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, September 17, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for September 17, 2021

 

[A-B-A-C-A-B] -- Genesis has been in the news lately, primarily because they have a reunion tour in the works. But drummer/frontman Phil Collins' recent comments have also drawn attention: This tour is likely his swan song due to his ongoing health problems

So, this might be a good time to revisit a record from when he was in his prime. And, in September 1981, 40 years ago this week, Genesis released their 11th studio album, Abacab. The title track took its name from how an early version of the song was structured (i.e., the order of sections assigned a letter of the alphabet). According to guitarist Mike Ruthorford, however, the final version was more like ACACACUCUBUBUGA than ABACAB (see Genesis In the Studio, YouTube, 2006). 

Abacab marked a shift from Genesis' progressive roots into a more pop-oriented sound, but those roots are still somewhat evident. And it was a big success; it was the band's second #1 album on the UK Albums Chart as well as their first to peak in the top ten of the US Billboard 200. Of the four singles, "Abacab" and "No Reply At All" were the most successful. "Abacab" peaked at #26 while "No Reply At All" peaked at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100. "No Reply At All" also reached the #2 position on the U.S. Top Rock Tracks chart. Back in the day, my favorite track was probably the fourth single, "Man on the Corner," but these days I gravitate more to an unreleased track, "Dodo/Lurker." Though I still have quite a bit of love for "No Reply At All." Feel free to share your favorite Genesis track in the comments!


FlashbackAbacab (September 18, 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, September 10, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for September 10, 2021

 


[Rage in 40] -- Forty years ago this week -- on Friday, September 11, 1981 -- Ultravox released their fifth studio album, Rage in Eden. It reached #4 on the UK album charts, and #144 in the US, while also peaking within the top 50 albums for a few other European countries and Australia. Rage in Eden produced two hits: "The Thin Wall," which kicked off side B, and "The Voice," the album opener on side A. "The Thin Wall" peaked at #14 in the UK Single Charts, while the much stronger (in my opinion, anyway) "The Voice" peaked at #16. None of the singles charted in the US. But all told, Rage in Eden was a finely crafted piece of New Romantic, synth-driven rock. The lyrics are more introspective, even mysterious, than those on previous releases, but perhaps the band felt they had reached a point where they could stretch a bit and experiment lyrically given that their previous record, Vienna (1980), was such a commercial breakthrough. Also, Midge Ure, who had previously worked with Ultravox keyboardist Billy Currie before joining the band on Vienna, now had over a year of experience with his new bandmates. 

Whatever the case, Ultravox continued to mine the sound of their third and fourth releases while going a bit more surreal with their lyrics. And it works. Even if the record wasn't terribly popular at the time, I say this is a recording that has aged well, perhaps even being a masterpiece of 1980s synth-rock. 

Rage in Eden received a 2008 remaster with 13 extra tracks (live recordings and extended versions).

FlashbackRage in Eden (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!

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Suicide Squad

 Dangrdafne review 


From my photo choice, you can see what or rather who was my favorite part of The Suicide Squad. Followed closely by Ratcatcher 2 and Bloodsport … oh and I can’t forget Rick Flag. 

What an insane and wild ride this movie was. It was ultra violent and gory and while I didn’t watch most of that, it wasn’t actually gratuitous, it is exactly what I would expect from a movie called The Suicide Squad and based on the source material.  

I was not spoiled at all even though it took us quite some time to see this movie. I also didn't watch any trailers or any coverage of the movie before we saw it and I am so grateful. I didn't know what was going to happen or who would die and while I am not happy about only one of the deaths, I am glad I didn't know anything before seeing it for myself. I get why it all happened but it doesn't mean I have to like it (and I don't).

The story was typical for the most part but James Gunn always finds humor to break the tension and to add to the crazy. I loved that I felt like I was watching a comic book and I loved how each song matched the scene it was in and added to the story. I also loved the scene and title breaks, they were very clever and added to the comic book feel.

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is just glorious to me and she shined so brightly in this movie. Her story was exactly what was needed for her and I appreciate it. I found myself literally cheering and clapping on my couch for her.

Overall I liked the movie and I would watch it again, mostly for Harley and Sebastian but I still wouldn't be able to stomach all the violence and gore to watch those parts just as I didn't the first time.

