A Consumer Guide to the Trailing Edge:
Recycled Goods (18)
by Tom Hull
At first I figured this would be Brazil month, and indeed there
are quite a few Brazilian records below -- all but one under Briefly
Noted. Although we tend to associate Brazil with bossa nova and,
more generally, samba, it is a large country with a broad range
of music -- by all accounts, Brazil hosts the second largest music
industry in the world. But somewhere between the supple rhythms
and the Portuguese poetics and Universal Latino's programming I
never made much sense out of the Pure Brazil series --
perhaps it is too pure?
But along the way this turned out to be '50s pop (and jazz) month,
with complementary surveys from the '20s and '30s. I was born in 1950,
so my experience of that decade's music is marginally direct, partly
refracted through my after-the-fact memories, and mostly rediscovered
in recent years. My grasp of earlier music is almost all research.
Later music, especially from 1975 on, I experienced more directly.
In between, my views were heavily colored by the ordeal of growing
up. My generation grew up in a very different world from the one our
parents grew up in: they survived the hardships of Depression and
World War, while our world was one of relative affluence and high
ideals, marred by the threat of nuclear armageddon. The differences
became famous as the Generation Gap, and each side had its favored
music. Mine was rock and roll. My parents liked swing bands and
country music, but for most of America in the '50s adult music
meant dashing crooners like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, and
dozens of lesser talents. It's not music that I liked at the time,
and I still have reservations about much of it -- for one thing
there are still aspects of the '50s that give me the creeps, not
the least being McCarthyism and Orval Faubus. But lately I've
listened to quite a bit of '50s pop, mostly working forward from
the (for me, anyway) less complicated swing era. And sometimes I
find a few songs do manage to stir up nostalgic feelings, and
sometimes I detect some deep aspect that rock and roll -- that
my generation -- intended to overthrow. Both of these
necessarily represent very personal reactions, and they work
their way through these reviews. But then that's always the
The World of Nat King Cole (1944-91 , Capitol).
Cole's voice was his meal ticket, and as his career developed he gave
up everything else for it -- most notably, his piano. His Trio records
from the '40s hold a unique place in the jazz canon, cool and urbane
where the only comparable talent, Fats Waller, was crude and comical.
But his later pop hits had no consistent sound -- sometimes big bands,
often just a thin wrapper of strings -- except, that is, for his voice.
One-size-fits-all comps invariably cheat him, but by sticking close to
the voice and letting the arrangements fly off wherever they want this
does a relatively good job of lining up some of his more amazing songs.
He could sing through such a maudlin string arrangement as "Mona Lisa,"
just as he could sing through Stan Kenton's explosive "Orange Colored
Sky"; he could even hold his own in the "virtual duet" daughter Natalie
recorded 25 years after his death -- included here in case that's all
potential customers remembered him for.
The Complete Norman Granz Jam Sessions (1952-54
, Verve, 5CD).
These jam sessions were like NBA all-star games: there's too much
talent to coach or coordinate, so just turn the stars loose and
let them show off. The sessions were released on LPs, imposing a
fifteen-minute-per-side regime, and each piece -- a few standards,
often strung together as medleys, plus staples like "Jam Blues"
and "Funky Blues" -- was stretched with solos. The most famous
jam sequenced solos by the three most famous alto saxophonists
of the era: Johnny Hodges, Charlie Parker, and Benny Carter. A
typical trumpet lineup was Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie. A
tenor sax lineup was Illinois Jacquet, Flip Phillips, and Ben
Webster, although Stan Getz and Wardell Gray get their licks in
on the second disc. The pianist, of course, was Granz stalwart
Oscar Peterson -- except when Count Basie and/or Arnold Ross sat
in. The only surprise here is forgotten bebop clarinetist Buddy
DeFranco, who steals the second disc and much of the last two.
Happy Birthday Newport! 50 Swinging Years (1955-76
, Columbia/Legacy, 3CD).
