Archive for the 'Lounge' Category


Beginnings, it is often held, are delicate times.  I don’t necessarily find this to be true in popular music. Unlike first novels and first movies,  first albums have a large tendency to be the best (or the only) thing said artist ever does.  Even when it’s not exactly their Best, it tends to be the moment of Young, Loud,  Snotty and generally Unfuckwithable. They haven’t learned to be afraid yet, maybe. In any case, it tends to be when they make their largest statements, since they all suspect somewhere in the back of their minds that they might not ever get this chance again.

Collect all four of the Soon-To-Disappoint-Ya’ action figures!

Consider Van Halen (1978) by Van Halen.

It’s about as Debut Album as a debut album’s gonna get. It does indeed feature what was probably the greatest rock guitarist at the time, and they made sure to just go right ahead and shovel that at you.  Indeed, right after the somewhat typical Opening Statement Song, it’s right to the Guitar Solo Song.

Y’know? The sheer cheek of it! Like he’s Jimi, or maybe just Jimmy Page!  A song that just has a preamble of drums,  and we’re off! Hammer-ons! Weird harmonics! A suggestion that the dude has actually studied classical guitar -and even more weirdly; non-rock n’ roll guitarists!  A Statement of  Purpose from the President of Rocking Your Ass at the time.

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posted by Rich Bachelor in Classic Rock,Lounge and have Comments Off on Firsts(es)

Frank Sinatra: Hat Wearer

To try to even talk about Frank Sinatra is futile. Even while he was alive, people more or less only talked about him in superlatives, and that was when it wasn’t Frank Himself doing so. We need to narrow the field.

So let’s talk about how well he wore hats. Indeed, Bill Zehme‘s awful Frank bio was titled The Way You Wear Your Hat , but that was quoting the first line from “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” a song Frank did beautifully. Once Frank started to go bald, he -like every man in his generation- still lived in a time when to be a man was to wear hats. Maybe just one iconic hat, maybe a garage-full of them. Frank had god-knows-how-many, and while I’m tempted to say that you can tell a good Sinatra album from a bad one by whether or not he’s wearing a hat on the cover, I can’t say that because it isn’t true.

Ghostly Frank is intrigued!

1957’s ‘A Swingin’ Affair!’ is a great Frank hat shot. And a great album:  albums still hadn’t truly started being viewed as  cohesive pieces of art yet. It was generally (in those days) still a collection of singles and that’s it. But most of the songs on Sinatra releases seem to have been selected specifically for the theme of the album. It hangs together like a novel, or a movie; the kind of thing people would come to expect of an album, by the time the 60’s were over.

That said, look at how the technology is sort of failing the artist here. Over a nicely realistic shot of guys n’ gals -swingin’, like they should be- Frank looms weirdly and transparently. He doesn’t cancel out the young swingers, nor is he translucent. Worst of both worlds.

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posted by Rich Bachelor in Lounge and have Comments Off on Frank Sinatra: Hat Wearer