Thursday, 21 May 2015

The excellent taste in music of Portuguese gas stations

Today I want to write about an album which, apart from being excellent, will always be my best purchase. Yeah, this means there’s a grandpa story coming, so be patient. I was fifteen years old and I was on a school trip. While we were driving through Portugal to go to Galicia, we stopped at a gas station. I often enjoy having a look at the music they sell in some of them, as the covers are usually ridiculous (the music probably sounds even more ridiculous, to be honest). You can imagine how surprised I was when I saw an Eric Clapton CD there. No, wait, not one CD: a double CD plus a DVD. For nine euro. It was too cheap to be true, but I had almost no money so one of my best friends (a huge Clapton fan) and me bought it together and decided to copy everything so we could have one each. I must admit that, right now, I have the original CDs and DVD, although my friend doesn’t listen to that much music so I don’t think he really cares.

By the way, I’m talking about One More Car, One More Rider, a live double CD from 2001. It combines songs that were new back then (damn, it’s already been fifteen years!) and old ones; jazz, blues and rock.

It’s a really amazing concert and there’s not a single bad song. The instrumental jazzy Reptile, Change the World, She’s Gone, Over the Rainbow (that was a nice closer!)... I find it impossible to highlight specific parts of the concert, so I encourage you to just buy or download the album. I uploaded it on youtube a long time ago, but as you may know, those c*nts deleted my channel.

All the musicians do a great job. I especially like Billy Preston and David Sancious, both on keyboards. Check out Sancious’s performances every time he does a solo, it’s a real show. Have You Ever Loved a Woman? is a good example of this.

Now that I think about it, there’s one song I want to highlight, and it’s Layla. Best version ever, by far. Here’s a link to that version and to some other songs from that concert. Enjoy Clapton at his best, I’ll watch the whole DVD one of these days.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Atkins, Knopfler and a beer make life easier

Mark Knopfler isn’t only part of Dire Straits. He has also made a lot of music on his own or with other artists, such as Chet Atkins. Atkins was an American guitarist born in 1924 who, along with Owen Bradley, created a smooth country music style known as the Nashville sound, which helped country music reach adult pop music fans. During his life, Atkins received 14  Grammy Awards as well as the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, nine Country Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year awards, and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. Atkins died in 2001.

Both artists recorded together Neck and Neck in 1990. It’s been a while since I have the album, but I didn’t really listen to it carefully until about six or seven weeks ago; I was studying (or rather trying to study) for my exams and needed something relaxing. If that’s what you need, this is a perfect CD for you.

Neck to Neck is a simple album, country stuff with a jazzy touch. You won’t find incredibly complex arrangements, but both the singing and the guitar playing flow smoothly, there isn’t a bad track on the album and, as I said, it’ll help you breathe and forget whatever’s stressing you.

The tracks can be divided in two groups. The first one, which is the one I like the most, is formed by the chilled, happy songs, such as Poor Boy Blues and There’ll Be Some Changes Made. I love to listen to that last song sitting on my little terrace with a beer in my hand, by the way. I feel there’s nothing else I need. Nothing.

The second group is the one with the more melancholic songs, such as Sweet Dreams or So Soft, Your Goodbye. It’s good stuff, but now I’m used to listening to this album when I need to relax and cheer up a bit, so I don’t enjoy it as much.

To end this short post, here's the facebook page for the blog. As I mentioned there, I'll probably write monthly from now on, as I'm definitely too busy now, plus I have also started writing for another website. Cult showcases aspects of the culture from every country in the world. One correspondent per country writes monthly about food, cinema, music, places, people, internet memes, etc, which makes it a great way to learn about stuff you won't necessarily find in the news. I'm personally very interested to learn about countries that are really obscure to me. Here's the link for Cult, I hope you find it interesting!