It is sad, my friends, when it takes a fricken month for me to update this blog. I have not escaped to the center of the Earth. I've been a bit busy with life, writing, and recording my forthcoming album. I did make a visit to the Goodwill in Richland, Washington, where I found some Japanese pressings of albums by Roberta Flack, Helen Reddy, and Anne Murray. No Led Zeppelin, no King Crimson, but Killing Me Softly is one of my favorite Flack albums, and Murray does a cover of "Put Your Hand In The Band" that has a nice break in the intro, so all is not lost.
I had intended to write about it here, but spaced out and forgot. Poor excuse, but that's how it is. And what it is, is now, a new adventure.
I went to the St. Vincent de Paul in Pasco, WA, not expecting anything. However, there were two new boxes right in front of the record section and I immediately saw the face of Duke Ellington. It wasn't the Duke himself, but a tribute concert done, but with one jazz album there had to be a few others. There were, and it was nice to see new records there, since most of the albums in the racks have been there for the last 15 years.
Dick Jurgens & His Orchestra-Here's That Band Again Today (Flying Dutchman Amsterdam AM-12011)
I bought this because I saw the Flying Dutchman logo, and it was on their Amsterdam subsidiary. Also, I looked at the label and BOOM, it was a pressing on Atlantic Records. Had to buy it (the promo sticker, used by Atlantic during this period, was also a clue).
Well, I'm listening to it now and I had hoped it would be some out there jazz. It is more jazz/pop and definitely would be something my grandfather and Omama would love dancing to. However, it is nice to hear something like this, music that was popular before R&B, blues, and rock'n'roll messed up the youth. The covers of "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" and "Close To You" are very nice. As the liner notes say, this music will take some of you back to teh years before television, before radio almost, and certainly before a lot of us were around at all".
James Last-Goodtimes (Polydor 24-4512)
Normally I would get adventurous and buy everything this guy has ever made, because I have yet to find anything worthy of a second listen. This man was almost as prolific as Sizzla Kalonji, recording on loads of labels, including K-Tel.
This album has no date, but I'm going to take a guess and say 1971 or 1972, if I am to judge from the songs and look of the photos. I think this was recorded at the height of all of the Godspell and Hair phenomenons, because each song features a group of singers harmonizing at their best. It's not awful, but for me it's not something I would want to hear regularly. Or irregularly. There are covers of "My Sweet Lord", "I Hear You Knocking", "Knock Three Times", "Neanderthal Man", "When I'm Dead And Gone", "Ape Man", and "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window".
It is this Beatles cover that I find a bit funny. "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" is a part of the Abbey Road medley on Side 2, and is a brief song. I do know Joe Cocker did a great version of it, but that's Joe Cocker. What James Last and his group of singers try to do is make it anthemic. It doesn't quite work. Then again, I tend to be a Beatle elitist at times, and I don't want to hear verses repeated over and over as if it was meant to be a big pop song. It's a small part of a medley, leave it at that. I think I may have to do some research on James Last, to find how what his deal was.
To be honest, the musicianship is great and there IS that level of cheese that DOES make me want to hear more. But I'm not going to be on an avid search for his entire discography.
(MP3: James Last-She Came In Through The Bathroom Window)
The Newport All Stars-Tribute To Duke (BASF 20717)
At first I thought I had found a Duke Ellington album, but instead this was a show created for performance by The Newport All-Stars, recorded in 1969 and released after Ellington's death three years later. This one features Red Norvo, Barney Kessel, and Kenny Burrell, along with other musicians who create some incredible music. It may not be the Duke, but it is done with him in mind and I'm all for that.
Buddy Rich-A Different Drummer (RCA/Victor LSP-4593)
I don't have any Buddy Rich albums in my collection, odd considering how much I am a fan of the drums. I've borrowed a few from the library during high school, and I guess I haven't taken time to explore his discography either. After hearing this, I think I may start hunting down his records.
The Rich I'm familiar with is from the 60's, when he was doing battles with everybody. This one, released in 1971, has a big band backing. What made me buy it, outside from the fact that it was Buddy Rich, was because it was called A Different Drummer, which comes from a poem by Henry David Thoreau, but was also the subject of a song by Les Crane (look on the B-side of the "Desiderata" 45). I bought that Crane 45 because of that song (I wasn't sure what "Desiderata" was until I played it), and for awhile I played it on my radio show since I felt the poem described me in a way ("If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears A Different Drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away").
Anyway, Buddy Rich. I could only play Side 1 on my Vestax portable, as the record is slightly warped, making Side 2 impossible to play without it warbling. There's a nice drum/percussion segment in "Paul's Tune", and his cover of "Superstar" (from Jesus Christ Superstar) is really good.
(A Japanese CD of A Different Drummer is available through CD Universe.)
Dionne Warwicke-Just Being Myself (Warner Bros. BS 2658)
Note the spelling of her name on this one.
Her Warner Bros. period is not as popular as what came before (Scepter) and after (Arista), so one can listen to this period with an open mind. I prefer this era. It is a Holland-Dozier-Holland production, so it's sounding like something from the Hot Wax catalog. The album opens with "You're Gonna Need Me", and in some tape vault somewhere there is a version of this where the band gets even funkier. "I Think You Need Love" may be familiar to fans of rapper Jim Jones.
This album was recently released on CD for the first time this year, but it was nice to find the vinyl, and a white label promo to boot.
(MP3: Dionne Warwicke-I Think You Need Love)
(You can order this album on CD through CD Universe.)
Various Artists-Guitar Rock (Time Life Music OP-4521)
I'll most likely put this on eBay. 3LP's of classic guitar rock, still in the original cellophone, and made in 1990. And hey look, Joe Cocker's "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" is on it. Also on here: James Gang's "Funk #49", Cream's "Sunshine Of Your Love", The Allman Brothers Band's "Whipping Post", and... Elton John's "The Bitch Is Back". I know that has a nice guitar riff, but is Elton John considered "guitar rock"?