Mixing music and lawyers is more often than not a bad thing, but a recent British court decision may actually be an exception to that rule.
Last week, the surviving members of Pink Floyd successfully sued to prevent their record label from selling the band’s songs online.
They argued that single tracks, ring tones and the like violated the artistic integrity of works like Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall.
The band’s albums are still available on Internet music stores like Rhapsody and iTunes, but cherry picking “Wish You Were Here” or “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” will henceforth be disallowed.
That’s how it should be.
I’m a big fan of XM Radio’s Deep Tracks station. A couple of on-air slogans sum up their philosophy (and mine): “we’re not single minded” and “we play careers.”
There was a time when a musician wouldn’t be taken seriously without a great album – heck, without two or three.
Dropping the needle on side one of a record used to mean something. Last summer, Steely Dan performed Royal Scam, Aja and Gaucho in their entirety over three consecutive nights to sold-out crowds.
Van Morrison did the same thing with Astral Weeks in 2008.
Nowadays, music fans have the attention span of a fruit fly, and promiscuously flit from song to song. Some bands with number one records can barely fill nightclubs.
On the other hand, Bob Seger will draw regardless of whether he plays “Old Time Rock and Roll.” Promise full-length Night Moves or Against the Wind, and the shows would sell out in seconds.
I can’t think of a single release by a post-2000 artist that I’d pay to see performed from start to finish.
Granted, song-centricity came into vogue as retaliation for all the CDs released with one good track, but that’s no reason to abandon the album as an art form.
So I applaud Pink Floyd. They should take it a step further, and deliver albums from the vinyl era (pre-1983) only as side-length files.
Cue up Dark Side of the Moon, and you won’t hear “Us and Them” without first listening to “Money.” On Led Zeppelin II, “Living Loving Maid” will follow “Heartbreaker” as sturm follows drang. No skip button for you!
What this generation needs is patience, and more decent full-length records. If I sound like a grumpy old man, so be it.
Now get off my lawn.
On to the rest of the week:
Thursday, March 18: Locals Jam, Salt hill Pub Newport – The family that plays together, a/k/a the Moores, is now permanently hosting this weekly open session, after alternating with the Shane Harrington Band for a while. Bring your guitar, bass, harp, or voice and join in the fun; it’s a great way for anyone looking to start a band to find potential mates. Even if you don’t play, stop by just to listen.
Friday, March 19: Bow to None, 802 Music – I drove by this all-ages performance space in downtown Springfield the other night and it was teeming. There’s live music most Fridays and Saturdays; typically, three or four bands are on the bill. Bow to None play uncompromising heavy metal, while on other nights there’s punk, power pop, post-grunge, all in a substance-free environment.
Saturday, March 20: The Elmores, One Mile West – After beginning with Tuesday open microphone nights, One Mile West is now doing music on weekends. Sometimes Friday, but always on Saturday, live bands are working in the back. Up front, the bar pours beer from 20 different taps, including some great craft brews like Rogue Yellow Snow and Monty Python’s Holy Grail Ale.
Sunday, March 21: Click & Joanie Horning, Crocker’s Coffee Shop – Overlooking Lake Sunapee in Newbury is a charming coffee shop, overflowing with bric-a-brac like a genuine ski lift gondola. Every Sunday from 4-6 in the afternoon, Click and Joanie play music. Click has a long history in the area, going back to his days in the band Night Kitchen. Crocker’s serves some tasty desserts, too.
Monday, March 22: Bryan Adams, Paramount Theatre (Rutland) – Speaking of artists who made albums that yielded singles, Canadian rocker Adams brings his sizable catalog to Vermont for an unplugged solo show. Adams calls it the “Bare Bones” tour, and recently explained to a Pennsylvania writer, “I’m getting back to the basics of the songs, just me and my voice.”
Wednesday, March 24: Open Mic, Skunk Hollow – Gregory Brown helms this weekly affair. If you’ve ever wondered whether you should take your playing to another level, this is a good starting point. Bring your axe and your songs. You have 15 minutes. The best part is that Simon Cowell is nowhere to be found, and the food’s better – a lot better, and the guy running the kitchen also a musician.