Tuesday, January 28, 2014
But first... I had planned to write during 2013 a longish piece celebrating sideman-regular, sometime-leader, guitar-slinger extraordinaire Sonny Landreth, master of his own unique brand of amped-up electric slide and scorpion-sting steel—devilish-difficult, prowl-and-howling silver-sliver slices of slide, with tailing grace notes
And now, on with the show (categories are capricious, quality reissue sets welcome, and write-ups per whim and vim):
Blues & Gospel Going out on a limb here, and sawing it off right at the trunk, the most exciting 2013 Blues album is a 45-years-after-the-fact, newly released,
Gospel pick is a surer thing, Brit 2CD set, Fuel label 302 061 961 2, The Jewel Records Gospel Story. On a Louisiana state map Shreveport (in the northwest Ark-La-Tex corner) is diagonally opposite and worlds away from near-Gulf, music-rich, Creole-politan New Orleans. But bomber-based, redneck-rich Shreveport did in fact have Leadbelly on Caddo Lake and Fannin Street; Blues-blooded Buddy Whosit, singing sub-sheriff and Jimmy Rogers acolyte; the Louisiana Hayride, great radio rival to the Grand Ol’ Op and the early stage for Elvis, Hank, various Johnnys, and a slew of lesser Looz-yanna lights; cool rocker Dale Hawkins (“Susie Q” and “Crossties”) and hot picker James Burton (guitarman for Rick on TV and Elvis on tour); crisscrossing railroads ("Flyin' Crow leavin' Port
This Gospel ship casts a wide net and hauls in two-to-four tracks each by an amazing array: the Five Blind Boys of Alabama and the Original Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, the Soul Stirrers and the Brooklyn Allstars, Clarence Fountain and Willie Morganfield, Ted Taylor and the Violinaires, Dorothy Norwood, a very young Aretha Franklin, and a heavenly host of other house-wrecking harmonizers. The home they save could be your own.
Jazz to the World Three new-but-old Jazz albums proved especially worthy of
Just for fun and Just in Time, from an earlier, happier Time signature altogether, (3) Bennett/Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962 (Columbia/Legacy 8883718042) sidled into stores with little fanfare, though fans of
World Music's too much with us; late and soon, getting and spending, we lay waste our wallets. So mostly I seek out the stringed (or related) instruments--plucked, strummed, or slid? not to fret--zither to sitar, erhu to oud,
It was that last that I listened for in 2013... and I heard two fine new CDs keeping the strings loosened right: (1) Malama Ko Aloha (Keep Your Love) on the Ohe label (#8738) by veteran key-man Keola Beamer, largely involving his soundtrack for a PBS program with guests including Geoff Keezer and R. Carlos Nakai; and (2) Slack Key Travels by young slacker Jeff Peterson (#PP007 on his own label), quite prolific and inventive, with at least one
Rockin', Rapt "Go with what you know," a wise person said. What I don't know about '13 Rock would fill Seattle's lost landmark, the old Spanish Ballroom, chockablock with CDs, 10,000 or more. But let's pretend I watched the four late-night talk shows for all twelve months, sampling the artistry of (4 x 5 x about 50) a thousand bands/singers touting their latest musical product... I'd still be casting my vote for Rock album of the year to Pearl Jam's Lightning Bolt, on Monkeywrench/Universal with some unreadable number. (The Deco mini-book
Meanwhile, "plentiful but pitiful" would be my admittedly biased three-word summation of the dictations and depletions of Rap... save for the unexpected fuzzy-friendly, globe-trodding, G-for-Gigantor pair known as Macklemore and Ryan Lewis--those local-boys-make-goodwill-Thrift-Stores-buyable and their Heisted double-disc set well-meriting the 2013 Raptor Prize and all the merry soupcons of success.
Soundtracked, Classically From the flickering projector-lit world of darkened home theaters, bleary-eyed cinemaniacal filmgazers, and sought-after soundtrack
And (3) La-La Land/20th Century Fox Limited Edition LLLCD 1251, the expanded original score (by James Newton Howard) from Lawrence Kasdan's haunting story of several questing, sinning "spirits," their lives crisscrossing one another in the City of Lost Angels. Some Hollywood movies are spectacularly grand; a great many others falter in bad judgment, too many falling into the faultline canyon of bad taste; but Kasdan's Grand Canyon highwire-walks across
No dearth of (ho-hum) Classical releases rehashing the same core 300 compositions, but only one album--several years old that I found used--became the bridge over troubled water soothing my sorrow-filled mind and scarred, scared soul: Austrian/Catalan/French/whatever label AliaVox AV 9805, La Folia 1490-1701, with phenomenal viola da gamba Grandmaster Jordi Savall and his cohorts-in-support winningly cavorting 'round the courts and composers (Corelli, Marais,
Part 2 adds Country with Americana; Reggae got Soul; Woody'n you, Bob?
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Meanwhile, looming large, bestriding the narrow world like a Colossus, a long overdue re-viewing of the films that defined Monterey Pop and Altamont, as I "screen" those documentaries for the first time in 40 years to jog my fading memories. Who knows? Something of interest may surface...