3 paws

Friday, September 3, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for September 3, 2021 (Flashbackiversary!)



[Flashbackiversary!] -- I started posting the Friday 80s Flashback on September 3, 2010. That makes today my 11 year Flashbackiversary! (I missed celebrating the 10-year milestone, but it was 2020, so it's kind of par for the proverbial course). To celebrate, let's turn back the clock -- er, calendar -- 11 years and revisit that very first flashback which appeared on Prophet or Madman (I moved the weekly Flashbacks to Bookended by Cats on 6/24/2016). I'm struck by the sparsity and simplicity of my initial foray into weekly pop-culture ruminations. In fact, that very first flashback has no commentary whatsoever! There isn't even a theme! The weekly theme didn't become part and parcel of the flashback until the fourth entry, on September 24, 2010 (a two-fer: Angry Edition and Uplifting Edition). Sample lyrics first appeared in the November 5, 2010, flashback (Politics Schmolotics). On December 10, 2010, we saw my first attempt at incorporating a header image with the Flashback (Winter Holidays: Week 2). 

For the text and videos shared in my 9/3/2010 Flashback, read and hear more after the break.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for August 27, 2021


[Sorry Ma!] -- This week, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Replacements' beautifully messy 1981 debut, Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash. If you are not familiar with The Replacements, here's the intro for a previous flashback that served as a brief retrospective of their 12+ year career (over on Prophet or Madman): 
The Replacements formed in Minneapolis in the late 70s. According to drummer Chris Mars, the band's name reflected their sense of a secondary status: "Like maybe the main act doesn't show, and instead the crowd has to settle for an earful of us dirtbags" [Azerrad, Michael. Our Band Could Be Your Life. 2001. p. 199]. They were never commercially successful, but they did receive critical accolades and have been cited as a major influence for many bands.

The Replacements (or, simply, The 'Mats to their fans) are probably my favorite of what I call the "sloppy" American rock & roll bands. Their sound was informed by a combination of the arena blues-rock of their collective youth and the post-punk that was in vogue when they took up their own instruments. Now, they never achieved a high level of proficiency as musicians during their time together, but they did evolve from garden variety garage band to a genuinely tight if oft-times shabby outfit. Their songs touched upon the pains of growing up, hating your job, and relationship issues, and they did so in their own loud but tuneful manner. 
And they released their debut 40 years ago this week. With only one track exceeding three minutes, they were able to pack a total of 18 tracks onto this record. The lone single was "I'm In Trouble," released on August 7, 1981. An outtake track, "If Only You Were Lonely," was the B-Side; it was included as one of the 13 bonus tracks on the 2008 reissue. "I Hate Music" is the only song on this record to receive the music video treatment, and then only recently as something of an advert for RHINO's 40th anniversary deluxe edition of Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash. The new video, even as part of an obvious (obnoxious?) cash grab, does nothing to diminish my love for "I Hate Music." My other fave tracks include "Shiftless When Idle," "Shutup," "Something to Dü," "I Bought a Headache," and "Careless." Feel free to mention your faves in the comments ... after you reacquaint yourself with this hardcore classic. This post's embedded YouTube playlist has all the tracks included on the 1981 release. 



FlashbackSorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash (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, August 20, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for August 20, 2021


[Pretenders, Too] -- Back around the middle of July, I was looking for records released in the summer of 1981. I thought I had a great one for that week, but just as I was applying the basic details here, I noticed the record had been released in August, not July. So, I put it on the back-burner and waited a month. And now it's finally time to publish this post! 

40 years ago this month, this very week in fact, The Pretenders released their sophomore effort, Pretenders II. Unlike most sophomore records, this album featured only a few previously unreleased tracks. That was due to a lack of new materialTwo of the songs had been released as singles in the UK, and/or placed on a US released EP -- appropriately titled Extended Play (March 1981). Those same songs were the first singles released off Pretenders II: "Message of Love" and "Talk of the Town." Singles from this album also included "I Go to Sleep," a song by Ray Davies of The Kinks (but not recorded by the Kinks). Pretenders II received a lukewarm reaction upon release, as it was not considered as groundbreaking as their 1979 debut, but appreciation for the album has grown over time. Perhaps this weekend is a good time to revisit it and update your own notions. 

