A Song and a Story: “Oliver’s Army” #AtoZChallenge


Would you like to buy an “O?”  Our “O” today is a cover of an Elvis Costello song by Peter Mulvey:

Oliver’s Army

One of the things I enjoyed most about Boston when I first moved here 20 years was the lively folk music scene.  Before my children were born, I spent many nights a week at concerts, festivals, or volunteering at Club Passim in Cambridge.  But in Boston, Cambridge and Somerville, it wasn’t necessary to go to a club to hear great music.  Buskers would attract crowds on the sidewalks and MBTA platforms.  Sometimes you’d even see some fairly well-known artists playing a T station as they found it a good place to practice new songs and get audience feedback.

One of these artists is Peter Mulvey, who has a strong following in the indie folk scene. While based in Milwaukee, Mulvey got his start busking on the T in the 1990s.  In 2002, Susan & I spotted him playing “Oliver’s Army” on the platform in Davis Square.  When he finished playing, he told us he was actually recording an album!  I’d never seen someone recording an album before, but Mulvey did indeed release his collection of cover songs – complete with the screeching steel wheels of the subway – Ten Thousand Mornings, later that year.  We also saw him perform at Club Passim, and when Susan lost her purse, he was the one to find it, but that’s a different story.


2019 Blogging A to Z Challenge – A Song and a Story

A: Always on My Mind
B: Baby Come Back and Baker Street
C: Cheek to Cheek
D: Don’t Worry, Be Happy and Doctor Jones
E: Everyday Sunshine
F: Fly Me to the Moon
G: Ghost Town
H: Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe
I: If I Were John Carpenter
J: Jungle Strut and Justified & Ancient
K: Kiss
L: Loaded
M: Marble Halls and My Moon, My Man
N: New York, New York

If you want to read more, check out my previous Blogging A to Z Challenges:

And dig deep into Panorama of the Mountains, by checking out my:

And, if you like Doctor Who, I have a whole ‘nother blog where I review Doctor Who stories across media: Epic Mandates.

Album Review: There is Another World by Peter Mulvey


Album: There is Another World
Artist: Peter Mulvey
Release Date: February 15, 2019
Favorite Tracks: “Who’s Gonna Love You Now?,” “Beckett Was a Bird of Prey,” “To Your Joy,” and “Henry’s Only Daughter”
Thoughts:

Peter Mulvey’s album shares the feeling of being alone in a cold, wintry landscape.  It’s rooted in nature and the thoughts and feelings that rumble through one’s mind when completely isolated.  Mulvey is no stranger to downtempo music but there’s not a single rave-up in this collection of meditative songs. Ireland – both Mulvey’s memories of being there and the msuical styles – informs the songs as well. Mulvey’s fingerpicking guitar is accompanied by fiddle on some tracks. There are experiments too: “Nickel and Dime” is 15-seconds long.  “Owl” channels Tom Waits. I’ve listened to it several times so far, and I still can’t really decide what I think of it, but I know I like it.

Rating: ****

2017 Year in Review: Favorite Albums


This has been a challenging year in music as there have been few things that have jumped out at me as being all-time classics, much less favorites for 2017.  To add to the struggle a lot of artists that I’ve counted on to produce great music put out new albums this year including Beck, Björk, Blitzen Trapper, Flaming Lips, Gorrillaz, The New Pornographers, Shamir, St. Vincent, and The xx.  What should’ve been a bumper crop of music was dissapointing, and while I would not say that any of these artists’ albums were bad, I believe that could have done better.  I don’t know, maybe I’m missing the great music of 2017, and if that is the case please direct to me to those great tunes ASAP.

Nevertheless, her are six albums from 2017 that I loved, with links to the original reviews.  Check them out!

ArtistRun the Jewels 
AlbumRun the Jewels 3  

ArtistAustra
Album:  Future Politics

ArtistPeter Mulvey
AlbumAre You Listening 

Artists:  Fleet Foxes
Album: Crack-Up 

ArtistAlgiers
AlbumThe Underside of Power 

ArtistDowntown Boys
AlbumCost of Living 

Previously:

Ten Favorite Songs of 2005


The project continues with my favorite songs of 2005.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

The Charging Sky – Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins

.

.

Jogando Capoeira – Beatfanatic

.

.

Marty & Lou – Peter Mulvey

.

.

Psyclone! –  Super Furry Animals

.

.

Qué Onda Guero – Beck

.

.

Sing Me Spanish Techno – The New Pornographers

.

.

The Sporting Life – The Decemberists

.

.

Sundress – Nolan McKelvey and 33

[you may hear a clip]

.

