It’s customary to start year-end lists by chewing some fat about how making them is strange and difficult work, and in general, I find that these intros can be exceedingly skippable. Everyone knows that album rankings are subjective (even when they’re created on behalf of a publication or website), and no one needs to be reminded that the list maker didn’t listen — and couldn’t have listened, of course! — to every single thing that came out in the preceding 12 months. You don’t share Santa Claus’ knack for bending the space-time continuum. Understood. But before I get to my Top 10 albums, I would like to share a quick story about how I came up with my list, and how Beyoncé helped me find meaning in this whole strange and difficult exercise.
Merry Christmas, y’all!
Before I hop on the doghouse to eat a few bones and read the paper, I thought I’d share Studio 360’s telling of how Vince Guaraldi got hooked up with the Peanuts gang.
Studio 360 — Vince Guaraldi: A Charlie Brown Christmas
So the dam broke two nights ago. While at Steady Sounds for Daniel Bachman’s in-store, I bought a reissue of A Charlie Brown Christmas and chased it with copies of James Brown’s “Santa Claus Is Definitely Here To Stay” and the Blind Boys of Alabama “Christmas In Dixie” 7-inch that came out on Black Friday. Went home, listened to those. Then I busted out my recently acquired and festively green How the Grinch Stole Christmas soundtrack, discovering — much to Mrs. YHT’s and my delight — that, yes, it does indeed feature all of the original TV special’s narration. (I might as well buy a second copy now, because this one’s getting worn out in no time.) Then Stevie Wonder’s Christmas album happened, prompting me to tweet, tumbl and instragram that “You know shit’s getting Christmassy when Stevie Wonder starts harmonica soloing to ‘Ave Maria’ in your living room.”
Like I said. The dam broke.
Hey RVA folks — you should go to Steady Sounds at 6 p.m. this evening. A guitarist named Daniel Bachman (pictured above, in the art for his new album, Jesus I’m A Sinner) is performing, and it’s absolutely, positively worth your time. How do I know? He did an in-store at Steady Sounds back in January that knocked my socks off and launched the 1,100-word essay below, on open tuning and focal points and why I might owe the Goo Goo Dolls an apology. I’ve been excitedly waiting until just the right moment to publish this, so I hope you enjoy it and then join me at 6 at Steady Sounds.
I want to thank Daniel Bachman for undoing something The Goo Goo Dolls did 18 years ago.
Got this one from Little Amps’ other location, on the corner of State and Second in downtown Harrisburg. Also a reissue, I believe. This location’s collection was even smaller, but I wanted to take approximately half of it home, including a copy of Dr. John’s In The Right Place that I managed, somehow, to release back into the wild. I couldn’t resist this one, though.
[Editor’s Note: This is Part II of (what I just decided is called) the Super-Concise Black Friday(ish) Record Spree Recap. For Part I, click here.]
Super-devoted YHT readers already know I had eyes for the Live at the Apollo record pictured above. I was on the fence about waiting to find an older, used pressing vs. caving and buying a reissued one, but I caved in spectacular fashion, buying shiny, new reissues of both Live at the Apollo and Pure Dynamite! from Little Amps Coffee’s Green Street location in Harrisburg, PA.
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. And then you pour some vodka in that lemonade, because stress and vodka are best friends, and Jesus didn’t invent vodka so we could sit around and watch it go bad, ya know?
Wait… what were we talking about? Lemons. Lemonade. Right.
Two things are going on right now. Thing 1 is that I went on a borderline-irresponsible record-buying spree last weekend that only partially involved Record Store Day’s Black Friday event. Thing 2 is that I have some non-YHT writing that needs to get done, leaving me less than the usual allotment of time for bloggishness. So I’m gonna do a series of quick hits on the stuff I picked up over the long weekend, starting with Roland Kirk’s The Inflated Tear.