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-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= SPIRITUAL, MUSIC ADVICE, 'n' STUFF

by Rev. Richard Visage


Let us begin with a short prayer:

"Law-w-d, for this brand New Year of Our Lord, 1995, please 
give us the music to sooth our souls, and Rock our socks off!"
It's resolution time again, isn't it? Damn, it's particularly

poignant to start off the year with a kiss goodbye to all those nasty habits, especially since some of us can usually count on spending the first part of January in some variant of intensive care due to Christmas, New Year's, etc., etc. parties and the associated liver damage.

Some of the Christmas "genre" music can leave you feeling worse

than a three-day JD binge, too. Did you happen to be subjected to Kenny G's Christmas Album? Natalie Cole's? Those would be two very valid reasons to drink to forget.

Oh, I know . . . I'm rambling again. Scary, isn't it? Anyway, 

Ms. Labamba and myself have happily migrated over to the all new DREAM FORGE magazine, and we'll be hanging out there with our CD player for the year. So, I guess I'll have to decide between New Year's resolutions of (a) meeting my deadlines, or (b) peeling Ms. Labamba out of her red lace bodysuit with my teeth. While I think on this serious life decision, let's spin a CD or two.

Buddy Guy

Anyone out there have any idea how old Buddy Guy is? I may have

been hallucinating, but it seems to me I first saw him live almost 20 years ago. One is not surprised to find Black Bluesmen still charging in the later years of their lives, but Buddy plays young. Fresh, and real young.

Blues is magic music, it can make the whole world levitate 

around you, and Buddy Guy is a master magician. It's hard to recall an album that is so consistent, so well played, and so full of the real blues as this one.

Let's look for a criticism. Hmm, great choice of tunes, super

vocals, outstanding instrumentation, it's wonderfully produced, and you really should see Ms. Labamba wriggling in her red lace bodysuit when this CD is on. Incidentally, writing music reviews is hard work. Really.

Look for standout guitar work by Guy throughout, most notably 

on "Please Don't Drive Me Away," and the coolest trick piano work I've ever heard on "7-11" by Johnnie Johnson.

My guess will be that the most common reaction to this album 

will be to listen to two tracks, get up, pick up Clapton's "Back to the Cradle" and throw it into the fireplace.


There's a retentive urge among reviewers to find labels for 

groups. This is perhaps more difficult for someone of my vintage. I recently mistook something in the "Neo-Crypto-Post-Industrial-Rave" category for being something I know as "Disco". Shows how much I know.

The first categorization I ever heard of R.E.M. was that they

were "more U than U2", and came without all the posing, preaching and dumbshit stage names. That's probably unfair to R.E.M., which has always struck me as a very unique band, with powerful and original vocals and character. That said, the third track on this album, "King of Comedy", could have been put on a U2 album, and it might have fooled me.

After listening to the first couple of tracks, one might find

that R.E.M. is best fit by inventing a new label indicating a discovery of fuzzboxes, feedback, and flipping the switch between guitar pickups. And damn, they do it well.

"What's the Frequency, Kenneth" is the brilliant lead off 

tune, followed by "Crush With Eyeliner", both driving Neo-Fuzzbox (©1994, Rev. R.V. –hey, I told you I'd invent a label) tunes that fairly cause the CD player to smoke right from the beginning. Check your sub-woofer before you light these puppies up, I'm sure you don't want an unexpected detonation in your living room. There are more typical R.E.M. tunes on the album as well, and a blend of the Neo-Fuzzbox ™ sound with the more usual R.E.M. fare, suggesting something of a musical evolution.

Thematically, the album has a powerful undertone about love and

relationships, and the difficulties that go with them. Not exactly an original theme, but the treatment here has all the freshness and wit that has come to be associated with R.E.M. From the smoking infatuation of "Crush with Eyeliner" to the bilious "I Took Your Name" and the virtual pleading of "Strange Currencies" this CD seems to be an exploration of some of the most twitch-inducing aspects of relationships.

My favorite is "Star 69", an ode to telephone call display. 

This authenticates the theme of the album to me. The folks in R.E.M have obviously been there to note the power of a telephone option during a time of tension between two people. You just can't hide from a woman with call display – not that I'd know or anything. Really.

As your spiritual advisor, might I suggest that you check out the

New Year's sales and pick these two CD's up, they're well worth it.

(Note to the Editors: after some serious deliberation, I chose the red-lace-bodysuit option in the resolution department. Like it's a big surprise, right?)

(Note from the Editors, to the Rev.: since we editors only read the first and last paragraphs of received manuscripts (we ARE very busy people, you know!); I'm forced to assume (and one should never assume anything, except for command and responsibiity) that you will look lovely in your choice of Holiday attire – BUT, may encounter some strange glances from other red-nosed party goers. Happy Holidays, and btw, do those things have zippers? Just wondering . . . .

Religiously yours, Rev. Richard Visage

Copyright Rev. Richard Visage

Rev. Richard Visage is the official Spiritual Advisor to Fidonet, and is listed in the Fidonews masthead, where his correspondence with the infamous Doc Logger is published regularly. The Reverend operates 1:163/409 on a laptop from various hotel rooms, and is bankrolled by expense accounts from unsuspecting publications who showed the poor judgment of hiring him. Canadian Government officials list him and his semi-clad secretary, Ms. LaBamba, as officially being "at large" somewhere in North America.

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