Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album of the Day 12/11/10

Every day our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Saturday’s album is #780:

Louis Jordan – Let the Good Times Roll: The Anthology 1938-1953

Like the Sonny Boy Williamson anthology on this list (see #835), this one gets the nod over the dozens of other Jordan releases out there simply because it has more songs: 46 in all over two cds. It’s as good a place to start with as any if you want to get to know the guy that many feel invented rock and roll. Actually, that was probably Link Wray – Louis Jordan was the king of 1940s jump blues who inspired guys like Bill Haley and later, Elvis. A charismatic, wildly energetic performer, bandleader and saxophonist, his boisterous, cartoonish and sometimes buffoonish songs have a tongue-in-cheek lyrical sophistication that sometimes gets forgotten as the party gets underway. Which he doesn’t seem to have minded at all: he sold a ton of records that way. All the hits are here: What’s the Use of Getting Sober; Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby; Caldonia (later appropriated by B.B. King and dozens of others); G.I Jive; Ain’t Nobody Here but Us Chickens; Jack, You’re Dead; Five Guys Named Moe; Choo Choo Ch ‘Boogie; Open the Door, Richard; and of course the title track. It’s also got the funny sequel I’m Gonna Leave You on the Outskirts Of Town, the topical WWII home front number Ration Blues, a blues version of the old mento standard Junco Partner, Saturday Night Fish Fry (later redone by B.B. and then by Tony Bennett, as Playing with My Friends), and Ella Fitzgerald singing Stone Cold Dead in the Market. Here’s a random torrent.

Advertisements

December 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Album of the Day 10/20/10

Every day our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Wednesday’s album is #832:

Little Milton – Grits Ain’t Groceries

Milton Campbell’s 1969 second album, a mix of live and studio tracks, perfectly capsulizes the point where the blues had evolved to include elements of 60s soul and funk. Little Milton’s growling, charismatic presence here owes more to singers like B.B. King, but the songs sprawl out with long vamps and intros like Lou Rawls and his contemporaries were doing in the mid-60s. Little Milton was always better known as a frontman than a guitarist, but here he reminds how underrated he was, with a bite and a precision similar to Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson, or what Buddy Guy was doing early in his career. They open it slowly with Let Me Down Easy and follow that with the blustery, iconic title track: “If I don’t love you, grits ain’t groceries, eggs ain’t poultry and Mona Lisa was a man.” Subsequent controversies over who Mona Lisa really was only enhance the drama. There’s also a fervently stretched-out cover of B.B.’s I Can’t Quit You Baby, the sultry blues ballad That’s What Love Will Make You Do and the haunting, epic Blind Man and Walking the Streets and Crying that ends the album. Although he never quite hit this hard again, pretty much everything Little Milton ever recorded is worth owning, even the crooner albums from his Malaco Records period later in his career. After a life on the road, vital to the end, Little Milton died suddenly of a stroke in 2005. Here’s a random torrent.

October 20, 2010 Posted by | blues music, lists, Music, soul music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 8/21/10

Every day, we count down the 1000 best albums of all time all the way to #1. Saturday’s album is #892:

Albert King – Live Wire/Blues Power

A characteristically intense yet nuanced concert recording by the great blues guitarist, clearly amped to be playing in front of a captive audience at the Fillmore West in 1968, probably making twice as much as he did playing the chitlin circuit where he honed his chops. Like a lot of lefthanded guitarists (Hendrix, Otis Rush, Randi Russo), Albert King had an instantly recognizable, signature style, in his case a finely honed, bent-note attack where he could say more with a note’s subtle inflection than most players could say in an entire album. This album captures both sides of King, his subtlety and ferocity, in a mix of extended excursions – Elmore James’ Blues at Sunrise and a sprawling, ten-minute version of King’s own Blues Power – as well as a spirited blast through the instrumental Night Stomp and a bit later, B.B. King’s Please Love Me. Booker T. & the MGs drummer Al Jackson Jr. is his magnificently understated, groovemeister self and the rest of the band hangs back and lets King do his thing without getting in the way. Ask any fan of electric blues if they have this and the answer is that most of them do. As good as King is on this date, he’d get even better as the years wore on: pretty much any bootleg from the 80s has at least a few transcendent moments. Here’s a random torrent.

August 21, 2010 Posted by | blues music, lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment