Friday, January 30, 2009

Guitar Lovers Against Violins

Back to guitars...Elek Bacsik was a very unique artist within the jazz realm and I had come to know this Hungarian born, cousin to Django Reinhardt no less, as a guitarist. Although I was vaguely aware that he was similarly known for talents on the violin, the instrument he started on apparently, I had become accustomed to his guitar and expected more of my favorite instrument featured on this LP, "I Love You", when I bought it. Well, such was not the case. It turns out that only one song of the eight on this album features Elek on electric guitar while all the others have him on violin or the violectra. So, once over the general disappointment, I can say that this long OOP album is a very worthwhile listen none-the-less. Like Elek's guitar style, his violin work is gritty and notably different within the traditional gypsy-ish jazz genre. This has Grapelli-like sounds but it isn't quite that either. He sounds like he is very loose and having fun. There's a certain careless quality that translates into an emotional feel and the list of accompanying musicians is very impressive on the Bob Theile Music recording. This is apparently the first American recording that Bacsik made and he didn't do much after this from what I can tell. He has a couple albums available on CD, it's all good, but I remain partial to the guitar as always. But I don't really have anything against violins...maybe just a little anarchy anyway....enjoy.
Elek Bacsik - I Love You - 1974
Bob Thiele Music - #BBL1-0556

I Love You
I Can't Get Started
Donna Lee
Season of the Rain

Tea For Two
Valse Triste
Blues For Elek
They Can't Take That Away From Me

Elek Bacsik - violin, violectra, guitar
Hank Jones - piano
Richard Davis - bass
Grady Tate, Elvin Jones - drums
Oliver Nelson - alto sax
Bucky Pizzarelli - Spanish guitar
Ray Mantilla - timbales & percussion
Richard (Pablo) Landrum - congas & percussion

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Home grown and the post-holiday impression...

My guess is that the majority of folks out there, though declining in numbers they may be, are still pretty soft on the whole Christmas holiday ordeal. I mean that most of us, no matter how hardened by the relentless march of time, get a certain refreshing childhood joy out of Christmas trees and lights, various decorations and gatherings with friends and families, presents wrapped colorfully and cards in the mail with assorted artistic renderings that attempt to capture the "true" spirit of Christmas. From the religious to the pagan to the weather oriented themes, and the just good old kind-spirited messages of peace and good will. They tend to weaken the knees of most of us still, I think. Maybe I'm wrong, as I see the stream of holiday cards continue to decline steadily, the party invitations wane, the messages becoming more generic and less intense in commercial and personal terms alike. Or maybe I'm just becoming old and unpopular! But here we are in the aftermath of yet another season of the Christ Mass, all born of some odd mix of druid ritual, post harvest and a clashing of multitudes of other coincidental celebrations generally focused in the western world on the baby in a manger, the hope and quiet of a black-blue night illuminated by an unbelievable light, the peace of the knowing animals and the awesome sight of angels and inconceivable love and compassion. Where is faith in all this, what is the consensus of mankind, where do we as individuals end up in this incredible picture of what we might all hope? Well, for the time being it is right here, 2009 AD, a largely ignored posting in a largely inconceivable internet world, a trail of Bing Crosby and Manheim Steamroller tunes fading into another new year. The cookies and the expanded waistlines taking their place in the reality of a familiar but uncertain calendar, a procession of more holidays, more, or less, cards, and so much unfathomable humanity piled into our anxious hopes for happiness and our endless fear of the unknown. So the Christmas season has stroked our unsettled hearts once again, come and gone like Santa, like the 24 hours of "A Christmas Story", like my friend Eric who died at the age of 49 in a shocking moment hidden innocently in the afterglow of holiday revelry. Christmas reminds us so much of how human we are, of what we have come to expect and what we will forever miss. It is like gasoline on a tiny fire that burns off so quickly. We huddle in the warmth pretending that it might not extinguish, knowing full well it will, knowing, long before the flame settles. And for me, there in that momentary swell of brightness, there is the image I have crafted of my life. Be it Jesus, or my father, or my very own countenance superimposed on the elusive volume that recounts my story, there burns the sum value of what erupts year after year, December after December, before and after, until the dinosaurs return I suppose. Christmas is just a painting that we perceive deep within. It's purpose is to remind us of what most comforts us before tackling the next spanse of time and energy. It's a dreamlike state that puts the old year to rest, with all it's memories and all the memories it had put to rest before it, and so on. Ideally it hits each of us hard at some striking of the clock, where we stand trembling in our bed clothes, cold from the darkness yet warm from the faith that we vaguely understand the goodness in each of us. Life will never be all together perfect, of course. Nor will Christmas and it's ongoing story. But we do know the story, we look forward to it every year, we need it to replenish. Whether it be Charlie Brown, Ebenezer, or the candle glow of a midnight mass, we reach for the star that seemingly parts the darkness. We wonder if we feel it's warmth, we hope for those who have gone before us to be waiting, we breath perhaps our last as another Christmas season is lost in the dying flames. And with that I offer you another little piece of myself, some "home grown" free form music I created with my friends Matt & Mike of Mittimus. I'm the obnoxious guitar in the forefront most of the time while Matt provides the highly tasteful other guitar and bass parts and Mike lays down some awesome drums & percussion. This is a departure from my primary purpose here on the DYHWIH blog, but I thought someone just might have an interest and leave a comment that isn't obscene. This was recorded on December 7th, 2009, Pearl Harbor, Christmas tree having just been erected, and it was a particularly fine one this season.........

