Monday, December 19, 2005:

So this is Christmas

Very brief writeups today, because my planned holiday posts aren't finished.

A few days ago I got a Christmas gift from my sister overseas: a small box of German chocolates. In a show of restraint, I didn't open them for at least five minutes.

I'm heading out tomorrow and will be away until early January. If past experience is any indication, I'll be able to pull a camel through the eye of a needle easier than I can find an internet connection, so this is it till 2006.

I know you'll do the right thing and leave these unopened till Christmas. Or at least pace yourself. Or maybe not. I won't blame you if you don't.

Little Johnny Taylor -- If You Love Me (Like You Say)
Milk chocolate with almonds. You have to snap pieces off and eat them quickly, else they melt between your fingers.

This is a somewhat atypical Little Johnny Taylor tune; most of what I've heard by him is a grittier blues.
[Little Johnny Taylor's Greatest Hits @]

Keb' Mo' -- Am I Wrong
Dark chocolate/jalapeño cake. You can't decide if you love it or hate it, but you keep cutting another thin slice. It's hot, feisty; it wants to kick your ass; you're not sure if it is.

Keb' Mo's first CD is brilliant; the second is okay; the third is bad; the fourth rocketed past bad into sonic Ed Wood territory. I haven't listened to any after that. But damn what a good album that first is. ... I sent Sean a track from this CD a year ago, but here's another. That self-titled debut is just amazing, and why he fell off is just as puzzling.
[Keb' Mo' @]

Blind Gary -- You Got To Go Down
Chocolate-covered peanuts.

Public domain track I found somewhere ages ago. (One of the older file stamps on my system: late 1990s.) Early blues here, and great stuff. I love the clear, catchy guitar, and the man's scratchy voice, and his long bit in the middle about not making assumptions about drinkers.

Skylab -- Seashell
Chocolate with a high minty taste that lingers.

Most of this Skylab CD is so minimalist as to make me question my definition of music. This one's one of the more, er, ornate tracks, insofar as anything in a monastery might be called ornate. Drums, bit of keyboard, waves on a beach, and a bit of dialogue. Aural opium.
[Skylab -- #1 @]

Dead Can Dance -- Black Sun
Chocolate-covered caramel nougat.

I love it when this singer cuts loose from the emoting a bit and belts one out with his giant wodden sledgehammer voice. Which is not to say I don't like the rest, but this is better. Sock it to me.
[Dead Can Dance -- Aion @]

Pharoahe Monch -- The Light
Chocolate toffee.

Most of this disc is thuggish posturing, or maybe not posturing, but definitely not my cup of tea. Then there's this one, which is a very welcome change.

In retrospect it seems this disc was in and out of print as quick as a sneeze.
[Pharoahe Monch -- Internal Affairs @]

Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek -- Expansion Outro
Dark chocolate. Bitter but so good.

A reprise/commentary on Nina Simone's "Four Women," which I described in September 2004 as a lacy silk sock pulled over a brick. Nina Simone is awesome and so is this Talib Kweli/Hi-Tek CD. Very impressive work all around.
[Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek -- Reflection Eternal @]

Albinia Jones -- Give It Up Daddy Blues
Hot chocolate on a cold morning with fuzzy bunny slippers.

Another public domain track. I've no idea who Albinia Jones is, or what else she's done, but she's awfully saucy here. Apparently she played in the 1930s and 1940s (which doesn't prevent her works from being in the public domain, contrary to popular belief--prior to the 1970s in the U.S. the requirement was to list something as copyrighted, either with the full word or the c in the circle, then to list the year and the rightsholder, plus the statement "All rights reserved," for the copyright to be valid. Too bad that was changed so the legislators could have a land of copyrighted grocery lists on the backs of envelopes.)

Cheb Mami -- Yahamami
Chocolate wafer cookies that snap apart and leave crumbs everywhere.

Algerian electronica, complete with string section, flute, and birds.
[Cheb Mami -- Delalli @]

Domez M -- Born Again (Cycle Mix)
Chocolate chai that steams and burns your tongue, but you keep blowing on it and trying again.

Actually, no; if this one were any more chill it would give you a Slushee headache.
[Arabic Lounge compilation @]

Baaba Maal -- Senegale Ngummee
Orange chocolate with a shaved coconut center.

Baaba Maal steps up to the plate, swings, crack!, walks around the bases. His album with Mansour Seck is just as good; those two CDs are a force of nature.
[Missing You (Mi Yeewnii @]

Sukhwinder & Sapna Awasthi -- Chaiyya Chaiyya
White chocolate and ginger with ground cloves and chopped pecans.

There are a number of different mixes of this floating around, of different lengths. This one's from the Dil Se soundtrack, logically enough. Great scene, that, with them all on top of the train singing as it chugged along--something you'd see in the U.S. with a bad bit of bluescreen.
[Dil Se soundtrack @]

Charles Mingus -- Theme For Lester Young
An empty wrapper breezing down the street, and all the stores are closed and you're out of cigarettes.

Melancholy work from an irascible genius.
[Priceless Jazz @]

Happy holidays: Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hannukah, whatever celebration of light and companionship you gravitate towards in the coldest months.... Peace on earth and goodwill towards men, and other unfashionable wishes from a bloodthirsty nation. I'll be back with some vinyl finds in early January.

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Happy Holidays, ole pal!

Happy holidays Amigo !
(you didn't receive your xmas present yet?)

Thanks, Girish, Reverend.

I haven't received the disc yet, no. I'm looking forward to it (and, for that matter, my LPs, which also haven't yet arrived from San Francisco). Maybe they'll arrive before I leave in a couple of hours, or maybe they'll be a New Year's present instead. :-) I'm sure the disc will be great.

Listening to your disc now, Rev--great stuff. You know how to pick 'em.

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