Duke Ellington was born again at Newport in 1956. Johnny Hodges had
just returned to the fold, but it was Paul Gonsalves who rocked the
house with one of the most famous solos in jazz history. "Diminuendo
in Blue" is the centerpiece of the first disc here, and arguably the
one key performance that put George Wein's Newport Jazz Festival on
the map. But you can (and should) go to the Ellington section of your
favorite record vendor for that story, now available in two glorious
CDs. The festival has hung on now for fifty years, much of it mere
inertia from its heyday in the late '50s. This box is welcome, but
marginal. Newport's recording legacy is spotty, and this selection
limits itself to eight years (1955-58, 1960, 1963, 1973, 1976).
Aside from Coltrane's "My Favorite Things" and Hancock's "Maiden
Voyage," and sidetracks by Muddy Waters and Mahalia Jackson, this
is a nice, loose snapshot of the jazz legends of '50s. The booklet
provides some of Wein's reminiscences, but little history.
Hot Women: Women Singers From the Torrid Regions
(1927-50 , Kein & Aber).
Cajun, Cuban, Mexican, Brazilian, French Caribbean, Chilean, Spanish,
Sicilian, Greek, Algerian, Tunisian, Turkish, African, Malagasy,
Hindustani, Burmese, Vietnamese, Hawaiian, Tahitian -- all culled
from old (and old-sounding) 78s, mostly from the '30s; all feature
women singers, the "hot" determined mostly by R. Crumb's libido
(your mileage may vary). The order sweeps the globe from new world
to old and across the Pacific, not quite sorted by latitude, but
close. Effectively, it moves from the relatively familiar to the
relatively exotic. I don't love it all, but the more I play it the
more cogent it sounds, slowly dragging you into odd meters and
shrill harmonies -- the stuff that makes southeast Asian music
so inaccessible. This at least is a framework to show you much of
the world -- the old, pre-globalized world -- without it wearing
out its welcome.
Magic Moments: The Best of '50s Pop (1950-59 ,
Shout! Factory, 3CD).
This was the adult music of my childhood, the grand pop synthesis
that survived the decline of the big bands. I remember it mostly
from television (Perry Como, Dean Martin, Nat Cole, Andy Williams)
and movies (Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds); indeed, its cross-media
dominance reminds you that monopoly power over culture was at its
peak then, even as minority musics proliferated on the margins of
the industry. I hated this music when I was growing up, although
not without exception, and I still have a low opinion of the
anonymous bands, the omnivorous strings, and the operatics. But
there are glorious moments here, songs like "The Tennessee Waltz,"
"The Wayward Wind," "Que Sera Sera," "Singing the Blues." Rhino's
Sentimental Journey series surveyed much of this: 18 of the
60 songs here are repeats. This ranges a bit broader, picking up
some novelty songs, a little mambo influence, more stultifying
orchestras, convergence from the Platters, and a couple of my own
first favorite songs -- "Sixteen Tons" (Tennessee Ernie Ford, not
Merle Travis) and "Mack the Knife" (Bobby Darin, not Lotte Lenya).
Dino: The Essential Dean Martin (1949-69 ,
His associations with Jerry Lewis and Frank Sinatra made him look
second-rate, and on his own he lapsed into a celebrity caricature
of his notoriously drunken self. Lewis and Sinatra were geniuses --
nobody could compete with them, and Martin never tried. What made
him the greatest second banana of the era was that he could toss off
a brilliant performance so effortlessly that even artists like Lewis
and Sinatra had to admire him, but he was so self-effacing about it
that he never threatened to become a challenger. You figured him for
lazy, but that's just because he was such a natural. Having changed
his name from Dino Crocetti, he had to wrestle "Mambo Italiano" back
from Rosemary Clooney, but nowadays it's almost impossible to eat
linguine without hearing "Nel Blu di Pinto di Blu" in the background.
