Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Music Library: Michelle Shocked, Michio Kurihara, Mickey Baker, Midlake, Midori, Mike Doughty

Michelle Shocked - Arkansas Traveler (1992).  She's not my favorite songwriter, but Shocked's collaborators on this album are some of the best musicians of the last 40 years, and her approach to the material is surprisingly light and fun.  Among the people who play on this album are Pops Staples, members of The Band, Uncle Tupelo, Doc Watson, Norman Blake, and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown.

Michio Kurihara - Sunset Notes (2005). Kurihara is a legendary Japanese psychedelic guitarist who plays in Ghost and often sits in as a fourth member of the mighty Boris.  This solo album covers a wide range of styles and will please any fan of, well, psych rock.

Mickey Baker - The Wildest Guitar (1959). Mostly known for "Love Is Strange" (a song that always brings Sissy Spacek in Badlands to mind), Baker played on many of the seminal hits of the rock and roll era.  On this instrumental album, he demonstrates a style that is so advanced for the time that it is practically the blueprint for the blues-less blues of the Velvet Underground and all that followed.  Robert Quine usually made a point of mentioning Baker's influence. You can hear it here.

Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther (2006).  This is a next big thing band from 2006 that unfortunately bores me to tears. They sound like Gerry Rafferty and Bread and cocaine, and I guess I can appreciate that 70's Laurel Canyon soft rock sound a little bit sometimes, but usually it's despite the production, not because of it.  This album is hard to hear because it seems that the production is all that it is. I remember 70s radio; I don't want to relive it.

Midori - Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto In D Major, Op 35: Allegro Moderato (with The Berlin Philharmonic, 1998) and Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat major, Concert For Violin, Piano and Orchestra in D Major (with Nobuko Imai and Christoph Eschenbach, 2001). I'm way too much the dilettante to tell you anything about Midori's style or skill.  She plays this lovely compositional music very well.  Per my modus operandi for classical music, I will now reclassify these albums under the composer's name.

Mike Doughty - "Sunkeneyed Girl." Not being a fan of Soul Coughing, I'm not much a fan of Doughty.  This song, it's okay.  Off a comp from some time in the past, I believe.


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