Lovely Recordings Hosted by Anthony C.

I’ve appreciated reading Mr. Lavorgna’s writings on all topics since stumbling onto his website “Twittering Machines” years ago while searching for more information about PJ Harvey (listen) or maybe it was Don Cherry’s album Art Deco (listen). I’ve really appreciated Audiostream and the Lovely Recording submissions and, wanting to help out, have struggled with the below off and on since Mr. Lavorgna first made a request for submissions.

Lester Young: Lester Young with the Oscar Peterson Trio (Norgran Records/MGN/Verve, 1954)
The first time I heard Lester Young was at a party in a fancy 5th Avenue apartment in Manhattan. Asked by my sister to accompany her to the party, I was immediately ditched when she found several of her friends in attendance. Feeling awkward and out of place, I tried to avoid mingling as I navigated towards the music and a large window overlooking the rain soaked Avenue below. The colors of the lights of the city block were reflected in the glistening canvas of pavement, puddles and manhole covers. In the background Lester Young laid out a soft black night as Oscar Peterson hung the twinkling stars in the heavens. With “Stardust” sparkling within, I slipped out of the party and into the rainy street.

Available from Tidal

Bob Dylan: Hard Rain (Columbia, 1976)
I couldn’t believe the messiness when I first heard this album. This was the second half of the Rolling Thunder Revue; the poorly planned lets make more money ugly twin of the oft-revered first leg of the Rolling Thunder Revue. The band seems pulled through the mess by Dylan’s intense determination to make it through; through the rainstorm, the small crowds, the substance abuse and the disintegration of his marriage. Between every song and over the sound of tuning of guitars the crowd screams a million requests. Dylan screams the opening line and its hold on to hanging strap as you are violently jostled along to the next stop. Maybe the emotion is too desperate and naked. Maybe I’m reading too much into it the mess. Which ever it is I enjoy screaming along whenever life throws a bit of a mess my way. Beauty walks a razor’s edge. Like so many lovely recordings I find it is more beautiful the louder it is played.

Available from Tidal

Dan Zanes: Parades and Panorama (Festival Five Records, 2016)
Carl Sandburg put together The American Songbag in 1927 because he was worried that the growth of recorded music endangered the then common practice of regular folks getting together and making music. From the hilarious "I Was Born 10,000 Years Ago" to the tragedy of "Lord Lovell", Parades and Panoramas is both a tribute to Carl Sandburg and Zanes’ attempt to promote the idea of families and friends getting together to make music. In New York I would sometimes see Zanes playing with Mitchell Froom at "Fez" near Astor Place. He follows through on his mission of inspiring people to get together to make music through "Family Band" music lesson on his website. The videos share lessons on how to play spoons, ukulele, banjo, mandolin and guitar. If you have kids you might want to check out some of his other albums too. Special guests have included Lou Reed, Jon Langford, John Doe, Sheryl Crow, Debbie Harry, Phillip Glass and Marc Ribot.

Available from Tidal

The Thelonious Monk Quartet: Monk (Columbia, 1964)
Once, for a moment, while intensely focused on drawing and tethered to a Walkman playing Monk, I understood it ALL. Light, shadow, love, hate, silence, sound, joy, and sorrow. Especially joy and sorrow. Did I mention light and shadow. It’s all there but you gotta pay attention. Sometimes I think I can throw everything else away because what else is there to say, really? There is a street named after him near Lincoln Center. As I rode my bike to classes at NYU, I used to make sure to slow down and look at the street sign. I’d imagine young Monk walking home from school to practice piano thankful he made it home everyday.

Listen on Tidal

Fela Kuti and Africa 70: I.T.T. (International Thief Thief) (Barclay, 1997)
I moved from Florida to New York City in 1990 to study at NYU. I met my roommate’s mother before I met my roommate when I traveled the city to look for an apartment share and she showed me through the empty apartment on Riverside Drive between 80th and 81st Street. I left NYC excited about finding an apartment and having a view of Riverside Park outside my window. Late that summer I arrived in muggy nighttime Manhattan after a cramped 20 hours on Amtrak, lugging heavy bags and a boxed bicycle through PENN station and the sweaty NYC streets to the Upper West Side, finding my roommate at the door, beer in hand and Fela Kuti’s I.T.T. blasting on his turntable. I’d arrived home.

Available from Qobuz

The Rolling Stones: Emotional Rescue (Rolling Stones, 1980)
I’m pretty sure this was the first LP I ever purchased at age 14. My mother had a long skinny walk in closet in our Florida apartment in which she let me string up Christmas lights and put my thrift store record player with its built in speaker way in the back. I’d lie in the narrow darkness, my head between the speaker and my mother’s shoes, listening to Emotional Rescue over and over again. It was the only LP I owned. Enrolled at NYU and living in NYC in my late twenties, I found myself walking past Gray’s Papaya at the corner of 6th Avenue and West 8th Street, and I thrilled at the realization that I was standing on the corner Mick sings about in "Dance (Pt. 1)". "Hey man, what am I doing standing here on the corner of West 8th Street and a 6th Avenue. Hey, hey Keith what you doin." As street corners go, I thought, there was not much going for it other than this song. With its goofy hits and misses, Emotional Rescue is no Exile or Beggar’s Banquet. The highlight of the album for me is the oblique, strangulated emotion Keith struggles through in "All About You". Much of its grown-up bitterness and hurt were unfathomable for me at 14. My appreciation then was the songs quirky cadence, empty spaces and the sour horns trailing and mimicking Keith’s phrasing.

Available from Tidal

Nothing special about me; I’m just another person in Northern California who enjoys music.

My hardware includes Leben integrateds amps, ProAc and Devore speakers, Auditorium 23 cables, Wavelength DACS and a PONO player. I subscribe to TIDAL and ROON.

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dbtom2's picture

Thanks for taking time to contribute these. I have a feeling there's more so I hope you'll assemble another set of autobio sketches.

Your Lester Young and Oscar Peterson episode could be a movie short. I've felt that way myself: never so alone and yet never so alive in the big city.

Fetuso's picture

Beautifully written. Genuinely illustrates the emotional attachment of music.

Dewey2's picture

It's so nice to see Dan Zanes appreciated here. Zanes' balancing act of creating kid-friendly music that's (very) enjoyable for adults has secured him a place in heaven. If you ever have a chance to see a show, jump at it. You'll walk out convinced that the world is a better place.