Musical Throwdown: The Ship of Forgetting

Speaking of Spanish language classics (which we weren’t, but this is my blog, and I’ll direct the conversation, thank you, but I want to give you the impression, gentle reader, that you were a part of it), we have “La Nave de Olvido”.

First up, we have José José, an artist I found when looking for test data that uses accent marks (don’t judge me–I am a software tester, and I judge YOU!).

Next, we have Vikki Carr, a pop singer from the 1960s who had a string of 60s sounding hits, but she was born Florencia Bisenta de Casillas-Martinez Cardona, so she could sing in Spanish naturally. As a matter of fact, she included “La Nave de Olvido” on her 1972 album En Español:

Of course, I have to go with the songbird here, too, favoring Ms. Carr’s version. In most cases, I’d rather hear a woman sing of love than a man.

But if you don’t want to make up your mind, here they are singing the song together:

Another Summerfest Missed

In a stretch from high school to beyond college, I attended every Summerfest, the ten-day musical festival in Milwaukee. Most years I went multiple times. I saw a number of acts there, including Richard Marx, Warrant/Trixter/Firehouse, Poison, Steppenwolf, the Turtles, and so on.

However, I haven’t been back since because I’ve been at least 400 miles away and playacting at being an adult since then.

Every year, though, I look at the lineup and think, man, to be in Milwaukee again. And twenty.

This year, I’m torn as to which act I’m sadder to miss. As befits my musical taste, one is a hard rock act and one is a songbird.

A point of order for those of you unfamiliar with Summerfest: It opens at noon and the music starts shortly thereafter on ten or more stages scattered around the grounds. Bands play sets from then until about midnight. At seven or eight, the big show starts at the ampitheatre. Everything else is just a stage with some benches, picnic tables, and bleachers. Both of the aforementioned international acts are in those smaller stages. It’s not like the ampitheatre, where on July 9, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, and a host of smaller acts will take the stage.

So I’ll just have to console myself with YouTube videos.

Continue reading “Another Summerfest Missed”

Good Album Hunting, April 10, 2017: The DAV Thrift Store

Yesterday, I had a couple of minutes to kill, so I ducked into the Disabled American Veterans thrift store to browse the albums therein. A warm-up, perhaps, for the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library book sale later this month which will also feature a large number of albums for a buck each. At the DAV, they were less than a dollar each, which is lower than the norm.

At any rate, what I got would make Gimlet jealous, perhaps.

I got:

  • Hoch Die Tassen! by Xaver Hirschleitner, Original Münchner Blasmusikanten (I think).
  • Ich Bin In München Verliebt by Die Kaiserlich Böhmischen Und Die Bayerischen Königsjodler.
  • Christmas with Julie Andrews because it has a perfect cover, and the one I have is defaced with some childish inking.

Man, that is some German music (complete with konigsjodelling). It reminds me of the church festivals in Milwaukee, and it makes me homesick for my homeland. Which is not Germany, but it hearkens back to that country.

Overheard at the Springfield Art Museum

So we’re at the Springfield Art Museum in the very back, amid the American Art, when the children spot an iPad mounted on the wall, and being deprived mostly of electronic devices at home, they zero right in on it and hope for a couple minutes (or hours) of gaming.

“You can only listen to jazz on it,” I said, for it plays a couple songs from Count Basie and Miles Davis to illustrate the American musical art form. “Count Basie and Miles Davis. You’ve never heard of those guys.”

Except, of course, they have. “You listen to heavy metal all day and jazz all night,” the oldest said.

Analysis: TRUE.

Allow me to illustrate: Continue reading “Overheard at the Springfield Art Museum”

Eydie vs. Herb: The Ultimate Head-to-Head Musical Throwdown

As you might know, gentle reader, I favor the music of Eydie Gorme, and when she does a song that someone else does, I think Eydie does it better. (see this and this).

I also favor the stylings of Herb Alpert (as you can see how often his name appears on my Good Album Hunting post list and whatnot). As a matter of fact, I might own more Herb Alpert albums than Eydie Gorme.

So what happens when they do the same song?

