Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sure Enough Country

Here's a fun one, a two-CD collection of classic country tunes which includes hits from some of the great country stars of the past. It's called The Only Classic Country Collection You'll Ever Need, and disc one achieves the coveted "All Killer, No Filler" status with Ernest Tubb's "Walking The Floor Over You," Patsy Cline's "Walkin' After Midnight," Lefty Frizell's "If You've got Money, I've Got the Time," and even Ray Charles' classic take of Buck Owens'"Cryin' Time." Filled out with songs by Kitty Wells, Hank Williams, George Jones, Johnny Cash and Hank Snow, you've got a great country playlist right here. Disc two is almost as good: Roger Miller, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings and several other great singers are included. Some listeners might not feel that Crystal Gayle and Kenny Rogers fit in with this company, but that's really in the ear of the beholder. This CD sounds like the jukebox in an old country dive (or a retro-hip dive) and is perfect when the mood calls for real country.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Black Music Month

Black Music Month, now called African American Music Appreciation Month, is announced in a proclamation from the president of the United States. The entire procalmation is available on http://www.whitehouse.gov/, and this year's statement begins with the words: "As a long-cherished piece of American culture, music offer a vibrant soundtrack to the story of our people and our Union. At times when words alone could not bring us together, we have found in melodies and choruses the universal truths of our shared humanity. African-American musicians have left an indelible mark on this tradition, and during African-American Music Appreciation Month, we pay special tribute to their extraordinary contributions." A lot of media outlets have published articles about this special celebration and some have even recommended music to listen to. The Huffington Post ran an article identifying ten black artists they believe are currently redefining the music industry: Rihanna, Drake, Beyonce, Kanye, Jay-Z, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, Jennifer Hudson and Lil Wayne. The library has recordings by all of them, along with hundreds of other innovative and influential African-American musicans. Other resources include books about African American musicians and musical styles including Blues, Soul, Gospel, Hip-Hop, and Jazz. Stop by the library this month to learn about and listen to some great American music.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Cross To Bear

My Cross To Bear is the title of Gregg Allman's recent memoir and the story of the musician's lonely childhood, loss of his beloved brother, his string of divorces and the decades lost to drugs and alcohol justify the title's evocation of struggle and pain. The book does include the mandatory sex, drugs and rock & roll anecdotes associated with the rock star memoir, and they're generally amusing. The guys in the Allman Brothers Band took their music as seriously as their excess and definitely had some great times. Fans of the band will read about the rise and fall and rise of the storied group, along with accounts of great shows at the Beacon Theater, the stunning success of the "Fillmore" and "Brothers and Sisters" recordings, as well as the tragic deaths, imprisonments and betrayals that darken their history. Mr. Allman comes across as a lonely, somewhat unsophisticated man whose only true love was the music that sustained him through his difficult life. Whatever wisdom he has achieved is expressed in a few tired affirmations and worn aphorisms. His life may not have been all glamor and success but he did live to tell about it and seems to enjoy sharing the memories he retains. A fine telling of a familiar, but still compelling, tale.

The library owns many of the recordings discussed in the book.