Saturday, June 12, 2010

Music at a Steal

Music collectors and lovers have many personal criteria for the music they buy and the time they invest in listening to it. For some, it is a love for particular genres of music or particular artists. Some are motivated by nostalgia, for example, some people like the songs of the 60s because they grew up on them or they like Glenn Miller's music because they were dancing with pretty girls to those songs just before they shipped off to the Pacific. For some, music grows out of their deepest convictions, hence the popularity of Christian music which itself forks out into different branches and styles. For many, musical tastes are related to roots and culture. There are good reasons why a white boy growing up in Tennessee in the 1950s would gravitate toward Hank and Lefty while a black boy growing up in the same area would be drawn to B.B. or the Duke. And that also explains why a kid growing up in northern Mississippi would be drawn to both and more and become the greatest Southern music synthesizer of all times.

One of the main criteria for my musical interests is money. Rather, the lack of it. I would love to buy a new CD every week or even every month. Just can't find the cash right now to buy nearly all the CDs I want. (Side complaint: I thought that by the time I was 50, I would own one of those Bose Accustic Wave Machines that Paul Harvey always advertised.) And for some strange reason, I don't mind as much to spend $30 for a book I might not get read or would likely read only once as opposed to paying $18 for a CD I would listen to many times. I suppose it is related to the fact that books are my business and livlihood.

Today, I bought seven CDs. No, I did not join a music club where I buy a dozen albums for a dollar with the obligation to buy 3 more over the next two years. Nor did I break my bank account. I paid 50 cents a piece for them. The family loaded up the car this morning and went to an estate sale in the neighboring town of New Boston. The CDs were priced for $2 each, but the sale was nearing the end so the price was reduced by half. Carrying around a stack that I was almost willing to pay $1 each for, the manager of the sale walked by and said, "I'll let you have those CDs for 50 cents each." That certainly made my decision easier.

This post was actually supposed to be about eclectic listening habits, but I have strayed from my original intention. The listing of the CDs will illustrate my eclectic interests.

1. Showboat: Original MGM Soundtrack. I have long loved the movie and some of the songs, such as "Old Man River" and "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man." Stephanie also approves of this since she loves music from musicals.

2. Burl Ives: The Magic Balladeer. We always enjoy listening to Burl Ives during the Christmas season, so why not now? He was quite good at singing ballads and folk songs. I would never shell out big money for his recordings, but for a half dollar, can't go wrong.

3. Burl Ives: 30 beloved Songs of Faith. For the same reasons as given above, it sure cannot hurt to hear Ives' rendition of popular hymns. May be great Sunday morning playing.

4. 25 Guitar Favorites. This consists of two dozen plus classical pieces of music played on the guitar. The works are those of such artists as Bach, Vivaldi, Haydn, and others. Hopefully, this will be good music to accompany morning books and coffee. [For some reason, my favorite guitarists did not show much interest in this CD when I showed it to him.]

5. Johann Strauss: Waltzes, Polkas, and Marches. No surprises here: Includes "The Blue Danube," "Tales from the Vienna Woods," and "Voices of Spring." Everyone should own and sometimes listen to Strauss waltzes. It would be good to someday attend a formal dance where such music is being played.

6. Riders in the Sky: Cowboy Songs. This is the only one of the CDs I have actually already listened to. Riders in the Sky are a popular singing group who are members of the Grand Ole Opry and may be even better known for some songs they did for one of the Toy Story movies. These boys, Ranger Doug, Too Slim, and Woody Paul, perform true Western Music (the other end of the Country and Western tradition)in the tradition of the Sons of the Pioneers, Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry and many others. This delightful recording includes such songs as "Cattle Call," "Back in the Saddle Again," and that great favorite from boyhood, "Rawhide." It also includes a strangely cheerful and upbeat version of "Ghost Riders in the Sky." (When Johnny Cash sings that song, it not only sends a bolt of fear through the lone cowboy, but through me as well. It has a powerful gospel message: Repent! Makes me questions the Riders in the Sky interpretation.) I should add that this CD includes some of the finest of that lost art of yodeling.

7. Mel Tillis and the Statesiders. I liked Mel Tillis back in the days when he was a major songwriter, but only a minor star. He was one of the regular acts on the Porter Wagoner Show. I don't like the way his style changed when he rose to fame--probably in the late 1970s. This CD features lots of Bob Wills music, such as "San Antonio Rose," "Faded Love," and "Take Me Back to Tulsa."

Writing this post and reviewing these CDs made me realize that I did not buy the two Big Band CDs. Well, hopefully, I will find some more bargains.

Posted by Ben

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