OK, so I’m definitely playing fast and loose with the Record Store Report concept, but whatever. I spent a short week in a place without a single record store and managed to bring home seven albums, thanks largely to Mrs. YHT’s Aunt Barbara and the Treasure Guide™ she so kindly dogeared for me.
Johnny Smith — In a Mellow Mood
I started at an unfamiliar location of a familiar haunt: Goodwill. Was rewarded with two old-school, 10-inch jazz albums, and the first is a serious keeper. Smith’s playing is blissfully smooth in spots and blistering in others, always crisp and meticulous. What a talent.
Jimmy Dorsey — Latin American Favorites
My other Goodwill acquisition, though I’m not sold on keeping this one. The singing is a little on the corny side. Apparently “Brazil” is in the Grammy Hall of Fame, so there’s that.
After striking out at a couple of other stores, I hit up the Litter Box, which had a double-sided, three-tiered bookshelf full of records. $.50. This was fun. After some tough cuts, I ended up with:
Jorge Ben — Tropical
Speaking of Brazil — at some point I got the impression that there’s a bubble around the value of Brazilian music on vinyl. I don’t know if that’s actually true, but the median Discogs price for this was enough for me to overlook a fairly ominous scratch to see if this would play all the way through. Not only does it play beautifully, it’s way too groovy to cash in on. It’s wonderfully diverse in terms of style, with a ton of soul mixed in. Mrs. YHT and I listened while cooking dinner last night and it got her seal of approval, then it got Sleepwalker Michael Yorke’s on Instagram. Just excellent all around.
Various — The Black Swing Tradition
A two-disc compilation of 78 releases from black artists during the swing era. I’m not familiar with any of these folks (though I did spend some time on Hot Lips Page’s Wikipedia page while at the Litter Box) so there’s lots to learn here.
John Fahey — A New Possibility
Already have this, but I couldn’t leave one of the greatest Christmas albums of all time just sitting there in South Carolina. It’s so hot there. Do you like Christmas music? Have a record player but don’t have a copy of this? Let me know.
Max Greger — Greger in the Night
Last stop was the Bargain Box, which had a rack of albums just inside the front door on the right. Also $.50. I watched a couple old Bond movies while in Jersey the previous weekend (Dr. No and Goldfinger), and this album could have soundtracked all the worst and jauntiest parts of both. But just look at the girl in the red hat. So badass. Like Blue Steel™ before there was a Blue Steel™. How could I say no to Blue Steel™? AND THAT HAT?!?
The Young Tuxedo Brass Band – Jazz Begins: Sounds Of New Orleans Streets: Funeral And Parade Music
Two recent trends — a increasing interest in gospel and a greater appreciation for New Orleans after visiting at the end of last year — converge here. Was so thrilled to find this. Makes me think of the Garden District cemetery we toured while we were there. And by “toured” I mean “awkwardly walked a few steps behind a tour group.” Call it a second line.
I listened to this first when we got back to Richmond. It seemed like a fitting spin given the disparaging news I’d been following last week. So many guns. So much wrong. I desperately wish I could write some impactful, incisive sentence that would make make a dent in the issue and change a large number of hearts about the careless, destructive nature of the NRA or the necessity for a more modern interpretation of the Second Amendment. I truly believe that sentence exists, but I don’t know what it is. Something about our shared sense of responsibility or about guns being the clear independent variable in so many horrific situations.
It reminds me of what it’s like to move from your mid-twenties to your thirties. All the bad habits you have — eating fast food, drinking too much or too often, sleeping too little — start catching up with you, and you suddenly realize things like “Wow, every time I eat at McDonald’s, I feel like shit. Maybe I shouldn’t eat there.” or “Every time I get drunk, I get in a fight with my girlfriend. Maybe my drinking is the issue, not her.”
It genuinely feels to me like our country needs to grow up. The only question is how much damage will be done before we commit to doing so. In meantime, we’re going to need a hell of a lot of the light-in-the-face-of-darkness hope exemplified below.