Western Washingtonians would probably object to this sentiment, but over here in the mountains we’ve just had drizzle and I’d love a real gulleywoosher. I first discovered Nanci when I was videotaping Austin City Limits for my dad. Someone he liked was the featured artist, and Nanci was the opening act. Her “Love at the Five and Dime” is what caught my attention, and I eventually picked up her The MCA Years—A Retrospective greatest hits album, and then later the wonderful Other Voices, Other Rooms cover album. I highly recommend both, even if you’re not big on country music.
Been one of those weeks. So here’s one of my favorite songs of all time to get us through what remains.
I thought it was interesting that the ten-year memorial for 9/11 featured two artists whose heydays occurred around 40 years earlier. Clearly, James Taylor and Paul Simon got picked over Lady Gaga and Lil Wayne et al. because their music better represented the tone of the event, and certainly meant more in the lives of those lost. I think the pop charts don’t have the patience anymore for that kind of songwriter because we as listeners don’t have the patience to sit through it. Anyway, this week’s tune is my favorite from James Taylor.
Gray fall day today, so we’re going for atmospherics, tune-wise. Loreena McKennitt is a Canadian composer and singer of world music (particularly Celtic and Middle Eastern), with a haunting voice. This track is from her 1997 album, The Book of Secrets. If you like this sort of thing I also recommend her musical interpretation of Alfred Noyes’ narrative poem, “The Highwayman,” (on the same album) as well as “The Mystic’s Dream” from 1994’s The Mask and the Mirror. There are two versions of this week’s song, the radio version, which accompanied the music video (and is shorter and more percussive), and the album version, which I prefer. Below is a fan video of the latter.
This driving, big-beat cover of the theme to Lazenby’s single 007 film first appeared on the Shaken & Stirred compilation by David Arnold, who scored five Bond films. It’s also included on the Propellerheads’ debut album, Decksanddrumsandrockandroll.
One of my favorite bands of all time signed a deal with Mute Records a couple of weeks ago. And frontman Bernard Sumner recently published a memoir. And the band’s ex-bassist Peter Hook is doing his own thing with The Light while everyone’s lawyers wrangle. And the band just received an “Inspiration of the Year” (?!) award from GQ Magazine. And somebody published the lyrics and notebooks of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis in a snooty-looking tome called So This Is Permanence (another step along the path in the man’s cultural sanctification/musical messiahship). But, because I haven’t liked a NO song since 2001’s “Crystal,” and can’t stand all the infighting and end-of-career glorification, and never cared for Joy Division, I choose to dwell instead on the delight I have long experienced from my favorite album: Technique.