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.

How To Tell What Song Just Came On Brian’s iPod At The Gym (IX)

When last we discussed my playlist at the gym, I said if I curled my lip, you could tell I was listening to Billy Idol.

Well, I’m afraid I’ve adjusted my playlist, and that instruction is no longer operative. If I curl my lip, watch to see if I’m subtly flipping long hair that I no longer possess. If not, it’s Billy Idol. But if I am…

Continue reading “How To Tell What Song Just Came On Brian’s iPod At The Gym (IX)”

Point/Counterpoint: Being a Lost Boy: Good or Bad?

Arguing for the inherent freedom of the Peter Pan lifestyle, Ruth B:

Arguing that the freedom is ephemeral and an excuse for poor behavior,

I find both arguments slightly persuasive; I am more interested, though, in how suddenly there are two songs on the radio using the Peter Pan metaphor. While it’s never been far from public consciousness, it seems odd that the pair of songs appear at once.

Also, a point to consider: Is Ruth B related to Stevie B?

Probably not, been we start throwing around acts with single initials, I start connecting.

Modern Country Music: A Topical Analysis

As I mentioned a long time ago, I have a special set of headphones for lawn mowing that has a radio built in to them.

Well, the unit has a stubby little antenna that only pulls in two stations reliably from every corner of the yard: 92.9 and 105.1. Back in the early days of Nogglestead, 92.9 was a country station. As it had the strongest signal, I listened to it captively while mowing my acreage, which takes four or so hours per mowing. Then 92.9 changed formats and became The Beat and switched to a hiphoppish pop.

So I started listening to 105.1 which has a slightly lesser signal, but it was classicish country, with songs from the 1980s mixed with some more recent stuff.

But this last year, 105.1 has changed to all bro country music. Earlier this summer, I thought, Man, pop songs can’t be worse than bro country, so I switched to 92.9 for a couple of songs. Which were like bro country with less musical artistry, more autotune, and more celebration illegal drug use. And the topic matters were almost the same. So I switched back to 105.1.

Which lead me to conduct an academic study into the topic matter covered by modern popular country music as I rode in counterclockwise circles (just like NASCAR!). I present the findings below:
Continue reading “Modern Country Music: A Topical Analysis”

The Top Three Bopping Songs

One of our new administration of cats is a largish orange tabby. Because he was the biggest of the three we got at the same time, I nicknamed him the Big Bopper. When we got another male in the new administration, I nicknamed him the Little Bopper. However, the kitten has grown bigger than the Big Bopper, but he is still the Little Bopper. It only makes sense in my mind, and perhaps “sense” is too strong of a word.

In honor of the Boppers, I present the three top Bopping songs in the history of mankind. Which is to say the three with “Bop” in the title that first came to me.

Dan Seals, “Bop”:

That song is 30 years old now. The video depicts some “teens” from the 1950s going dancing in the 1980s. The aged versions of the teens look far older than the late forties or early 1950s. I mean, I hope it’s for effect. I was a teen then and am thirty years older now and would like to think I look better than that. But I guess the styles of dress from teen to middle age doesn’t act as the marker that it used to.

Rick Springfield, “Bop Til You Drop”:

The song is older than “Bop” now and comes from Rick Springfield’s dystopian future video stage. I have it on 45 record and used it to pump myself up. I should get it onto my YMCA playlist so I can recycle this video in a How To Tell What Song Just Came On Brian’s iPod At The Gym post.

Cyndi Lauper, “She Bop”:

Yes, yes, I know, this is supposed to be a family blog, but the video features a book with the title The Big Bopper. Also, note the breaking of shackles theme carried over from the Rick Springfield video.

Sorry, no

And what would this post without “Chantilly Lace” by The Big Bopper?


Also, please note, no man put the bop in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp. Thank you, that is all.

How To Tell What Song Just Came On Brian’s iPod At The Gym (VI)

When you see me running like Forrest Gump around the track above the YMCA gymnasiums, take a look at my arms. Are they pumping madly like I’m trying to use my upper body strength to pull me around the track one more time?

Or are they pumping like the wheels on a freight train? If it’s the latter, I might be listening to…. Continue reading “How To Tell What Song Just Came On Brian’s iPod At The Gym (VI)”

How To Tell What Song Just Came On Brian’s iPod At The Gym (V)

If you happen to catch me at the gym with an Existentialist look on my face, kinda wondering what I’m doing there perhaps, it could be that I’m listening to a song with a chorus that includes the lines:

I tried so hard,
and got so far,
but in the end, it doesn’t really matter….

The song, of course, is…. Continue reading “How To Tell What Song Just Came On Brian’s iPod At The Gym (V)”