The Tragically Hip

#719: Mystery Disc

GETTING MORE TALE #719: Mystery Disc

Cleaning out Jen’s mom’s house after she passed away was very emotional work.  Nobody’s been living there since July.  One day she got up and broke her hip.  We didn’t know it yet but the cancer was in her bones.  She never came home again.  When we started working on the house in September, everything was more or less how she left it.

Her music collection was small with a few gems.  One disc that I kept was Cat Stevens’ Icon.  I had to take it for “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out.”  As told in Getting More Tale #702, that song seemed to make a connection with me when she was sick.  One day we went to see her in the hospital, and she was unconscious.  No longer able to communicate.  That song was stuck in my head for reasons I can’t explain.  I like to think she was sending me a message.  Not to be sad.  It would have been like her to say that to me.  I get tears in my eyes thinking about her lying there dying, and that song playing on repeat in my head.  I had the song played at her funeral.  It just seemed like such a “mum” song, even though I have no memories of us ever listening to it together.  When I found out that she actually owned that song, I got the chills again.  Finding Cat Stevens made my heart swell.

We also found a number of CD-Rs that I made, but had no labels or covers.  For today’s chapter I’m focusing on one specifically.  I can’t figure out why I made it, or who I made it for, or what it was doing at Jen’s mom’s house!

It is a lightscribe CD, and burned into the top is the old background from my website.  It’s a photo of some model guitars and guitar picks.  The 15 song track listing is most bizarre and I can’t figure out what I was doing!

Track 1:  Craig Fee saying “LeBraaaain”.  This dates the CD to 2012 at the earliest.  I liked to introduce my CDs with something amusing, so this works.

Tracks 2-4:  “Whiskey in the Jar”.  The first is Metallica’s studio cover from Garage Inc.  The second is Thin Lizzy’s take from 1972.  Last is a live Metallica version, possibly from the CD single.  That’s a lot of whiskey – 15 solid minutes worth.  Listening back, the Metallica live version absolutely kills their studio cut.  Yeah-hah!

Track 5:  Steve Earle – “Home to Houston”.  This track is from Steve’s political 2004 album The Revolution Starts Now.  I haven’t played that album in years and I don’t remember this song.  Why it stuck out enough to put it on this mystery disc, I haven’t a clue.  Good tune, but I don’t know it anymore!

Track 6:  Jeff Bridges & Colin Ferrel – “Fallin’ & Flyin'” from the 2010 soundtrack Crazy Heart.  Now, memories are starting to form.  I can remember driving around with Jen and her mom, listening to this song in my car.  Did I make this CD for her mom?  If so, why the Metallica?

Track 7:  Johnny Cash – “The Man Comes Around”.  One of the greatest Cash songs, from the best American album in my opinion.  Goosebumps, still to this day.  Jen and I love Cash and had him played at our wedding.

Track 8:  Me doing a song intro!  The backing track sounds like Motorhead’s acoustic version of “Ace of Spades” with the main lick looped and no vocals.  I made this for a past Sausagefest countdown!  The track I’m introducing:  “Renegade” by Styx!  I mention that it was covered by Daughtry and then add sound effects of Nicko McBrain burping and farting.  I have to admit it’s a pretty great (and funny) intro!  It was #30 on the 2013 countdown.  From that I can now assume I made this CD the same year.  Which is strange because I wasn’t really making mix CDs anymore in 2013.

Track 9 is a personal favourite, “Rock An’ Roll Angels” from Whitesnake’s 1982 album Saints & Sinners.  I’ve always been into rock and roll songs with boogie woogie piano. I have loved this song for three decades.  Then Track 10, another Whitesnake classic:  “Slow An’ Easy” from the landmark classic Slide It In.  That’s another personal fave, because of the slide riff.  It’s incredible and I spent many hours as a teenager playing air slide to it.  Not to mention air drums!  Cozy Powell was so fucking cool.

