06 January 2007

Rock Gems

For those of you who even read the comments on this blog, you've probably seen comments (often with links) by =M=. In a fatal moment of boredom She was so unwise to start HER own blog, lucky for us.
The Wolfman howls again!, go check it out.
=M= dedicated the final week of 2006 to Dutch Delights featuring some names from the 60's and 70's. It made me think of another band, Shocking Blue, who's big hit in the 60's was Venus. I mention this in particular because lead singer Mariska Veres died on december 2, 2006, 59 years old.
I'm Dutch and I've put some Dutch music on this blog. The music here isn't any more outstanding than anywhere else, although there's plenty to discover but that's probably true for every country. One artist, a superstar, I really want to mention: André Rieu.
Rieu is a violin player and orchestra leader, specialized in waltzes. You may not like 'classical' music and even if you do, you may have no heart for waltzes (in fact, you probably don't). However, if you ever have the chance to go to one of his performances try your hardest to obtain a ticket. Rieu and his troupe provide topentertainment and make a concert incredibly fun to experience. Without any disrespect to the art of music, he plays everything, often with humor. Watch an impression. (ed. 3-4-07: link broke, search Youtube on his name and you'll find plenty of vids showing his musical diversity, craftsmanship and funny idiocy. Watch the crowds!)

Bauer - The Bauer Melody Of 2006

Almost a year ago, I had a post about Bauer, a Dutch duo with a very own sound. They make intimate, delicate musical miniatures, unsuitable for pop charts but well worth checking out. And that's that, nothing more needs to be said.
Until 2004 that is, when they were asked by the CrossLinx festival for a performance with the Metropole Orchestra. This year saw that ridiculous concept become reality; ridiculous because if any music is unsuitable to be combined with an orchestra it surely is Bauer's music.
Not so ridiculous after all as you can hear on this CD. The drama and kitsch hidden on Baueresque get more room with an orchestra and their musical influences are more prominent on this album. The recordings are the result of a live session, with audience audible and imperfections in sound, which isn't bad at all but may well be an excuse to continue this experiment in a studio setting. Please?!?
The CD is released on Excelsior, just like Johan's, further establishing the label as probably the most interesting label of the Netherlands.
Edit: I need to add that the orchestral sound on the CD is better than the mp3s and on the CD you also find some QuickTime movies of the recording process. I guess that's a hint, yes.
Excelsior, 2006

Bauer - The Bauer Melody Of 2006
(new link 01/03/09)

Johan - THX JHN

I've asked your attention before for Dutch band Johan because I really think the world needs to know about them (and it's up to me of course to... OK, sorry, never mind).
The music is melancholic guitar pop, nothing particular remarkable about it but if you're vulnerable to that genre you're going to love Johan for their perfectly crafted songs.
The sleeve has a beautiful story: one of their fans came all the way from Argentina to meet the band and got promoted to cover girl. The title is supposedly dedicated to the fans aswell, Johan thanks us for our patience because they release 1 album in roughly 6 years. I'd like to attach a different meaning to the title: Thanks Johan, for making such beautiful music. Can't wait for number 4 in 2012...
Excelsior, 2006

Johan - THX JHN

Candi Staton - The Ultimate Gospel Collection

So far, I've regarded Candi Staton mostly as a soul/disco artist but that's, as with many other artists, only half the story. This 2CD set is focused on 25 years of gospel singing. Candi started in a church, said goodbye to the church and returned again.
31 tracks from the 1980's to 2006, with 1 interesting (and very lovely) exception: 'Too Late' recorded in 1955 by the Jewel Gospel Trio, Candi plus sister and friend, with Candi being only 13 year old.
If you want to spend some money on a Candi Staton album, I recommend the 2004 CD 'Candi Staton' with her old soul work or 'His Hands' from 2006 with her recent soul music because I find the gospel not as great as the secular work. If you like the music on this album though, you can safely spend money on it because it's a very neat release with many pictures, a good booklet and a good selection of songs, brought to you by the same label as the Ghostworld soundtrack. Now, "Shut up and start praying", or playing ;-)
Shanachie, 2006

Candi Staton - The Ultimate Gospel Collection (a little over 200MB)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
(Unpack archives in separate directories, then move files.)

(Edit: filename problem again: CD2 track 4 contains a "?" and can't be unpacked on a Windows (NTFS) system, not the first time I screwed up with that, so for those who want to have the set complete: http://rapidshare.com/files/19522463/04_Candi_Staton_-_What_s_Going_On.mp3
and my humble apologies.)