A Real Rhapsody playlist blog of questionable quality

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gordon Lightfoot Hits Rhapvailable Playlist

There are alot of inexplicable holes in the Rhapsody catalog, and some albums seem to drift in and out of availability with the tides. And some tracks within albums will blink on and off periodically.

I've got a proprietary list of tracks I search for to assess changes in the health of certain parts of the Rhapsody catalog. In the light rock domain, these diagnostic dowsing rods include "Cool Night" by Paul Davis, "Souvenir of London" by Procol Harum, "Captain of Her Heart" by Double, and "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot.

The Gordon Lightfoot situation has been particularly vexing. At one point, a fistful of his albums did come into Rhapsody, but the hits were universally unavailable.

Friends, I'm here to tell you today that has changed. Today we can finally employ a Rhapsody playlist to observe [ssefo.com] the loss of the twenty-nine man crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald that cold, stormy day in November, 1975.

Gordon Lightfoot Hits Rhapvailable Playlist [Rhapsody Online Version]

The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald
If You Could Read My Mind
Carefree Highway

P.S. Here's a brief but informative historical overview of Great Lakes shipwrecks in general at northshorevisitor.com.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fresh Sound Additions Part Three Playlist

Let's serve up another find from the Fresh Sound New Talent Records additions to Rhapsody we've been mining this month. Today it's Bad Plus pianist Ethan Iverson appearing on the 2000 release Sweet Transients, led by trumpeter Phil Grenadier. The first track features Mister Iverson to fine effect, and the second distills the noirish grit of Beck's Derelict into a dangerous, alluring listen.

It looks like Mister Grenadier is pretty damn active [myspace] around Boston currently, and is preparing to wander the globe with the John Scofield Trio + Horns this spring. Neat.

Fresh Sound Additions Part Three Playlist [Rhapsody Online Version]

Alone Together - Phil Grenadier
Derelict - Phil Grenadier

Friday, January 25, 2008

Out To Lunch Friday Playlist

Today out to lunch, it's a risky country buffet mixing the Shangri-Las then and now, Lewis Carroll, Trio, and a Cement Mixer, all on one plate.

Shun the fumious bandersnatch this weekend, kids.

Out To Lunch Friday Playlist [Rhapsody Online Version]

I'm Blue - Shangri-Las
Cry About The Radio - Mary Weiss
Jabberwocky - Lewis Carroll
Da Da Da - Trio
Cement Mixer - The Orlons

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rufus Does Judy Frankenstein Playlist

Back in 2006 Rufus Wainwright got to live every red-blooded North American boy's dream: making awkward jokes at Bucky Pizzarelli's expense in front of thousands of people.

Wait, no, that's mostly just my dream. What Rufus did was to recreate Judy Garland's 1961 Carnegie Hall concert in its entirety on the same stage some forty five years later.

The recording of this singular event came into the Rhapsody catalog last month, and has had us perpendicular, hanging on a cable car ever since. Today, we exploit the Rhaplink form for our own nefarious purposes, and doctor up a playlist where Judy and Rufus trade tracks for the whole concert across the aether of the decades. Heretical nonsense, or a joyous musical journey? You make the call.

Unfortunately, the duet and family tracks on the Rufus version got turned off in Rhapsody at some point, so we've had to monkey things around a little bit near the end. In another technical note (if only to myself six months from now), the sound levels for the Rufus recording are just a smidge higher than Judy Garland's. So don't twist the volume too high during a Judy song or you might get a little shock when the next track comes up. The playlist starts on a Rufus track to avoid this by default...

Rufus Does Judy Frankenstein Playlist [Rhapsody Online Version]

1. Overture: The Trolley Song/Over The Rainbow/The Man That Got Away (Live At Carnegie Hall) - Rufus Wainwright
2. When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You) - Judy Garland
3. Medley: Almost Like Being In Love/This Can't Be Love (Live At Carnegie Hall) - Rufus Wainwright
4. Do It Again - Judy Garland
5. You Go To My Head (Live At Carnegie Hall) - Rufus Wainwright
6. Alone Together - Judy Garland
7. Who Cares? (So Long As You Care For Me) (Live At Carnegie Hall) - Rufus Wainwright
8. Puttin' On The Ritz - Judy Garland
9. How Long Has This Been Going On (Live At Carnegie Hall) - Rufus Wainwright
10. Just You, Just Me - Judy Garland
11. The Man That Got Away (Live At Carnegie Hall) - Rufus Wainwright
12. San Francisco - Judy Garland
13. That's Entertainment (Live At Carnegie Hall) - Rufus Wainwright
14. I Can't Give You Anything But Love - Judy Garland
15. Come Rain Or Come Shine (Live At Carnegie Hall) - Rufus Wainwright
16. You're Nearer - Judy Garland
17. A Foggy Day (Live At Carnegie Hall) - Rufus Wainwright
18. If Love Were All - Judy Garland
19. Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart (Live At Carnegie Hall) - Rufus Wainwright
20. Stormy Weather - Judy Garland
21. Medley: You Made Me Love You/For Me And My Gal/The Trolley Song (Live At Carnegie Hall) - Rufus Wainwright
22. Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody - Judy Garland
23. Over The Rainbow - Judy Garland
24. Swanee (Live At Carnegie Hall) - Rufus Wainwright
25. After You've Gone - Judy Garland
26. Chicago (Live At Carnegie Hall) - Rufus Wainwright

Gee-whiz Reference section: Here's a first-hand account [My Husband Betty] of the first night of the Rufus recreation, that includes text of the next-day New York Times review of the original Judy concert in the comments.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Old Timey Beer Commercial Monday Playlist

Last week a far-reaching compendium called "Old Time Radio Commercials" came in on the Rhapsody Just Added list. There were plenty of historically valuable tidbits ranging from Ex Lax and Maypo to Lucky Strike cigarettes and Dupont Chemicals, but here are the malted highlights.

