Pokey LaFarge, Riverboat Soul
Last month, I liked the Pokey LaFarge song from the “Now Hear This” compilation so much that I downloaded a whole album from emusic this month. The songs on this album are all pretty similar (the way most bands are), but that’s part of what makes them great. I particularly like the upbeat positivity of “La La Blues” and “Daffodil Blues,” the jaunty speed of “Hard Times Come and Go” and the remix of an old classic in “In the Graveyard Now.” I was also glad to hear their cover of “Old Black Dog,” a song from Koerner, Ray, and Glover that I enjoy.
Various, Haunted Halloween, Vol 1
This album has 25 tracks, many of which are clips from trailers or old horror movies. The rest are classic monster-themed songs. They all have the same goofy feeling as that most-classic of monster songs, “The Monster Mash.” My favorites are “Jam At the Mortuary” and “The Mummy’s Bracelet,” both of which are weird narrative songs, and “Wombie Zombie,” a great dance number. There are some real misses as well, particularly: most annoying and misogynistic is Ivan’s “Frankie Frankenstein” and Jan Davis’ “Watusi Zombie,” for it’s jungle sounds that recapitulate the worst parts of the 1940s zombie movies. Weirdest is Don Hinson’s “Riboflavin-Flavored Non-Carbonated Polyunsaturated Blood,” about a scientist who manufactures a fake blood that’s better than the natural stuff — True Blood, in essence.
U2, Songs of Innocence
I generally like U2, so when their new free album showed up in my iTunes, I figured I’d give it a shot. It’s a fine example of late U2, as far as I can tell, but it didn’t have much impact on me in the listening. I like “Volcano,” “Song for Someone”, and “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone),” but not a lot more than the other songs. I guess my main review here would be: meh.
Compilation, Now Hear This! – The Independent Music Awards 11th Annual Winners (part 2)
It’s always hard to write about compilations, because the song styles are so diverse as to make any statement about the album itself pretty useless. (I wrote about the first half of this album last month). That said, I liked this album alright. Highlights are:
- “Singin’ in Tongues” by Bleu – a pretty good rockin song.
- “North Side Gal” by JD McPherson – sounds like a song from the Otis Redding / Wilson Pickett era. In a good way.
- “Mockingbird” by Spring Creek – a great, bouncy bluegrass song with a bluesy notion.
- “Brother” by The Soul of John Black – a great blues song.
- “Roller Coaster” by Kira Willey – a great family song with a zip-zip-zip theme.
“Head to Head (With the Undead)” by Chas ‘n’ Dave – a goofy, catchy song from the movie Cockneys vs. Zombies. It’s great.
Garfunkel and Oates, three from Music Songs – “One Night Stand” and “Silver Lining” are both great, funny and positive. But “As You Are” stands out as a great friend/love song.
Pete Seeger, four from American Favorite Ballads – “Oh, How He Lied” is a silly, fun song that’s just DEPRESSING.
Spike Jones, four songs from (Not) Your Standard Spike Jones Collection –”Yankee Doodler” is another of Jones’ jingoistic weird songs with a verse about the Japanese returns to the ol’ racism, as does “Down in Jungle Town” with its ‘African Rhythms.’ I can see why Dr. Demento was relatively restrained with the number of Spike Jones songs he played. Yikes.
The Wayfarers (ten songs from Music from Around the World – Australia) –”The Australia’s Cup” is all about a team of sailors trying to win the America’s Cup; “The Last Keg on Earth” revisits the old Australian concern with always having enough to drink (viz “A Pub with No Beer”).
Modern Jazz Stylings of Blue Canue Records – four songs that are about what you’d expect. Still makes me thing of my friend John Chapman, who played jazz bass in Florida, and whom I went out to hear play once or twice.