Music Library Catch-Up: Belle Adair, Big Star, Bowie, Sally Crewe, Dave Van Ronk, Dexateens, Drive-By Truckers, Godspeed You? Black Emperor
Belle Adair - The Brave And The Blue (2013). This is a lovely blend of country-pop and chamber-pop, like a more relaxed version of The National. They remind me a lot of a old band I like a lot called Champale. Both have a quiet emotional base and lyrics that can pack a wallop.
Big Star - Nothing Can Hurt Me (2012). This is the soundtrack to the excellent Big Star documentary, which somehow includes unheard alternate versions of many of their songs, despite the fact of the box set that came out in 2010. It also contains new mixes of a few of the songs. The original Big Star engineer John Fry is shown mixing these songs in the movie and, well, this particular Big Star fan finds them amazing.
David Bowie - Space Oddity (40th Anniversary Edition) (1969). Not Bowie's finest album by a long shot, but an interesting start to his career. I had more or less overlooked that I did not have this album until talking with friends about Bowie's best work last week. They mentioned two songs I didn't know, "Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud" and "Memory Of A Free Festival," so I picked this up.
Sally Crewe - Live At WFMU (2011). This is a live set with Doug Gillard on lead guitar. Truly excellent stuff and available for free on the internets.
Dave Van Ronk - Down In Washington Square: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection (released 2013). Coming out on Smithsonian Records in a few weeks just in time for the Coen Brothers' next film Inside Llewyn Davis, this collection features tracks by Van Ronk from 1959 through 2001. Van Ronk was the New York folkie who spearheaded the folk revival of the early 1960s and who taught a kid from Minnesota named Bobby Zimmerman a few folk songs. Zimmerman, of course, stole those songs and made them his own and, incidentally, reinvented music. Van Ronk is rawer than Dylan ever was, and he's an excellent interpreter of these songs, which span the 20th century.
The Dexateens - Live At The Georgia Theatre August 23, 2013. New version of the Dexateens kicking off their fall tour with a big stomp.
The Drive-By Truckers - Alabama Ass Whuppin' (2000). Live before the Southern Rock Opera, their songs were reaching towards greatness at this point.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (2012). Ten years after the last album, GY!BE put the band back together and made an album that sounded of a piece with their earlier work.