Bookended by Cats was named after Milo and Otis. They are the short, orange, and furry brothers who, upon entering our lives in 2003, often bookended us on our couch. And who are we? We're a geek couple living in PA. We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for November 25, 2022


[An Environmental Liturgy] -- To the best of my research, Paul Winter and his Paul Winter Consort released Missa Gaia/Earth Mass, a two record set, in October 1982. So, while it did not come out 40 years ago this week, Missa Gaia/Earth Mass is still 40 years old this year, so it's fair game in my opinion. Also, I'm looking only to the album release date; the music itself was performed and recorded a year earlier. Anyway, I thought this album might provide a necessary respite from the commercial onslaught that begins on Black Friday.   

I'll explain briefly. 

The origins of this release go back to 1980, when James Parks Morton, dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, invited Paul Winter, the Cathedral's Director of Music (1977-1991), to compose a contemporary Mass. Winter intended a work both ecumenical and ecological in scope, embracing all the voices of the Earth. The resultant composition was Missa Gaia/Earth Mass, which took its name from both Latin and Greek: Latin (missa = mass) and Greek (gaia = mother nature). The new composition had a live premiere on May 10, 1981 – Mother’s Day to celebrate Mother Earth. This premiere included a sermon by David Brower, founder and president of Friends of the Earth

The album version is based on three recordings in the Cathedral that year: two in September and one on St. Francis Day (October 4), in honor of the Saint’s 800th birthday. I guess the mixing and any re-recording efforts took Paul Winter and his team about a year because, as I mentioned, the album release was in October 1982. On this album, The Paul Winter Consort weaves together a chorus, choristers, a pipe organ (that just happens to reside in the largest Gothic cathedral in the world), and animal voices (specifically wolf, whale, and loon). In doing so, they create a musical celebration of the Earth in the form of a Mass

"Musically the ecumenical character is underlined by a web of various musical traditions and styles: from Gregorian chant of the Middle Ages through Protestant hymns, Romantic organ music, African instruments, Latin American rhythms, elements of Gospel song to contemporary rock ballad."

Sources: 

The embedded YouTube playlist is missing two tracks ("Song Of Praise" and "Dance Of Gaia") which are available only on the vinyl release.

FlashbackMissa Gaia/Earth Mass (1982)




And that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Friday, November 18, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for November 18, 2022


[Chaka Khan] -- 40 years ago this week, the legendary Chaka Khan released Chaka Khan (November 17, 1982). This was her fourth solo studio album in a solo career that includes 13 album releases. And all those releases are in addition to the many albums she recorded with the American funk band, Rufus, for whom she was the lead singer from 1972 through 1983. 

Chaka Khan reached #5 on Black Albums and #52 on Pop Albums charts. The two singles also charted. First, her cover of Michael Jackson's "Got to Be There" peaked at #67 on the US Pop and #5 on the US R&B charts. Next, "Tearin' It Up" hit #48 on US R&B. And the album earned Khan two more Grammys at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards (1984): one for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female, and another for Best Vocal Arrangement For Two Or More Voices category; that second Grammy was for her amazing "Be Bop Medley," and she shared it with producer Arif Mardin. That was the song that led "hardcore jazz purist Betty Carter to proclaim Khan the one female singer working outside the jazz arena with legitimate improvising credentials" (AllMusic review).


FlashbackChaka Khan (1982)




And that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Friday, November 11, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for November 11, 2022


[The Power and the Passion] -- Midnight Oil's breakthrough album – 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – burst out of Australia 40 years ago this month. 10 to 1 (as fans refer to it) was Midnight Oil's fourth studio album, but it was their first album to break into the top ten of the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart (it peaked at #3), as well as their first to chart on the US Billboard 200 (at #178). And singer Peter Garrett knew they had something special. In response to the producer's question of what kids (particularly the surfer kids in Mullumbimby) would think of it, Garrett answered: “They’ll be in shock. But they’ll recover.” 

In November 1982, I did not know a single song by Midnight Oil. No, my introduction to the band would have to wait until after March 1983 and the release of 10 to 1's second single: "Power and the Passion." I don't remember the date, but I do recall I was at home watching MTV. Shortly after midnight, the music video for "Power and the Passion" aired (that is a link for a story about the song and video; the music video is included in the embedded YouTube playlist below). That's right: My first introduction to Midnight Oil was in music video, not radio. I did not, at the time, understand the lyrics, but the ... well ... the band's power and passion, as well as Garrett's Frankensteinesque dance moves, entranced me. I wondered, "What is this, and where do I get more of it?" 

I have since come to realize that this particular song "highlights disparities between those ‘living in paradise’ and those falling behind" (NFSA), themes that are, sadly, still very much relevant today. I also love the remix of "Power and the Passion," titled "Glitch Baby Glitch (Power And The Passion Dub Mix)."

