Overlooked Gems of My Lifetime

Credit is given where credit is due regarding the overlooked gems of my lifetime.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

James Blood Ulmer, Odyssey

A disciple of Ornette Coleman, James Blood Ulmer enjoyed a brief spell of critical acclaim for his fusion of the mysterious harmelodic theories of his mentor with Hendrix/Sly Stone-inspired psychedelic funk rock. However, that formula ran out of gas shortly after it ignited, on the amazing Are Your Glad to Be in America?. On Odyssey, Ulmer is backed up by a drummer and a violinist who plays through a wah-wah. That's it. The result is a very relaxed fusion of psychedelia and rural blues that Ulmer ran into the ground shortly thereafter with a series of live albums that repeated 75% of the songs on this studio album. These days Ulmer is punching his meal ticket on the Martin Scorcese's Blues Project. Mostly "Eh..."

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Brewster McCloud

This early '70s Robert Altman flight of fancy stars Bud Cort as a manchild who pursues his dream of flying while living in the bowels of the Houston Astrodome. Mythological and pop culture references abound, often for the hell of it. Shelly Duvall makes her strangely appealing screen debut. The Altman regulars of that era (eg, Sally Kellerman, Michael Murphy, Burt Remsen, John Schuck) get to strut their ridiculous screen selves. One of probably a dozen highly recommended and underrated, laid back films that Altman has released between his occasional films receiving commercial and mainstream critical acclaim. As an added bonus, there's something about the setting, styles, and cinematography that perfectly capture my childhood memories of the early '70s.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Roy Wood, Boulders

Move founder Roy Wood let his whimsical side run wild in this one-man band celebration of Phil Spector pop and British eccentricities. If Brian Wilson's artistic crack-up gets you down and Skip Spence's highly touted Oar strikes you as simply the worst load of crap to come out of the overrated San Francisco scene, try this album. I have no idea what was going on with Wood's mental state, but the album strikes me as a last-stand for a grown man's childhood love of pop music. It's no wonder his equally perverse follow-up albums shot mostly blanks.