Swing Lo Magellan by The Dirty Projectors

The Dirty Projectors are for music fans who grew up listening to rock in/of the late 60’s but at the same time never gave up on the continued progression of music that era promised us.

Mind you, I’m not talking about classic rock fans happy in their high school memories of freeze-dried glory of dreams that never were or never could be.

If these are indeed my last years in the earth, my greatest joy may be discovering the Projectors and my biggest regret may be discovering them just as their (possibly) best lineup was disintegrating.

The period we are looking at is within the demarcation of the entry and exit of Amber Coffman 2006 (with a “from memory” reproduction of a Black Flag album) to 2012’s Swing Lo Magellan.

Moments of joy in the swirling vocal arrangements of Swing Lo Magellan

– one minute into the album the band nearly transforms into early Queen within a song mainly defined by a thumping 808 kick drum in slow groove mode

– the drums and claps and the arch bass of “About To Die”

– the skippy beat of “Gun Has No Trigger”

– the Dylan recitation that is the title track, down to drums in the left ear only

– somehow handclaps are the focus of “Just From Chevron” until the song folds out into an impossible-sounding Steve Howe world

– within all the mostly obscure lyrics here, a very direct love song in “Impregnable Question”

– the string arrangements against the clattering thumpy percussion of “See What She’s Singing”

– “The Socialites” right from David’s plucky guitar figures into the perfectly just innocent enough lyrics and whatever the heck is making the “wow” sounds throughout. “Who knows what my spirit is worth in cold hard cash?”

– the off the cuff harmony recording in “Unto Caesar”

– somehow an Elvis tribute of sorts in “Irresponsible Tune” to close it out

– the video “Hi Custodian” which functions both as a video and remix of the entire album

After this my understanding of the Projectors gets a bit murky. Before this album came out, Angel left. Olga Bell then joined. Dave and Amber broke up but Dave helped Amber with a solo album but then also dropped his own entirely solo album that was apparently a big secret. Now he has a band with a similar lineup but different people – besides himself and bassist Nat.

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Pert and the Poor Soul

poor_woulPert Kelton – the original Alice Kramden – and Jackie Gleason.  Gleason is guest starring as his character “The Poor Soul” on a Honeymooners sketch on Cavalcade Of Stars on the Dumont network in 1951.  In two more episodes, Pert would be ejected from the sketches because she was blacklisted as a Communist or something from the politically-correct HUAC.

Now I LOVE Audrey Meadows but Pert was the original, a bit more sandpaper to Audrey’s rose with thorns…and Gleason had a range that we in so so many years later would tend to forget…Joe The Bartender, Reginald Van Gleason, Fenwick Babbitt and many more, making guest appearances on this Christmas special along with contemporary famous people like Jane Pickens (who sings beautifully I might add…).

Don’t steam me Alice, because I’m steamed!


Headquarters by The Monkees

New album review posted!

The Free Music Machine - Jimmy Lem Listens To Music

Their first album where they played their own instruments, more or less…this also features the delicious talents of Turtles bassist and arranger Chip Douglas. This album is a great mix of garage, bubblegum and polish. This is quality POP, no question about it.


I tend to judge a Monkees album on the quality of the Davy Jones songs because they tend to be the worst. “Shades Of Grey” passes the test. I guess this was their “As Time Goes By” and frankly I like this better. “I Can’t Get Her Off Of My Mind” is another story – pedestrian schlock, say no more. Worst ending to an album side ever – they should have flew in “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” – a favorite inside of my head since I was a wee lad.


Songwriting is top-notch all around, but of course Mike brings the best songs…

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Jim’s Imaginary Kitchen

While I have deactivated my main Facebook account, I maintain a non-friending account to administer my many pages. Most are music- or art-oriented, but at some point I decided I needed to break some gender barriers and along the way learn how to take care of myself better. A long road. Check out my page if you are so inclined.

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Astral Weeks!

Four years ago, a guy wrote to me on Soundcloud and asked if he could post my version of Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks on his blog.  I agreed and never heard from him again.

Today I found the post!


Something I recorded in the early 90s.


Post from Instagram – Corroon’s Lake, Massapequa, NY, USA 24 Mar 2018

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New Album Review on The Free Music Machine

Looking back at classic Dylan, one might be tempted to overlook this quiet & mysterious gem.  Even though the years have revealed much more about the activities of Bob after his motorcycle accident on July 29, 1966, it’s still a unique body of work with a language of its own.


Come check it out…click below…

John Wesley Harding


Free Music – New Album Review Blog

Just taking baby steps here –

Thank you!


Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear

Listening to Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest. Thoughts.

This is a pop album…“classic pop”…so in other words, the Ancestry DNA results would turn up a high percentage of Lennon-McCartney…mix in some prog sensibilities, a dose of whatever Williamsburg gave us last decade and some lyrics that suggest great emotion without ever spelling it out. So many other fine points – a fuzz bass here, a jerky beat there, chopsticks piano there, a quiet acoustic guitar interlude there, a sick mellotron here.

Overall, and for the more then casual listener…what makes a good album are a few things –
a) loose unity
b) economy
c) moments, many of them
d) mystery, to keep you coming back
e) interesting textures, drum sound probably most importantly

We hit all the marks here.

I can say that I did not favor their next album, mainly because there were much less beautiful vocal harmonies there. I may need to return to that and I have their newest queued up on my phone, so I reserve the right to change my mind at any time.

For example, here’e the first song…

“Southern Point” – starts off with a great lost Doors groove.  Pleasant enough.  1 minute and ten seconds in we are a treated to glorious fuzz bass.   You start thinking what would have happened if the Moodys met Phil Spector…We get a nice suspended Byrds-ish interlude that we hear often enough, but much more carefully done – like Jimmy Page in 1973.  “In the air.  You’ll never find me now.”  Tremelo guitars slip in some gentle Link Wray into the opening groove…extending into some tapdancing harpsichord and orchestral coloration.  NICE BRIDGE…

We are then allowed to breathe for a millisecond until we get a phased out hammer on simple solo – another go around “Never say it’s the last one / It’s not the last one / I’d never find any other.”

That gentle interlude I mentioned earlier?  Solo acoustic?  It comes back, extends into other areas briefly and resolves the tune at 5 min.  Good 5 minutes spent.

Search around for their music.  Make up your own mind.  Released May 2009.