What is your memory of this album? Do you have a favorite track?

Flashback10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (November 1982)




And that's the Flashback for this week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Baltimore Comic Con 2022

Our first con back since 2019 and it is one of our favorites ... and ... it remains so.

Small, easy to navigate, easy to talk to all the vendors, good panels, great volunteers and nice people across the board.

These are the items we purchased during the con, most from previous artists/vendors that we love but there are some new people here. I recommend all of them and I hope you enjoy looking through our purchases and please be sure to click through to see all the amazing people's websites and other wares.



https://ewacats.com/

https://steveconley.com/the-middle-age/

https://artnessbyjustinbrown.com/



Friday, November 4, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for November 4, 2022


[40 Years Nervous] -- Wikipedia says it was released on October 29, 1982. AOTY's site indicates the release date as November 1, 1982. Either way, Pat Benatar's fourth studio album, Get Nervous, is forty years old as of this week! As I've previously written (July 2018 and August 2021), I love Pat Benatar. So, when I went looking for a 40-year-old album to highlight this week, I pushed aside all other contenders in her favor. 

Possibly the most melodic release since her debut, Get Nervous peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the charts for a total of 46 weeks. All three singles -- "Shadows of the Night," "Little Too Late," and "Looking for a Stranger" -- reached the top 40. My favorite of the three,  "Shadows of the Night," was a huge hit for her, peaking at #13 and #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the US Billboard Top Rock Tracks respectively. It also earned Benatar her third Grammy Award (Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, 1983).  In addition to the usual hard rocking and aggressive tracks like "Anxiety (Get Nervous)" and "The Victim," Get Nervous also offered some slight New Wave leanings in its instrumentation. 

But the most important note here is that Benatar's vocal prowess is absolutely on fire. She is, in my opinion, one of the all-time great rock and roll singers. You won't get me to budge on that, especially with this album as evidence.

FlashbackGet Nervous




I kicked off November strong, but that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Friday, October 28, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for October 28, 2022


[40 Years of Wind and Roses] -- Forty years ago this week, this very day, The Dream Syndicate released their first full-length record: The Days of Wine and Roses (October 28, 1982). The album title is lifted from a line in Ernest Dowson's 1896 poem, "Vitae Summa Brevis." The Dream Syndicate were the darker, more cynical outfit that came out of L.A.'s Paisley Underground scene. You can hear it in their aggressive guitar riffs, abrasive rhythms, and antagonistic lyrics. And this jangly, alternative album comes in at #99 on Blender's list of 100 Greatest Indie-Rock Albums Ever (note: subscribers only post). As far as I can tell, there were no singles released from this album ... at least, none that charted. That tracks because, despite critical acclaim, The Dream Syndicate were largely a commercial failure. Somehow, I don't think that translates to failure in their minds. Anyway, in the absence of singles, may I suggest "Then She Remembers" and "Halloween" (tracks 4 and 5)? 

FlashbackThe Days of Wine and Roses (October 28, 1982)




That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Friday, October 21, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for October 21, 2022

 

[Goodbye Mom - Redux] -- By Friday, October 20, 2017, I was more than two thirds of the way through writing a Flashback post, but I no longer wanted to use it. My sister had called me around 5pm the prior day and told me that our mother was gone, that she had unexpectedly died overnight. Sis had gone over to Mom's house to check on her, as per usual, but instead found ... well, she found that Mom never made it out of bed that day. Her memorial service was the following Wednesday, 10/25/2017. 

So, instead of highlighting a record that turned 40 years old this week, I'm offering up a single flashback song for this weekend. And, just as I did five years ago this week, the song I'm sharing is in memory of my mother, gone too soon at age 71. 

I'm also cribbing the write-up from a previous post, but hopefully you'll forgive me.  

It is probably no surprise that I could reliably turn to Disney for a song that honors the very heart of motherhood. Well, I sort of turned to Disney. I turned to Hal Willner, an American music producer with several tribute albums and live events listed among his many credits. In 1988, Willner released his fourth tribute album, Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney FilmsStay Awake featured new recordings of Disney tunes by a whole range of performing artists, from Sun Ra to Michael Stipe, and from Buster Poindexter to Ringo Starr. This is still one of my favorite CDs from the 80s. At the time, I loved it because it made a somewhat adult soundtrack out of songs originally created for kids. Over 30 years later, I still love it for the milestone in my life that it represents. The second track on Stay Awake pairs Bonnie Raitt with Was (Not Was) on "Baby Mine" from the 1941 film Dumbo

And it never fails to make me think of my own mother. 

R.I.P. Mom (August 1946 - October 2017).

"You're so precious to me | Cute as can be | Baby, you're mine." 




Just one song, but that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!