Top 40 Smash Taps: “Lazy Elsie Molly” and “Let’s Do the Freddie”

These posts are about the songs that can accurately claim to crossed the key line of chart success, becoming Top 40 hits on Billboard, but just barely. Every song featured in this series peaked at number 40.

Ernest Evans was overweight, but just a little. Just enough, in fact, that he was nicknamed “Chubby” by one the bosses at a low-level job he worked. As the story goes, Evans had just done a Fats Domino impression during an audition when he was asked his name. When he responded to a question about his name, he replied with the nickname related to his weight, causing an observer to speculate that if his first name was “Chubby” instead of “Fats,” then his last name was probably “Checker” instead of “Domino.” The pleasingly alliterative name stuck. His career got underway with a novelty song called “The Class,” originally recorded just for American Bandstand host Dick Clark, that gave Checker an angle to bust out a flurry of pop star impressions, including Domino and Elvis Presley (some other major figures, including Ricky Nelson and Frankie Avalon, were mockingly presented as the Chipmunks). It was eventually released as Checker’s first single, and subsequently became his first Top 40 hit. It was the following year that Checker secured his place in rock ‘n’ roll history with “The Twist.” After that, Checker had great success continually chasing different dance crazes. Hell, he even chased variations on the same dance craze, making it onto the Billboard charts with “Twistin’ U.S.A.,” “Let’s Twist Again,” “Slow Twistin'” “Twist It Up,” and, of course, “The Twist (Yo, Twist!” with the Fat Boys. As far as I can tell, “Twistin’ Round the World” did not chart.

Checker also had non-Twist hits, including two different songs that peaked at #40. The first of these was “Lazy Elsie Molly,” which is notable as the first hit penned by the songwriting team of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who’d later be responsible for a lot of chart damage wrought by the Monkees. A bastardization of an old nursery rhyme set to a loping beat that sounded suspiciously like Checker’s own hit “Limbo Rock,” the track is hardly the pinnacle of songwriting.

Following that minor success, Checker decided it was time to take another stab at a dance hit. After the Hucklebuck, the Pony, the Fly, and the Popeye, Checker turned his attention to the Freddie. The song “Let’s Do the Freddie” was released in 1965, describing all the different moves, including flipping “your wings just like a bird,” waving “your hands up to the sky,” and kicking “your legs out to the side.” Just following along is exhausting. No wonder radio listeners and record buyers alike were more interested in comparatively simpler pleasures offered by all those dreamy British lads.

Previously…
“Just Like Heaven” by The Cure.
“I’m in Love” by Evelyn King
“Buy Me a Rose” by Kenny Rogers
“Who’s Your Baby” by The Archies
“Me and Bobby McGee” by Jerry Lee Lewis
“Angel in Blue” by J. Geils Band
“Crazy Downtown” by Allan Sherman
“I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Rhythm of Love” by Yes
“Naturally Stoned” by the Avant-Garde
“Come See” by Major Lance
“Your Old Standby” by Mary Wells
“See the Lights” by Simple Minds
“Watch Out For Lucy” by Eric Clapton
“The Alvin Twist” by Alvin and the Chipmunks
“Love Me Tender” by Percy Sledge
“Jennifer Eccles” by the Hollies
“Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Olympics
“The Bounce” by the Olympics
“Your One and Only Love” by Jackie Wilson
“Tell Her She’s Lovely” by El Chicano
“The Last Time I Made Love” by Joyce Kennedy and Jeffrey Osborne
“Limbo Rock” by The Champs
“Crazy Eyes For You” by Bobby Hamilton
“Who Do You Think You’re Foolin'” by Donna Summer
“Violet Hill” and “Lost+” by Coldplay
“Freight Train” by the Chas. McDevitt Skiffle Group
“Sweet William” by Little Millie Small
“Live My Life” by Boy George
“Lessons Learned” by Tracy Lawrence
“So Close” by Diana Ross
“Six Feet Deep” by the Geto Boys
“You Thrill Me” by Exile
“What Now” by Gene Chandler
“Put It in a Magazine” by Sonny Charles
“Got a Love for You” by Jomanda
“Stone Cold” by Rainbow
“People in Love” by 10cc
“Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)” by the Four Tops
“Thinkin’ Problem” by David Ball
“You Got Yours and I’ll Get Mine” and “Trying to Make a Fool of Me” by the Delfonics
“The Riddle (You and I)” by Five for Fighting
“I Can’t Wait” by Sleepy Brown
“Nature Boy” by Bobby Darin
“Give It to Me Baby” and “Cold Blooded” by Rick James
“Who’s Sorry Now?” by Marie Osmond
“A Love So Fine” by the Chiffons
“Funky Y-2-C” by the Puppies
“Brand New Girlfriend” by Steve Holy
“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” by Bonnie Pointer
“Mr. Loverman” by Shabba Ranks
“I’ve Never Found a Girl” by Eddie Floyd
“Plastic Man” and “Happy People” by the Temptations
“Okay” by Nivea
“Go On” by George Strait
“Back When My Hair Was Short” by Gunhill Road
“Birthday Party” by the Pixies Three
“Livin’ in the Life” by the Isley Brothers
“Kissing You” by Keith Washington
“The End of Our Road” by Marvin Gaye
“Ticks” and “Letter to Me” by Brad Paisley
“Nobody But You Babe” by Clarence Reid
“Like a Sunday in Salem” by Gene Cotton
“I’m Going to Let My Heart Do the Walking” by the Supremes
“Call Me Lightning” by the Who
“Ain’t It True” by Andy Williams

