today’s album a day was the jayhawks self titled first album, which is also referred to as the bunkhouse album by those who really like them. bunkhouse was merely the label that they released it on.
one of my favorite songs of all time is by the jayhakws. it’s call blue. you can hear it here. but it would come much later.
their first album is elemental and doesn’t quite encompass them. at times it feels like pure alt-country. it just has hints of what they would come to do later.
but it’s thoroughly enjoyable, even to someone who thinks they don’t like country, or don’t know what alt-country might sound like. they are laden heavy with two part harmony and acoustic guitar. it can start to sound a lot like other stuff they do, but it still sounds great and is purely satisfying.
the jayhawks are an interesting musical voice. they come from minneapolis. can you think of anything bad to ever come out of there?
yesterday’s album a day was george jones sings bob wills. i haven’t posted one of these in a couple days. this isn’t because i haven’t been listening to music i haven’t really heard (or really listened to) before. the past few days i have listened to john coltrane: the complete prestige recordings.
i play a lot of instruments, and the sax is probably my best. and i’ve always liked john coltrane. i’ve listened to him a hundred hours in my life, but i dunno how much of these prestige recordings i’d heard before.
coltrane has never quite hit me the right way, though i admire him. he seems like great background music but to sit and just listen to a whole album, for whatever reason, i find taxing. i don’t find this to be the case with charlie parker, sonny rollins or coleman hawkins, for instance. even dexter gordon can keep my attention better. and a couple of these guys sometimes play their tenor saxes in a similar fashion. i don’t know what it is. but because of these facts and the legendary status of coltrane already, i didn’t feel the need to bother with writing about it, although it seems i just have.
anyways, yesterday i listened to george jones’ first album to get release, george jones sings bob wills.
a bit ago i wrote about an asleep at the wheel album, and that probably put bob wills back in my mind. and, this is one album in jones’ catalog i’ve never listened to at all.
george jones sounds so young here, almost hopeful. although i think i really like him best when he is singing his own songs, here he does quite well singing sweet, often upbeat songs the are immediately accessible and wonderful to listen to.
although there is a somber undertone in a couple of these songs, like the classic the warm red wine, written by cindy walker:
Oh the prison of stone with its cold iron bars
is no more than a prison than mine
I’m a prisoner of drink who will never escape
from the chains of the warm red wine
Oh the wine is red so warm and red
like the ruby its sparkles and glows
But I fade for the wine yeah that warm red wine
With all of my hopes and my dreams
in the future i’m going to steer (cowboy pun, see…) clear of ‘best of’ and ‘greatest hits’ stuff. but again – as i’m starting this experiment i’m just burning through stuff that’s already on my phone.
today’s album a day was the swingin’ best of asleep at the wheel.
asleep at the wheel are a group i’ve always liked. they are keeping the bob wills tradition alive, playing smashingly good western swing.
the first song on the disc, a snazzy version of chattanooga choo choo, features willie nelson on the chorus and was delightful. western swing is a type of music that is hard to find fault with.
this is a full bodied group that has been playing together since the early 1970s. they have a nice horn section which gives their music a richness that’s irresistible. this album, for my taste, doesn’t feature any of my favorite songs of theirs, but that’s not the point of my ‘album a day’ venture.
if you haven’t heard of asleep at the wheel before, or bob wills for that matter, you should do a little googling. it’s sweet, fun stuff. and in the case of these guys, masterfully executed to sweet perfection.
below is a clip of asleep at the wheel, for your viewing pleasure.
and below this is a clip of bob wills, for your further edification.