Continue reading “Eydie vs. Herb: The Ultimate Head-to-Head Musical Throwdown”

I Feel Like A Traitor To Ella, But…

I prefer Linda Ronstadt’s rendition of “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered”.

Here is Ella Fitzgerald’s version, which I’ve enjoyed for decades:

Back when I was filling my evenings with eBay doings and then writing a book, an Ella Fitzgerald compilation featuring this track was in the 6 disc CD changer in my office, so I heard it nightly.

But I recently (December) got the last record in the Linda Ronstadt/Nelson Riddle trio, For Sentimental Reasons, which features this song as well:

Ella’s presentation is a little more seasoned, a little more knowing, which puts the emphasis on again. Ronstadt’s is younger, a little more emphasis on the bewildered. I dunno why, but I prefer it.

Eydie Gorme did not do a version of this song that I can find. Otherwise, as you can guess, it would probably be my favorite.

I was excited to see a cover in the Ronstadt video for something called ‘Round Midnight, which I thought might be a different record, but it’s actually a compilation of the three Riddle/Ronstadt collaborations. Although I already own them on vinyl, I thought to buy them on Amazon, but it’s $40 (but free to stream–wouldn’t you rather spend $10 a month streaming subscription instead of $10 on a CD, son? Amazon would prefer it for you!). Eesh, I think I’ll look for it in person. I did learn of her two Spanish albums and her recent (2004) jazz record (also extortionally priced on Amazon) to look for.

In the Mail (Cause I Ordered Them)

So I was listening to WSIE, and another jazz singer caught my ear: Sacha Boutros. So I checked Amazon, and her CDs are crazy expensive: $30 and up. But her Web site offers them for $19.99. Autographed. Since it accepted PayPal, and I had some money in my PayPal account from a writing assignment payment last year, I ordered her two studio albums.

I didn’t get a shipment confirmation immediately, so I sent an email, and Sacha replied herself with a phone number, telling me to text her if they didn’t arrive soon. So I’d like to mark this down in my lifetime achievement list as “Having beautiful jazz singer tell me to text her.”

The CDs arrived the next day, of course.

Upon seeing that Ms. Boutros signed Simply Sacha “with love,” my beautiful wife warned the CD that she is almost a black belt in martial arts.

At any rate, Sacha Boutros has a rich, fluid voice that inhabits the songs on both CDs very well. The arrangements are classically (Big Band/jazz classically) aligned, which makes for some mellow music indeed. The two CDs have songs in English, Spanish, and French, so she checks my foreign language box. She reminds me a bit of Jane Monheit, Naz, or Ella Fitzgerald in vocal style (not breathy like Erin Bode nor a bit husky like Stacey Kent or Billie Holiday). So if you’re into jazz, you should check her out.

Now, gentle reader, if you’re worried about my maintaining the aforementioned balance in my musical listening, note that my next CD purchase shall likely be Gemini Syndrome’s Memento Mori. Thank you, that is all.

UPDATE: You’re right to be skeptical of my recommendation alone. Here is Sacha Boutros performing “Amor Imposible”: Continue reading “In the Mail (Cause I Ordered Them)”

Guess Brian’s Favorite French Singer

As you may know, gentle reader, I have a growing collection of Spanish songbirds, including classic artists like Rocío Jurado, Rocío Dúrcal, Claudia Acuña, and others as well as pop equivalents Shakira and Paulina Rubio. I’ve also picked up a small collection of singers in Portuguese, such as Astrud Gilberto, Beth Carvalho, and Gal Costa, amongst others.

So, Brian J., you ask, what about women who sing in French? Who is your favorite French songstress?

Well, gentle reader, you know I like the breathy styling of Erin Bode, and I’m also a big fan of Herb Alpert. What about Claudine Longet, whom Alpert signed to his A&M Records back in the day and who married Andy Williams in the 1960s?

Well, not really. French is a breathy language, and the breathy singing amplifies it instead of complementing it.

What about the new hotness Alizée?

Well, it’s the same breathy vocals atop a breathy language, but this time laid over more modern pop vocals.

No, friends, my current favorite French artist is Mirelle Mathieu, who can be breathy at times but mostly sounds folk rockish, like a 70s era Linda Ronstadt or Olivia Newton John, but in French.

Which is a good thing, since I bought a bunch of her records two weeks ago. Also, she is the last French singer I have purchased, and I tend to regard the most recent shiny object most highly.

All right, you probably never wondered who my favorite French singer is, but there you go.

What, I’m leaving you hanging on the Spanish and Brazilian singers? It’s because I cannot decide.

Overheard at Nogglestead

I was reviewing a video that Mr. Hill posted when my beautiful wife walked into my office.

“Huh,” I said. “I didn’t realize Tim Curry charted a single.”

“I don’t know who that is,” she said.

“He was in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon I, and Clue,” I said. “And Legend as the Darkness.”

Blanks. My wife was not familiar with any of them. Which is odd, since I’m pretty sure I made her sit through National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon I at some point, and she is repressing it.

“It’s a good thing you bring me along to trivia nights,” I said.

Good Album Hunting: “Christmas Shopping,” December 16-17, 2016

I needed a hard rock or heavy metal LP for a Christmas gift, so on Friday and Saturday, I hit the antique malls and thrift stores to find one.

It’s funny, but when I’m not looking for heavy metal LPs (which is most of the time, as I don’t tend to listen to hard rock on vinyl), I find a bunch of them. This time, nothing. Maybe I’m thinking of the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library book sale when I think of boxes of heavy metal.

But, strangely, I did find some things for myself.

I got:

  • Linda Ronstadt and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Lush Life and For Sentimental Reasons. I already had Lush Life, which has a special cover that comes in two parts. The copy I previously owned only has one of those parts, so now I have the complete cover. I think Linda Ronstadt’s work with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra is awesome, and I’m delighted when I discover there is another.
  • Linda Ronstadt, Linda Ronstadt.
  • Someone donated their entire Mareille Mathieu collection to Disabled American Veterans; I got Mirielle, Meine Träume, Bonjour, MM, and Rendezvous mit Mireille. She’s a French pop singer out of the 1960s.
  • The Melachrino Strings, Music for Faith and Inner Calm. Part of their Moods in Music series, or am I branching into other Melachrino Strings easy listening?
  • Maria Muldaur, Maria Muldaur. Which has “Midnight at the Oasis” which Mr. Hill mentioned when I got my first Muldaur album a year ago.
  • Frank Sinatra, Strangers in the Night.
  • Angela Bofill, Intuition.

To be honest, I thought I’d gotten the needed metal record on Friday night at Relics Antique Mall when I found a copy of Rubicon’s self-titled debut album. Tell me, doesn’t this look about as heavy metal as they come?

Well, not so much. Here’s their hit song from the album:

That is not metal, even in the 1970s.

Strangely enough, that is Jack Blades’ band before Nightranger, though. So I now have his work with three bands from three different decades. Which might make me a Jack Blades collector or something.

At any rate, the aforementioned music has offered a bit of a break from the Christmas music that has been spinning on the turntable for the last couple of weeks. But it also is impressing upon me the need to try to make some new record shelves for the parlor.

Bro Country Music: A Topical Analysis Minus The Pie Chart

At The Federalist, some kid writes Country Music Has Become A Huge Clichéd Joke:

I love these songs, not just because they’re fun to sing along with, but because they involved people living, loving, falling down, and getting back up again. Songs that talk about how attractive you find your kid’s mom after years of marriage, or working hard and never giving up, contrast sharply with pop songs about the sexual excitement of whips and chains or “the beauty of one-night stands.” It’s fair to say I love country music for the same reasons I dislike pop music.

But by the mid-2000’s, country music started to change. It was a slow metamorphosis, but artists like Trace Adkins, Brooks and Dunn, Kenny Chesney, and Allan Jackson [sic] can’t deny their handiwork in this change, singing less about family or daily life and more about having a “Good Time,” or a woman’s breathtaking heinie. By the end of the decade, up-and-comers had completely embraced “party country” to the point where it seemed the entire genre needed to check itself into rehab.

Gimlet thinks it reflects what I wrote here.

