Friday, November 30, 2007

Sifting Shiny Plastic

I don't know how things work around your humble chapeau, but here in the House of Perpetual Change, Organizing and his cousin, Reorganizing, have taken up permanent residence. I'd provide incriminating photos with this posting, but the PC loaded with the pictures is in a state of, uhhm, reorganization. Once it's reached its working capability of organization, the nasty stuff shall be shown. Even I, a man capable of working while walled in with detritus, have seen my arm hairs rise up of their own volition while in the area of the house lovingly tagged by the Ever-Loving Wife as "Your Part". I am applying for disaster relief for that area even as I type.

A benefit of the reorganization movement is another "re" word. Rediscovery. My replies to the Asset Displacement (or "mess", as my ELW, prefers to call it; she also prefers the singly syllabic description to my multiple preference) Situation when questioned are of two forms:
1) Yes, this too shall pass.
2) There's gold in them thar hills!

I'll tackle the latter exclamation here. While reorganizing the Asset Displacement Situation, I came upon 2 CD's of unquestionable listening quality. Keepers! (Another word that cause the ELW to shudder). Highly recommended for each and everyone of you who appreciates variety, choice, excellent production, wonderful musical talent, and low cost.
Stay Awake came out in 1988. It was produced by Hal Willner with associate production by Van Dyke Parks and Mark Bingham, a most excellent cast of folks. Mr Willner decided to do an album of music from various Walt Disney animated features with an extremely varied group of musicians. Los Lobos do a version of "I Wan'na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)". Bonnie Raitt, the heart throb of every American boy back in the '70's and '80's and every geezer in the '90's and double oughts, does a version of "Baby Mine" that rekindles all of those Bonnie Raitt cells in a guy's body. Mr. Tom Waits lends a dim factory sound (sounding and feeling like Eraserhead at times) of "Heigh Ho (The Dwarfs Marching Song)". Bill Frisell noodles his way through a lot of the songs along with Wayne Horvitz. Buster Poindexter cuts it up on a grand scale in "Castle in Spain". All good stuff. All worth giving multiple listenings. Here, hold on a sec. Let me re-cue "Baby Mine".

Another find in the pile, Blues Masters, Volume 4, Harmonica Classics, shares one trait with Stay Awake. Both albums are collections of various composers' songs as performed by a variety of musicians. The comparison ends there. Harmonica Classics was released by Rhino Records as part of their Blues Masters series. As is usual for Rhino, the sound quality is top-notch as are the 18 choices that they went with. The pantheon of blues harp players are here. Enough variety to illustrate the scope of the simple instrument. Enough performers to allow you to make choices of albums specifically with one performer's renditions. Jimmy Reed, James Cotton, Junior Wells, George "Harmonica" Smith, Lazy Lester, Charles Musselwhite, Little Walter, and Howlin' Wolf, among others, do their mouthy thing here.
If you like the blues and/or harmonica playing, this album is a great starting off point. If you have a bunch of blues albums already, at this price, it's still worth getting just to have all of these performers on on album. Personal favorites are George "Harmonica" Smith's "Last Night", Little Walter's "Juke", and Lazy Lester's "Sugar Coated Love". But there's nary a clunker here. The last song, Charlie Musselwhite's moody, muddy, edgy jam of a song (at 11 minute 46 second) "Christo Redemptor", is worth the price of the CD alone, if you happen not to have that song in your collection already.You can crank this baby up, especially when you've got them Asset Displacement Blues.

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