We have the Easter Bunny (hi, Mom!) to thank for the return of CD Monday.
Joan Baez’s latest was waiting for me in one of the Easter baskets hidden for my daughter to find, and I went ahead and started spinning it this morning. “The President Sang Amazing Grace” was playing when I made it to work, and I had a hard time leaving the car. It’s a really gripping and direct tune (written by Zoe Mulford), and Baez’s performance reminds me a little of her rendition of Bob Dylan’s “With God On Our Side” in how faithfully it renders the song’s sturdy structure. Maybe this is a leap, but both illustrate for me how you tend to cling to something solid when you’re shaken, physically or emotionally.
Joan Baez — “The President Sang Amazing Grace” (Zoe Mulford cover) [Spotify/Discogs]
The return of CD Monday! Well, not really. This is a more of one-off, given that my daughter is still threatening to melt down if she doesn’t get to determine the playlist during rides to and from work/daycare. (Potential DJ name: DJ Emotional Blackmail.) But I can listen to whatever I want while running lunch errands (!), and this week I’m getting reacquainted with Side Trips: Volume One, which is being issued for the first time on vinyl as part of this year’s Record Store Day: Black Friday event.
It’s a pretty snazzy album. Howard Wales wails (GET IT?!?) on Hammond organ and Fender Rhodes, and you get to hear how Jerry Garcia acts and reacts in a jazz setting. Parts can feel less like jazz and more like the middle of a Dead jam, but whatever. The vibe is fun and intuitive and exploratory, and it makes for great unfocused listening. Zone in. Zone out. Your call. It’s also perfect dinner music, assuming your guests are cool with meandering, guitar-driven jam-jazz. OK so maybe it’s better this is being reissued after Thanksgiving.
See y’all in line at BK Music on Friday!
Jerry Garcia & Howard Wales — “Space Funk” [YouTube]
Going to try to sneak some CD listening in this week. May just end up listening to Little Mermaid, like we have been lately. We’ll see. Looking at it as a win-win.
Very curious about what Then Play On has in store, because I’ve heard very little of it (it’s not on Spotify) and the friend who loaned it to me said it’s nothing like Mac’s later output. More bluesy, I’m told.
If it’s half as majestic as that cover art…
Fleetwood Mac — “Rattlesnake Shake” (live) [Discogs]
Back from Corolla, kicking off what’s sure to be a crazy week with an Iron Lung Corp album that my brother-in-law Brian has guitar credits on. He gave me a copy last week, and I can think of no better accompaniment to confronting the harsh reality of being back than industrial covers of songs by the likes of Peter Gabriel, The Cure, and Pink Floyd.
Iron Lung Corp — “The Blood” (The Cure cover) [Discogs]
I drove up to New Jersey with my mom weekend before last. Shortly after we hit the road, she gave me a few albums she’d been saving for me. Vince Mendoza’s Blauklang was the first we put in. Really interesting. Blurs the line between jazz and classical, starting with a dynamite version of Miles Davis’ “All Blues.” (Listen for the tone of the guitar — it sounds just like John Scofield, but it’s not. So crazy.)
Vince Mendoza — “All Blues” (Miles Davis cover) [Spotify/iTunes]
Another Toddler YHT pick. OK, so she was indiscriminately pulling CDs out of the rack, but once she’d assembled her options, she was resolute about this one.
I actually got to see some of these songs performed by an orchestra at Bonnaroo in 2004. I remember waiting around for what seemed like forever and wondering what the hell was happening onstage, and while it wasn’t perfect — I think the strings struggled with intonation because of the heat and humidity — it was a neat experience. Definitely a fish-out-of-water moment, both for Trey, who was taking a risk performing that style in that setting, and for those of us in the audience: I’m not sure how widely known this plan was, but I couldn’t have been the only one who showed up expecting to see a bunch of noodly guitar solos. That kind of friction doesn’t come about without a fair amount of bravery, and that bravery is a big part of why I look back on that performance (and this album) admiringly.
It’s a grab bag stylistically. Some great Copland-y passages, though, and “The Inlaw Josie Wales” is sweetly done. I’ll report back later in the week about “Guyute” — interested to see if this version is as epic as it seemed when Phish was in more regular rotation.
Trey Anastasio — “The Inlaw Josie Wales” [Spotify/iTunes]
Part two of the Marcus-led exploration of Mudcrutch. The album is called, fittingly, 2. I’ll report my findings on Friday.
Mudcrutch — “Trailer” [Spotify/iTunes]