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The college of musical knowledge

Django ReinhardtDjango Reinhardt, one of the greatest guitarists of all time—really.

Here are the CDs I've bought lately that I haven't had a chance to listen to very much, if at all:

• Django Reinhardt, The Classic Early Recordings in Chronological Order, a 5-CD set.
The Best of Ray Charles, the Atlantic Years.
• Joe Bonamassa, Live from New York.

I'm going to see Ian Hunter on Dec. 8, so I've got some catching up to do:
When I'm President, released earlier this year, an instant classic, 10 perfect songs but then, alas, a clunker at the end.
Shrunken Heads, from 2007, which has slipped from my original rating of 10 out of 10 to a mere 9.5.
Man Overboard, from 2009. I've only listened to it once and haven't quite got my ears wrapped around it.
Rant, which is out in my pickup truck's CD player. Didn't care at all for it at first, but repeated listens seem to be paying off with this one.

Hunter has been turning out great songs since his days in Mott the Hoople, thought-provoking lyrics in anything from pensive ballads to flat-out rockers. In fact, the song "What For" from this album is the best song the Rolling Stones never recorded.

New from earlier this year, Aimee Mann, Charmer. Mann is one of the smartest songwriters around, and this is her strongest collection of songs. If you want to start with just a single tune to sample the disc, try "Labrador."

Expected in the mail Monday: Graham Parker and the Rumour, Three Chords Good. Yes, GP and the Rumour are back together after 30 years or so; if they have their old chops, this will be a formidable album. This is the band that released "Squeezing Out Sparks" in 1979, an album that most critics rank among the top 100 rock albums of all time, despite its age. The only thing that irritates me about this is that the band is touring, but the closest the tour comes to where I live is a city that's a six-hour drive away.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 18th, 2012 09:43 pm (UTC)
I hate to be the one to deliver the news, but I am one up on you when it comes to Fine Music. I have been inexplicably friended here on LJ - it appears I am the only person thus lucky enough - by someone named franklinmckay, who is "a fresh new artist with a soul full of passion expressed through his exciting voice and melodies that do not fail to deliver in any way."

Franklin was thoughtful enough to post a video of his new Christmas hit just for me, his only friend. I think you'll agree with me that his phrasing is unique.

Nov. 18th, 2012 10:47 pm (UTC)
Oh my. Ten seconds into it, and I had already concluded "hokey." Cliché lyrics and a voice that is, ah, let's say not quite ready for a nationwide tour. I only lasted 42 seconds. Does it suddenly turn marvelous later in the clip.

That's the kind of "friending" that would send Jill Kelley whining to her FBI friends. Who knows? If you report this to the right people then you, too, could take down a general.
Nov. 18th, 2012 11:14 pm (UTC)
I got into the second verse and couldn't stand any more. Maybe later on it became brilliant, but I guess I'll never know.
Nov. 19th, 2012 01:36 am (UTC)
Django Reinhardt - thanks for the introduction. I spent some satisfying time over at YouTube listening to him.
Nov. 19th, 2012 02:18 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked the music. As a music lover, that's one of my great joys: introducing people to artists they've never heard before.

It's hard to see in the photo, but he was badly burned in a fire when he was 18 (he was making money as a musician at 13) and lost the use of two of his fingers on his left hand.

I have seen "best guitarists ever" polls that rank him No. 1. Considering he's been dead for more than 60 years, and considering that most of his career was spent playing jazz in France, that's a testament to just how good he was.

Nov. 19th, 2012 02:54 pm (UTC)
# 2 ain't bad.


I introduced Django to my eldest son years ago for a project he was doing for school. Always exciting to open someone's eyes (and ears) to something or someone they had never known previously.

Django was considered a gypsey -- with all of the good and bad connotations that came with the term in the '30's. He may be a bit tame compared with today's style of play but, as with Hendrix in the 60's, his playing was like nothing that had been heard before.
Nov. 19th, 2012 11:02 pm (UTC)
I broke out the Reinhardt today, intending to play it as background music while I took care of a few loose items at work. No way. The music demanded I listened to it. Mind-blowingly good. Before, I only knew him by reputation. Now, I see where that reputation came from.

And Stéphane Grappelli, the violin player in his band, is a monster in his own right.

So much of being a serious music fan involves journeying back in time, don't you think? Richard Thompson back to Fairport Convention; Clapton back to the Yardbirds and Robert Johnson; John McLaughlin back to Miles Davis; Stevie Ray Vaughan back to the three Kings ...
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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