What We're Listening To

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What We're Listening To

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Unity   [sound recording] CD Unity [sound recording]

Young, Larry, 1940-1978.

This superb '65 set from organist (5 years before his participation in Miles Davis' legendary "Bitches Brew" sessions) Young is stellar hard-bop with an occasional left turn into more avant-garde, experimental territory. Features Elvin Jones on drums (moonlighting from the John Coltrane band), and trumpet and tenor soloing (from Woody Shaw and Joe Henderson, respectively) that goes from swinging to soulful to abstract, and back again.

Recommended by Rob at Stanwood Library.

The ArchAndroid   [sound recording] CD The ArchAndroid [sound recording]

Monáe, Janelle.
CD M MON2256

"'The ArchAndroid' is an 'EMOTION PICTURE' brought to you by Janelle Monáe and the Mad Minds of the Wondaland Arts Society. The star-studded featured cast includes the legendary Big Boi of OutKast, renowned poet Saul Williams, psychedelic dance-punk troupe Of Montreal, punk prophets Deep Cotton, and the Wondaland Arch Orchestra."

Some of the freshest and fun music I've heard in a while!

Suggested by Dawn

The bluegrass diaries   [sound recording] CD The bluegrass diaries [sound recording]

Lauderdale, Jim.

The Bluegrass Diaries picks up where Bluegrass left off allowing Lauderdale to indulge in his passion for intricate picking and foot stompin' with his friends. The album includes Jesse Cobb on Mandolin, Richard Bailey on Banjo, Jay Weaver on bass, Cody Kilby on guitar and Aaron Till on fiddle as well as many other special guests. On The Bluegrass Diaries Lauderdale blends bluegrass chops with his signature turn of phrase. At root, the album is a metaphor for Lauderdale's entire career; switchblade-sharp, honest and starkly American.

If you enjoy bluegrass, you will love this album!

Suggested by Dawn.

The sidewinder   [sound recording] CD The sidewinder [sound recording]

Morgan, Lee, 1938-1972. cmp prf

A superbly swinging hard bop session from December '63, and one of the best Blue Note albums of the 1960's. While Morgan's soulful trumpet is center stage for all tracks, the backup players (Joe Henderson on tenor, Barry Harris on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums) are fantastic as well. Harris's solo on "Totem Pole" is particularly fine.

Recommended by Rob at Stanwood Library.

The best of Louis Jordan   [sound recording] CD The best of Louis Jordan [sound recording]

Jordan, Louis, 1908-1975. prf

This great compilation collects the very best of Jordan's swinging (and often hilarious) Decca-label sides from the 1940's and 1950's. One of the great unsung forefathers of rock and roll, Jordan was a primary influence on - among many others - Chuck Berry and B.B. King (who has recorded an entire album of Jordan songs).

Recommended by Rob at Stanwood Library.

Bebel Gilberto   [sound recording]. CD Bebel Gilberto [sound recording].

Gilberto, Bebel.

Gilberto's 2nd album (from 2004) combines a warm, jazz-inflected Brazilian pop with sophisticated electronica. Bossa Nova for the 21st century.

Recommended by Rob at Stanwood Library.

Valleys of Neptune   [sound recording] CD Valleys of Neptune [sound recording]

Hendrix, Jimi. prf

Great compilation of previously-unreleased material from 1968 and (mostly) 1969, detailing the gradual transformation of Hendrix's sound from the psychedelia and blues of his Experience-era albums to the jazzier, more soulful sounds of his later recordings.

Recommended by Rob at Stanwood Library.

Happy trails   [sound recording] CD Happy trails [sound recording]

Quicksilver Messenger Service

Great 2nd album by these kings of the 60's San Francisco ballroom scene. Particularly recommended is their amazing interpretation of Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love" (which filled up an entire side of the original LP), which prominently features the stinging, metallic guitar of the late John Cipollina.

Recommended by Rob at Stanwood Library.

The complete OKeh sessions 1952-'55   [sound recording] book The complete OKeh sessions 1952-'55 [sound recording]

Big Maybelle, d. 1972.
On Order

Maybelle's raw, gutsy r&b vocals - by turns aggressive, celebratory, and surprisingly vulnerable - are on full display in this fantastic collection of her mid-50's recordings for the Okeh label.

Recommended by Rob at Stanwood Library.

The exciting Wilson Pickett   [sound recording] CD The exciting Wilson Pickett [sound recording]

Pickett, Wilson.
CD M PIC6336

Pickett's second album (from 1966) is superlative soul. This is an especially fun album as it mixes the more familiar hits ("Land Of 1000 Dances" and "In The Midnight Hour") with some less familiar material (the jaw-dropping "Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won't Do)" is a favorite of mine) and some excellent cover (great versions of Don Covay's "Mercy Mercy" and Robert Parker's "Barefootin'").

Recommended by Rob at Stanwood Library.

We're only in it for the money   [sound recording] CD We're only in it for the money [sound recording]

Zappa, Frank.

One of my favorite Zappa/Mothers albums, this is a viciously witty send-up of the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" album and late-60s hippie culture in general. This is also one of Zappa's more accessible albums - it's not quite as aggressively experimental as some of his other albums. A great place to start for those new to Zappa.

