Tuesday, December 26, 2006

List of Jack’s Best 2006

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Here’s this years picks that clicked. This year I’m gonna focus on songs rather than albums. Don’t know, may have done that last year too, for that matter. As we’ve said, the industry is moving back to this idea of the single. And it is probably what people want, and what the artists are capable of. I don’t mind paying 99 cents to see if there is a there there, as for example, with JJ Cale and Eric Clapton, or Cat Ibraham Stevens or the Holy Modal Rounders meet Godzilla.

But before I babble on too much … here is the List of Jack’s Best 2006.

The Levee’s Gonna Break - Bob Dylan, from Modern Times
Till I Gain Control Again - Van Morrison, from Pay the Devil
That Kind of Fool – Jerry Lee Lewis (duet with Keith Richards), from Last Man Standing
Maimed Happiness – The New York Dolls, from One Day it Will Please Us to Remember Even This
This Is Us – Mark Knopfler and Emmy Lou Harris
Buried Alive in the Blues – Chicago Blues Reunion, from Buried Alive in the Blues

But different this year is a total lack of effort to reach out to different types of music These are all just about golden rockin 60s oldies people. High geezer factor. Also a pretty white bunch. And mostly guys. This is due to some budget cutbacks at MoonTravellerHerald. But understand, by saving money on CDs, we are able to keep a full staff, no layoffs, and bring the news you need regularly to you good people out there like you expect. Did just get a great Christmas present from Cecelia: The 2006 release of King of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Vol. 1 by Sol Hoopii [1927 – 1936]. Just getting into that. She got it at the Tower Records fire sale.

Kwitcherbellyachin .. okay.

I hear and buy and lease and burn plenty of stuff from many music types, don’t get me wrong. Finding stuff that is specifically from 2006 is actually the mitigating factor.. And one of the above numbers actually isn’t truly from 2006. The devil made me add it. Too, I’ve tried in the past to balance up music and downer music. Not this time.

I like to think the previous incarnations of this project are worth a look see. So the addresses for these cavalcades are offered here. My top picks for 2005 - ProudTruth Awards for Music of 2003 - Music Faves of Ought Two


imgThe Levee’s Gonna Break – Bob Dylan, from Modern Times.
Eagerly awaited and no let down the CD. So what’s your favorite number? Mine is The Levee’s Gonna Break. It’s got a good Choctaw beat, and you can dance to it. I remember this: AOL did a videocast of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, put together with grit and groceries in the Spring after Hurricane Katrina. And Dylan was a headliner. And there he was doing “The Levee’s Gonna Break” which I at the time took to be Flash on the Levee but wondered because it was upbeat. The camera was set back in the jiggy grunge audience, and a guy in white shirt and his bohemian babe in sun skirt were doing the second line two step. Which all seems terribly apropos of art’s ability to change things. In my opinion. Doom, determination, blues, beat. This song has got it..”Some people on the road carrying everything they own.” The indelible image now obscured in public consciousness by news of Lindsay Lohan and Miss Teen USA. I view the album as one in a series of three.

Also see...
Modern Times Review 9/2006
Another week of Dylan blogging 9/2006

imgTill I Gain Control Again - Van Morrison, from Pay the Devil.
Van the Man has gotten a bit too good at rewriting other songs [say from New Orleans era, Tin Pan Alley, or Sam Cooke oeuvre ] with his own semipoetic twist and oddball delivery. He's also taken part in too many themed CDs [tribute to jazz, tribute to skiffle, etc.] and this coupled with his limited capacity for humor has put him in the category of old fart. So you don’t expect too much from his country send up call Pay the Devil, right? Ok he's got you. The humor is bubbling. The performances are just slightly over the top, and the authors largely are not Van! Then you hear him sing - over a great combo - "Darling, I only hope that you will hold me now, until I gain control again." He takes on Rodney Crowell's Till I Gain Control and knifes it. This is the number that got me off my butt to buy a CD that is a virtually complete success. Till I Gain Control is about a cat trying to get it together, whose plaint is understated yet desperate.

