I’d say on average that about 85 percent of the people I ask, hate Christmas music with an undying passion. I am one of a crazed minority who actually like the stuff and have long cultivated a collection of the stuff. Although I usually begin the season with the two volumes of Billboard Greatest Christmas Hits, both of which are now out of print (C’mon Rhino!), but are easily found used on Amazon, my general rule with Christmas music is: the weirder the better. And God knows when it comes to weird, Bob Dylan’s new collection of guttural holiday croakings is truly amazing.
Insider music biz stuff should in most cases stay that way because normal folk, what I like to call "civilians," don't care about who said what to whom in the bowels of some label HQ in Burbank or Manhattan. There's also something pitifully self-indulgent and exclusionary and ultimately pathetic about people who are in the know about the music biz and live to tell you about it.
I swear I did not plan it, and it wasn’t obvious on the Google maps I pored over before we left but the back door of the fabulous Soho Hotel spilled right out onto Wardour Street, which was a block from Berwick Street, famous for its cluster, or more like the best cluster of independent record shops in London.
The Ugly American: stalking the streets of Paris’ Latin Quarter, tongue wagging, wrists dragging along the pavement like Quasimodo, desperately searching out record stores in which to spend my rapidly depreciating (Go!) Euros.
There wasn't space in the May issue of Stereophile for all these photos of the gorgeous and very talented Eliane Elias so here are a few more to ogle. And while you do, I know you'll all be doing it because you respect her as an artist. Seriously though, her new record Bossa Nova Stories is wonderful.
Today I got The Essential John Denver and a newly remastered reissue of Boz Scaggs Silk Degrees in the same package. Mercy! I got a chill pulling them out of the envelope. Denver and Scaggs together again! What kind of subtle coding was Sony/BMG sending by pairing this dynamic duo? The Seventies really did suck? We're out of ideas so here's two surefire golden oldies? If you thought the George Winston reissues were great then check out these two?
While it didn’t quite save my life, music, not a D.J., really helped transport me out of a tight situation last week. As we all know, music nerd-dom has its downsidesexcess clutter, disgruntled mates, etcbut every once in a while...
Last night, in Manilalike heat, I trekked southward on Manhattan Island to meet with Jim Davis, owner of Music Direct and one of his right hand men, Colie Brice. One of the best online sources for audiophile wares, both soft and hard, (now, now, let's keep those high fidelity minds up out of the gutter!), Music Direct, as many of you know, also owns the revived Mobile Fidelity label. MoFi was and maybe again THE proudest audiophile label of them all. The extra dynamics they squeezed out of Nirvana's Nevermind will forever amaze me.
A hit abroad but relatively unknown at home. That describes Cheap Trick who I wrote about here recently and also, believe it or not, Otis Redding. He was a big hit in the U.K. and even it seems in Paris before he hit at home with his final single, “(Sittin’ on the) “Dock of the Bay.”