UPDATE 8/21/2021: I noticed the previous playlist video was missing two of the tracks from Pretenders II, so I made my own playlist based on available videos. Now you should be able to hear all 12 songs on this album! 

Flashback: Pretenders II (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, August 13, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for August 13, 2021


[Theme] -- I know today is Friday the 13th. But it's your lucky day because: (1) No stabbing here, and (2) I'm bringing you some tunes from a possibly overlooked gem of the 1980s. 

You probably remember Level 42 from their 1985 hit, "Something About You." And plenty of people probably thought Level 42 was a brand new band when that song hit the airwaves and MTV. However, Level 42 formed in 1979 and they released their eponymous debut album in August 1981 -- 40 years ago this month! While this record enjoyed some success in their native UK, it didn't garner much attention on this side of the Atlantic. Well, their third single, "Starchild," did hit #60 on the Club Play Singles chart, so they had that going for them. My guess is that, for many of you 80sphiles out there, this week's Flashback is a bit of audio-archeology, digging into the jazz-pop-funk roots that would fuel the band's later success in the late 1980s and early 1990s.. 

FlashbackLevel 42 (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, August 6, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for 8/6/2021



[A Precious 40 Years] -- In July of 1981, Pat Benatar released her third studio album, Precious Time. That means we're celebrating that record's 40th anniversary! As I've written before, I love Pat Benatar. In my opinion, she is one of the all-time great rock and roll singers. No one will ever budge my position on that. But this third outing for her didn't get the same love as her prior releases. Sales dipped a bit, though the album was certified Double Platinum in the US. It even peaked at #1 on the US Billboard 200, her only record to do so. I don't specifically know why Precious Time underperformed, but 1981 was a pretty crowded field for music. Even so, I think Precious Time's singles are at least as strong as any she's released in her career. I mean, "Fire and Ice" and "Promises in the Dark" are absolute scorchers, and they were both top 40 hits on the US Billboard Hot 100 (and top 20 on the US Mainstream Rock chart). And her cover of the Beatles' "Helter Skelter" probably should have garnered more attention, too. Anyway, Benatar's voice is in fine form and her band, fueled by her husband Neil Giraldo's blistering guitar work, cooks along nicely. If you haven't listened to this album in a while, or ever, this weekend is a great time to give it a spin (or a click).

FlashbackPrecious Time – Pat Benatar (1981)

"And so you put up your guard | And you try to be hard | But your heart says try again."



Track list: 
Side one
1. "Promises in the Dark"
2. "Fire and Ice"
3. "Just Like Me" (Paul Revere & the Raiders cover)
4. "Precious Time"
Side two
5. "It's a Tuff Life"
6. "Take It Anyway You Want It"
7. "Evil Genius"
8. "Hard to Believe"
9. "Helter Skelter" (The Beatles cover)




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 30, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for July 30, 2021


[R.I.P. Dusty Hill] -- “I like to believe that I play bass like Dusty Hill, and that's something nobody else can do as well as me. I'm the best Dusty Hill I know.” ~Dusty Hill (May 19, 1949 – July 28, 2021) in reply to a 2010 Q&A in CLASSIC ROCK magazine. 

I posted that quote on several of my social media accounts on 7/28/2021, after I had read the news that Texas musician, Dusty Hill, had died in his sleep. There are news stories (AP News, for example) and tributes all over the web. The outpouring of emotion for 72-year-old Hill is understandable. He was not only ZZ Top's bass player, and other bearded dude, he was also, on occasion, the band's keyboard player. Plus, he sang backing and lead vocals. Dusty Hill was the man who held the bottom line for so many songs in the soundtrack of my life, especially from the late 1970s through the 1990s. 

So, this week's Flashback cycles through a trio of ZZ Top's 1980s catalog featuring Dusty Hill on lead vocals. Can you guess what made the cut? Read and hear more after the jump.

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 

Friday, June 11, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for June 11, 2021

 


[Dreaming in Blue] -- Last week, this blog featured Synchronicity (1983), the final studio album Sting recorded as a member of The Police. So, why not follow that up with Sting's first solo record, The Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985)? In early 1984, breaking up a popular rock band at the height of their commercial success, and shortly after a record-breaking tour, probably didn't seem all that logical. And when The Dream of the Blue Turtles debuted in June 1985, lots of fans probably wondered why Sting had traded rock'n'roll stardom for a jazzier sound. Perhaps they did not realize, or recall, that all three members of The Police had jazz backgrounds. In fact, Stewart Copeland first saw Sting when the latter was performing with a jazz fusion outfit in Newcastle. 

