The Now Spinning/Recent Purchases Thread

Rudy

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This album was an interesting listen:

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Jeff "Skunk" Baxter has had a wide-ranging career, from being guitarist in the early version of Steely Dan and also one of the Doobie Brothers, to working as a defense consultant for the US Department of Defense and several defense contractors for the US Government, as well as a guitar technician who once wound his own electric guitar pickup coils on his mother's sewing machine. This is his first solo album after decades in the music industry as a sideman for hundreds of sessions.

He covers four songs, including two from Steely Dan; his cover of "My Old School" turns the song into a rocker (and is my favorite track on the album); "Do It Again" gets a downtempo 6/8 shuffle treatment that is unexpected. Songs written by Skunk and his collaborator C.J. Vanston flesh out the rest of the album, with guest artists Michael McDonald, Clint Black, and Jonny Lang also co-composing with them on their guest tracks. "Ladies from Hell" is a nod towards his Scottish heritage, following the history of Scotland.

The sound quality gets a little bit slammed with compression (as modern recordings do) but it's not too obnoxious like some others out there. Musically it's a variety of styles and moods, and well worth a listen.

"My Old School" has an interesting story behind the vocal. Skunk had sent the track to Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) to sing the lead vocals but Tyler, hearing Skunk's scratch vocals on the track, insisted Skunk use his own vocals over anything he could record, since Skunk had sung the original with Steely Dan when they toured in the early days. And, Skunk's solo closes out the Steely Dan version.

 
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AM Matt

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Also former Toto member David Paich released his first solo album "Forgotten Toys" (7 song EP) which has Steve Lukeather & Don Felder.
 

Rudy

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It's been an oddball morning here while working.

Moondog - Moondog & His Friends
Cal Tjader - The Prophet
Count Basie - Li'l Ol' Groovemaker...Basie!
Genesis - Wind and Wuthering
Howard Roberts - H.R. is a Dirty Guitar Player
Genesis - Abacab (currently spinning)

I'm not sure why I've been attracted to Abacab lately--it was one of the early CDs I bought, and in recent years I lucked across a used vinyl copy that was not worn (which, naturally, sounds better than that early "target" CD that I thought sounded like doo-doo, but others rave about 🙄). It was the first album where they swapped fully over to a more rhythmic approach and largely left the prog rock stylings behind; it was also the first where the entire album was written in the studio, all three contributing to the songs as they jammed and worked out the details from demos they brought in as rough sketches. (They had their own studio to do this in, vs. paying for studio time elsewhere.)

And sorry/not sorry--I like "Whodunnit?". 😁 Yeah it was nonsensical (basically a studio jam with some nonsensical lyrics), but if one can't have a sense of humor in making or listening to music, why bother?

Abacab got its name from using the common designation for a song's structure (ABACAB) but that only applied to an early version of the song, which in the studio ended up morphing into what it is today (which I guess would be ABABC).

It also was one of those albums with four different color versions of the LP jacket. Original pressings have an embossed cover. Worldwide, all four of the color variations have been used over the decades for repressing and reissues.

My LP version:

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Other versions...


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The Definitive Edition Remaster used this version:

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The original US CD used this variation:

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Rudy

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I'm writing a tribute for Creed Taylor elsewhere, and have been using my own collection, and Qobuz, to skim through recordings throughout his career.

I found one by the Creed Taylor Orchestra. It's part of a two-fer CD.

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Recorded for ABC-Paramount....yyyyyeah, you can easily skip this one. 🤣 Talk about a novelty album. This CD combines the album pictured, plus Shock Music in HiFi, the first of these two albums. It's like instrumental space-age pop with a few tracks featuring voices playing roles (like "The Operation," which has typical conversation in a hospital room). Honestly, it's like a bad Esquivel album crossed with an unfunny Spike Jones record and a sound effects record.

But after all, this was 1959 when it was recorded. 😁


Our pals at Cherry Red reissued this two-fer on their Righteous label. If you're that interested in owning this time capsule.
 

Rudy

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An entire album of Basie, done with only a rhythm section and layered vocals by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross.
 

