I blame Trump for pretty much everything these days, and I’m not done blaming him for things, as you will see in a month or so. One of the things that I blame him for is the increasing unwillingness to take responsibility for one’s own actions. And despite my complete contempt for the man, I’m going to adopt this approach, and blame him for my failure to post anything here since September, and anything truly new since May.
And, I’m going to adopt another one of his behaviors, over-praising his own accomplishments, by stating that my writing on other sites has been the best music blogging ever. No one has ever seen such incredible music blogging, in the history of the world. Believe me.
At Cover Me, I haven’t written any stand alone pieces (thanks, Trump), but did contribute to a few group articles: a Best Abba Covers list, in which I wrote about Wilco’s live cover of “Waterloo,” featuring Lucius, from the Solid Sound Festival (which is on my festival bucket list), which came in 25th, Mike Oldfield’s cover of the instrumental “Arrival,” (19), and Richard Thompson’s “Money, Money, Money,” from his great 1000 Years of Popular Music collection (6), a Best Nirvana Covers collection, for which I wrote about The Bad Plus’ jazz version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” (27), Graham Parker & The Episodes’ cover of “In Bloom,” (23), Maya Beiser’s borderline insane/brilliant multitracked cello interpretation of “Lithium” (18), sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer’s intentionally dissonant take on “Lithium,” (8), and Laura Love’s bass and vocal version of “Come As You Are” (2). Personally, I would have ranked Love lower and Beiser higher.
I also contributed to Cover Me‘s year-end Best Of lists, writing about the No. 18 Best Cover Album of 2018, William Elliott Whitmore’s intense, personal Kilonova, and the album chosen as the best of the year, Angélique Kidjo’s remarkable re-imagining of Talking Heads’ classic Remain in Light, one of my all-time favorite albums, and three of the Best Cover Songs of 2018, Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” covered by Whitmore (47), Van Morrison and Joey DeFrancesco’s jazzy cover of the standard, “You’re Driving Me Crazy,” (39), and Berhana’s laid-back, R&B tinged version of Wreckless Eric’s “Whole Wide World,” (28).
As usual, I’ve written more regularly over at Star Maker Machine, mostly because we are down to only a few writers, and I feel a responsibility to help keep that venerable site alive. We had a second helping of Wine, with a piece about a Belgian girls choir cover of Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova,” which was followed by our Amaze theme, for which I wrote about the Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s version of “Amazing Grace,” and the Amazing Mets of 1969, singing a song about being the Amazing Mets of 1969. As I mentioned in that piece, my friend Wayne Coffey, a top-notch sportswriter, has been working on a book, They Said It Couldn’t Be Done, about those same Mets, to coincide with next year’s 50th anniversary of the season, and that I was privileged to help out, as a sounding board, researcher, editor and extra set of eyes. It’s going to be a great book, so you should pre-order it, here, here, here, and, for my readers in Australia, here.
We moved to an autumnal theme, Leaves, next, which prompted pieces on Peter Frampton’s “All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side)” which mentions a four leaf clover in passing, but which really was about how a workmanlike rocker like Frampton released one of the biggest selling albums of all time, and the more obvious “Headstones and Dead Leaves” by the not-so-well-known band Glossary. Speaking of obvious, for the Homecoming theme, I wrote about U2’s “A Sort of Homecoming,” and Supertramp’s “Take The Long Way Home.” Halloween’s Trick/Treat theme led to another post about a band, like Supertramp, that gradually replaced its prog-rock roots with more pop sounds, Genesis, and “Trick of The Tail,” and Iggy Pop’s duet with Kate Pierson of the B-52’s, “Candy.”
Our Thanksgiving theme this year was a bit of a curveball, focusing on the music of Arlo Guthrie, whose “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” has become a holiday tradition for many, and I took a swing at writing about the song, and followed that up with a look at Rick Robbins, who was the friend Guthrie mentioned in “Alice,” and who released a few folk albums of his own (when he wasn’t building houses). For the traditional post-turkey Leftovers theme (where we go back and write about stuff we never got to during the year), I posted two pieces inspired by concerts that I had recently attended–I’m With Her, which fit our Trios theme, and Rhiannon Giddens song, “At The Purchaser’s Option,” which fit our Women theme. After that, because Thanksgiving came “early” this year, giving us more time before Christmas than usual, the next theme was “Extra,” and that made me think of bonus tracks, which led me to Cracker’s “Eurotrash Girl.”
Because I’m not actually an amoral, egotistical, narcissist (at least, not all three), like Trump, though, our feature song, “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” by Led Zeppelin, is a bit of an admission as to where the blame should be placed. The song was inspired by, but is not a direct ripoff of, Blind Willie Johnson’s song, “It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” (covered a couple of years ago by Lucinda Williams on Cover Me’s Best Cover Album of 2016). As you may know, Led Zeppelin, undoubtedly one of the great rock bands of all time, has been accused many times of plagiarism, and like Trump, they deny their thefts. Unlike Individual-1, though, if the claim is proven, they do the right thing, and give writing credit and royalties where they are due.