When I was a teenager his songs were essential philosophy: "You're
Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You" was the ultimate question, and
"Everybody Loves Somebody" the answer. He got me through the worst
years of my life.
The Only Doo-Wop Collection You'll Ever Need
(1954-65 , Shout! Factory, 2CD).
The title is presumptuous and argumentative: it asserts that 37 songs
exhaust your interest in the subject, and that these are the 37 songs.
One can quibble about the selection, but if I had to pick 37 I'd pick
two-thirds of these, and feel bad about the ones I cut. Your interest
level, of course, is your own damn business, but there is an awful
lot more where they came from, even if one keeps the usual limits,
excluding early groups like the Ravens and 5 Royales, later groups
groups like the Shirelles (girl groups), the Miracles (Motown), the
Four Seasons and the Beach Boys (post-Dion), and major '50s groups
like the Drifters, Clovers, and Coasters. For practical purposes,
doo wop tends to be limited to one-shot singles groups. Rhino's 1989
The Best of Doo Wop Ballads and The Best of Doo Wop Uptempo
set the pattern -- with two discs and 38 songs they've long been my
idea of the doo wop canon. But is that enough? Rhino didn't think so
when they came out with their 4-CD The Doo Wop Box, then did
it again. Neither of the Rhino boxes are what I'd call essential, but
they stretch the field out a bit, hit often enough to remind you that
there's more worth exploring, and well documented. The music here is
beyond reproach, but the box is docked a notch for arrogance. On the
other hand, had they called it Doo Wop 101 it would have been
docked a notch for its paltry documentation.
Pure Brazil: Feijoada: 14 Delicious Sambas
(1963-2000 , Universal Latino).
Named for Brazil's most famous dish, a rich stew of black beans
and pork parts -- the recipe included calls for smoked bacon,
smoked pork sausage, a ham hock, a salted pig ear and a salted
pig nose, ribs, and "meat." Like the food, Brazil's music is as
subtle and understated as you can get without turning bland, so
this takes a while to kick in, but the classic samba grooves
portend the good life with little effort or struggle, and the
occasional tropicalista like Chico Buarque adds a little spice.
George Thorogood & the Destroyers: Greatest Hits: 30
Years of Rock (1977-2003 , Capitol).
Interesting that their self-description is Rock instead of Blues.
Almost everything they've ever done comes out of the blues tradition,
but then they're just white guys who know they're parasites on the
tradition, not contributors. They know their limits, but they also
know their audience. I once saw them do Elmore James' stratospheric
ballad "The Sky Is Crying" and could feel the crowd losing patience.
When they finished they picked up the pace a bit, and the fellow next
to me yelled out, "yeah! rock 'n' roll!" The next song was "Madison
Blues" -- another Elmore James classic. Go back to the originals for
James, but they cranked "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" up to a
level John Lee Hooker never achieved. And they wrote one classic on
their own, a guitar rave called "Bad to the Bone." And they hung in
there: I'm more impressed that they logged 30 years than that they
came up with 16 songs to show for them. Cut this down to 12 songs
and they'd grade even better.
20 #1 Hits of the '20s (1920-29 , Collectors'
Recorded music goes back to the last decade of the 19th century, but
as a business and a cultural phenomenon it didn't take off until the
1920s, when the symbiotic invention of radio started to reach a mass
audience. The '20s, roaring or not, were a long time ago, and the
primitive recording technology makes them even more inaccessible.
The music we tend to remember is what's proven most useful since
then -- Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke
Ellington, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Jimmie
Rodgers, all pioneers of more modern styles. Restricted to #1 Pop
Hits, the only performer from that list to appear here is Bessie
Smith, although Ethel Waters, Al Jolson, and Paul Whiteman singer Bing
Crosby aren't exactly unknowns. This judicious selection broadens
out feel for the decade, without trapping us in trivia. Singers
like Sophie Tucker, Eddie Cantor, and Jolson are dated, but still
convey a sense of why they were held in much esteem then; many
of these songs are ancient versions of recognized classics --
Marion Harris in "St. Louis Blues," Van & Schenck with "Ain't
We Got Fun" and "Carolina in the Morning," Ukulele Ike "Singin'
in the Rain."
- The Essential Allman Brothers Band: The Epic Years
(1990-2000 , Epic/Legacy): with the solo careers of Greg and
Dickie dashed -- they were never more than parts, and never more
useless than on their own -- they did the inevitable: regroup and
reap; they fare better than the comparably damaged Lynyrd Skynyrd,
probably because they understand that hard and fast rarely sucks;
still, this had to be padded out with live versions of old warhorses,
played hard and fast so they don't suck.
- Antologia de Música Electrónica Portuguesa (1972-97
, Tomlab/Plancton): 15 short pieces by 15 experimenters hitherto
unknown to me, some pieces happy just to coax novel sounds from their
gadgets, others expand those sounds into fascinating tapestries; not
being an expert I can only report that I find this pleasingly old
fashioned in its celebration of the new.
- The Essential Gene Autry (1931-51 ,
Columbia/Legacy, 2CD): before he became the king of the celluloid
cowboys, he did a pretty decent Jimmie Rodgers impersonation; his
signature hits have a common elegance that argues that he earned
his stardom, but this goes on too long -- over the deep end of
Korean War jingoism, with at least five songs I never want to
hear again, starting with an atomic-charged "God Bless America"
and ending with the definitive "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer."
- Begnagrad (1982 , Mio): Slovenian folk-rock
from the early '80s when there was still a Yugoslavia, with a little
noise thrown into the mix of melodicas and what-have-you, perhaps a
faint echo of the punk rock revolt in parts further west.
- Brizzi Do Brasil (2004, Amiata): a tribute from
Brazil's new wave to Italian neoclassical composer Aldo Brizzi;
I like the fierce rhythmic undertow, but dislike the chimerical
and sometimes churchy vocals, especially Virginia Rodrigues.
- Don Cherry: Blue Lake (1971 , Fuel 2000):
with South African bassist Johnny Dyani and Turkish percussionist
Okay Temiz, with Cherry chanting and playing piano as well as his
usual pocket trumpet, a taste of the world music of a future that
never came and probably never will.
- The Essential Rosemary Clooney (1947-56 ,
Columbia/Legacy): the period of her biggest pop hits ("Come On-A
My House," "Mambo Italiano," "This Ole House"), mixed in with big
band swingers like "The Lady Is a Tramp"; this feels like prehistory
compared to her post-1978 comeback, when she reinvented the modern
jazz standards singer, but what made her comeback work was that she
came from the period she later archived; also that her vocal swagger
was second only to Sinatra.
- Close Harmony: A History of Southern Gospel Music, Volume
One (1925-55 , Dualtone): a companion to James R. Goff's
book, short but well documented, mostly obscure, but groups like the
Golden Gate Quartet and the Chuck Wagon Gang appear, more white than
black, but hard to tell the difference.
- Jim Croce: Facets (1966-69 , Shout! Factory):
juvenilia, more or less: his first home-made, self-released album,
mostly covers in a pleasing folkie mode, plus seven duo cuts with
wife Ingrid, following up their 1968 album together; he had a big
hit later then died, leaving fans wondering where he came from and
what he might have done; the evidence is that he was an ordinary
folkie, a bit more likable than most.
- Jim Croce: Home Recordings: Americana (1967 ,
Shout! Factory): from "Mom and Dad's Waltz" to "Mama Tried" via "In
the Jailhouse Now," which goes to show you that behind every upcoming
folkie is a good record collection; still missing is an original idea,
not to mention a studio and a band.
- The Legendary Bobby Darin (1962-73 , Capitol):
past his initial rock hits (some reprised live, some very briefly), he
croons competently in front of anonymous big bands and covers trifling
pop songs of the day.
