Saturday, August 2, 2008

In the City

The Central Pennsport Listeners Enclave-vol. 3

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I've had shit technology for a long time. But now it's getting to be too much. Between the cd burner not taking certain brands of cd-r's, the pc not taking discs burned on the Mac, and the laser lens on the pc not wanting to read shit, I feel I'd be better off lathe cutting these goddamn things and handing them out like Chick tracts.

1. Dick Farney-Marina (El 2005, reissued from a 1947 record. Original label unknown)

2. The Jam-In the City (Polydor 1977) One of the things that makes this such a special song is that it could mean so many things. It could be an urban romance; a social and political call to arms; a self-confession of uncertainty and need. I’ve always liked to think of it as a generational statement of purpose, from child to parent: here is where I live. Look around and you'll find out what you never knew about me.

Probably fearing something would get lost in translation (or as likely, in playing volume) I’ve never played it for my own parents, who are dyed in the wool country people. They might play me a Brooks & Dunn ballad and expect the same epiphany in return. Which, come to think of it, doesn’t sound half bad.

3. Saleh Ibrahim-Taqsim (Honest Jon's 2008) Smoky fiddle of old Iraq. Please check out Rahim Alhaj for the current state of the taqsim. Alive and quite well, as it turns out. For more on the compilation from which this track was taken please scroll down to the last post.

4. David Box-If You Can't Say Something Nice (Candix 1962) My primary association with David Box is to his hometown lion, Buddy Holly. The Lubbock, TX protege also befriended Roy Orbison, who, throughout his career, would prove as influential. Here Box traded the herky jerky Holly rock for Orbison's swaying seduction; it's also an Orbison tune.

Oddly enough the chameleon career of Box, which vacillated with terrific formative nuance between the pop stars he loved best, ended short. In a plane crash. I know, no shit. But it's worth mentioning because, beyond the enigmatic coincidence, it illustrates the fateful nature of David Box's quick development as an artist. Even one more year playing in his heroes shadows and we'd doubtless remember him alongside them.

Box left behind an impressive slew of singles, all of which are compiled by the studious Trikont reissue label, as The David Box Story. Well worth investigating!

5. Rikki Aaron-Say What's On Your Mind (R.A.C. 1978) A Philadelphia curiosity. Parts Hall & Oates, Squeeze, and Kool & the Gang. One of those feel good songs that friends must've heard and just knew it was gonna be huge. Then it wasn't. Incidentally, there's no one named Rikki Aaron mentioned in the credits. No Rikki. No Aaron. I concocted two ridiculous origin stories, one involving the Steely Dan song, the other Hank Aaron. Neither bear repeating.

6. Hugo Wolf/Elisabeth Schumann-In dem Schatten meiner Locken (Angel 1947?) Speaking of Philadelphia artists, this lieder record was made by the soprano, and Philadelphia resident/ Curtis Institute member, Elisabeth Schumann. Like with Blossom Dearie there's something so foxy about tight musical diction. This blows librarian foxiness out of the water...

7. Georgie Fame-Get on the Right Track, Baby (EMI Regal 1964)

8. Blanca Rosa Gil-Cristal (Discuba 1956?) Rich, bombastic bolero singer from Cuba. I'm only guessing on that date based on some scribblings in the dead wax.

9. Conway Twitty-It's Only Make Believe (MGM 1962?) Every mix tape exists for the benefit of one song. You can't just give a person just one song, so you make a mix. Besides if the recipient would have to be a dipshit not to take that one song and do the math. If my night were that Moen ad in which the gasbag yuppie couple take a spigot to an architect and ask him to design them a house around it, this song would be my spigot. It has all the hiccupy, throaty young Elvis jazz, with the triumphal showman long loud notes of comeback Elvis. Cut for MGM in 1958 it was probably one Twitty's first for the label, maybe for any label. Just a fierce, perfect song.

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