Mittimus and Durge - Objects Below
(derived from "Hot Cookies" - 2008)

Beer Cookies
Bass Blow
Whatami Playing

Sunday, January 18, 2009

And now for something completely different...

As anyone can see, I don't exactly stick to one flavor when it comes to music, or much of anything else for that matter. So following a burst of jazz guitar we come to an album that has always been one of the favorites in my eclectic collection. The group is Huxtable, Christensen & Hood and "Wallflowers" is the first recording I ever encountered, and one of only two I own, by these ladies. Unfortunately I only have a cassette from which this share is taken, but I think the quality is passable enough to confirm their wonderful harmonies and feeling. Most of this music is what I would call traditional/folk and celtic in style although there are a couple of somewhat contrasting tunes like "First and Only Tango" and "Oldest of Friends" which somewhat defy easy categories. This music is rich and steeped in history, relationships and traditions. I really can't think of many vocal groups I enjoy any more than these ladies although I would suggest a group like Trapezoid (another of my all-time favorites) would compare. There's some seafaring and blacksmithing, childhood rememberances, undying love and a bit of everything timeless. Once again, it's just not right that this group wouldn't have more material out there and that recordings like this aren't available on CD. So I felt compelled to include this one on my blog in hopes that a few of my friends in blogland will be able to smile along to these beautiful voices as I have for probably 20 years or more. Please remember to let me know what you think, don't be a stranger, or a wallflower...

Huxtable, Christensen & Hood - Wallflowers - 1980
Philo Records PHC-1053
Banks of the Sweet Primroses
The Truth From Above
Lake George 1922
Sheepcrook and Black Dog
The Week Before Easter
I'll Weave My Love A Garland (The Loyal Lover)
Oldest of Friends

Came Ye O'er Frae France
The Flying Cloud
Mon coeur se recomande a vous
The Blacksmith
Great Dream From Heaven
First and Only Tango

Cal Collins On My Mind...

