I got my Spotify invitation last night. Oh. My. My European friends were right. They said I’d want this.
First thing I did was start looking for some obscure things that I couldn’t find on iTunes, or Rhapsody, or even in Japanese record bins.
I found them. Want some Eydie Gormé from the sixties? There must be two hundred tracks.
Jaye P. Morgan? By the score.
I’m on board for a few months, at least. Now, let’s talk about some of the things I found.
Sergio Mendes and Brazil ’66 –
Live At The Expo ’70 (A&M Japan)
Released – 1970, Re-released 2008
If I was a collector of music on vinyl, this would be quite a prize. From a performance at Osaka’s “Expo ’70” in April of 1970, this recording was released only in Japan. The reviewer at allmusic.com, Richard S. Ginell, is somewhat critical of this recording; especially of the vocalists, Lani Hall and Karen Phillip. He writes, “the smooth vocal blend from the L.A. studios was nowhere to be heard…their timbres clash, the latter effect exacerbated by the placing of each singer on a separate stereo channel.”
Which is precisely why I find this recording so endearing. One can play with the balance control and hear each singer pretty much isolated, at a time when each was arguably at the peak of their game.
And if, like me, you don’t mind uber-familiar songs taken in different directions, you’ll like this one, too.
Favorites include the opening medley of “What The World Needs Now” and “Pretty World,” Ms. Hall taking the lead on “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay,” and the audience’s reaction when they realize that Mr. Mendes’ opening riff is the lead to “The Fool On The Hill.”
I’m no fan of live recordings; but here, the “live” factor is almost incidental, and the highly-produced sound of the US recordings is nowhere to be found. This is a relatively sparse backing band, with drums, percussion, Mr. Mendes on piano, and bass. Technically, the recording is far from perfect. You’ll hear some clinkers, too – one of the most noticable on “Fool.”
But as live recordings go, it’s better than most, and I’ll assume an honest snapshot of one of the seminal groups of the time.
Would I pay 70 dollars for an imported CD? Probably not. Would I invest 45 minutes or so for a free listen on Spotify?
You bet. That…is very highly recommended.
Here’s another that I’ve waited too long to write about. Madison Violet is a Canadian duo who write and perform that uniquely Canadian music that sits at the intersection of country and folk. To put it another way – Mary Chapin Carpenter should be Canadian.
Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac make a kind of music that is sort of familiar and not…all at the same time. With Sisterly harmony, universal themes, and handcrafted lyrics, I have ignored these very talented artists for much too long.
An oversight I intend to repair right now: