Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Music Library: Bobby "Blue" Bland, Bobby Bare, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Booker T & The MGs, Bootsy Collins + Belle & Sebastian, Fishtank 11, Dylan/Cash

Bobby "Blue" Bland - The Best of Bobby Bland. It always seems wrong to file Bobby "Blue" Bland under his last name, because he was a first-rate vocalist in the thin line between bluesy R&B and urban blues. Also, his version of "Turn On Your Love Light" should be the national anthem.

Bobby Bare - The Moon Was Blue. I thought I had another Bare album, one of those Essential collections. But that doesn't appear to be the case. This one's good, but it's basically his version of Willie Nelson's Stardust, where he croons a bunch of jazz and pop standards from an earlier era.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Joya, I See A Darkness, The Letting Go, and Strange Form of Life EP. I love the hell out of Will Oldham, as the Palace entry (coming in 2017!) will show. The only album of his that I've heard and haven't liked was Bonnie "Prince" Billy Sings Greatest Palace Music, his rerecording of Palace songs with Nashville studio cats, which just didn't work for me at all. However, the rerecordings on Strange Form of Life worked fine for me.

Booker T. and the MGs - In The Christmas Spirit, The Best of Booker T & The MGs (Atlantic), "Soul Limbo," and McLemore Avenue. I revere Booker T & the MGs, but I appreciate them more as a backing band, because too many organ-heavy instrumentals in a row is wearying for me. The Xmas music is most welcome around the holidays, the Atlantic best-of (as opposed to the identically named Stax best-of) has some of their great tracks after their jump to the major label, and the Beatles cover album McLemore Avenue (a Memphis-style take-off on Abbey Road) is absolutely brilliant in spots, but tiresome in others.

Bootsy Collins - The Bootsy Collins Anthology. The world's funkiest sing-along. Psychotic funk. Is it just me or is there an extraordinary amount of self-referential funk? As if all a funk song can be about is itself? I know this isn't universally true - there's a lot of funk about interstellar space, for instance - but Bootsy certainly wants to remind listeners that this is, in fact, funk music they are listening to at the moment. We know, man. That's why we're here.


Belle & Sebastian - The BBC Sessions. Live versions of many of Belle & Sebastian's great early songs.

The Black Heart Procession and Solbakken - In The Fishtank 11. I'm unfamiliar with either of these bands, but I quite like this entry in the Fishtank series. It rocks.

Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash - The Dylan/Cash Sessions. A bootleg of the two greats messing around in the studio around the time of Nashville Skyline. Yeah, it's a lot of fun.


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