Recorded Stuff

Our radios are most frequently tuned to FM-90 (WABE) if they’re on. That’s how I get most of my news (well, that and the Internet, of course). Usually, though, we’re listening to Rick’s iPod or a streaming service. Some of the music I’ve most enjoyed:

  • Rick and I found Joe Crookston through a house concert. His Fall Down As the Rain is one of my favorite songs in the Rise Again Songbook.
  • I’ve been listening to lots of John Prine lately while mourning his loss. He was such an amazing songwriter! The duet of Angel From Montgomery that he does with Bonnie Raitt is one of my favorite songs. Many of his songs display a lively sense of humor, while others are heartwrenching.
  • At some point, everyone who enters my personal space is forced to listen to Gaia Consort’s Gaia Circles album. Repeatedly.
  • While I have several of the Four Bitchin’ Babes’ CDs, Gabby Road was the first I got and it’s still my favorite.
  • Everything by Mike Rayburn. Every single album he’s released. Mike is one of those artists who is even better live than on his recordings. He used to come to the Atlanta area every year, but that’s no longer the case. Fidgety Digits and Romantical are the two of his albums that I play most often lately.
  • Carla Ulbrich is another performer I love seeing live. Happily, she comes to town at least once a yar. She specializes in novelty songs.
  • Our kids absolutely loved the Flood CD from They Might Be Giants. I’m no longer certain how TMBG came into the house, although I’ve known about them since reading about one of Mercedes Lackey’s characters driving someone completely nuts by singing one of their songs. Of course, that meant I had to go find out what these songs sounded like.
  • The presence of Moxy Früvous in our house ws all Gwen’s fault. She and Sam were car-pooling to work for a time, and she played the earworm The King of Spain. Sam couldn’t get it out of his head, so he went off and found the Live Noise album (which can’t really be played with the kids around unless you have a fast hand on the remote, due to the adult content of the patter between songs) and Bargainville.
  • I’ve enjoyed Loreena McKennitt’s album Lost Souls, but keep going back to The Book of Secrets.
  • Shelter: The Best of Contemporary Singer-Songwriters from Putumayo World Music has been one of my favorite albums since its’ release. There are so many Putumayo albums that I love, though. I wish they had a subscription service or some such so that I could just collect all of them! If you like World music at all, you need to check them out.
  • Feather, Stone & Light by R. Carlos Nakai is always calming to me.
  • A massage therapist I used to know introduced me to The Yearning by Michael Hoppé and Tim Wheater. It’s hauntingly lovely.
  • The Wurst of PDQ Bach, from Peter Schickele with various partners in crime (highly recommended for many a laugh)
  • I used to be able to play the theme song from Cristofori’s Dream on the piano. All of David Lanz’s music that I’ve heard is beautiful.
  • Luck of the Draw, Bonnie Raitt. Yeah, I’ve had it for years and I still love that CD. I’ve performed I Can’t Make You Love Me a couple of times, but it’s hard to perform a song that makes you cry.
  • Open the Window, Elise Witt. I overheard Ms. Witt talking to the owner of Charis Books when she dropped off some copies of this CD, and she sounded like such a neat person I bought one. I haven’t regretted it! I also got to take her Singing for Fun class and attend a more advanced weekend workshop she led. I hope to attend more of her teachings in the future.
  • Bolling Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio, Jean-Pierre Rampal and Claude Bolling. I got the CD after I wore out the cassette tape I’ve had since high school. I don’t like Suite II quite as much, although it is pleasant and I do listen to it on occasion.
  • Old, New, Borrowed & Blue from the Saffire–The Uppity Blues Women – this is another one for which I owe thanks to Charis Books. I saw the CD on their shelves and grabbed it. How could I resist a group that calls itself "The Uppity Blues Women" no matter how they sounded? Fortunately, they sound very, very good. I ended up acquiring all of their CDs. I saw them in concert twice and wish I’d seen more of them.
  • Life Blood, Joanne Shenandoah (with Peter Kater)
  • Women of the World: Celtic, another one from Putumayo World Music. Katie heard the first song, Against the Wind (performed by Máire Brennan of Clannad) playing in a record store and loved it, so we got the CD. We have Women of the World: Celtic II as well, and while it’s good, none of the songs stick in my mind quite as much as Brennan’s cut or Nancy McCallion’s On We Go on the first volume.
  • Women’s Work is also from Putumayo World Music. It introduced me to Ani DiFranco, which would have been worth the cost of the CD even if the rest of it wasn’t as marvelous as it is.
  • Three, The Flirtations. This contains the funniest version of the old song Fun, Fun, Fun that you will ever hear! They also do a version of Carly Simon’s Life is Eternal that I like even better than her own, as well as a lovely vocal arrangement of On Children from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. One of my favorite songs on this album, though, is a lullaby I added to those I sang to Katie (and to her daughter), Everything’s Possible by Fred Small.
  • While pregnant with Katie, I acquired four cassettes of Pamela Ballingham’s music, ordering from an ad in the back of Mothering magazine. I played them to soothe both of us during the pregnancy, then continued singing the songs to Katie to quiet her—. Three were called Earth Mother Lullabies and the fourth was Voyage for Dreamers. It took some doing, but I finally found CDs to replace those old, worn-out cassettes when Katie was pregnant.
  • One of Katie’s favorite storybooks a few years ago was Jennifer’s Rabbit. The book mentions that it’s based on the song of the same name by Tom Paxton, so I set out trying to find a recording and ended up with The Very Best of Tom Paxton. It’s a wonderful CD by a wonderful songwriter.
  • I have a bunch of Manhattan Transfer CDs—all older ones, as I don’t like their newer sound nearly so much (after 1983 isn’t really "newer" anymore, though, is it?) Still, I’d love to see them perform live sometime, but for now I settle for singing their songs whenever I have the opportunity to do so, and listening to them at home. Janis Siegel, the alto from the group, has done several solo CDs, as well. One of them, At Home is another of the CDs that you can generally find either in my CD player or soon to be played. Small Day Tomorrow is a marvelous song. The woman makes me want to be an alto! Manhattan Transfer does a version of the song Popsicle Toes, which was written by …
  • Michael Franks, whose Sleeping Gypsy was the first jazz album I ever owned. My father worked for a company owned by a wonderful man named Michael Franke, and a salesman looking to curry favor gave Mr. Franke the album. He didn’t want it, so Daddy took it home to me, and I was hooked. Frank’s voice is the sexiest I’ve ever heard, and has to be the closest a human can come to being as sultry as a well-played saxophone (listen to Tell Me All About It from the Passionfruit album if you doubt me!)

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