- The Swinging Side of Bobby Darin (1962-65 ,
Capitol Jazz): Atlantic groomed him as a rock star, but Capitol
lured him away with an offer he couldn't resist: they auditioned
him for Frank Sinatra's vacancy, and he was smashing, swinging
with Billy May's powerhouse orchestra, winding his way through
Bob Florence's more delicate arrangements; the songbook is a bit
obvious, the time had past, and he didn't stick with it, but for
a moment it was all he ever wanted to do; short (31:02).
- A Proper Introduction to Rosco Gordon: No More Doggin'
(1951-53, Proper): early work from longtime Memphis bluesman who scored
once with "Booted" (two versions here), but otherwise this is typical
of the swamp that spawned Howlin' Wolf and B.B. King.
- Rosco Gordon: No Dark in America (2002 ,
Dualtone): a whiff of fame from his feature in the Martin Scorsese
blues series gets him a new record, then he dies, which may be why
they didn't try to clean up or sort out this mess; he's all pounding
piano and gravelly voice here, strikingly crude on "You Look Bad
When You're Naked."
- Jazz Moods: Sounds of Autumn (1977-2003 ,
Concord): the VCs who bought New England's most successful retro
swing label and moved it to L.A. deleted over 300 albums then
launched this series of catalog exploitation; these songs were
selected by title ("Autumn Leaves," "September Song," "When
October Goes" -- did they even play them?).
- Jazz Moods: Twilight in Rio (1982-99 ,
Concord): more catalog plunder; lightweights (Manfredo Fest,
Hendrik Meurkens), guitarists (Charlie Byrd), singers (Karrin
Allyson), odds (Joanne Brackeen) and ends (Toots Thielemans),
nothing that required travelling to Rio, but some of it works
anyway (Ken Peplowski).
- Peggy Lee: Black Coffee (1953-56 , Verve):
cut with two small jazz groups that do everything right, Lee works
through a fine set of standards with equal aplomb; recommended to
the Kansas Board of Education: "It Ain't Necessarily So."
- Guitar Moods by Mundell Lowe (1956 ,
Riverside OJC): shimmering curtains of sound, not ambient guitar
so much as its precursor: ambling guitar.
- Miriam Makeba: Reflections (2004, Heads Up):
the grande dame of South Africa has been all over the world and
evidently survived by singing all kinds of shlock, but this look
back is hopelessly confused, the song selection astonishingly
inappropriate, the production sometimes inspired, often just
ridiculous; do you really want to hear her sing in French? what
about German? (or is that Yiddish?)
- Boban Markovic Orkestar: Boban I Marko (2003,
Piranha): Serbian brass, out of the same folk roots as jazzman
Dusko Goykovich, but more intent on rousing the locals than
wowing the beboppers.
- María Márquez: Nature's Princess/Princesa de la Natura
(2003 , Adventure Music): Venezuelan singer, now based on Oakland
CA; the music has an unfamiliar, non-specific latin feel to it, evenly
paced and wrapped in lush arrangements, but it is her voice (sharp,
almost arch) that you will love or hate; I'm starting to get used to
- Mosaïc: Ultimatum Plus . . . (1976-78 ,
Mio): French rock group in a prog vein from King Crimson and Gong,
i.e., long instrumental stretches with violin and thumping bass,
but rougher and heavier, like they're getting antsy for punk to
come along, or better yet, Wire.
- Now That Sounds Kosher! (1955-2004 , Shout!
Factory): most of the jokes are as obvious and trivial as "Be True to
Your Shul" by the Beach Boychiks and "Man of Constant Tsuris" by the
Soggy Matzoh Boys, but songs by Mickey Katz, Allan Sherman, and Tom
Lehrer are classics of a type, and Mel Brooks' Torquemada musical is
classic; another choice cut: "You'll Never Get the Party Started,"
by Mrs. Pinkus.
