Fellow music enthusiasts: have you ever just been wrong about, been deaf to, a great album? It’s happened to me many times, as I suspect it has to you. On this day, I received a comeuppance.
Nicole and I and our dear friends Janet and David spent a day in Fulton, a town we’ve been frequenting and growing very fond of. We introduced them to The Fulton Café, an establishment specializing in Cuban cuisine already written about glowingly on this blog. We visited the National Churchill Museum on the campus of Westminster, where Churchill delivered his “Iron Curtain” speech and where stands proudly and appropriately a colorful extant segment of the Berlin Wall:
The museum’s been wonderfully revamped and, peeking into a room behind the chapel’s pulpit I spied…bongos? Yes, bongos!
Finally, we landed at Milton’s Cocktails, which featured the following:
$7 cocktails in pint glasses and $5 cans of beer + a shot
Free chicken chili
Pool table and pinball
A ebullient bartender and owner, Verrell
TWO JUKEBOXES stocked with goodies and free for the button-punching!
We enjoyed several dranks as I played all of the several Ronnie Self selections and sat gobsmacked and stumped at the garage/rockabilly covers of Jessie Hill’s “Whip It on Me” and Bobby Hendricks’ “Itchy Twitchy Feelings.” Verrell himself couldn’t help because he hadn’t written the performers’ names on the list, and we forgot to ask Fulton Café impresario and Milton’s staff member Jimmy, who mesmerized us with stories from his past in Kansas City. We’re going back to Milton’s, ’nuff said.
So…about this record I’d snubbed? We landed at Janet and David’s upon returning from Fulton, and apropos of nothing, and without announcing the selection, David put Kenny Burrell’s Guitar Forms on the box. My defenses were down, I was in a wild rockin’ mood after my jukebox jolt–when Burrell’s guitar leaped out of the speakers and began slashing me exquisitely with 1,000 elegant cuts. On top of that, Gil Evans’ settings immediately forced me to consider that the album was a perfect companion for Miles’ and Evans’ Sketches of Spain. I just flat-out luxuriated in a record I’d a decade ago dispensed with because it sounded too tasty, too guitar-nerdish! SAY WHAT???? Had I been out of my goddam mind? And I’d played it multiple times back then, trying to shake the greatness out of it and failing miserably. Sometimes, I’m not just deaf, I’m dumb–and it makes me wonder what other masterpieces I’ve been numb to. If you’d like to be spellbound, wait til it gets a bit late, pour a glass, mute all distractions, and apply Guitar Forms liberally.
After the last track of Guitar Forms ended, we hit the stacks and pulled out some work by another great arranger, Bill Holman’s Brilliant Corners: The Bill Holman Band Plays Thelonious Monk, which I’ve always loved. Here’s a taste:
Now, as I said, I’d always loved that. But I turned to David and muttered, a tad unfairly perhaps, “Monk and bombast…not that great a combo.”
One never steps into the same record twice, do one?