Saturday, January 02, 2010

10 more albums #68

Dinah Washington - Dinah '62 (1962, CD)
Gunter Hampel - Spirits (1971, mp3 download)
Nina Hagen - Nunsexmonkrock (1982, LP)
Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (1983, LP)
The Dream Academy - The Dream Academy (1985, LP)
Various Artists:
- Buddha Lounge Sampler (2009, mp3 download)
- Nacional Records Sampler (2009, mp3 download)
- Pi Recordings Sampler (2009, mp3 download)
- Veterans Day Honor (2009, mp3 download)
- Verve Vault Presents (2009, mp3 download)

I mentioned before that I had ripped a couple of old, battered Dinah Washington LPs from my late mother-in-law's collection. Dinah '62 is one of her more pop-oriented records, as opposed to some other more jazzier-oriented recordings she did. It doesn't matter which genre this particular album gets pigeon-holed into--I have fallen in love with her voice. I got this one from not long ago, and am still looking around for good collections of her jazzier stuff.

The Gunter Hampel album was downloaded from Kathleen Loves Music. This is another "free jazz" album, recorded quite primitively according to Fred Seibert's notes. I must admit the free jazz doesn't appeal to me as much as the more mainstream stuff. However, I am liking this one quite a lot. Hampel plays piano, flute, vibrafon (the German spelling of "vibraphone," I assume) and bass clarinet. The two other members of his trio are Perry Robinson on clarinet and Jeanne Lee on vocals, and I think most of the appeal of this music comes from Lee's vocalise.

With Nina Hagen, we come yet again to another instance when I wish I knew what happened to my old Rolling Stone Record Guide, because I'm certain it was the brief and scathing "review" in that book that prompted me to go out and buy one of her records. This one was the biggest hit for her in the United States, and probably the only one that a store like Hastings ever carried. Hagen is a German vegetarian anti-communist operatically trained punk rocker who turned Christian who is--shall we say--"interested" in UFOs. Her music must be heard--it can't be described. She has an extremely broad vocal range and can sing like an angel or a demon. A perfect rip on this one except for track 8 which has one soft pop that I couldn't clear out.

The Eurythmics record was part of one of those "10-records-for-a-penny" deals with some record club in the early 80s. I liked their radio hits, but back in '83 I thought everything else on this record was leaning heavily toward the lame, and my opinion these days has softened only a little. Now I also like another one on here titled "Jennifer." Mostly this is just fit for background music, however, I also really like Annie Lennox's voice. Not a completely perfect rip on this one but pretty close.

I bought The Dream Academy album because of that one hit single which I'm sure you already know. I also bought it on the strength of an interview I read with them, probably in Musician magazine way back when.

The remaining five are all free downloads from, two of which I've already written about.

The Buddha Lounge sampler is a collection of new age/trance/mood music. Perfectly fine, if you like that kind of thing, but nothing that really stands out.

The Nacional Records sampler surprised me, because I didn't expect to like it much. Overall I gave it only a 2, but it gets 6 out of 20 for notable artists, with two tracks (rap) that are only worth deleting. Music is in both Spanish and English, with a wide variety of styles encompassing alt rock, reggaeton, hip-hop, rap, techno and chill. Artists/groups worth mentioning are Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Aterciopelados, Bomba Estereo, Hello Seahorse!, Juana Molina and Sara Valenzuela.

The Verve Vault collection is really good. I gave it 7 out of 7 for notable artists and an overall 3.6. The music is jazz/rhythm & blues. Artists are Ella Fitzgerald, Astrud Gilberto, Billie Holiday, Antonio Carlos Jobim (an instrumental), the Charlie Parker Quintet (another instrumental), Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington. It's still available but no longer free, and currently sits at a sales rank of 1409 in their mp3 downloads.

Album count: 690.

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