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Recent album review #1
Eric Burdon goes so far off the psychedelic deep end on Winds of Change that it's impossible to take seriously, and the album's an Olympian feat to frigging listen to.

Burdon's transformed himself from the turbocharged Scot bluesman of the early-60's into the sort of burnout you see passed-out in the corner during a Hot Tuna concert. Here, he's so fractured by his new love for hallucinogens that his entire decision making process is ruined - he can no longer tell a good idea from a crap one, and he comes up with enough crap ideas on this album to last most people through a nuclear winter.

He's either waxing nostalgic for the oozing sores of the Bubonic Plague ("The Black Plague"), or rewriting The Story of Bo Diddley as "Winds of Change", a sort of low-attention span history of his record collection. The rest of the time he just alternates between dull, or depressing listeners into submission.

For a guy who apparently got some sort of kick out of the whole hippie/drug thing as to devote much of his life to it, Burdon makes it sound about as much fun as a Black and Decker root canal. It's just this kind of frowning acid-prophet doom 'n' gloom that gave hippies a bad name (and would later bear fruit in the form of heavy metallers like Black Sabbath, but they were more boozers, potheads, and downer enthusiasts than acid crackpots).

And it's not like Burdon even does it well - there's more groaner lines based on 'hep Sixties dialogue', when stuff was apparently quite 'groovy' and 'far out'. The worst offender is the horribly sexist "Man-Woman", based on the lines Man! Woman! Desire! Love!, shouted like some sort of bullshit performance art piece done on Venice Beach by a bunch of USC film school dropouts.

I love how the prescribed solution for a cheating man is to have the woman fuck better (no kidding) - I guess this was the Sixties, but when was that ever not considered as offensive as mugging retarded kids? What I'm saying is that Eric Burdon has lost not only all contact with the tenets of good taste and comprehensibility, but also seems to have taken leave of the Good Ship Reality in his quest to ingest more windowpane than the entire population of the West Coast.

Musically, this album is interesting in only a few rare and otherwise barren spots - there's some cool trumpet on "Hotel Hell", the sitar on the title track is unintentionally funny - but otherwise it's mostly incompetent dreck. Lots of ideas get abandoned halfway down the turnpike, like ... "San Franciscan Nights" starts out with distorted guitar like it's going to be Acid Rock, then heads into a blowhard loopy 'Public Service Announcement', before turning into a frigging Donovan song if Donovan sucked harder than an airplane toilet.

Not that I'd want Burdon to attempt Acid Rock, but he does anyway on "Yes, I Am Experienced" and "It's All Meat", both howlingly incompetent attempts at Jimi Hendrix and Cream, respectively. Besides, Burdon's voice is so upfront in the mix all the time, that trying to relate to this as a 'music album' is destined to fail.

However, I wouldn't say this album is worth an absolute bottom rating, there's too many decent spots to go that far. The wigged-out cover of "Paint It Black" is pretty interesting as a take on the Stones' song, as inferior and silly as it is. And "Good Times" is a darn good song too. Plus there's way too many moments here that made me laugh out loud right here in my office, so the pure entertainment value of some of this material simply cannot be denied.

Even so, this album does suck ass dick-twat and manages to do so offensively too - it's a high water mark for bad taste in pop music.

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by Reviewer: Capt Bonanza

Posted: Sunday 24th Jul 2016 10:09 AM

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Recent album review #2
Neil Young - Zuma (1975)

After getting a truckload of negativity out of his system with his 'Ditch' trilogy, aborting a reunion album with Crosby, Stills and Nash, and ending his difficult relationship with Carrie Snodgrass, Young reformed Crazy Horse, with guitarist Frank 'Poncho' Sampedro replacing Whitten.

The resulting album, named after the beach it was recorded at, is Young's most relaxed and sunny release for quite some time. While there's venom - presumably directed at Snodgrass - in songs like "Stupid Girl" and "Drive Back", generally it's less introspective than almost anything he's released.

Young lets his guitar take centre stage on extended workouts like "Cortez the Killer" and "Danger Bird", while a couple of acoustic songs - "Pardon My Heart", and the Crosby, Stills and Nash leftover "Through My Sails" - tangibly contribute to the album's more relaxed feel.

Zuma often gets overlooked when lists of Young's best work are compiled - sure, it isn't as substantial as his best work, but it often fills the role of fan favourite in his discography from enthusiasts wanting to avoid clichéd choices like After the Goldrush or Tonight's the Night.

The centrepiece is the 7+minutes of "Cortez the Killer", with lyrics that reflect Young's ongoing fascination with native American cultures (as seen with "Like An Inca", "Pocohontas", and "Ride My Llama"). According to urban legend, a power cut occurred halfway through recording, before quickly coming back on, meaning that a fabled middle part of the song is absent, so the final product is a result of the beginning and the middle being spliced together.

The folky "Pardon My Heart" is the other standout here, with its sparse acoustic arrangement, and the monotone backing vocals of Talbot and Molina provide an effective counterpoint to Young's heartfelt whine.

The upbeat country rock of "Lookin' for a Love" is symptomatic of Young's renewed optimism, while "Barstool Blues" and "Don't Cry No Tears" are memorable riff rockers.

There are lesser tracks ... "Danger Bird" isn't quite the effective anthem it's intended to be, though entertaining enough, while "Stupid Girl" is somewhat banal.

With only "Cortez the Killer" making it onto career retrospective Decade, Zuma is one of Young's less picked-over 70's albums, and it's more than good enough to warrant further investigation, even if it's not quite first rate.

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by Reviewer: Fyfeopedia

Posted: Sunday 24th Jul 2016 11:46 AM

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