Sonically Charged CDs

Stereo Console 1965When I was a kid, we had this large stereo console that held my parents’ albums.  The turntable was kind of springy and the stylus tracked along with a tuft of hair as the record spun around; I guess the “brush” collected dust and provided a measure of protection for the stylus.  I was forbidden to touch the stereo, and was captive to my parents’ musical tastes.  We just had LPs – no 45s, until I was older and listening to top 40 on the radio in the 70’s.  I still remember some of those LPs – some of which I liked.  We had a lot of Broadway recordings:  Camelot, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, the South Pacific and Oklahoma.  I also remember Amahl and the Night Visitors, which I despised because my mother and sister played it over and over especially during the weeks leading up to Christmas.  My dad’s music was a little more interesting.  He had a lot of Jazz records and used to come home from work, plop in a chair with a can of Shlitz and a Kool and listen to Stan Getz, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald and Dave Brubeck.  dave-brubeckI used to hang out with him more to watch him blow smoke rings than to listen to the music.  I didn’t care too much for Jazz then, but love it today owing in large part to my early exposure.  Those records sounded good to me, but were they particularly good recordings?

Which brings me to the topic of this post – CDs that sound great.  Back in the 90’s (seems like only yesterday) when we bought our first CD player, I bought the CD version of many of my favorite LPs.  And I also wanted to build a Classical music collection, but could not afford to waste money on a potentially bad recording of say the Well-Tempered Clavier.  I also was looking for bold sonics to challenge our stereo system and turn our living room into Carnegie Hall.  In addition to Classical, I was interested in experimenting with new musics and stuff I knew but had never purchased, provided it sounded good.  I found two excellent guides to help me with this sonic challenge.  Stereophile puts out an annual Records 2 Die 4.  I scoured through the archives and found a handful of recordings I would later purchase, a sampling of which I will list at the end of this post.  I also went to the public library and several bookstores from time to time to thumb through the Penguin Guide to Classical Music and jot down what I thought I might like.  And here’s the sampling:

For pure sonic high fidelity Classical fireworks, these recordings are indispensable:

Mahler – Symphony #1 (Blumine) – James Judd, Florida Philharmonic Orchestra: Harmonia Mundi (Buckle up!)

Moussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition – Byron Janis: Mercury Living Presence (Wow!)

Rachmaninoff – Symphony #3; Symphonic Dances – David Zinnman, Baltimore Symphony Orch: Telarc (You’ll jump out of your seat! )

Tchaikovsky – Overture Romeo and Juliet; Symph #6 – Andrew Litton, Bournemouth Symp: Virgin Classics

For Jazz and other genres:

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Bill Evans – Waltz for Debby (live – sounds like you’re there – best recorded acoustic bass I’ve ever heard)

Kruder Dorfmeister – The K&D Sessions (extreme bass and ultra chill music for after the party)

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (but you knew already)

Steely Dan – Aja (ages like fine wine)

Jobim – Wave (an underrated classic)

Genesis – And Then There Were Three (check out Snowbound)

jobim

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Chile Travelogue Entry 1

Chile.  It’s nice here.  Hot – 85F, 29C.  Dry heat though.  Not as much smog as I had anticipated in Santiago. Summer in December.  Strange concept, but I could get used this.  I’m tired of snow and being wet and cold all the time.  If you’re not a skier, and I am not, (though I’ve water skied a few times) winter in the Northeast gets old fast.

Chile.  I have high expectations for this country.  All the Chileans I know from the States told me that I would be impressed by the beauty and modernity of the country.  And indeed I am impressed. European styled architecture, friendly people, with a clean and efficient Metro, my friends said I’d feel right at home and I do. They told me for shopping, there’s the Mall and a Pizza Hut and McDonald’s, in case I get tired of the local fare.  I can do without all this, and was a little taken aback to see all the fast food joints spoiling the landscape.  You have to drive a little ways out to see what the country is most known for (political history aside) – wine.  Ocean on one side, Andes on the other and vineyards in between.  There are literally hundreds of vineyards South of Santiago- from the huge Concha y Toro operation, to the valleys of Maipo, Curico and Maule all within a days drive of the capital.  Driving in Chile though is an adventure, so be warned.  More on driving later.

The Metro is clean and efficient as advertised.  Hecho in France.  Inside, the trains are crowded and can be suffocatingly hot – no AC, no fans, but the windows stay open, and generally provide adequate ventilation.

