Monday, November 19, 2007

Library Haul

I sure do like talking about records.

John Fahey - The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death: This is one of the essentials, if for no other reason than his raga-meets-ragtime "Bicycle Built For Two" which I swear is awesome despite the obvious reasons weighing against it. It's not Fahey at his most panoramic (that would be America) or weirdest (that would be The Voice of the Turtle) or even his most anthropological (Of Rivers and Religion or Death Chants, Breakdowns and Military Waltzes) but it is a heavy amalgamation of those facets. If you even need the friendliest reminder that you don't know shit about playing an acoustic guitar, John Fahey is your man.

Flamin' Groovies - Teenage Head: This is one of those that garage rock types cite as godhead material, but I usually am left wanting more from the classics of this knucklehead world, so I didn't know what to expect. I was hoping for some searing fuzz chords to rip through the air like a hose had sprung a leak, but instead it's a poor man's Beggars Banquet with 66.6% the prowess. The country rock numbers like "City Lights" are pretty good, and the title track lays down the adequate amount of rubber, but I'm not sure they are all that groovy or flaming. I think I need the first Seeds album so I can be done with it all.

Amon Düül II - Tanz der Lemminge - or "dance of the lemmings." I haven't listened to it yet, but I understand it to be one of the great works to emerge after the original Amon Düül commune collapsed in the late 60s in Germany and gave way to its more rockist child. I listened to Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath in its entirety this morning for the first time since maybe 7th grade, or maybe ever, actually, and was struck by it's balance of power chord riff magic and unadulterated baroque loveliness, and I am hoping this CD will offer more of the same but much darker and much weirder.

Van Morrison - Astral Weeks: This is a no-brainer; I just lost my copy of it in the last hard drive crash. I knew Lester Bangs was the mustachioed douchebag rock genius of my life when his review of it collected in Psychotic Reactions was so powerful that it made me drop everything and go out and get a goddamn Van Morrison record. Upon my first listen, I thought it was the perfect meeting of channeled verse and fleeting instrumentation - the music hovers around Brown Eyed man like a haze of gnats, but later I read that V dismissed the band entirely and just belted out the songs, idly plucking at an inaudible guitar and the record company brought the band back in a day later to fill in the gaps and lo, alchemical genius ensued.

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