Monday, March 01, 2010

Music Library: Lauryn Hill, LaVerne Baker, Lawndale, LCD Soundsystem, Leadbelly, Led Zeppelin

Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998). With a title borrowed from Carter G. Woodson's 1933 diatribe The Miseducation of the Negro, one might expect this album to be a little more political and less personal.  But building, I suppose, on the assumption from first-wave feminism that the terms are identical, this appears to be a fairly personal work. It's a pop album that draws on hip-hop, R&B, and gospel music.  It's also my wife's album.  In fact, you the reader may know more about it than I do.  But I like it pretty well.

LaVerne Baker - "Saved."  Great gospel track from who-knows-where.

Lawndale - Beyond Barbeque (1986). This is the woolly and heavily stoned work of a surf band that was on SST back in the day.  Having recently finished Pynchon's Inherent Vice, with its many references to pyschedelic surf bands, I suspect Lawndale would be a favorite of Mr. Pynchon's.

LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem (2005) and Sound of Silver (2007).  Utterly delightful dance music from a chubby guy in his mid-to-late-30s (hey, that sounds like someone I know!) with hilarious lyrics that dissect the life of the aging hipster.  First rate.

Leadbelly - King of the 12-String Guitar (1935).  There's better Leadbelly collections out there, but this one is okay.  Not many of his best songs, though, and that's a shame for my only Leadbelly album.

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin (1969), Led Zeppelin II (1969), Led Zeppelin III (1970), Led Zeppelin IV (1971), Houses of the Holy (1973), and Physical Graffiti (1975). I listened to these - as well as the other three studio albums and The Song Remains The Same - practically every day for a while when I was a teenager.  And I've barely been able to stomach it since.  Coming back after 20-odd years, I hear that Jimmy Page is a surprisingly sloppy guitarist on the first three albums, but incredibly precise thereafter. The best of these is Physical Graffiti, which has elements of funk, pop, and psychedelia all in great proportion, although the album is too damn long.  And do I really need to tell you anything else about Led Zeppelin?


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