Odds and Ends 019
Legacies and leavings
Legend gets the country-canted alt-star lovefest he deserves (Ray Wylie Hubbard, "Homegrown Tomatoes"; Suzy Bogguss, "Instant Coffee Blues"; Jack Ingram, "Stuff That Works") ***
Shonen Knife: Osaka Ramones: A Tribute to the Ramones (Damnably)
Temporarily unannoying J-altpop post-geishas chirp the classics ("We're a Happy Family," "Blitzkrieg Bop") ***
The Bachata Legends: The Bachata Legends (iASO)
Thirty years later, DR icons re-record their bittersweet acoustic hits like the nostalgic professionals they've had the opportunity to become (Leonardo Paniagua, "En un quarto dos amantes"; El Chivo Sin Ley, "Tirale bajito") ***
Enoch Assembly: King Elvis Dead (self-released)
Twenty-four Elvis-Beatles-Herman's Hermits interviews and ad snippets ask why the King never visited the mother country, among other things (Elvis Presley, "Perfect for Parties LP 10-56"; Paul McCartney, "Ram Ad") **
Paul Simon: Live in New York City (Concord/Hear Music)
Old perfessor's enjoyable survey course in his own legacy, only he should never let the world forget "Peace Like a River" ("The Boy in the Bubble," "That Was Your Mother") **
Taj Mahal: The Hidden Treasures of Taj Mahal 1969-1973 (Columbia/Legacy)
A dozen previously unearthed semiprecious stones plus ramshackle concert ("Sweet Mama Janisse," "I Pity the Poor Immigrant") **
Mighty Sparrow: Sparromania!--Wit, Wisdom & Soul From the King of Calypso 1962-1974 (Strut)
Got paid every time he walked into a studio‑-still does ("Dancehall Brawl," "No Money, No Love") *
Lowe Country: The Songs of Nick Lowe (Fiesta Red)
New-country hopefuls impart more life to old new wave songwriter than he's shown in 20 years (Caitlin Rose, "Lately I've Let Things Slide"; Jeff the Brotherhood, "Marie Provost") *
Right now, I'm planning dropping eMusic to pick up the service and I want the best quality sound with the best catalog and the easiest interface.... I don't want the world I just want your half!
By the way, big thanks to Chris Drumm and Greg Morton for getting me out of that playlist jam. Haven't heard back yet, but I can't imagine they won't be blown away.
Also, Jazz Prospecting up, including three A-list records I didn't get to before the deadline. Happens every year, almost instantaneously. Two of the records were flagged by other critics, and I was just slow to get to them. The other is a December-released import from Lithuania -- safe to say, nobody got that one in time.
I was reading through Andrew Sullivan today and came across a mention of Christgau from his 1976 Ramones review in regards to defending "Zero Dark Thirty:"
I decided that [SPOILER] I'm gonna vote for it [/SPOILER]. Though I am not an American, the argument that critical reception is more important than the exact date of release convinces me.
If Joey, as the guy who puts all the work in counting the ballots, thinks otherwise and will not list Standard Fare, I am fine with it. A demarcation line has to be established somewhere, and so it be. But in this case, my love for the record is stronger than my very German disposition to technocracy.
BTW, I've been told that somebody's copy of the Ned Sublette says 2010. Mine says 2012, and since I and a great many other left-inclined people on Ned's vast emailing list only learned of its actual as opposed to projected existence in September-October, I'll go with that. Postmambo is definitely one of those undercapitalized labels that sometimes has to delay release. Ned's about as undercapitalized as it gets. His books make great presents, I find.
Speaking as someone who has wasted his gray cells in retail for many years, I can explain the Standard Fare paradox.
The 2011 date you see corresponds to the actual release date for the record in the UK.
However, because it's an import, and because not all imports immediately get funneled into domestic channels, it sometimes takes a little while to catch up with having them available to us. Amazon (for example) immediately got the UK Joni Mitchell box because there was a great deal of interest.* By contrast, Standard Fare being more obscure, it took domestic channels a little while to catch up with the "demand" -- said demand being smaller, and their label being a microindie. Hence, a 2012 release date for Americans. How this differs from a 2011 record being released the next year domestically on a US label (like Lily Allen's record) you tell me. But then again, the whole "Pink Flag is 1977" scandal didn't mean **** to me.
* Personal to Jacob -- I passed on that one.
I'm not taking a position on whether you should consider late 2011 releases in your 2012 year-end lists. That's pretty much a hopeless problem no matter how you slice it.
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.