Recommended by Rob @ Stanwood Library

Solo   [sound recording] :   songs my dad loved CD Solo [sound recording] : songs my dad loved

Skaggs, Ricky.

A delightful collection of classic bluegrass songs, performed with Skaggs' usual heart and talent, and great musicians collaborating.

Recommended by Dawn @ Mountlake Terrace Library

Rubber soul   [sound recording]. CD Rubber soul [sound recording].

Lennon, John, 1940-1980.

More from their classic "middle period", with John's sardonic "Norwegian Wood" and nostalgic "In My Life" -- this one shows them leaving their moptop era behind.

Recommended by David

Revolver   [sound recording]. CD Revolver [sound recording].

Lennon, John, 1940-1980.

Freed from having to perform live, the Beatles experimented more with arrangements, and this CD shows them stretching out, with the chamber music of "Eleanor Rigby" and the early psychedelia of "Tommorrow Never Knows", along with such good-time songs as "Got to Get You Into My Life" and "Good Day Sunshine". (Oh, and note the punning title: you see, kids, when this was an LP, it was played on a turntable...)

Recommended by David

Beatles for sale   [sound recording]. CD Beatles for sale [sound recording].

The Beatles

Touring non-stop made it difficult to write new material, so this one is almost half covers. Still, you can't argue with such quality songs as "Eight Days a Week" and "I'm a Loser".

Recommended by David

The best of Rosa Passos   [sound recording]. CD The best of Rosa Passos [sound recording].

Passos, Rosa. prf

Despite the fact that this is a hodgepodge of Rosa tracks from throughout her career, there's a consistently relaxed feel to this collection of samba and MPB.

Recommended by David

Amorosa   [sound recording] CD Amorosa [sound recording]

Passos, Rosa.

Diana Krall, watch your back! Brazilian music isn't known for its powerhouse vocalists, so Rosa Passos' delicate murmur is perfect for this romantic collection, and it's a treat to hear her cover some of the same songs that Diana Krall has made her fortune with.

Recommended by David

Merriweather post pavilion   [sound recording] CD Merriweather post pavilion [sound recording]


It's been quite a while that a CD made me sit up and take notice like this one. Because I'm a geezer, I've been listening to music since they recorded on shellac, so the influences I can hear run the gamut from the Beatles and the Beach Boys to My Bloody Valentine and even My Morning Jacket. What I find so appealing is that all these combine in new ways, and you never know what'll bubble up into the mix next.

Suggested by David

Song for my father   [sound recording] :   (cantiga para meu pai) CD Song for my father [sound recording] : (cantiga para meu pai)

Silver, Horace, 1928-

I got into Horace Silver in a backwards way; listening to "Song for My Father" on a Blue Note anthology, I thought "Pretty cool that old guy slipping in a Steely Dan reference!" Then I read that Silver recorded the track in 1964... If you listen to "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" by Steely Dan, the first few seconds are a direct lift/tribute, and rightly so, it's a great jazz album.

Recommended by David

Preludes for piano, books 1 & 2   [sound recording] CD Preludes for piano, books 1 & 2 [sound recording]

Debussy, Claude, 1862-1918.

While many composers wrote "pure music", Debussy never shied away from painting specific pictures with his melodies, and some of his most ethereal are in this collection.

Recommended by David

Getz CD Getz

Getz, Stan, 1927-1991.

After Miles Davis, Stan Getz is the definition of cool in jazz, and this classic recording features his breakout song "The Girl from Ipanema". Put this on and summer begins...

Recommended by David

Santogold   [sound recording]. CD Santogold [sound recording].

Santogold. prf

Listening to the first few tracks, I thought, "Oh, another Two-Tone revival!" But Santogold have more up their collective sleeves than ska/reggae influences -- this is a fun grab-bag of diverse styles.

Suggested by David

Beat this!   [sound recording] :   the best of the English Beat. CD Beat this! [sound recording] : the best of the English Beat.


This is a great collection by The (English) Beat, who were on the other end of the ska revival in Britain in the late 70's. Features half of their 5 star first album "I Just Can't Stop It" plus some later, less infectious singles -- but you get the bonus dub of "Stand Down, Margaret", alone worth the price of admission.

Recommended by David

On the corner   [sound recording] CD On the corner [sound recording]

Davis, Miles.

Man, was this album trashed upon its initial release! Miles was accused of dumbing down his sound in an attempt to cash in on the way more lucrative rock market. I confess I avoided this one at the time, but listening to it now, I hear the template that Herbie Hancock simplified and then took to the bank a year later with "Head Hunters". In Miles' version, the sound is densely layered over a dynamite rhythm section; still Miles all the way.

Recommended (way too late!) by David

Rising Down CD Rising Down

The Roots

Long one of the most creative forces in hip-hop, this 2008 release ranks among the best The Roots have produced. Dark, entrancing songs compliment the rapping of Black Thought, as well as several strong guest MC appearances. The social commentary on this album is biting and insightful. Worth a serious listen by anyone who enjoys rap and hip-hop.

Recommended by Chy

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