love

#854: Mushy

GETTING MORE TALE #854: Mushy

15 years seems like a long time even though it’s really just a blink of an eye.  My life changed forever 15 years ago.  That’s when I met Jen.  A big gaping hole in my heart was filled forever that day.  There was never really a question that she was the “right” one for me.   She always knew.

She had my back from the start and helped give me the confidence that I needed to finally quit the Record Store.  Since 2000, the environment there had become extremely toxic and I needed to get out for my own health.  If she didn’t have my back, I wouldn’t have left and my sanity would have been frayed.

This extra-mushy post has been brought to you by love.

Our first few years together were filled with dreams.  We talked about what we wanted to do for our wedding and what we were going to name our kids.*

Then she got sick.  That put the brakes on some of our plans.  Her doctor wanted us to wait to have kids.  When her health got under control, we thought, we could have as many as we wanted.  Two seemed like a great number.  A boy and a girl.  I really wanted a baby girl.  As time went on we realized it was never going to happen.

“Why don’t you just adopt?” asked people who didn’t know our situation.  Adoption stopped being possible when her health got worse.  The reality was we needed someone to babysit her, not someone for us to babysit.  It has been a tough reality but I’ve never regretted any of it.  I’d rather live with just the two of us, than have kids with somebody else.  If this is what our lives were meant to be, then so be it.

After we got married and settled in, we had to deal with loss after loss after loss.  We still paid off the condo, and just rolled with everything that life threw at us.  Every time one of us feels like giving up, the other one says “no way”.  We’ve come too far to throw in the towel now.  The things we’ve endured together would slay lesser mortals.  Sometimes at night, I’ll just lie there thinking about how lucky I am.

We keep on keepin’ on.  Because of her, love songs are sweeter and breakup songs don’t sting like they used to.  We live quiet lives now but I’m never, ever bored.  She gives me the time, space and inspiration to keep on writing.  In exchange she can watch all the sports she wants!  It’s a pretty sweet deal and I’ll never take for granted what a lucky bastard I am.

 

* She has never approved of my choice, Spencer Peter Oscar Carl Kevin.  Spell out the initials.

REVIEW: The Cult – Rare Cult (7 CD limited box set)

THE CULT – Rare Cult (2000 Beggars Banquet box set with limited 7th remix CD)

Rare Cult is a feast of rare and unreleased Cult music, for the Cult connosoir only. If you’ve been a Cult fan for a while but have struggled to find those early singles, then this is your dream box set, my friend.  They have a lot of singles and assorted rarities, and acquiring a complete set of them all takes money.  Rare Cult secures a huge chunk of that music in one package.

I’m not going to bother cataloging all the different tunes and where they came from.  They’re too numerous but I will say the following:

1. This set has an enormous number of unreleased demos and otherwise finished songs that nobody had heard before — not previously released on B-sides. The songs range from the Dreamtime era (1984) with some cool, unheard BBC performances.  Over six discs, it spans over a decade to 1995 when the band broke up (for the first time). All tracks are of very good sound quality.

2. There is a humongous (80 page) booklet inside, with complete credits and details for every single song contained within.  Billy Duffy and Ian Astbury provide commentary, and there are lots of photos too.

3. There are a lot of remixes here, as per normal for a band from this era. In fact there is an entire seventh limited edition bonus disc dedicated single remixes, called Rare Cult Mixes.  I don’t know how many copies were released with the bonus disc, but be sure of what you buy before you buy it! Personally I don’t see the point of buying this set without the seventh disc. For example, the “Fire Woman” single had two excellent remixes: The “LA mix”, and the “NYC mix”. The NYC mix is included on the Disc 5 of this box set, but to get the LA mix, if you don’t have the “Fire Woman” single, can only be had on the limited edition seventh Rare Cult disc. If you’re a collector (which I think you are, because if you’re not you probably stopped reading this already) then there’s no reason to buy the version without the bonus CD.  Wait it out and get the full package.

