Monday, April 4, 2011
Monday Random Ten #3
1. The Hold Steady/Positive Jam/Almost Killed Me
2. Brownie Ford/Streets of Laredo/Roots Music: An American Journey
3. Mark Snow/X-Files Theme/Songs in the Key of X
4. Sonny Rollins/Tune Up/Newk's Time
5. Ronnie Hawkins/Mary Lou/The Best of Ronnie Hawkins
6. The Fiery Furnaces/Tropical Iceland/EP
7. Tinarawen/Imidiwan Afrik Tendam/Imidiwan
8. The Statler Brothers/Flowers on the Wall/Pulp Fiction Soundtrack
9. Paul Nabor/Naguya Nei/Paranda
That gives us a couple of world music giants; a couple of great 21st century indie bands; a couple of touchstones of '90s culture; some vintage country, rockabilly, and jazz; and an old cowboy singer. So let's see....
The Hold Steady are one of those Great American Rock Bands, honing their craft over years of touring. They're at the top of their game right now. If your one of those people for whom the singer's voice is a dealbreaker, as with, say, Donald Fagen, or Neil Young, or Lou Reed, then Craig Finn's nasal timbre might take some getting used to. But like those other gents, he's such a fine songwriter that I don't give a crap what he sings like. If you want pretty singing, buy a Barbara Streisand CD.
I love me some Fiery Furnaces. They're one of those angular, quirky, female-fronted bands I can't get enough of these days, like Deerhoof, Fol Chen, Micachu and the Shapes, Ponytail, etc, etc. They're also the only live band I've ever seen with a kick-ass glockenspiel player. Singer Eleanor Friedberger and her brother Matthew have been at it for a decade now; their official site is over there.
If you don't know Tinarawen, they describe themselves as "legendary poet guitarists and soul rebels from the southern Sahara." Based in Mali, they formed in 1979, but have mostly come to the world's attention in the last decade. Their backstory is compelling, and the music is mesmerizing. You owe it to yourself.
Paul Nabor is a garifuna musician, based in Belize. Born in 1930, he's played with the late great Andy Palacio, who helped bring garifuna music to a wider audience.
That Ronnie Hawkins hit, you might have heard before, but note that he's backed up there by the Hawks, the band that later became The Band.
Thomas Edison "Brownie" Ford was half cowboy, half Indian (Comanche), born in 1904. He put in 92 years on this planet, but doesn't seem to have recorded until fairly late in life. That Roots Music box set is well worth your time.