Top Fifty Films of the 50s — Number Twenty-Three

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#23 — The Bad and the Beautiful (Vincente Minnelli, 1952)
There was a time when Hollywood was all klieg lights and high glamor, at least in its calculated depictions of self. It was lucrative to preserve the myth of happy creative miracles, dreams captured on celluloid for all to enjoy. By the nineteen-fifties, some cynicism was starting to creep in, and filmmakers allowed that their chosen business had a corrosion at its heart. Some of this was surely attributable to the general social shell shock felt in the post-war years, but I think there’s also the slide of Hollywood itself to blame. Besides the fabled stories of starlets being discovered sitting innocently in Beverly Hills soda shops, plucked up by benevolent producers who brought them worldwide fame, there was genuinely a culture in the young industry of folks who simply showed up looking for work and getting a chance to do so, not all that dissimilar from other jobs. By the fifties, the industry wasn’t young anymore and that innocent opportunity had been entirely eradicated to be be replaced by cutthroat tactics. There was also ample evidence accumulated as to how easily the once honored and revered could be discarded.

Even a director as established as Vincente Minnelli knew something about the feelings of being abused by the system, having sustained a major blow when the box office failure of 1948 film The Pirate led the studio to essentially put him on suspension. He was back on solid footing by the time he made The Bad and the Beautiful, thanks largely to the success of 1951’s An American in Paris, but the recollection on hid down time had to still smart. Certainly, this bitter cupcake of a film is rife with the sort of sharp observations that hint at dismal personal experience. Based on the George Bradshaw short story “Tribute to a Bad Man” (originally published in Ladies Home Journal, of all places), the film focuses on the tumultuous and troubling assent of a filmmaker named Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas). It’s told in flashback as a movie producer (Walter Pidgeon) tries to convince three former cohorts of the director, whose career is flagging, to lend their clout to a new picture he wants to make. Jonathan previously, separately crossed all three of them, and they think back to the moments of camaraderie and professional trust that inevitably led to betrayal.

Working from a Charles Schnee screenplay that would go on to nab an Academy Award, Minnelli approaches the material with his usual ease and panache. But there’s a touch of subversiveness to his approach. There’s an open acknowledgment of the ugliness of the entertainment business, to be sure, but there’s also the turnabout that serves as the film’s harsh punchline. Those Jonathan has ruthlessly thwarted also owe their later success to him. That cruelty that drives the business is of the wholly codependent sort. No matter how much Jonathan may be hated by those he betrayed, if he’s got an enticing project, the closing moments make clear, all that animosity will be put aside easily enough. In The Bad and the Beautiful, it takes a lot of frantic dancing to stay alive in the movie business, but, Minnelli argues, every last person knows all the steps to the tunes that are playing.

The hills ringing hear the words in time, listen to the holler

life itself

In a cinematic irony that its subject would surely appreciate, the documentary Life Itself is dominated by the specter of death. Sure, the film does its duty in tracing the life of film critic Roger Ebert, who is arguably the most famous person ever to hold that job title–only his old on air partner Gene Siskel provides formidable competition–but it is the well-viewed Chicagoan’s final years, wracked by illness and debilitating complications related to the treatment, that carry the main weight. As Ebert acknowledges in an exchange with the film’s director, Steve James, the long, agonizing encroachment of mortality provides a more poignant storytelling close anyway. To the end, Ebert was considering the relative value of the narrative.

