Saturday, November 29, 2008

Vivaldi-The Four Seasons

I'm big on violin concertos and Fall. They go together like Laurel and Hardy. The best time to play this record is when the weather takes a turn toward winter. When it finally gets so cold that delicate snowflakes float towards the earth and you feel inclined to break out the hot chocolate and sit on the sofa, sipping and listening and watching the world turn toward winter. As violin concertos go, this is one of the most common ones out there, written by Antonio Vivaldi in 1723 and I certainly hope he had a Starbucks nearby so he could warm his chilled hands on his own mug of hot chocolate after writing all day. Although Antonio intended to cover all four seasons (duh, hence the name), I'm never inclined to play it in the summer or spring or even the early fall. I always go digging for it on the same day that I dig out my fur-lined boots. Go figure. Anyway, there's a gazillion versions of this on Vinyl out there, you'd have no problem finding one you like. I own six versions, all of them good, all of them a teensy bit different.

Friday, November 28, 2008

My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts- Brian Eno and David Byrne

This album, recorded in 1981, is a complex melange of layering and sampling and experimental instrumentation resulting in the perfect voodoo, dance in your underwear with the lights down low type of record. In a flash of brilliance, Eno and Byrne sampled Arabic singers, Disc Jockeys, and an exorcist (yup) and used found objects for the primal African percussion. It takes a minute to wrap your head around this music but if you let it take you somewhere it most certainly will. I like the sampling on Jezebel Spirit and Mea Culpa but truly, I see this album as a journey. I don't like to think of it as separate tracks. It's an excellent choice for when you're planning an elaborate revenge scheme. Try it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Who- Who's Next

The coolest thing about Who's Next is that it's the soundtrack for virtually anything the way that excellent classic rock can often be. I remember driving through the country in an old car on a gloomy fall day, a guy I would never see again at the wheel, listening to "Won't Get Fooled Again" and thinking "I'm going to remember this moment forever." and I did. Back then I didn't pay much attention to Keith Moon's drumming or Pete Townshend's guitar playing as much as I did the song as a whole. Now I know better. Any drummer will tell you that Keith drummed  like no one else. Pete Townshend played guitar like no one else and the songs he wrote and the way Roger Daltry sang them resulted in some of  the most sublime Rock songs ever recorded. Behind Blue Eyes, Baba O'Riley, Won't Get Fooled Again, and Going Mobile are my favorite cuts but I can air guitar my way ( yes, windmilling)  through this entire album, no problem. This album is s cinch to find on vinyl. I own three copies.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Neil Young- After The Gold Rush

After The Gold Rush (1970) was Neil's first solo studio album following the success of CSNY's Deja Vu and when I say "studio", I mean the one in the basement of Neil's modest Topanga Canyon home. A lot of people who know their shit put this record on their list of the top ten albums ever recorded. It definitely hovers near the top of mine but there's more than that. This is the first Neil Young Album I owned and I fell head over heals in love with Neil's voice, and then his lyrics. I still play this LP a lot, usually when I'm feel very sentimental and in need of a good emotional thrashing. After The Gold Rush is my favorite cut but I always play the whole album because every song kills: Tell Me Why, Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Till The Morning Comes, all beautiful. This record is super easy to find used because everyone owned it at one time or another. I stole mine from my dad.  Quick Note: an eighteen year-old Nils Lofgren plays piano and sings on this record. Not bad for a kid.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ella and Louis- Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

How extra special great is it that the universe brought these two together? I mean, could a collision of talent be any more exquisite than this pair? People called Ella "Satin" and Louis "Sandpaper" but put them together and it's pure magic. Plus the background combo, first class guys, is led by the one and only Oscar Peterson. "Under A Blanket Of Blue" is my favorite song, followed by "Tenderly", "The Nearness Of You","The Stars Fell On Alabama" hell, they're all winners.  This LP has been repressed on 180 gram vinyl if you want to treat yourself. Go ahead, it's the holidays! It's Satchmo and Ella for God's sake! This LP is also fairly easy to find in used record stores. I've had mine for a long time. Got it at Amoeba Music. This is a great gift too, for expressing the true spirit of the holidays. turntable not included. 

Sunday, November 23, 2008

This album, The first CSN record, released on Atlantic in 1969 was  an instant hit and stayed that way for much of the 70's. This album catapulted my interest in singer songwriter type bands even though I didn't get to it till the 90's. From there I went on to the Band and then Neil Young and Gram Parsons. Although this album isn't hard to find on vinyl, I scored an original gatefold sleeve version with the boys in parkas on the inside at Streetlight in San Francisco. I'm a sucker for "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" (written for Judy Collins) and "Marrakesh Express". It inspired thousands of anti-establishment hippies to flee the USA for Morocco in the 70's. Wish I'd been around for that. "Long Time Gone" was a response to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. No one writes songs like that anymore.
You'll notice that the album cover has the names listed out of order. The reason is that the photo was taken before the band was named and when they went back to the same house to re-shoot, it had been torn down. I love the cover, the old sofa and just a hint of a palm in the corner to suggest California and those guys in their boots and jeans looking young and SO cool.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Today I'd like to talk for a moment about Janis Joplin. I put her in a special category I call "Brilliance followed by Death". Gram Parsons is in this category too. So is Jim Morrison, so is Chet Baker. we'll get to those guys later. These four do have a self destructive quality in common and, as we all know, from pain comes great art. 
Cheap Thrills is a staggeringly good selection of songs. Gershwin's "Summertime" was never sung better (in my opinion). "A Piece Of My Heart" after thousands of listens, still brings me to me knees. "Ball and Chain" will do a broken heart good. I throw this record on whenever I'm aching (like today for instance) and it validates me. This record is essential for the new collector and worth digging out for the seasoned collector. Cover art by Robert Crumb. Does it get any better than that? This LP is easy to find in used record stores or online.
 ALSO: Check out my music reviews on This month I'm reviewing the new RAY LA MONTAGNE.

Friday, November 21, 2008

David Bowie- Young Americans

I bought this LP at a garage sale in Bakersfield, California. The guy was selling all his wife's stuff because she'd left him for a bartender. He wanted two bucks for it but I gave him three because I felt sorry for him. He said he was going to take all the money from the sale and buy himself a Harley. Judging by the stuff he was selling, I don't think he was being very realistic. 
This is my favorite Bowie album. I love a lot of Bowie but this one always gets me going. The intro into "Young Americans," that honky tonk piano and then sax....really great. I like to stare into Bowie's eyes on the cover while I listen, all that airbrushed androgynous perfection. He dares you not to fall in love with him.


I am the Vinyl Princess
I'm devoted to the preservation and sharing of music in LP form. I've spent countless hours searching for the very best music available on vinyl and I'm committed to keeping it safe, sharing it, and keeping it real. Are you a Vinyl Junkie Too? Share your thoughts with me, share your music with me. You are home. Corporate Rock still sucks, downloading is harmful to music and other living organisms. Music is LOVE.

"The MP3 has dismantled the intended shape of an album"
-Elvis Costello