The Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs (listen) I do love the whole thing, but I wonder whether it was wisdom or folly that led Merritt and crew to front load this collection with its best material. Disc one of this set is maybe the best pop album ever, and I guess if those songs were sprinkled throughout the rest of the 3 disc set, one might not get the momentum to make it all the way through. But man, those first 23 are the love song's stay of execution should it ever need one and these two are the best ever.
Seasick Steve - Dog House Music (listen) This collection of bluses-so-meta-it-comes-back-around-to-real-blues is likely the polar antithesis of 69 Love Songs but they share a love of the music they reference, emulate, and parody. According to Wikipedia, his blues kitsch arsenal consists of:
I do like the idea of a three-string trance wonder, but here he is demonstrating his prowess on the diddley bow.
As well as an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar, Wold owns (and plays) several obscure and personalised instruments, including:
- The Three-String Trance Wonder - This is a normal guitar that resembles a Fender Coronado, but with only three strings. It has an old Harmony pickup added (with duct tape) and is played tuned to G, G and B using an E string in the A position, a D in the G position and a G in the B position. At his gigs, he often tells the story that he bought it for $75 in this condition in Como, Mississippi from a man named Sherman, who later told him he only paid $25 for it the day before. Wold vowed never to add another string, and that he would tour the world telling his story of how Sherman ripped him off. All in good fun as Sherman Cooper is a good buddy, who gave him the guitar having had it nailed to the wall as a decoration. A lot of the time he also adds (while picking up or putting away the guitar) that it is the "...biggest piece of shit in the world, I swear".
- The One-Stringed Diddley Bow - This is a one stringed string instrument played with a slide (He uses an old screwdriver for this purpose). It consists of a 2 foot long 2x4, with a semi-loose guitar string nailed to it at both ends. It was made especially for him by James 'Super Chikan' Johnson.
- The 'MDM' (Mississippi Drum Machine) - A small wooden box that is stomped upon, providing percussion. It is decorated with a Mississippi motorcycle license plate ("MC33583"), and a small piece of carpet.
- Roland Cube Amplifer - Placed on a chair to his left and set to the 'tweed' setting.
Earl Hooker - Theresa Fungus Amung Us (listen) I find the use of the schoolyard classic "fungus amungus" in the album title to be quite pleasing on a conceptual. Here he is laying down his own classic, "Two Bugs and a Roach," recast as "Two Bugs in a Rug" for this record. Also dig the Robert Crumb album art in its full glory.