Then more slide!  Track 11:  The Black Crowes – “Twice as Hard”.  I was clearly trying to make the CD flow.  Indeed I used to spend hours shuffling track order until I had it “just right”.  With all this slide business going on, I wonder if the next song is going to be some “Travelling Riverside Blues”?

Nope!  A total surprise to me, Track 12 is The Tragically Hip!  “50 Mission Cap” is Jen’s favourite, for reasons you’ll understand.

Bill Barilko disappeared that summer,
He was on a fishing trip.
The last goal he ever scored,
Won the Leafs the cup.
They didn’t win another till nineteen sixty two,
The year he was discovered.
I stole this from a hockey card,
I keep tucked up under.

I think the lyrics are brilliant because they tell two stories at once.  First, they tell the true tale of Toronto Maple Leaf Bill Barilko, who tragically died in a plane crash in a remote part of Quebec.  Nobody knew what happened to him until his body was found 11 years later.  The second tale is that of a young Gord Downie who read about it on the back of a hockey card.

Track 13 is another surprise:  “The Boys are Back in Town” by Bon Jovi!  Don’t scoff, this is actually a really good Thin Lizzy cover from their New Jersey period.  Lyrically, Jon and Phil Lynott were on similar wavelengths.  This is exactly the kind of tune that Jon was writing.  “Wild in the Streets” is Bon Jovi trying to re-write “The Boys are Back in Town”.

Track 14:  “Big Foot” from Chickenfoot III.  Gotta be one of my favourite car tunes.  “Got Houses Of The Holy on the box, got it all cranked up cause, yeah! That shit rocks!”  What a groove — you can’t help but stomp along.  Joe Satriani has a way with a riff.

I had a guess that Track 15 was going to be all of side one of 2112.  The track time was over 20 minutes, so I had an inkling it was either that or side two of Abbey Road.  I’ve ended mix CDs with 20 minute epics before, and I think it works.  The Beatles did it!  Granted, the 2112 epic was a side one, but it still functions perfectly in the closing position.  Try it yourself!

Listening to this mystery disc has been enjoyable, but my reasoning still escapes me.  It’s such a bizarre mix, with the front loaded threesome of “Whiskey in the Jar”.  From there it starts to make a little more sense.  But how it did it end up at “mum’s” house?

My best theory is that I made it as a gift for Jen’s Uncle Rick, and it never got mailed.  He lived in Texas at the time — maybe that’s why I included “Home to Houston”.  Rick is also a Whitesnake fan, and a Toronto Maple Leafs fan.  I’m just not sure.

How would you rate this mix CD if you were the recipient?  I think I’d give it a solid:

4/5 stars

 

Advertisements

RIP Gord Downey

Fuck.

#537.2: 2016 Can Suck Balls – Year End Lists, Part 2 – J from Resurrection Songs

Please welcome — for the first time ever! — a guest shot from J from Resurrection Songs!  Please welcome J with his Top Albums list of 2016.

GETTING MORE TALE #537.2: 2016 Can Suck Balls
Year End Lists, Part 2 – J from Resurrection Songs

jIt’s been a right strange year. A right grim one if you consider the musical losses, not to mention the political shenanigans. Soon we’ll be populating a post-apocalyptic world. Hopefully more Mad Max than The Road. For some of us, at least. Soundtracked, it’s a year that I’ve been discovering more older releases than newer releases thanks to the writings and recommendations of fellow bloggers. However, there have been a fair few new releases that I have really enjoyed and I figured I’d hang out at Ladano’s place and say “here’s my top ten albums”.

The following are without a doubt my favourites of the year. These are the albums that grabbed my attention beyond the first side. That continue to pull me in. I am a man immersed in all their sonic awesomeness as I slip deeper and deeper into their grooves.

10. Gojira – Magma
9. The Tragically Hip – Man Machine Poem
8. The Cult – Hidden City
7. Black Mountain – IV
6. Sturgil Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
5. Causa Sui – Return To Sky
4. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
3. The Claypool Lennon Delirium – Monolith of Phobos
2. Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression
1. My Jerusalem – A Little Death

Note: Lists are tough, but the top five were particularly tough to separate (all stellar in my opinion). Also, I need to spend a bit more time with Bowie’s Blackstar, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ Skeleton Tree, case/lang/viers, and, of course, pick up the latest Leonard release now it’s available on vinyl.

