Monday, December 12, 2005

Playlist, 12/12/05

These were all submitted before we found out about Richard Pryor’s death on Saturday. As Stewart Francke said, he was more important than any pope or president, and we’ll post more about him soon. In the meantime, we can’t recommend And It's Deep, Too highly enough.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen
Marty Stuart, Badlands: Ballads of the Lakota (Universal South)--I've rarely had an album grow on me as much as this one has. Part of that's the subject matter (which is steeped in the 19th century but placed squarely in the present), but mostly it's Stuart's Telecaster and voice, which is one of the most underrated in country music.
New York Dolls, New York Dolls (Mercury)--One of my students is writing her final research paper on the band, which gave me a great excuse to remind myself how great the band was, especially Johnny Thunders.
Rob Dickinson, Fresh Wine for the Horses (Sanctuary)--The Catherine Wheel were one of the best hard rock bands of the 1990s, due in large part to Dickinson's raspy roar. He's purring more than roaring here, and that's just fine. Check out "My Name is Love" and "Intelligent People," especially.
Dion, King of the New York Streets (The Right Stuff)--Mostly disc two, which includes the great "Your Own Backyard" and "New York City Song," but once I start with Dion, I can't stop.

Fred Wilhelms
King Pleasure, Moody's Mood for Love (KRB Records)–You can get it at Amazon, but I found it for $1 at Big Lots.
Young Holt Unlimited, The Definitive (Brunswick)
Clara Ward and The Ward Singers, I Feel The Holy Spirit (Gospel Friend)

Stewart Francke
R Kelly, Happy People/U Saved Me (Jive)--Conversational soul.
Marvin Gaye, Live (Motown)--Marvin live in Oakland during his brief reign as the Usher of his day (73-75). Already in the process of blowing it all up. What's great about this record is the evidence of his bandleading skills, even with Gene Page on board as arranger.
Various Artists, Blue Funk (Blue Note)--Worth the $8 just for Jack McDuff's "Hunk O' Funk."
Miles Davis & John Colltrane, The Complete Columbia Recordings (Columbia) Brash & shiny, with modal lines of mathematical beauty. All about the world...both men were playing to cut or cover a scab; neither was playing to God yet. All the brilliant quintet & sextet material through and including “Miles Ahead,” “Kind of Blue,” “Milestones,” and “Someday My Prince Will Come.”
Aaron Copland, Copland Conducts Copland (CBS Masterworks)--To a Midwesterner like me, a field of wheat in the wind is as sublime as an ocean of waves. Highlight of course is “Rodeo: Hoedown No.4”. It's epic, sweeping music from another day that somehow still lives on inside us, as it always has...Americana before there was Americana.
The Faces, Five Guys Walk Into a Bar (WB/Rhino)--Everything a great box set should be: live rarities, alternative takes, all the hits. Best rock and roll band ever?

Dave Marsh
"Take Me Back to Baltimore, part 1 and part 2," The Montereys from Doo-Wop
Destinations Volume #1
(Doo-Wop Records)--A 1964 single remastered from
vinyl scuffed so badly it's hard to listen to. Nevertheless, one of the greatest stories ever told: Pop runs off with the vampire next door, eldest son runs off with his Eskimo bride, the girls save the family by becoming the local answer to the Supremes, brother and bride return from Eskimo-land to run the best bar in town, sisters grow old in wicker chairs, teaching stage moves to kids down the block.
"Great Day in December," The Swan Silvertones from Move Up (Charly
UK)--Perfect accompaniment to six inches of new snow.
Bullet in a Bible, Green Day (Reprise)--Great bands get better. Four records ago, I wouldn't have thought that described this group but this is the clincher on the deal, for me.
A Skaggs Family Christmas, Volume I (Skaggs Family Records)--For Buck
White's reading of "The Christmas Guest," if nothing else.
Big Bad Boogaloo: Latin Boogaloo from the Big Apple (Harmless UK)—Pick hits: "Let's Get Stoned," The LeBron Brothers; "The Fuzz," Dianne and Carol with the Latin Whatchamacallits(not to ignore the great sides by Joe Bataan, Joe Cuba, Johnny Rodrguez, and Charlie Palmier's "Cab Driver")
"Ode to Billie Joe," Jackie Wilson and Count Basie from Shake A Hand /
Manufacturers of Soul (Edsel, UK)--Who knew that song had so many syllables? (Also available as Jackie Wilson and Count Basie)