Song of the Week
This may not be appropriate from a legal standpoint, but I'd like to introduce you to some of my favorite music, and hopefully you will like it and support these artists by buying their CDs. Maybe at some point I'll even set up links so you can buy it and I can make two cents on the deal!

Note: Depending on your browser and various other things (like sunspots), you may be able to left-click or you may need to right-click, or if you're an Apple person maybe there's some other secret click you know, even though your pitiful mouse only has one button.


mylab
mylab

Shortly after picking this cd up (and for the life of me I can't remember where I first heard it) I was listening to it at home and my son strolled by and said "I didn't know you were into the electronica thing." At the time I just suggested that he listen for a minute, because I didn't want him to think this was just more euro-techno blandness. Later I thought I should have mentioned that the first record album that I ever bought (somewhere in the late '60's) was "Poem Electronique" by Edgar Varese, one of the earliest examples of "modern" electronic music (yes, my friends were buying Beatles 45's - yes, I was a total nerd). Nor did I mention that the second record I bought was a Simon and Garfunkel album. Mylab is two guys with a recording studio on Bainbridge Island, a beautiful spot about thirty minutes by ferry from Seattle. I went there a couple of years ago to the home of some friends of my sister-in-law and it was a beautiful place and I can see why it would be an inspirational place for a studio. Anyway, these two guys manage to attract a whole lot of outstanding musicians to their studio (like Danny Barnes, Bill Frisell, Eyvind Kang, etc.) and they make some really cool music. This song is my favorite, I don't know why, although it sort of reminds me of an old Alka Seltzer commercial and I'm not sure if that's good or bad, but here you go.

Album: "MYLAB"
Song: Land Trust Picnic
 
Previous Selections
Sol. K. Bright
Sol K. Bright and His Hollywaiians

This has been on my top ten desert island list for at least 30 years and I never get tired of it. Then again, I don't listen to it every day. But there's some lovely steel guitar, and since I was living in San Francisco when I first heard it, I did appreciate the few words of english in this sweetly wacky Hawaiian tune.

Album: "Steel Guitar Classics"
Song: Hawaiian Cowboy

Cassandra Wilson - New Moon Daughter
Cassandra Wilson

This spooky, sensual contralto doesn't know if she's ever coming home - but neither did the Monkees.

Album: "New Moon Daughter"
Song: Last Train to Clarksville

Jan Garbarek - Bobo Stenson Quartet - Witchi-Tai_to
Jan Garbarek - Bobo Stenson Quartet

I can't remember who first made this song a hit (I think someone made it a hit of some sort way back when) but I've always liked this song and for a while in the early '70's I found myself buying lots of albums produced by ECM and this one in particular has stood the test of time, at least for me. And then there's Bobo!

Album: "Witchi-Tai-To"
Song: Witchi-Tai_To

Amy X. Neuburg & Men - Utechma
Amy X. Neuburg & Men

The amazing Amy X. (check about 6 songs down the list for another) with a haunting song that I think would be a good choice for a mix tape for your next journey through space. I saw her some months back in San Geronimo, singing some amazing original songs with the female vocal ensemble Solstice. Beautiful.

Album: "Utechma"
Song: Hunger for Heaven

Tiny Tim - Girl
Tiny Tim with Brave Combo

There's just nothing I can say about this, except that it's way better than Pat Boone's version. And his baritone voice sounds scarily like Frank Langella's Nixon.

Album: "Girl"
Song: Stairway to Heaven

Little Freddie King
Little Freddie King

There are plenty of songs about booze, pot, cocaine, etc., but when's the last time you heard a good crackhead song?

Album: "You Don't Know What I Know"
Song: Crackhead Joe

Medeski, Martin and Wood
John Scofield

Scofield is acknowledged as one of the top jazz guitarists of recent times, right up there with Bill Frisell and Pat Methany. He's certainly got the credentials, having played with Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, Gary Burton and Miles Davis among others. I really like his weirdly distorted funk-rock sound, but this tune is more of a straight-ahead smooth jazz item that I chose mainly for its title. Put on your fez and enjoy it (I'm wearing mine right now).

Album: "Bump"
Song: Fez

Medeski, Martin and Wood
Medeski, Martin & Wood

This is one of the more accessible tunes from John Medeski, Billy Martin and Chris Wood, at least for those of you not into their avant-garde post-bop acid funk groove jazz, with it's cooler than cool jazziness that evokes way more things than I can describe here. Just put on the headphones and let yourself sink into this one. It's reassuringly familiar and refreshingly new all at once.

Album: "It's a Jungle in Here"
Song: Where's Sly

Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy
Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy

All right, it sounds like the band has been drinking, but as any Spike Jones fan can tell you, it's really hard to make things sound that easy. Lester Bowie, more than almost any other artist (Louis Armstrong comes to mind) gives his trumpet an astoundingly human voice, and isn't afraid to inject a little humor into it as well. The Brass Fantasy (four trumpets, two trombones, a french horn, tuba and drums) creates a true aural fantasy with this dreamily weird cover; the album includes some other covers and a couple of Bowie originals. Original is definitely the word to define Mr. Bowie.

Album: "I Only Have Eyes for You"
Song: I Only Have Eyes for You

Amy X. Neuburg and Men
Amy X. Neuburg & Men

Sadly, Amy and the Men have parted company after just two albums. But Amy's still around, having recently performed her evening-length song cycle "The Secret Language of Subways" for voice, electronics and cello trio (the Cello ChiXtet). For today's selection, here are Amy and the Men putting their own unique electronic art-rock cabaret spin on an old King Crimson song.

Album: "Sports! Chips! Booty!"
Song: Waiting Man

Blossom Dearie
Blossom Dearie

Yes, that's her real name. And yes, this is her real voice. It's sometimes described as childlike, Betty-Boop-like, etc., but keep listening. Her arrangements are impeccable (they simply cannot be pecked!), infused simultaneously with charm and sardonic wit, and elevated by her seemingly effortless piano playing. If you can catch her live, she's still playing the cabaret/supper club circuit, mostly in New York and occasionally in London.

Album: "Songs of Chelsea"
Song: Everything I've Got

Ink Spots
The Ink Spots

This is a lovely, if somewhat odd, ballad in which the grass is chided for telling secrets to the blabberin' trees. Sandy Denny did a great version of this song, but I think this is the definitive version. It shows up on a lot of Ink Spots albums, this is the so-so disk I had on hand.

Album: "We Four - The Best of the Ink Spots"
Song: Whispering Grass

The Bobs
The Bobs

One of the most creative and entertaining a cappella groups now making the rounds. I first saw The Bobs at a benefit in a beautiful church in Oakland, Ca., and bought this CD from Amy "Bob" herself. She wrote this tune, and is the featured performer. Of course she's from New Jersey.

Album: "Coaster"
Song: Bring to Boil

Archers Of Loaf
Archers of Loaf

A cover of a great Tom Waits song. The Archers tell the story well, plus there's the most interesting grunt going throughout the tune. This is an excellent album overall; it introduced me to many bands that I probably wouldn't have listened to if they weren't doing Tom Waits songs.

Album: "Step Right Up - The Songs of Tom Waits"
Song: Big Joe & Phantom 309

My Best Friend's Wedding
Ani DiFranco

I first found this song on the web, and didn't believe it was really Ani till I did some research. We usually think of her in a modern feminist vein, and this is about the most sexist song of all times (gangster rap excluded). The song advises a young woman to do everything to please a man, and in reward..."you will be his!" If you're going to go to all that trouble, I would think he should be yours, if there really needs to be an ownership issue at all. Also, this is the theme to a fairly awful movie featuring Julia Roberts being utterly selfish right to the unredeeming end. But anyway, this is a great cover, better than the original, a very creative arrangement with some great rhythm (listen to the drums).

Album: "Soundtrack - My Best Friend's Wedding"
Song: Wishing And Hoping

Now That I've Found You
Alison Krauss

I much prefer her great bluegrass stuff to her pop-country efforts. This tune is somewhere in between, but it's a great cover with some beautiful harmonies. And what's not to like about a fiddle-playin' child prodigy who manages to grow beyond those early expectations. Plus, on occasions (like this album cover) she looks astonishingly like a young Linda Ronstadt.

Album: "Now That I've Found You"
Song: Baby Now That I've Found You

Fucc The I.N.S.
Kultur Shock

(Parental Advisory!) Balkan fever hits Seattle in a wacky mulitcultural frenzy of jazzy punk politics. No, I don't know what that means either.

Album: "Fucc The I.N.S."
Song: How to Fucc Songs & Irritate Musicians

Rough Guide to Planet Rock
Albert Kuvezin & Yat-Kha

Imagine this fellow deep in Southern Siberia, listening to Iron Butterfly doing "In a Gadda Da Vida," and being inspired to render it in his unique Tuvan style. It's wonderful. It's insane.

Album: "Rough Guide to Planet Rock"
Song: In A Gadda Da Vida

Red Bird
The Dixie Cups

A classic 60's girl group showing their New Orleans roots with this afro-creole-mardi-gras nursery rhyme of a song.

Album: "Complete Red Bird Recordings"
Song: Iko Iko

Bette
Bette Middler

Bette goes south of the border with this funny and very catchy tune.

Album: "Bette"
Song: In These Shoes

Live in Belgrade
Boban Markovic Orkestar

Wild Balkan Gypsy music goes funkadelic! This'll make you want to buy a tuba and dance down Main Street.

Album: "Live in Belgrade"
Song: Otpisani

Muy Divertido!
Marc Ribot Y los Cubanos Postizos

If you're from New Jersey (and who isn't!) this tune is for you.

Album: "Muy Divertido!"
Song: Las Lomas de New Jersey

Extraordinary Machine
Fiona Apple

Fabulous voice, intriguing lyrics, stunning orchestration, and possibly the best use of a bell ever!

Album: Extraordinary Machine
Song: Extraordinary Machine
 

 
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