Tuesday, September 20, 2005

vinyl 5

some stuff i've been listening to lately:

1) the yardbirds - for your love. i originally bought this for 99 cents at an e.j. korvettes on long island. it was the heaviest slab of vinyl i had ever seen -- like a fucking manhole cover. this reish isn't as heavy, and has noise at the top of each side. feh. this rec is pure bubblegum, as wrongheaded a ploy to capture the hearts 'n' minds of a fictitious teen america as was the mc5's pathetic, mewling post-politics / landau-produced sophomore lp back in the u.s.a. that said, tho, in the fullness of time, wack toons like "putty (in your hands)" and "sweet music" sound more like keith relf (r.i.p.) trying to sing r&b than they do like the evil spectre of commercialsmo that eric clapton took them to be before he bolted to hitchhike around the world and join mayall's bluesbreakers. in the transition from eric (who _plays his ass off_; if he'd retreated to obscurity after this instead of doing what he did, he really _would_ be "god") to jeff beck (whose mug appears on the cover even though he only plays on three songs) the backing evolves from polite merseybeat lameness to piledriver bass-and-gtr unison: the true birth of metal.

2) the best of otis redding. forget nik cohn's sweat-and-tom allegations in awopbopaloobop. saint otis had enough soul to make a jaded, cynical dutch punker weep _from beyond the grave_. his music -- including crucial support from booker t & the mg's -- contributed everything that was worthwhile to the rolling stones' sound from about 1965 to 1969, which means that it's the _true_ sound of '60s rawk. it's nice to hear toons like "shake" and "i can't turn you lose" done at their proper tempo and not sped up a la the blues brothers; here they sound powerful, not cartoon-like. and if there's a recording extant with more _life_ in it than otis' "cigarettes and coffee," i sure haven't heard it. there's a whole world of possibilities and regrets in the way he sings this song -- enough to make you wish you could call him up and invite him over for a beer.

3) the thelonious monk memorial album. i bought this from sumter bruton and it usedta be _his_ record, which makes me glad. an exploitation quickie released in the wake of monk's death in '82, this is also a pretty groovy little compilation of our greatest jazz composer (after ellington) from his best (imo) period -- the riverside / prestige years when he'd just started to exploit the possibilities of the lp medium (e.g., longer takes that make the classic blue note sides sound like mere sketches) and he hadn't yet started repeating himself, the way he did on some of his columbia albs. "ruby my dear" (with coltrane on tenor, about to achieve his apotheosis) is my fave monk ballad (and one of these days, i'm gonna get johnny case to play it, dammit), but there are so many great toons here: "round midnight," "brilliant corners," "bemsha swing," "jackie-ing," "i mean you," and the backing (coleman hawkins and sonny rollins on tenor as well as trane, for starters) is fittingly stellar.


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