Now that it’s February and everything, I’m going to do what lots of other folks seem to enjoy doing, and talk about music. Since other people talk about what’s currently playing on their stereos, or what’s in their MP3 player, I figure I’ll do something similar, since I’d like to be more like other people. In this case, since I spend most of my time listening to music while driving around, I’ll tell you what I’ve listened to there.
1. Ray Charles, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. I liked this one a lot, Mr. Charles certainly had a way with a song. Like Frank Sinatra and Elvis, he was able to merge with a song to the point where there wasn’t a “singer” or a “song” any longer, there was some third entity that comprised both and transcended both. No one ever had to say, “I heard the Beatles play this song, ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand.'” You simply said the title, and both song and performer were assumed. Well, Ray Charles had this gift. The CD, even with a handful of bonus cuts is pretty short, but it’s good all the way through.
2. XTC, Waxworks, Some Singles 1977-1982. Years ago in days of old, I bought a number of vinyl 45s by XTC, most of them early works when Barry Andrews was in the band. So, I picked this up used, thinking it would be cool to get reacquainted. Well, I liked some of the songs, most of them early works when Barry Andrews was in the band. The rest of them didn’t make an impression on me. I’m sure the words were clever, as Andy Partridge has a reputation as a great and insightful wordsmith, but his vocals were pretty much indecipherable (to be fair, I was driving at the time). One thing I found remarkable was that each song had a great hook to it; unfortunately, that was about all I found interesting, and the hooks were never developed into a whole. They just kind of lay there, like a hat on a dolphin. I think the reason I liked the Andrews cuts more was that his keyboards added more interesting sonic textures.
3. David Darling, Cello. This is another one I picked up used, and I found it to be an absolutely gorgeous work; it kind of makes me wonder why it was in the used bin. I mean, it says right on the cover that this is Mr. Darling, playing cello (sometimes an 8-string electric one–boy would I love one of those) and there isn’t anyone else, no orchestra, no band, no drum machine, no singer or DJ, nothing but a guy and his cello. I can just see some guy picking it up–“Hm, solo cello? Wow, this must be totally hard-rockin‘!”–and being, thus, disappointed at its lack of hard-rockin’ness, but everyone else should have known what he or she was getting into. Anyway, I think this isn’t strictly “solo,” as there’s some overdubbing here, but no matter, it’s a floating, atmospheric work that actually helped me to be a better driver. Hows’s that for a recommendation?
Fun not guarenteed. It’s getting dark. I’ve lost the shapened pencil, and the other has no eraser. Let’s pray that the rain ends soon.