J

#511: That Night in Kingston

GETTING MORE TALE #511: That Night in Kingston

What are you doing Saturday night?

Never mind; we already know.

CANADA

It has been a very emotional summer for fans of The Tragically Hip, but it all ends tonight.

A few months ago, nobody ever thought this would be the last summer of the Tragically Hip.  Gord Downie’s brain cancer diagnosis came as a surprise to all.  We can only imagine what Gord and his family are going through, but fans have been mourning in their own ways.  Mostly, they’ve been trying to go and see Gord one last time.  As StubHub jacked up ticket prices to ridiculous highs, fans scrambled to win contests or find any way to see the Hip live.

The good news is, everyone can see the Hip live, anywhere.

Locally, there is a lot going on.  You can join the gang from DaveRocks at local pup Bobby O’Brien’s for a Hip celebration.   They will be showing the last Hip concert on a big screen.  Lots of bars are doing the same thing — check your local listings.  Some families are having backyard and pool parties with the neighbours, with big outdoor screens.  All over Canada, fans will be celebrating separately, but together.

Not in Canada?  No problem.  There are viewing parties in major US cities such as New York and L.A.  They will even be watching the Hip in Rio de Janeiro as the Olympics close.  And it will be streamed worldwide.  The CBC has all the details.

How are you planning to enjoy the Hip show?  Here at LeBrain HQ, we are going to make some food, order in some gourmet chicken wings, and watch the Hip in 5.1 surround sound.  It will be a turbulent experience.  We don’t know much about Gord’s cancer except that it’s not treatable.  We don’t know how he feels.  All we know for certain is that we have been told this is the last tour, and that more than likely means this is the last show, forever.  The band has not done any press, nor said much to address the many questions.  It is like a giant elephant in the room.  But tonight, I want to put all that out of my mind and just enjoy the music.  I don’t want to think too much about what it all means.  There will be plenty of journalists doing that.  Tonight is for the fans, so let’s enjoy it, for us.

And for Gord.

REVIEW: The Tragically Hip – Man Machine Poem (2016)

NEW RELEASE

Scan_20160620THE TRAGICALLY HIP – Man Machine Poem (2016 Universal)

The title Man Machine Poem reveals something about the new Tragically Hip.  The first song is entitled “Man”, and the last one “Machine”.  This album is an epic poem — the “Man Machine” poem.  It has a flow like a singular body of work, even though it is made up of individual songs.  Like most Hip albums of late, it is a brooding work thick with power in its quiet grooves.

Sounding a bit like like classic Radiohead, “Man” opens the CD on a suitably weird note.  Droning piano, strange echoey vocals…and I’m hypnotised immediately.  Granted, the subconscious mind keeps trying to find meaning in the music.  Now we all know the terrible news.  That in mind, we’re not going to treat this album like a funeral.  Brain cancer be damned, Gord Downey is doing that final tour, you know the one?  The one that nobody has been able to buy tickets for except on StubHub for many times their original value.  In other words, it’s a heavy atmosphere and you keep searching for hints and clues that are not there.  “Man” is a brilliant track, showing that the Hip were continuing to push their own limits.

Just about every track on Man Machine Poem is brilliant.  The first single “In A World Possessed by the Human Mind” sounds like something Bono wishes he had written.  The fuse smoulders, but the song blasts open brightly on the chorus.  Each song has its own character, but hard to define.  “What Blue” is simply lovely, a summery track that is hard to forget.  “In Sarnia” sounds more like “in the country”, but friends from back that way say that’s not too far from the mark.  Passion turned up to 10, Gord lets it all out.  The song is slow and quiet; all but Gord.

