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music, music, music

Your Humble Blogger had been thinking about writing a music note, having finished rating six thousand songs on the old hard drive, and then Wayman told us everything we could ever want to know about his musical tastes. So, I’ll be riffing off that list of questions. Sadly, I am not enough of a music geek to actually fill out the whole survey (question 21), but herewith some thoughts.

1) Of all the bands/artists in your CD/record collection, which one do you own the most albums by? Let me think ... no, um, no, don’t tell me. Oh, yes, Elvis Costello. I have eighteen ‘albums’ plus the live on Broadway bonus disc that came with my KoA cd. He also makes appearances on at least five other albums I own, in addition to being name-checked on one in Spanish. And if we wanted to count appearances by his wives, it goes up a bit more. And, by the way, I’ve given up on being a completist; I’m aware of half-a-dozen EC songs I don’t own for one reason or another (in addition to three entire albums) which I could, I’m sure, now buy as singles.

The interesting thing about this question (the answer can’t have been interesting to those Gentle Readers who know me) is how it totally sits in the 70s mindset. I have, for instance, more than a dozen Duke Ellington ‘albums’, two of which (I think) were recorded as albums and intended to be albums. I own one Katrina and the Waves song; I don’t own any albums. I have that 70s mindset myself, but I suspect we are seeing the end of it. Like the bands of the 30s, bands now have tracks (or sides, or files, or whatever they are now called), and people will count those, rather than albums. For the record, that’s more than 300 EC sides, compared to a measley 250 by the Duke.

2) What was the last song you listened to (voluntarily)? Meaning I picked that particular song to play? I don’t remember. If I count songs listened to because I was listening to the whole album, it would be the last track on Chris Difford’s CD I Didn’t Get Where I Am, “Parents”. But a song would be, I don’t know, maybe “Lucky” by Jim’s Big Ego (off the album They’re Everywhere).

3) What's in your CD player right now? Dang, I saw that thing recently. Oh, yeah, there it is. No, it’s empty. I think the last thing in it was Eddie from Ohio’s Portable EFO Show. If the question is what I’m actually listening to at the moment, it’s “Just You, Just Me” from former Squirrel Nut Zipper Katherine Whalen’s Jazz Squad. No, wait, that’s ended, now it’s “Pearl from Warsaw” off of the Klezmer Conservatory Band’s A Jumpin’ Night in the Garden of Eden.

5) What's your favorite local band? If local means within a radius of twenty miles of my apartment, it would be Bagels & Fraylox, I guess. If I’m able to include the DC region, in state but out of town, it’s the aforementioned EfO. On the other hand, if by ‘local’ I can just mean ‘without a label or national following’, I can say Jim’s Big Ego, notoriously a local Boston Band.

7) What was the greatest show you've ever been to? Well, and I swear when the Klezmatics sang “Shnirele Perele”, I started to get afraid that they would actually bring the Messiah. On the other hand, seeing Dave Frishberg in a church basement in Noe Valley was a great time and a lot less exhausting. Seeing the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Beausoleil opening for Geno Delafose was a lot of fun (and totally perplexing), but I don’t think it was the best show ever. And the moment when the power went out and Arturo Sandoval just took out his horn and blasted Copley Plaza all by himself has got to be the most memorable single moment. I think, after all, I’ll pick the Escape from New York tour with Deborah Harry, Jerry Harrison and the Tom Tom Club, and the Ramones, in Philadelphia in 1990 or 1991. No, wait, I’m going to take a different route, and say that it was the Nields show at the Somerville in perhaps 1996? Anyway, not only were the Nields just totally amazing, but Jim’s Big Ego opened for them, and so I got a whole new band to follow.

Did I mention the Berklee Big Band Concert and Final Exam? That may be the best value-for-money, and besides how often do you get to see somebody lead the band whilst playing the tuba? And the time Richard Bob wore my hat? And paying three bucks to sweat through two sets in un-airconditioned Preservation Hall in late June, where the fans where shut off for down-tempo songs?

22) What was the greatest decade for music? The first one, presumably. No, given that the question assumes ‘of the twentieth century’, I’ll go with the thirties, for the coming together of jazz, klezmer and the theater. On the other hand, recording techniques weren’t so hot. And, of course, I’m a child of the 80s; some of the music of that era will be forever seared into my very being. Not because it was very good or anything, but just because I was within a few years of fifteen, and awfully passionate about one thing and another. And much as I would like to say the 1650s, or some such, I couldn’t pick a decade that I felt had as much stuff I like as the 1930s.

23) How many music related videos/DVDs do you own? This question certainly doesn’t have a 70s mindset, and so I’ll have trouble answering it. Not counting stuff owned by my Perfect Non-Reader, I think I have one: a videotape of the Bobfest, which I don’t think has been taped over. I also have a videotape of two of the Secret Policemen’s Balls, which contain songs, some of which I wouldn’t necessarily forward past. I also own Holiday Inn and Royal Wedding, and in The Lemon Drop Kid Bob Hope sings “Silver Bells,” but I’m not sure that’s music related.

26) What is your favorite movie soundtrack? Mishima. And since I don’t have any more to add on that one (and can’t really imagine argument), I’ll mention that although the actual soundtrack to Tous les Matins du Monde wasn’t mind-blowingly terrific, without its success I would never have heard many many recordings that I totally adore. So props there.

27) What was your last musical "phase" before you wisened up?Quite likely my next one. I don’t really remember wisening up, although it’s certainly possible I have wisened down. Still, I don’t think there’s any music I once really enjoyed that I no longer like at all.

28) What music is your "guilty pleasure" that you don't often admit to liking? Well, and I don’t think I have any. I feel guiltier about stuff I don’t like; I’m not fond of Coltrane, and I really don’t like most Miles. I have never been able to get into Hip-Hop or CW (not that I’ve tried very hard). But, yeah, I don’t go out of my way to mention to people just how much I like dirty songs such as “I’ve got a sister Lilly” or “Green Grow the Rashes-O”.

29) What album have you purchased the most copies of in your lifetime? Now, that’s a question for 70s children if I’ve ever heard one. Buying things on LP, on cassette and then later on CD. Not to mention wearing out the LP and buying another, although that would have been more likely with the Boomers’ singles. Anyway, I know I have bought three copies of Imperial Bedroom for myself; I may well have bought another for somebody else at some point as well. On the other hand, there are the sides I have bought multiple times on collections and whatnot; I believe I have bought der Bingle’s “White Christmas” four times over on collections of Berlin, of Crosby, and of 30s pop.

Thank you,


Fun... I'll probably do this one myself, since my own journal has been stalled out on a quite tiresome political entry from a few weeks ago, and sometimes it's quicker to play with someone else's thoughts than to write down thoughts of one's own.

In the meantime, though:

2) What was the last song you listened to (voluntarily)? My humming-cover of the Squirrel Nut Zippers' "Blue Angel", instigated by you mentioning them in your own #3. I don't even know if that's my favorite song on Hot!, it's just the one that rose, unbidden, to mind. And now won't go away.

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