Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Free Will Juke Box

Be Bop Deluxe: Live! In The Air Age. Agreed that their records were spotty (and their sonic ambitions betrayed by the limits of Seventies recording technology), but this live album is just the ticket, with soaring leads over jazzy proto-new wave. A band that kind of fell through the cracks, but worth hearing. 

George Benson: Body Talk. The fusion wars are now decades in the past, and the critics who cried "sell out!" when Breezin' came out are out to pasture, so now we can just revel in the fact that George Benson is/was easily the top jazz guitarist of the Seventies, and probably the greatest of all time. This is state of the art playing with Earl Klugh and the cream of Miles Davis's rhythm section. Should win some sort of award for chording.  

Kate Bush: The Sensual World. The last Bush album that people seemed to care about. Half great (esp. the title track) half, eh. 

Deep Purple: Made In Japan. For John Lord, of course. It's funny how they front load their hits on this album, the better to make room for their 20 minute psychedelic excursions. More seriously, there is a high level of musicianship for a band that most people think of as "dumb." Gilmore, Lord and Blackmore were tops at their respective instruments with Glover not far behind. 

Joe Pass/Roy Clark: Play Hank Williams. listening to this makes you realize how few jazz-country albums there are in the world. A fun listen with some of the best comping you'll ever hear. (anyone ever hear that record Roy Clark made with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown?)

Todd Rundgren: A Capella. Did you know that Todd Rundgren once recorded an album consisting entirely of his multi-tracked vocals? A surprisingly overlooked gem with lots of studio wizardry that takes the human voice to strange new places. 

Todd Rundgren: Initiation. A wild record that came in the middle of Todd's Seventies run when he had two bands and was putting out two or three records a year. There are a few power pop classics mixed in with some extreme synth excursions. Sometimes hard to tell where the avant-garde leaves off and drugs take over. 

St. Vincent: Strange Mercy. Listened to this after seeing Annie Clark on Spin's Top 100 guitarists list. Yes, that's absurd, but actually she is a pretty good guitar player with a distinctive and noisy style. Most of her music, though, is keyboard dominated, and is in the sort of quirky/cool style that leads to Tori Amos comparisons and David Byrne collaborations. Very good. 

The System. EP's. classic anarcho-punk. "Their Corrupting Ways" is epic.

Talking Heads: Remain In Light. Boy, this hasn't aged well. "Once In A Lifetime" is timeless, of course, but the rest of this is almost unlistenable. 

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