Sunday, 12 February 2017

Colonial Bread Letter 77

Lee Evin is not the age of someone who can escape the sound of 1977. Not that he's heard Ornette Coleman's take on "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman". Evin owns all of half his age in albums, though not even that really because none of them are outright his. Surely by now he's stopped listening to the Elvis soundtrack, whose appearance in the house might be strictly down to a glut of beat up records at the drug store. Probably not.

There's no accounting for taste, either good or bad, and Lee Evin's's determined by availability. There is radio. Where to turn the dial, dictated by curiosity or a lack thereof? Having only barely graduated from AM, frequency modulated album orientation is the gatekeeper of what flows through the air.

In this neck of the burbs, 1977 means an awful lot of debuts, precious few of which Evin'll be aware until the year is firmly in its dust jacket. As of yet it's history in the making. Cheap Trick is as infectious as it is unavoidable, as are Talking Heads or Television for any DJ with the wherewithal to be an oddball relative to this particular pocket of the Midwest.

Forget The Clash or Sex Pistols for now, unless it's by way of TV news anchors musing weird on what's going on in someone else's world. Never mind Buzzcocks. Not even Bowie's Low gets much play on the big two or three stations here. When Before and After Science comes out in December to the indifference of AOR, Rumours is still getting cranked up after a year of airplay, and will continue for years to come. And Peter Gabriel debuts solo and gets played, what with his Genesis.

1977 is both classic and odd, but Lee Evin is not the age of himself when he'll come to appreciate that fact.

Historically speaking in puns
The Brothers Johnson are Right on Time with a reprise of recent Black history with their cover of Shuggie Otis. Even classic rock radio recognizes the transcendence of "Strawberry Letter 23". But Bootsy barely gets play even though his latest is number one, because Lee Evin goes to school in the wrong direction to pick up on the vibe, spending his time on the wrong side of the dial. Just on the other side of what passes for main street, Bernie Worrell's earth vibrating bass tone shimmers like a "Flashlight" and, though you wouldn't know it, Herbie Hancock is all over the place.

Then of course there's disco, say, Chic, to name a trend that will be around. Is the best that peach-fuzzed white boys can do to buck that trend, in all their disco destroyer-ness, The Grand Illusion? Short answer: Yes, yes it is. Longer answer: Approximately.

Speaking of Black History and A Farewell to Kings, this is the year that the King dies on his throne. #thankyouverymuch