The days of “Little Bones” and “New Orleans is Sinking” are long behind now.  The Hip don’t write albums like that anymore, but what they do create still has innate power.  Listen to the acoustics and the slides blending with the electric guitars and steady beat of Johnny Fay.  The Hip run like a well oiled…gotta say it…Man Machine.  The older, wiser, and less loud Tragically Hip still rock, cranking it up when necessary.  “Here, in the Dark” is a fine example of placing the explosive charges in the exact right spots.  So is the growling “Hot Mic.”  The energy is palpable.  Even on a song called “Tired as Fuck”, there is energy in the air.

Man Machine Poem has an epic feel to it, from the strange start to the drawn out dramatic ending.   It’s temping to say something like “best Hip album in years!” but they’ve never stopped making great albums.

4.5/5 stars

#491: My First Tragically Hip Experience, by Scotty G (Guest Shot)

HIP

GETTING MORE TALE #491: My First Tragically Hip Experience, by Scotty G

As fans know, Gordon Downie of the Tragically Hip was recently diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.  It is devastating news.  Downie, living his life as an artist, has decided to go out as an artist and do a farewell tour in support of the new album Man Machine Poem.  As writers, we have been trying to come up with a way to honour the man without dwelling on the negative.  With that in mind, in a multi-site event, we have several posts for you today to honour the man and the legend, Mr. Gord Downie.  Mikeladano.com’s contribution  is this guest shot by the King of Rock Knowledge, and fellow ‘Fester, Scott.  He is what I like to refer to as a “Jedi Master of rock”, the kind of man that can pass down stories and legends to the next generation.  Scotty had the chance to see The Hip back in the early, early days and…well see for yourself!  Please welcome Mr. Scotty G!

Other tributes:
James at the KMA: I’m total pro, that’s what I’m here for
Aaron at the KMA: Gord Downie Tribute
Boppin’s Blog: Gord Downie – My Favourite Moments
Geoff at the 1001 Albums: The Tragically Hip: Ordinary Guys, Extraordinary Group
Sarca at Caught Me Gaming: That Night in Markham: My Tragically Hip Story (1993)
Deke from Stick It In Your Ear: Tragically Hip – Road Apples review


My first Hip experience was around 1988 or so, just prior to the release of Up To Here (1989). Somewhere after the Spoons and Rough Trade, and possibly prior to Sass Jordan, (I cant remember) at a Canada Day concert at Molson Park in Barrie, the Tragically Hip hit the stage.

Obviously young and lacking a whole lot of support, they carried their amps on stage themselves, placed them on chairs and started to play. I was kind of familiar with “Last American Exit” from the video, but that was it. They hit the stage and I was BLOWN AWAY. Mid-set, after really rocking one out, Gord called out to the crowd and asked if anyone had a dime? Literally, the crowd pelted the stage with change.  Gord grabbed the coin of choice and proceeded to tighten a screw in his mic stand. He thanked the crowd for the help, and they blasted into another tune.

Months later, with this show still in the forefront of my mind, Up To Here was released and with it came more opportunities to see the Hip in many small venues. One in particular, the Highlands in Cambridge*, always offered up good opportunities to meet bands and in this case a couple of us were welcomed into the dressing room where Gord very politely obliged our fan talk.  Joint after joint flew from Johnny Fay’s expert rolling fingers. Although it’s a long time ago, I have a good memory of it. I have to add that I am still amazed that he gave us the time of day, and seemed cool with having two 17 or 18-year-olds sitting in the dressing room asking silly questions while the band got stoned….

I got to see the Hip many times after that, and look back on those early performances with fondness. I never saw them live after the Road Apples tour, but will always recall the welcome that Gord and the band gave two young fans after a great show in Cambridge. He is a cool shit….

SCOTTY G

* I saw the London Quireboys at Highlands in Cambridge in December 1990 – LeBrain

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Trailer Park Boys – “Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys”

The final part in my series of Trailer Park Boys reviews, as we gear up for the debut of Seasons 8 & 9! 