But Sting didn't want to necessarily make a jazz record as his first big solo outing. No, his "intention was to use musicians who had the finesse of playing jazz, but to make music without that label" (UCR, June 2015). And so, he recruited a brilliant set of musicians -- Branford Marsalis (saxophone), Kenny Kirkland (keyboards), Omar Hakim (drums) and Darryl Jones (bass) -- to create an album that was not stifled by what he viewed as the restrictive format of pop or rock. If the five singles and a handful of Grammy nominations (scroll down to 1985 here) are any indication, he succeeded. So, let's revisit this record which celebrated its 35th anniversary last year. 

Also, after the past year of virtual gatherings, does that first video (for "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free") make anyone else think of Zoom backgrounds? 

FlashbackThe Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985)



Track order in the embedded playlist...

Side one
1. "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free"
2. "Love Is the Seventh Wave"
3. "Russians" Sergei Prokofiev, Sting
4. "Children's Crusade"
5. "Shadows in the Rain"

Side two
6. "We Work the Black Seam"
7. "Consider Me Gone"
8. "The Dream of the Blue Turtles"
9. "Moon over Bourbon Street"
10. "Fortress Around Your Heart"


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 8, 2021

The New Mutants - HBO Max

 Dangrdafne review:

I didn't know what to expect at all. Brainwise said it was in the X-Men franchise and that it might be a horror. I saw that it was PG-13, so how much horror could there really be.

Well, there were scary things for sure and some shocking things too but I guess I think of gore with horror and I would say this was more mind horror and less gore but I was perfectly ok with it and it didn't scar me or anything, which is good overall.

I didn't know any of the characters and I might say I am not sure I still do. I felt like the movie makers had lots they wanted to show but didn't know how to put it all together so they did the best they could to put the pieces together to make a movie. Now, mind you, I didn't hate the movie at all and I might even watch it again if it were to come up but it is certainly nothing I will rave about. 

The actors did their job and I did care about them and would watch more if made, but if they don't make any more movies about them, I will be ok too. I don't feel I wasted my time watching the movie and we did say that we could always turn it off if we didn't like it but we watched the whole movie. I realize these are not glowing endorsements and if you are not into the X-men franchise I would definitely tell you to skip it.

Along those lines I like the X-men but this pushed the far boundaries of their tales and I did not know the characters or story lines at all. So I think if you know the X-men well you might like this more as you would catch the themes, stories and characters and may have more invested in it. Again though I didn't hate the movie but I could have liked it more for sure :)

2 paws

Friday, June 4, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for June 4, 2021

 


[A connecting principle] -- Earlier this week, I saw a Facebook post about Synchronicity, the final studio album from The Police. According that particular write-up, The Police released this album on 6/1/1983. I thought, "Perfect! There's my topic for this week's Flashback!" However, in compiling notes for my own post, I found that other sources, Wikipedia and AllMusic among them, list 6/17/1983 as the release date. Either way, this album hit the charts 38 years ago this month. But if you're interested, the band's own website lists 6/1/1983 as the release date, so I could just as easily say the record came out 38 years ago this very week, if I wanted to be that much more topical (or synchronous, I suppose). 

Anyway, after spending most of 1982 on non-Police endeavors, the band reconvened to hammer out the details of their next studio record. The three of them had outlines of roughly 20 different songs. After their usual battles, they pared the list down to 11 tracks. This tally worked out to their typical balance of songwriting credits -- one Copeland song, one and a half from Summers, and the rest by Sting, who was largely regarded the best songwriter among them. As such, according to Summers, there were "hardly any broken hearts" over the final song selection. Synchronicity (1983) was named after Arthur Koestler's book, The Roots of Coincidence, which mentions Carl Jung's theory of Synchronicity. This was The Police's most successful album to date, spawning four hit singles and winning a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Early in the tour, just before playing to a crowd of 18,000 in New York's Shea Stadium, the band realized that things couldn't get much bigger. According to Sting, this was "the beginning of the end." Well, I guess if you have to end a musical collaboration, you might as well go out on a high note like Synchronicity, quite likely as close as a group can get to a perfect record. And because I truly believe Synchronicity is nearly perfect, I have to feature all 11 tracks for this post, right? Right! 