My wife has a big extended family in Chile.  I think they all greeted us at the airport.  Chileans kiss a lot. Trying to go with the flow, I gave and received about 50 kisses from family and friends I had never met, but they all seemed to know me.  A cousin of my wife said in Spanish “you looked a lot bigger in the picture.”  It didn’t seem like a compliment, but she kissed me just the same.  The kids all refer to me as Tio.

My wife’s brother drove us home in a roomy Chevy Luv, (pronounced – lewve).

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On our first day out, we visited Cerro San Cristobal, Saint Christopher’s Hill in the Parque Metropolitano. We climbed the hill and about 500 steps to see the main attraction, the monument to the Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepcion.  The immense statue is about 45 feet high and rests atop the hill which reveals a stunning panoramic view of Santiago.  Inside the base of the statue, protected by an iron gate, is Jesus on the cross.  My five year old daughter, clearly moved by Christ’s suffering said, “Jesus is bleeding, Jesus is bleeding, oh!”  We gave a donation through a slot at the side of the gate.  A sign near the monument in Spanish says “the Virgin Mary will show you the path to God.”

As my daughter looked out over the city, she said:  “I think I see Boston, Papi, look, Boston!”

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Road Trip Chichen Itza

Kukulcan Pyramid

Pollo seco and a bottle of coke light

All you can eat or all you can leave behind

Scraggly tress with green leaves

sway gently in the sweltering breeze

Bobble headed tourists

rest comfortably on the

air conditioned Mercedes Benz bus

as our tour guide announces

that the Mayan were thought by some to have

come “from out of the space”

A faint smell of diesel peppers the air

Onward to Chichen Itza

 

Santiago, Chile

santiagodechile

The Andes, bold as Everest

Encircle the sprawling city

Metro

The sterile French made Metro

Deposits to all parts

Lo Vial to Quinta Normal

Dos en Uno

No need to rush

mote con huesillos

Mote con huesillos

Everywhere you go

Mote con huesillos

Gracias pero no

Darkness sets in

La Cordillera erased

Ambient Sounds

Instant fix

No worries for now

Ambient sounds of Eno at midnight

Subliminal relaxation

Brian Eno - Discreet Music

Soon a computer

The Leading Edge

Must gain control of my mind

Thoughts on a floppy disk

Not to self-ostracize

Only to organize

photo_leadedgepc1

Organize

Bounced a check today

Or was it yesterday

Doesn’t matter anyway

Slimy beans in the fridge

Eat them out of the can

No dishes to clean

Clean beans

Saw Halley’s Comet again

Exploding snowball in the air

Had to stop and stare

Eno at midnight

Discreet as can be

Good grief it’s morning again

And the Spartan blows reveille

1/6/86

Retro Music Review – 8/25/1985

I don’t have anything important to say or anything earth shattering to share.  On that note, you may chose to read no further or further read.  Stevie Ray Vaughn is an exciting guitarist and KZEW is featuring tracks from his recent album, Couldn’t Stand the Weather.  I wish I could play like him, blues infused, but I have no clue.  In fact, I don’t play at all, guitar that is.  In fairness, I can play a chord, or two.  DAG – that’s it.  But I don’t even have a guitar…well unless you count my 1976 air Gibson SG; on this instrument, I have no fear, and no peer.

Can't Stand the Weather

No Sad FacesTonight at 9:00 on MTV, IRS’ the Cutting Edge will feature Dallas area bands including Brave Combo, a new age Polka band, I mean new wave Polka band or maybe Tex Mex Polkabilly or something or whatever, but I love them.  Saw them in Fayetteville at Jose’s.  I have no way of seeing this program because I don’t have a TV and don’t know anyone who does.  In fact, I don’t know anyone in this town – not a soul.  Don’t need no tube anyhow.  No time for it as this gradual school gig is about to begin.  NTSU.

 

Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland

Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland

Denton Blues

NTSU 001

Yet another day

To my dismay

109 above

Sunset of smoldering lava

The twilight ablaze

Looms in the west

It’s the sunbelt way

Here on Bonnie Brae

Slept well into the new day

Up for Jazz at 1 o’clock

7/30/1986

Comm Ave

Over on Comm Ave

Are You the One?

Mural Mart

Nothing But Blue Skies

Portsmouth