Friday, November 11, 2005

Friday Random 10: No Longer Really Hip

It's one of Bartlett's Laws of Radio that if there is a station in your town promoting itself as having "the best variety" (or the more weaselly "a better variety"), it will generally be the dullest station in your town. Yes, it might play music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s up to the present, but it will play only the blandest and safest records from those eras. My laptop music stash on the other hand, really does contain a better variety than most people's laptop music stashes, as this week's Friday Random 10 reveals, and it's anything but dull. Schizophrenic, maybe, but not dull.

"Prelude in F Minor"/Swingle Singers/Keyboard Classics.
A few years ago, I bought tickets for The Mrs. and I to see this old-school acappella group, thinking it would be nice for her, since she's an acappella singer herself. But I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the show--and Keyboard Classics is positively breathtaking. (How this tune got on my laptop, however, I have no idea.)

"Patches"/Clarence Carter/AM Gold: 1970.
This was Carter's biggest hit, but what a catalog beyond this: "Slip Away," "The Dark End of the Street," "Snatchin' it Back," and, of course, "Strokin'."

"If I Had You"/Kenny Burrell/For Charlie Christian and Benny Goodman. Christian is one of the unknown pioneers of music--one of the first virtuosos of the electric guitar, who played with various Goodman bands in the 30s, and died at age 25 in 1942. He influenced nearly everybody who picked up the guitar for a generation thereafter--including Burrell.

"Ask Me Now"/Thelonious Monk/Jazz Moods: Round Midnight. Monk was capable of hearing things other people couldn't, and translating them to the piano. Occasionally, that makes for challenging listening. That's not the case here--Monk was also capable of simple and beautiful playing, which is the case here.

"High Fives"/Simply Red/Blue.
Some albums you put on and like from the start. Others take a while. Simply Red's Blue was one of those. Seven years after its release, it's a Simply Red disc I find myself returning to more than most.

"St. Thomas"/Sonny Rollins/Saxophone Colossus. Almost every jazz player has a signature song, and for Rollins, this is it.

"Diary"/Bread/Anthology of Bread.
How many people do you suppose are walking around right now who were conceived to the sound of Bread, the quintessential makeout music of the 1970s? In the age 25-35 cohort, I'm guessing a lot.

"I'll Get Over You"/Crystal Gayle/Greatest Hits. When I was a country DJ, Crystal was one of my favorite artists, and this is my favorite song of hers, in which her words claim she will survive the loss of her lover, but the way she sings them leaves some doubt.

"Mr. Train"/Anomoanon/Joji and "Poor Paul"/Mardo/Mardo. Anomoanon's first two albums were based on A) Mother Goose tales and B) Robert Louis Stevenson poems, so Joji, which is based entirely on the band's own ideas, is a departure. Mardo, meanwhile, calls itself a "swaggering rock band" and a "straight-driving caffeinated rock combo." "Poor Paul" confirms both. Both of these found their way to my laptop via a Salon magazine music sampler, and both of them help confirm the sad fact that I am really no longer hip.

But I used to be.


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