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Zharth's Music Log

Week 29: Festival of Light

Preface: In addition to the custom of Groundhog Day, the first days of February are also celebrated in the pagan quarter as Imbolc, the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Among the important rituals for this sabbat is the lighting of candles (the source of the Christian Candlemas) or other fires to symbolize the growing power of the sun, now well on its way to eventually and inevitably overtaking the darkness of winter. This week, as the weather remains frigid, we will celebrate light, while warming our hearts with knowledge of the sun's imminent victory.

Monday (2/04/08): Pink Floyd - Let There Be More Light [A Saucerful of Secrets, 1968]
Comments: An overlooked gem from Floyd's second album, created in the uneasy period when Syd Barrett was being filtered out of the band and David Gilmour was being filtered in. Something of a more sinister psychedelic composition than when Syd was at the helm, with hints of the experimentation that is more readily apparent on the title track for this album.

Tuesday (2/05/08): The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Burning Of The Midnight Lamp [Electric Ladyland, 1968]
Comments: Jimi and the gang must have burnt the midnight oil just putting the polish on this work of art. You may be using a lot of artificial light these dark wintry days ('specially if you're nocturnal like I am), but soon enough the sun will take back its share of the duty. The practice of lighting your windows with candles at night can be a powerful ritual to ward off the dark - but be careful about the safety precautions!

Wednesday (2/06/08): Led Zeppelin - In The Light [Physical Graffiti, 1975]
Comments: Actually, this isn't the version from Physical Graffiti, this is an earlier demo version which is distinctly different from the final version. I've always liked it, and now you can hear it! "In the light you will find the road."

Thursday (2/07/08): Creedence Clearwater Revival - Long As I Can See The Light [Cosmo's Factory, 1970]
Comments: To me it seems like CCR should be like the American version of the Rolling Stones, but they've never been quite as good to me as the Stones, for whatever reasons. John Fogerty's definitely got a distinctive voice, great for rock n roll, and the band has a lot of hit tracks that have lasted through the years. Still, something keeps them from being one of my favorite bands. Still good to hear a CCR tune every now and then, though.

Friday (2/08/08): The Rolling Stones - Shine A Light [Exile On Main St, 1972]
Comments: The penultimate track from what many consider to be the Stones' ultimate album. Although lacking in hit singlage compared to the Stones' other great albums of this period, Exile On Main St contains a lot of music, and the band manages to nail that raw and gritty roots sound, becoming what they for so long imitated and admired. "Make every song that you sing your favorite tune."

Saturday (2/09/08): Grand Funk Railroad - Shinin' On (Live) [Caught In The Act, 1975]
Comments: The Grand Funk Railroad keeps that light shinin' on in one of their characteristic heavy and high-strung live performances. Grand Funk's live act embodies the true spirit of rock n roll; the band knows how to put on a good show, while not holding any of that primal energy back.

Sunday (2/10/08): The Flesh Failures / Let The Sunshine In [Hair (Musical), 1979]
Comments: To close out the week, here's the heavy finale number from the movie adaptation of the classic hippie musical, Hair. Light and music, the perfect representation of this week's theme. Let the songs shine in.