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, July 23, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for July 23, 2021


[Comics and SDCC!] -- After the year that was 2020, I had hoped we might be in San Diego for San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) this week. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic was still not fully under control when convention organizers were working on their plans, so their March 2021 announcement indicated SDCC would be virtual, again. If you are unfamiliar with the event, here's some background: It was founded in 1970 as the Golden State Comic Book Convention. As it grew, this convention was later rebranded with the name we have come to know and recognize. SDCC bounced among several locations in San Diego until it landed at the San Diego Convention Center where it has been held since 1991 (with the exceptions of the virtual event in 2020 ... and now in 2021, too). SDCC is now widely recognized as a juggernaut of TV and film events. So much so that critics regularly complain it's "not about comics anymore!" However, there is still plenty of comic book related activity at SDCC, as Comic Spectrum pointed out in 2018 and in 2016.

To celebrate SDCC 2019, I selected several 80s tunes inspired by, about, or somehow related to comic books. And I repeated that formula for 2020's ComicCon@Home. Even after those two years, I still had some tracks that did not make either of my previous playlists, so I'm using them this year. What made the latest playlist? Read and hear more the jump.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for July 16, 2021


[The Return of the Man with the Horn] -- Forty years ago this month, Miles Davis came out of a reclusive retirement with a brand new record, his first in six years. The Man with the Horn (note the reference to his 1952 album, Young Man with a Horn) finds Davis blending his traditional horn playing style with 1980s pop, funk, and fusion. AllMusic considers this record something of a shaky comeback. However, I find it to be an interesting, and somewhat invigorating, entry in the venerable musician's catalog. I particularly enjoy "Back Seat Betty" and "Shout" – both of which are good songs for summer drives. According to George Cole, this record featured three different bands, and it went Gold (selling over 100,000 copies). Those details and others are compiled in Cole's post on the 30th anniversary of The Man with the Horn.

Back cover, showing song list and production info [source]



FlashbackThe Man with the Horn (1981)




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, July 9, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for July 9, 2021



[She Is A Lot] -- I have one, and only one, song for you this week in the Flashback. My wife experienced a rather long day at work today. And while she was telling me about it this evening, her story included the fact that she told someone, and I quote, "I am a lot." She said it a few times in that conversation, so she quoted herself more than once tonight. Meanwhile, in my head, I'm hearing those four words to the tune of Faith No More's "We Care A Lot." 

Welcome to my brain. 

There are three versions of "We Care A Lot." The first was the title track of Faith No More's debut album in 1985. The second version, a re-recording with new lyrics, was the lead single for the band's 1987 release, and major label debut, Introduce Yourself. That version peaked at 53 on the UK Singles Chart. Both the first and second versions of "We Care A Lot" were recorded with Faith No More's original vocalist, Chuck Mosley. The third version, a live recording, was made with the band's second and current vocalist, Mike Patton. This live version is available on Faith No More's only officially released live record, You Fat Bastards: Live at the Brixton Academy (Video 1990, Audio 1991). 

Oh, and this week's flashback may be only one song, I've included all three versions for you, starting with the most popular one. You're welcome!

Flashback"Oh, it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it  |  Said it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it."



"We Care A Lot" (1987)



"We Care A Lot" (1985)



"We Care A Lot" (1990)



Well, 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, July 2, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for July 2, 2021

 


[Juke Box Heroes] -- 40 years ago today, Foreigner released 4, also known as Foreigner 4. The album's title had a dual purpose: It indicated the band's fourth studio album, and it represented the band's new status as a quartet. Various session players helped with the recording process, or on tour, but the band's primary members were Lou Gramm (lead vocals), Mick Jones (keyboards, guitars), Rick Wills (bass), and Dennis Elliott (drums). This four-person lineup is the one that endures in my memory when I think of Foreigner even though I did have Foreigner's previous three records, or at least 45s of singles from those albums.

While their first three records had helped establish Foreigner as something of a top AOR band and headliner, not to mention a commercial success with platinum sales, 4 was the break-through record they had been trying to release. Maybe some of that can be attributed to "Mutt" Lange on production, maybe some of it was due to a streamlining of songwriting efforts. Whatever the case, 4 launched the band into even greater success. The album held the #1 position on the Billboard album chart for 10 weeks, and it spawned multiple hit singles, including two entries in the #1 position on the Mainstream Rock chart: "Urgent" and "Waiting for a Girl Like You." I do like both of those tracks, but my favorite song on this album has to be "Juke Box Hero" which peaked in the #3 slot of the Mainstream Rock chart. 
 
Foreigner never quite equaled the commercial or critical success of 4. The embedded playlist below has all 10 tracks of the original release as well as two bonus tracks from the 2002 release, but it has only one of the original music videos (the one for "Urgent"). If you want to see Foreigner's original music videos for the five singles, visit this 40th anniversary post from 93.7 The River

FlashbackForeigner 4 (1981)




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, June 25, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for June 25, 2021

 


[Be Fast, Be Clean, Be Cheap -- 10 Year Redux!] -- Ten years ago, back on Prophet or Madman, I spent three weeks in June sharing the songs of a compilation I had recorded to cassette in the late 1980s. That compilation was titled "Be Fast, Be Clean, Be Cheap," and it was named for the sixth track on Side A. That name was also the title/theme for those blog posts. For the collective anniversary of those posts, I thought I would compile all the tracks into one YouTube playlist, and bring back that title over here on Bookended. While saving the new YouTube playlist, I was surprised to find that, of the nine YouTube videos featured in those posts, only one was no longer available. I also found that I never got around to blogging Side B of that cassette. Perhaps that will be a future post here. 

