Friday, July 20, 2012

Why haven't I had these albums for years?

I'm way behind on recording what I've bought musically. So what else is new? So let us briefly visit what has been added to my pop culture archive.

My habit, when discovering a new artist, or revisiting one I've known but not 'owned', is to do a little research (in the last decade, "Google"), and settle on an album which is representative of the artist's ouvre. Typically, one album is enough. Sometimes it is a "best of" album, and sometimes, it is that snapshot in time, the crystalline essence of an artist's potential (cf. Harvest, Tapestry, etc.). Yes, I know those are both ancient. Sorry, so am I. [They date from my high school years or even before].

Despite the last two examples being from my childhood/teens, some of my favorite music dates from before I was born. Collectively, I absolutely love bebop and hard bop. One of the classics of the era is Mingus Ah Um by Charles Mingus. This is one of those albums which has very few filler pieces. I'm hard-pressed to name a piece off this album which is sub-standard.

Given that, I have to ask, "Why haven't I had The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady for all those decades? While there are only four compositions on this album, each is steeped in its era. I listen to this and I revisit every album, every film from the mid-sixties, when I was but a wee tot. All that pop culture was just background noise as I was growing up. But now, and yes, even for many years, it has been a vital part of my musical tapestry ('I see what you did there').

"Mingus Ah Um" is a great, perhaps magnificent album. But while "Black Saint" isn't quite the crystalization of concepts, it is still in my top 100 albums of all time. So to repeat the refrain, "why haven't I had this album for years?"

About the same time that I procured 'Saint', I also picked up a copy of Come Dance With Me, a 1959 Frank Sinatra album arranged and conducted by Billy May. I already had two best-of albums and Watertown. Some of them I've had for many years. But 'Come Dance with Me!' is undeniably catchy, upbeat and fun. It's purely Frank, in a positive mood. Once again, why had I not heard of this one, or gotten it, before?

I've picked up a number of other albums in the interrim since getting these, but none are so notable, so I think I'll leave it at that (I'm sure you're relieved to hear). Just check these two out on Spotify or your own favorite sampling site, and see if you like them as much as I do.