You try to keep your eyes and ears off the news, but somehow it oozes out anyhow. I had to apply salve quickly, without much thinking. Lizard-brain motion.
The Best of The Sir Douglas Quintet 1968-1975
Could be the House favorite. I take meticulous care of CDs and this is scuffed in spite of that. Nutso yet deeply moving originals, often about dislocation and divided self (“Texas Me”). Norteño-flavored dance rave-ups (“Michoacan”). Flat-out rockers (“I’m Not That Kat Anymore”). Pleading, soulful ballads (“Be Real”). Texas blues shuffles–and I mean ace shuffles (“Papa Ain’t Salty”)–and even not-so-bad stabs at harnessing free jazz to psychedelia (“Song of Everything”). Is that all? Noop! Can you name someone else who could comfortably and solidly cover the ground of the following: Ink Spots, T-Bone Walker, Charley Pride, Freddie Fender, and Cajun swing? Maybe, but it’ll take awhile. Doug was a Swiss Army Knife American musician, and they don’t make that stuff no more.
Caetano Veloso: A Foreign Sound
Well, OK, it didn’t take me long. On this epic journey to wrestle every crease in the American songbook into some bossa nova or samba or (very gingerly) Tropicalia, the daring and heroic Brazilian icon visits not just Dylan and Talking Heads, but also Nirvana and DNA (talk about creases!). Also, and it’s not as sappy as you’d figure with the lilt Veloso applies to them, Paul Anka and Morris Albert and greeting-card Stevie Wonder. AND I can’t leave out a Murderer’s Row of Tin Pan Alley classics. Is the result anything more than being impressed by his flexibility and interpretive intelligence? You might get laid. How’s that grab ya?
Sabu Martinez: Afro-Temple
After the above calmed me down and graced me with a groove (about the news–8/1/18–remember), I needed to get fired up again, and what better than this fiery polemics-and-percussion assault by this great but somewhat forgotten Cuban musician? Cut in ’73, might just as well been yesterday. Bring on the day, darkly as it may sing…
I love Del. His classic “If You Must” has been on repeat play in Nicole’s jalopy, and I broke this out to revisit it after many years. His mind, his sense of humor, his sneakily sinuous flow, his way with subtly eccentric beats: he’s like the blerd in AP lit who knocked out the loudmouth jock with a sudden left-right combo. All of which led me to this exhilarating KEXP appearance with Dan the Automator on conducting wand and Kid Koala on instant-ID tables. Not something you’ll see every day: