First up, a very Happy Birthday to my lovely gorgeous wife!
Next up, an admission: I knew I had to shut off the Killer Be Killed CD, difficult as that was to do, so I could have some music I could write about for today! So, we cleaned up the house to some of this, then I spent some time culling through boxes of old crap for disposal, during which I heard the rest! Oh, and it still hasn’t stopped snowing.
Beck – Odelay
The timing here is great, given the recent Beck conversation over on Geoff’s excellent 1001albumsintenyears site. Over the years, I have owned a few Beck records, all earlier stuff. At a certain point I drifted away from his music, probably just my tastes changing. I found this copy of Odelay for $2 in our thrift shop, snagged it for nostalgia, and was still pretty impressed by it now, in 2015. It’s certainly of its time, not sure how it would go over if it was a new album right now, but I’m glad it’s here. Lots of strong songs, funky ideas. Neat!
Belle & Sebastian – The Boy With The Arab Strap
I truly don’t know how this CD ended up in my collection. To be honest, I don’t tend to listen to this kind of music very often. It certainly is a busy record, lots of instruments in tight arrangements. The songs are very light and airy, very pop. The songs are stories, and I love the accents. But there’s an edge to the stuff here, so don’t let the sweet confection of it fool you.
Benny Goodman – Swing-Sation: Benny Goodman
I’m a swing fan from childhood, grew up hearing the big band stuff at my grandparents’ place. It’s in my blood, and I’ve said many times I was born in the wrong era, missing this music I love, but then those were war years so lucky me I wasn’t anyway! Benny Goodman, of course, was one of the big stars of that era. I don’t usually like the clarinet, but this sort of music is the one place it works (to my ears). And this being a compilation, all the hits are here, like Stompin’ At The Savoy, One O’Clock Jump, Sing, Sing, Sing, and 11 others. For me, this is bliss!
Betty Wright & The Roots – Betty Wright: The Movie
I love The Roots, and pairing them with Betty Wright is a genius idea. This is funky, soulful music, and Wright’s voice is gorgeous. Another key here is that The Roots play all the instruments – this isn’t manufactured and knob-twiddled R&B like alot of the crap out there, no sir, this is the real deal. All of the current divas should be using this as a textbook on how good R&B can still be made now, in the tech age. This is a really great CD. Throw it on and find yourself pulled deep into it and loving every minute!
Here’s the next batch of your favourites!
05 IRWIN: Bob Dylan – Oh Mercy
Irwin is the biggest Bob Dylan fan I know (and I know several). His response came back to the Favourites query immediately, with Oh Mercy. I trust he’s heard most of the Dylan catalogue by now and, of them all, this is the one for him.
I’ve already reviewed this record in these pages, and it is indeed a brilliant collection from a peerless artist. It is another of Dylan’s generous efforts to wake us up, to shake us out of our complacency and do something about the world and our lives. Dylan knows his role perfectly well. Do you?
06 SHENA: Belle And Sebastian – Tigermilk
Our great friend Shena from the mighty Mint Records chimed in with Belle and Sebastian as her favourite, and I was so glad she did. I remember loving this album the first time I heard it, and it sent me running to find everything else they’d recorded, but to be honest I haven’t played it in so long, which is a real shame… however, here was the perfect opportunity to strap back in!
Few bands can offer up a debut album this infectious, this excellent, this delicious. Every note is perfectly placed, every song is delivered with a clever wink and a knowing smile, and their playful, clear sound reigns supreme. Thank you, Shena, for reminding me that this gem of an album belongs in my playlist!
07 MY MOM: Carole King – Tapestry
My Mom selected this as her favourite record, which surprised me a bit, at first. I would have lost money by betting on sure shots like the Beatles or Elvis.
Well, I played this record and my childhood came flooding back. I knew every song, and it’s because that beat up copy of this record got a lot of play. It’s probably still somewhere in the house we grew up in. Funny how you can associate songs and albums with people and places. Mom had the jukebox full of 45s, hence my sure bets that lost, but this LP was always present too.
And what did I think of it now? Well, my memory didn’t do it much justice. There’s more here than I remembered, smarter songs and power unremembered. Yes, a lot of these songs get played as background music in malls now, and that’s pretty sad. There’s plenty more to it than that. Way to go, Mom.
08 MY DAD: Beatles – Hey Jude
My Dad knows what he likes when it comes to music, but not always the names of the artists or albums. That kind of information doesn’t interest him at all. After seeing Forrest Gump, he said, “There was music?” And so on.
This song and artist, however (of course), he knows. It’s his favourite song of all time. It was on my Mom’s jukebox all those years, and the one he liked to hear best. Of course, when we were kids we liked it well enough, but it just went on and on (and it really does, especially at the end). “Great song in need of editing. Apply within.” And it is a great song, with an interesting history that you should look up on Wikipedia, some time (especially the bit about Lennon swearing during it).
I couldn’t find an album this came from (although it’s long enough to be it’s own album, haha). If you know more than me, I’ll happily be enlightened by your comments. Looks to me like this was only ever on a 45. But we’ll let Dad away with it for this project, because he really, really likes this song.
09 MY SISTER: Black Crowes – The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion
I am totally not surprised that my sister chose this as her favourite record. She’s one of the biggest Crowes fans I know, has been for years. There was a time when I loved the Black Crowes, especially this one and its predecessor. As they progressed, I sort of lost interest in them. They had great songs after that, in my opinion, but they never topped this (sophomore) album.
Every song here is a gem. At many points, the record really rocks with their Stones-inspired bluesy swagger, and then at other times it can be so gentle it hurts. There’s the obvious hits, and hidden masterpieces worthy of every playlist. It’s messily perfect, in every way.
10 RUTH: Guns ‘N Roses – Appetite For Destruction
Some of the responses to this query have surprised me a bit, like this one from Ruth. Not that I’m faulting her for making this choice – this is a fantastic record. But sometimes you think you generally know someone and then they come up with something that doesn’t quite fit what you’d have guessed. This, may I say for the record, rules. I love that things are unpredictable.
Appetite has already been reviewed in these pages, and I stand by what I said. It’s a sweet blast of sweaty rock that is as much raw punk as it is 80’s hair metal. And, even more so, it is all about Slash. That Les Paul guitar dominates this record.