Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Music Library: Billie Holiday, Billy Bragg w/Wilco, Bing Crosby, Binky Griptite, Bird Nest Roys, Birdsongs/Mesozoic, Bis-Quits, Bix Beiderbecke, Björk

Billie Holiday - "Strange Fruit," Lady in Satin, Billie's Blues, and Billie's Best. What could I possibly say about Billie Holiday that you haven't heard a million times before?

Billy Bragg - Back To Basics. I've heard this a gazillion times in my life without ever actually loving it. I like Bragg okay, but his stridency, his cold and lonely electric guitar, his all-the-same delivery all add up to a great big somewhat-positive shrug for me.

Billy Bragg/Wilco - Mermaid Avenue and Mermaid Avenue, Vol. 2. Wilco's lush Americana and Woody Guthrie's lyrics warm Bragg right up. These are the albums that resulted when Nora Guthrie found a bunch of her dad's lyrics in an old piece of furniture. With most of these songs, the music is lost (although a few of them were recorded, because I have copies on my Smithsonian/Folkways Woody Guthrie box), and Billy Bragg and Jeff Tweedy of Wilco made up their own music for them. Bragg & Tweedy tend towards the simplistic for these songs, but it's not a big deal. The first album is heads above the second, but that's not to say that the second one is a bad album. And "California Stars" is utterly beautiful.

Bing Crosby - Bing Crosby Christmas. Good timing, no?

Binky Griptite and the Dee-Kays - "World of Love" and "Stone Soul Christmas." Again, good timing. The band here is the Dap-Kings, who back Amy Winehouse and have their own killer albums with Sharon Jones.

The Bird Nest Roys - Whack It All Down EP, Jaffa Boy 7", Bird Nest Roys. A find from a blog dedicated to kiwi-pop, these Bird Nest Roys albums rock well and with that sort of buzzy, poppy sound that screams "New Zealand."

Birdsongs of the Mesozoic - "The Rite of Spring." From Roger Miller's post-Mission of Burma, pre-Mission of Burma period, this is a version of the Stravinsky composition that caused riots upon its first performance. Later, it was in Disney's Fantasia. And here it's performed by a post-punk legend. Truly, this is a storied history.

The Bis-Quits - "Walking on a Wire." Supergroup of sorts with Nashville cool cats Will Kimbrough, Tommy Womack (author of the Cheese Chronicles, which is mandatory reading for kids forming bands), and Mike Grimes (proprietor of Grimey's, the most awesomest record store in the SouthEast and a contender for the title of most awesomest anywhere). I thought I had the whole thing, but this is the only track that popped up, a cover of Richard & Linda Thompson's song from an album called Shoot Out The Lights, of which I assume readers of this blog are aware. I'll have to round this out.

Bix Beiderbecke - "Davenport Blues." The only track I have by the seminal jazz legend.

Björk- Debut, Post, Homogenic, Telegram, Selmasongs: Music from the Motion Picture Dancer In The Dark, Vespertine, Medulla, "The Boho Dance," and Volta. You would think from this that I love the hell out of Björk. But you'd be wrong. The guy (a great guy, btw) who gave me a disc with a bunch of Björk albums really loves her. I'm more on a "tolerate" vibe, while really liking the occasional song.


Anonymous 10:44 PM, December 17, 2008  
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