Music for Mermaids, Hobbits & Unicorns from Western Australian Harpist -  Adam B Harris

Influenced by "Crisis What Crisis" 

Supposedly not one of their best albums of the 70's era, Supertramp's "Crisis What Crisis" looms large in my collection in that it was the album that introduced me to this excellent band. While their sound is anything but current, I don't think anybody could argue with the standard of musicianship, songwriting and production that went in to making their records.

This record influenced me in that it made me realise that there was room for excellent musicianship and prog rock elements in pop music.

Fortunately, I was introduced to this record on tape and was therefore spared the artwork on the back cover. Guys not wearing shirts on album covers was a very 70s thing, in some ways its good that we have moved on since then.

Thank You Toodyay Tourist Centre 

A big thank you to Toodyay Tourist Centre on this thank you thursday. This is the only visitors centre in the local area that has consented to stocking my CDs. They have been rewarded with steady if not spectacular sales.

The problem with many of these gift shops that supposedly service tourists is that they are more profit focused than they are focused on promoting the work of local businesses. So what you are getting from these places usually are items imported in from China that have been branded with local logos. Of course these businesses need to make a profit, but there should be some of balance between profits and legitimacy.

If you happen to know anybody involved with any of these local organisations, I would be delighted if you could ask them about stocking my music. I'm not too optimistic about the outcome though.

Thank you Toodyay Tourist Centre in having faith in me and helping to keep me solvent and on the road.

Influenced by The Roches 

This record is certainly not everybody's cup of tea and many who have borrowed the album from me have commented that they wonder what I see in it.

It produced by Robert Fripp formerly of King Crimson, so he must have seen something in the act and the material even if it doesn't really resemble his own.

The Roche sisters act is pretty much three girls and a guitar. Without the benefit of autotune, sometimes their harmonies are a little off key, but I think in the most charming way. They sing songs about their lives, their loves and their troubles.

How this influenced me on Musical Influence Monday? It showed me that simple songs about simple things with simple arrangements could still a great record make.

Judge for yourself from this live footage taken a few years back. It doesn't sound too different to the original record.

You can also hear them do back ups on Paul Simon's "There Goes Rhymin Simon" album.

Thank You Wendouree Tearooms! 

Thank you to Sally and staff at the Wendouree Tearooms in Toodyay the Thank You Thursday. Wendouree has been a tearoom since the 1930s so they must be doing something right there.

I've been playing on and off at the Wendouree Tearooms for a couple of years now and they have sold a heap of CDs for me in there too. Well, they have sold not only my stuff but they continue to be an active outlet for local artists looking to place their works on a consignment basis.

Toodyay isn't a great money spinner for me street performance wise, but I always have to keep coming back because sooner or later someone catches up with me and asks "when are you going to be playing outside Wendouree again?". Its always a great day out for me (also not far to drive which is a bonus), the vibe of the town is friendly and the food is great.

Thanks Sally and staff for your great hospitality, looking forward to doing some more spots there later on this year.

Influenced by Abbey Road 

Abbey Road is one of the half a dozen albums I used to listen to in the old Perth Music Library (I have already written about this early in discussing the Coltrane album "My Favorite Things"). I always used to think it was kind of cool that there was no writing on the front, nothing that said "The Beatles". I suppose at the time everybody new who they were. Having no writing on the cover became a 70s type thing. I suppose it is still done now from time to time but it would be the brave record company (of those remaining) that would put out a record like that. I'm surprised actually that Sony haven't gone back and printed Abbey Road - The Beatles on the front cover.

Probably the most influential thing about this record, for me anyway, was the second side with all the song fragments stitched together. It sounds wonderful but its a difficult thing to pull off. Brian Wilson got it right on "Good Vibrations" but probably didn't get it right on "Smile". Somewhere out there in internet bootleg land you can get alternate versions of the medley with the songs done at different speeds, versions that don't quite work as well as what was released. Much time must have been spent in the control booth getting this record to be the best that it could be.

In general I am always surprised when I listen to it how contemporary this record always sounds. Great playing, engineering, production, tasteful use of synthesizers and the available technology of the time.
Any artists that keeps trying to make something as good or better than this can't be doing too much wrong.

Here is a link to the Abbey Road web camera where you can see idiots disrupting traffic and endangering their lives any time of day or night trying to recreate this album cover's artwork.

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Copyright ©2019 Adam B Harris