Sonny Rollins recorded many memorable sessions during 1954-1958, but Saxophone Colossus is arguably his finest all-around set. Joined by pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Max Roach, Rollins debuts and performs the definitive version of “St. Thomas,” tears into the chord changes of “Mack the Knife” (here called “Moritat”), introduces “Strode Rode,” is lyrical on “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” and constructs a solo on “Blue Seven” that practically defines his style. Essential music that, as with all of Rollins’ Prestige recordings, has also been reissued as part of a huge “complete” box set; listeners with a tight budget are advised to pick up this single disc and be amazed.
-Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)
Sad, spare, and beautiful, Blue is the quintessential confessional singer/songwriter album. Forthright and poetic, Joni Mitchell’s songs are raw nerves, tales of love and loss (two words with relative meaning here) etched with stunning complexity; even tracks like “All I Want,” “My Old Man,” and “Carey” — the brightest, most hopeful moments on the record — are darkened by bittersweet moments of sorrow and loneliness. At the same time that songs like “Little Green” (about a child given up for adoption) and the title cut (a hymn to salvation supposedly penned for James Taylor) raise the stakes of confessional folk-pop to new levels of honesty and openness, Mitchell’s music moves beyond the constraints of acoustic folk into more intricate and diverse territory, setting the stage for the experimentation of her later work. Unrivaled in its intensity and insight, Blue remains a watershed.
-Jason Ankeny (allmusic.com)
Blue is the fourth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Exploring the various facets of relationships from infatuation on “A Case of You” to insecurity on “This Flight Tonight“, the songs feature simple accompaniments on piano, guitar and Appalachian dulcimer. The album peaked at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart and number 15 on the Blllboard 200.
June 22: Happy Birthday Kris Kristofferson (born 1936 – age 81) – His 10 best songs
One of my fav artists, and he’s written many great songs.
This is a list (+ videos), not a bio… so here goes:
(preferred album version included)
Sunday Morning Coming Down – The Austin Sessions (1999)
Me and Bobby McGee – Kristofferson (1970)
Why Me – The The Austin Sessions (1999)
Help Me Make It Through the Night – Kristofferson (1970)
For the Good Times – The The Austin Sessions (1999)
Here Comes That Rainbow Again – The Essential Kris Kristofferson (2004)
The Silver Tongued Devil and I – The Silver Tongued Devil and I (1971)
To Beat the Devil – The Austin Sessions (1999)
Nobody Wins – The Austin Sessions (1999)
The Pilgrim, Chapter 33 – The Silver Tongued Devil and I (1971)
Yes! I LOVE “The Austin Sessions” album…
There are many great video clips on youtube, and I’ve tried to compile the best versions (live versions are as always preferred):
Sunday Morning Coming Down
Well I woke up Sunday morning,
With no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad,
So I had one more for dessert.
Then I fumbled through my closet for my clothes,
And found my cleanest dirty shirt.
An’ I shaved my face and combed my hair,
An’ stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.
“No one can penetrate me. They only see what’s in their own fancy, always.”
– Ray Davies
June 21: Ray Davies was born in 1944 Happy Birthday
Sir Raymond Douglas “Ray” Davies, CBE (born 21 June 1944) is an English musician. He was the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for The Kinks, which he led with his younger brother, Dave. He has also acted, directed and produced shows for theatre and television.
Ray Davies is one of my favorite british songwriters, he really is up there with Lennon/McCartney and Jagger/Richards. He is that good!
Ray Davies’ influence on british music is large and important. It really became visible during the brit-pop period, but I can hear his way of talking about the english way of live in today’s pop and rap/hip-hop also. They might not know why they do it the way the do, but we do, it is the way Ray Davies taught them through his songs .
While almost every other songwriter working in a rock band at the time was talking about altered states or sticking it to squares, Ray Davies developed a vocabulary of traditional English life, and even mocked Carnaby Street fashion on “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”. The Kinks were culture without the “counter” prefix, a rock band that anomalously acknowledged the dignity in the middle-aged woman who went out and bought a hat like the one Princess Marina wore, the one that adopted the mannerisms of music hall without pastiche or irony, the one that sang about tea and gooseberry tarts and favoring neighborhood life over new patterns of development.
“The record chronicles the post-hippie, post-Vietnam demise of counterculture idealism, and a generation’s long, slow trickle down the drain through drugs, violence, and twisted sexuality. This is Young’s only conceptually cohesive record, and it’s a great one.”
~Dave Marsh (The New Rolling Stone Record Guide -August 28, 1975)
“Tonight’s the Night is that one rare record I will never tire of.”
~Chris Fallon (PopMatters)
A singular talent who passed almost unnoticed during his brief lifetime, Nick Drake produced several albums of chilling, somber beauty. With hindsight, these have come to be recognized as peak achievements of both the British folk-rock scene and the entire rock singer/songwriter genre.
~Richie Unterberger (allmusic.com)
I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
But now you’re here
Brighten my northern sky.