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Best Of 2016 - 2017 Eric

CATEGORY: Best Of 2016
YEAR: 2016


2016 was the year that got away from me for a variety of reasons, too numerous and stressful to list here but it's over- finally. Because of such a tumultuous 365 days, I didn't have much ambition to write and what free time I had was spent cooling my engines and recalibrating. New music escaped me as well and although I did buy some things, very little of it stuck with me long enough to make an impression.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (in no particular order)
The death of David Bowie pretty much set the tone didn't it? Relatively speaking I came late in the game to Bowie, first through his 'Fame' single in 1975 and then buying the 'Heroes' LP a couple years later. From then on I was hooked of course and while he didn't leave the same kind of impression on me as Freddie Mercury; the news of his death on the heels of his final monumentally creative opus 'Black Star' was devastating to say the least. Unfortunately it didn't stop there as we lost numerous musical icon's of our era, with the prog scene hit significantly hard as Peter Banks, Keith Emerson and Greg Lake clocked out all too soon. And then there was Prince. A Minnesotan through and through, a local who despite his massive success stayed local and opted out of New York and California because as he once told TV commentator Larry King 'Minneapolis always been da bomb, you don't have to go outside of that.'

Led Zeppelin's ludicrous win over Spirit's lawsuit claim Plant and Page plagiarized the intro to 'Stairway to Heaven' is still a sore spot. No one saw that coming right? There's a reason I only own one or two Zep albums and all of the Spirit catalog. The latter were the better band and there's no convincing me otherwise. Popularity doesn't mean it's good or uniquely creative and If this was the case, we'd be reviewing Katy Perry albums or that king of bullshit Kanye West. Although the plaintiffs should have sued decades ago, I'm sure the jury had never heard of Spirit or Randy California up until the opening arguments and no surprise much of the mainstream media and rock press had no clue either. A sad commentary on the times and our fading knowledge of music history and pop culture beyond Woodstock, U2, Dylan and Madonna.

I've been buying a lot of French and Italian soundtracks from the golden age era of the late 60's and early 70's. Lot's of Morricone, some Goblin, Piccioni and other things from labels like Dagored and Death Waltz. This hip and groovy music has had the same wonderful effect on me this year as jazz and fusion greats like Miles, Dave Brubeck, Billy Cobham, Mahavishnu and Weather Report which I have turned to often and finding myself more attracted to as time moves on.

As for the new music front Julien Gasc' 'Kiss Me, You Fool!' is a fantastic set from the leading light of the amazing French outfit Aquaserge. Gasc sounds like Robert Wyatt era Soft Machine and all things Canterbury gone pop. Magnifique! A good friend of mine has seen Bryan Ferry twice recently and each time has brought back gifts, the latest from a Nashville show is Ferry's 'Live' 2 CD package which is glossy, classy and demands repeated plays. Ryley Walker's 'Golden Sings That Have Been Sung' is a return to the old school sounds of Nick Drake and Traffic from an American singer songwriter with a promising future and It's probably my most played disc this year. On the AOR front, Arthur Offen's beautifully packaged 'Seven Wonders' was a terrific surprise and a fine slice of progressive/ pomp rock as any, including the new Kansas.

My plan is to spend as much time with my Girlfriend and our puppy as possible, Going to good restaurants, reading more, watching movies, contribute frequently to Glory Daze, work hard and just enjoy life in general. Like Danger Zone's year end comments, I am finding new AOR an increasingly difficult task, preferring other scenes and music or going back to the old classics from Face Dancer's first and Journey's 'Look Into The Future' to Kevin Ayers, Yes and Peter Green as an example of listening at the time of this overview. Be good!

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#1 | Nick C on February 02 2017 10:51:45
Good read Eric, I always find myself kind of agreeing with your views. Especially with regards to 2017...Over the last few years I've generally discovering stuff I have missed out on (over the last few months I've been immersing myself in acid folk of all things) as newer releases just aren't doing it for me these days ...some notable exceptions being the great new Face Dancer and New England Live release. Plus after a health scare a week or so ago...yeah it's time to kick back and start enjoying life a little more I think, make time for things that really matter.
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