Harry

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I am, for sentimental reasons, interested in that Shock music in hi-fi, because my dad used to use that album for one of his movies that he used to make so I have a lot of fun memories of that album being around the house. I actually still have that copy but it's pretty torn up.
 

Rudy

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I am, for sentimental reasons, interested in that Shock music in hi-fi, because my dad used to use that album for one of his movies that he used to make so I have a lot of fun memories of that album being around the house. I actually still have that copy but it's pretty torn up.
The CD isn't the best either--it's a needledrop of a record that has seen better days.

It looks like there were a few records Taylor recorded with a similar theme, including the two on the CD.
 

Harry

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Good to know. I can probably do better with cleaning, my own needledrop, summing to mono, and using software.
 

Rudy

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I had a decent record haul arrive yesterday. Thanks to Discogs once again. I located a copy of Pete Jolly's Hello, Jolly! on the Ava Records label. Unlike my two copies of Little Bird, this one looks and plays like brand new. Surprisingly, this one only cost $2.00.

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Next up--$1.20 got me a record graded VG+ that also plays like new. This one is Xavier Cugat's The King Plays Some Aces. It cleaned up well in the ultrasonic and, upon examining the deadwax, I saw that it has 1S stampers on both sides! Granted, this one probably didn't have much of a pressing run, but RCA's 1S stampers are the earliest made from the metal parts and presumably the best sounding. (Far as I know, I only have one other 1S/1S record, and that's the Experiment in Terror soundtrack by Mancini.)

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Both of the above will be posted on my other YouTube channel once I can edit the needledrops I made.

Two others I received include a VG+ grading of El Chicano's Viva Tirado!. This one was $8 due to demand/rarity but still plays quite well. This is a Monarch pressing, and one oddity is that the individual tracks are not banded. Musically it's a winner also. It's kind of like a more Latin-ized Santana but without the same guitar solo he's played for 50 years now...

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And, Flora Purim's Nothing Will Be As It Was...Tomorrow, on a Warner "trees" label. $4.00, and it's also playing quite nicely. It did get stuck on one track, but there's probably a tiny glob of dirt there which did not come off in the ultrasonic cleaner. This one set me back $4. This one was produced by Leon "Ndugu" Chancler (think late 70s George Duke), so it has a jazz funk edge to it. "Angels" sounds like it could have come from an Earth Wind & Fire album; no surprise since it was written by Phillip Bailey and EWF guitarist Al McKay, who also plays on the track. She also covers three Milton Nascimento songs--"Bridges" and "Nada Sera Como Antes" (aka the title track), and "Fairy Tale Song."

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Finally, got a copy of Bacharach's Reach Out graded VG+ but unfortunately looks like it had some wear, and it does--noticeable mistracking, especially towards the ends of the sides. Too far gone for my use. That'll go in the reject pile. $2, though, so I can't complain. Somewhere I'll have to find my vinyl copy (copies?) of it.
 

Rudy

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Discovered this on Qobuz, after listening to the Mama Wailer album:

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Finger-Lickin' Good is Smith's debut album as a soloist, from 1967. There's another from the same year, where he's co-billed with the George Benson Quartet (The George Benson Cookbook featuring Lonnie Smith)--he was working as a sideman for Benson at the time and had appeared on a few of Benson's records.

Despite the characteristically short tracks of the era for soul albums, these soul-jazz tracks cook along at a brisk pace, and this one's a lot of fun to listen to. According to the liner notes, he had only been playing organ for four years at this point, self-taught, with no former keyboard instruction (many organists were pianists before they switched over).

 

Rudy

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This Airto Moreira album came up in my rotation. One of the participants in this recording will sound familiar to most of us here...


