The time has come to reveal our first-ever super-deluxe double-your-trouble Mystery Date. Mystery Date #1 brought to mind for many Townspeople Love‘s Forever Changes album, but not executed as well. (To my ears, as someone who thinks that Love album mostly blows, lack of execution was helpful.) Mystery Date #2 drove most Townspeople batty. Too bad dbuskirk hasn’t been around to help explain this part of the big reveal…after the jump!
Mystery Date #1 was “If You Believe in Christmas Trees,” by Cardinal, a Boston-based, early-1990s collaboration between Eric Matthews and Australian-born Richard Davies. Matthews was the arranger whiz, while Davies was the primary songwriter. The track was submitted by ladymisskirroyale. I don’t think I’d ever heard a Cardinal song before, but I always read good things about them, eventually buying a Davies solo album that I still like. I also bought a Matthews album around the same time, which I promptly dumped. It was all grandiose arrangement trickery and no soul. I liked that Cardinal song, but I found Matthews’ arrangements verging on cloying. The Davies album I own sounds more along the lines of Robyn Hitchcock’s mellow stuff.
Mystery Date #2 was “Can’t Get My Motor to Start,” by Nick Mason’s Fictitious Sports. This track was provided by tonyola. This is an album I’d long associated with cut-out bins. I knew nothing else about it beside my clear lack of interest in ever hearing any solo album by the drummer for one of the least-rhythmically interesting rock bands in history. My man tonyola set me straight, however, on the true nature of this album. As he put it in his submission note:
…this is actually an album written by avant-jazzer Carla Bley with an impressive guest list but released under the Pink Floyd drummer’s name (he did play drums on the record and acted as co-producer/engineer). An odd one-off curio of a record.
Who knew? Had I known in 1981, when this album was released and I was embarking on my freshman-year jazz odyssey I likely would have snatched a copy out of the cut-out bins. I tried to get into Carla Bley for a while, always finding a little bit to like but eventually thinking she and her band were too clever for their own good. And I know it doesn’t get any shallower than what I’m about to share, but her hair always bugged me. Like Eric Matthews, Bley is known for her work as an arranger as much as anything. One album she was essential to that I like a lot is the first by the Charlie Haden-led Liberation Music Orchestra. featuring the excellent “Song for Ché” and many other worthwhile “dashiki jams.”
Thanks to ladymiss and tonyola for their submissions, and thanks to those of you who played along!