Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What's New?: 1.23.2013

A batch of seven inch singles. . .
Bill Withers — The Gift of Giving / Let us Love (1972)

Rarely heard non-album action from one of the best ever.  The a-side here is a typically melancholy number for Bill.  Making good feelings about family and acquaintances into a minor key introspective tone poem masked as a holiday song.  Super warm, super deep; still Bill.  The flip is a tune called 'Let Us Love' that was performed on Bill's live album, but this is the almost never heard studio version here.  It continues in the holiday theme, but I really dig the message of the tune: be nice all year round.  If you like someone, let them know.  Don't fake it for a month or so at the end of the year.  Really a hard song to dislike.  

Carla Morrison — Una Salida / Tu Luz (2011)

The only instance I've found of Carla's music on vinyl.  And, yes —and I do mean YES— it is a good one.  The a-side is one of her best ballads.  Aching, building and beautiful, it's the reason I love her music.  The b-side is 'Tu Luz.'  And while the song starts out as a typically pretty acoustic Carla Morrison ballad, by two minutes in, it builds to a dreamy, towering, piano-laced wall of sheer beauty.  One of her dreamiest tunes, it's the clear winner on this single. 

David Axelrod — Theme from "Gumshoe" / The Lost Lament (1972)

Super essential, but unfortunately rarely heard non-album single produced and arranged by the man himself.  The timeline of this single is just insane: Axe was fresh off the death of his son, recording the Pride album (easily one of his best works), quickly slamming out his blue-eyed soul rendition of the Messiah and then to work on his bluesy funk rumination on the slave trade.  Somehow, in the middle of all that, he found time to reassemble a good portion of the band that had recorded his classic albums on Capitol for this completely inexplicable (in retrospect) non-album single.  For me to sit here and type out how good it is is redundant at this point.  This is simply my acquisition of this record in physical form.  Thanks to one of the current internets, I've known these tunes for a few years now.  The a-side may seem gimmicky upon initial glance, but it's given the vintage Axe treatment and the result is fanboy fodder of the highest order.  The flip is a little tune called 'The Lost Lament' and, as a greenhorn Axe scholar, I'd venture to say it's probably in the top five most important original David Axelrod songs of all time.  Keen listeners may pick the tune out as something Axe would redo a couple years later in a more polished fashion.  But listen to this initial rendition of the tune.  It's huge.  It's aching.  It's triumphant.  It's funky beyond belief.  I don't know whether to dance or cry.  It's just complete musical perfection.  There's a reason he is the best ever.  This is just one contributing factor.  Roughly six minutes of music and I'm still babbling on, years later, about how incredible it is.  I finally own this vinyl for myself.  It's a musical monument for me: I can now say I own every record this man has ever made under his own name.  Finally.



Boothe said...

Great post!

Loving both versions of the Axelrod joint.

I really need to delve into his material at some point.

xmnr0x23 said...

Every record Axe has ever made under his own name? I don't think so :)