current listening 04/24

Among the off-the-clock listening this week: 

Joe Ely and Joel Guzman: Live Cactus! – Direct from the Cactus Café in Austin, Tx. is this serving of spicy acoustic duets between master Texas songsmith/raconteur Ely and accordion ace Guzman. In this setting, Because of the Wind and Letter to Laredo shine so brightly you can almost feel the West Texas sun beating down on your back.

Otis Redding: Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul – A new two-disc version of the soul gem that shook the world in 1965. Everything here is killer: the two live versions of Respect, the regal reworkings of My Girl and Rock Me Baby and the voice that lights up Down in the Valley. Oh, yes. There’s also I’ve Been Loving You Too Long. A classic.  

Amon Duul II: Tanz der Lemminge – It originally took two vinyl albums in 1971 to cover the German band’s spacey blasts of prog-rock, psychedelic folk, Zappa-esque frenzy, moody atmospherics and good ol’ Munich boogie. Reissued as a single 2006 CD, Tanz today sounds reflective, pensive, trippy and exquisitely dated. 

Jonny Greenwood: There Will Be Blood – Though released almost simultaneously last winter with the newest album by guitarist Greenwood’s other band, Radiohead,  I find myself listening to this more. Admittedly, there is nothing rock ‘n’ roll about There Will Be Blood. But its icy, strident, chamber-style string works are every bit as emotive. 

Santana: Welcome – The 1973 album that effectively killed the commercial appeal of the first phase of Santana’s career. But the deep percussive spiritualism of Mother Africa, the keyboard hymn Going Home and a mind-blowing, 13-minute guitar summit with John McLaughlin highlight one of Santana’s most audacious works. Reissued in 2003.

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