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JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album of the Day 1/17/11

Every day our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues, all the way to #1. Monday’s is #743:

The Alan Parsons Project – The Turn of a Friendly Card

From 1981, this is their most theatrical album. The poor man’s Pink Floyd had a good run with a series of loosely thematic collections of artsy, orchestrated pop anthems, from their 1976 debut Tales of Mystery and Imagination through 1984’s Ammonia Avenue. The trouble with all of them is that alongside the good songs, there’s always a real stinker or two. We offer you this bright, slickly cynical concept album about gambling, chance and existential angst as the band’s most consistent effort. And there is one real stinker here, but otherwise the tracks are solid: even the big top 40 hit, the caucasianally funky Games People Play has an absolutely scorching Ian Bairnson guitar solo. The track that still gets classic rock airplay is the sad ballad Time, a ripoff of Us and Them, which helped solidify songwriter Eric Woolfson’s reputation as a minor league Roger Waters. Nothing Left to Lose is also poignant, as is the swaying, brooding instrumental The Ace of Swords. There’s also the sarcastic casino theme Snake Eyes, the apprehensive May Be a Price to Pay and the warily cinematic five-part title suite interspersed among the tracks. Caveat: some of you may find this overproduced and considerably more pop-oriented than the other albums on this list. Here’s a random torrent.

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January 17, 2011 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Song of the Day 5/19/10

The best 666 songs of alltime countdown continues every day, all the way to #1. Wednesday’s song is #71:

The Alan Parsons Project – Don’t Answer Me

With the boomy kettle drum lurking in the background, Alan Parsons’ wall-of-sound production beats Phil Spector at his own game. It’s a great song, too, an anguished, artsy, backbeat-driven alienation anthem from the 1984 Ammonia Avenue album. To stream it clink the link above and scroll down to the video.

May 19, 2010 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 5/5/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Tuesday’s song is #449:

Al Stewart – Life in Dark Water

For several years in the 70s, when he was at the top of his game this British rocker was sort of a one-man Pink Floyd. Produced by Alan Parsons and backed by several of the crew who would later be the Alan Parsons Project, his songs were dramatic, historically imbued and gorgeously orchestrated. Stewart is also a notorious thief: he never met a good idea he didn’t want to blatantly steal. Here it’s the “ping” from Echoes by Pink Floyd, put to good use in this haunting, aptly watery epic about the 19th century ghost ship Mary Celeste. From the Time Passages lp, 1978; mp3s abound. The link above is to a torrent of the whole album.

May 5, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 4/23/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Thursday’s song is #461:

The Alan Parsons Project – Day After Day

About 35 years ago, British songwriter/keyboardist Eric Woolfson wrote a song cycle based on several Edgar Allan Poe short stories (hey, don’t laugh, it was the 70s). One thing led to another and it ended up being recorded in 1976 by a group featuring most of the powerpop band Pilot, put together by producer Alan Parsons (hence the name). The lp, Tales of Mystery & Imagination, was a surprise hit, so the group decided to follow it up with a vaguely sci-fi themed, more pop-oriented one, I Robot, that spawned a couple of big radio singles and established the band as a sort of poor man’s Pink Floyd for the next eight years or so. This is its centerpiece, a beautifully wistful 6/8 ballad about looking for lost time. 

April 23, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment