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The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Music news, rumors, what you're listening to, how you're listening to it and whether it's all on the up-and-up.

Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Jan 14, 2013 6:35 pm

Folks Named Davis

Miles Davis -- Whew! I sure do have a lot of Miles. And I am very glad for most of it. I blew through the Prestige stuff relatively quickly. I've always loved this era of Miles (and jazz, in general) and it was a great pleasure revisiting it -- one of the more solid chunks of recorded music in anyone's discography. The handful of Blue Note albums -- Birth Of The Cool, Volume One and Volume Two -- are also spectacular, and some of the first jazz recordings I remember really getting into. Their luster has not faded for me.
Then there's the Columbia era. The Gil Evans collaborations are mostly spectacular, with Sketches Of Spain and Miles Ahead sticking out as particular highlights. And I'd rather listen to their version of Porgy And Bess then anyone else's. Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall, half with Evans and a full orchestra and half with a small group, is also fantastic. But regardless of the quality of the players (Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams), I just cannot get into the '60s Quintet recordings. I found slogging through that set almost painful, so much so that I'm not even sure I'm going to keep it. All of these guys have done much more interesting work in a similar vein elsewhere, I think (and lots of much worse stuff too, of course.) Noisy, baffling, and unpleasant, IMO.
After that, I have much less by Miles. I've always really dug A Tribute To Jack Johnson -- and it's always nice to hear John McLaughlin on a record that's not super-boring -- but I made a conscious decision over a decade ago that I just did not need to own the "classic" Bitches Brew, which I've never enjoyed. I remember really liking In A Silent Way, but my copy is MIA, so I need to revisit that again soon. There's not much of interest on the "funk" album On The Corner -- I'm pretty sure I only picked it up because it was reissued in a cool cardboard sleeve and it's a heckuva cool jacket. If there's anything else of much interest after that, I have never been exposed to it, so feel free to school me.

Sammy Davis, Jr. -- Whew! I sure do have a lot of Sammy. Unlike Miles, however, I have no idea why. He's waaaaaaaay too show-bizzy/schmaltzy for my taste. Lots of showtunes I wouldn't like by anybody, all sorts of over-orchestrated pop music dreck, and way too much "I can imitate this other singer" exercises in unnecessariness. Apparently, Sammy was well-known and praised for his mimicry, but I don't hear it most of the time. As a voice-impressionist, he's mostly pretty awful (which didn't stop the inclusion of a loooooong routine of nothing but awful impressions from showing up on the 4CD box set I inexplicably own.) And his idiotic non sequiturs are...well... idiotic. The one and only bright light (apart from a handful of truly awesome songs, like "I'm A Brass Band" and his show-stopping version of "Birth Of The Blues" with Buddy Rich, which I cannot find on YouTube) is Our Shining Hour, the album he made with Count Basie. Sammy really shines on this, proving to me why others held him in such high regard, but without that crack orchestra behind him, the joys of his discography are few and far between. Feh.

Skeeter Davis -- all I have is The Pop Hits Collection, but there's a lot to love there. "I Can't Stay Mad At You" is really great "girl group", "Let Me Get Close To You" is a pop gem, and her version of "Silver Threads And Golden Needles" is as good as anyone's. Some duds here, of course ("Please Don't Talk To The Lifeguard" is a terrible song no matter who is singing it) but overall quite pleasing. I really should explore deeper into her discography.

Spencer Davis Group -- if not for the presence of Steve Winwood, I doubt anyone would even remember these guys today. Sure "Gimme Some Lovin'" and "I'm A Man" are decent-enough singles, but there's really not much here to sink your teeth into. A lot of familiar covers, some not-too-distinguished originals, and a whole lot of filler. I have both of their LPs (each named for one of the aforementioned hits) and a collection of singles and leftovers, and while it's all pleasant-enough background music (and they probably were a decent bar band) there's not much going on here of any real interest.

Tyrone Davis -- This guy doesn't really do much for me, either, but man, oh, man can the Brunswick houseband guys cook. Some of the best backing tracks to fairly undistinguished vocal performances I've ever heard. Just compare the vocal version of "Is It Something That You've Got" to the (mostly) instrumental version by Willie Henderson and The Soul Explosions (not on YouTube, so I've uploaded the wav file to my website for your downloading pleasure) and tell me that Tyrone doesn't somehow make the track less cookin'.

Next up... De La Soul!
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:09 pm

Today is Dead Kennedys Day at the Wagstaff Ranch.

Holy shit I love this band.

Tuneful, smart, funny, and, perhaps most importantly, they fuckin' rocked. It really doesn't get much better than this, folks. Also, one of the best band logos ever.
Image

I encourage everyone to celebrate Dead Kennedys Day with me now.

Do it now. NOW!
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby minicat » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:27 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Folks Named Davis

Skeeter Davis -- all I have is The Pop Hits Collection, but there's a lot to love there. "I Can't Stay Mad At You" is really great "girl group", "Let Me Get Close To You" is a pop gem, and her version of "Silver Threads And Golden Needles" is as good as anyone's. Some duds here, of course ("Please Don't Talk To The Lifeguard" is a terrible song no matter who is singing it) but overall quite pleasing. I really should explore deeper into her discography.



