Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Movies, Books, Theater, Concerts, CDs I Saw/Read/Heard In 2020

Updated as of December 31, 2020

KEY: star rating is on the four star scale
          meaning of "/" or "\"
          *** is three stars out of four
          ***/ is three stars leaning towards  3 1/2
          ***\ is three stars leaning towards 2 1/2


BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS
(Increasingly, I am sampling books, reading 10%, 20% even 40 or 50% before deciding to move on. The books below are only the ones I've read completely. That also explains what looks like generous grading -- more and more, if I sense a book is not going to be among my favorites, I stop reading. Too many books; too little time!)


1. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo *** 1/2
2. Thank You, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse *** 1/2 (despite the blackface)
3. Walt and Skeezix aka Gasoline Alley Volume Three 1925-1926 by Frank King *** 
4. Bubble In The Sun by Christopher Knowlton ** 1/2
5. A World Without Work by Daniel Susskind **
6. Tightrope by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn ** 1/2
7. Arguing With Zombies by Paul Krugman ***
8. The Complete Terry and the Pirates Vol. 5 1943-1944 by Milton Caniff *** 1/2
9. The Complete Terry and the Pirates Vol. 6 1945-1946 by Milton Caniff *** 1/2
10. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate ***
11. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler ****
12. The Queen Of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner *** 1/2
13. The King Of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner *** 1/2
14. Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh *** 1/2
15. Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Dee Brown ***
16. Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner ** 1/2 
17. Apropos of Nothing by Woody Allen **
18. Thick As Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner ***
19. Why We're Polarized by Ezra Klein **
20. Gold Rush Girl by Avi ** 1/2
21. The Singapore Wink by Ross Thomas **
22. The Few by Alex Kershaw (nonfic on Battle Of Britain) *** 
23. The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson ** 1/2 (read too many books about Churchill and his wartime cabinet) 
24. The Warden by Anthony Trollope (1855) book one of Barsetshire Chronicles *** 1/2 
25. Trumpocalypse by David Frum * 
26. Rigged by David Shimer (history of covert election interference) *** 
27. Surviving Autocracy by Masha Gessen *** 
28. Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope (1857) book two of Barsetshire Chronicles *** 1/2 
29. An Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylor (2008) ** 
30. An Irish Country Christmas (2008) ** 
31. Fingal O'Reilly, Irish Doctor (2013) ** 1/2 
32. An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor (2010) ** 
33. Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith ** 
34. An Irish Country Courtship by Patrick Taylor * 1/2 
35. The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame, radio play by Alan Bennett *** 
36. The Mirror and The Light by Hilary Mantel *** 1/2 \ 
37. The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark ** 1/2 
38. Owls Of The Eastern Ice by Jonathan C. Slaght *** 
39. Shane by Jack Schaefer *** 
40. The Human Cosmos by Jo Marchant *** 1/2 \ 
41. The Searchers by Alan Le May *** 1/2 
42. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke **/ 
43. The Butterfly Effect: Insects and the Making Of The Modern World by Edward D. Melillo ** 1/2 
44. The End Of Everything by Katie Mack *** 
45. A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik ***
46.  The Ministry For The Future by Kim Stanley Robinson *** 1/2 
47. Warlock by Oakley Hall *** 1/2  
48. All Creatures Great And Small by James Herriot (read by Christopher Timothy) *** 1/2 
49. Subversive Orthodoxy by Robert Inchausti ** 
50. Wrecked by Joe Ide *** \ 
51. The Magic Pudding written and illustrated by Norman Lindsay *** 1/2 
52. Hi Five by Joe Ide ** 1/2 
53. 





CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS (A strong emphasis on the ones I like, so don't think I love everything I listen to -- I just don't bother really listening to the ones I don't )


1. Neil Young -- Tonight's The Night (1975) *** 1/2 /
2. Neil Young -- Zuma (1975) *** 1/2
3. Neil Young -- After The Goldrush (1970) *** 1/2 /
4. Neil Young -- American Stars N Bars (1977) ** 1/2
5. Neil Young -- Comes A Time (1978) *** 1/2
6. Neil Young -- Rust Never Sleeps (1979) *** 1/2
7. Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto -- Getz/Gilberto #2 (1965) *** 1/2
8. John Luther Adams -- Become Ocean (2014) ****
9. Green Day -- Father Of All Motherfuckers *** 1/2
10. Teddy Thompson -- Heartbreaker Please *** 1/2
11. The Magnetic Fields -- Quickies *** 1/2
12. Drake Bell -- The Lost Album (2000) ***
13. Moses Sumney -- grae, Part 1 *** 1/2
14. Randy Travis -- Worship & Faith **
15. James Taylor -- American Standard **
16. Various Artists -- Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters Collection (1995) *** 1/2
17. Various Artists -- Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters Collection Vol. Two (1999) ***
18. Nancy Priddy -- You've Come This Way Before (1968) **
19. Brandy Clark -- Your Life Is A Record *** 1/2
20. Jose Feliciano -- Behind This Guitar **
21. Judy Collins -- Silver Blue Skies (w Ari Hest) (2016) ***
22. John Denver -- Greatest Hits (1973) **
23. Jose James -- No Beginning No End 2 **
24. Mike and the Moonpies -- Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold ** 1/2
25. Minnie Ripperton -- Come To The Garden (1970) **
26. Nathaniel Rateliff -- And It's Still Alright **
27. Kate Bush -- Never For Ever (1980) ***/
28. The Lone Bellow -- Half Moon Light ** 1/2
29. Louis Armstrong -- The Standard Oil Sessions **
30. Michael Doucet -- Lacher Prise ** 1/2
31. Nazz -- Nazz (1968) ***
32. Nick Frater -- Full Fathom Freight-Train ***
33. Oh Wonder -- No One Else can Wear Your Crown ** 1/2
34. Parliament -- Mothership Connection (1975) ****
35. Paul Weller -- In Another Room ep **
36. Kate Bush -- The Dreaming (1981) ***/
37. Luke Haines and Peter Buck -- Beat Poetry For Survivalists **
38. Robert Cray -- That's What I Heard ***/
39. Old Crow Medicine Show -- Fifty Years Of "Blonde On Blonde" ** 1/2
40. Rumer -- B-Sides and Rarities ***
41. Judy Collins and Stephen Stills -- Everybody Knows (2017) ** 1/2
42. John Denver -- A Lime Creek Christmas ***
43. Jim Sullivan -- UFO (1969) ***
44. Kalapana -- Best of Black Sand: The Best Of Kalapana **
45. Kate Bush -- Hounds Of Love (1985) ****
46. The Kinks -- Face To Face (1966) ** 1/2
47. Matt Monroe -- Matt Sings and Nelson Swings (1967) *
48. Major Matt Mason USA -- Me Me Me (1998) **
49. William Prince -- Reliever **
50. Various Artists/Wynton Marsalis -- Motherless Brooklyn soundtrack ***
51. Beta Radio -- All Remains ep ***
52. R.E.M. -- Monster (1994) ** 1/2
53. Maria McKee -- La Vita Nuova *** 1/2
54. Gordon Lightfoot -- Solo **
55. Brian Eno and Roger Eno -- Mixing Colours ***/
56. Rod McKuen -- Greatest Hits Of (1969) *
57. Barry Manilow -- Night Songs II *** 1/2
58. Bill Fay -- Countless Branches ***
59. The Everly Brothers -- The Hit Sounds of the Everly Brothers (1967) ** 1/2
60. The Everly Brothers -- Sing (1967) **
61. Mister Rogers -- It's Such A Good Feeling: The Best of Mister Rogers ** 1/2
62. Cowboy Junkies -- Ghosts ***/
63.  Bill Withers -- Just As I Am ****
64. Bill Withers -- Still Bill ****
65. Bill Withers -- Live at Carnegie Hall *** 1/2
66. Bill Withers -- +Justments *** 1/2
67. Bill Withers -- Make Music ***
68. Bill Withers -- Naked and Warm ***
69. Bill Withers - Menagerie ** 1/2
70. Bill Withers -- 'Bout Love **
71. Bill Withers -- Watching You, Watching Me ** 1/2
72. John Prine -- John Prine (1971) ***
73. John Prine -- Diamonds in the Rough (1972) *** 1/2
74. Ron Sexsmith -- Hermitage ** 1/2
75. John Prine -- Sweet Revenge (1973) ** 1/2
76. John Prine -- Bruised Orange (1978) ** 1/2 
77. John Prine -- The Missing Years (1991) *** 1/2 
78. John Prine -- A John Prine Christmas (1994) ** 
79. Todd Rundgren -- Runt: The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren (1971) *** 1/2 
80. Todd Rundgren -- Something/Anything? (1972) *** 1/2 
81. Huey Lewis -- Weather ep ** 1/2 
82. Todd Rundgren -- A Wizard, A True Star (1973) *** 1/2 
83. A Girl Called Eddy -- Been Around ***/ 
84. Todd Rundgren -- Todd (1974) *** 
85. Todd Rundgren -- Faithful (1976) ** 1/2 
86. Boy George -- This Is What I Dub Vol. 1 ** 
87. Brian Fallon -- Local Honey ** 
88. Todd Rundgren -- Hermit Of Mink Hollow (1978) *** 
89. Judy Collins -- Silver Skies Blue (2016) *** 1/2 
90. Judy Collins -- Strangers Again (2015) ** 
91. iLe -- iLevitable *** 
92. Chatham County Line -- Strange Fascination ** 
93. Jeri Southern -- The Southern Style (1955) ** 
94. Kenny Rogers -- Gideon (1980) ** 
95. Kenny Rogers -- What About Me (1984) ** 
96. Kenny Rogers -- Water and Bridges (2006) *** 
97. Kraftwerk -- Trans Europe Express (1977) *** 1/2 
98. Various -- Funny People soundtrack ** 1/2 
99. Beau Jennings -- The Christmas Light ** (title song good)  
100. Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians -- Twas The Night Before Christmas * 
101. Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians -- Christmas Time *
102. George Benson -- Beyond The Blue Horizon (1971) * 1/2 
103. Jim Lauderdale -- When Carolina Comes Home Again ** 1/2 
104. David Archuleta -- Therapy Sessions ** 
105. Badly Drawn Boy -- Banana Skin Shoes ** 
106. Steve Earle -- Ghosts of West Virginia *** 1/2 
107. Coconut Records -- Nighttiming (2007) ** 
108. George Jones and Tammy Wynette -- Golden Ring (1976) *** 
109. Alec Benjamin -- These Two Windows *** 
110. Teddy Thompson -- Heartbreaker Please *** 1/2 
111. Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton -- Porter Wayne and Dolly Rebecca (1970) *** 
112. The Magnetic Fields -- Quickies *** 1/2 
113. Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton -- Two Of A Kind (1971) ** 1/2 
114. Kris Kristofferson -- Kris (1970) *** 
115. Philip Glass -- Music In Eight Parts *** 1/2 
116. Todd Rundgren -- Nearly Human (1989) *** 
117. Jimmy Buffett -- Life On The Flip Side ** 1/2 
118. Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton -- The Right Combination (1972) ** 1/2 