4. Peace. While astute fans had probably collected most of these tracks already, this box set contains the first ever official release of the Peace album, in sequence on disc 3. The Cult were working on Peace after the Love album, and even finished it, but scrapped the recordings for being too Love-like. They hooked up with Rick Rubin to revamp, re-write, and re-record the album, released as Electric. Many of the Peace songs surfaced as B-sides over the years, on singles and EPs such as The Manor Sessions.  While Rare Cult was the first release of the full Peace album, it has since been reissued as part of the Electric Peace two disc set.

5. Warning! There’s more. If you really, really, really want it all, you have to shell out for the single CD Best Of Rare Cult which had five exclusive songs not included here. Oh, marketing.  The five exclusives on Best of Rare Cult are:  “She Sells Sanctuary (long version)”, “Spanish Gold”, “The River”, “Lay Down Your Gun (version two)”, and “Go West (Crazy Spinning Circles) (original mix)”.  Some of these songs, such as “The River”, are B-sides, while some are unreleased.

6. There’s even more! Yes, there are demos here, but that’s not all of them. The masterminds behind this set cleverly left off enough demos to create a whole other box set. You’ll want to pony up for Rare Cult: The Demo Sessions (an even more limited edition 5 CD set of its own) which is interesting in its own right. Look at Rare Cult as scratching the surface.

7. Even with all this stuff available out there, The Cult liked to include live songs on their singles. None are present here. Be forewarned, you may still want to get those original singles anyway, if you care enough!  Maybe they should do a box set called Rare Live Cult.  (Are you listening Ian?)

As a listening experience, Rare Cult is long but rewarding. One thing about The Cult, they were a diverse band, and this set is very diverse. For example you’ll go from a very dancy 80’s remix of “Sanctuary” straight into “No. 13” which is more punk influenced. Regardless of what it is, or what it isn’t, I think this set is worth listening to. Even their demos are better than most bands’ album tracks.  Like many bands who released numerous single B-sides, The Cult put effort into all their songs.  Check out “Sea and Sky”, “Bleeding Heart Graffiti” and “Bone Bag” as ample proof.

The packaging is quite nice. It comes in a sturdy black box. The aforementioned booklet allows you to read through the whole history of the band up to 1995.  The first six discs are housed in three double digipacks, while the seventh disc sits in its own sleeve tucked into the box.

You might not very often have the luxury of 8-9 hours to listen to the Cult, but if you’re a fan, think hard and consider your buying options.

4/5 stars

Part 316.5: 6 Happy Years

LEGO JEN
Happy Anniversary to my beautiful soul mate Jennifer.  Every day gets better and better, and you look younger and younger!  I don’t know how you do it.  Meanwhile I’ve turned into a grey-bearded old man with a bad back and lactose intolerance, and you still keep me around!  Must be love.  It’s the only possibly explanation why you live in a house full of Transformers, CDs, and records.

The last six years have been the happiest of my life.  Thank you for being the puzzle piece that was missing all that time.

Love you, sweetie. Here’s one of the songs we danced to six years ago, on the best day of my life.

Motherlode of Christmas Rock!

I have 31 discs of music to listen to now.  And a whole lotta other goodies.  Here we go!

First up – books.  Peter Criss’ Makeup To Breakup, and the latest from Ripley’s Believe It or Not and Guiness’ Book of World Records.   I’ve leafed through Peter’s book — all he seems to do is bitch about Paul and Gene.  Review will come.

Next, Queen.  A total of 8 discs of awesome remastered Queen to listen to:  The Miracle, Jazz, A Night at the Opera, and Live Killers!

Next up, Rush.  6 discs in each of these two Sector box sets, including 2 DVD’s in 5.1 surround, plus 2 discs of 2112.  Awesome.  (I already have Sector 2 and have a review of that coming in the next few days.)

And the rest:  The 4 disc Cult Love Omnibus Edition.  Thin Lizzy’s Life Live (2 discs), Jon Lord’s Concerto for Group and Orchestra, and the new Rage Against The Machine XX edition (2 discs plus a DVD).

But that’s not all.  Check out this Kiss lunchbox, these movies and vintage G1 Transformers 1988 “Bugly” action figure.

Lastly my folks got me this neat Joby camera tripod.  This is going to come in handy when I make my next Transformers stop motion animated movie.  I did a brief 15 second screen test — check that out too!


Hope your Christmas was filled with happiness, love, joy, and rock!