- Anita O'Day and Billy May: Swing Rodgers and Hart
(1960 , Verve): a sequel to their better known Cole Porter
album, with the artists working hard to keep up a proper level of
frivolity, running with odd ("To Keep My Love Alive") and charming
("Ten Cents a Dance") songs; she sounds fine, his band sounds as
anonymous as ever, and the strings don't help.
- Pure Brazil: Bossa4Two: Great Duets for Great Moments
(1963-97 , Universal Latino): Elis and Tom, Tom and Chico, Toquinho
and Chico, Toquinho and Vinicius, Tom and Astrud, Astrud and João, Ivan
and Beth, Tom and Dorival, and so forth; Jobim is at the center of most
of these duos (some plus, including Stan Getz on you know what), writing
as well as performing.
- Pure Brazil: Bossa4Two Vol 2: Great Duets for Great Moments
(1977-2002 , Universal Latino): younger, more recent pairings,
less classic, less consistent, or perhaps just more idiosyncratic;
Caetano Veloso is the class of the field, appearing three times.
- Pure Brazil: The Girls From Ipanema: From Astrud to Bebel
(1963-2000 , Univesal Latino): Bebel Gilberto's song is the only
one post-1975; otherwise this is classic samba, with more/less big name
singers, and a good deal of Jobim, but not as classic, and probably not
as much Jobim, as it ought to have.
- Pure Brazil: The Girls From Ipanema Vol. 2: From Astrud to
Bebel (1963-2003 , Universal Latino): despite common
endpoints, this is more recent, more obscure, more idiosyncratic than
the first volume, which doesn't make it better, or worse.
- Pure Brazil: Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars: Bossa Nova Sung
in English (1965-2001 , Universal Latino): not that
the lyrics are so bad they can't bear translatation, but they lose
mystique, and the training wheels come wrapped in strings.
- Pure Brazil: Samba Social Club: The Masters Sing Their
Best (1974-2002 , Universal Latino): don't know that
the Buena Vista allusion holds water -- the "masters" are mostly
lesser-known but firmly established stars like Martinho da Vila
and Beth Carvalho, their folkish pre-samba aesthetic helped by the
recent introduction of old-sounding instruments like banjo.
- Pure Brazil: Samba Soul Groove (1969-2001 ,
Universal Latino): a bit more Yankee influence, the beat compressed,
the guitar tighter, here and there some soul horns, more Jorge Ben
and less Gilberto Gil, a catchy piece of bubblegum from Os Mutantes.
- Putumayo Presents: Acoustic Brazil (1979-2004 ,
Putumayo World Music): maybe a bit folkier than average, certainly a
lean towards tropicalia, but the guitars that dominate mainstream
Brazilian pop have always been acoustic -- often with nylon strings
for a less metallic sound -- so "acoustic" means little here; a mix
of some famous names and some possible comers, fine as far as it
- Putumayo Presents: Blues Lounge (2000-04, Putumayo
World Music): blues samples transported to a world of dreamy electrobeats,
makes for pleasant background, but with a little bite to remind you this
is still the real world; Moby is the name and the model here, but the
unknowns pull off the same neat trick.
- The Rough Guide to Fado (, World Music Network):
from the cafés of Lisbon and Coimbro, a venerable Afro-European ballad
style with guitarra portuguesa and torch singers, pitched for maximum
emotional impact; well-programmed, ranging from legends like Amália
Rodrigues to newcomers like the photogenic Joana Amendoeira.
- The Rough Guide to Mambo (1948-2003 , World
Music Network): the Afro-Cuban dance music is as formal as tango, and
its variability as subtle; this surveys the style's '50s pioneers
(Pérez Prado, Xavier Cugat, Noro Morales, Cal Tjader, Tito Puente,
Machito, Mario Bauza) and a few modernizers (Eddie Palmieri, Snowboy,
Fruko), all sounding much the same; I like the endpoints (Morales,
Fruko) for their simple formalism, and the track that speaks most
directly to me, "I Don't Speak Spanish (But I Understand Everything
When I'm Dancing)."
- The Rough Guide to the Music of Brazil: Bahia
(, World Music Network): up the coast from Rio, south of
the easternmost tip at Pernambuco, Bahia was the core of the old
Brazil -- the Brazil of sugar and slavery, its people uprooted
but not far removed from Africa; compared to the sambas of the
southern cities, the beat is harsher, the harmonics more obscure,
as if in pursuit of a primitivism that Africa gave up long ago;
the exception is Edson Gomes' sambafied reggae, my favorite track
- Santana: Santana (Legacy Edition) (1969 ,
Columbia/Legacy, 2CD): their grungy first album, prog keybds meet
congas and a still undistinguished guitarist, plus all the spare
parts they could find, including live cuts that cook; a rare case
where the bonus disc is an improvement.
- 30 #1 Hits of the '30s (1930-39 , Collectors'
Choice, 2CD): more jazz than the so-called Jazz Age of the '20s, with
Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway, Billie
Holiday, and Mildred Bailey all scoring hits; more conventional pop,
too; less interesting historically than 20 #1 Hits of the '20s
because it's more familiar.
- The Incomparable Ethel Waters (1933-40 ,
Columbia/Legacy): the first Afro-American pop star (as opposed
to blues or jazz star), although there's no reason to think she
ever forgot where she crossed over from -- indeed, she incorporated
it into her accomplishment; her earlier hits have only been collated
casually, often with rough sound, but this one gives her a fair
- A Western Jubilee: Songs and Stories of the American West
(1995-2004, Dualtone): new wave cowboy music, proof that nothing ever
dies in American culture -- it just gets sillier; it helps that this
never sticks on one sour note too long (e.g., Waddie Mitchell's idiot
poetry, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra plays "Shenandoah", the Sons
of the San Joaquin sounding like a choir of Marty Robbins clones, Glenn
Ohrlin's belly music); all the proof you need that Don Edwards is the
most important singer in his genre since Gene Autry.
- Johnny Winter: Second Winter (Legacy Edition) (1969-70
, Columbia/Legacy, 2CD): on his second album, the covers, obvious as
they are ("Slippin' and Slidin'," "Johnny B. Goode," "Highway 61 Revisited")
tower over his originals, the sure mark of a journeyman; the extra disc
is a live show, less of the same, puffed up to look like more.
- Johnny Winter: The Progressive Blues Experiment
(1969 , Capitol): predating his commercial breakthrough with
Columbia, this feels like a long Cream jam minus jazz pretensions --
wailing guitar, gutbucket bass, tortured vocals.
- The Best of Frankie Yankovic (1947-65 ,
Columbia/Legacy): a brief but choice selection from the "polka
king" -- a sobriquet he obtained the old-fashioned way, by
Additional Consumer News
I haven't heard these recent reissues in their latest packaging,
but I know them from previous editions. Some may have extra tracks,
which usually don't help much, but don't hurt much either. Grades are
from previous editions: caveat emptor.
- Brian Eno: Here Come the Warm Jets (1973, Astralwerks):
leaving Roxy Music to the dilletantes, his first oblique strategy a
set of glam power anthems with randomly conjured lyrics.
- Brian Eno: Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) (1974,
Astralwerks): second oblique strategy, a song cycle that makes sense,
based on a Chinese opera that doesn't.
- Brian Eno: Another Green World (1975, Astralwerks):
his post-constructivist utopia, a series of short synth pieces with
occasional songs, a paradigm that has never been succeeded.
- Brian Eno: Before and After Science (1978, Astralwerks):
slouching further into the ambient mire, but at this stage it still
seemed like an adventure; plus one last song, possibly his greatest:
"Kings Lead Hat."
Copyright © 2005 Tom Hull.