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I just ordered this--all of the 40th anniversary editions are MANDATORY! (I think it's not just Wilson, but Jakko is supposed to be re-doing Thrak? Or has the plan changed?)
This is the KC era that has taken the most time for me to appreciate. To me, there is nothing quite like the '69-'74 iteration, particularly the '72-'74 band. I agree with your view of Belew as a singer--it was indeed listening to "Kudasai"and then, later, a re-worked "Cadence and Cascade" that made me think, "wow, what a truly expressive singer with a full, rich voice!".
The Talking Head similarities and differences are very interesting to me. This has always been the source of why this period is the most difficult to get into---unlike '72-'74. Compare Byrne/Heads with McLaughlin/Mahavishnu and, to me, superficially, that's like measuring the ratio between hipster who prides himself on one's inability to play music and a master musician who strives to be the very best musician he can be. I guess the root of the bias I have had to combat is based on the two distinctive musical atmospheres/ zeitgeists --the early 70s, where anything creative seemed possible and worthwhile, labels and conventions are discarded, and the early 80s, where hipsters reigned supreme and placed a premium on incompetence and austerity and musical straightjackets were donned. It also does not help that Moogs/mellotrons, ARPs, taurus pedals, et al are in MUCH demand by modern musicians today, while DX7s, gated reverbs, anything DRENCHED in reverb (i.e., the horrible 80s sound) are shunned and ran away from. :)
I think you should also mention how the passage of time has made "Kudasai" a small-scale jazz standard (Elling and K.D. Lang to name just two who have interpreted it--as opposed to merely, err, "covered" it:) )
All in all, having read your review, I am very much looking forward to getting my copy in the mail and continue to re-assess the 80s KC in a more positive light --even if I freely admit I am still looking more forward to SABB (and, the piece de resistance to come, LTiA).
Thanks for writing - and I absolutely agree!
Jakko M. Jakszyk is, indeed, doing Thrak, but I believe Wilson is doing the rest.
As for the standardization of "Matte Kudesai"? It was a long piece already, I had to stop somewhere...but, thanks to your comments, it's now out there and associated with the article!
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