Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Music Library: Johnny Hartman, Johnny Nash, Johnny Thunders, Jolie Holland, Jon Langford, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Jonathan Fire*Eater

Johnny Hartman - Unforgettable (1966). I know Hartman best for his role in the John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman album, where Hartman perfectly blended his swing-jazz baritone with the Coltrane Quartet. This album is pretty decent, too, although it's more of a Sinatra-style big-band swing jazz thing.

Johnny Nash - "I Can See Clearly Now." I have this more as a curio than anything.  This was one of the first reggae-inflected songs to break into the American market.  The unfortunate earworm is a side-effect.

Johnny Thunders - So Alone (1978). Pleasantly sleazy drug-fueled rock from the ex-Doll/ex-Heartbreaker.  And you can't beat "You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory."

Jolie Holland - Escondida (2008).  This is one of my wife's albums, but I sure like it.  Like Nina Nastasia, Holland is a folk-based singer/songwriter who tends to break the rules and come up with surprising twists and turns in her music.

Jon Langford - Cactus Cafe 12/8/2002, "Last King of the Road," The Mayors of the Moon (2003), and All The Fame Of Lofty Deeds (2004).  God bless Jon Langford. He's the heart of the Mekons, a restless fount of creativity, and a genuinely nice guy.  The first of these is a bootleg, and the second is from a bootleg of the man playing at the Yard Dog in 2003.  The others are solo albums with Langford's trademark wit and passion.  And that's why he's my favorite Welsh art-punk cowboy.

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Orange (1994).  Silly, silly, silly music.  John Dougan at Allmusic points out that fans of the band like the idea of the blues more than the reality.  Considering that this music makes Tav Falco sound like John Lee Hooker, I'd say that's about right.  But man, it's pretty fun.

Jonathan Fire*Eater - Tremble Under Boom Lights (1996).  Pretty decent organ-driven garage-rock EP from the band that preceded the Walkmen.


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