IMG_20140712_183919Part one: Seasons 1 & 2
Part two: Season 3
Part three: Season 4
Supplimental: “Dear Santa Claus, Go Fuck Yourself”
Part four: Season 5
Part five: Season 6
Part six: Season 7
Part seven: “Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys”

TPB-SGTTBG_0001TRAILER PARK BOYS – “Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys” (2008 Alliance Atlantis)

“Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys”, the “final” Trailer Park Boys episode before the big movie Countdown to Liquor Day, is actually one of my least favourite episodes (right down there with “Steve French” and “Oscar Goldman”). A one hour special tacked on after Season 7, “Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys” follows Ricky, Julian and Bubbles after their big haul at the end of the last season. It took two years to finally do a DVD/Blu-ray release.  To date, this is the only Trailer Park Boys episode released to Blu-ray.  The movies, of course, are available on Blu.

Thought that the boys had finally made it rich, and everything was sweet? You’d certainly think so after seeing the hunky-dory last episode in Season 7. This is not the case! Turns out Julian has hidden the money, until such time as he feels it’s safe to distribute it. Ricky’s Shitmobile does have some sweet new rims, but it is now missing a tire. Old recurring nemesis Sam Losco knows about the cash, and with the help of Barb Lahey, finds out where it’s hidden. Before you can say “shit tides”, Ricky, Julian and Bubbles are broke once again, and Lahey is back on the liquor.

Another scheme is hatched, this time revolving around a Country & Western dance. Can the boys make a little cash, or will Lahey win yet again? One thing for certain: you can count on some dirty dancing, backstabbing schemes, and Philadelphia Collins eating balogna sandwiches.  That I promise you.

Look for cameos by The Tragically Hip (specifically Gordon Downie and Bob Baker).  Blu-ray bonus features are sparse either way, just some behind-the-scenes stuff.  It does come with a cool Bubbles-as-Scarface mini poster though.  That would look cool in your man-cave.

Unfortunately “Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys” did not feel like a proper episode. It felt like an afterthought. It was revealed that a full season was intended, but all those ideas were distilled down into one episode.  Good thing the boys will be back on TV this fall.

3/5 stars

 

DVD REVIEW: Trailer Park Boys – Big Plans, Little Brains: The Complete 1st and 2nd Seasons

Part one of my new series:  the Trailer Park Boys complete television series.  In anticipation of the forthcoming seasons 8 & 9, we’re going to be taking a look at the original series that started it all.

For those who don’t know Trailer Park Boys, there are some serious rock n’ roll connections throughout the series.  Stick around and we’ll be talking about Sebastian Bach, Helix, Rush of course, and plenty more.

TPB1-2TRAILER PARK BOYS – Big Plans, Little Brains: The Complete 1st and 2nd Seasons (2002 Alliance Atlantis)

Julian is an ex-con who calls Sunnyvale Trailer Park in Nova Scotia, Canada home. He has just been released from jail, and he’s vowed to clean up his life.  Go straight.  Ditch his bad influences.  The premise of Trailer Park Boys is that a camera crew has offered to make a documentary about Julian’s life, and will be following Julian around the trailer park.  Julian is determined to stay straight and not go back behind bars. His best friend Ricky, however, doesn’t have that same commitment to the straight life.

Trailer Park Boys took a season to find its feet, like many other series.  By the end of the first season (only six episodes), it had definitely done so.  Hang on folks, because the first and second seasons are just the beginning of what will turn out to be a pretty crazy series of mockumentary episodes.

In the beginning, the character of Bubbles (easily the funniest and most lovable of the boys) isn’t in the spotlight. Obviously, Mike Clattenberg and company realized Bubbles’ potential partway through the first season and began writing him larger parts. Also introduced in this season are Mr. Lahey and Randy, the trailer park supervisor and his assistant, who are not quite as drunk and stoned as they would get later on. Love interests Lucy and Sarah are here, not yet the adversaries to Ricky and Julian that they would become. Cory and Trevor are sidekicks (aka “jail cover”), and J-Roc and his “Roc-Pile” make their debut. Characters introduced that are later forgotten include Levi and Mrs. Peterson (who is like a grandmother to Julian). The dangerous Cyrus also makes his debut in the first episode, as a recurring antagonist.