First, when I used to haul four dollar crates of Lucky Lager home I had no idea I was part of a proud tradition of cheap inebriates stretching back generations.

Second, an angelic quartet reminds us all:

"Drink to me darling not with thine eyes,
But with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.
Because if you toast me with Pabst Blue Ribbon,
I'll know that your love's sincere."

Lastly, take a tip from none other than Louis Armstrong, who once said:

"Schaeffer is the one beer to have
when you're having more than one
Schaeffer's pleasure doesn't fade
even when your thirst is done

The most rewarding flavor in this man's world
For people who are having fun
Yes, Schaeffer is the one beer to have
When you're having more than one."

What a wonderful world, indeed.

Old Timey Beer Commercial Playlist [Rhapsody Online Version]

Lucky Premium Beer
Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer - 2 commercials
Schaeffer Beer feat. Louis Armstrong

Friday, January 18, 2008

Out To Lunch Friday Playlist

Today out to lunch, we start with another find from the Fresh Sound excavation mentioned Wednesday. It's pianist Helen Sung funking it up on Prince's Alphabet Street from 2006's Helenistique. The original isn't Rhapvailable, so some perverse gland compelled me to call up the Batdance as a substitute. So there you go. Then, I noticed that the Widowermaker! EP snuck into Rhapsody at some point, containing one of the last Butthole Surfers songs I really liked.

We'll bookend the festivities with a representative from Helen Sung's 2007 release Sungbird, a distinctive musical meditation using Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz's Espana, Op. 156 as a touchstone.

Do it on the One this weekend all, and, uh, if I may, go Pats.

Out to Lunch Friday Playlist [Rhapsody Online Version]

Alphabet Street - Helen Sung
Batdance - Prince
The Colored FBI Guy - Butthole Surfers
Malaguena Miniatura - Helen Sung

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Fresh Sound Additions Sampler Playlist

Last week there were mass additions to the Rhapsody catalog from the Fresh Sound Records jazz label. The immediate result of that here at R&S Labs is a look into early releases from members of the Bad Plus and their cohorts. If you search on bassist Reid Anderson and pianist Ethan Iverson on the Fresh Sound master catalog page, you'll find multiple releases with those gentlemen as leaders, supporting each other, and in combination with folks such as guitarist Ben Monder, jedi master Paul Motian, and saxophonists Chris Cheek, Bill McHenry, and Mark Turner.

Here's a sampler from my initial explorations of this trove: the first installment of the Bad Plus medal-winner series, a representative from Reid Anderson's 2000 outing The Vastness of Space, a solo piano excursion where Smoke Gets In Your Eyes from Ethan Iverson, and Mister Anderson standing out on vibraphonist Tom Beckhams' 2000 release Suspicions.

Of particular note, The Vastness Of Space also features versions of Prehensile Dream and Silence Is The Question quite distinct in delivery and instrumentation from the versions that would later be recorded by the Bad Plus.

I'll try to report back as I uncover more.

Fresh Sound Additions Sampler Playlist - [Rhapsody Online version]

1972 Bronze Medalist - The Bad Plus
Foxy - Reid Anderson
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - Ethan Iverson Trio
Kansas Tale - Tom Beckham

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Get Behind Me Satan Fresh Catch Playlist

Wings of a Dove started circling my head moments after my feet hit the floor this morning. Rather than fight it, let's pair it with some biblical brethren and call it a Thursday morning Fresh Catch Playlist.

Of note, the Ras Michael and Eek-A-Mouse songs both came into Rhapsody last year with other mass additions from the Greensleeves Reggae Classics reissues series. Browse through the Greensleeves catalog for other cornerstones from this series that started in 2001, and then fire them up in the Rhapsody at will.

Get Behind Me Satan Thursday Fresh Catch Playlist - [Rhapsody Online version]

Wings of a Dove - The Wailers
Chant A Psalm - Steel Pulse
Birds In The Treetop - Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus
Noah's Ark - Eek-A-Mouse

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Recently Added Wedding Present - Cinerama Playlist

There's been a creeping David Gedge infection spreading in Rhapsody over the last few months. Some time in the fall, the oversized "The Wedding Present: Live 1987" came in, recorded while touring for their debut album George Best. It provides an illuminating contrast between the air in the room for the riled reception in Leicester and the more tentative Munich crowd. Also in the fall came the early singles and BBC sessions compilation Tommy and 1996's Saturnalia.

On the Just Added list this last weekend was the Wedding Present Singles 1995-1997 compilation, harboring this live version of Brassneck, and Volume 2 of the Cinerama John Peel Sessions. I was raised as a Bizarro bandwagon fanboy, so hearing the rest of the spectrum has been quite edifying. Keep them rolling in, please.

Recently Added Wedding Present - Cinerama Playlist - [Rhapsody Online version]

Getting Nowhere Fast (Live Leicester) - The Wedding Present
I'm Not Always So Stupid (Live München) - The Wedding Present
Never Said - The Wedding Present
Brassneck (Live) - The Wedding Present
Heels (Peel Session) - Cinerama
Because I'm Beautiful (Peel Session) - Cinerama
Sly Curl (Peel Session) - Cinerama