October 9, 2010

Playlist Week of 10-09-10

* Biber: Mensa Sonora (Musica Antiqua Köln/Goebel) (Archiv Produktion CD)†
* Biber: Harmonia Artificiosa (Musica Antiqua Köln/Goebel) (Archiv Produktion 2CD)†
* Vivaldi: The Four Seasons (+) (Venice Baroque Orchestra/Marcon/Carmignola) (Sony Classical CD)
* John Coltrane: The Heavyweight Champion: Complete Atlantic Recordings (d.1-4) (Rhino 7CD)
* Miles Davis: Bitches Brew (Legacy Edition) (Columbia/Legacy 2CD+DVD)
* Miles Davis: The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (d.2-4) (Columbia 4CD)
* Miles Davis Quintet: Village Gate, New York, NY May/June 1969 (AUD CDR)
* Miles Davis Quintet: Juan-les-Pins, Antibes, France 7-26-69 (Pre-FM CDR)
* Miles Davis Quintet: “Paraphernalia” (Salle Pleyel, Paris, France 11-3-69) (JMY (FM/boot) CD)
* Anthony Braxton Diamond Curtain Wall Trio: Casino Modern, Genk, Belgium 11-16-06 (AUD CDR)
* Anthony Braxton Student Ensembles: Wesleyan University 12-06/08-06 (AUD CDR)
* A. Braxton/Wm. Parker/M. Graves: Parco della Musica, Rome, Italy 3-16-07 (AUD 2CDR)
* Herbie Hancock: Flood (Sony—Japan CD)
* Pat Metheny Group: Travels (ECM 2LP)
* Funkadelic: Funkadelic (Westbound CD)
* Funkadelic: Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow (Westbound CD)
* Elvis Presley: Elvis Is Back! (RCA-Victor/DCC LP)
* John Lennon & Yoko Ono: Double Fantasy (Geffen LP)
* John Lennon & Yoko Ono: Milk and Honey (Polydor LP)
* Grateful Dead: Felt Forum, New York, NY 12-04-71 (SBD 2CDR)(‡)
* Grateful Dead: The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA 8-30-80 (d.2) (SBD 3CDR)
* The Jerry Garcia Collection Vol.1: Legion of Mary (1974-75) (Rhino 2+1CD)†/‡
* Van Morrison: Live at The Grand Opera House Belfast (1983) (Mercury/Polygram CD)
* Chris Bell: I Am the Cosmos (Deluxe Edition) (d.1) (Rhino Handmade 2CD)
* Robert Pollard: Normal Happiness (Merge LP)
* Robert Pollard: Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love (Merge LP)
* Robert Pollard: Standard Gargoyle Decisions (Merge LP)
* Robert Pollard: Silverfish Trivia (Prom Is Coming EP)
* Boston Spaceships: Our Cubehouse Still Rocks (GBV, Inc. CD)†/‡
* Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino CD)

†/‡=iPod in car


John Lennon would have been seventy years old today and the occasion has been marked by the re-re-issue of his solo catalog on CD. I haven’t heard these yet, but apparently the big news is that the original LP mixes have been used, rather than the digital re-mixes Yoko Ono created in the 1990s. Whatever you think about Yoko as an artist or singer—or even if you think she single-handedly broke up The Beatles—you have to admit that John and Yoko loved each other deeply. You can hear it on the 1980 comeback album, Double Fantasy, as they sing to each other about domestic bliss (and strife) and you can see it in their kissing faces on the (now) iconic album cover. And one must concede that Yoko has managed John’s legacy with respectful restraint, aside from those re-mixes, which sound crisp and clear, if a little cold and sterile.

Certainly, John was the heart of The Beatles, and his tortured soul drove the band to dizzying heights of artistic success. And it is also apparent that the happiness Yoko brought him eventually dulled his edge and dampened his creative fires. But that seems a small price to pay when he had already accomplished so much in life. What more did he have to prove? Why not be happy? And yet Double Fantasy really did seem to be a middle-aged return to form and it is a tantalizing glimpse what might have been had he not been gunned down by a deranged fan. Today it is hard to imagine a seventy-year-old John Lennon or what he might be doing, but I am certain he and Yoko would still be happily married, whether he ever made music again or not. “Grow Old With Me” is perhaps John’s most moving love song to Yoko: a homemade recording of impossible tenderness, perhaps the best track on the posthumous, unfinished Milk and Honey album. Listening to it, I am on the one hand profoundly saddened that he was unable to realize his seemingly simple desire to live to a ripe old age with Yoko always at his side.On the other hand, the simple, plaintive song poignantly expresses the pure desire for the sanctity of love and marriage and it sums up my feelings for my own beautiful wife:

Grow old along with me
The best is yet to be
When our time has come
We will be as one
God bless our love
God bless our love

Grow old along with me
Two branches of one tree
Face the setting sun
When the day is done
God bless our love
God bless our love

Spending our lives together
Man and wife together
World without end
World without end

Grow old along with me
Whatever fate decrees
We will see it through
For our love is true
God bless our love
God bless our love
Personally, I always dug Yoko Ono. After all, she had already established herself as a radical Fluxus artist long before John Lennon came barging onto her scene with his rock'n'roll flash. Sure, these definitive reissues of Lennon’s solo albums are nice and the Signature box set, containing two discs of previously unreleased home recordings is awfully tempting (if overpriced). But I might be even more interested in deluxe facsimile editions of the weird musique concrete records the young lovers made in the late-Sixties and early-Seventies, like Two Virgins and The Wedding Album. Not to listen to, necessarily—just to have on the shelf as a token of their affection for each other and because they are part The Beatles canon, like it or not. Now that I think about it, Yoko’s harrowing response to John’s murder, Season of Glass (1981), is an underappreciated masterpiece and deserves a fresh hearing. Yeah, Yoko Ono is cool. No wonder John fell in love with her.

Happy Birthday, John Lennon! Wish you were still here to celebrate with us!


Sam said...

Nice post, Rodger! And nice sentiment, too. You know, a big gaping hole in my experience is that I've never heard "Two Virgins"--just never got around to it, never saw it at a time when I could buy it, etc. I'm curious but based on what I've read about it, not that curious. Should I be?

Here's my list from last week. I finally finished working my way through all my Cecil Taylor discs--and the most overwhelming takeaway for me has to be that Tony Oxley is by far the most sympathetic and compatible drummer Cecil has had--and this out a slew of remarkable drummers. Next, I'm going to work my way through all my Art Ensemble discs chronologically.

Playlist 2010-10-11

*Anthony Braxton Quartet: 1979-04-22 Milan (CDR)
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2007-12-29 Nashville (selections)
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2008-03-24 Nashville
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2008-12-26 Nashville (selections)
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2009-07-23 Nashville (selections)
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2010-07-30
*Colla Parte: 2010-09-19 Sonic Circuits, Fairfax VA (CDR)
*Miles Davis Quintet: 1967-11-02 Copenhagen (CDR)
*Miles Davis Quintet: 1967-11-04 Berlin (CDR)
*Miles Davis: In a Silent Way (side 1)
*Mindbreath Trio 2010-01-15: Pyramid Atlantic, Silver Spring, MD (CDR)
*Nine Strings: Open Circuits/Communicating Fields
*Nine Strings Trio: Live July & August 2010 (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor: 2009-08-31 Highline Ballroom, NYC (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor/Tony Oxley: 2009-10-02 Strasbourg, France (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor/Tony Oxley: 2009-10-04 Antwerpen (CDR)
*Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion
*Beach Boys: Let's Take a Trip Down Hawthorne Blvd. (live 1967 boot CDR)
*Beatles: Live Vol.1: Star Club (Purple Chick) disc 1
*Sam Cooke's SAR Records Story, disc 1
*Elvis Costello & the Attractions: The Gangster Is Back (1983-09-07 Austin TX, boot CDR)
*Jimi Hendrix: The Jimi Hendrix Experience (box set) disc 2
*Jimi Hendrix: Acoustic Jams (boot CDR) disc 1
*Pavement: Crooked Rain Crooked Rain
*Tito Puente: The Essential Tito Puente (disc 1)
*Stock, Hausen, & Walkman: Oh My Bag!
*Various artists: Amarcord Nino Rota

Reading log 2010-10-11

*Gaiman, Neil, et al. The Absolute Sandman, vol. 1. (started)
*Toro, Guillermo del, and Chuck Hogan. The Fall (started)
*Toro, Guillermo del, and Chuck Hogan. The Strain (finished)
*Prose, Francine. Reading Like a Writer (in progress)
*Tanner, Tony. Prefaces to Shakespeare (in progress)
*Theobald, Lewis. Double Falsehood (Arden Shakespeare ed.) (in progress)

Rodger Coleman said...

I might have a bootleg CD of "Two Virgins" somewhere. And I think Rkyko did put it out with the other Yoko albums in the 1990s. Anyway, it's interesting in a "Revolution No.9" kinda way, only even more self-indulgent as I recall. Those crazy kids!

I agree re: Tony Oxley. He's the perfect accompanist for Cecil. What's also amazing is that Cecil has lost none of his chops in his 80s!

Hey, Miles '67, man! I wish there was more of that stuff around in good sound quality!