Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Playlists

 

JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

Chick Corea and Touchstone: The Ultimate Adventure (Stretch)

Forget for a moment that Corea calls this set a “tone poem” inspired by L. Ron Hubbard’s 1958 novel The Ultimate Adventure, a SF retelling of the Arabian Nights. Set aside for later consideration the fact that Corea is Scientology’s musical ambassador and just let yourself be seduced by the music, which will, in fact, transport you to distant realms-though not of planets or personality tests, but Spain and the beats of rhumba, tango and flamenco. The band is something special too, a mix of Corea veterans (Hubert Laws, Steve Gadd and Airto) and Paco de Lucia’s flamenco band, featuring the mesmerizing percussionist Rubem Dantas, flutist Jorge Prado and Carlos Benavent, who plays a 5-string electric bass as if it were lead guitar.

Chick Corea with Return to Forever: Hymn to the Seventh Galaxy (Polydor)

The first two Return to Forever records were bold and scorching affairs with thick bass lines from Stanley Clarke and surrealistic synth work from Corea, but this slightly milder offering, featuring the Brazilian vocalist Flora Purim and her husband Airto Moriera, is the apogee of fusion and surely ranks as one of the highest musical achievements of the 70s.

Chick Corea: Piano Improvisation, Vol. 1 (ECM)

After a decade of wild experimentation with synthesizers and the Fender Rhodes, Chick Corea went back to basic. Just Chick and a piano. First take; no dubs. A few may prefer Keith Jarrett’s Koln Concert, but if you like melody and are distracted by Jarrett’s yips and howls, this session (and its follow up) probably stand as the greatest recorded piano improvisations since Corea’s idol Art Tatum.

Chick Corea and Gary Burton: Crystal Silence (ECM)

In 1979, Corea broke new ground again by recording this duet with vibraphonist Gary Burton. The result is mesmering. The players are so sympathetic that Burton’s vibraphone often sounds as if it is an extension of Corea’s piano. In fact, Burton’s vibraphone often has the light and liquid sound that Corea coaxed out of the Fender Rhodes for Miles and RTF.

Chick Corea: Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (Blue Note)

In 1968, one month before joining Miles Davis’s band where he would take the electric piano into uncharted territory, Chick Corea, who had cut his teeth playing for Herbie Mann, Stan Getz and Mongo Santamaria, recorded his electrifying debut album as a leader. Backed by Roy Haynes on drums and Miroslav Vituous on bass, the set features driving Latin rhythms riding beneath Corea’s exquisite work on the keys. His playing is fast, melodic and light as a feather. Corea’s cover of Thelonious Monk’s “Pannonica” rivals the master’s.

Pee-Wee Crayton: The Complete Aladdin Recordings (EMI Intl.)

Long before the deification of Eric Clapton, real guitar gods walked the face of the Earth. Two of them grew up near each other in Texas: T-Bone Walker and Connie Curtis Crayton. Together they largely invented the modern sound of the electric blues. His feverish instrumentals, such as “Texas Hop” and the classic “Blues After Hours,” became huge hits on the black charts and influenced everyone from BB King and Lowell Fulson to rockers Ike Turner and Chuck Berry. These Aladdin sessions were recorded in the mid-1950s with exquisite production by the legendary New Orleans bandleader Dave Bartholomew. “Runnin’ Wild” is as funky a New Orleans R&B song as anyone ever recorded. Snooks Eaglin, Sonny Landreth and a barge full of other Crescent City guitarists have been making a living off those licks for decades.

Jeffrey St. Clair’s music writings (as well as CPers Ron Jacobs, David Vest and Daniel Wolff) can be found in Serpents in the Garden. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

JESSE WALKER

Cowboy Junkies: The Trinity Session

Anyone who covers Hank Williams and the Velvet Underground on the same album is OK in my book.

Alejandro Escovedo: Bourbonitis Blues

Anyone who covers Jimmie Rodgers and the Velvet Underground on the same album is OK in my book, too.

June Tabor/The Oysterband: Freedom and Rain

Si Kahn and the Velvet Underground? What the hell; that’s cool too.

Jerry Lee Lewis: Another Place, Another Time/She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye

It’s his rockabilly records of the ’50s that most people remember, but to my taste the best period of Jerry Lee Lewis’ career came when he went country in the late ’60s and early ’70s. You can still hear traces of the younger Jerry Lee on these two albums (conveniently combined by Raven Records onto one CD), when he adds a little flourish on the piano or turns a trad standard like “Walking the Floor Over You” into a full-fledged rock’n’roll stomp. But for the most part, this is hard-core, Haggard-grade honky-tonk.