Why not a twofer with Cal Collins? I will try to post at least one other LP of his as well, but for now let's settle for the two (along with my previous post of "San Francisco") that I digitized a couple of years ago including this wonderful work called "Blues On My Mind". This was the first album I ever even heard of by Cal, and once I heard it, I was a fan. He always sounds relaxed and sure with unique subtlety in his ideas. There's not much else needed to be said, every song here is a treat. Until this guitarist gets his just rewards to have his work put to CD, you'll just have to settle for this offering straight from the vinyl. Hope you don't mind....
Cal Collins - Blues On My Mind - 1979
Concord Jazz CJ-95
Blues On My Mind
Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise
I Love You, Samantha

Dream A Little Dream Of Me
My Melancholy Baby
Cal Collins - guitar
Larry Vuckovich - piano
Bob Maize - bass
Jeff Hamilton - drums

San Francisco Cal

Cal Collins is a jazz guitarist that I wasn't aware of during my early years of following such music. As obsessed as I was with jazz guitarists through my college years and beyond, I continue to discover new names and amazing talents as the years progress. I came across my first Cal Collins album a few years back and for $3 figured there's always room for another jazz guitarist in the collection, but I was more impressed than I might have expected. He combines a natural blues feeling over some plain old righteous traditional jazz interpretations. I now own several of his albums, all of which are out of print LP's that have yet to see a commercial CD output, and all of them are very good. He has a fair number of recordings to choose from and I just don't get why there is so little exposure. Some company will eventually release these for contemporary consumption, but until then, please enjoy this great piece of San Francisco in the state of Cal...

Until then

Cal Collins - Cal Collins in San Francisco - 1978
Concord Jazz CJ-71

Blue Haze
How Long Has This Been Going On
Sometimes I'm Happy

Miles' Theme
Blue Prelude
Exactly Like You
Deep In A Dream
So What

Cal Collins - guitar
Monty Budwig - bass
Jeff Hamilton - drums

Saturday, January 17, 2009

For guitar lovers...

Here's another guy that is often maligned unfairly as being strictly an easy listening specialist but he brings plenty more to the party. Tony Mottola was quite the studio master in his day and he put out quite a stable of albums, some of which were more challenging than others. At the very least, he shows great tone and touch, and this pretty album, that obviously sticks to the quiet side of things, offers lots of nice work that any guitar lover will enjoy. Mottola was Perry Como's guitar accompanist for 16 years and you can see somewhat of a parallel there, smooth and sweet. Sure, much of this could easily fit into any elevator "mix-tape", but man I would be happy to just surf floors for the afternoon if this kind of stuff was playing. I mean, this is definitely some beautiful jazz guitar playing. It may not be my favorite in this genre, but it is solid stuff that deserves credit from anyone that knows good music. So if you're truly a guitar lover, then you need a Romantic ya go...


Tony Mottola - Romantic Guitar - 1963
Command records SMAS-90526

Let's Fall In Love
If Ever I Would Leave You
Always and Always
Alone Together

Speak Low
You Are Too Beautiful
I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good
Fly Me To The Moon
It's A Lonesome Old Town (When You're Not Around)

Tony Mottola - guitar
Dick Hyman - organ
Bucky Pizzarelli - rhythm guitar
Bob Haggart - bass
Don Lamond - drums
Bob Rosengarden - bongos, vibes
Don Arnone - guitar

Friday, January 16, 2009

Loggin In...

