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Well, now that that‘s over and done with…

Farewell, holidays, farewell, cats eating pine needles, farewell, mountains of cookies, farewall, xmas musics, see you next year. Here are some of the holiday CDs I listened to: 93-94) That Christmas Feeling: 50 Original Recordings Hmmm, not sure about the title of this collection, “original” is not the adjective I would apply to any collection of Christmas songs; I have heard many original interpretations of Christmas songs, and every once in a while a song gets added to the xmas canon, but Christmas is a tradition, duh. And, most of these songs are the canonical versions of the canonical songs: Bing Crosby doing “White Christmas,” for example. So, not I guess what Prism Leisure, producers of this collection, meant by “original recordings” is that these are digital transfers of recordings from the 1920’s-50’s, recordings that we hear in stores that purchase the upper tier muzak feeds. No sacred music, just pop songs; yes, “Come All Ye Faithful” and stuff like that is on hear, but even the “sacred” songs are done big band orchestra style. Perfectly adequate for filling in the cracks in your brain made by repetitive seasonal listening of these same songs since you were in the womb….
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Bad, bad, bad…

Not the CDs: me, for neglecting to post for so many days! I remember the part of the Inferno where Dante describes negligent bloggers hanging from meathooks over a raging stream of binaries… on second thought, maybe I shouldn’t depend on Bruce Sterling’s translation when making reference to the Inferno. Kidding, of course, Bruce Sterling spends most of his time translating Bruce Sterling, I should think. Ciaran Carson did an interesting translation of Dante, much better, I thought, than Robert Pinsky’s which was released around the same time to much more hoopla. (bonus: what level of hell would you be on?  I got to level 7!: The Dante’s Inferno Test has banished you to the Seventh Level of Hell! Here is how you matched up against all the levels: Level Score Purgatory (Repenting Believers) Very Low Level 1 – Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers) Moderate Level 2 (Lustful) Very High Level 3 (Gluttonous) Moderate Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious) Very Low Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy) Moderate Level 6 – The City of Dis (Heretics) Moderate Level 7 (Violent) Very High Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers) High Level 9 – Cocytus (Treacherous) High Take the Dante’s Divine Comedy Inferno Test)…
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A Zit!

And more CDs! It’s exciting, getting a zit, when you get 1 every 4 months or so; it gives one something to really focus on for a minute or two, trying to get the right angle to relieve the pressure, and of course, the sensation of the zit popping… 85) Annie Lennox: Bare I had this CD and the next one in the wrong cases, both are stark white with very little printing on them, and both CD cases are washed out, have a woman on the cover, and so, I, probably a bit tipsy, put them in the wrong cases some time ago. When I discovered that the CD in Autour de Lucie was in fact Annie Lennox, I put the CD case inside until I got to the Annie Lennox case and then swapped’em back. It’s one of my rules. If the Autour De Lucie CD had not been in the Annie Lennox case, I would have had to set them both aside and wait for another washed out CD with a woman on the front came along… the music is not washed out, but it is white, and I don’t intend any racial connotations, just that the…
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Happy Happy CD Splendor

Where was I? Oh yeah, listening to every CD I own, one at a time. I was going to listen to a box set once I hit 100, but I might just blow by that via xmas CDs… oh the tension. 81) Blonde Redhead: Certain Damaged Lemons Squirty? Quirky? Squirky? Some interesting songs here, lots of wrap around time signatures and discothequey pararhythms, plus wobbly soprano vocals on some track, and wobbly boy tenor vocals on others… a bit like what wa once called “math rock,” but way more danceable and hook-laden. “Melody of a Certain Three” was the college radio hit, and there are plenty of other songs like that one, interesting, fun to listen to, and only memorable as an aspect of a particular brand. (bonus: produced by Guy Picciotto, ah, I see, Blonde Redhead does sound a bit like Fugazi’s queer neighbors… the two boys in the group are even twins.) 82) Dusty Springfield: Heart and Soul The first 8 songs or so are just awful, that crappy 80’s production with some asshole trying to make shakahuchi flute sound with his keyboard and so much treble that Dusty’s voice becomes just another pattern in the wallpaper, and…
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Then more Cds…

I’ll have to start in on the xmas CDs soon… 76-78) The Essential Guide to Bollywood: Vol 1-3 I’ve never seen any of the movies these songs are from, and I don’t speak a word of Hindi, but so what. I dig the Bollywood beat, that 3/3 shimmy that makes your brainstem want to wag like it was an ocean wave, and listening to the various production eras is always a treat, except for the late 1970’s, early 1980’s trebly freebase squeaky clean stuff, everyone just learning to use midi and such. I could do without that crap, it’s like chewing on glass shards and ripping your mouth to shreds and then you scream and–nothing, no blood, the song is over and not a bit of it lingers in the air. There’s not really too much of that style on here, actually, I think I am still recoiling from the first four songs of the Dusty Springfield collection that comes later. Anyhow, here is Mohammed Rafi, who appears on more tunes here than anyone, doing on of the songs from CD 2: (bonus: wow, am I out of date. Apparently, there is not only a Bollywood, centered in Bombay and…
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CDs, December 09

A reminder: I am listening to all my CDs (all 1600 of them), one at a time, and then writing a bit about each. 72) The Clash: Combat Rock London Calling is better, but this is still a great CD, and “Straight To Hell” may be my favorite Clash song just now. It’s also the CD most people will recognize, so if you are stuck in a room with 100 strangers, and you just have to play a Clash CD, then this one will please the largest percentage of folks, at least once “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” comes on; “this is a public service announcement–with GUITARS!” will probably alienate many of them at first, and then “Car Jamming” is a bit of a wash, but then the hits come one and you are off and running and won’t be torn limb from limb by the mob. (bonus: they never became the Rolling Stones, let alone Led Zeppelin, despite the attempts of many coke-spoon and pinky-ring wearing bastards to make them so.) 73) Karen Dalton: It’s So Hard To Tell Who’s Going To Love You Best Dalton was a part of the Greenwhich Village folk revival, playing with…
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Falling behind…

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…
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Hey now, CDs, no point in spamming me

Some years ago, I took the subject lines of a bunch of spam I saved, made a chart converting every letter of the alphabet into a musical note, and then, using spaces for rests and another formula for the length of the notes, programmed them into a midi software program. And it sounded like an aeolian harp… no, it sounded like random notes. In any case, the algorithmic weirdness of spambots is still interesting to me for a minute, not much longer; amidst the sudden burst of spam recently sent to this site were a bunch with the word “christmas” inserted, so I got comments from ebony christmas amateur and chinese new year christmas firework. Of course, any spambot hitting this site is a piece of crap, since I get very few hits or links… I actually feel a little bad for the poor, lame algorithm that washed up at my door. Well, ok, not that sorry. 62) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack “The Old Bamboo” might hold the record for the song stuck in my head the longest, off and on, throughout my life; after seeing this movie on TV, I sang the “Bamboo” chorus a…
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CD cavalcade

I seem to have fallen into the habit of listening to a bunch of CDs before writing about them (see previous entry). I’m not sure that’s a good idea; I need the immediacy of writing soon after listening, and I am afraid I will get out of order, have many little piles of CDs around and not know which goes first… we’ll see what happens with the holiday s coming up. For one thing, I will have to intentionally go out of order and listen to Xms CDs, and also I should reach 100 CDs listened to soon, which means I listen to a box set. 56) Joe Jackson: Laughter and Lust This was Jackson’s last pop song collection before experimenting with more extended neo-classical stuff; it’s not as raucous as “Look Sharp,” nor is it rooted in jazz and standards like “Jumpin’ Jive” or “Body and Soul.” No, it’s perched somewhere between those 2 stylistic modes, with plenty of horns and jazz changes layered atop punchy chord progressions. “Trying to Cry” is great, “Hit Single” is a hit single that makes fun of hit singles, and “My House” sounds, lyrically at least, like Joe is channeling mid-era Bruce Springsteen….
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Cds, no joke

Reminder: I am listening to all of my CDs, one at a time, and the whole process should, at my current rate of listening, take 2-1/2 years, if I don’t buy any more. 50) Richard Thompson: Sweet Warrior Oh, where to start. Richard Thompson has saved my life even more times than Los Lobos’ Kiko CD, and I will listen to many more of his recording by the time this project is over. And then I will go back and listen to them again… a startling, unabashedly literate songwriter, passionate singer, and stunning guitarist who modeled his style as an early player on concertina and accordion melodies. This CD is his most recent (as of 11/18/2008), and is as consistently strong as his best solo work; “Dad’s Gonna Kill Me” is the best Iraq war protest song I’ve heard, “Bad Monkey” and “Mr Stupid” are snarky and smart, and “Guns Are The Tongues” mines the same vein as “Vincent Black Lightning” without being mere revision. His best recording in several years, methinks. (bonus: the liner notes start with Edmund Spenser’s “Sonnet LVII.” What else could you want?) 51) Alison Krauss: Now That I’ve Found You Alison Krauss can veer too…
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