I’ve done a book shopping post – I’ve gotten quite a few books this past couple months, and I’ve also gotten some new music – I usually get my music through amazon.com – I love their used CD section, because you can get some really good deals. I also love going to Reckless Records – locations include one in Bucktown/Wicker Park, Lakeview and the Loop –
So, in the past couple months I got the following CD’s:
Diana Krall, Christmas Songs – I got this CD because I love Krall’s version of “Christmas Time Is Here” from the Charlie Brown Christmas TV special. I don’t own any Diana Krall CD’s, but I have albums with her as a guest, and I love her deep, sultry voice. I’ve listened to her version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and love that song, too. I love Christmas CD’s and I especially love jazz Christmas CD’s.
Ingrid Chavez, “Hippy Blood” EP – Those who know me know that I’m a huge Prince fan, and I love his spin-off projects as well. Chavez is well-known for being one of the writers of Madonna’s big hit, “Justify My Love.” She’s not really a singer – she’s more of a poet who recites her work over dance beats – I guess you could say she’s the dance-pop version of Laurie Anderson. I have her LP, and was surprised to see this maxi-single, with remixes for such a low price.
Sue Ann, Blue Velvet – More Prince-associated acts, this one a really great funk-dance singer from the mid 1980’s, whose album’s produced by one of Prince’s guitarists Jesse Johnson (who has done some amazing solo stuff as well).
Bob Dylan, Under the Red Sky – I’ve been going through a Bob Dylan-phase and have most of his 60’s and 70’s work – his 80’s work has been woefully underappreciated, so I got this album, which boasts some famous guest stars (including Elton John and Don Was).
Bob Dylan, Empire Burlesque – Probably the best and most-appreciated of Dylan’s 80’s work, that has him experimenting with drum machines and synthesizers.
Bob Dylan, Time Out of Mind – This was a huge hit for him in the late 1990’s and considered a comeback. He’s working with Daniel Lanois, one of my favorite rock producers who creates these great atmospheric sounds with electric instruments along with rootsy sounds (he’s done wonders with Emmylou Harris and U2).
Randy & the Gypsys, Randy & the Gypsys – Along with my fascination with all things Prince, I’m a big Jackson family fan. This is a late 80’s dance band fronted by the youngest Jackson brother, Randy (not the Randy “Dawg” Jackson from American Idol fame). The music sounds a bit like Prince and a bit like Michael Jackson music.
Doris Day, My Heart – I like Doris Day, the singer (the actress, I’m not such a huge fan of), and thought it a shame that she stopped making music in the late 1960’s. This album is a collection of her latest recordings, most of them done in the 1980’s. Her voice has aged wonderfully, and the selection of songs, while not the best (she does best singing prewar pop songs), still show her off well. Her version of “You Are So Beautiful” is lovely, plus there’s a song “Happy Endings” which is sung by her late son, Terry Mulcher. It’s not a great song (a bit treacly) and Mulcher isn’t the most distinctive singer, but still it’s a heartfelt song and the introduction by Day is touching.
Solar Twins, Solar Twins – this is a late 1990’s dance band that performed on the soundtrack to the Madonna film flop, Next Best Thing. They sound very much like late 90’s dance music, the kind that Madonna was making herself, with fuzzy guitars and weird bleeps and pops.
Class Actress, Rapprocher – This is a current band that’s trading in on the synth-pop, new wave revival we’re seeing now. It’s great music and the lead singer’s voice is pretty and it’s all very reminiscent of Depeche Mode or Eight Wonder.
Natalie Cole, Ask a Woman Who Knows – Natalie Cole’s one of my favorite singers, and I love when she sings jazz-influenced pop music. This record is great because it has some jazz standards along with some great pop numbers and a winning duet with Diana Krall. This basically works like a Barbra Streisand album: a range of songs, some pop, some jazz, some old, some contemporary. Cole’s verson of “Calling You” from Baghdad Cafe is fantastic.
Phyllis Hyman, The Legacy of Phyllis Hyman – I was a fan of Hyman’s work for years – she’s a bit reminiscent of Natalie Cole. Her story’s very tragic – she took her own life when she was only 45 years old. There have been some posthumous released, but her best work is from the late 70’s and early 80’s. She’s got some great jazz-soul songs as well as some urban-pop numbers. She’s also done some midtempo and dance stuff, too. A really underrated artist.
Chaka Khan, Woman I Am – This is a great mid 90’s release from Chaka Khan. Her voice is stunning in any setting – this one’s a bit dated early 1990’s soul and dance-pop (some of the songs sound a bit like Janet Jackson, though she can sing circles around Jackson). The ballads are fine, as well, but I like the gutsy house material more.
Angela Lansbury, Legends of Broadway – most folks will remember Lansbury from her role as Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote, but she’s had a successful career as a Broadway musical performer. Her singins is great, and I wish she has released a proper album during her career. This has songs from her biggest hits including Mame, Gypsy and Sweeney Todd. She’s a great actress, of course, and as with most showtunes, the story behind the music is important. Her performances as Mama Rose in Gypsy is great – she’s brash, desperate and a very sad. She’s also a funny singer, with great comic timing as can be heard in “The Worse Pies in London” from Sweeney Todd.
Various artists, Monsier Gainsbourg Revisited – I love Serge Gainsbourg’s music, especially when it’s sung by Jane Birkin. This is a tribute album with various artists who sing his work – most of the artists are indie rock heroes (Cat Power is fantastic), but Birkin makes an appearance as does rock chanteause, Marianne Faithfull.