imgThat Kind of Fool – Jerry Lee Lewis (duet with Keith Richards), from Las Man Standing.
Many years now Jerry Lee Lewis was in a holding pattern. Not heard from. But I heard tell that hours after his most recent divorce became final, he was in the air to gigging in Europe. This record is deeper than his last – more cuts. It is one of those duet things. The selection I pick is That Kind of Fool. He sings this country beer bar ballad with Keith Richards whose singing, well, it just keeps improving. “Look at that fool, one drink and he goes home ..” In this story Jerry is painting a picture of a bar lounge lizard ne’er-do-well observing an occasional imbiber paying his tab. Jerry’s whole life passes in front of him. At the trailer, you can here an energetic Englishman [Richards] enthuse: “Got the feeling Jerry!”


imgMaimed Happiness – The New York Dolls, from One Day it Will Please Us to Remember Even This.
This was impulse buy. Jake and I were down in old New York. Had seen the Doll posters - they’d [all two of them original] just put out their first record in over 30 years. And there it was on sale, at Virgin near 14th St, and, anyway, they’d been king of the downtown when I was there way back. Seemed like a theme to go with. Included a DVD [which had some interesting musician interplay - always fascinating, that - including discussion of how not to chord like the Rolling Stones - beside guitar choice, it is a matter of pick strum effect ]. There was a really tremendous this is the next big band thing going on with the Dolls in their time and place - and many sad end results that now give their music even greater depth. David Johanssen’s lyrics and performance on Maimed Happiness show a world-weary Doll, a ground down Doll. To the tune of a doo-wop slow dance waltz. At the end of all the parties, hope and hype: dread. ‘’Been to the doctor, not a lot he can do. Says: ‘You got the human condition, son I feel sorry for you.’’’ A mediation on sorrowful joy. Magic that disappears.

Also see
Subway to glitter 6/2006

imgBuried Alive in the Blues – Chicago Blues Reunion, from Buried Alive in the Blues.
Once John Sinclair told me someone asked him to take part in something or review it..it was called "Chasing the Blues." And he said to me: "Have you ever heard something so stupid?" Well I kind of looked at him, dumbly. So he sayd "You run from the blues, you don't chase it." Well blues is about living..for sure..so being buried alive in it is particularly poignant. Nick Gravenites has been carrying this song for years, but he really hit it with the Chicago Blues Reunion group at the end of last year. We saw the band and him do it in Feb in S.F. Since then, it has been on my CD rondelle on many a Friday morning - as I shuffled off to Daily Breadland."Its sunday morning everybody's in bed...this big dumb brickwall ain't heard a word I said. I'm buried alive in the blues." It is a blues march, driven by Harvy Mandel's guitar..including a transcendent [3-bar?] lead exercise in guitar dramatics.

Also see:
Blues Reunion 2/2006

Also noted

This Is Us – Mark Knopfler and Emmy Lou Harris
Power chords, high mandolins, cool attitude. Known life. Kodaks moments. Pretty simple stuff sufficed with high art. This is us. The straight dire drone. You and me making history. Sad to say, I have had enough of Emmy Lou’s heavenly nose borne intonations at this point. But she is the greatest long time running she singer. And she’s back with this one…just like all the guys above back from obscura of varieties. The piece with Knobfler dopler a tad too laconic maybe. The drummer don’t care. It’s the snare head hit of the year. Crossed many playlists. And I got this as iPod thing for 99 cents .. lived to see it.. no idea about the album or the DVD… got it just like I usta get some of those old 45s at Woolworths, cept there was a lotta techno-doo-doo on the way.

Further also noted, great songs on Film Soundtracks in 2006:
Sister Ray, Velvet Underground – “Brick”
Sweet Dreams, Roy Buchanan – “The Departed”
Hardcore Troubadour, Steve Earle – “Talledega Nights”

Past lists
Again, I like to think the previous incarnations of this project are worth a look see. So the addresses for these cavalcades are offered here. My top picks for 2005 - ProudTruth Awards for Music of 2003 - Music Faves of Ought Two

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