Edit: WARNING…This is NOT a post on Excel
No. Sorry ’bout that. Well, kinda sorry. To quote John Lydgate:
“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.
If you want a kick-ass Excel article from me, then ignore this and come back later in the week. I’ve got a good one lined up.
If you want a little diversion, stick around. I’ll be glad to have some company. Be sure to say hi in the comments too…I’m in a chatty mood.
Why you should close down Excel completely
Today we’re going to go off on a slightly different tack and talk about a very, very serious subject indeed…why you should on occasion close down Excel completely.
But before that, we’re going to deviate from the advertised program and do a quick music review.
A quick music review.
…which has more or less the exact same effect. It blew me away with a lot more force and power than I thought that thin profile could possibly possess.
This explosive effort is by a Canadian import to the shores of my fine country (New Zealand): one Tami Neilson. I heard Tami reviewed on Radio New Zealand ( hurry, they only keep reviews around for a matter of weeks) where she was billed as “A red hot honky-tonker, somewhere between Patsy Cline and Wanda Jackson with just a little bit of Peggy Lee sophistication.”
Whoa Jeff. You’re waaay outside my musical genre!
I know, I know. Me too. Those names ring a fairly vague bell, but can’t say I could offhand name more than two songs they’ve collectively recorded. (Peggy Lee’s cover of ‘Fever’ being one of them, and Patsy Cline’s ‘Crazy’ the other).
But man, does this new album retrospectively flesh out the genre – and pique my interest in it – with what must surely be lost classics pulled from some long-forgotten vaults at Sun Records that some bulldozer serendipitously knocked a hole in while digging the foundations for the ‘modern instant classic’ department.
What’s really cool is that each different song on this album has a slightly different flavor. Or perhaps captures the feel from a slightly different era. It’s not so much like an album recorded in a particular year but more like a half dozen songs covering the highlights of some diva’s long and illustrious career that started in early 50s and lasted well into the early 70s. And it’s like some A&R marketing guru was throwing just the ‘keepers’ from that career into that vault, and then waiting for just the right time to release a ‘Greatest Hits’. That time is now.
Everyone and everything on this album is completely in character: not just the musicians, but also the sound engineer, the beat-up vintage microphones, the sticker-covered guitar cases, and the very walls of the recording studio itself. You can smell that room. You can smell the dust on these tracks. You can smell the Presley, Cash, Nelson, and Orbison on them too. Not to mention the sweat, heartbreak, and anger. Listening to them, you’ll be transported back to some classic 1960s Dinah on a beat-up corner jukebox in some classic 1960s diner. Heck, at times you’ll probably think (think) about Aretha too. Because these tracks are every bit as electrifying, sad, angry, and beautiful as any other track you’ve heard from that bygone error. And yet they were recorded yesterday. Unless you happen believe in time travel. Which – thanks in large part to this album – I now do. Because I swear that I’ve heard these songs before…perhaps while in the womb.
While this album was released in the here and now 2014, when listening to it, you form the opinion that it must be an incontrovertible truth that Tammy has traveled back to the mid 1960s to record it. Maybe at the Grand Ole Opry to a very, very quiet live audience – because they are filled with both great life and great age at the same time. On her way back, she’s lifted Presley, Cash, Nelson, Orbison, and their session musicians too from the height of their fame, and taken them to the studio along with her for one-helluva-hoe-down. She’s doused them liberally with warm overtone distortion on the angry songs; black coffee and amphetamine on the upbeat ones; and wind-blown tumble weeds on the poignant ones. And yes, whiskey too. Mostly on the heartbreakers. Shots of whiskey all around. Then she’s let them loose.
And oh, those session musicians. There’s more steel in this album than in Superman. More snare than in a Bear Grylls ‘Man vs Wild’ episode involving small game. More punctuated hand-claps than at a 1960’s-era communist rally and ‘Tainted Love’ combined. More reverb than in the vaults of the Federal Reserve. More, more, more. Perfectly balanced by less, less, less wherever prudent.
Tammy’s voice? My god. So good that I would buy this album even if I were profoundly deaf, just to see the expressions on the faces of the hearing folk around me. They’d look something like this as they sing along:
Tammy’s lyrics? I chuckled after every song – even the sad ones – because those lyrics were soooo damn good. I went through Kuber-Ross’ five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) when faced with the impending end of each song. So I played the album over and over more times that I care to admit. And those same damn stages of grief got me every damn time.
Which brings me to the title of this blog post: Why you should close down completely.
No reason whatsoever. This isn’t a post about Excel. I lied. Sorry ’bout that. That said, closing Excel down completely will give you complete uncontested head-space to fire up Firefox, head over to http://tamineilson.bandcamp.com/album/dynamite and listen to tracks 1 and 6. Then listen to 9, 10, and the rest. Then download this mighty, mighty nuevo-classic and play it. Again. And again.
Excel will wait. A day won’t hurt. Go. Go now.
In the meantime, I’ll just display this in Excel’s place:
Disclaimer: I plan to travel back to the 1950s and spend 15 years perfecting my hand-claps so that I can appear on this album when you buy it tomorrow, get paid, and thus finally prove to my parents that I can in fact make an honest living with my hands.
Any listeners in New Zealand?
Check out Tami’s tour schedule at http://www.tamineilson.com/shows.html
Jeff has left the building.
My name is Chandoo. Thanks for dropping by. My mission is to make you awesome in Excel & your work. I live in Wellington, New Zealand. When I am not F9ing my formulas, I cycle, cook or play lego with my kids. Know more about me.
Thank you and see you around.
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