Jerry Lee Lewis: Southern Roots

Lewis emerged from his straight country period with two rock albums, The Session and Southern Roots . He sold more copies of The Session , which he recorded in London with various famous and semi-famous Brit rockers; I’ve never heard it, but I’d be amazed if it was half as good as this follow-up. Like Elvis five years earlier, Jerry Lee returned to Memphis, the town where he recorded his earliest hits, and embraced the city’s gritty soul sound. Producer Huey P. Meaux — a Texas legend who shared Lewis’ disreputable taste for underage women — assembled an astonishing assortment of southern musicians, from Carl Perkins to Augie Meyers to Tony Joe White to the MGs. There’s still a bit of country here (“Born to Be a Loser,” “Big Blue Diamonds”), but the predominant flavor is R&B; the high point comes when Jerry Lee growls his way through a slowed-down “Hold On I’m Coming,” probably the only white cover of a Sam & Dave song that can hold a candle to the original.

Floyd Tillman: Country Music Hall of Fame Series

Tillman helped invent honky-tonk in the ’40s with a vocal and guitar style that owed a considerable debt to jazz and jazz-flavored pop. These deeply enjoyable sides, recorded from 1939 to 1944, draw on the swing side of his personality.

Dave Peel and the Lower East Side: The American Revolution

Peel was a street musician who wrote novelty songs and fell in briefly with John Lennon, who produced one of his early albums. This record (Beatle-free!) hits the notes you’d expect from a man of Peel’s yippie sympathies: a bit about sex, some more about the war, and a ton about marijuana. “Oink Oink” is catchy, and it opens with a great anti-hippie rant by Marshall Efron, so every now and then I take it out and play it. Peel’s moment in the spotlight faded in the early ’70s, but he kept writing and recording music; the last time I noticed him, he was part of Howard Stern’s short-lived gubernatorial campaign, singing a campaign song that went “Howard Stern for governor/Howard Stern for governor/Howard Stern for governor/Of New York.” “Happy Days Are Here Again” it ain’t.

Willie Hightower: Willie Hightower

The poor man’s Sam Cooke. He isn’t on the A list of ’60s soul singers, but he recorded several fine songs, especially the two that kick off this collection: “Back Road Into Town” and the definitive version of Joe South’s “Walk a Mile in My Shoes.”

The Staple Singers: Be Altitude: Respect Yourself

When other gospel groups — say, the Mighty Clouds of Joy — shifted from a spare, stripped-down approach to a bigger 1970s-style R&B production, it felt like one band had been replaced with another. With the Staples, though, the new sound sounded like it had been inside them all along, just waiting for the right moment to bloom.

Patty Waters: The Complete ESP-Disk Recordings

The lost bridge between Nina Simone and Diamanda Galas.

Jesse Walker is managing editor of Reason and author of Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America. His blog is The Perpetual Three-Dot Column.

Previous Playlists

February 4, 2006

January 28, 2006

January 21, 2006

January 14, 2006

January 7, 2006

December 31, 2005

December 24, 2005

December 17, 2005

December 10, 2005

December 3, 2005

November 26, 2005

November 19, 2005

November 11, 2005

November 5, 2005

October 29, 2005

October 14, 2005

October 7, 2005

 

May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Wild at Heart: Keeping Up With Margie Kidder
Roger Harris
Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly
Michael Slager
Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees 
John Laforge
Don’t Call It an Explosion: Gaseous Ignition Events with Radioactive Waste
Carlo Filice
The First “Fake News” Story (or, What the Serpent Would Have Said)
Dave Lindorff
Israel Crosses a Line as IDF Snipers Murder Unarmed Protesters in the Ghetto of Gaza
Gary Leupp
The McCain Cult
Robert Fantina
What’s Wrong With the United States?
Jill Richardson
The Lesson I Learned Growing Up Jewish
David Orenstein
A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance
W. T. Whitney
The U.S. Role in Removing a Revolutionary and in Restoring War to Colombia
Rev. William Alberts
The Danger of Praying Truth to Power
Alan Macleod
A Primer on the Venezuelan Elections
John W. Whitehead
The Age of Petty Tyrannies
Franklin Lamb
Have Recent Events Sounded the Death Knell for Iran’s Regional Project?
Brian Saady
How the “Cocaine Mitch” Saga Deflected the Spotlight on Corruption
David Swanson
Tim Kaine’s War Scam Hits a Speed Bump
Norah Vawter
Pipeline Outrage is a Human Issue, Not a Political Issue
Mel Gurtov
Who’s to Blame If the US-North Korea Summit Isn’t Held?
Patrick Bobilin
When Outrage is Capital
Jessicah Pierre
The Moral Revolution America Needs
Binoy Kampmark
Big Dead Place: Remembering Antarctica
John Carroll Md
What Does It Mean to be a Physician Advocate in Haiti?
George Ochenski
Saving Sage Grouse: Another Collaborative Failure
Sam Husseini
To the US Government, Israel is, Again, Totally Off The Hook
Brian Wakamo
Sick of Shady Banks? Get a Loan from the Post Office!
Colin Todhunter
Dangerous Liaison: Industrial Agriculture and the Reductionist Mindset
Ralph Nader
Trump: Making America Dread Again
George Capaccio
Bloody Monday, Every Day of the Week
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Swing Status, Be Gone
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail