400 Lonely Things - Minutes A.D. (2008, CD)
Arthur Lyman - Bwana Ā (1958, LP)
The Association - Greatest Hits (1968, cassette)
Cecil Taylor Unit - Spring of Two Blue-J's (1973, mp3 download)
Heart - Heart (1985, LP)
John Denver - Greatest Hits (1973, LP)
Kate Walsh - Acoustic (2009, EP-length mp3 download)
Soweto Gospel Choir - The Sounds of Soweto Gospel Choir (2009, mp3 download)
The Firesign Theatre - Nick Danger: The Case of the Missing Shoe (1979, EP)
Various Artists - The Great Big Bands (undated, LP)
Minutes A.D. is the most recent release* from the darkwave or dark ambient group 400 Lonely Things. I purchased it just recently and I think I'll write more about it later.
Arthur Lyman was a famous jazz vibraphonist. I wonder if there were ever any non-jazz vibraphonists. I might to write a full post on this one, too, so I won't say too much about it. I like it. The music is inspired by and/or adapted from Hawaiian music. Lyman was a Hawaiian by birth if not by heritage.
I got the Association tape via a music club when I was in college. I remember it quite distinctly because I stopped to pick up my mail on the way to Bible class at ACU ("Genesis to Esther"; Bible classes are, or at least were, required courses at ACU when I went there). When I got to class, I was talking with a classmate who I had sort of become friends with because his name was also Alan. When he saw that I had this tape he got really excited; apparently they were one of his favorite groups. The cassette has now deteriorated a little, although my rip is still listenable, but I would like to replace it with a CD someday. I would probably like all their regular albums as well. I have always been a fan of vocal harmony, and the Association's vocals are rich, deep and intricate. Some might consider them "bubblegum-ish," but their "Requiem for the Masses" on this tape makes me wonder what else I might find if I started digging into their non-compilation albums.
The Cecil Taylor Unit album was downloaded from Kathleen Loves Music. This is free jazz, and Cecil Taylor is considered one of the pioneering artists of this musical form. It isn't something that I can easily wrap my head around, and I don't enjoy listening to it very often. It sounds too incoherent to me. But I am still working on trying to learn how to listen to this kind of music. Taylor is a pianist and on this album is accompanied by alto sax, bass and drums.
The Heart album was purchased as a new release in 1985 and brings back a few vivid memories that I don't wish to recount here. But anyway, a good five tracks out of the ten were also included on These Dreams, so I ripped only the remaining five that are not redundant with that collection. Perfect rips on all.
When I was a kid, my mother had the cassette of that John Denver album. It became my favorite album for several years. I thought I had at one time bought this CD, but I guess I never did. Anyway, this record is an old one of my wife's, and it isn't in the best of shape, so I still want to get the CD, or one of his later compilations that includes most of the songs on this one (see below). When I was a kid my dad got a good deal on a Kimball electronic organ that had been repossessed, and I played it all the time. "Take Me Home, Country Roads" was one song that wasn't in any of our music books but I picked it out by ear anyway. I think my favorite of this album is "Rhymes and Reasons," but at one time I had the whole thing memorized and I still mostly do. However, I never really care for that "Sunshine on My Shoulders." That one just never caught my ear. I have a few other records of his that I haven't ripped, and they're probably all in bad shape.
Kate Walsh is new to me; I just downloaded this EP from Amazon. A British singer-song writer, and these are acoustic versions of three of her songs. I could get more by her.
The Soweto Gospel Choir album is another recent Amazon free download. Most songs have a drum or drums keeping the beat, other than that it is all a capella. Some songs are in English, but most are in their native language. Either way, this is a great collection of a capella Gospel and if you are into that sort of thing you should follow the link and download it while it's available.
Back in the 80s I read about Firesign Theatre in several different places, but they were another troop that was hard to find in any record stores. If anyone had asked me only a few months ago, I would have said that I had only one of their records: Not Insane or Anything You Want To. I had forgotten that I had this one until I came across it a while back while going through the shelves. This is only an EP, 12 minutes long in total, and it's funny. Not Insane just seems like a complete waste of time to me; I don't remember anything funny or even interesting about it from the last time I listened to it many years ago. Both of them were found from used sources. I would still like to get their earlier stuff, from before Not Insane. This EP is like an old radio program about private detective Nick Danger, who awakens one day to discover that his left shoe is missing. Of course it's a parody of those old radio programs, and farcical as well, including fake commercials for silly products. This one will go in the "other mp3s" directory because it isn't music.
The Big Bands record is another from the inherited collection. Three of the tracks have faint artefacts but the rest came out very well. Ten tracks with some of the big names from the big band era, including Gene Crupa, Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, and others.
Album count: 650.
*This was correct when I first wrote the draft of this post. They recently have released a new album.