A quick analysis of the article linked above shows that the young man writing the article hearkens back to classic country a couple of times (a couple of 90s songs, the earliest being Garth Brooks’ “Papa Loved Mama” from 1992), but most of the songs he uses as good examples stem from after 2000.

Well, he does say he started listening to country in the car, and there have been very few stations playing classic country in the 21st century.

That said, let me offer this sampling of classic country, which is to say country which was new when I started listening to it, that the damn kids, and by damn kids I mean “Garth Brooks”, ruined:

(See also this post about the general state of music that I wrote in 2003.)

Not As Varied As Advertised

When I was younger and people asked me what music I liked, I proclaimed eclectic tastes. I listened to oldies. I listened to Album Oriented Rock (kids these days call it “classic rock”). I listened to country. I listened to pop. I even listened to jazz when I could find it.

Well, now I’m older, and nobody asks me that question any more because I’m old (they must assume it’s all 60s easy listening/Sinatra/Alpert, and they’re not far off). But judging by my Amazon purchases over the last six months, my musical taste has streamlined into two categories:

It’s all hard rock or jazz songbirds except for the Leonard Cohen and Lorde.

It’s either something to get me pumped up for the gym or something to mellow.

Although being it is the Christmas season, the one-for-you-one-for-me Amazon ordering protocol is in effect, so the ratios may change as I buy new music on whim. But given that I learn of new artists from the hard rock station on the radio, my Legion of Metal Friends Facebook group, or the radio stations I stream (KCSM and WSIE), perhaps they will not change much at all.

You Can Play That Again

So I’m running through my music library, and I come to Quietdrive’s 2006 album When All That’s Left Is You. I’m not sure where I got it, whether it’s something my beautiful wife bought because she likes the band or something I picked up at a garage sale. The play count shows 0, but that might only mean that I haven’t played it since my Mac crashed.

But I chuckled when I got to track 9, “Time After Time”:

Why did I chuckle? Because in this abbreviated day where I’ve only been at my desk for three albums, the first was Naz’s Time After which also includes “Time After Time”:

Had I more time at the desk today, perhaps I should listen to Erin Bode’s Don’t Take Your Time which also features the track:

As it was, the album I listened to between Time After and When All That’s Left Is You was The Pretty Reckless’s Who You Selling For?. Although “Time After Time” is not on that album, given the lighter sound of The Pretty Reckless’s Second Album, it’s only a matter of time until Taylor Momsen gives it a go.

Meanwhile, I’m still wondering where this Quietdrive CD came from.

Good Album Hunting, October 15, 2016: Thrift Stores

On Tuesday, one of my children called from school to indicate that he was not feeling well. Whenever I pick up a child sick from school with a questionable ailment, I like to take him somewhere that he doesn’t like to go to celebrate the partial day off school: namely, thrift stores and antique malls.

Although his mother convinced the boy to gut out the day at school, we went to a couple of thrift stores after school to help cement the association in their minds.

I got a couple albums.

Gleanings include:

  • James Galway, Mozart: The Two Concertos
  • Perry Como, I Believe
  • Time/Life’s Great Men of Music boxed set for Prokofiev
  • Pete Fountain and the New Orleans All Stars
  • Pete Fountain’s New Orleans at Midnight
  • Pete Fountain, On Tour
  • The Four Freshmen, Got That Feelin’
  • Unforgettable Dinah Washington
  • Terry Gibbs and Bill Harris, Woodchopper’s Ball
  • Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Greatest Hits
  • Dave Brubeck Quartet, Angel Eyes
  • Maynerd Ferguson, New Vintage
  • A Taste of Honey

I haven’t even finished listening to the albums I got last month.

I need to spend some quality time in my parlor with my record player.

Also note the boy is feeling better, or at least covering it better.

Good Album Hunting, October 28-29, 2016: The Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library Book Sale

Heh, heh, heh. Did I say that the Clever book sale might be the only one we hit this autumn? Yeah, I recant that testimony.

On both Friday and Saturday, circumstances led me and one or more of my children to the northern reaches of Springfield (almost south Bolivar, really) where the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library had its autumn book sale. The circumstances were that I had some time to kill and the book sale was just sitting there.

Of course, as in recent memory, my main focus was on the LPs. The first day, I hit the dollar LPs, and on half-price day, I looked through the Better Books section’s more expensive LPs.

