SgtPepper50 discs, Martin’s son Giles was in charge of the mixes, which produced a new stereo mix from the original mono masters. I have yet to take the shrink-wrap off the double vinyl package, though I have heard that as good as the new mixes sound on CD, the vinyl is even better. It may only be a matter of time before the wrap comes off and I get see all the extras that first appeared in June 1967.

The title of this post is not that cryptic, when Sgt. Pepper turns 75, I will be 81 years old. In 2042, there are a few things we can assume – that there no Beatle will be alive. The respective Beatle estates will be run by the younger Beatles generation of Sean Lennon, James McCartney, Dhani Harrison and Zak Starkey. Giles Martin will again handle the producing duties for #SgtPepper75 as he will be a youthful 72 in June of 2042.

On the celebration of #SgtPepper75, what will be said that had not been written 25 years earlier? Will there be rare tapes discovered of a Sgt. Pepper follow up no one ever talked about?

Will the latest anniversary version include all songs recorded by the sons of the Fab Four?

Will the sons of the Beatles sound so much like John, Paul, George and Ringo listeners will not be able to tell the difference from the original recordings from 75 years earlier. Will this ‘one off’ recording spur the Beatles reunion no one thought could ever happen? We can only suppose what the reviews say; will it read “the Beatles would be proud of what their boys produced”, “the sons have done the fathers a dis-service” or “the re-imaging of Pepper from the Baby Fab Four is beyond what their fathers could have envisioned”.

In 2042 will CD’s be making a comeback? What will the packaging look like? Will it all be streamed with only the packaging (without the music) being sold? What about a hologram version of Sgt. Pepper, now that would be cool!

What will they say about the music? I imagine the Beatles would have thought about this when they recorded in ’67 and embedded sounds and messages that only would be heard in 2042.

I wonder if #SgtPepper75 will bring back a nostalgia for the 60’s, will music critics pine for simple days of when creating music really was ‘creating’ rather the ‘programming’ of the current generation (at that time). I hope that when 2032 comes along I will still be writing and contributing online in whatever format online in 25 years will look like and able to share more thoughts about how great Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is.

For now, “it’s getting better all the time”, every time I listen to Pepper.

IMG_20170601_1205497

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

 

My Inner Beatle

This morning Liz and I received an email from her daughter that she was on her way home.  Speaking generally they were on their way home to Canada via LAX from Tokyo.  They have been travelling since August starting from Canada’s East Coast to Europe, Africa, India, Everest Base Camp Japan and now home to visit her sister in Vancouver and then make the trek back to Ontario and home by July.  The email came with the audio clip of The Beatles “Two of Us” and …’on our way back home’.  I went for my iPhone and played the song to get Liz and I up on the right side of the bed.  It brought a tear to our eyes; they were on their way home.

Liz asked why liked, no LOVED the Beatles so much.

My love of the Beatles started so many years again, with the release of “Abbey Road”.  My oldest brother Ron would go to a friend’s home and listen the LP, side 1 on one day and then side 2 the next day.  I remember his excitement and the euphoria when he brought his own copy home and probably wear out the first copy within weeks.  I can relate to the idea of having to buy more than one copy of the LP as I myself have 2 copies in vinyl and have the 1st CD version and the latest re-mastered Abbey Road in my library.

Back to Liz’s question, why do I love the Beatles so much?  It is the simplicity in the way the music was played, the honesty in the way the songs were written and the love of hearing these songs now 40 years+ still sounding fresh and new.  When an artist can bring a tear to your eyes, goose bumps on your arm or makes you keep repeating a song while you sing (loudly) in your car – you know they have hit a nerve and connected.

I admit that my favourite Beatle was and is Paul, but John, George and Ringo have all crept in to take over large parts of my inner Beatle self.  I find myself appreciating the little nuances of the Fab Four when I hear more about how they made their music.  This week I learned that the Beatles put together the animal sounds in their “Good Morning Good Morning” from 1967’s Sgt Pepper in the order of the animal food chain.  Simple? Of course, and genius at the same time.  There is probably so much to learn!  Maybe it’s time to earn my PHD in Beatles, http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/jan/27/worlds-first-beatles-graduate.

‘Let it Be’ and “Two of Us” are the Beatle soundtrack of the day, that will probably evolve to ‘Abbey Road’.  But as I write this I have an urge to morph my inner Beatle self to George Harrison’s “What is Life”…to Ringo’s “Photograph” and then to John’s “Whatever gets you through the night”.  As for the next day and what I’ll want to hear…Tomorrow Never Knows.

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