Remind me to play you her bizarre, awesome girl group cover of "Cry Me a River" sometime. It's marooned on an otherwise mostly undistinguished LP, Skeeter Sings Standards.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby david cohen » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:49 pm

Funny but true Skeeter Davis factoid: she sold more vinyl in Jamaica than she did anywhere else. Lord knows why (ok, AM radio), but when I saw here there in 1982, the stadium was packed and the audience was entranced!
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:12 am

The Dead Milkmen -- Bucky Fellini is the only one I have on CD. Man, I had really forgotten how much fun that record is. Pretty solid from start to finish. Don't tell Arturo that "Art-art-art-art-art fags!" is the biggest laugh on the record.

Dead Moon -- I really don't know much by these guys. I picked up Trash & Burn a few years back after Pandora jammed me "40 Miles Of Bad Road", a song which still kicks my ass every time I hear it. But I never really explored further because this band has TWO of the worst vocalists I have ever heard. For some reason, it works spectacularly on "Bad Road" but listening to the rest of the album is kinda tough. Great, great songs, but man, find someone who can sing already!

Death Angel -- I was a metalhead for much of high school (death and speed being my preferred forms), but when I got to Madison, I had a hard time finding others in the dorms who shared my love for the form. I also came to the conclusion that I really only enjoyed metal as a social music -- it just wasn't something I wanted to sit and listen to all by my lonesome. So, over the years -- and much to my regret -- I slowly unloaded all the great stuff I used to own. But I keept The Ultra-Violence. The title track always was and remains perhaps the quintessential metal song in my mind. And because it's an instrumental, I can play it for non-fans who have to admit that it fucking cooks. The rest of the album is fine, but I almost never listen to it. I pull out the title track every few months, though.

Deep Purple -- I. Love. Deep. Purple.
A Facebook buddy recently ran a poll where we all voted on our top 25 British (and Irish and Scottish) bands of all time and I was flabbergasted that DP didn't make the Top 50 countdown (The Move and Mott The Hoople also failed to chart, proving that these things never reflect reality very well.) There's great stuff scattered throughout their first few albums (esp. if you ignore 1969's Concerto for Group and Orchestra) -- even more so with the nice EMI remasters w/bonus tracks from a decade or so ago -- but they really hit their stride with 1970's Deep Purple In Rock. That, Fireball and Machine Head are a fantastic run of records, probably unmatched by any of the heavy British bands except for Led Zeppelin themselves. Who Do We Think We Are and Burn are good, but decidedly-lesser efforts, and while Come Taste The Band (where Tommy Bolin steps in for Ritchie Blackmore and David Coverdale comes on board) is OK, it's not really Deep Purple anymore. After that, I completely lose interest. Their singles compilation does a nice job of showcasing them through many eras, but the trio of LPs they made from 1970-1972 is really tough to beat. I have a bunch of live CDs too, but either you already care or you never will, so I won't dwell on them any further.
Deep Purple In Rock: "Flight of the Rat", "Bloodsucker", "Child In Time"
Fireball: "Fireball", "Demon's Eye", "No One Came"
Machine Head: "Lazy", "Highway Star"

Def Leppard -- Damn right I have Pyromania. Still kicks. Better than just the 3 hits.

Desmond Dekker -- Considering he had the first big ska hit on these shores, he still remains relatively unknown on this side of the pond. Real shame. I have 4cds worth of compiled Dekker and it's all really solid, if awesome old ska is the sort of thing you like, that is. I particularly love the Four Aces stuff, as I am a sucker for R&B vocal groups.
"This Woman"
"Honour Your Mother And Your Father"

Delaney and Bonnie -- Some mighty fine white-gospelly-soul-blues. Bonnie's voice really does pack a wallop and the song-selections are generally fine (I've got 1968's Accept No Substitutes, their 1969 Stax LP Home, and 1970's On Tour with Eric Clapton, which really cooks.) The sort of thing only folks who like this sort of thing like.

The Delfonics -- These guys never really did much for me. Not exactly sure why -- a little too syrupy for my tastes and no real stand-out vocals, which is the most important thing in '70s slow-jam soul. All I have is a comp. and I've never felt the need to explore further.

The Dells -- Now this is more like it. I prefer their early '60s stuff because that's just more my bag, but they kept going fairly strong into the '70s. And their 1968 LP There Is is awfully damn solid by the standards of that era of soul.
And listen up, Delfonics: This is how you do syrupy love songs.

The Del-Vikings -- Really solid doo-wop (and I do loves me some doo-wop.) This is actually two bands: sometime after their big hit "Come Go With Me", these guys splintered into two competing groups on different labels. All of it is pretty great, except when they fall into the un-rock'n'roll trap of recording (endless versions of) standards like "Over The Rainbow".
"Whispering Bells"
"Cold Feet" (a cappella) (That's Chuck Jackson singing lead, btw.)

