Saturday, January 05, 2013

Stuffs 'n' such

1) Streaming WFMU: Our new holiday music. Over four or five days, we heard free jazz, garage rock, psychedelia, blues, R&B, country, mountain music, gospel, Afrobeat, Asian pop, and lots more. Almost a viable alternative to record collecting, and leading inexorably to...

2) Allen Lowe's American Pop and That Devilin' Tune: Lowe's OCD explorations of pre-rockaroll American musics in these two tomes lead down a myriad of fascinating rabbit holes, and could conceivably make 2013 the year when I finally do something affirmative to reduce my ign'ance of pre-rock arcana like Dock Boggs and Arizona Dranes.

3) Andrew Solomon's Far From the Tree: I don't read many NYT bestsellers, but this journo's extensive study of parents of children with "horizontal identities" (e.g., conditions which connect them to others outside their biological families) like deafness, dwarfism, Downs syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, disability, musical prodigy, birth from rape, crime, and transgenderism provides more food for thought on identity, parenting, and what it is to be human than any book I've read in the last 20 years.

4) Ian McLagan's All the Rage: Forget Townshend, Young, and Richards. The Small Faces-Faces-Bump Band keyboard tickler's book, written on his own without a ghostwriter or, um, research assistants, is the most unpretentious, fun, and engaging rock memoir of all ti-i-ime. Now eBook available, too. Leading inexorably to...

5) Faces - Five Guys Walk Into A Bar: One of my favorite artifacts to emerge from the CD era (along with Sun Ra's The Singles and Funkadelic's Music For Your Mother). It's better than all of their real records. Long on demos, rehearsals, and BBC sessions, as well as all the 'riginal classic sides, it's like having four shit-hot live sets at your fingertips, proving (as annotator Tom Wright points out) that while they were always relaxed, the Faces were never sloppy. For my money, the best box set of all ti-i-ime (although I don't own Bob Marley's Songs of Freedom or the VU's Peel Slowly and See). As much as I love Steve Marriott, the Rod Stewart era's booze-sodden, goodtimey R&B-based rockaroll holds up better than the Small Faces' psychedelic whimsy (if not their early rockin' Mod soul). Ronnie Lane's leisurely lope on bass was an unlikely influence on Sex Pistols songsmith Glen Matlock, who supplanted Lane in the latter day, Mick Hucknall-fronted reunion lineup. I can keep spinning these discs back to back, over and over again. Just like I can...

6) Butterfield Blues Band - Live: Recently rhapsodized over by me, the used copy I ordered from Amazon for a five spot to exhaust a gift card (thanks, Hickey!) arrived yesterday and hasn't been off the turntable yet. Alone among the '60s white blues guys, Butterfield never did anything embarrassing. If he'd stuck around longer, maybe it'd be him instead of Charlie Musselwhite decorating Tom Waits' records today. After the hotshit guitarists left, his band was as tough and tight as Albert King's and Bobby Bland's, and that's saying a mouthful. It's also interesting to hear David Sanborn before he went on to SNL/smoove jazz fame.

7) Cold Heat: Heavy Funk Rarities, 1968-1974, Vol. 1: Also thanks to Hickey, we've been diggin' this CD compilation of Uber rare funk 45s from the heyday. This is the kind of music I cut my teeth playing, and hearing sides like Amnesty's "Free Your Mind," the Dayton Sidewinders' cover of War's "Slippin' Into Darkness," and the Ebony Rhythm Band's "Drugs Ain't Cool" sure takes me back, even though I never heard 'em back in the day. Sadly, the price war between two Amazon sellers on Kashmere Stage Band's Texas Thunder Soul 1968-1974 ended before they hit my price, but I'll keep stalking.


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