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, December 9, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for December 9, 2022


[Still Pink] -- The Prisoners released their debut album – A Taste of Pink! – 40 years ago this week, on December 9, 1982. What? You never heard of The Prisoners? 

They started in 1980 as a three-piece outfit – guitar (Graham Day), bass (Allan Crockford), and drums (Johnny Symons) – in Rochester, Kent, England. In early 1982, they became a quartet when Jamie Taylor joined them on organ. Well, Taylor initially used a (then) modern Casio keyboard, set to an organ sound and played loudly through a valve amplifier. Later, the band employed a Vox Continental organ as something of a lead instrument. That organ and guitar combination gave The Prisoners a retro vibe as they channeled 1960s psych and 1970s punk into their garage band ethos. 

The Prisoners had a decent local following, but never found commercial success. And they called it quits as a band after their fourth album in 1986. They are still active, individually, in the music scene, performing and producing. But a full-on reunion seems unlikely. 

Their debut, A Taste of Pink!, was the very definition of an overlooked gem -- an uncut, brash, and unruly gem, but one not without certain charms. Unfortunately for The Prisoners, Pink! did not chart and it had no singles to speak of. The embedded YouTube video in this post replicates the order of the 12 tracks on the original 1982 release (even specifying which side those tracks were on). It also includes two bonus tunes. I find "Better in Black," "Come To The Mushroom," "Till The Morning Light," and "Don't Call My Name" to be the standouts on the original release. Regarding the two bonus tracks, my fave is "Melanie." Let me know what you think!  

 
FlashbackA Taste of Pink! (December 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, December 2, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for December 2, 2022


[40 Years of THRILLER] -- November 30, 1982 – forty years ago this week – Michael Jackson (8/29/1958 - 6/25/2009) released his sixth studio album, Thriller. It was Jackson's first #1 album, and it spent a whopping 37 non-consecutive weeks in that top slot. Thriller was not only Jackson's most successful record, but also remains the best-selling album of all time worldwide and the second-best-selling album overall in the United States -- as of this writing, The Eagles' Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) edged Thriller out of the top US spot in 2018

Seven of the nine tracks on Thriller were released as singles. Only one, the duet with Paul McCartney, "The Girl Is Mine," was released in 1982. The rest were released across 1983, culminating with the title track being released on November 5, 1983. And all seven singles reached the top ten. Two of the singles, "Beat It" and "Billie Jean," peaked at the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Thriller even set a record, at the time, for the most top ten singles from an album

Thriller also set a benchmark for music videos. Remember that epic 14-minute short film that premiered in December 1983. It became a mainstay in MTV rotation and kind of became synonymous with Halloween. Speaking of music videos, MJ's vids are credited for boosting music videos as a serious art form. 

All of this success gave Jackson serious musical and cultural clout. With Thriller setting multiple industry standards, this was the beginning of MJ's reign as the King of Pop

There's plenty of celebrating and bloviating about this record on its 40th anniversary. Billboard spent time to rank the songs from best to worst. An immersive event was scheduled. And there's a website dedicated to Thriller's 40th anniversary, particularly the special anniversary edition release. 

What's your fave track from this album?

FlashbackThriller (November 30, 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 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!