Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Music Library: Leon Payne, Leonard Cohen, Leroy Jenkins, Les Savy Fav, Lester Bangs, Lester Young, Letdowns, Li'l Cap'n Travis


Leon Payne - A Smattering Of Leon Payne Songs (1947-1956), A Living Legend of Country Music (1963), and I Love You Because (unknown).  I ganked all of these from a blog, so I'm not sure if any one ever had a proper release.  Payne was a blind songwriter who wrote, most notably, "Lost Highway," which is the most American song that has ever existed, and also "I Love You Because" and "Psycho," which mine two quite different veins of country music. 

Leonard Cohen - Songs Of Leonard Cohen (1967), Songs Of Love And Hate (1971), and The Best of Leonard Cohen (1967-1974).  Laughin' Lenny, as my friend Bill Ham puts it, is a songwriter who readers of this blog should probably already know.  I can't hear the first album without thinking of McCabe and Mrs. Miller.  I should have more of the guy's albums, but I heard the older ones so many times in the pre-digital music era that I've never picked them up.  It's been awhile, so I should.  Might be like running into an old friend.  A morose, depressed, sarcastic, caustic, and witty old friend.

Leroy Jenkins - Mixed Quintet (1979) and Live! (1992).  Not a lot of free jazz violinists out there.  Jenkins brings the riffable skronk, sounding quite a bit like King Crimson on some of these tracks.

Les Savy Fav - Go Forth (2001) and Inches (2004).  Speaking of skronk... wait, that doesn't work.  Les Savy Fav plays catchy art-punk, but it's not too skronky.  Anyway, these are great, fun albums.  Inches is a compilation of rarities from 1996-2004, but it feels like a complete work, which says quite a bit about Les Savy Fav's singularity of purpose over time.

Lester Bangs - Let It Blurt/Live (1979), Jook Savages On The Brazos (with the Delinquents, 1981), and Birdland with Lester Bangs (1986).  Bangs isn't that bad of a singer, actually.  His hoarse yelp has a little of Joey Ramone in it at times, which is fitting since the last of these bands features Mickey Leigh (aka Joey Ramone's brother).  The Delinquents are my favorite of these bands, actually, with their two guitar approach that has a bit of Television and Talking Heads to it.


Lester Young - Lester Young With The Oscar Peterson Trio (1952). First-rate bop with Young and Peterson's band, one of the best jazz quartets (including Peterson, who was apparently not part of the trio?) in the world at the time.

The Letdowns - "We Could Make Beautiful Space Babies Together, Wendy."  No idea where this single came from.  But it's a great power pop single with a killer chorus.

Li'l Cap'n Travis - "Little Drops Of Summer," Lonesome and Losin' (2002), and ...In All Their Splendor (2004).  Laconic country-rock from a great Austin band with some farflung influences.  There's Beach Boys in their vocals and a dreamy approach to many of the songs.  Good stuff.

2 comments:

Bob Andelman 5:51 PM, May 24, 2010  

You might also enjoy this Mr. Media interview with Legs McNeil, co-author (with Joey’s brother, Mickey Leigh) of I Slept with Joey Ramone and Please Kill Me.

Hayden Childs 9:37 PM, May 26, 2010  

Thanks! I'll check it out!

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