Sunday, August 20, 2017

Judy | Lefsetz Letter

Judy – Spotify

The song misses, the vocal is imperfect, BUT THE GUITAR PLAYING IS OUTSTANDING!

My best listening is done now. Long after midnight. When the rest of the world is asleep and I have room to move around, physically and mentally, when it’s my planet. I don’t get the competition to sleep little and get up early. First and foremost I can’t do this, i.e. write, unless I’ve had a good night’s sleep, and sometimes the highlight of my day is my dreams, and I find the sunrise creepy. The whole world waking up. I prefer the fade-out instead of the fade-in.

And to tell you the truth, my day was upsetting. But it started to turn a couple of hours ago when I heard myself referenced on the WrapUp Show. I’ve never had the experience of driving around and having my song come on the radio, never will, but when Howard or Gary mention me I’ve got to believe it’s somewhat similar.

And then I listened to Paul Schrader on the Bret Easton Ellis podcast. It’s intellectual in a world where every other show is middlebrow, or below. Ellis doesn’t pander, it’s all about concepts. And I preferred the episode with Peter Bogdanovich, who doesn’t seem to realize how smug he comes across, but Schrader said something absolutely brilliant. That films stopped mattering when they no longer gave us answers, told us how to live. That’s right, those of us who lived through the second golden era, from “Bonnie and Clyde” to “Heaven’s Gate,” learned how to behave from watching movies. Hell, everything I know about sex I learned at the cinema, truly. Same deal with the music. Used to be we listened for insight, that was the essence of the golden era, classic rock, we believed the acts were more experienced, knew more than we did, and by listening a path would open for us to walk down and live our lives. That’s why everybody went to Woodstock, not to graze and be seen like at today’s festivals, but to get closer to the music, to be with like-minded people on an adventure.

And in 1969, Crosby, Stills & Nash were burgeoning. They didn’t peak until they added Young and released “Deja Vu” the following March. And then the band imploded and some of the solo albums were stellar, but there was never that exquisite peak again. To the point where young ‘uns are completely unaware of the magic. And I’m not sure “Judy” will close them, but it will give them a glimpse of what once was, when being a skilled axeman was key, when arrangement still mattered, when music was sweet instead of sour.

But not too sweet.

I knew Stephen and Judy were on tour. But I didn’t know there was a record. Hell, I never know there’s a record anymore, not even a show. I just read a review of Willie Nelson at the Shrine, who knew he was in town?

But honestly, I didn’t need to go. The truth is there’s nothing new with these oldsters, if you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it. Not that fans will tell you this, the same fans who go to every Dylan show, huh?

Now to tell you the truth, the track that blew my mind at this hour this week was the Barenaked Ladies and the Persuasions doing the latter’s “Good Times,” it was on my Discover Weekly playlist.

“Judy” was on my Release Radar playlist.

And I was gonna do a whole post on the Barenaked Ladies/Persuasions album, yes, that’s right, there’s an entire LP, quite appealing, did you know the Barenaked Ladies also have a live album from Red Rocks?

Like I said, we’re all out of the loop. We used to need to keep up. But then music stopped driving the culture and we lost the need, even though a great song still resonates so, but how do you find them?

I want to be pointed to them.

And this week’s Release Radar, fresh tonight, opened with a Yusuf song that I only had to hear once, not even all the way through.

And then the same thing with this London Grammar track. It was good, but did I ever need to hear it again?

And then Thomas Rhett’s “Grave” was close to spectacular, with production you rarely hear in country tracks, I’m not sure if it’s a hit, but I marveled, this guy has talent and range.

And then I got to “Judy.” And it was right in the pocket.

Maybe you’re not a rock fan. Maybe you’re into beats. But for those of you who grew up in the AOR era, who love a good change, who remember when music came before money, you’ll get it.

How can this be?

All the classic acts put out execrable LPs every couple of years. They overpolish crap. It’s creepy.

And then we get “Judy.”

And Stills’s voice is a bit creepy. Not as bad as it can be live, but nowhere near as good as it used to be.

But Judy Collins’s harmonies are exquisite, if buried.

But the PLAYING!

It’s one thing to have technique, it’s quite another to put the notes together with melodies and changes such that the end result is appealing.

Now fall is coming.

And if you went to college back in the seventies, you know the drill. The first thing you do when you move into the dorm is to set up your stereo. And then you put on a new record while you unpack. And then people come over and you sit around and get high in front of the speakers, nodding your noggins to songs that are not quite foreground yet not quite background, they’re integral to the experience, like oil in an engine. And you’re sitting there and all of a sudden you lock on to the sound, it’s like you can see into the speakers and see what the act is doing, you wonder how they do it, how they came up with this stuff.

And then you go to the show and have the religious experience.

And it’s not about selfies, it’s not about being a member of the group, it’s solely about you, in your own mind, bonding with the music.

That’s the experience I’m having right now.

“Good Times” – Spotfy


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