Four Sounds I Really Like

Roky Erickson’s rock and roll cry:

For all Roky has been through–undiagnosed mental issues, hallucinogens, Texas cops, unjust incarceration, whacky custodial care, unhealthy fan worship, self-rigged residential clamor, the sheer ravages of time and The Road (which he is still rollin’ down)–his voice has proven extremely durable. Even in full-throated rave, as in the above, close listeners can hear not only a fetching Texas curve or two but also a vulnerability that, when he’s doing a ballad, makes him seem like he’s channeling Buddy Holly.

Johnny Hodges’ seductive, fluid alto sax:

As one writer whose name I cannot recall once wrote (I am paraphrasing), his sound is like honey pouring out of a jar. Note: I wanted to find a clip of his intro on Ellington’s early-’40s version with Ivie Anderson on vocals, which is almost unbearably erotic, but no luck. The Jeep could jump, but he could really ease back and beckon.

Natural Child’s unselfconscious, appealingly homely…groove:

I just started this blog three-four days ago and I have already mentioned this happy-go-lucky band of Nashvillians three times (plus posted an old article about them in the archive), but, dammit, they have their hooks in me. Whether they’re rockin’, bluesin’, hoein’ down, shufflin’, they lock in like The Rolling Stones’ little brothers, and they can catch up short with their acumen. I was hooked from the first note I heard and saw ’em play in 2010 at The Scion Garage Rock Festival, and I think this was the song. The bass is weirdly in the lead, and they love to yell-along. Perfectly unfashionable.

Anita O’Day–in flight!

Easily one of the most–if not THE most–underrated jazz singers ever, at her absolute peak. She looks smashing (and by her own admission in HIGH TIMES, HARD TIMES she was smashed), the band swings, the crowd projects the best (and quirkiest) aspects of the coming New Frontier, but Ms. O’Day steals the show. The lightness and fetching quality of her timbre (sorry for the fancy word), her absolute mastery of rhythm, her humor and sexiness, her DEFTNESS–OK, I’ll stop, just play it over a few times, OK?

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