Monday, January 17, 2011

Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John [Belle and Sebastian, Norah Jones]

The latest Belle and Sebastian album crossed my radar a few weeks back, thanks to the "Recent Activity" social feature on Rdio. One of the people I follow had added it to his collection. I decided to take a listen, so *click*... and now, a few weeks later, I must have listened to it four or five times straight through.

It's simply a great, accessible pop record. Great melodies, and just a nice overall vibe.

The album includes a song called "Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John," with Norah Jones joining singer Stuart Murdoch. Of course, the mere mention of Norah Jones means I get to perform a thorough Google Image search. Woo hoo! Be right back.

Nice, but need something more current, right?

That's more like it. Updated Norah.

There. That was nice.

So listen to the song - a slowed down ditty about l-o-v-e just out of reach. The song appears not only on B&S's latest one, but also on ...Featuring Norah Jones, an album of Norah's collaborations.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chris Rea's 'Auberge'

A lost treasure was unearthed yesterday while the wife was on a mission to clean my daughters' bedrooms: a spindle of old CD's. Lots of Springsteen bootlegs, old mixes... but what I was most excited to find: Auberge.

British singer/guitarist Chris Rea released Auberge in 1991. Like most of Rea's work, it didn't make much of a ripple in the USA. I'm not sure why. Featuring Rea's low, smoky vocals, the record is an atmospheric, emotional masterpiece.

Hearing a few of selections doesn't come close to capturing the feeling you get after listening to the record straight through, from "Auberge" to "The Mention of Your Name". But they do give you a glimpse into the sweeping ambience of the album - soothing, wistful, joyous, bittersweet... a critic might call it melodramatic at times. But that's just fine with me...

♦ "Gone Fishing" - Hey Chris, tear my heart right out of my chest, why don't you? Rea wastes no time getting deep down into it on track number two of the record, throwing up his hands and heading out on the water... "you ain't ever gonna be happy, any how, any way / so I'm going fishing, and I'm going today".

♦ "Sing a Song of Love To Me" - Pure, heartfelt longing for love. "Sing a song of love to me, as the shadows start to grow / And I won't be sad lonely any more".

♦ "Looking For The Summer" - One of the more uptempo numbers, with a bluesy, rootsy crawl. Looking for a path out of the darkness...

Official Web Site:

Here's a nice video from Rea's 1993 tour. A nice slide guitar intro into "Auberge"...

A good man named Hans from Germany sent me this link on Twitter this afternoon. He put it best: "it doesn't get any better than this."

That's the truth. I was speechless after watching this...

Memories of a Prince Fan

In the late summer of 1984, I saw Purple Rain for the first time. I was 14. Adolescence had arrived, and was about to be taken for quite a s...