I sometimes like to do things that I think no one has ever thought of doing before. I’m not talking about anything important here; I’m talking about stuff like maybe checking out an Alice McDermott novel and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure from the library at the same time. So in that tradition, I present you with what may well be the internet’s first ever blog post that mentions both Eydie Gormé and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. It’s the next installment in my long-running Adventures in Music Acquisition series.
(most of the CDs)
That first picture shows the majority of my recent musical finds. Let’s hit the highlights row by row:
First Row: This row features two of the most surprising releases of 2013. The first one, a self-titled Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy CD, was released to little or no fanfare a few months ago. The story going around is that Will Oldham hand-delivered his new one to a few independent shops and then proceeded to disappear into the woods. Whether this really happened is irrelevant; the important thing here is that the music is top-notch. It’s probably my favorite Will Oldham-related release since 2003′s Master and Everyone. (I had to order mine from Amoeba Music in California; they’re the only place that had it in stock at a reasonable price.)
The other surprising release mentioned above is Seasons of Your Day, the first Mazzy Star record in over fifteen years. It sounds exactly like all the other Mazzy Star you may have heard and is definitely worth purchasing if you were a fan back in the 90s. “Common Burn” and “Lay Myself Down” are the highlights and rank right up their with their best earlier material.
Second Row: I only discovered the music of Eydie Gormé last year when I heard her singing over the sound system at a crêpe restaurant in San Francisco. Beth used her Shazam app to put a name with the voice and I’ve been hooked ever since. I haven’t eaten another crêpe since that day, but I’ve bought about a dozen Eydie Gormé solo releases. The CD shown below, Cozy/Two on the Aisle, is the first I’ve gotten where she sings with her husband, Steve Lawrence. He’s got a Sinatra-thing going on, and I think I’ll dig a little deeper. Next up: That Holiday Feeling! (once it hits December, I mean)
Third Row: The Paul McCartney tribute CD came free with the latest issue of Mojo. It’s got some really good stuff on it like Robyn Hitchcock singing “Let Me Roll It” and new songs by two guys I thought were out of the business, Kevin Tihista and Jim Noir.
The two middle CDs are from the always excellent Rudy Van Gelder jazz reissue series on Blue Note. Grant Green is probably my favorite jazz guitarist and I was happy to pick up his Green Street. It features his take on “‘Round About Midnight” and two versions of one of my favorite jazz standards, “Alone Together”. The guitarist also appears on the Lou Donaldson CD. I basically bought that one because I liked the chubby dude on the cover and wanted to hear their version of “A Foggy Day”.
Fourth Row: The last row in this picture features a Tommy Keene covers album that I managed to miss until I found out about it in the comments to an earlier post, two classical releases I picked up for Beth, and an out-of-print Christmas CD I’ve been seeking for the last three Christmases. I realized it would be easier to find off-season, so I bought it back before Halloween.
The second picture shows my most recent vinyl acquisitions. I already mentioned the main highlight in an earlier post and don’t have much to say about the rest of it, but I would be remiss in my duties as a music chronicler if I didn’t point out the fine copy of Setting Sons I bought yesterday. Despite the fact that I’ve never actually heard it all the way through, I’ve always considered Setting Sons to be my favorite record by The Jam. How could it not be when it includes personal favorites like “Thick As Thieves”, “Burning Sky”, “Smithers-Jones”, “Saturday’s Kids”, and “The Eton Rifles”?
(cds that only cost $1)
The good thing about living at the tail-end of the CD era is that all the lemmings are dumping off their collections and going to live in the cloud with their mp3s. As a result, the real-world market is flooded with physical copies of things that are no longer cool to own physical copies of. I don’t care; that’s when I swoop in and buy Ro Sham Bo by The Grays for a dollar. Please give me a second here while I do a couple celebratory fist pumps. I’ve been looking for that one for a long time.
(the power of fancy packaging)
And then there’s Swan Dive. I don’t know who the heck they are, but I couldn’t resist these three fancypants collections when I saw them at Half Price Books last weekend. I got the lot for $11, stuck all six discs in my car’s CD changer, and have been driving around pleasantly surprised. Swan Dive’s music is all over the place genre-wise, but they occasionally remind me of the Weepies or Over the Rhine. Perhaps even more importantly, I’ve got four new ba-ba songs for the list and I’m not even finished with the third disc yet.
I’ll probably add a fifth picture right above this sentence if my Jigsaw order shows up this weekend. Check back if you’re one of the three people who actually read these posts.