There aren’t many other people who devoted their professional lives to writing about movies who’d actually merit having the camera turned back on them, but James makes a persuasive case for Ebert to receive such a focus. Drawing the title and at least some of the inspiration for the film from Ebert’s memoir, James and his collaborators lightly trace the critic’s earliest days–with his family, local newspapers, and college journalism–before reaching the point when things really rev up: Ebert’s arrival at the Chicago Sun-Times and ascendancy within mere months to become the paper’s film critic. Ebert goes on to become the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize (for many years, he was the only film critic to have ever received the honor), to write the script for the Russ Meyers film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and to engage in the sort of booze-tinged, ramshackle, intellectually rambunctious lifestyle that once defined the denizens of the newspaper business, especially in a bruised knuckle town like Chicago. And that was all before he was paired with his chief municipal rival on a PBS program devoted to reviewing the latest movies.

Across the aisle from Gene Siskel (of the Chicago Tribune) on Sneak Previews, then At the Movies, then Siskel & Ebert & the Movies, Ebert found fame that rivaled that of the stars he interviewed and influence on the moviegoing community that exceeded most critics’ ego-driven dreams. If the duo proclaimed “Two thumbs up” in their assessment of a film, it was guaranteed to show up on ads and posters. (In a cheeky touch, James shows it emblazoned across subpar fare like Look Who’s Talking and Speed 2.) Even better, their verbal sparring made for great television. James unearths a personal favorite of mine involving their heated disagreement about Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket that spills over into a similar split decision on Benji the Hunted later the same episode. I remember watching this when it aired, and it’s far more engaging than either of the films in question. Understandably, James focuses on this stretch of Ebert’s career with great glee, deploying a bevy of wonderfully chosen clips, including segments from a fascinating episode of Sneak Previews in which the critics lay out their working rituals and a cluster of outtakes from the recording of promos which find them viciously feuding (when not memorably decrying the national influence of the “goddamn Protestants”). The years with Siskel may not represent the most profound part of Ebert’s story, but they surely provide the most terrifically fun material.

It’s that partnership with Siskel that sets up the unyielding bravery Ebert showed in sharing his deteriorating state with the world, including memorable photos that showed exactly what he looked like after cancer and the complications from its treatment necessitated the removal of his lower jaw. Siskel died in the late nineties, after a battle with brain cancer that he largely kept secret. That inspired Ebert to swear he would never similarly hide whatever problems he had, and his very public presentation of who he’d become physically was inspiring. When fate gave him every reason to turn away from the spotlight, he put himself out there, an engagement that continues with the film in shots of him struggling with his physical therapy or wincing in obvious agony as a suction treatment is administered to his exposed throat. James captures it all, as unflinching as the man he films.

If anything, Life Itself sometimes struggles to contain all the material that Ebert’s life offers. Willing as James is to illuminate the less pleasant parts of Ebert’s personality or the conflicted feelings others have about his approach to his job, there are times when the most complicated issues are zipped past a hair too tidily. For example, Ebert eventually became close with several of the filmmakers whose work he was supposed to bring an unbiased eye to assessing, and his familiarity with them as people seemingly softened his critical view, a potential problem James tosses away with a clip of Ebert (along with Siskel) offering a unfavorable (and, it’s worth noting, pretty spot on) evaluation of Martin Scorsese’s The Color of Money shortly after they’d championed him at a Toronto International Film Festival showcase that the director himself tearfully notes revived his flagging spirits during his mid-eighties career nadir. That’s compelling in a way, but there plentiful unmentioned counterexamples of Ebert putting that thumb way up for bad, or at least highly questionable, movies directed by his friends. This seems like a good place to quietly cite his four-star review of Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call, New Orleans and move on.

Similarly, James spends a significant amount of time on Ebert’s generous championing of young filmmakers, an advocacy that could truly make a difference for up-and-coming creators. Given that, it’s a misstep that James, who’s very present throughout the film, makes no mention of Hoop Dreams, his exemplary 1994 documentary for which Siskel and Ebert were instrumental in garnering greater attention. James may be determined in the honesty of his depiction, but his connection to his subject is stronger than he openly acknowledges. It’s a minor sin of omission, but a sin nonetheless. It’s one that, I’d like to think, Ebert would have caught had he the chance to review the film.

