Here's my allotted 90 downloads from eMusic this month:
* Ludlow Garage 1970 by NRBQ. Big Al Anderson himself told me that the best guitarist NRBQ ever had was Steve Ferguson. Al's too modest, but Ferguson was damned good. This is a live recording from the Q's pioneer days. Lots of R&B, rockabilly and long jams with the spirit of Sun Ra hovering over Terry Adam's head.
*The American Song-Poem Christmas : Daddy Is Santa Really Six Foot Four? .
Do I have to remind everyone what song poems are? It's a glorious scam in which would-be lyricists are lured by little ads in the back of certain magazines to spend their hard-earned cash to have their words put to music by studio musicians who crank them out at amazing speeds. The results often are unintentionally hilarious and sometimes strangely touching. This is a Christmas collection with hits such as "Santa Claus Came on a Nuclear Missile," "Maury the Christmas Mouse" and "The Rocking Disco Santa Claus."
*Moondog , plus three stray tracks from Moondog's H'art Songs.. eMusic continues to be a great source for classic "outsider" music. The song-poems attest to thta, as do the the several Moondog albums available. Moondog , born Louis Hardin, was a blind, self-educated composer and performer who was born in Kansas but became notorious for performing his strange music on the streets of New York in the late '40s, sometimes wearing a horned Viking helmet. This 1956 album is heavy on percussion and sounds of traffic, croaking frogs and a crying baby. There's a Japanese lullaby, with kyoto, sung by Moondog's wife The H'art Songs I downloaded, which I don't like quite as much, features piano-based melodies that are oddly affecting.
*Good Morning Mr. Walker by Joseph Spence. Talk about a guy who made his own rules, Spence -- surely the best known singer to ever emerge from The Bahamas -- sang like your favorite drunken uncle. Between his accent and his funny mumbling, sometimes growling scat singing, don't bet your life on understanding all the lyris, even on familiar songs. But listen to that guitar. The man was a magician.
*Demons Dance Alone by The Residents. The first moments of the opening song, "Life Would Be Wonderful might make you think you downloaded some old Herb Albert song. It's actually sort of pretty. The songs on this album were written in 2001, shorty after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Maybe that's why it seems rather subdued for a Residents album. But don't worry. There's not much you could call mainstream here. I think my favorite tune here is "Betty's Body," which has lyrics like, "I see her every morning and watch her fingers forming ... I could be her lover, if it, if it weren't for Mother ..."
I also downloaded several free tracks from Freedom Haters Unite! A Bloodshot Records Sampler, Vol. 1 . My favorite being Paul Burch's "John Peel," a soulful tribute to the great BBC music show host.
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