Random Record Night: August 24 Recap

Here’s the way all the albums I pulled blindly from my stacks and listened to last night (for Random Record Night) made me feel. Note, that most of the time when I have a Random Record Night, I’m cooking a big batch of food for the week. Like, tonight, Sunday, I’m cooking a huge pot of tomato and kale soup with barley and pigeon peas. Last night, though, while hearing the albums, I was brewing a small batch of beer. Haven’t done that since the cool-weather spring. Anyway, I’m usually doing something. I’m usually not paying as much attention to the music as you might think. Or, I am, but….I hear it. I listen to it. But, it’s like I have two ways to judge it. Boring and Not Boring. But, more on that later. I’ve had an idea, that’s a couple weeks old, for a post to explain how I hear things. It’s simmering, so to speak. Anyway, enough of Boring and on to the records that were played:

Bill Haley’s Greatest Hits!Bill Haley's Greatest Hits!

This record moves. The second song is one that I’ve sung, recorded, and butchered. Sorry Bill. Anyway…rockabilly can really get your night started off right, no matter the time or place. Just look at those babes on the front cover. To think, an hour earlier they were all worried about if they should wear a headband or not. And then someone in the photo studio turned on a Bill Haley track and they lost their shit. LOST IT. Bill Haley is part of God. He’s like your dad. You want to be him so bad, but you also want to surpass him (but you probably never will and you know that, cause your dad actually worked hard). So, this record is fantastic.

Chet Atkins, Teen SceneChet Atkins, Teen Scene

You want to know something? Chet Atkins is better than you at guitar. He’s probably also better than you at most things (chopping wood, fixing electronics, kissing women). But maybe not the TEEN SCENE. Don’t get me wrong…it’s a great recording. It has everything there. But I’d rate it as mostly boring. it sounds like something that someone does when they know they’re about to be made irrelevant (but also know that they’ll never be irrelevant since the IN that’s driving them OUT is built on something they discovered). The cover even kind of shows you this. So many people with their backs turned to Chet. It’s like they’re saying, “Sorry Chet, you’re great and all, and I USED to love you, but there’s this other thing now that I like a little bit better and makes me want to stand and stare a bit more than your smiling sweater.”

The Harold Betters Sound, Ram-Bunk-ShushThe Harold Betters Sound, Ram-Bunk-Shush

I’ve been waiting for this record. I’d never listened to it before. No one else ever wanted to. It put me in a silly mood and I adore it. It’s all trombone. Every song. Every single one has trombone just right out there in front. Just like, “Hey, fuck it, turn up the TROMBONE TRACK.” Now, I don’t know anything else about this record, so maybe I’m getting it wrong (SMALL AMOUNT OF INTERNET RESEARCH UPDATE: I am…see this). Really, what interests me about this is the album title (RAM-BUNK-SHUSH) and the cover art. What does RAM-BUNK-SHUSH mean? Is it a trombone term? Is it when you take the trombone slide ALL THE WAY OUT? Is it when you release the SPIT VALVE? Is it the residue on the towel that you keep in your trombone case to catch the old saliva coming out of your spit valve? I DON’T KNOW. Someone tell me.

Johnny Hodges and All the Duke’s MenJohnny Hodges and All the Duke's Men

Eh, this was a jazz record that I didn’t really hear. It’s someone else leading Duke Ellington’s band. Apparently that makes a big difference. Who knew that band leaders were so important? (Not me.)

The Best of the Modern Jazz QuartetThe Best of the Modern Jazz Quartet

I love this Atlantic series of “Best Of” records. I have one featuring Ornette Coleman that’s my favorite record of all time. So I can get into this one. But, of course, it was late at night and I was worn out and finishing up getting a sugary brew into a big jug and I probably didn’t pay any attention to any of the songs. Was that my fault? Maybe. But who’s to say. Who’s to say. Either way, the cover is something interesting to look at. I know that no one makes hardcopy recordings any more (unless you uselessly BREAK THE BANK as a struggling band), but I really miss the thought that went into cover art. This is a “Best Of” album and the art is, in my opinion, more creative than probably 99% of the other stuff out there now. What do I like about this one? There’s an equal amount of black and white space, but both move in different directions. There’s bleed. And the focal point is on the faces. There’s more to say, but I only took one semester of real graphic design and one art history class. So, I’m no expert.

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