Same dude appears in this one:

 
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jfiedler17

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Been gradually making my way through a stack of sealed albums I unearthed while bargain-bin-diving recently: Andrew Gold's Whirlwind (with "Kiss This One Goodbye," which has got to be one of my ten all-time favorite songs), The Searchers' self-titled 1979 reunion record with "It's Too Late," John Lennon's Double Fantasy (why they would have put a sealed copy of this in a bargain bin, I have absolutely no idea, but I was not about to pass that up!; I may have to leave that one sealed, actually!), Ian Matthews' Stealin' Home, the self-titled sole outing from The Bernie Leadon/Michael Georgiades Band (way better than I was expecting! Been playing this one a lot lately), Dobie Gray's Drift Away, John Fred & His Playboy Band's Agnes English, the Four Tops' 2-disc Best of the Four Tops from '72, Sailcat's Motorcycle Mama, Rare Earth's Band Together, Jigsaw's self-titled debut, and, of course, a few A&M goodies: Pablo Cruise's Part of the Game, Airwaves' New Day and the Tarney/Spencer Band's Three's a Crowd and Run for Your Life. (I love, love, love anything Alan Tarney writes - very underappreciated behind-the-scenes writer/producer - so I was especially excited to find those.)

Also grabbed a few non-sealed titles: Quincy Jones' The Quintessence (on the Impulse! label), Jimi Hendrix's War Child, The Rutles (with the faux-biography booklet thankfully still intact; makes for a hilarious read while the record's on!), Beth Nielsen Chapman's Hearing it First (I knew this album existed but had never actually seen a copy until now), the Velvet Underground's self-titled third record, the Fabulous Poodles' Mirror Stars on pink vinyl, and Nick Lowe's The Abominable Showman.

Extremely eclectic batch of albums, I know! :laugh: So I've definitely got enough new pickups to keep me busy for a while ...
 

Rudy

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Also grabbed a few non-sealed titles: Quincy Jones' The Quintessence (on the Impulse! label),
I just played that one yesterday morning, but from digital as I don't yet have LP. It's a standout for sure! I've been working through the earlier albums from his big band era, so it's interesting to hear all of it.

Otherwise, that's a great haul, especially on the sealed records! Knowing what I know now, if I had a time machine and a bottomless bank account, I'd go back and buy everything that I could when it was first released.
 

Mike Blakesley

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I'm currently listening to Rood's link of "My Old School" from Skunk Baxter's album. I agree with Skunk - Steven Tyler would sound better on the vocal that he does. I like it better than the Steely Dan version, though, and that's saying something since I've heard the Steely version about one thousand times.

I've checked out the David Paich "Forgotten Toys" EP as background music but I need to give it a thorough listen. I've always thought he was one of the best things about Toto and he's been underutilized by the group on their last couple LPs.
 

Rudy

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From what I understand, Paich suffered a seizure before (?) a gig in 2018 on their European tour and has not been in the best of health following that, so that could explain part of it.

I'd also read that Jeff Porcaro's widow was suing the band and at one point, I think there was even talk of the remaining Toto member going out under a new band name (I think it was Dogz of Ozz) in case the worst happened, but they're still calling themselves Toto, with Lukather the only original member. (Joseph Williams is still handling vocals--the "session man" lineage makes him a natural fit, as he is pianist/composer John William's son.)

I like it better than the Steely Dan version, though, and that's saying something since I've heard the Steely version about one thousand times.
Skunk did a heck of a good job in rearranging that one! It's a shame that songs like this can't chart anymore...30 years ago, this arrangement could have been a good hit single.
 

Rudy

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Off on a tangent again... 😁 This time it's Toto.

Didn't realize it until tonight that David Paich released an album (?) about a week and a half ago--Forgotten Toys. At six tracks and less than 30 minutes long, I guess it would be called an EP these days. He collaborates with Joseph Williams on three of the six tracks, and the seventh track is really just a 31 second introduction piece on the album. There's no mistaking that it's his style, and the songs are mostly pop/rock or melodic pop.




And I gave a listen to Steve Porcaro's self-released album Someday/Somehow from 2016 which, miraculously, is on Qobuz. Another case where the download wins--the cheapest CD is $32-ish plus shipping, whereas I can download this for $11.99. Steve's album is more in a rock/jazz fusion style, and I'm liking it so far. Michael McDonald guests on a couple of tracks.