Flashback: The Police, Synchronicity (1983)



Here are the tracks embedded in this week's video playlist (which is your favorite?):
  1. Synchronicity I
  2. Walking in Your Footsteps
  3. O My God
  4. Mother
  5. Miss Gradenko
  6. Synchronicity II
  7. Every Breath You Take
  8. King of Pain
  9. Wrapped Around Your Finger
  10. Tea in the Sahara
  11. Murder by Numbers

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 1, 2021

The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin

 Dangrdafne review:

I could not have have picked a better day to finally sit down and read this book: Memorial Day. I feel as though I fully honored the millions of people who have given their lives for our freedoms by reading this book today. And what a glorious book it is.

I finished it speechless and crying. I impatiently waited for this book from Madeline Martin but it was worth every second of the wait. Her writing and story telling are impeccable. I could see every moment of the book in my mind and while some of it I wish I couldn't, that means it is a great book. 

It is a story about World War II with incredible historical accuracy but it is so much more than that. It is about friendship, family, love, honor, compassion, loss, strength, the love of books and women who defy all the odds. It is truly a remarkable book. As I wrote to Madeline after I finished the book, "You touched a part of my soul that has been quiet for a long time." 

I kept writing down passages I liked until I realized I was writing most of the book. But I know it was going to be good from the very first page and this line, "...and gave a freshly applied vermillion smile." What a perfect description!! I feel like every word was perfectly chosen and held more meaning that I could even glean from them. I just really fell into the world and it is very hard leaving it now.

It also seems like a book appropriate for the pandemic. The themes at times were very similar and the teachings from WWII could certainly apply to 2020 and 2021. There are so many pieces of the book I want to share with you but it would most definitely take away from the beauty of discovering it all on your own.

All I can promise is that it is worth your time to read this book and relish in its beauty. To all my friends who love books, please, please add this book to your 'to read' list to read next. I can not recommend it enough. "One book at a time."

4 paws and a tail

Friday, May 28, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for May 28, 2021


[Memorial Top Ten] -- Monday, 5/31/2021, is the last Monday in May and is therefore the date on which we observe Memorial Day here in the States. So, as of today, many are in Memorial Day Weekend mode. Looking at the weather, there might be fewer cookouts in this particular area, but grilling isn't the primary function of this holiday weekend. Of course, remembering 1980s tunes isn't the primary, or even the tertiary, function of the holiday either, but we on the Bookended crew have to work with what we've got. 

Anyway, back in 1981, Memorial Day was Monday, May 25. So, that year, the beginning of Memorial Day Weekend was Friday, May 22. And while I could have looked to see what records were released just before the holiday weekend, I figured it might be more of a treat to see what was aleady topping the charts as of the end of that week: Saturday, May 23. These would, of course, be the songs blaring from many a radio at more than one point that weekend. Fortunately, I was able to get the top ten list from both Billboard and Top 40 Weekly. And I compiled them into a YouTube playlist! 

Do you know what song topped the Billboard Hot 100 this holiday weekend in 1981? Maybe even more important, do you know which of these tracks still rank highly in my list of all-time favorites? 

FlashbackBillboard Hot 100, Top 10 for May 23, 1981 



Counting down from #10 to #1, here are the songs that are embedded in the video playlist:

10. “Watching The Wheels” — John Lennon
9. “Too Much Time On My Hands” — Styx
8. “Sukiyaki” — A Taste Of Honey
7. “Living Inside Myself” — Gino Vannelli
6. “Take It On The Run” — REO Speedwagon
5. “Medley” — Stars On 45
4. “Angel Of The Morning” — Juice Newton
3. “Just The Two Of Us” — Grover Washington, Jr.
2. “Being With You” — Smokey Robinson
1. “Bette Davis Eyes” — Kim Carnes

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!

Note: Image of the 5/23/1981 Billboard Magazine is from WorthPoint.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for May 21, 2021


[Dregs of the Earth] -- Tomorrow (May 22, 2021, as I write this) -- would have been my father's 75th birthday. I say "would have" because he passed away due to complications with his second bone marrow transplant eight years ago. Some of you may recall reading updates about Dad's final journey, which started around the middle of March 2013 and ran through to his death on May 4, just a few weeks shy of his 67th birthday.

