Since the last time I updated here, I have managed to rip two more vinyl records. The first was Chicago VI.
Released in 1973, Chicago VI was a standard, 10-song record. It included hits “Just You ‘n’ Me,” “In Terms of Two,” and “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day.” Okay…maybe “In Terms of Two” wasn’t a hit. Here’s a youtube of “Feelin’ Stronger.” (No video, just a picture of the album…there was a live video, but it was recorded in 2006…no Peter Cetera.)
Next up, of course, is Chicago VII, released in 1974. With this album, they returned to the double LP format, but it only has 15 songs.
The singles from this album were “(I’ve Been) Searchin’ For So Long,” “Call On Me,” and “Wishing You Were Here.” Oddly, the entire first side is mostly, if not all, instrumental (right this moment, I can’t remember). Here is a youtube of “Wishing You Were Here.” Did you know that three of the Beach Boys sang backup vocals on this song? I didn’t either. I just learned that today.
I always loved this song.
The next album in the “1000 Recordings” list that I was successful in finding was a piano album by Martha Argerich and the Berlin Philharmonic. On this recording are Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G.
The caption over the article says, “Subtle Power at the Piano.” I agree. This a beautiful, rather stunning recording. I love a good piano concerto, and these are two very good ones. Unfortunately, most people only know “Bolero” from Ravel’s catalog (Thank you very much, Bo Derek!). (That was sarcasm, in case you didn’t catch that.) (She destroyed that song for a lot of people, you know.) (I’ll stop with the parentheses, now.) I like what Tom Moon says about the Ravel in this paragraph:
The Ravel is a clattering pastiche, with echoes of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Argerich skips through a short solo passage, and when the strings re-enter, Ravel’s score asks the pianist to provide crisp upper-register frosting for a series of pretty string-ensemble chords. But Argerich doesn’t oblige immediately. She hangs back, forcing the ensemble to listen long enough to fall in sync with her rhythm, which is anything but obvious. Coyly, deliberately, she places each chord just a whisker behind where it should metrically go. Inside that split-second hesitation is a drama that cannot be notated, and Argerich makes the most of the “stolen” space: When the pulse returns, she has snapped all involved to a higher level of attention.
This recording was released in 1996 on Deutsche Grammophon records, still one of my favorite classical music labels.
Here is a youtube of the third movement of the Ravel. Watch her hands! Oh. My. Gosh. I’m a piano player, okay? And this blows me away. I have never heard of Martha Argerich until a couple weeks ago. She is an amazing talent.
Next up was a hip hop recording by Arrested Development, called “Three Years, Five Months, and Two Days in the Life of…” Apparently so called because it took them that long to find someone willing to release this album.
Now, anyone who knows me very well knows that I am not a big fan of hip hop. But this? This album was FUN! I loved it! The caption for the article is “Life-Affirming Alternative Rap.” And it is! It’s all positive! I couldn’t believe it. These guys might even be classified as Christians, although I’m not positive about that. They definitely espouse some kind of belief in God. The key tracks, according to Mr. Moon, were “Mama’s Always on Stage,” “Tennessee,” and “Fishin’ 4 Religion.” Two other good ones are “Give A Man A Fish,” and “People Everyday,” which samples Sly Stone’s “Everyday People.” Here’s a youtube of “Fishin'” It sounds like they’re dissing religion, but what I hear is a criticism of ineffective religion.
The most recent recording was called “Urban Bushmen” by the Art Ensemble of Chicago. This is categorized as “jazz.” The caption over the article says, “A New Kind of Jazz Storytelling.”
This live recording was released in 1982, and is a double disc album. Mr. Moon recommends “Bush Magic,” “Sun Precondition Two/Theme for Sco,” “New York Is Full of Lonely People,” and “Ancestral Meditation.”
Let me just say right off the bat that I don’t get it. I do appreciate good jazz, but, in my opinion, this is not it. The “Sun Precondition” track starts off with a five minute drum solo (the track itself is about 20 minutes), and is followed by what sounds like a middle school band ad-libbing on the them of “Revele.” To my ears (and I do have two music degrees, thank you very much), this sounds like pure cacophony. There are obviously some good musicians in this group, and their talent did come through from time to time. But this mode of jazz is beyond my scope of appreciation. The track “Ancestral Meditation” sounded like everyone held a single note for about 5 minutes. Oh, and the notes did not mesh with each other. It was just a long, dissonant hum. So this little piece of the 1000 Recordings was a definite miss for me. But that’s okay. I don’t expect to like all of his picks.
I couldn’t find a video of anything from this recording, but here is a sort of collage that I found with several pieces mixed together.
Next up…Fred Astaire, and then “Chester and Lester.” Next vinyl to rip is, of course, Chicago VIII. Until then…