The story arc:  Ricky and Julian return from jail to find the park has changed — Cyrus has taken over. All the criminal activities that Julian used to run in the park have now been assumed by Cyrus.  He’s even occupying Julian’s trailer.  The boys must somehow get rid of Cyrus without going back to jail. In the meantime, Julian decides to head to community college, and that means Ricky is persona-non-grata around him. J-Roc makes some cash on the side making “greasy” porno tapes, which Ricky thinks might be a good thing for him to star in (it’s not).  It’s all a build up to Ricky proposing to Lucy to finally be a good father and family man. It all comes crashing down at Ricky’s wedding which closes season 1.

While season 1 takes a while to build up speed, season 2 is full-on TPB. The verbal trainwrecks known as “Rickisms” abound.   Bubbles has become integrated as one of the main three. The get-rich quick schemes are now fully formed (or at least as fully-formed as they ever get on this show) and Lahey is a total fucking drunk. Season 2 sure hit the ground running with full confidence and skill.

TPB12_0002Yes, I used the word skill — to execute dialogue off-the-cuff like this and create such lovable characters out of criminals takes skill. The execution of this show is such that they make it look easy. I once heard it said that you have to be really smart to pull off a really dumb character.

Once again, Ricky and Julian have returned from jail.  Once again, the park has changed for the worse.  Lahey’s drunk and in neglect of his duties as trailer park supervisor.  As a consequence, the park has turned to shit.  Sam Losco (who lives in a camper, not even a full trailer) is seeking to be elected the new supervisor.  This would be very bad for Ricky and Julian.  With drunk Lahey around, it’s easy for Ricky to grow dope.  Sam Losco won’t make it that simple for them. New character Barb Lahey (Mr. Lahey’s ex-wife and owner of the park) and Treena Lahey, played by newcomer (!) Ellen Page add a new element to the show.

Since Lahey’s drunk out of his tree, it’s the perfect time for Ricky to start growing dope again (“Freedom 35, boys!”). All is almost derailed by some greasy Bible pimps, some dope-eating insects, new antagonist Sam Losco, and once again, Cyrus.  Other schemes this season involve J-Roc’s illegal night club in the trailer park, which does not go according to plan.

Lots of DVD bonus features are included, and the best one is the Tragically Hip video for “The Darkest One” starring the boys and Don Cherry! Great song. Lots of alternate and extended takes are included, and as an easter egg, the very first Bubbles short called “Cart Boy”.

The only negative thing I have to say is regarding the packaging. My case broke the day I brought it home, and so did those of some friends of mine.

5/5 stars

Winner – Best use of a crane shot in a music video – 2003 LeBrain Music Video Awards

VIDEO: Sausagefest XIII – Part I

Thank you Windows Movie Maker for not messing up this video.  There was so much fantastic footage that I split this up into two parts.

Enjoy Part I, featuring many talented musicians and friends.

IMG_20140706_082218

 

GALLERY: Rush and The Tragically Hip 2013 postage stamps

Rush and The Tragically Hip 2013 postage stamps – Canadian Recording Artists series

Package of 10, $6.30.

I went down to the post office to pick up my latest CD treasure from Discogs, when I noticed these beauties:  the new 2013 Rush, and Tragically Hip postage stamps!  Had to have ’em.  The budget didn’t allow for the Guess Who set (apparently their best seller).  I’ve never heard of Beau Dommage, but apparently they are “considered the Beatles of Quebec and French music” (Canada Newswire).

I love the little details.  The “Stereo 1” on the Hip package.  The “Side A” and Anthem Records serial number on the Rush.  It’s the little things like these touches that make these stamps fun to keep in package, safe in my collection!

For your viewing pleasure, please enjoy these cool postage stamps.  I’ll try to pick up The Guess Who next week.

5/5 stars!