I bought, apparently, 66 albums.

They include:

  • Al Jarreau Jarreau
  • Anita Ward Songs of Love
  • Benny Goodman Quartet Together Again!
  • Bobby Womack The Facts of Life
  • Boots Randolph With Love
  • Canadian Brass Champions
  • Cheio de Razao Bebeto
  • Chico Freeman Tradition in Transition
  • Dave Brubeck Quartet Jazz Goes to Junior College
  • Dave Brubeck Quartet Jazz Goes to College
  • Dave Brubeck Quartet My Favorite Things
  • Dave Brubreck The Greats!!
  • Dave Gardner Hip-ocracy
  • Dean Martin My Woman, My Woman, My Wife
  • Dean Martin Young and Foolish
  • Dean Martin Happiness Is
  • Dean Martin Remember Me, I’m the One Who Loves You
  • Dean Martin Somewhere There’s a Someone
  • Dean Martin/Jackie Gleason Merry Music Christmas
  • Doc Severinson The Great Arrival
  • Early Music Consort of London Music of the Crusades: Songs of Love and War
  • Eydie Gorme Swings the Blues
  • Grover Washington, Jr. Winelight
  • Grover Washington, Jr. Come Morning
  • Henry Mancini/Doc Severinsen Brass on Ivory
  • Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass You Smile, the Song Begins
  • Herbie Mann Brazil Once Again
  • Herbie Mann Discotheque
  • Hiroshima Hiroshima
  • Jackie Gleason Softly
  • Jackie Gleason White Christmas
  • Jackie Gleason presents Velvet Brass
  • Jackie Gleason The Best of Jackie Gleason
  • Jackie Gleason Music Around the World for Lovers Only
  • Jackie Gleason presents Music to Remember Her
  • Jackie Gleason presents Music for Lovers Only
  • Keel The Final Frontier
  • Keel The Right to Rock
  • Kyu Sakamoto Sukiyaki and Other Japanese Hits
  • Larry Elgart and his Manhattan Swing Orchestra Hooked on Swing
  • Larry Graham Just Be My Lady
  • Linda Rondstadt Simple Dreams
  • Louis Clark / The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Hooked on Classics
  • LTD Devotion
  • Maynard Ferguson M.F. Horn Two
  • Maynard Ferguson Hot
  • Nat King Cole A Mis Amigos
  • Nat King Cole Sings Hymns and Spirituals
  • Olivia Newton John Olivia’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2
  • Pablo Casals Beethoven Cello Sonatas Nos. 2 and 5
  • Perry Como Saturday Night with Mr. C.
  • Perry Como Como Swings
  • Perry Como I Think of You
  • Pete Fountain The Blues
  • Pete Fountain The Best of Pete Fountain
  • Philip Jones Brass Ensemble Easy Winners
  • Rocio Jurado Por Que Me Habras Besado?
  • Ron Carter Patrao
  • Sammy Davis, Jr. Stop the World I Want To Get Off
  • Sammy Davis, Jr. What Kind of Fool Am I and Other Show-Stoppers
  • Shalamar The Look
  • Starpoint Keep On It
  • The Teen Tones From Scandinavia
  • Vikki Carr En Espanol: Los Exitos de Hoy y de Siempre
  • A Solid Brass Christmas
  • Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht

I got new (to me) albums from Herb Alpert, Eydie Gorme, Rocio Jurado, and Maynard Ferguson. I got some from easy listening masters Perry Como and Nat King Cole. I’ve broadened my record collecting to include obscure 80s metal bands (two from Keel). I’ve continued venturing into R&B and disco (LTD and Starpoint–I already own Stargard). I picked up a couple from artists who I bought last time and enjoyed (Herbie Mann, Grover Washington, Jr.). I got five and a half new Dean Martin records. I got four Dave Brubeck platters. And the spring sale featured a number of Brazilian women acts from the late 1970s, this time had a number of male acts, but I only took a couple of them; I’m afraid I’ll find their voices are not as deep as Beth Carvalho.

So if anyone needs me, I’ll be up in the parlor spinning discs.