Walkin’ Talkin’ Dancin’ Singin’- May 31, 2010

Another busy week of listening. Less time with WDVX and CKUA than usual, and I didn’t even listen to much Sirius 65 this week. Full albums took priority, and I did a quite a bit of listening in anticipation of casting my Polaris ballot next week.

The album I most enjoyed this week!

J.D. Crowe & The New South- Flashback When I started drafting this piece, I wasn’t sure which album was my favourite of the week; after today, I’m certain. Flashback! What a strong bluegrass album. I wasn’t immersed in the bluegrass world when this one came out in 1994, so I can only imagine the impact the disc had.

I found this one at the library yesterday afternoon, and while I was sure I had it on the shelf at home, the liner notes didn’t look familiar. I wonder why? I don’t actually own this one, only thought I did. I’ve thought this thought a couple times after listening to a Crowe disc- That is a perfectly constructed album. Some country touches, some solid picking and creative vocal arrangements, a couple strong instrumentals (including “Sledd Ridin’,” a personal fave) and a few old gospel numbers. And it has Crowe. ‘Nuff said, I say.

Cowboy Junkies- Renmin Park: The Nomad Series Volume 1 Only gave this one a quick and distracted listen this week. It sounds like the Cowboy Junkies. I will listen to it more.

Danny and the Champions of the World- Streets of Our Time A wonderful album. Rock ‘n’ roll with a folk poet soul.

Fred Eaglesmith- Cha Cha Cha­ I am going to have to listen to Dusty again. This one reminds me a bit of that along with the vocal approach Fred took to Tinderbox. Again, more to hear here.

The Blue Shadows- On the Floor of Heaven One of my favourite albums, reissued with an additional disc of covers and outtakes. Considering Jeffery Hatcher’s Cross Our Hearts was one of the first three CDs I bought back in 1990 (yes, I made the transition to CDs slowly) it isn’t surprising that I feel a connection to this album. I’ll write more about this one.

Woodpigeon- Die Stadt Muzikanten Polaris listening. Woodpigeon is one of my enduring favourites whenever Polaris consideration is being given. It may sneak into my Top 5, which I will continue to whittle away at. Right now I’ve got John Wort Hannam, Canteen Knockout, SpoonRiver, Kent McAlister, The Wooden Sky, The Sadies, and Lee Harvey Osmond on my list. Only JWH is a lock.

The Wilderness of Manitoba- When You Left the Fire Never heard of them before this week when I received this one in the mail. Comes out in June; an amazing trip. I love listening to a disc with absolutely no expectations clouding my brain. This album has me gobsmacked. It is light, dreamy, and smooth without being sleepy. What most impressed me was the quality of the voices. Normally I am a lyric pig, but with this one- so far- I haven’t listened to the words at all. The yearnsome voices become an instrument within my listening, blending and complementing the instrumentation. It is a beautiful thing to hear late at night. I’m also listening to their Polaris-eligible Hymns of Spirit and Love album/e.p.; it is every bit as appealing.

Various Artists- Putumayo Presents South Africa I review this collection in the paper this coming Friday. A cohesive overview just in time for soccer madness to take over the world.

Donna Durand- The Road Back A quiet little album from a local singer-songwriter. Her lyrics are beautiful and the melodies are memorable. I review it this week, too.

Jaydee Bixby- Easy to Love Sometimes, I listen to things because I have to. This is one of those occasions, but the experience wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. This album is evidence of tremendous growth from the Canadian Idol finalist. Not my thing, but there is worse on the radio.

The Sadies- Darker Circles More Polaris listening. A very appealing album. I seldom seek out their music, but I almost always enjoy it. Perhaps I should listen to them more often.

Doug Cox & Salil Bhatt- Slide to Freedom 2: Make a Better World Listned to this one while driving this week; got through it a couple times. It is growing on me, and I appreciate John Boutté more and more. The bass playing on this one, from Dinah D., is special. My new favourite track off here is “The Moods of Madhuvanti.”

The Rolling Stones- Stripped Not nearly as bad as I remember the reviews to be; AllMusic didn’t like it one bit. I was going to buy the Exile on Main Street reissue this week, but saw this one even cheaper, so I bought it. How often would I listen to Exile, anyway? A friend once suggested I would like a re-recording of Led Zeppelin IV if they did it acoustic. My enjoyment of Stripped leads me to believe he may have been onto something.

Martin Sexton- Sugarcoating Either I forgot how funky he is, or if this is a fresh direction for Sexton. I’ll dig his other albums off the shelf. I didn’t fall for this one as I had hoped I would when I downloaded it, but I did groove to it a bit.

John Boutté- Good Neighbor Now that Treme is finished for the season, I need to continue to get my New Orleans fix. I do like this one. I downloaded another version of “The Treme Song” from his Jambalaya album that I like even more than the version here; it’s the Treme version, I believe.

Cadillac Sky- Gravity’s Our Enemy I’m not sure why I downloaded this one, other than I liked the song “Bible By The Bed” when I heard it one Sirius 65 a couple months back. I can’t say I’m a fan of the band. I can’t remember too much from this one, which says enough I suppose.

One Horse Blue- One Horse Blue I was link-jumping one night this week and found this album. I remember seeing it in the stores when I was younger, but didn’t recall the songs. Now I do, especially “Cry Out for the Sun.” An unheralded, western Canadian classic. Sort of like the Cooper Brothers for me- memories of my brother’s listening choices. When I find it on vinyl, I’ll buy it.

Teenage Head- Frantic City My buy of the month, found sans case but with booklet for fifty cents in a used store. Yes, it was likely stolen. I rocked to this one in the truck for a complete day last week. I think Frantic City would make my All-Time Top 100 albums.

Mark “Brink” Brinkman- On the Brink of a Dream My review is up at the Lonesome Road Review. A very fine bluegrass/Americana album.

The Special Consensus- A Hole in My Heart I’m cheating here, as I actually listened to this one the week before and missed it in my weekly write-up. I have been searching for this album for ten years, and a ten or so days ago, it showed up in my mailbox courtesy of Greg Cahill, Mr. Special C. I sure appreciate him remembering me when he uncovered this cassette, and what a treat. I’ve been wanting to hear Robbie Fulks sing bluegrass ever since I learned he had been a member of the Chicago-based, bluegrass institution. He sings a couple numbers here, and the wait was worth it.

The Feelies- Crazy Rhythms If I wasn’t sure which album was my favourite of the week, hands down I know which was my least favourite. For more than thirty years I’ve been reading about The Feelies, how influential they were and how it was too bad they were underappreciated in their time.

I have a sneaking suspicion that, since they were on Stiff, I may have even owned this at some point. For some reason I decided to give them another chance and purchased this album from iTunes in February; it was only yesterday I got around to listening to it. I’m not sure what the big deal is- the songs go nowhere and it sounds like it was recorded in a bathtub on a Sears cassette deck circa 1977. “Raised Eyebrows,” indeed. The only song I halfway enjoyed was the title track, a percussion-driven track that, well, goes nowhere!

Around the same time I downloaded this one, I bought the The Good Earth reissue package. I haven’t listened to it yet and can only hope things got better with time. Sometimes money just burns a hole in my pocket, and then I pay the price months later.

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