Anyway, if you want to read what I had to say about the individual tracks, go check out Part 1 for tracks 1 - 3, Part 2 for tracks 4 - 6, and Part 3 for tracks 7 - 9. 

If you just want to check out what made it onto that old cassette, the embedded playlist awaits! 

Flashback: Be Fast, Be Clean, Be Cheap (Compilation)




Here are the tracks for Side A of Be Fast, Be Clean, Be Cheap:
  1. Flesh for Lulu – "I Go Crazy"
  2. The Cure – "Why Can't I Be You" (Extended Mix)
  3. Age of Chance – "Kiss" 
  4. Gary Moore – "Over the Hills and Far Away"
  5. Midnight Oil – "Power and the Passion"
  6. Age of Chance – "Be Fast, Be Clean Be Cheap"
  7. Until December – "No Gift Refused"
  8. Fine Young Cannibals – "Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)"
  9. Faith No More – "We Care A Lot"

By the way, I still have that cassette. 



Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, 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, June 18, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for June 18, 2021


[Walk the Night] -- Back in March, when I saw that Gino Vannelli's Nightwalker had turned 40, I passed on featuring it in a Flashback. You see, I thought I had previously done a post about this album. Turns out, I had featured only the title track as one of three "Guilty Pleasures" back in April 2013. Well, as Mr. Vannelli's birthday was just this past Wednesday (6/18), and because Nightwalker was an album my late father and I had bonded over, I think this is the weekend to feature the record in its entirety. (By the way, I still have my father's vinyl copy of this album).

Nightwalker (1981) was the seventh release from the Vannelli brothers (Gino's brother, Joe, worked with him for much of his career). It's a woefully underrated record if you ask me, almost a textbook example of recording engineering genius. I also consider it a milestone in that it shows a clear delineation between 1970s studio excess and the 1980s DIY attitude. Nightwalker is full and lush. You can actually feel a roomful of musicians and equipment, but it never feels overproduced – well, maybe it's a bit overproduced by mid-80s standards, but certainly not when judged on its own merits. The title track, which is also the first track on Side A, kicks off with the sounds of city traffic, evoking the very streets that the song's protagonist walks. A keyboard intro is gently woven in. Then, around the 45 second mark, the city gives way to the full sound of Gino Vannelli's band filling your ears and senses. I should also point out that this album marks Vannelli's sidestep from his more R&B and jazz influenced recordings. Pop music was on the rise as the 1970s gave way to the 1980s, and Vannelli's songwriting shifted to reflect that change. 

Not that his writing always works on this record. "Nightwalker" sometimes comes across as ... well ... stalker-like ("I can't live in this world without love, without you" or "I walk the night because your head is gone from my pillow"). "Stay With Me" has the cringeworthy lyric "The only crime I see, is killing time with me," but Vannelli still sings it, or slings it, with his customary gusto. But there are plenty of highlights, too. Both "Seek and You Will Find" and "I Believe" are positive, upbeat songs which can still resonate today. "Sally (She Says the Sweetest Things)" is tender ballad of the highest order. And after a year of pandemic, pretty much everyone can identify with this album's biggest hit, "Living Inside Myself." 

FlashbackNightwalker (1981) by Gino Vannelli



Track order in the embedded playlist...

Side A:
1. "Nightwalker" - 5:07
2. "Seek and You Will Find" - 4:40 
3. "Put the Weight on My Shoulders" - 4:45
4. "I Believe" - 4:11 

Side B:
5. "Santa Rosa" - 4:12
6. "Living Inside Myself" - 4:23
7. "Stay With Me" - 4:43
8. "Sally (She Says the Sweetest Things)" - 4:29


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!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

His Dark Materials - HBO Max

 Dangrdafne review:

This post was originally only going to cover Season 1 but we couldn’t stop watching, so it is a post for both seasons.

I listened to the audio book for The Golden Compass years ago and I saw the 2007 movie version of The Golden Compass but that is it. So I am missing the rest of the Dark Materials: The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

That said, it did not ruin my enjoyment of this series. WOW!!!! The music is incredible, the cinematography is immense and the CGI is barely noticeable to me. Dafne Keen as Lyra is perfection. Exactly how I pictured/remembered her from the book. The animals/daemons are simply adorable and created perfectly. There are many times I wondered if they were real or not, to me that is a good sign of the amount of time they took to create them.

I would say the weak spot of the whole series for me is Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby. He was not gruff enough and he was too happy, even sounding like he was rhyming at times and that is not the Lee Scoresby I remember from the book. But again it was not enough to ruin the series for me and I am more than grateful that Lee Scoresby exists in the series for reasons I will not spoil.

I did remember a lot of the Golden Compass but since this is not distinctly one book per season, but almost I think,  there were things I didn't know during the first season and I knew even less in the second. I will add that watching the two seasons now, I want to go back and re-read the first book and read the other two books. I am curious as to what was different and if it made a difference. Since it has been so long since my reading and watching the first book, I could not recall what was in the book or not in the series.

Again, like so many other shows we have watched lately, it is another very timely tale and I am sure my blood pressure must go up while we are watching. There are so many storylines that just get me so angry but it is all necessary and part of the story. I am sad we have to wait quite some time for season 3 but I will patiently wait as I know it will be well worth it.

4 paws