So I’ve just been dropped off on a desert isle. I unpack my solar-powered record player and haul out ten discs from my collection:
- Bora Bora-Les Baxter: The original soundtrack to the 1968 movie, Bora Bora typifies the genre of lovely tropical, exotic, tiki bar style music. Perfect music for those beautiful South Seas sunsets.
- Django-Modern Jazz Quartet: The title track, named after jazz guitar legend Django Reinhardt, is a thing of sheer beauty and genius. The album, in my opinion, rates with “Kind of Blue” as mandatory listening for anyone who calls himself a jazz fan. MJQ are my personal jazz heroes.
- Bidu Sayao-Opera Arias and Brazillian Folksongs: Unlike power sopranos in the Dame Judith Baker or Maria Stader mold, Bidu Sayao’s voice was sweet, light and alluring. The opening track, Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, for voice & 8 cellos, A. 389 Aria – Cantilena by Heitor Villa-Lobos is her signature work and stands alongside any aria by any soprano I have ever heard, bar none.
- No One Cares-Frank Sinatra: Sinatra brings the pain. For those lonely nights under the stars when the rest of the world seems a million miles away.
- Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hat-Sparks: It starts off slow and then bursts into perfectly quirky 80s dance music. Great song writing by Ron, and Russell Mael is in very good voice. Very different from their 70s stuff and that’s not bad.
- (No Pussyfooting)-Eno & Fripp: From 1973. It’s supposed to be “ambient” but I can’t not listen to it.
- The Last Sessions-Leadbelly: Huddie (pronounced “Hewdie”) Leadbetter invented the blues. This classic Smithsonian Folkways album is a collection of the work songs, field songs, blues and dance hall doggerel Leadbelly heard, collected and wrote over the years. I own two of the for records in the original case. Forget Ram Jam. If you want to hear “Black Betty” done right, look up Leadbelly’s version on YouTube. Oh, and he was a brilliant 12 string guitarist too.
- The Notebook of Anna Magdalena Bach-J.S. Bach et al: Vocal and instrumental pieces by the Old Big Wig and a variety of other composers who often dropped by the Bach household. Some of the works were written by teenaged Carl Philip Emmanuel and Johann Christian Bach; some works attributed to J.S. were later found to have been written by others, and the authorship of some works remain a matter of conjecture. I have the Lorraine Hunt version.
- Switched-On Brandenburgs-Wendy Carlos: The best versions ever.
- Ella Swings Lightly-Ella Fitzgerald: From 1958. Fitzgerald’s voice is pure delight. It was years before I finally sat down and listened; and in listening I understood. This is an album of jazz standards and she knocks each track out of the park without breaking a sweat. I have this album on vinyl. If you buy the CD you get four bonus tracks from the same sessions.
Yes, I could do these on a desert island.
distinct and wondrous without being obvious or obnoxious
except for the title track the songs are on vacation
simultaneously self-effacing and egomaniacs
essentially a disco remix of “Rocket Man” featuring one of the the UK’s biggest stars…
“I literally really need you to jump up and down”
Friday night might kill us but Thursday evening is a blast
it just isn’t the triumph she needed after six years
an impressive sonic ride.
a high-spirited Post Pandemic anthem