Favorite 4285. “The Sad Sound of the Wind” by Jules Shear

Fan video:

Shear released The Great Puzzle in 1992, just as my college radio career was winding down. I didn’t have time to familiarize myself with the whole album, but I sure played the hell out of “The Sad Sound of the Wind” when I was DJing.

I had this on a mix tape that I lent to a good friend of mine. He loved this song so much that it was almost impossible to get the tape back from him. I can’t recall if I had to make him a copy of the tape or just re-record the mix, but either way I know that as much as I enjoy this song, there’s at least one person out here who loves it even more.

Anyhow, Shear’s voice is lovely and he really captures the emotion of his song. The lyric describes the sound of the wind whistling through a broken heart. What a gloriously sad image that is! Musically, the song sounds very early 90’s, but not in an embarrassing way.

Highly recommended.

4284. “An Important Part” by Jules Shear

Check out a snippet of the song here.

“An Important Part” is the third track I have in my iTunes library from Dreams Don’t Count. All three songs have a touch of love lost to them. In this one, the titular “important part” is something that died, but the person whom it was a part of is still walking. Presumably, love died, but the human who loved goes on, zombie like, ever after that little death.

A stringed instrument (or a close facsimile thereof) is featured prominently on this track which, as you probably realize about me if you’ve been following this blog at all, sort of means this song has a short cut to my pleasure zone.

Favorite 4283. “Wherever” by Jules Shear

Well, again, if you have Spotify, you can listen to the song here. You can also hear a section of it at the AllMusic page.

I apparently selected these three songs from Dreams Don’t Count based on the track picks at AllMusic. I am so lame.

The choral refrain of “Wherever” is “I love you wherever I am today.” I agree with AllMusic reviewer Mark Demming that this particularly lyric does a perfect job of describing both the permanence and impermanence of love. The relationship might be over, but the feeling is still there. Indeed, the recording of the song might be over, but the love remains no matter how many years have past since that lyric was captured. The song was recorded around 2006 and here we are, nearly ten years later, and who knows where Shear is today, but wherever he is, this track suggests he still feels that love – and he knew he would when he wrote the song.

Sort of like emotional time travel. Sort of.

Favorite 4282. “I Want to Fall” by Jules Shear

Ostensibly, you can hear this at Spotify if you’ve signed up for that.

Jules Shear is one of America’s great (largely ignored) songwriters. His best known songs were made hits by Cindi Laupner and The Bangles in the 80’s (we’ll get to those) but he was an impressive catalog of great songs. He doesn’t appear to have his own web page, but he does have a Facebook page.

I became a fan of his songs in the 80’s (though not such a big fan that I ran out and bought more than one of his albums) and have tried to follow his career sporadically ever since. I believe in my heart that he probably has twenty or so outstanding songs that I’ve never heard – and likely never will hear. He deserves better from me because his songs that I like, I love.

Around 2007 or so, near the start of this project, I became interested in what he was doing again and downloaded three songs from his then-most-recent-album, Dreams Don’t Count (you can also hear snippets of the songs at that AllMusic site). All three songs are terrific, starting with the simple “I Want To Fall.”

This song is sort of an adult contemporary pop song about the conflict between wanting to fall in love and the fear that accompanies that desire (“I want to fall/but I don’t want to land”). Shear is both a master lyricist and an expert at constructing catchy melodies, even when the song is downbeat and perhaps a little depressing. I wish there were more places you (you meaning “anyone who reads this”) could easily hear it online because I think you’d like it.

Favorite 4281. “She Lives (In a Time of Her Own)” by The Judybats

Official video:

The 1990 Roky Erickson tribute album Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye contains several excellent covers of his music by fairly well known artists. It is entirely possible that The Judybats were much better known than I think, but in 1990 as a KTUH DJ, this was the only exposure I ever had to the band. Poking around at Wikipedia and AllMusic, I see that they released several albums and had a decent amount of success. Well, good.

Here is the Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators original, also quite good:

This is one of those songs that I get excited about as soon as I hear the first three seconds. I dig singing along with it, especially the sleepy backing vocals.

Currently, the only other Roky Erickson track in our grand list is The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Reverberation.” There will be more.

