Monday, December 24, 2012
Music that Matters, pt 4
32. Sam Cooke, Bring It on Home to Me: There's a long tradition of wordless yelping in music, that space where no word can express the inexpressible so well as an unadorned jet of hard wind thru the pipes. I love this song for so many reasons but especially this: Before every refrain of "bring it to me" both Cooke and Lou Rawls launch a long, loud "Oh!" For me, this is the highest form of prayer; What sums it up better for our Maker than that?
Something for the Girl with Everything on German TV done sometime in the 70s.
And for those who don't know Sparks, this:
34. Piano: I once took piano lessons so I'm a little predisposed to the keys. For my money the piano is the coolest drum ever invented and in the imaginations of Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Scott Joplin, Gershwin, Scriabin, Schoenberg, Janacek, etc, it is the voice of God and not Patrick Stewart or Morgan Freeman like some people may think.
36. Gang of Four, If I Could Be: Electric guitar had been around for, what, 40 years?, and then this guy comes along. A guitar that sounds like a combination of Don King's hair and growling dogs and unlike anyone else. Anxious white Brit funk with perfect proportions of dissonance and polyrhythms that's neither derivative nor inauthentic; How'd they do that? Who knows, but they did.
37. Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles Live, Them Changes: This Buddy Miles song was decent enough in its earlier incarnations but this version from '72—both in Santana's latinate grooves and punchy rhythm guitar and Buddy's testifying soul shouts that are the vocal equivalent of a Marshall stack—is beyond stellar. Buddy's nearly supernatural screams may only have two or three recorded peers in existence (that I know of). Also, usually a singer's shouts of "say yeah!" are worth little more than eye rolls for the pandering salt licks they are, but here they're utterly brilliant. May've been the career peak for both of them.
39. Thin White Rope, Sackful of Silver: There are many records you learn to love over time, kind of like in an arranged marriage. For me, Sackful was more like the drunken hook up you still wanted to wake up with 10 years later. Their nary-a-keyboard, dual guitar sound carved through with mid-range tempos and streamlined rhythms may've been the de rigueur of 90s alt rock but their harder and darker version was more gestalt than alt––less Sunny Day Real Estate and more Swans (they did cover Can after all). It's a combination of a-fifth-and-two-packs vocal rasps and the clean-and-sober melodic lead guitar lines that can still, to carry on the metaphor, make the bed springs squeak. (On the Floe here.)
40. The Isley Brothers, Fight the Power: Punk rock as testifying shout from 1975; there wouldn't have been enough coke in the world to even make Rick James this punk funky. These guys love to sing even when they're telling you how pissed off they are. The whole of side one is so dense with hard beats, funky synth curlicues, and let-baby-brother-play-like-Jimi riffs that not even gamma rays could pass through. This record should've influenced a whole generation of guitar hard soul bands but didn't. Maybe the problem was the fluffy ballads stuck on side two. Still, a great one-sided record.
Posted by Deiter at 5:26 PM