.

Tribulations – LCD Soundsystem

.

.

And my song of shame for 2005: Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson

.

.

Ten Favorite Songs of 2004


The project continues with my favorite songs of 2004.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

bike thief – Freezepop

.

.

Mad Tom of Bedlam –  Jolie Holland

.

.

Max Ernst’s Dream – Mission of Burma

.

.

Narc – Interpol

.

.

One Voice – The Wailin’ Jennys 

.

.

Sad, Sad, Sad, Sad (And Faraway From Home) – Peter Mulvey

.

.

Sweet Susan – Mamadou

.

.

And my song of shame for 2004: They – Jem

.

.

What songs did you love in 2005?  Let me know in the comments!

Ten Favorite Songs of 2002


And now the top ten songs of 2002.

Learn more about this project in the first post.

Banjo in the Rain – The Benders

[clip from CD Baby]

.

.

Bob Hope & Charity – The Mekons

[clip from Amazon]

.

.

Do You Realize? – The Flaming Lips

.

.

Losing My Edge–  LCD Soundsystem

.

.

Misery is the River of the World –  Tom Waits

.

.

Nuclear War (Version 2) – Yo La Tengo

.

.

NYC – Interpol

.

.
The Old Man Doesn’t Like It – The Operators

[listen here]

.

.

Oliver’s Army – Peter Mulvey

[clip on Amazon]

.

.

Stop Foolin’ Around –  Quicksound feat. Isabelle Rajotte

.

.

And my song of shame for 2002: Whenever, Wherever – Shakira

.

.

Ten Favorite Songs of 2000


New decade. New century.  New top ten list for the year 2000.

I seem to still be in the middle of my my folk music and electronica phase.

Learn more about this project in the first post.

Blackbirds – Erin McKeown

.

.

Frontier Psychiatrist – The Avalanches

.

.

Last Days of Disco – Yo La Tengo

.

.

The Littlest Birds – The Be Good Tanyas

.

.

Me & Mr Sutton (Plug 97 Rmx) –  DJ Maus

[A link to a link where you can hear this track]

.

.

No Place Like the Right Time – Donna The Buffalo

.

.

Prince Charming – Jim’s Big Ego

.

.

Still The Night – Paperboys

[listen to a clip on Amazon]

.

.

Tanglewood Tree – Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer

.

.

Wings of the Ragman –  Peter Mulvey

.

.

And my song of shame for 2000:  Who Let the Mets Out by Baja Men

.

.

What were your top songs for Y2K?

Where the Monkey Craps in the Buckwheat (concert review)


Last night I was fortunate to see folk singer/songwriter Peter Mulvey play a set at the Passim Folk Music and Cultural Center. Apparently, the last time I went to a concert it was also Peter Mulvey as reviewed on this blog a year ago (before the baby was born, but not before I was married). I sat with my friend Craig as well as his friend Sheila who I met for the first time. Sadly, Susan was not able to attend because our baby Peter had a fever.   One day we’ll take Peter to see Peter.

Beyond brilliant guitar playing and lyrics, it’s a joy to see Peter Mulvey because he tells great stories between songs.  Some of the best are about his father Frank, who apparently used the phrase “I told him I know where the monkey craps in the buckwheat.”  Frank Mulvey tried to defend this as a commonly-used phrase, which it isn’t, but it should be and I’m going to work it into my everyday conversation.  Peter Mulvey also told tales about his second No Gasoline Tour, where he traveled between shows in Wisconsin on bicycle.  Next year he promises to ride to Boston.

Mulvey played a great set with many unfamiliar songs – some new songs of his own and a lot of great covers.  The complete set list is below.  The titles of songs #3, #4, & #14 are my best guesses.

Openers: Ryan Fitzsimmons (guitar) with Ian Goldstein (mandolin)

  1. Stranded in a Limousine (Paul Simon)
  2. If Love is Not Enough
  3. I Go Mmm-Mmm-Mmm
  4. Raven on the Roof
  5. The Kids in the Square
  6. Old Fashioned Hat (Anais Mitchell)
  7. Health Food Girl
  8. Welcome Back (John Sebastian) – with Ian Goldstein
  9. Easiest Thing to Do – with Ian Goldstein
  10. Hang Down Your Head (Tom Waits) – with Ian Goldstein
  11. The Knuckleball Suite – with Ian Goldstein
  12. Dynamite Bill
  13. Shirt
  14. Black Rabbit (instrumental)
  15. Mailman
  16. Sad, Sad, Sad, Sad, and Far Away From Home

Encore: All You Need is Love (Lennon/McCartney)