Lovely Recordings Hosted by Ola Harström

"Is there anybody going to listen to my story...".

Being four (or perhaps five) years old I had absolutely had no idea what John Lennon was singing about, but I could tell it was important.

If it started with the Beatles, it continued with Elvis. And Miles—"Sketches from Spain"—I was lured by the cool cover... And piano jazz, because that's what my parents were playing.

The drive of Elvis, the patience of Miles, the urgency of John Lennon, the swing of Errol Garner and the beauty of them all, is what I look for. Pretense. Sure, but that's what I ended up with when thinking about what attracts me to a piece of music or a performance.

Apart from fulfilling at least one of the above criteria, the albums I mention below have been with me for a long time. Or for many hours of listening; not always the same thing. Some of them also have that elusive quality of sounding different every time I hear them.

Sound quality? Well, as much as I enjoy well recorded music played back on good equipment it has never influenced what music I buy or listen to.

So, with thanks to Mr. Lavorgna for inviting us to do this, and to my fellow readers for all your great suggestions, here goes in order of loudness or "invasiveness": (Which means you should perhaps listen to them in the order mentioned. Motörhead may not prepare you physically and mentally for Brian Eno.)

Brian Eno: Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks (E.G. Records, 1983)
Working with his brother Roger Eno and Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno creates a series of mood pieces that catch my full attention every time. Sometimes this is all I need. A quiet room or headphones is recommended.

Jan Johansson: Folkvisor - Jazz på svenska (Folk Songs - Jazz in Swedish) (Megafon, 1964)
One of my favorite (jazz) pianists, Mr. Johansson passed away too soon but left a legacy of wonderfully tasteful music. On this record he plays traditional Swedish folk songs together with Georg Riedel (of "Jazz at the Pawnshop" fame) on bass.

Itzhak Perlman: Live in Russia (Warner Classics, 2015)
I was watching "The David Letterman show" when at the end of the program, a Hungarian folk music group came out on stage with Itzhak Perlman as their guest. Wow! Absolutely spellbinding, and at the time I thought that this is what we would have if Jimmy Page could (actually) play the violin. The album is a mixed bag which you may or may not enjoy in its entirety, but I dare say it will introduce you to Mr. Perlman.

Martha Argerich: Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.3 / Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 (Philips, 1995)
I watched the movie Shine and fell in love with the music. My search for a great recording of Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concert ended when I heard Ms. Argerich play. Drive, patience, urgency and of course beauty. It's all there. The Tchaikovsky piano concert was a bonus.

Massive Attack: Blue Lines (Circa Records, 1991)
Perhaps one of those embarrassingly obvious choices for a list like this, but it is just so cleverly put together and equally tasteful in its execution. "Safe from Harm" actually goes: "I was looking back to see if you were looking back at me to see me looking back at you."

Billy Cobham: Spectrum (Atlantic, 1973)
I love this record for a number of reasons. One: It has great tunes all the way through Two: It may (in part) be the closest "fusion" ever came to being "jazz-rock" without losing its credibility in either genre. Three: All the players are at the top of their game including a still vigorous Tommy Bolin on guitar. He is sorely missed. And yes, "Stratus" is the backing track for "Safe from Harm" on Massive Attack's, "Blue Lines".

Adrian Belew: Young Lions (Atlantic Records, 1990)
An alumnus from Frank Zappa, David Bowie and King Crimson (to mention a few) Adrian Belew is one of my heroes. His mix of pop and avant-garde never fails to entertain, and I do have a weak spot for "one-man-bands". Unfortunately, his records are mostly available as CD or on vinyl so my choice for this list was made partly because it is available on Tidal. A great album though and perhaps still (27 years on) Mr. Belew's biggest commercial success a solo artist. Playing almost everything himself Adrian treats us to a mix of originals and covers that give a pretty good view of what he does.

Motörhead: The Wörld Is Yours (Motörhead Music, 2010)
Patience?! you say. Certainly. How about sticking to the same format and formula for 30 years? And beauty? Yes, but in its own way I guess. And of course, loads of drive and urgency. As a friend likes to point out I'm a terrible sucker for "genuine" stuff, whether it be music, books or "handmade" [take your pick]. Guilty as charged and I firmly believe that Motörhead were as genuine as they come. This set of ten songs sags or loses focus ever so slightly in the middle, but the first and last three are absolute killers. If you like rock that is. If you don't yet; well quality has yet to go out of style and this is as good a place to start as any.

That's it for now.

As I write this Motörhead is playing "Bye Bye Bitch Bye Bye!" for me and only me. Indeed. All I can hope for is that one of you discovered one new album...

Thank you for reading!

About Ola: A 57-year old Swede who is hopelessly in love with music and the gear that plays it. And still can't take a decent picture with his phone…

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FransZappa's picture

thank you for giving one of rocks most honest and as you say, truly genuine men a place on these pages.