Duke Ellington and his orchestra 1949-1950

Duke Ellington and his orchestra 1949-1950.
A chronological classic, so we’re listening to a comprehensive overview of a particular period, but not truly excellent quality. I picked this sweety up a few weeks ago (again from caiman.com, via amazon – fabulously quick delivery and cheap) so as to secure myself a whole album’s worth of stuff like B-Sharp Boston, a song Doz got me onto.
It’s neat stuff. I wasn’t really all that aware of Ellinton’s more mainstream stuff from the late 40s/early 50s – I have a bit of it, but it’s stuff on compilations or overviews of his career, so I’ve not listened to it in isolation. I also have to say that I’m always distracted by the earlier stuff – I am passionate about very late 20s and early 30s (1928-1931 mostly) Ellington – and find it difficult to move past songs like Flaming Youth and Rockin’ in Rhythm. Which is probably why I find it difficult to DJ a lot of later Ellington – I simply don’t know it as well.
…that’s actually an exaggeration – I do play quite a bit of early 40s Ellington. And love it.
So anyway, back to the early 50s Ellington.
I like this stuff. When it’s not veering off into artyfarty stuff, there’s good dancing action on there. I think I like Joog Joog because it manages to use that big vocal sound Ellington liked for his stage shows with accessible ‘swing vocals’ – so you get the singer from Creole Love Call (sorry, I’ve forgotten her name, and I don’t have it in the laptop yet) teamed up with someone poppier, and you get a rockingly good pop song.
So, as far as DJable music goes, this is a goody – a few I’d happily play for dancers (and have – and had them go down well), plus some arty stuff purely for your own listening pleasure.
Two thumbs.

Joe Turner’s Boss of the Blues

There’s a reason they call these doods shouters.
The second of my amazingly quick-to-arrive CDs from Caiman (less than 2 weeks from Europe), I’m sucking up Big Joe Turner’s Boss of the Blues.
The super-jazz-nerds amongst you are no doubt thrilling to the thought of Freddie Greene playing on this 1956 recording. The rest of you should just settle in and enjoy… take care to get a firm grip on the sofa, lest Turner blows you away.
I’ve not had that much experience with Joe Turner. I have bunches of his stuff with people like Basie, and I’m pretty fond of most of it, but this is the first proper Big Joe Turner album I’ve bought. I like it. It’s uncompromising. I like those shouters – I love Dinah Washington especially. I like the thought that most of them started singing in church, and all that shouting is about Jesus. But Jesus dancing with his skirt up round his hips, on a table, dancing the crazy-I’m-dancing!-I’m-dancing!-like-a-fool type of dancing.
There’s lots on this album for DJing, from saucy blues to jumpy lindy, but our favourites in this house are the boogie woogie bits – that version of Roll ’em Pete makes you want to run around like a fool*. Sometimes the quality is kind of fagged** by Turner’s volume. But that’s kind of cool. Like feedback on a Nirvana album in 1992.
*funnily enough, I was just listening to my ‘lindy music’ on shuffle and came across another version of that song that I really, really like and wish I had more opportunities to play for dancers (from Basie’s Breakfast Dance and BBQ). It clocks in at 230bpm, so it’s kind of not all that playable most of the time. It starts: “Well I got a gal, she lives up on the hill” and continues…
**using this term the way my dad would – meaning ‘tired’ or totally buggered from overwork.

Alberta Hunter’s Downhearted Blues

While I fear I’ll die of old age before my order from raisedonrecords (via Amazon) comes, I’ve received both my recent acquisitions form caiman.com via amazon (they rock – Caiman are always really quick to deliver and no hassle to deal with). The first was Alberta Hunter’s Downhearted Blues, a live recording by one of my favourite artists. You can read about her over on allmusic, but I think the phrase ‘dirty lesbian nanna’ pretty much sums it up. This album is fun – you can hear that nanna working the crowd. Not so much for DJing, but it’s certainly worth listening to, and heaps of fun.

strange kitty

the nieces were collecting variations on this strange cat animal. a magnet-battery arrangement made the kitty’s tongue ‘lick’ at the magnetic bottle when you held it close.


Cars and Over The Hedge

I’ve recently seen Over the Hedge and Cars (did I mention my nieces are 11 and 7?). So I have things to report. But not right now. I’m a bit tired.
But you might want to go have a look here to read the Over the Hedge comic (from which the film was developed).
Super Size Me convinced me never to eat McDeath or other scary junk food ever again. OTH did a similar job. While it was a refreshingly child-centred film, the Message was decidedly anti-junk food and anti-television/sloth… not to mention anti-suburban development. It’s not a pixar-type multimodal/polyvocal text. OTH is a children’s film. But it was ideologically heavy in a very hippy-friendly way (well, perhaps without the ‘violence’).
Cars, on the other hand, was uncomfortable viewing for me. Very ‘go-cars!’, ‘drive one – now!’, ‘use fossil fuels – today!’. It didn’t sit well with me, and is my least favourite pixar effort to date. It looked great (but they all do, right?), but I just had this odd discomfort with the whole car/petrol/nostalgia thing. I’m not sure I want to revisit the 50s, where people drove just for the pleasure of driving (rather than getting places). Though I do dig neon.
It might have been my cold talking, but I also found it really really loud.

go look, here:

MAN, this chick sounds like FUN. I totally have to steal all her ideas for MLX6. No one loves silly physical games more than a lindy hopper. And a couple hundred lindy hoppers hyped on adrenaline and sugar at 2am… Well. Let’s just say… can you spell FUN?

heartattack and vine

talk about spitting into the microphone… but I like it. Of course. Reminds me of Morphine, who I’m sure no one but me remembers.