Everyone's a critic and everyone has their Top Ten best records list... I'm no different... but - I'm gonna drag it out give em to you 3 at a time because I kind of have a Baker's Dozen favorite bunch of records.... so to start:
Mr Quintron and Greg Cartwright, Chicago, 2006 - Oblivians and Mr Quintron played the last ever Horizontal Action Blackout!
Two of my favorite records from this past year, 2007, are Jam Skate by New Orleans' own Mr Quintron and Dangerous Game by lead singer of the legendary girl group, The Shangri-La's, Mary Weiss. Quintron is pictured above with Greg Cartwright who wrote several of the songs on Mary's album, lent her a backing group, his own Reigning Sound, and co-produced the album together with Norton Records co-honcho, Billy Miller.
Quintron's drum buddy musical instrument/contraption is one of life's marvels. I am not at all sure how he creates these things or manages to get the crazy sounds from them that he does. But knowing how it works doesn't matter. Quintron's music - whether his own or as a guest on other's records (for instance that brilliant album Oblivians Play 9 Songs With Mr Quintron) - can always transport me to another place and time-set/mind-set, which is much appreciated in these weird times.
Altered mind-sets are not the only things that help to counteract the weirdness of any given time - comfort and familiarity helps too.
I am ridiculously proud of having contributed 9 photos to Mary's album and CD booklet, including this one.
Although I heard the record as it was being made back in 2006, Mary Weiss's return to recording still sounded fresh and exciting as I listened to it over and over again upon its 2007 release... the comfort and familiarity of Mary's voice - the one that millions of teenage and adolescent girls such as myself embraced when she was singing (Remember) Walking in the Sand and about the Leader of the Pack combined with the comfort and familiarity of Greg Cartwright's timeless but contemporary songs, such as Stop and Think It Over (from his Compulsive Gamblers days) equaled a recording without parallel... a new classic right out of the box.
One of my favorite of my own pix - this one is on the inner sleeve of
the King Khan & BBQ Show's second LP - What's for Dinner?
King Khan & the Shrines, fronted by the ever-decorous, always well-dressed-man-in-a-dress, the one and only King Khan made a record, What Is?! that also hearkens back to another time and place and mind-set yet achieves a completely contemporary sound. It is Khan's hallmark to make a record that includes every genre and the kitchen sink, plus a wig and a mini-dress and have it all add up to something profound. A little Stax, a little Motown, a little punk rock, a little psychedelia and a little garage equal a great big smile on my face whenever I hear Khan scream over the sonic rumble that is this amazing record.
That's it for today... stay tuned for more in the days to come, including selections that combine my closet folkie guilty pleasure colliding with the ultimate punk rock.