Monday, September 04, 2006

a musical interlude

And now, prompted by this afternoon's trip to Tower Records, we move on to the (perhaps less interesting) question of: what is on Father WB's ipod? And before you get all indignant and start clamoring about how ipods aren't anglo-catholic, take a moment to reflect on the fact that the Queen owns one, as does the Pope -- which to my mind makes them both anglo and catholic, and therefore pretty definitively anglo-catholic.

To the point: Q: what's on my ipod right now? A: Several things you should consider putting on yours.

Bob Dylan's new album, Modern Times

Many people don't like "new Dylan." I'm not one of them. The band he's playing with these days is pretty tight (not in the Earnest Hemingway sense), as tight as any he's ever played with (including THE Band), and this album is God-haunted and good. The first track, Thunder on the Mountain, is particularly terrific.

M Ward's new album, Post War

M Ward makes music that all sounds the same: good. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. He hasn't fixed it; and I recommend this album just as much as I recommend his others. M Ward sounds to me kind of like Chuck Berry after the death of a lover. The second track, To Go Home, strikes me particularly: "God its great to be alive / takes the skin right off my hide / to think I'll have to give it all up some day." Trite + several layers of the ironical = profound.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy's newish live album, Summer in the Southeast

I've blogged before about how I think Bonnie Billy is most comparable to John Donne. I stand by that. And, like Bob Dylan, he is both genuinely poetical and genuinely God-haunted. The questions he raises are worth considering. E.g. "Why can't I be loved for what I am: a wolf among wolves, and not as a man among men?" And after you consider such questions, you should give your life to Jesus (as should the Bonnie "Prince" -- but I don't think he reads my blog, and I don't know his email address). This one might be for fans only.

Next we have Steve Earle's bluegrass classic, The Mountain

It truly is a classic. I bought this album when it first came out, in 1999, but it was stolen out of my car in New Haven, along with most of the rest of my cd's, before I had gotten around to MP3-ifying it. So I bought another copy of it today. Highlights include the whole album. But some highlights hilightorum (as it were) are Dixieland (though Earle seems to be rooting for the wrong team), Harlan Man, and Carrie Brown (which also happens to have been my great-grandmother's name).

And continuing the country classics theme, lastly we have the recently released Gram Parsons The Complete Reprise Sessions

It comes with a half-interesting booklet, some radio interviews, an extra cd's worth of alternative versions of songs, and such like nuggets. But the meat of the thing is the meat of Parsons' musical career in general: his two solo albums, GP and Grievous Angel. And on a personal note, before dropping out of Harvard, Parsons had been in some kind of a cappella group with my uncle at the Bolles School.


mmbx said...

Maybe I'll get the Bob Dylan for Christmas from someone!?

Garland said...

All good! All true! I am particularly enjoying Dylan's Spirit on the Water and M. Ward's Eyes on the Prize, perhaps because the latter sounds especially like some of his other songs. He's something "special" as my advisor would say. Where did you get Summer in the Southeast? Off the internet or at record store? I don't suppose you were able to download it. And do you know when BPB's new album is coming out? I guess I'll have to get into Earle and Parsons post-haste.

baptistlikeme said...

I finally bought "Pet Sounds" by the Beach Boys this week. I haven't stopped listening to it. Taken together with Marcel Proust or Jaroslav Pelikan it makes an amazing cure for insomnia. Listen to it by itself, in the dark, for some catharsis.

Anonymous said...


Don't be afraid to move on to Brian Wilson's "SMiLE". It was supposed to be the follow-up to "Pet Sounds", but was so out there, it was abandoned due to pressure from the label/bandmates. Wilson recently completed it, and its just as brilliant.

And, ditto on the Dylan. He's creating music that is just as good, just as challenging, and just as important as ANY work he has ever created. "Love and Theft" rocks a little harder, and is much funnier. "Time Out of Mind" is dark and haunting, and won the Album of the Year Grammy in 1997...All highly recommended if you like music.