Demian -- This is actually the second album by Bubble Puppy. I've forgotten why they had to change their name (minicat?)
Decent if unspectacular LP, but the opening cut is pretty fucking great.

Next up... Sandy Denny!
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby flanneljammies » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:19 am

High and Dry is THE Def Leppard record. Full stop.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:25 am

flanneljammies wrote:High and Dry is THE Def Leppard record. Full stop.

I don't have it on CD, unfortunately. But yes, it does rawk.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby O.J. » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:29 am

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Desmond Dekker -- Considering he had the first big ska hit on these shores, he still remains relatively unknown on this side of the pond. Real shame. I have 4cds worth of compiled Dekker and it's all really solid, if awesome old ska is the sort of thing you like, that is. I particularly love the Four Aces stuff, as I am a sucker for R&B vocal groups.
"This Woman"
"Honour Your Mother And Your Father"


He's one of my all-time favorite vocalists, I could listen to him every day.

Wise
Man


Pickney
Gal


Licking Stick
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby flanneljammies » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:35 am

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
flanneljammies wrote:High and Dry is THE Def Leppard record. Full stop.

I don't have it on CD, unfortunately. But yes, it does rawk.


Taped it off a friend ages ago (when it was new). A couple of months ago I found a mint vinyl copy at MadCity for $3! Score.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby minicat » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:41 am

IIRC the Bubble Puppy name change had something to do with them decamping to a different label, and probably trying to avoid their hit record with the too cool for school hippies.

I need to check out some of that Dekker stuff sometime. Didn't know you had that.

I listened to Machine Head a couple times last week. Man, I wish I could find a UK press of that LP that's not an arm and leg ... the old US vinyl just doesn't kick like this album should, and the Rhino LP from a few years ago for some reason intentionally tried to replicate the sound of the '70s WB pressing! (and they really did, tho it sounds a tad punchier than the old one)

Regarding Dead Moon ... Fred Cole's vocal style is definitely not for everyone.

And I"ll second that the Dells There Is is a great LP that every soul fan should own.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby wack wack » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:52 am

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Who Do We Think We Are and Burn are good, but decidedly-lesser efforts, and while Come Taste The Band (where Tommy Bolin steps in for Ritchie Blackmore and David Coverdale comes on board) is OK, it's not really Deep Purple anymore.


Coverdale was onboard for Burn, and you are the one and only person I have ever seen or heard refer to Burn as a "lesser effort." It's generally considered to be one of their best.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:01 pm

wack wack wrote:Coverdale was onboard for Burn, and you are the one and only person I have ever seen or heard refer to Burn as a "lesser effort." It's generally considered to be one of their best.

Thanks for the clarification regarding Coverdale. Of course, his presence is part of what makes Burn a lesser effort in my eyes (er... ears.) It's a step-up from the awfully-dull Who Do We Think We Are, to be sure, but it just doesn't grab me like The Big 3 do (and I've never met a Purple fan who disagrees that those are the best, so I guess we've just been around very different people.) "Burn" and "Lay Down, Stay Down" are OK. The only track I think is really killer, though, is "You Fool No One"
I'm glad I own it, but it's not one I grab for very often.
Last edited by Prof. Wagstaff on Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:06 pm

minicat wrote:I need to check out some of that Dekker stuff sometime. Didn't know you had that.
I didn't know you didn't. 8 gazillion LPs and no Desmond Dekker? For shame. (Well, I'm sure you own "Israelites" and probably a smattering of other singles, right?)

minicat wrote:I listened to Machine Head a couple times last week.
I know you won't believe me, but the Machine Head CD remaster sounds amazing to my (decidedly-less-picky-than-your) ears.

minicat wrote:Regarding Dead Moon ... Fred Cole's vocal style is definitely not for everyone.
If you or anyone wants to point me towards more great Dead Moon songs, I will happily give them a listen. That said, I think calling such vocalizing a "style" is being extremely generous.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby rrnate » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:11 pm

O.J. wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Desmond Dekker -- Considering he had the first big ska hit on these shores, he still remains relatively unknown on this side of the pond. Real shame. I have 4cds worth of compiled Dekker and it's all really solid, if awesome old ska is the sort of thing you like, that is. I particularly love the Four Aces stuff, as I am a sucker for R&B vocal groups.
"This Woman"
"Honour Your Mother And Your Father"


Definitely an under-praised singer, even if he IS one of the most famous ska singers ever. My favorite Desmond Dekker songs include:

* Unity
* Archie Wah-Wah (I love the way he sings about lady butts)

I love how in the really early Wailers stuff, you can hear how much Bob Marley wanted to be Desmond Dekker.

Also! Dead Milkmen! Man, a lot of really well-written songs by them that don't get appreciated because of the humor.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:21 pm

rrnate wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Desmond Dekker

Definitely an under-praised singer, even if he IS one of the most famous ska singers ever.
Right.
But in the U.S., if you asked people to name "famous ska singers", most people wouldn't be able to even start, and if they did, they'd probably stammer, "Uh... Gwen Stefani?" and then get stumped. Heck, your ska band is awfully damned popular. How many of your audience members do you think have Desmond Dekker records at home?
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