Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Music Library: Franz Ferdinand, Freakwater, Freddie & The Hitch-hikers, Freddie Hubbard, Freddy Cannon, French-Frith-Kaiser-Thompson

Frank Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand (2004). Actually only about half the album. It sounds like Belle & Sebastian playing disco to these ears, which may be why I've never pursued the rest of this album.

Freakwater - Dancing Underwater (1991), Feels Like The Third Time (1994), Old Paint (1995), and Springtime (1998). Built around the harmonies of Catherine Irwin and Janet Beveridge Bean (who also drums for Eleventh Dream Day), Freakwater is deliberately reminiscent of old-timey folk music, but the lyrics are witty, wry, and sharply modern. Just a great band, all around, and I was happy to learn while looking up how to spell Janet Bean's name that they are recording together again after a long hiatus.

Freddie and the Hitch-hikers - "Sinners." I don't know where I got this, but it's a roaring slab of rockabilly nightmare from 1958. I haven't checked, but I bet that I have another copy on one of those Lux & Ivy comps.

Freddie Hubbard - Straight Life (1970). This was the real surprise of today's listening tour. I know Hubbard mostly as a sidemen (Eric Dolphy's Out To Lunch, Coltrane's Ole Coltrane, Africa/Brass, and Ascension, Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz, Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage, among others), but I just picked this up recently, and this was the first time I'd listened to him leading his own band. Holy Afrobeat! I mean, without knowing better, I could have sworn at times that I was listening to Miles's Bitches Brew band (and, in a way, I sorta was, on the square) or Fela's Africa 70 band. Just a stunning album. Hubbard's a trumpeter, and the sidemen are Joe Henderson on sax, Herbie Hancock on Rhodes, Ron Carter on bass, Jack DeJohnette on drums, and George Benson on guitar.

Freddy Cannon - "Tallahassee Lassie." Another great slice of rockabilly, this one from 1959.

French-Frith-Kaiser-Thompson - Live Love Larf & Loaf (1987) and Invisible Means (1990). As in John "Drumbo" French of Captain Beefheart's Magic Band, Fred Frith of Henry Cow, Henry Kaiser, and Richard Thompson. So yes, that's three guys firmed entrenched in the avant-garde and Richard Thompson, presumably to lend a little gloss. The first album gels quite a bit, with everyone sounding like they're having a blast and still pushing each other in new directions. The second album, inexplicably a Windham Hill release, sounds a lot more disjointed. John French, strangely enough, contributes both the best ("Now That I Am Dead," a staple of RT concerts) and worst ("To The Rain") songs. They still sound like they're having fun, but there's a lot more straight-up messing around.


Jenifer 2:09 AM, August 27, 2009  
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