Beers I Have Known: Central Waters Brewing Company Sixteen

This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.

A generous friend gave me a bottle of this. Released to help celebrate the sixteenth anniversary of Central Waters Brewing, located in idyllic Amherst, Wisconsin, Sixteen is an imperial stout, aged in twenty-one year old bourbon barrels. I knew it was good, very good. That caused me to muster up an uncommon patience, waiting for the right special occasion to finally open it. For a time, I almost deferred to the wisdom voiced by Maya in Alexander Payne’s Sideways. To paraphrase, “You know, the day you open a Central Waters Sixteen…that’s the special occasion.” But no, I persevered, finally deciding that my inaugural meal with Asheville’s vaunted Blind Pig Supper Club was the right time to break open the bottle. It was BYOB, after all, and I knew I had a very fine B at my disposal. I made the right call. Not only was it a nice accompaniment (well, precursor as it turned out) to a splendidly decadent meal, but I had the always welcome opportunity to share it with people who were uniquely equipped to appreciate it, thanks to their highly refined and well-traveled beer palates. One of them had even previously sampled the famed Three Floyds Dark Lord and compared it favorably to that elusive brew. I can’t personally speak to that assessment, but I can say the Sixteen is about as good as any beer I’ve ever had, perfectly enhancing the rich, deep flavor of the imperial stout with beautiful, coppery bourbon notes. I’m grateful to the friend who gave me the bottle, and appreciative to those who eventually shared it with me. Although, on that last point, I may have been okay keeping it all to myself, too.

Previously…
Point Special
21st Amendment Bitter American
Abita Restoration Pale Ale
Rolling Rock
Skull Splitter
Foster’s
Highland Thunderstruck Coffee Porter
Red Stripe
Rhinelander Bock
Samuel Adams Boston Lager
New Glarus Brewing Company Wisconsin Belgian Red
ABA Hoppy Saison
Hamm’s
Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager
Three Floyds Apocalypse Cow
French Broad Brewing Gateway Kolsch
Big Boss Brewing “High Monkey”
Stevens Point Brewery Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale
The Native Brewing Company The Eleven Brown Ale
Labatt Blue
Smuttynose Winter Ale
Point Beyond the Pale IPA
Guinness
Capital Brewery Supper Club
Highland Brewing 20th Anniversary Scotch Ale
Mickey’s

College Countdown, The First CMJ Album Chart, 2

2 van

2. Van Morrison, Wavelength

I saw Van Morrison play live once, as the capper to a day-long festival of mostly Irish artists sponsored, of course, by Guinness. This was towards the end of the nineties, so Morrison was well past the point that he new music was garnering anything but the most meager attention, critically and especially commercially. It also meant he was safely an elder statesman of rock ‘n’ roll, someone who could justifiably be called a legend. He was strikingly disengaged in some respects, coming to the microphone in between extended smoke breaks backstage and belting out his songs as a tight band wailed behind him. And yet he was fantastic, gifted with the kind of presence, certainty, and soulful singing voice that made every song into a powerhouse, even as he seemed almost perturbed by the need to do his job.

The version of Morrison on saw on that stage matches up nicely with the version I hear on his 1978 album, Wavelength. There’s a drabness to it, but also an undeniable authority. He performs like a guy who knows he doesn’t have to try all that hard to still be distinctive, arguably even better than just about everyone else plying the musical trade at the time. Hell, he’s even taking a smoke break on the album cover.

While not one of the albums from his vast career that’s still widely celebrated today, Wavelength was a significant hit for Morrison. Indeed, it was his biggest hit to that point, selling its way to a gold record certification with weeks, far faster than any of his other efforts. And the title cut brought him within a hair’s breadth (okay, two spots) of his first Billboard Top 40 hit since 1971’s “Wild Night.” In some respects, it’s not all that surprising. The record seems targeted at a broader audience with slick production, more direct songwriting, and little acquiescences to the popular music of the time, such as the disco-lite back-up singers who pop up across the two sides. This might stem in part from Morrison trying to make up for lost time. After his 1974 album Veedon Fleece, he’d taken a three year break from recording, an absolutely lifetime in the nineteen-seventies, when artists were expected to churn out a new album roughly every year. When his comeback record, A Period of Transition, was tepidly received, there may have been some added pressure to reassert himself as a viable commercial artist.

