The thing about Sound Garden is that the workers seem pretty hip or grundgy or whatever it is that I'm not. (I am many things but cool is not close to being one of them.) The workers are friendly unlike record stores of old where you ran the risk of bullying and derision if you bought top forty or, God forbid, smooth jazz. (I cringe thinking what the guys at Spectrum Records must have thought of me in the eighties when I brought Spyro Gyra to the counter.) It's good that the Sound Garden folks are kind because this fifty-year-old brought the middle of the road to the counter.
I bought a used copy of Supertramp's Even In The Quietest Of Moments... and a new copy of Paul McCartney's Tug Of War both of which are very good albums but neither of which is genius or cool. They are albums from my past — I owned both on record and then on CD — and listening to them today has felt good on all sorts of levels not entirely about the sound.
The guy who rang up the sale was nothing but smiles.
The Supertramp album is good but frustrating. Everything Roger Hodgson wrote for it is good or great. In fact, every good song on the album is his. The frustrating thing is that Roger Davies wrote almost half the songs. Imagine Lennon and McCartney if one of them couldn't write well. Hodgson's "Fool's Overture" might be the best song the band ever recorded and his "Give A Little Bit" is one of their most catchy and enduring.
Then there's Roger Davies' "Lover Boy." I'm not going to even start on that one. Oy.
McCartney's album doesn't have Lennon of course but he brings Stevie Wonder along instead and gets a hit out of it with "Ebony And Ivory" a tune I could do without. The thing about this album is that although there aren't many songs on it that stand out as great, there is something about the album as a whole that works on me and that's why it works better on vinyl than streamed. Brush the record, drop the needle, and it's likely that you're there for the whole side at least and in my case I'm pretty much guaranteed to flip it and catch side two.
I should say that there are three excellent songs on there: "Tug Of War," "Take It Away," and "Wanderlust." I'm also a total sucker to "Here Today" a song all about his relationship with John Lennon.
Where Quietest Moments can be challenging to listen to straight through because there are songs I'd rather skip, Tug Of War grows through complete listenings. Or maybe "Fool's Overture" sounds even better after getting through "From Now On" which is actually the best of the Davies tunes. There's a lot to consider. I should go back and listen again. Now, which one to put on first?