Rhiannon promised me heaven and all I got was this lousy T-shirt

Posted: March 25, 2014 in music, Record reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Fleetwood Mac Military-Industrial Complex cannot be confined to a single blog post.

Around 1968, Peter Green wrote a song called “Black Magic Woman.” When I was a teenager we referred to this song as “Black Magic Marker.” You can find it on Fleetwood Mac’s English Rose album (1969). It’s good; it sounds like a tango in Jamaica.

It’s so good that two years later Carlos Santana decided to cover it. Rather than stop where Green stopped, Santana upped the ante by appending the instrumental “Gypsy Queen” by the Hungarian jazz guitarist Gàbor Szabó. I’ve heard Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” a million times, and it still knocks me down with its sinuous organ, furious guitar, and its roots in blues, jazz, and the folk music of two continents.

“Gypsy Queen” appears on Szabó’s 1966 album Spellbinder. Szabó was a pretty fair guitarist. Unfortunately, his interpretations of the pop standards of the day are uninteresting. When he tries to sing, as he does on Sonny Bono’s “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down),” things get worse.

But three of his original compositions on this disc more than make up for this problem: “Gypsy Queen,” “Cheetah,” and the title track. They’re sufficiently awesome to overwhelm “It Was a Very Good Year,” “My Foolish Heart,” and the bang bang song. I rate it a Buy.

OK, that’s it for Fleetwood Mac. I’m not going to deal with Stevie Nicks and her scarves. Tomorrow, Chicago for sure. Spoiler alert: “25 or 6 to 4” is the singer’s estimate of how many minutes remain before 4 o’clock, 25 or 26. The song appeared in 1970 and the digital wristwatch was patented in 1970. The composer, Robert Lamm, just got in under the wire on this one.

Who wears cheetah?
Many thanks to Loyal Reader Orin who sends word of the 2014 updating of Frank Zappa’s “Valley Girl.” Here then are The Chainsmokers with their haunting, heart-breaking “#SELFIE.” They definitely bought all their Instagram followers.

Random Pick of the Day
Fruit Bats, Mouthfuls (2003)
This band starts where the quieter tracks on The White Album end. The album is often too quiet for me, though never Cowboy Junkies quiet. The closer, “When U Love Somebody,” is a jewel.

Random Pan of the Day
Iggy Pop, Party (1981)
Party is so bad you have to get EPA approval before you can play it. Iggy, trying to cash in on the New Wave, crashes into a guard rail. His covers are inept (“Time Won’t Let Me” is gruesome) and his originals are unlistenable. Except for “Bang Bang” – now that’s good. Perhaps it escaped from another album. Sadly, this record was a footnote while it was being recorded.


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