A blog about the things I find accidentally on Spotify while looking for something else

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Mis'ry and the Blues - Jack Teagarden

This late work from 1961 by jazz great Teagarden features the trombonist/vocalist stating philosophical truths from the perspective of experience.  'Don't Tell a Man About His Woman', he instructs in the opening number, because 'they'll both start shootin' at you'.  'You should laugh and sing 'cos it doesn't mean a thing, it's all in your mind' he goes on to tell us, transcendentally.  The title track is a dark blues fit for Billie Holiday, while Love Lies is an organ-drenched lush instrumental.  His vocals have an ageing-Dylan rasp to them (although crucially he doesn't sound like Davros), and the overall vibe is autumnal and accepting.  A genuine find.

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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Sue Story

Sue was a fine soul label of the '50s and '60s, most famous as the home of Ike and Tina Turner.  For the most part, originality was not the label's forte.  Many of the songs here, great as they are, are a slightly distorted xerox of what someone else was doing for another label.  What you end up with, then, is an alternate reality history of black music of the era, with rock 'n' roll, girl groups, Motown and Bacharach-esque pop among the styles mirrored in the Sue catalogue.  Particularly enjoyable are 'Graveyard' by The Blenders, 'In My Tenement' by Jackie Shane, big hit 'Mockingbird by Inez and Charlie Foxx, and 'Loop de Loop' by the Soul Sisters.  'I'm Going For Myself' by Eddie & Ernie, meanwhile, is an acknowledged deep soul classic, on a different level to pretty much everything else here, and most music generally.  'Psycho' by Bobby Hendricks is magnificently odd.

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Sunday, 17 March 2013

Rockabilly Insanity

Another rock 'n' roll-era comp.  This is one of many that now exist thanks to the lapse in copyright of all '50s music.  What is interesting about this one and others, mostly thanks to a mysterious company called Master Classics Records (although this one isn't, I suspect there is a connection) is the way in which both classics and obscurities are mixed up due to everything being up for grabs, so Elvis, Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent rub shoulders with such delights as 'Spin the Bottle' by Benny Joy and 'Jammin Granny' by the Creepers.  The highlight for me, however, is 'Little Girl' by John & Jackie, which is frankly obscene.  Also listen out for the snippets of talking from related contemporary adverts and news between the tracks.

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Saturday, 9 March 2013

Rare Rock 'n' Roll Masters

This is one of the many rock 'n' roll compilations you can get on Spotify now that whole era is out of copyright.  What makes this one unusual though is the apparent randomness of the track selection.  On the one hand, you do have genuine rarely-heard gems such as Wizard of Love by the Ly-Dells, a version of Real Wild Child by Cricket Jerry Allison under the pseudonym 'Ivan' and the follow-up to Love is Strange, There Ought to be a Law, by Mickey and Sylvia, as well as amusing oddities such as Pat Boone's harrowing account of gambling addiction, Bingo.  On the other, there are tracks that have very little to do with rock 'n' roll at all, including Tommy Dorsey swing, Yale musical troupe number The Whiffenpoof song, and a slushy ballad sung by Richard Chamberlain.  It's like someone trawled the bottom of the '50s musical ocean and stuck up whatever they found without sorting it, or as if someone is using these tracks to make an argument about the development of popular music during the period, but the argument is impenetrable and weird.  A truly baffling listening experience.

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Sunday, 3 March 2013

...Sings Old Airs - Susan Reed

Susan Reed was a politically-minded New York folkie who found some degree of fame in the 40s and 50s, even acting on Broadway and in Hollywood, before pretty much being written out of the history books and going on to run her own handicraft shop.  A few songs about leprechauns and gypsies might require something of a leap of faith, but her harp playing is beautiful, her version of She Moved Through the Fair as good as you'll hear, and do check out the vocal round of Come Follow (multi-tracked?) for a Fuzzy Felt folk delight.

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