Saturday, September 28, 2013

Music Library: Sam and Dave, Sam Cooke, Samamidon, Samuel Beckett, Sandy Denny, Sanford Clark, Santogold, Sarah Vaughan, Erik Satie, Scarnella

Sam & Dave - The Best Of Sam & Dave (1965-69). This is a Stax collection of one of the most iconic of Stax duos. So iconic, in fact, that this is what I generally mean when I talk about R&B from the 60s. This video has them backed by the MGs and (I think) the Memphis Horns. DAMN!

Sam Cooke - Live At The Harlem Square Club 1963, Night Beat (1963), The Rhythm And The Blues (compilation of My Kind Of Blues, 1961, and Mr. Soul, 1963), You Send Me (compilation, 1957-60), and Portrait Of A Legend 1951-64. Cooke is the quintessential artist who died far too young, which these albums bear out. Both the Live 1963 album and Night Beat cook throughout. The Rhythm And The Blues compiles tracks from two other albums without including all of them, and it, too, sizzles with energy. You Send Me is the weakest of these, focusing mostly on cuts from his 1959 Billie Holliday tribute album, while Portrait compilation collects singles from his all-too-brief career and adds a very early gospel track.

Samamidon - All Is Well (2007). Young folkie guy playing old folkie music with young folkie friends. He's a little precious, but it's okay.

Samuel Beckett - Krapp's Last Tape (1960). This is a recording of the first American production of Beckett's one-man play. Amazing.

Sandy Denny - The North Star Grassman And The Ravens (1971) and Sandy (1972). After Fairport and Fotheringay, these are Denny's first two solo albums, both just as lovely as they could possibly be. While I love her voice, which is somehow simultaneously sweetly clear and a little smoky, her songs really shine here.

Sanford Clark - "The Girl On Death Row" and "The Fool." Excellent music on the cusp of country and rockabilly.

Santogold - Santogold (2008). What is this? Punk and psych-influenced R&B with a catholic set of influences. Crazy! And very cool! This song is apparently based on Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain.

Sarah Vaughan - Verve Jazz Masters 18 (collection, 1954-1963), Sarah Vaughan's Finest Hour (collection, 1945-1965), and Gold Collection (live, 1984). What a voice! The first two of these collect a number of her singles and album tracks, mostly concentrating on the late 50s. The Gold Collection is a live set that Allmusic sets as 1984, which seems reasonable enough.

Erik Satie - Works For Piano (Aldo Ciccolini, 1986) and Pièces Pour Guitare (Pierre Laniau, 1988). If you have ever wondered whether Satie's compositions, whom I have discussed elsewhere on the blog before, sounds different when performed on piano or guitar, I can now tell you that they do not.

Scarnella - Scarnella (1998). Immediately following the grand majesty of the Geraldine Fibbers and before the skronky confusion of Evangelista, Carla Bozulich and her then-husband Nels Cline made this maddeningly gnomic and seemingly self-contained album. It is quite beautiful at times, but it does not ever let the listener in.


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