Plenty of vacation days, lots of lazy reading, and heat without the humidity. Those were just a few of the highlights of my August. Here are ten more:
1] Lee Hazlewood * Requiem For An Almost Lady
Hazlewood passed away on August 4th, but his music lives on…
2] Sue Carpenter * 40 Watts From Nowhere
A hilarious and revealing look at the inner workings of pirate radio. The author – my new hero – ran stations in San Francisco (KPBJ) and Los Angeles (KBLT) and she packs this slim volume with lots of anecdotes and plenty of suspense. Highly recommended.
3] Willie Colon y Hector Lavoe * Cosa Nuestra
This is the latest in a long line of Fania reissues that I’ll be buying. One of the great Salsa albums ever recorded, it features one of the coolest album covers ever.
4] The 2007 Newport Jazz Festival
Another great jazz festival with an extra special bonus – no humidity! My special thanks to the P family for hosting, and to the town of Newport for being so easy on the eyes.
5] Trout Mask Replica * by Kevin Courrier [33 & 1/3 series]
Big credit to the author – he took an album that’s dreadful to listen to and made a pretty fun read out of it. Dark tales of mind control, mascera snakes, and rotting carp heads make for another winner in the 33 & 1/3 series of album biographies.
6] Otis Redding * The Best Of
A fantastic album for hot August nights. Otis simply ignites every song that he puts his voice to. Hearing his version of ‘(Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ reminded me of reading that Redding’s version, with the horns, is how Keith Richards actually heard the song in his head before it was recorded, and that he preferred Redding’s version to the Stones’ own.
7] Max Roach * We Insist! Freedom Now Suite
In tribute to another fallen legend – bebop drummer Roach passed away on August 16th at age 83. Recorded in 1960 with a group that included vocalist Abbey Lincoln, Coleman Hawkins on tenor sax, Booker Little on trumpet, and many other luminaries, this meditation on freedom and equality is Roach’s masterwork.
8] Elvis Presley * From Vegas To Memphis
I picked up this double album for a song at the most recent flea market. It features two live concerts, one from Vegas, one from Memphis, and both from 1969. This album could have easily been included on this list, and backs up commenter Ted’s assertion that “never was a better pure rock band assembled.”
9] Julian Bream * Baroque Guitar
Classical guitarist Bream’s baroque renditions are the perfect background music for intense work – which I have unfortunately been doing plenty of lately.
10] Nelson George * The Death Of Rhythm & Blues
Uber-critic George’s look at the history of black radio and music features plenty of great lines on early dj’s, like “When [Frankie] Crocker said, ‘Music might not heal you, baby, but it’ll help your soul. Reach over and touch your radio one time,’ speakers were fondled all over Fun City.” But this is a truly critical take on the negative toll that integration forced upon black music in the 70’s and 80’s. Worth your dime, and your time…