Ok, I listened to the following CDs during November, but haven’t blogged’em until now, so dammit, I’m counting them as CDs listened to during November. Tough. Stop making that face.
67) John Coltrane: Lush Life
I just read in the New Yorker that Flying Lotus, a DJ I’d heard a few mixes from but had not thought was hot shit enough to appear in the New Yorker (but let’s be honest, Sashe Frere wants nothing more than to be a starmaker), was Alice Coltrane’s nephew. Huh. I’m not sure what to say that might add definition to the shape Coltrane occupies in American music; it’s a big shadow, and for good reason, since even folks who care nothing for jazz can find themselves swept away by the spiritual imperative of his solos. Here’s another thing I read the other day that might help: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” — Viktor Frankl. (bonus: Donald Byrd! Boy, I love Donald Byrd.)
68) John Prine: Great Days, Vol 1
Ok, John Coltrane stretched what jazz could be, what music could be, through a highly individiualized kind of sonic exploration. John Prine writes the same 2 or 3 songs over and over again, and also somehow manages to stretch what music can be by making the same 2 or 3 songs distinct enough in their iterations that they not only stick in the brain like peanut butter, but they protrude through to the world outside the song; at his best, his songs are more than just songs, they are bridges to other people’s inner lives–again, much like Coltrane, but whereas the force of Coltrane’s personality takes you with him on his journey, Prine takes you to the bus station, where you sit and watch folks and talk and maybe have a chocolate milk. This CD has seceral songs that manage this trick, and others that fail to do so but are warm and endearing nonetheless… (bonus: good quote from Kris Kristofferson, after seeing Prine early in his career: “Prine’s so good, we may have to break his thumbs.”)
70) John Prine: Great Days, Vol 2
I can never quite decide, but as of this listening, I favor the second disc here. It has more of the transcendent songs: “Angel From Montgomery,” “Down By The Side of the Road,” “Storm Windows,” “Souvenirs”… even the lighter songs, like “It’s a Big Old Goofy World,” have that extra dimension, like watching an aspen twitch and glitter in the wind on a perfect summer day, moments that make life the most precious thing going. (bonus: right in in the middle of the version of “Angel From Montgomery” chosen for this collection, the live one done with Bonnie Raitt, whoever is doing the guitar solo muffs a note, muffs it loudly, and keeps on going. Rather than “fix” it, this is the canonical version of the song. Makes perfect sense to me.)
71) the Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street
If you have to own 1 Stones CD, this is my recommendation, because I only own one and this is it. And because it is excellent from start to finish, is a double record, has none of the “hits” you’ve heard too many times already, and because Keith Richards wants you to. Hell, even the cover is iconic. “Venilator Blues,” baby. (bonus: Marianne Faithful and Anita Pallenberg on AbFab.)
>>Monthly count: I have 4 more CDs that I listened to in Nov to write about, but I want to go do something else, so they will have to count toward Decemeber’s total. And, I need to get the seeqpod list together. In the meantime, I listened to–well, listened to and wrote about–33 CDs in November. Auugghhh! I did 5 less than last month… need to pick up the pace more, and many of them will be Christmas CDs, since I decided I can go out of order to listen to them. Shut up. I can too.