Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Pink Funk

All of us of a certain age passed through the progressive rock era. In this case, the term "progressive" does not refer to a living wage or the abolishment of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but instead refers to the expansion of rock and roll beyond rock and into something deeply meaningful.

While there was certainly a lot of progressive rock in the United States, somewhat centered around the city of Boston, the true pioneering spirit of progressive rock was found in the United Kingdom. Two famous examples of progressive rock from the UK are the songs "The Court of the Crimson King (Including The Return of the Fire Witch, The Dance of the Puppets, and The Payment to Inland Revenue Expressed in Pre- and Post-Decimalisation Terms)," and the equally famous song "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo." But those who wished to explore progressive rock still further could find wonderful gems, including an entire album devoted to the castles of King Henry VII, and an even more notable album in which a performer examined a spitting incident at a concert and wrote a two-album opus dedicated to it. Perhaps you remember the song "Another Spit in the Hall (Part 19)."

Thankfully, the United Kingdom was not completely dominated by progressive music, and there was a great funk band from England that scored a couple of hits to break up the boredom. The funk band's first hit, "Money," caused a bunch of people to forget all that progressive rock junk and just get their groove on. Granted, there was a slight progressive influence due to the unusual time signature, but for the most part it was a straight out funk song.

Proving that they weren't a one-hit wonder, the funk band came back with a vengeance in 1979. Remember that this was the time when a number of English artists were adopting disco - the Rolling Stones, Wings, Rod Stewart, and the like. Well, it wasn't too hard to take a funk sound and make it into a danceable disco beat, and as a result the all-night denizens of Studio 54 had another song that they could dance to.

(OK, this sounds ridiculous at first glance, but it really isn't. It's remarkable that a number of these progressive bands were able to put out songs that shattered the progressive stereotype. But the biggest shattering was when the re-formed band Yes, composers of "I've Seen All Good People," made their own dance appearance with "Owner of a Lonely Heart.")

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

How do you say "violate the space-time continuum" in Portuguese?

Almost ten years ago, there was a concert in Lisbon, Portugal - a concert with the (English) name "Lisbon Calling."

Now Madness played at this June 9, 2009, concert, but I'm not going to talk about them.

And the Tubes played, but I'm not going to talk about them either.

I'm going to mention a little band named Carbon/Silicon. It's entirely fitting that Carbon/Silicon would choose to perform at Lisbon Calling, because one of the members of the band is ex-Clash guitarist Mick Jones, co-writer of the song "London Calling."

Oh, and one other band performed at Lisbon Calling - a band called Foreigner.

And the name is apt, because the band is not Portuguese. It's British/American, including English guitarist Mick Jones.

You can see where this is going.

And if you can't, let's say that you were in Lisbon on June 9, 2009 and wanted to find Mick Jones.

Mick Jones the guitarist.

Mick Jones the English guitarist.

Even with this level of specificity, you'd have to ask, Which one?