Sunday, July 29, 2007

How High The Moon

A good trip to the Salvation Army has inspired a revival here. First up, The Nearness of You, a compilation of Frank Sinatra tracks from his Capitol era on a mid-70s budget Pickwick release (the rule in thrift-shopping is you buy any Sinatra on Capitol but this is stretching the point a bit). The collection is quite listenable however - of note are Rodgers and Hart's "Lover", "You Brought A New Kind of Love to Me" (its earliest appearance may have been a 1930 film called The Big Pond with Maurice Chevalier), "It Could Happen To You" (done at a rather slow tempo - I prefer June Christy's brisker take on Something Cool, a desert-island disc of mine, as it happens) and the Mercer/Arlen "That Old Black Magic".

Next is the Jan Garbarek Group's Photo With Blue Sky, White Cloud, Wires, Windows and a Red Roof (ECM, 1979). The principal incentive to get this was the presence of Bill Connors, who was the guitarist in the first electric version (superior to the Al Dimeola incarnation) of Chick Corea's Return To Forever, but his contribution doesn't quite solve the problem, the problem being that this mid-late 70s ECM stuff is the musical equivalent of Impressionist painting.

A Willie Nelson/Leon Russell double-LP called One For The Road (CBS, 1979) seemed best approached with no expectations and lo and behold, with that as the context, it is just fine. The choice of material ("I Saw The Light", "Heartbreak Hotel", "Don't Fence Me In") didn't cause anyone any sleepless nights but the combination of two of the most distinctive and appealing voices in American popular music of that era goes a long way toward mitigating a bit of laziness in the "R" half of the A&R equation. The 1979 date also means no crap-sounding digital recording techniques were employed.

Picked up a few more items, not all of which can be commented on without listening to them, but The Incredible String Band's The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter, of which I already own at least one copy, is on its way to some other lucky recipient's collection and Emmylou Harris's 1981 Evangeline fulfils another dollar-bin shopping rule, namely that there are no Emmylou Harris records that aren't good. This one seems to be no exception so far with impeccable song selection, including "Hot Burrito #2" (co-writer Chris Ethridge plays bass on the Nelson/Russell album in fact), two Rodney Crowell songs, Paul Siebel's "Spanish Johnny", the title track by Robbie Robertson and so on.

1 comment:

gomonkeygo said...

Hiya, Bob! Probably don't remember me, but we used to correspond about ten to twelve years ago, when the fabulous Drone-On list was in full swing. "Joel Ward" is my actual moniker. I was just on one of my favorite blogs (Mutant Sounds) and your name was mentioned in a post, so I googled and found your blog. Very nice, btw; enjoying browsing it. Like the thriftstore music ruminations very much. Don't really have much to say beyond this right now, but that I hope you're well and life is good for you. Take care! - Joel, aka gomonkeygo