Saturday, February 12, 2011

Spinning Vinyl

A few days ago I got some quality time with the stereo. It was only two hours on a weeknight, but it turned into a fine session of turntable love.

Side one of Free The Bees 2004 got things started. The Bees are a highly engaging psych-funk-rock outfit from England that have made some great records, and this one is particularly strong. The new one is good, too. The psychedelic opener These Are The Ghosts is a killer tune, and Wash In The Rain and No Atmosphere are both excellent.

Next up was the last side of the four-LP The Rolling Stones Singles Collection The London Years 1989. This is a very fun set that includes many rarely-heard B-sides. I listened to Brown Sugar, Wild Horses, Don't Know Why I Love You (a Stevie Wonder cover!), Try A Little Harder, Out Of Time (Jagger's 1966 version recorded by a non-Stones band), and Jiving Sister Fanny. Those last four are all rare singles and B-sides and fine performances. This box set is full of surprises like that and the vinyl sounds good, even if it was cut from digitally remastered recordings.

I had to get my fix of Kiln House, Fleetwood Mac's 1970 masterwork and Cristine McVie's debut with the group. Hi Ho Silver and the magnificent Jewel-Eyed Judy lit up the speakers with classic rock glory.

Speaking of classic records, Greg Allman's Laid Back from 1973 is near perfect. My drummer friend Todd mentioned it to me a few years ago, and I picked up a used copy. Allman's version of Jackson Browne's These Days is a terrific rendition of a fine song.

I'm soaking up the seventies by now, so why not Joni Mitchell's Miles Of Aisles, her 1974 live outing with The L.A. Express. Side four, with Carey, The Last Time I Saw Richard, Jericho, and Love Or Money is as good as Joni gets. The L.A. Express really found a sweet spot between Joni's early folk-pop and her later jazz leanings. They compliment her well throughout the entire record.

Back to the future, I grabbed Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga from 2007. I go back and forth on this band sometimes, but the trifecta of You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb, Don't You Evah, and the amazing Rhythm And Soul had me rockin' in that strange place this band inhabits.

The stereo was up pretty loud by now, and the attitude of Spoon made me long for some more concentrated sneer. I knew I couldn't go wrong with side four of The Clash's London Calling 1979. Lover's Rock, Four Horsemen, I'm Not Down, Revolution Rock, and Train In Vain. What an amazing album side. Hard core punks probably prefer earlier Clash, but it's hard to deny the the sheer perfection of London Calling, with so many classic tunes and a band clearly at the top of their game.

Time to wind down, and what better way to get back to earth than with The Band. I pulled out 1970's Stage Fright and listened to Stage Fright and The Rumor. I've always loved both of these songs, especially the moralistic tale of The Rumor, a simple reminder of the lasting damage done to reputation by oft-told lies.

Just another night of music on black plastic. For more of the occasional Spinning Vinyl series, try here or here.

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