This was the first Elvis Costello record I ever heard, and I came to it in a weird way. During my ten minutes in college, my second roommate had a CD of a Cornell glee club singing an a cappella version of “Veronica.” From that I checked out this record, which remains one of my favorites in EC’s discography. From “Veronica” (with Sir Paul McC on bass) to the perfect anger of “Tramp The Dirt Down” and the beauty of “Satellite” (with Chrissie Hynde on the chorus), this album is a solid winner. Plus, it features the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and guitarist Marc Ribot, among many others.
Pete Fountain is how I first learned of the existence of New Orleans. When I was a little kid, my grandpa took me to hear Pete Fountain and Al Hirt in concert. Then I got a double-cassette collection of Pete’s music and fell in love. I’ve heard a lot of great music from the Crescent City since then, but Pete will always have a special place in my heart for being first. Here’s my favorite Pete Fountain performance:
I’m going to say it: This is a perfect record. It’s like stepping into the world of Schoolhouse Rock and getting to live there, with all that sunshiny 70s soul. Why Phoebe Snow isn’t a household name can only be because she so strenuously resisted categorization.
I don’t know how this happened, but somehow I made it 41 years without ever listening to Graham Parker. I had a friend in Tucson who was into Parker, but I didn’t know this friend very long and moved before I listened to any of his records. Today I was flipping through the “P” bin at the store and came across this live solo album. I’m a sucker for records like this: electric guitar + voice + nothing else — think Billy Bragg and Warren Zevon. So this looked right up my alley. I’m writing as side one is finishing, and I really dig it.