Well here goes my first 70's pop-country-folk-rock album posting. As much as I profess my obsession with jazz, great musicianship, and some of the more outrageous reaches of the musical world (or universe for the sake of my fellow Arkestrans), the truth be known, I am also a lifelong
sucker for many other more mainstream and pop culture artifacts such as we have here. Now anyone that remembers the 70's as clearly as I do (well maybe those four years at UCONN weren't quite so clear) surely recalls Kenny Loggins of the very successful Loggins & Messina Band. Well, that's not the Loggins we have here. Although he is apparently Kenny's cousin, this Loggins is Dave Loggins and he had a pretty big hit of his own with "Please Come To Boston" back in those days. In fact, I went with the masses and openly admired that tune with Dave's expressive vocals ranging from deep to high so effortlessly, good lyrics, too, I thought at the time. So a few years later when I encountered a sad little cut-out 8-track tape by Dave Loggins for sale at a music store I quickly invested the buck or two to investigate and was soon glad I did. Although it did not include the big hit song I was so familiar with, it did offer a very well crafted concept work that I would suggest comes somewhere between Jonathon Edwards and Jimmy Buffet, maybe a touch of Jesse Colin Young. The songs are all decent I think, for the genre, some a bit stronger than others, but generally they keep to a pleasant island theme centered on a love interest, while maintaining a solid folk warmth with some pop-rock voicings that keep things a bit more interesting than the average faire. He does have a very unaffected voice in my opinion, it's sincere in feel and expression, and engaging along with some good lyrical content (though a couple songs arguably offer less than unique words). I remember listening to this on the old 8-track player in my '74 LTD (cop car deal is cool when you're 21) and my favorites were Goodbye Eyes (#1), Ship In A Bottle, Breeze, Please Remember Me, and the title song about Paradise. Once I lost track of the 8-track technology of yesteryear I searched faithfully for a CD of this album, but surprisingly it has never been re-released and remains hard to find, even on vinyl. I did finally snag this LP from e-Bay. Unfortunately there is a slight defect in the vinyl on the start of each side, but it's minimal. A few of the songs here are offered on a best of collection called The Good Side of Tomorrow: 1971-1984. As AllMusic notes there, Loggins can tend toward sounding similar from song to song, but overall he is a unique artist in his quality of voice and he interjects enough subtleties to each tune that I personally think he satisfies the listener for the length of an album like this one. If you enjoy these tracks I would recommend that you buy any of his other albums which are available on CD, including the fore mentioned collection which brings with it the big hit about hopeless love from Boston. But it really seems a shame that this album from 1977 has been neglected. Hopefully you will enjoy it like I have, although you may need a '74 LTD to fully appreciate the feeling that it holds...
Dave Loggins - One Way Ticket To Paradise - 1977

Please Remember Me
Goodbye Eyes
Don't Treat Me Like A Stranger
Ship In A Bottle
One Way Ticket To Paradise
(note that "Ship In A Bottle" & "One Way Ticket..." are combined in one track because "Ship" leads into "One Way")

The Ballad of Cowboy Twenty
Crowd of Lonely People
Color of the Mood
Three Little Words (I Love You)

Dave Loggins: Guitar, Vocals
Kenny Malone: Drums
Gayle Whitfield: Saxophone
Jack Williams; Pop Bottle: Bass
Reggie Young; Steve Gibson; Johnny Christopher: Guitar
Randy Goodrum: Synthesizer, Keyboards
Yvonne Hodges; Sheri Kramer; Diane Tidwell; Bergen White; Buzz Cason: Vocals
Johnny Gimble: Violin

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Puttin' up a Fite...

Alright, enough messin' around, time to post something that I consider special. As I have mentioned in several other posts, I am particularly drawn to guitar based music, especially in jazz where the possibilities and range of techniques and attitude can be so wide. I have lots of jazz guitar albums including everything from the classic easy listening side like Al Caiola, Billy Strange and Tony Mottola, to the more challenging sounds of Sonny Sharrock, Derek Bailey and Joe Morris. I really love it all, and right near the top of my favorite albums list is a relatively obscure recording by a fairly unsung jazz guitar hero named Buddy Fite. I stumbled upon this discovery in an 8-track tape bargain bin back in the 70's and his technique and sound have mesmerized me ever since. This album particularly impresses me but Buddy has several others that I will hopefully post later. Now I am sure that some folks will check this out and immediately think Al Caiola and company (not that that's such a bad thing), elevator jazz complete with strings and other dressings. But if you give this a full listen and don't get a smile from the great touch that Buddy displays, the unique feel that comes out of this mix of jazz classics and up tempo romps, then I suggest you probably need a few more years for your ears to mature. This is really sweet stuff, and unique in many ways despite some of the apparent trappings. Unfortunately the album does not list any credits although there isn't anything else to really pay much attention to other than this great lead guitar work. The supporting cast does a fine job of providing very appropriate backdrops to Buddy's work, but this is clearly all about Mr. Fite. I actually transferred this album from that original 8-track to my computer several years ago but I was happy to finally get the vinyl thanks to eBay and here is your chance to see if you think I'm crazy or if this really is (was) a special player and a great recording that was sadly never dedicated to CD. But I warn you, if you agree with me or you don't, you just might have a fite on your hands...enjoy at 320kbps.
Is Good

Buddy Fite - Changes - 1970
Cyclone Stereo CY4110

Evil Ways
Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head
Finger Pickin' Good
I Can't Get Started With You
Have You Met Miss Jones

(Black Orpheus) A Day in the Life of a Fool
Moonlight In Vermont
Cry Me A River
El Jefe (The Chief)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Don't lose your Head...

Well I'm finally back for more fun here in 2009. I have lots of good stuff I want to post but I don't have lots of time to do it in. I need to figure out what music, if any, is not available commercially, then transfer from vinyl to digital, hoping that I can work around several issues with my old turntable and amplifier. The turntable turns on when it feels like it. Bring the arm over, sometimes it starts up, mostly it doesn't. Sometimes I have to do it 10-15 times or more before I get contact. Then, it doesn't always come up to speed. I think it simply varies between 45 and 33 randomly but I'm not sure that it doesn't choose some places in between at times! It's even been so bold as to simply stop all together, mid stream. Hearing Eddie Jefferson slide lazily down to a drunken baritone out of the blue is disheartening. So, uncertain as to what I can do to fix this old 1970's player, I have scored a free stereo from my mother-in-law. It's one of those pre-bundled multi-component deals in the glass case on wheels deals from the 80's. Has hardly ever been used, literally, so it should be sufficient for my purposes, except it's missing a needle, which I stupidly discovered as I witnessed the cartridge swiftly skating across my favorite Buddy Fite record last week. Oh the horror! So I need to hunt down a proper needle and get on with it. Nothing fancy but hopefully serviceable. Which leads me to my next musical posting. A barely serviceable "B" side from a blue-eyed soul man and country wailer known as Roy Head. I had heard his name over the years but I couldn't tell you what he ever accomplished in music. Apparently he did alright for himself with some charting singles in the 60's and a wide range of genres to his credit over many albums. The "A" side to this single (45 rpm) is a Jimmy McCracklin tune called "Get Back", not to be mistaken for JoJo or any other man/woman combination. The song is a catchy R&B tune, simple but delivered with convincing energy by Roy and his Memphis-type rockers which include a sultry sounding lass singing along with Roy at just the right orgasmic moments. It's catchy and likeable, solid 60's material but this is available for purchase on more than one of the currently available collections of Head hits you can buy. I'm not sure where or when I acquired this single but I'm glad I didn't lose track of it over the years and will definitely investigate more of Roy's work. So, as for the posting, you will unfortunately have to settle for the "B" side of the single here, which coincidentally happens to also be "Get Back", only it's the instrumental version! After hearing the exciting vocal version I had high hopes for this being some Steve Cropper, Booker T type extravaganza, but alas, it seems it is little more than the "A" side without lead vocals. Sort of the karaoke version!?! Get back! You gotta be kidding! Well, I figured maybe the "B" side has some interest to a few folks out there. At least it doesn't appear to be available on any current CD's, and why should it be? So here's the microphone, do your best Roy Head imitation and enjoy this understandably rare recording...(not sure if it's really rare ($2.99 on eBay!) but it probably should be, know what I mean?)...


Roy Head - Get Back - Instrumental - 1965
Single - Scepter 12124B (45 rpm)