Today, May 14, is a momentous day in music history as the anniversary of the passings of Keith Relf (Yardbirds), Chet Baker and one of the humankind's greatest musical talents, the one, the only, the chairman of the board, Francis Albert Sinatra who died in 1998. Somewhere, Frank's still got the world on a stringRingADingDing!
What a great show HE 2007 turned out to be. Large crowds and much good feeling all around. If two channel audio is truly dying then I didn't see it. Lots of good sounding rooms, much impressive, well-priced gear, a successful RAVE awards and a hotel with a key location all made for a very successful show.
Reissues. Hey, I don't care who you are, everyone has a guilty pleasure that's now been reissued on CD, possibly with bonus goodies. What's gonna happen to reissues in the big, new, alldigital, alldownload, allthetime world is an easy one: listeners will do the same thing they do with new records, download the tracks they want and leave the lesser tracks as scraps. Funny how it's now possible to think of cuts of meat and record albums in the same breath: bites of choice flesh you eat surrounded by bone, fat and gristle you leave. It must make musicians feel real good to see their collection eviscerated in this way. You can say it serves them right for filling out albums with lesser tracks but then there's that creeping alchemy that happens upon further listening when some of the tracks deep into the record become essential. How many album tracks have you grown fond of after repeated listens versus those that jumped out at you the first time you dropped the needle or pressed play?
Here's a weird one. I was recently going through CDs that sit on my shelves, in my collection so to speak, and for kicks I decided to check how much a random handful were worth on Amazon. Perhaps it's my naivet, but to my very great surprise, many were out of print. So let me get this straight, a business that needs catalog pieces right now as much as ever is allowing a significant portion of their holdings go out of print? Wow! I was at a party recently where I overheard this: "So do the big labels want to go out of business or is there another plan?"
Is it me or does Phil Spector, the Wall–of–Sound inventor turned murder suspect, look more and more like a middle aged woman, particularly with his new blonde doo. If I were his lawyer I might have asked that he not change his hairstyle from notoriously weird to super weird on the eve of the trial. The photos, CNN.com has some doozies, that are really, really strange. Him with that Doris Day gone mad hair waving a pistol around demanding God knows what? Whatever the verdict, the man needs supervision.
jazz fusion is a movement in music, that I have to say, often leaves me cold. Yeah, Bitches Brew is great and other masterworks of the genre obviously resonate, but shows like a rare appearance by guitarist David Torn that I caught on Tuesday night at Joe's Pub are less than thrilling.
Why rage against an ill wind? I realize that complaining incessantly about the ongoing plundering of rock, classic and otherwise, by Madison Avenue ain't gonna make it stop but is there no one who can resist the allure of cash?
SXSW Part 3
So it was definitely the year of the female singer at SXSW 2007. Lily Allen was sassy and backed by a horn section. White dudes hooting on tenors, always a good time. The person I was with turned to me about halfway through and said, "I like this but I can’t tell you why." I took that to be a good sign.