It’s a hit or miss affair, with a few more songs that can be slotted into the latter category. “Natalia” is a prime example of Morrison seeming to reach out to radio, while album closer “Take It Where You Find It” is clearly intended to play as one of Morrison’s long, beautiful soul workouts, only to wind up as a dull slog as it stretches on for nearly nine minutes. It’s still Morrison, though, which means there are pleasures to be had, embedded in each and every song. It surely helps that Morrison is unique in all of rock ‘n’ roll history for his ability to spin lyrics like “Listen to the music to music inside/ Can’t you hear what it says to you” (in the song “Lifetimes”) away from their inherent triteness towards something approaching profundity. The album’s peak is probably “Santa Fe/Beautiful Obsession,” which marks the first time Morrison shared a songwriting credit on an an album, as the first song on the melded track was penned with Jackie De Shannon. Perhaps tellingly, both “Santa Fe” and “Beautiful Obsession” were originally written in the early seventies, well before the other material on the record.

His status as a significant performer solidly reestablished, Morrison started to test those boundaries, first by crafting songs with more over religious themes on follow-up album Into the Music and then the free jazz meanderings of his first album of the nineteen-eighties, the now largely forgotten Common One. Then it was time for the MTV era to push through the soil. An artist as churlish as Morrison had no chance in that environment. It was time to start the long process of easing into venerable music biz survivor status.

Previously…
An Introduction
–26: Darkness on the Edge of Town
–25: Give Thankx
–24: Caravan to Midnight
–23: Next of Kihn
–22: 52nd Street
–21: Crafty Hands
–20: Luxury You Can Afford
–19: Some Girls
–18: Mr. Gone
–17: Stage
–16: Pieces of Eight
–15: Bloody Tourists
–14: Along the Red Ledge
–13: The Bride Stripped Bare
–12: On the Edge
–11: Parallel Lines
–10: More Songs About Buildings and Food
–9: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
–8: Twin Sons of Different Mothers
–7: Comes a Time
–6: Bursting Out
–5: Dog & Butterfly
–4: Living in the USA
–3: Tormato

From the Archive: Walk the Line

As I’ve noted before, 2005 was the year that I took advantage of the bountiful blank page afforded me by the interweb and started writing movie reviews again. I tend to to think of it as a relatively slow development process, from noodling around to full-length reviews. But it seems I got to the destination a little more quickly than I remember, as this take on the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, written just a few months after I’d recommitted to writing about movies, has a hearty word count.

There are two moments in the new Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line that gave me chills in the way that only the greatest movie moments can. The first is the opening credits sequence. Director James Mangold begins with the Folsom Prison concert that would yield what many argue is the greatest album of Cash’s career.

As Cash’s music pounds on the soundtrack, Mangold gradually takes us deeper and deeper into the prison with a series of staggered shots that bring the foreboding weight of the institution down upon the viewer. Eventually, we reach the actual concert, where a packed hall of prisoners is roaring their collective approval at the sustained growl of the music coming from the stage as Cash’s band plays with rigid professionalism and just a hint of rattled nerves. This simple but brilliantly effective introduction properly conveys the power of music, this man’s music in particular. No matter how strong the steel bars that argue otherwise, this music, at this place and time, made these men feel free.

The second moment comes when Cash sits at a diner counter and talks with June Carter about his deceased brother, Jack. As Cash, Joaquin Phoenix speaks of the enduring sense of loss he feels with an emotional gravity and honest sense of spontaneity of a sort previously unseen in his film work. This small piece of acting is so achingly real that I’d swear the name he held in his head that moment wasn’t “Jack,” but “River.”

That’s not to imply that this moment betrays the created confines of the film’s world, abruptly becoming more about Joaquin than Johnny. In fact, Phoenix is locked in throughout the film. Like David Strathairn in Good Night, and Good Luck., Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote and, yes, Jamie Foxx in last year’s Ray, Phoenix takes on the familiar physicality and vocal cadences of his well-known character, but resists the trap of turning in an impression instead of a performance (for the counter-example, see Will Smith in Ali.) He digs into the man, trying to convey his deeper self, trying to capture the conflicts in his soul. It’s debatable whether the final result is wholly accurate, but it always feels right.

