Ah yes, it’s time to listen to the last 3 of my grandfather’s CDs. If they were all mixed in with the rest of the cds I would still know they were his, because where else would I get a Lawrence Welk CD? (poor justification–I probably have another one somewhere), and because each one has a label on it, on of those free return address labels that non-profit organizations send you to encourage your donation. I can picture him figuring this out, looking at the sheet of return address labels, the fourth or fifth sheet he’d gotten in the mail that month, and thinking, “I could stick these on my cd cases, and then if someone steals’em I can get’em back!” But I didn’t steal’em, I pillaged’em, I guess; what is it called when relatives sort through the stuff the deceased has left and portion it out? I don’t mean the legal term… ah well. Almost done:
11) Burl Ives: Burl Ives
Poor Burl didn’t even warrant a CD title from the Beautiful Music Company, apparently. Burl rivals James Earl Jones for most ubiquitous yet unattributed voice of the past 50 years, I think, though Burl (as Sam the Snowman in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and “A Holly Jolly Christmas” from the same show) loses to Jones (Darth Vader, Mufasa, and “This is CNN”) by most counts. Burl wins the ubiquitous LP in flea market bins award by a mile vs Jones, however, who really only has the Star Wars and The Great White Hope lps in contention (and both of them combined would lose the prize to Glass Houses or Frampton Comes Alive or the collected works of Roger Whittaker). Anyhow, not bad, his voice does have a pleading, just-flat scratchiness that makes “Birmingham Jail” sound authentic. (bonus: has no one covered “Call Me Mr In-Between” yet? Well, hell, I better do so then. Oh yeah, Ives was blacklisted for ratting on Pete Seeger, and well he should have been, but then Seeger and Ives made up later and sang “Blue Tail Fly” live together. There is a moral there somewhere.)
12) Hawaiian Steel Guitar: The Musical Magic of Bud Tutmare.
I thought this might be good. I like slack-key guitar, a lot of it has over-the-top arrangements, but lordy lordy this CD was injurious to my person. Remember that video of the bridge that was flapping and buckling because, allegedly, the wind blew through it and made it vibrate at just the right pitch? Sure, the mythbuster guys and others have made it clear that such a thing could never happen, but it seems pretty clear that the syrupy production and string arrangments on this CD are perfectly pitched to activate some part of my head that wants to injure passers-by. Very little Hawaiian guitar on here, actually, unless I’ve been confusing Hawaiian guitar with a dentist drill wrapped in foreskin. (bonus: I sat still and took it, I am a better person.)
13) Harry James and His Orchestra: The Silver Collection.
Should I skip this number? Nah, I ain’t superstitious, and besides, it’s Harry James. It’s the Silver Collection, no doubt! “She’s Gotta Go” made me take notice, the rest is well-scrubbed jazz trying to remain in the background until all the trysts are scheduled and the swing dance contest can begin. (bonus: “Mae and Ray,” right after “She’s Gotta Go,” is a great song, and I never would have noticed it were it not for the song order on this CD. Thanks, Verve.)