Friday, October 31, 2014

Music Library Compilations: Hs and Is

Halloween Stomp: Jazz and Big Band Music for a Halloween Party! (unknown). Excellent compilation of jazzy, swingy halloween music.

Hand-Picked: 25 Years of Bluegrass on Rounder (rel. 1994). I used to like bluegrass so much more than I do now. It seems so humorless and conservative for people to focus on playing the same songs the same way over and over again to me now, though.

The Harder They Come Soundtrack (1972). Ain't much better than this, a flat-out perfect slice of reggae.

Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music (rel. 1952). You can hear while listening to this three-volume collection of race and hillbilly 78s exactly how it set off the folk revival in the 60s. Absolutely brilliantly curated. It brings history to life.

Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, Vol. 4 (rel. 2000). I've forgotten the circumstances behind this belated entry in the Harry Smith Anthology collection, but it stands strong with the previous albums.

Here It Is - The Music, Vol. 1 (1992). Weirdo Ryko sampler that pulls together the Residents and Keith Levene with the likes of Nanci Griffith and the Red Clay Ramblers.

High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass (rel. 1994). This is the soundtrack to a movie I've never seen. It's a very good bluegrass collection. The whole movie appears to be on YouTube for those who wish to pursue this movie.

Hills of Home: 25 Years of Folk Music on Rounder (rel. 1994). It calls itself a folk collection, but it means all sorts of music involving an acoustic guitar. There's some good and some bad, but it's on the whole better than the previous Rounder collection above.

Hitsville USA: The Motown Singles Collection 1959-71. I prefer Stax soul to Motown soul, but not by much.

Home Schooled: The ABCs of Kid Soul (2007). Another Numero Group compilation of soul nuggets, this one focuses on - surprise, surprise - kids playing soul music.

The Hottest State Soundtrack (2007). High on the list of things that I'm not sure why I have is this, the soundtrack to an Ethan Hawke-directed film that I've never seen and have no intention of doing so. It's all mellow, nonthreatening, folkish indie-rock.

I Am The Resurrection: A Tribute to John Fahey (2006). Fahey inspires weirdness in folk players, and this is an odd compilation that more or less works. Artists include Pelt, Sufjan Stevens, Calexico, Cul de Sac, members of Camper Van Beethoven/Monks of Doom.

Impossible But True: The Kim Fowley Story (1959-68). Fowley was behind a LOT of LA exploitation rock, but, as this collection shows, he was capable of striking a lot of gold.

In God's Country: The Music That Inspired The Joshua Tree (2003). A decent collection of folk, blues, country, and R&B that has god-knows-what connection to freakin' U2.

The Indestructible Beat of Soweto (1986). Great collection of afrobeat/afropop/folk music from Soweto.

An Introduction to Truth and Soul: Truth & Soul Sampler 2009. From this sampler, I'm guessing that this label seems to be reissuing soul albums from the 70s.

It Came From Memphis Too (2006). This is a compilation by the Memphis Industries label. The 60s girl-group-inspired tracks by the Pipettes and El Perro del Mar stand out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Music Library Compilations: Fs and Gs

Famous Shovels In Twain: The Believer 2006 Music Issue. There are a few tracks I like on this comp (Juana Molina and Six Organs of Admittance, for instance) and some I don't, but there is nothing coherent about it.

Fantasy Original Jazz Classics Sampler (rel. 2002). I generally think of Fantasy as a rock catalog because of CCR, but they definitely have jazz here. This selection leans heavily on white-friendly jazz.

Fast Product: Rigour, Discipline, and Disgust (1979). This is a great collection, with early Mekons and Gang of Four singles, as well as the Fire Engines and Human League, from when the latter was - more or less - a punk band.

Fifteen Minutes: A Tribute To The Velvet Underground (1994). Although there's some great names on the roster here (Nirvana, Buffalo Tom, Screaming Trees, Half Japanese, Ride, Wedding Present, Swervedriver), it's a pretty snoozeworthy effort. Echo & The Bunnymen's version of "Foggy Notion" is the high point, and it's not that great.

FLCL Original Soundtrack Vol 1: Addict (2000). This is mostly the work of the pillows, who I have reviewed elsewhere, but it still kicks.

Flying Nun 25th Anniversary Box Set (rel. 2006). A phenomenal argument for the deep bench of the mostly-New Zealand, some-Oz Flying Nun label. Yes, the Clean, the Chills, Bats, Tall Dwarfs, Able Tasmans, Verlaines, 3Ds, Bird Nest Roys, and the Renderers are all extraordinary, but so are the bands I've never even heard of outside of this collection. Excellent stuff, all around.

Folk Music U.S.A. Vol. 1 (rel. 1958). Top-notch Smithsonian collection. I picked it up when I didn't have another copy of "Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground," but this is thoroughly great.

The FolkScene Collection (1998). Outside of Richard Thompson's "Waltzing's For Dreamers," Dave Alvin's "Barn Burning," and Iris DeMent's "Our Town," this collection is utterly toothless twaddle. Some may call it Americana, but that's only true if the best America can do is the weird pumpkin whipped cream on top of some caffeine-free sugar-and-additives monstrosity that ends with "-accino."

Foundry: Sounds of Birmingham (1995). This is an old collection with a few songs by a couple of great early-90s Tuscaloosa bands: rock-with-horns-but-not-ska band Pain and the pre-Dexateens punk band the Phoebes. This is not one of the songs on the album.

Four Songs By Arthur Russell (2007). Proving that Arthur Russell is hard to cover, even Jens Lekman sounds out of his element here.

Freedom Haters Unite!: A Bloodshot Records Sampler, Vol. 6 (2006). Yet another of many Bloodshot samplers that I own, this one - like all of them, really - is reasonably strong.

Freedom Sings (2001). This is really a live album documenting a benefit for the First Amendment Center with a bunch of Nashville greats covering songs that have something to do with restricting freedom, I think? It's for a good cause.

Funk/Soul Revival: Classic Tracks and the New Breed (2007). I think this is a compilation from a label called Funk/Soul? It has Budos Band and is pretty damn good, at least.

Garage Swim (2013). First-rate compilation of a bunch of excellent garage-influenced bands active today, many of which I have waxed poetic elsewhere on this site. It's free at the [adult swim] site, so go get it.

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (2000). Curated by the RZA, this soundtrack is one of the best Wu Tang-adjacent albums I've heard.

Ghostly Swim (2008). Another free [adult swim] compilation, although I like this one less. Full of electronica circa 2008.

Glitter From The Litter Bin (2003). Glam nuggets from the cracks of the 70s.

Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal (2006). Like the Eccentric Soul releases, this is a Numero Group collection of soul nuggets, in this case all with a gospel focus. Solid, y'all.

Guitar Player Presents Legends of Guitar: Country, Vol. 1 (1990). This is a much better collection than it has any right to be, with some truly excellent guitar players represented (although many are arguably representing the country subgenre of western swing).

Guitarrorists (1991). This is a compilation of instrumentals by indie rock guitar greats. It is none of their best works, but it is ok.

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