Hand of the Poet: Jarvis Cocker.

A Sheffield lad, Pulp’s Jarvis Branson Cocker remains a titan and figurehead of the British music world. The “Erotic Coathanger”‘s quirky, enigmatic ways make him a source of immense curiosity to millions. Then, there are his hands, the antics of which are unprecedented in the annals of such things.

The Gordon Lightfoot.

Seven Island Suite.

The great Gordon Lightfoot, who is not only a legend in the music world, but {arguably} rates as the highest-ranked Canadian of all time, has written some of the most iconic and memorable songs ever. A mere sampling is here presented, including some criminally neglected gems.

David Bowie.

A modest collection of brilliant live performances by Mr. Bowie, with a wondrous, pared-down demo thrown in for good measure. The constantly reinventing, quasi-androgynous David Robert Jones {his birthname} pioneered his way through the music world, leaving the landscape forever altered—with new worlds and vistas previously undreamt of—in his wake.

The Bounding of The Al Stewart.

Two mighty renditions of this Bounding classic.

The maestro of haunting, enigmatic songster-ing, Al Stewart not only achieved immortality via his Bounding {Glaswegian Method}exploits; some of the most indescribably poignant, mysterious works ever composed/performed are entirely his doing.

Stewart here performs the timeless, iconic Year of the Cat; the mighty Lord Grenville {perhaps his finest, most evocative composition…}; and Palace of Versailles, so difficult to ignore or forget.

World’s Greatest Vocalist: Dwight Yoakam.

Dwight Yoakam can simply do the impossible with his voice. See North to Alaska, among many others, for evidence. He steps into the very large shoes of legend Johnny Horton, and…whoa. A transcendent, jaw-dropping, awe-inducing performance. And, the same can be said of his live 2013 reading of the Red Simpson-penned Close Up The Honky Tonks. Even a young, inexperienced Yoakam—in his 1985 performance above, he shyly asks the audience if they like the show—kills it. A not-many-times-an-epoch talent.

π‘ƒπ‘’π‘Ÿπ‘’ π‘ƒπ‘œπ‘ π‘Šπ‘œπ‘›π‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘šπ‘’π‘›π‘‘, π‘£π‘œπ‘™ 1.

An ever-so-haphazard collection of songs/performances which bring one to the trancelike state of what is called Pure Pop Wonderment. These things avoid syzygy. It’s not an excuse; it’s a vigorously researched excuse. Linear-ness is overrated. Most of these you’ll know, but perhaps not these versions. Maybe 1 or 2 that are new, to, say, the likes of you. Enjoy.

π‘‡β„Žπ‘’ π·π‘–π‘“π‘“π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘›π‘‘π‘™π‘¦-π‘…π‘’π‘Žπ‘™π‘š’𝑑 πΌπ‘Žπ‘› πΆπ‘’π‘Ÿπ‘‘π‘–π‘ .

Go ahead. Choose a realm, any realm. Ian’s not from there; he’s never taken up residence there, and, for that matter, spends precious little—if any—time there. Yes. It’s been proven.

It’s a damn shame that so little halfway decent video footage seems to be available, of Joy Division. The first two are the cream o’, that I have encountered. Prose ought not storm about in the Video {or Image} playground. I panicked. I’m stalling. Wingeing. And on, now, we go. Unto the Breach. We few. We happy few.

This is their greatest achievement. {Yes. In my opinion.} Lyrics such as “On stranger waves, the lows and highs, Our vision touched the sky” {I hear “skies”, but every “authority” says otherwise. It’s skies.} are lyrics that will stop one cold, transported. He’s Rimbaud, but lots better, genius-y-er. Getting It-y-er. And: past tense. Like he’s not there. Maybe never was. Haunting. As. ___________.

Means To An End’s Twin, spire-wise.

Isolation transcends the Isolation genre, or would, if such a genre existed. “I’m doing the best that I can” not to expound. I give you Ian: ” A blindness that touches perfection,
But hurts just like anything else…” I mean…

Also Quite “Good”.

Ian was not only brilliant, fiercely determined, and a de-framer-of-reference…to whom could he be compared?…but he was one brave man. To go out, in public, put self on display, and take unreal chances, and I mean here with his dancing…this must have been terrifying. For one afflicted with epilepsy, to *intentionally* lose control, physically…unreal. But, he *had* to.