Both of these are playlists for the full albums.
 

jfiedler17

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I just played that one yesterday morning, but from digital as I don't yet have LP. It's a standout for sure! I've been working through the earlier albums from his big band era, so it's interesting to hear all of it.

Yeah, I'd never heard any of Quincy's pre-A&M outings before (though I already owned nearly all his '70s and '80s albums), but the price was right, so I figured I'd give The Quintessence a chance and have been absolutely loving it. Fabulous record. I might not have had quite as deep an appreciation for it had I picked it up years ago, but I've really taken to jazz music a lot in more recent years and have been slowly but steadily growing a jazz vinyl collection of stuff like Miles, Herbie, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, etc., so I took to it immediately.
 

Rudy

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Yeah, I'd never heard any of Quincy's pre-A&M outings before (though I already owned nearly all his '70s and '80s albums), but the price was right, so I figured I'd give The Quintessence a chance and have been absolutely loving it. Fabulous record. I might not have had quite as deep an appreciation for it had I picked it up years ago, but I've really taken to jazz music a lot in more recent years and have been slowly but steadily growing a jazz vinyl collection of stuff like Miles, Herbie, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, etc., so I took to it immediately.
The Quintessence isn't as bright or brassy as his other recordings around the era, so it's a nice change of pace. I've also liked Birth of a Band and the handful of Mercury albums I've heard. The album where he arranged/conducted Count Basie (Li'l Ol' Groovemaker...Basie!) is also a nice summary of his early 60s style, when he was backing Sinatra, Ray Charles, Sammy, etc.

I don't have much in the way of Art Blakey, but his Moanin' LP is a keeper, arguably one of his best gigs. Horace Silver's Song for my Father is another classic and well-known date, as is Lee Morgan's The Sidewinder. And that's just one label... 😁
 

Rudy

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This album is good:

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Dr. Lonnie Smith backed by a big band--an unusual setting for him. This one was recorded in 2010. The only thing I find is that some of the big band soloists are a bit stiff--this doesn't swing or hit as hard as other big bands out there. It's all professionally played but perhaps a little too polite.

This one, however, has been in heavy rotation, as well as his Mama Wailer album on Kudu. This one just grooves and boogies the entire way. George Benson is backing him on guitar here as well.

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Rudy

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Some greasy funk/jazz this morning:


Ernie Watts plays the saxophone melody, but that's Phil Woods on the alto solo later in the song. Harmonicas are by Tom Morgan.

 

jfiedler17

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I don't have much in the way of Art Blakey, but his Moanin' LP is a keeper, arguably one of his best gigs. Horace Silver's Song for my Father is another classic and well-known date, as is Lee Morgan's The Sidewinder. And that's just one label... 😁

Great albums both! The Sidewinder's currently in my collection as well, while Song for My Father's on my want list of items to hunt for.

Cool trivia, btw, about the "Sanford & Son" theme! I knew Ernie Watts played on that, but I'm not sure I realized that Phil Woods is the soloist on that. Very cool!
 

Rudy

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Great albums both! The Sidewinder's currently in my collection as well, while Song for My Father's on my want list of items to hunt for.
One problem with those Blue Notes is that they are in very high demand on vinyl, so even the ratty copies are expensive. Luckily, I got all three through the Blue Note Classic Vinyl reissue series, and with the mastering by Kevin Gray (presumably from analog tapes), they sound excellent. Song For My Father doesn't have the best sounding recording, and there is some pitch wavering on the first track, but musically it is right up there with the best. I've been trying to find a decent player copy of Silver's Serenade on vinyl but jeesh! $40 minimum for a grade I can live with.

And don't get me started on Bill Evans... 😁 I like just about everything he recorded for Riverside, and he had a few good ones on Verve also, especially Trio 64 and Trio 65. Evans is like Silver--I can queue up a few hours of albums to play, and let them run. Oscar Peterson is another pianist I've liked--I got introduced through his West Side Story recording on Verve, which is excellent.
 

Rudy

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Got this playing right now. Herbie Hancock's Man-Child.

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Didn't realize it until now, but Herbie's first album as a leader, Takin' Off, was recorded 60 years ago in 1962.
 
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