Although he is physically gone now, Dad was very much alive in the 1980s, and ever ready to help me with my musical appreciation. I'm sure he was at least slightly worried that I would be hopelessly lost to new wave, heavy metal, or synthpop. He wanted me to be grounded in the classics (er, classic rock) and jazz. And genres that incorporated elements of jazz (jazz fusion, world music, etc.). Of course, Dad loved bands that straddled both the classic rock and jazz genres. One such band was Dixie Dregs

They released nine studio records, four in the 1980s. And their first 1980s release was Dregs of the Earth (1980). As AllMusic muses in a review of this record, the Dregs "must have been an awfully tough band to market back in the day." I mean, what with "Dixie" in their name and their obvious country influences stirred into a stew of jazz, blues, funk, prog, and more. You can hear the southern influence in tracks like "Road Expense" and "Pride o' the Farm." "I'm Freaking Out" blends jazz and prog, at least I think so (particularly with the organ riffs). But then there's "The Great Spectacular" that straight up rips the roof off your car, even if you don't have a convertible! It's certainly one of my favorite Dregs tunes. And it was one of Dad's faves, too.

Happy birthday, Dad. I'm enjoying this record once again in your honor. 

Flashback: Dregs of the Earth (1980)



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, May 18, 2021

Falcon and the Winter Soldier - Disney Plus

 Dangrdafne review:

First statement, I love Anthony Mackie... as Falcon ;)

I also love Sebastian Stan as Bucky/The Winter Soldier.

Put them together and Dangrdafne is a happy TV watcher.

I will admit that when this series started I was not as into it as I thought I would be and we even paused it numerous time to talk about other things. But half way through something changed and suddenly I was fully involved and when it was over I was greatly impressed with the story and I loved how it all tied together.

I was impressed how it wasn't just a superhero show and it wasn't about fighting just a villain, it was about fighting racism and supremacy of all kinds. I found myself sympathizing with the "bad guys" and villains and wishing everyone in the world would watch this show if for nothing more than just Anthony Mackie's final monologue. It was true brilliance and so many could learn from it. This show hurt and it should. People should have to look at themselves and question their motives, their ideals and how they interact with our human beings on this earth. That is a tall order for a TV show but this easily met that order and exceeded it.

I am glad we watched it over two days and not over the six weeks that the show actually ran but it did allow for one spoiler for me and I am pretty sad about it. I won't post it here but I am hopeful there will be some other reason or outcome for this item as it involves one of my favorite characters. I was also spoiled by a casting but since I am not well versed on Marvel history I did not know what it meant... and honestly I still don't LOL.

If you love the Marvel Universe, this is a MUST watch. If you want to learn more about the human race, this is a MUST watch. The acting is well done, the story is interesting and timely, the music and action are impeccable and it is part of the history, current stories and future telling that we all have come to love in the Marvel world.

4 paws

Friday, May 14, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for May 14, 2021


[Take a Walk on the East Side] -- In May of 1981, a mere four decades ago as I write this, Squeeze released their fourth studio album, East Side Story. This was the first record to feature new, and brief, keyboardist/vocalist Paul Carrack. Even with Carrack featured on the lead vocals of "Tempted," the band's first hit in the US, and some influence from primary producer Elvis Costello, this record was still very much a Difford and Tilbrook jaunt. I'm calling it a jaunt because, though the usual elements are in place, East Side Story's songs delved into other sounds such as rockabilly, blue-eyed soul, Merseybeat, etc. According to AllMusic, East Side Story is "regarded as Squeeze's grand masterpiece." An I have to agree. The record peaked at #44 on the US Billboard Pop Albums chart and at #19 on the UK Official Albums Chart. The four singles released from this album include the aforementioned "Tempted," the snappy "Is That Love," the mournful "Labelled with Love," and the rockabillesque "Messed Around." All but "Messed Around" appear on Squeeze's 1982 compilation Singles – 45's and Under (well, at least on the US version, but that's a story for another post). All 14 tracks of East Side Story's original release are included in this week's embedded YouTube playlist. 

FlashbackEast Side Story (May, 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!