…and then sometimes you find yourself riding your bike down the street and you happen to run into a giant Yellow Truck chock full of curious vinyl records and sundry collectibles. Or, perhaps the Rolling Record Store (aka Jack White’s Third Man Records Yellow (and Black) truck) happens to be parked outside your local record shop your disappointing venture to the Farmer’s Market (because you forgot (again) that they only run on Sundays). Serendipity Now (or, Then, as the case may be)!
Aside from the pleasant chat with the ladies on the van about living in Nashville and the joys of working at a hip and highly regarded independent/collector’s label, I found a couple of 45s of interest from Third Man’s Blue Series. (See here for the full catalog). Below is a song from each 45 that I purchased, all of which blew me away in both their artistry and quality. For those who are vinyl enthusiasts (or music geeks), you know that not all recordings are of equal quality and/or merit; this is nowhere more evident than on vinyl where certain labels and/or artists do a better job of keeping the fidelity to quality high. (Some might say the difference is imperceptible. Fair. But, for those who notice, it is literally night and day.)
Becky and John, “I’ll Be There If You Ever Want”
I was drawn to this record for two reasons:
First, I went to college with and did theatre in the same circles as Becky. And, aside from always supporting my former classmates, I was quite fond of Becky’s previous work with Lavender Diamond. If you are unfamiliar with LD, check out the sensational track “You Broke My Heart” or the whole of Imagine Our Love. (I’m partial to “Oh No”, “Open Your Heart”, and “Find A Way.”) Seriously, this is some gorgeously composed and cleverly written Folk Rock that will fill your day(s) with sunshine and joy!
Reason the second (for grabbing this record) was because of the brilliant John C. Reilly, who is just a phenomenal actor and seems like one of the coolest cats in the business. If you saw the (somewhat) recent film adaptation of Kander and Ebb’s Chicago, then you’ll remember John’s fabulous rendition of “Mr. Cellophane“, which for my money was the only quality and redeeming performance in that entire skull drudgery of a “revival”; then again when one casts Richard Gere and Renee Zellweger, what can you expect. (When I don’t like something, I don’t pull punches.)
Getting back to the heart of the matter, Becky and John’s collaboration is just a pleasant blend of beautiful vocals and traditional (i.e. not “pop”) Country – the kind of songwriting and music that bursts smiles and breaks hearts. Tune in and get ready to shuffle.
First Aid Kit’s “Universal Soldier”
A while back I wrote about this Swedish duo’s gorgeous track “Emmylou”. Ever since I’ve been listening with great frequency to their stellar second record The Lion’s Roar (see link to the →). When I say that they had done a cover of the iconic 60s folk song “Universal Soldier”, I couldn’t resist, and, let me tell you they do the song justice. Buffy Saint-Marie (the original songwriter) would be proud. The song has been covered by a “who’s who” of the 60s folk scene, including Donovan (probably the most famous), Phil Ochs (the first version I heard), Joan Baez, and Glen Campbell. These young ladies’ version stands up there.
In keeping with the folk flavor of this series of songs, the last of the bunch is the stunning English songstress Laura Marling. Is it just me or does Laura sound like she was transported straight out of the Newport Folk Festival circa 1964 on this recording? Jaw droppingly beautiful. I can’t stop listening to it.
In case you want to listen from start to finish to all three songs just click here.
… I think I’ll go listen to some Peter, Paul, and Mary now.