Friday, October 02, 2009

Music Library: Horace Silver, Horsies, Hot Club of Cowtown, House of Freaks, Howlin' Wolf, Howling Bells, The Hugh Dillon Redemption Choir, Hüsker Dü

Horace Silver - Song For My Father (1964). Hard bop anchored by a fantastic Brazilian feel, with sounds borrowed by such luminaries as Steely Dan (who took the opening piano notes) and Stevie Wonder (who borrowed the horns). This album should be played every time a character on Mad Men hands another one a drink. In fact, this album practically demands that listeners enjoy a complicated mixed drink while they cha-cha-cha around a swingin' party.

The Horsies - Trouble Down South (1993). Austin, TX's own worldbeat version of the B-52's with guitar by Bill Anderson, also of the Meat Purveyors and Jon Langford's Ship & Pilot and, Tim Kerr's Poison 13, among others.

Hot Club of Cowtown - "Emily" and "Darling, You And I Are Through." Three people and a whole lot of Western Swing, Django-style.

House of Freaks - "Monkey's Paw." Top-notch two-man band. Top-notch song.

Howlin' Wolf - The Chess Box (recorded 1951 - 1973), This Is Howlin' Wolf's New Album (1969), and His Best (recorded 1951 - 1964). It's strange to me that Howlin' Wolf is such an icon of blues music, because while millions of bands have covered these songs and emulated the man, very few sound anywhere close to as rough and avant-garde and otherworldly and punk rock as Chester Burnett and his flamethrower guitarist Hubert Sumlin. The Chess Box is three discs of brilliance, and His Best is a one-disc version of the box that I bought beforehand. This Is Howlin' Wolf's New Album is a bizarre excursion into psychedelia with Sumlin trading licks with Pete Effing Cosey, the psych-guitar genius who go on to record with Miles Davis a year or two later.

Howling Bells - "Low Happening." Fun indie-rock song.

The Hugh Dillon Redemption Choir - "Mannequins." My Canadian pal John T. tells me that Hugh Dillon, who was also the lead singer in The Headstones, is now starring in a show called Flashpoint. I don't know that show, but I like this song.

Hüsker Dü - Metal Circus (1982), Eight Miles High/Makes No Sense At All EP (1984), Zen Arcade (1984), New Day Rising (1985), Flip Your Wig (1985), Candy Apple Gray (1986), and Warehouse: Songs And Stories (1987). The early word on punk was that it was basically bubblegum with distorted guitars. Hüsker Dü wasn't a bubblegum band, though, but more in line with the poppy heart-on-their-sleeve aesthetic of the Buzzcocks. And these are pop songs, but the poppiness has been set ablaze at midnight, forced to crawl across a desert without water, left adrift in a hurricane. The run from Zen Arcade to Flip Your Wig is pretty damn close to my favorite sequence of albums in all of music. Somewhere between a howl of rage and a croon of love. Perfect.


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