4280. “Honor, Riches” by Judith Malafronte

Posted-by-the-artist Video

The excellent Shakespeare’s Songbook and its accompanying CD have shown up here several times. Mezzo-soprano Judith Malafronte is the featured singer on this excerpt from The Tempest.

Book author Ross Duffin spent years researching the different songs in Shakespeare and figuring out what they likely sounded like. He produced this book of sheet music and scholarship to give us an idea. Good stuff.

4279. “Flight II” by Judgement Day

Live video:

Memo kindly introduced me to “Flight II” some time ago and its always a pleasure when it pops up in my library. An epic track by Judgement Day, who describe themselves as “string metal,” the song is an instrumental that takes us on a considerable musical journey. I highly encourage you to check out the band and a good way to start is to listen to the tracks Memo already shared.

Favorite 4278. “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” by Judas Priest

Official video:

Judas Priest also moved leather and bondage gear into the mainstream of heavy metal. I’m not making this up. My cousin was super in to Judas Priest so, of course, he needed studded leather something. The only place in our world where he could get that was Provincetown, MA. I wonder how many homophobic New England metal heads (who were decrying Billy Squier as homosexual around the same time) trekked off to Provincetown to buy leather wear so they could be more like their (then presumed to be straight) idol, Rob Halford. Homophobia was rampant in metal fandom in my part of the world in the early 80’s, but so was a kind of willful blindness. For example, we all thought Freddy Mercury was straight. It was this homophobia (and the fear that coming out would end a career in metal) that kept Mercury in the closet. It was a huge act of not-giving-a-fuck courage on Rob Halford’s part that he came out. Oddly, this makes me proud to be a Judas Priest fan (albeit much less of one than I was thirty years ago). I honestly believe that his coming out changed the attitudes of a bunch of people in my generation. I know it changed my cousin’s attitude.

Anyhow, I ownded Screaming for Vengeance on cassette and it was a well loved, frequently played album, let me tell you. Nothing like loading up the cheap $20 boom box with batteries, bringing it into your ’72 Plymouth Fury (which only had AM radio) and cranking the volume as loud as that little boom box would go (which was not very loud).

So, I gave Priest a lot of credit for the big move to party hard rock in my last entry, but Priest, of course, was at least somewhat influenced by commercial considerations – witness the mind blowing success of Van Halen around the same time. Priest took the Van Halen party ethos and made it British and dangerous. The biggest threat Van Halen offered is that they might steal your girlfriend. Judas Priest would knife you and say something witheringly sarcastic as you bled out.

Which is why I still am afraid to mention this. The title of “You Got Another Thing Comin'” is not the correct idiom. It as a huge hit for them and is a great song, but the correct idiom is “you’ve got another think coming.” Source.

I’ve used this phrase incorrectly for years and its Judas Priest’s fault. Its ok, Judas Priest. I’m still going to use it wrong. F the haters.

*runs away sobbing*

Favorite 4277. “Living After Midnight” by Judas Priest

Official video:

Judas Priest are considered to be one of the most important and influential heavy metal bands of all time. In the early 1980’s, I loved the band, in part because my cousin (who was my hero for a good portion of my youth) was a huge fan and in part because I genuinely liked some of their songs. I’m a little stunned that I only have two songs by them in my iTunes library, but I’m also not bothered by it. I think that these two songs kind of capture everything I loved about them at the time.

1980’s British Steel is widely considered to be their greatest album. Buoyed by “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight,” the song was a mainstay on every teenage male metalhead’s cassette player in Connecticut through the whole of the early 1980’s. I assume every teenage male metalhead in the world, but who can say?

This is going to sound a little reductive, but what I enjoy so much about “Living After Midnight” is that its essential a party song. Now, there had been some hard rock bands whose main focus was “let’s party” before Judas Priest (Kiss, for one)), obviously, but if you look at the metal songs that followed British Steel in the 1980’s, you’ll note that they’re not about misty mountains and blues riffs and heartbreak. They’re about girls and drinking and more girls. Judas Priest, for better or worse, started that trend for this particular British heavy metal sound – indeed, most “let’s party” heavy metal songs for the next decade were pale shadows and imitations of “Living After Midnight.”