In many ways, Phoenix laps the very film he’s in. You always sense the actor pushing for more and Mangold giving him less. Walk the Line is a frustratingly conventional film. It’s not just that the arc of Cash’s life–childhood tragedy to early career struggles to professional breakthrough to drug-fueled descent to redemption–will be familiar to anyone who’s seen any other biographical films about entertainers (or an episode of Behind the Music), its that Mangold has structured the film as predictably as a three-chord country song. Remaining true to the facts of Cash’s life hardly mandates the inclusion of a standard-issue music montage meant to efficiently depict his career ascent.

Settling for the most predictable path also shortchanges Mangold’s greatest strength as a filmmaker: his keen attention to details. The first part of the film is filled with scenes that are gripping in their well-observed simplicity. Johnny’s audition for Sam Phillips holds a palpable sense of tension, thanks in no small part to the excellent, if brief, performance by Dallas Roberts as the Sun Records impresario. And the early concert scenes effectively spark off the sense of a budding legend carefully competing with fellow budding legends like Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley. Phoenix handles the singing chores and does an admirable job of meeting (if not matching) Cash’s original versions. Even more impressive is Reese Witherspoon as June Carter, nailing the twangy melody of Carter’s voice and the jubilant showmanship of her onstage cornpone humor.

Witherspoon is less effective as the film goes on and, in the script, June Carter becomes less of an original and more of a stock love interest. Mangold clearly means to distinguish his film by making it about the lengthy, troubled courtship of Johnny and June. But there’s no resonance to their relationship onscreen. Witherspoon loses the complexity of her character and starts simply responding to the emotional turmoil surrounding her. Phoenix makes Cash’s wounded, troubled yearning for June Carter as real as steel, but we get little sense, through story or performance, of what drew Carter to Cash. Phoenix is left singing a duet alone, and the result is a film that’s is sleek on the surface but disappointingly hollow.

One for Friday: The A-Sides, “Cinematic”

“Cinematic” by the A-Sides is the first song listed in my iTunes. When I start it up at the beginning or the day or slip over to the “Music” list on my iPod, that’s the first song I see. It is the only song I have from the band, a group of indie rockers from Philadelphia. It’s off of Silver Storms, their sophomore effort and sole release for Vagrant. One year later, they announced the dissolution of the band (on their MySpace page, to put the moment in music business history in proper perspective).

I like the song, but I’m not even entirely sure how I got it. The album was released in the fall of 2007, so just a few months after I’d departed Florida and the great college radio station that was invaluable to me in the task of keeping up with new music. As opposed to the previous time I’d walked away from radio, I was determined to keep up with new music. Away from a place where new CDs flooded in on a regular basis, I found it was too easy to let my interest atrophy and get utterly detached. Maybe if that hadn’t happened, I would have seen the White Stripes open up for Sleater-Kinney at my favorite little dump of a club in Madison way back when. Instead, I completely passed that date over until I found the ad for it years later and almost broke down weeping in my garage.

To that end, I was following a lot of music blogs back then, grabbing up any MP3s that were being shared with some amount of enthusiasm by the author. A decent amount of the time, it inspired me to go out and buy the actual albums (seriously, MPAA, it was all free promotion as much as it was piracy…you dopes). But there are also several tracks that I listened to, liked enough to keep, and let them fall into the eddy of my ongoing shuffle, allowing for the potential that they may strike me when they appear in the future, something that has happened many, many times. “Cinematic,” though, is too present to ever surprise me. It’s the record resting on the turntable whenever I go to play music, always returning to that spot, as if by magic. Weirdly, it’s become a favorite simply by always being there.

The A-Sides, “Cinematic”

(Disclaimer: It looks to me like Silver Storms is entirely out of print, at least as an object that can be procured from your favorite local, independently-owned record store in a manner that will duly compensate both the proprietor of said store and the artist. It may be available for online purchase, and Vagrant may very well treat their artists better than other major labels do when it comes to online sales, so think about making a purchase of the full release if the song sounds good to you. Here’s the crux of it: I’m sharing this song with the expectation and understanding that it causes no undue fiscal harm to anyone. While I believe that to be the case, I will also gladly remove the song if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)