October 3, 2009

Playlist 10-3-09

* Le Sieur de Machy: Pièces de Viole (Savall) (Telefunken LP)
* Veracini: Sonatas (Holloway/ter Linden/Mortensen) (ECM CD)
* Handel: 12 Solo Sonatas, Op.1 (AAM/Egarr) (Harmonia Mundi 2CD)
* Leonhardt-Consort: Consortmusik auf Originalinstrumenten (Telefunken LP)
* Gustav Leonhardt: Festkonzert des Barock (Telefunken LP)
* Venice Baroque Orchestra (Carmignola/Marcon): Victoria Hall, Genéve 2-28-08 (FM 2CDR)
* Berio: Voci (Kashashian/Radio Symphonieorchester Wien/Davies (ECM CD)
* Andrew Hill Quinet: Auditorium Canneti, Vicenza, Italy 5-15-06 (FM CDR)
* Andrew Hill Sextet: Berlin 10-31-02 + Lausanne 11-1-02 (FM CDR)
* Cecil Taylor Unit: Philharmonie, Berlin 11-6-69 (FM CDR)
* Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet: Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths (hatOLOGY CD)
* Mary Halvorson/Reuben Radding/Nate Wooley: Crackleknob (hatOLOGY CD)
* Henry Threadgill’s Very Very Circus: Too Much Sugar for a Dime (Axiom CD)
* Grateful Dead: Winterland June 1977: The Complete Recordings (d.1-6) (GD/Rhino 9(+1)CD)
* Dylan & The Dead: Sullivan Stadium, Foxboro, MA 7/4/87 (SBD 3CDR)
* Dylan & The Dead: JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, PA 7/10/87 (SBD 3CDR)
* Crosby – Nash: Another Stoney Evening (DTS DVD-A)
* Neil Young: On the Beach (Reprise/Warner Bros. DVD-A)
* Tom Waits: Blood Money (Anti LP) * Big Star: #1 Record/Radio City (Stax SACD)
* Big Star: 3rd (4 Men With Beards LP)
* Chris Bell: I Am the Cosmos (4 Men With Beards LP)
* The Replacements: Pleased to Meet Me (Sire LP)
* Cocteau Twins: Love’s Easy Tears (Capitol CDEP)
* Cocteau Twins: Iceblink Luck (Capitol CDEP)
* Yo La Tengo: Popular Songs (Matador CD)
* Robert Pollard: Elephant Jokes (GBV, Inc. LP/CD)
* Boredoms: Super Roots 3 (Vice CD)


The big event around here this week is the arrival of the Grateful Dead: Winterland June 1977 box set (pictured), which is just as lavish as last year’s Winterland 1973 box. This caps another year packed full of new releases from the Dead’s vault, including Rocking the Cradle: Egypt 1978; To Terrapin: Hartford 1977; and four volumes of the Road Trips series totaling 22 CDs, 1 DVD (plus 6 bonus CDs) of Grateful Dead Music (not to mention the two new Pure Jerry releases: Garcia & Kahn: Marin Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium 2-28-1986 (1 CD) and Jerry Garcia Band: Bay Area 1978 (2 CDs)) all released in the past twelve months. This raises the age-old question: is it possible to have too much of a good thing? The answer is, of course: “too much of everything is just enough!” As is to be expected, super-picky Deadheads are carping about this being yet another spring ‘77 release which already circulates widely within the hardcore trading community but, believe me, these CDs sound way better than any of those “bootlegs.” Sure, it’s kinda pricy, but it is consummately well done – and the limited edition “bonus disc” contains a tasty excerpt from the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago on 5-12-77, a show which does not circulate amongst the fanatical. Only available directly from Dead.net.


Speaking of Rhino, the news that Warner Brothers laid off most of the label’s staff is just another sign of the end of records and record collecting. The press release suggests that Rhino will no longer be producing physical product and instead, its skeleton crew will focus on “global digital catalog initiatives” and “name and likeness representation for legendary artists.” What this means for the Grateful Dead (or anyone else) and their relationship with Rhino and/or Warner Brothers remains to be seen. One thing is for sure: I need to pick up the new Big Star box set before it disappears forever. By the way, Warner Brothers, if you think I’m going to pay anything like CD prices for digital files (especially lossy MP3s), you are very, very wrong.


Speaking of the Grateful Dead, the Dylan & The Dead tour in 1987 was indubitably a musical trainwreck, but it was a whole lot of fun to be there (a friend and I went to the Foxboro, Philadelphia, and Giants Stadium shows). Out of nowhere, “Touch of Grey” was suddenly a hit single and the Dead themselves were at a rare peak of polish and professionalism; their sets were perhaps a bit short on improvisatory exploration but the playing and singing was reinvigorated and exciting. Despite – or because of – high expectations, Dylan is a mess: out of synch with the rest of the band and desperately shouting out his songs. Nevertheless, the experience had a profoundly rejuvenating effect: soon thereafter, The Never Ending Tour began (which continues to this day), wherein Dylan explores the nooks and crannies of his songbook with the support of a crack band – sorta like the Grateful Dead.

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