Posted tagged ‘The Interrupters’

Rock Music I Listen To At 69 – July 28, 2020

July 28, 2020

Now that I’m retired, I play more music and actually listen to it.

We have a 5-CD player that shuffles the CDs and the tracks. I dig through my collection and find five albums that I think I’ll want to hear for awhile.

Then I sit back and listen to the random gifts from the player, and ruminate on why I like them.

This time we have:

1) “Fight the Good Fight” by The Interrupters
2) “Cross Talk — The Best of Moby Grape”
3) “Raceway” by The Cash Brothers
4) “Just Won’t Burn” by Susan Tedeschi
5) “Sinematic” by Robbie Robertson

1) Fight the Good Fight

The Interrupters, from Los Angeles, are a recent discovery for me although they are deservedly wildly popular.  This is their latest album, from 2018.

the-interrupters-fight-the-good-fightThey remind me so much of the English Beat, that British “two-tone” band, in particular their debut album “I Just Can’t Stop It,” from 1980.

And like that band of 40 years ago (what!? can it be?), The Interrupters’ ska or punk or ska-punk rock just makes you want to stand up and move around.

Comprised of the lead singer, who calls herself Aimee Interrupter, and three brothers, they are high-energy performers who really seem to have fun.  The beat, the guitars, the voices — they are what make me love rock as a genre of music.  For me, it’s gospel music without the God talk.

Some highlights are Title Holder, Kerosene, and Got Each Other, the latter with added great voices from the band Rancid.

2) Cross Talk — The Best of Moby Grape

A quiz — who has heard of Moby Grape? Especially those born from say 1970 on?  Just about no-one, I would guess.  Even if you had come of age, in the late 1960s, as I did, you might also find that band unfamiliar.  They weren’t well-known to me, although they were contemporaries, for instance, of Jefferson Airplane.  (Skip Spence was Jefferson Airplane’s drummer on their first album.  He switched to guitar for Moby Grape.)

FireShot Capture 157 - Moby Grape - can't be so bad - YouTube - course the whole San Francisco scene at that time was improbably rich with other bands like the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, Hot Tuna, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The New Riders of the Purple Sage, and Sly & The Family Stone, to mention only a very few.

The five members of the band came together in 1966 in San Francisco, and their three guitar attack (with bass and drums), along with good singing from all, got them noticed.

Unfortunately they suffered from poor, almost malicious management from the very start.  That must have been a big part why they didn’t make it as big as some of their contemporaries.  And also their record company just over-hyped them, at one point releasing five singles at once….

As another example of that, on the band’s second album, their song Just Like Gene Autry: A Foxtrot required that the listener rush to their record player, switch the speed to 78 rpm and be on hand afterward to switch it back to 33.

I love that name:  Moby Grape. Inspiration from the punch line of the question, “What’s big and purple and lives in the ocean?”

This compilation from 2003 has 24 tracks covering the band’s career.  Among the standouts for me are 8:05, Omaha, Can’t Be So Bad, I Am Not Willing, and Hoochie.

3) Raceway

I don’t know too much about the The Cash Brothers.  Getting this CD (1999), their debut, was probably a recommendation from a music magazine.  I’m glad I did.  There’s something genuine in the voices that’s rare.

a2459294770_5I would classify what they do on this album as country-rock, and the country feels more real than usual.  This Canadian “band” consists of two brothers, strangely enough, Peter and Andrew.

Wikipedia has some difficulty nailing down exactly the right genre for them, sliding around from “alternative country/folk rock” to “alt-country/alt-folk music.”  They are somewhere in there.

Their vocal harmonies raise the power of the songwriting, and the playing.

“Raceway” was re-issued in 2001 as “How Was Tomorrow.”

Tracks I especially like are Take A Little Time Out of Your Day, Nebraska, and Show Me The Reason.

4) Just Won’t Burn

This solo album from Susan Tedeschi dates from well before she formed the blues-rock Tedeschi Trucks Band with husband and master guitarist Derek Trucks.  (Trucks is the nephew of Butch Trucks, drummer for the Allman Bros. Band, and was officially a member of the Allman’s during the later part of that band’s long run.)

Susan_Tedeschi_-_Just_Won't_BurnOn this 1998 CD, Tedeschi brings an authentic blues tone to what she does.  Sometimes she even has that Janis Joplin, blues-belter voice, such as on the track, “It Hurt So Bad.”  She plays guitar well too.

It’s the rocking tracks that make me want to hop around with the beat though.  There’s “Rock Me Right,” “Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean,” and “Friar’s Point.”

She also does a soulful cover of John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery.”

This CD is a pleasure to return to.

5) Sinematic

I picked up this 2019 CD by Robbie Robertson after watching on TV the documentary about The Band he put together called Once Were Brothers.  I wrote here years ago about what The Band meant to me and especially The Last Waltz movie.

109cf567a1dff017fed6156eb363b2f8Robertson’s view of The Band has a decided perspective, which not all, including members of the band, might agree with.  Robertson is a generous man in many ways, but he also views what went on as revolving around himself, primarily.  This is complicated because his playing and songwriting did contribute so much to The Band’s success.

The eventual estrangement, especially, with Levon Helm is a touchy subject about two men who supported and cared for each other like brothers at the beginning.  Helm came to feel that he didn’t receive enough credit, including financial, for the songwriting and arranging, and they were never able to resolve the hard feelings.  But in the end Robertson did make it to Helm’s deathbed to say goodbye.

This CD includes the track “Once Were Brothers” which recapitulates Robertson’s sadness about what was once.  I find it moving.

There are other fine tracks.  “Hardwired” is about the human condition: “Marching for peace while they’re looking for a fight.”  “Hardwired for love — hardwired for war.”

His native heritage comes through in “Walk In Beauty Way.”  “Wandering Souls” is a shimmering guitar instrumental.  “Remembrance” is another instrumental song of deep feeling (from the soundtrack of the movie The Irishman).

This is not a hard-rocking album, but a meditative one by a renowned artist of his generation, now 77, trying to tell what it was like in the only way he can.


Notes:  This post follows upon a couple others in the same format about my love of rock music, at a slightly advanced age:

Rock Music I Listen To… Dec. 29, 2019
Rock Music I Listen To… Oct. 20, 2019