π‘‡π‘Žπ‘™π‘˜π‘–π‘›π‘” π»π‘’π‘Žπ‘‘π‘ : π‘‡β„Žπ‘’ π‘€π‘Žπ‘‘ π‘ƒπ‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘“π‘’π‘ π‘ π‘œπ‘Ÿ-π‘–π‘ π‘š π‘œπ‘“ π·π‘Žπ‘£π‘–π‘‘ π΅π‘¦π‘Ÿπ‘›π‘’.

What follows is a smattering of incredible live performances by this ensemble, some of which include guitar maestro Adrian Belew. David Byrne, it could be argued, virtually created “New Wave” {or *something*} with the inexplicable, unpinpointable, wondrous peregrinations of his vocals. Plus, the unusual “dancing”{or Nureyev/??-like movements}. Much more than an iconoclast, Byrne simply brought into the time/space continuum, things that were previously Noumenal, intangible. An epoch-defining genius.

Mind. Montreux, 1982.

{Granted, Wild Wild Life is nowhere near the preternaturally edgy/”weird”/indefinable ventures into undreamt-of realms, which made this band legendary. But, it *is*, well, fun. And it shows Byrne’s mindboggling theatricality and capacity for adopting a bewildering array of disguises, and such.}

A few comments on our selections {NOT all of them!!}: Cities {1983, 1982, *and* 1980 versions} *might* be David Byrne’s high-water mark as an “umm, what???” (followed by audible hysteria, in my case…) vocalist. The Impossible writ upon a landscape. Pulled Up and Mind, at the very least, are looking uneasily over their shoulders. The “He’s come undone” staggerings/lurchings in Psycho Killer {1983} are also enough to keep one alive for several epochs; the 1979 Mudd Club version is electrifying, mystique-laden; ridiculously brilliant. Both versions of Drugs have an eerie, haunting element all of their own; Dollette McDonald and Adrian B contribute mightily. Crosseyed is simply a collective singe-fest.

π‘π‘–π‘π‘˜ πΏπ‘œπ‘€π‘’: π‘ˆπ‘›π‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘‘π‘’π‘‘ π‘ƒπ‘Žπ‘›π‘‘β„Žπ‘’π‘œπ‘› πΌπ‘›β„Žπ‘Žπ‘π‘–π‘‘π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘.

“Ol’ Drain”, as Mr. Nick Lowe is called in some circles {i.e.: The None}—it’s his middle name, and a fine one—wears more than a few musical hats, and pulls it all off in such fashion as would create, probably, a dither of aesthetic paroxysms in any milliner or hatter. Earlier on, (than…??) Lowe, often with mate Dave Edmunds, in Rockpile, showed an uncanny talent for creating clever, charming, quite diabolically catchy songs that perhaps represented the very embodiment , the K2-like apotheosis, of Pure Pop Wonderment. Really…well, it was not fair. One had little to no choice but to come ’round to the man’s idiosyncratic ways. No one, however, minded, it seemed; either that, or such monumental courtesy was shown to Nick {OK, I’ll love it…} than to any other mammalian, extant or extinct.

To siphon away all the hysteria sure to erupt the very second one’s “Earlier on…” gaffe—or was it???—becomes public, let’s open our collective aesthetic Golgi apparati to Brinsley Schwarz. No, not the haberdasher. And yes, I understand that a haberdasher by no means specializes in hatwear, except for those who do. Formerly Kippington Lodge, Brinsley Schwarz gave Mr. Lowe a forum for his musical nascence—he penned So It Goes, and What’s So Funny whilst nestled in the Schwarz collective—and also, presumably, provided a harrowing de facto tutorial on how **not** to name bands.

Right. The supremely accomplished Nick Lowe, and the vastness of his achievements, cannot be adequately summarized. It won’t do. And I’ve already squandered most/all of the allocated space, ranting about…well, if anyone figures that out, do contact me, or the proper authorities. Therefore, I hereby resign my post, and retire to private life. To quote the man himself, as he signed off on a certain Elvis Costello LP: “Now, get happy. Your friend, Producer Nick Lowe.” I think that’s pretty damn cool. Because it is. Costello paid his friend homage many years later, quoting what was proclaimed in the midst of Peace, Love, and Understanding, during the Brinsley years. On Letterman. No. Brinsley Schwarz, nΓ©e Kippington Lodge, did not appear on Letterman. {Nick did, obviously}. Don’t be difficult.