The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

All Over The Quality Map?

3-4-09 What about an artist who's all over the quality map? For me that would be Adam Ant who some albums I like, others I dislike. [see also: Duran Duran]

I find this rule seems to apply to the jazz universe with frightening regularity. We love Miles Davis! But are we talking Teo Macero / Gil Evans or something post-“Bitches Brew” or “Live-Evil”? Or are we just excited by the sidemen? Does Bill Evans make “Kind Of Blue”?

Ian Dury is one of my favorite British artists of any decade. I am uniformly good with his singles from his very debut up to, “Spasticus Autisticus”. But the whole album? Strong on “New Boots and Panties” and “Do It Yourself”, but “Laughter” and the two Polydor LP’s – let’s just say they’re not my favorites. Dury fully redeemed himself, however. “Mr. Love Pants” is wonderful, and I will also confess to liking his ‘London stage show’ LP, “Apples” quite a bit. Pity he didn’t do more soundtrack work, “Profoundly In Love With Pandora” is a great song for an amusing British TV series (“The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾”).

You’d have to turn over more than a few rocks to find a bigger Split Enz fan than myself, a non-NZ resident / citizen who has, in fact, “walked down the road hedged with roses”. But the only thing about “Conflicting Emotions” that I can recommend is the Phil Judd cover art! And let’s leave it at, “I’m not a fan of Crowded House”. Ahem.

Brain Eno – 4 seminal mid-70’s pop albums followed by a career of sleepy-bye music? I liked his book (I forget it’s exact title, but it was a year’s worth of his diary).

I seem to recall often saying stuff like, “Oh, only their first / second album, nothing else!” or thereabouts.

I am good with Donovan’s run of albums from approx. ’65 up until his last Mickie Most (Rak / Arista) LP, “Donovan” (1977). After that…eh? Hard to believe he made such amusing LP’s as “Mellow Yellow” or “Cosmic Wheels”. I guess not all of ‘em are gold – like “Open Road”, “Essence To Essence”…

Now that I think of it, this is s fairly broad topic – many instances of something of this kind.

I never really did Adam & The Ants, and I stopped doing Duran Duran early on – like before “Rio” or thereabouts. DD falls into the “got too popular” category; stylistically, ‘Ant Music' never really appealed to me, though I now find it amusing in small amounts.


Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Re; Adam Ant.
I reacted strongly against the Ant hype and decided that I wasn't going to stand for this guy. Then I got the cheep CBS "Exposed" 2xLP loss leader sampler and dang if A&A didn't sound pretty good! So I got off my high horse and bought KOTWF. I loved the "Stand & Deliver" single but was appalled by the "Prince Charming" LP (not to mention its horrid cover). I then learned that Adam's quality was all over the map, and to judge accordingly. I only have a 2xCD single comp/live ltd. album & his B-sides disc. Lately, when I hear "Xerox Machine" I think, "DAMN! That's a brilliant song!" I should have more Adam & The Ants. And the singles from the album he did with Tony Visconti has a super T-Rex homage sound that makes me want to hear it all.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

My entire collection of "Ant Music" is a $3 CD of KOTWF. My GF has some orig UK 45's, if I get needy.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Brian Ware said...

I'm totally fine with KOTWF and most of his solo singles have a certain charm. The one we really enjoy is 1989's "Manners and Physique". Really slick pop, but the songs are solid and he's making an effort to really sing. His 1995 swan song "Wonderful" was a pretty dreary attempt at adult style pop.

8:59 PM  

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