Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gifts that keep giving

Looky what I got for Christmas!
*Reporter account executive Scott Miller, who's also part of The Reporter's blogger community, has taken to making a mix CD for everybody at the paper every December. After the eclectic first 2 mixes, I was initially disappointed with the 2010 version because -- ready for this? -- there were too many songs I recognized. After being challenged to embrace erudite Miller picks from the likes of Marc Broussard, Duffy, MIA, Shelby Lynne, etc., somehow it seemed like a letdown to be getting "Joy to the World," "Imagine," "Windy" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water," which have been driven into the ground by radio for decades.
Now there was a twist to it. "White Rabbit" was a remake by Grace Potter & The Nocturnals ("Grace covering Grace," as Miller put it). The Fifth Dimension's "One Less Bell to Answer" was covered nicely by Sheryl Crow. The Gipsy Kings sped up "Hotel California" and sang it in Spanish. "Let It Be" is the version from the "Across the Universe" soundtrack (what a WEIRD flick that was - but that's another entry).
And I did, after all, get a huge kick out of hearing Tom Jones' "It's Not Unusual" and Golden Earring's "Radar Love."
Miller later explained to me that the compilation was an ode to favorite 45s he grew up listening to as a kid, a most appropriate theme for a Christmas gift mix.

*My musician uncle had been smitten by supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, with Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal), and put their self-titled album under my tree. There's an irony here with Led Zep's bass player teaming up with the Nirvana drummer. The latter band had poked fun at so-called "cock rock" with a song called "Aero Zeppelin."
Holy cow, is this album LOUD! I'm still digesting this edgy brainchild, and for some reason, it sounds better on my computer than it does in my car.
I like the shades of '60s psychedelia that pop up every once in a while. Jamming to the electronic dance groove on the song "Gunman" right now.

*The Beatles' successful '70s retrospective double albums "1962-1966" and "1967-1970" were recently remastered and gifted to me. Gotta give that a strong thumbs-up as a gift. Since I already own all those songs on CD, I never would have thought about investing in remastered incarnations of "The Red Album" and "The Blue Album," which now have fresh liner notes (although there's some repetition on both albums) with cool photos, and nice artwork.

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