J Ship’s A – Z (with Jonathan Shipley)


There have been many changes to the Fleetwood Mac lineup. The drummer Mick Fleetwood (he’s the Fleetwood in Fleetwood Mac) and the bassist John McVie (he’s the Mac in Fleetwood Mac) have been the constants, which, of course, is quite handy in that the name of the group, as I’ve mentioned, is Fleetwood Mac. Other names the band could have chosen during its various personnel changes – Spencer Brunning, Fleetwood Green, Kirwan Spencer, McVie McVie, Welsh Fleetwood, Walker Weston Welsh, Buckingham McVie McVie, Vito Nicks, Bramlett Burnett, Fleetwood Nicks. I could go on but I won’t. I will, however, say something about Stevie Nicks. She’s a terrible singer! Come on! It sounds like her voice box was thrown in a wood chipper.

The flugelhorn, as you know, is a brass instrument. It’s similar to the trumpet but with a wider, conical bore. Interesting to note, the flugelhorn could very well have been developed by Adolphe Sax, who developed, you guessed it, the saxophone. There is another camp who believes, however, that Sax didn’t create the flugelhorn. Instead, they think it might have been Clyde Van Fluegel, a metal worker from the Netherlands, who created his own musical instruments (the tinkerhorn, rosenblatter, and wingehorn are all his creations) in the early 19th century. Though the Van Fluegel instruments are highly prized today they weren’t in his time and his career was undistinguished in that regard. He died when he was eaten by a Kraken on a pleasure boating trip.

Only Tennessee Ernie Ford could make a number one hit song entitled “Mule Train.”

I know Foreigner from their 80s music. I wish I didn’t. Their power ballads suck. “Waiting For a Girl Like You”? Ugh. You’d be waiting a long time for a girl like her if you were listening to Foreigner. “I Want To Know What Love Is”? Ugh. Ugh. You want to know love? Throw Foreigner albums off a high cliff so people don’t have to listen to their insipid ballads any more and you’ll get love. You want the girl? You want to know what love is? Put on the Winger, dude!

Neko Case’s new album was hailed as one of the best of 2006. It’s warranted. The album is great. Ever since her ’97 debut, The Virginian, she’s been creating better and better albums. With the new one, she’s written lovely songs, co-produced them with Darryl Neudorf, worked with members of Calexico and The Sadies, and has done a smashing job. But, uh, what’s with the album title? Fox Confessor Brings the Flood? That’s just a bunch of words strung together. Other album titles that she decided against – Sears Roebuck Eats a Pie, Newspaper Baron Limps on a Beach, Aerobatic Cobbler Moves to Denver, Bland Giraffe Seeks Muscle Relaxants, Lotus Flower Sits on Big Tractor, Chilly Shaman Wraps a Mallet.

There are so many great French composers! You can’t name any, can you? What the hell is wrong with you?! You only listen to Kayne West CDs even though he was influenced by Guillaume de Machart. Where’s the love for Marchart, the most influential composer of the 14th century who created the best in monophonic lais and vierlais?! You put on the Gnarls Barkley album without a thought to the composer who made them into who they are? Yes, Jean-Joseph Mouret, one of the leading French Baroque composers around 1700. And don’t get me started Slipknot fans. Without Charles Camille Saint-Saens there’d be no tune “Wait and Bleed.”

-Jonathan Shipley

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