119. Dion -- Blues With Friends ** 
120. Todd Rundgren -- Liars (2004) *** 
121. Todd Rundgren -- Arena (2008) ** 1/2 
122. Todd Rundgren -- Healing (1981) *** 
123. The Dwight Tilley Band -- Sincerely (1976) *** 
124. Dolly Parton -- Release Me ep * 1/2 
125. Emahoy Tsegu-Maryam Gubrou -- Ethiopiques Vol. 21: Ethiopia Song Piano Solo (1963) *** 1/2 
126. Janet Devlin -- Confessional ** 1/2 
127. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever -- Sideways To New Italy ** 1/2 
128. The Kinks -- Something Else By The Kinks (1967) ** 1/2 
129. The Sylvers -- The Sylvers (1972) ** 1/2 
130. Norah Jones -- Pick Me Up Off The Floor ** 
131. Odetta -- Christmas Spirituals (1960) *** 1/2 
132. Niall Horan -- Heartbreak Weather ** 
133. Rush -- Permanent Waves (1980) ** 1/2 
134. Shelby Lynne -- Shelby Lynne ** 
135. M Ward -- Migration Stories *** 
136. Canyons -- Gone West ** 
137. Neil Young -- Homegrown (1975/2020) *** 1/2 
138. John Legend -- Bigger Love ** 
139. Phoebe Bridgers -- Punisher ***/ 
140. Perfume Genius -- Set My Heart On Fire Immediately ** 1/2 
141. The 1975 -- Notes on A Conditional Form *** 
142. Van Dyke Parks and Brian Wilson -- Orange Crate Art (1995) *** 
143. Bob Dylan -- Rough And Rowdy Ways *** 1/2 
144. Andi Rae Healy -- Last Time I Checked This Was A Free World and I Wasn't Anybody's Girl ** 
145. Run The Jewels -- RTJ4 ** 1/2 
146. Nicole Atkins -- Italian Ice ** 
147. Pet Shop Boys -- Hotspot ** 1/2 
148. Temporex -- Care ** 1/2 
149. Corb Lund -- Agricultural Tragic ** 1/2 
150. Johnny Cash -- Johnny Cash Is Coming To Town (1987) ** 1/2 
151. Johnny Cash -- Water From The Wells of Home (1988) ** 
152. Johnny Cash -- The Mystery Of Life (1991) ** 
153. Johnny Cash -- Out Among The Stars (2014) ** 
154. Distant Cousins -- Here & Now ** 
155. Supergrass -- The Strange Ones: 1994-2008 *** 1/2 
156. Ambrose Akinmuserie -- On The Tender Spot Of Every Calloused Moment ** 1/2 
157. Lady Gaga -- Chromatica ***\ 
158. Teyana Taylor -- The Album *** 1/2 
159. Richard Thompson -- Bloody Noses ep *** 
160. Willie Nelson -- First Rose Of Spring *** 1/2 \ 
161. Paul Weller -- On Sunset *** / 
162. Tom Petty -- Southern Accents (1985) ** 
163. Tom Petty -- Let Me Up, I've Had Enough (1987) ** 
164. The Jayhawks -- Xoxo *** / 
165. Margo Price -- That's How Rumors Get Started ** 
166. Ray Wylie Hubbard -- Co-Starring ** 
167. My Morning Jacket -- The Waterfall II *** 
168. Joe Ely -- Love In The Midst of Mayhem ** 
169. Rufus Wainwright -- Unfollow The Stars *** 
170. Lianne La Havas -- Lianne la Havas *** 
171. Emitt Rhodes -- Emitt Rhodes (1970) *** 1/2 
172. Logic -- No Pressure *** 
173. Caetano Veloso -- Transa (1972) *** 
174. Cinder Well -- No Summer ** 
175. Taylor Swift -- folklore ** 1/2 
176. Paul Kelly -- Please Leave Your Light On (w Paul Grabowsky) *** 
177. Seasick Steve -- Love & Peace ** 
178. Thomas Bartlett -- Shelter *** 
179. Tom Petty -- Full Moon Fever (1989) *** 1/2 
180. Tom Petty -- Into the Great Wide Open (1991) ** 1/2 
181. Tom Petty -- Wildflowers (1994) ** 
182. Mary Chapin Carpenter -- The Dirt and the Stars ** 
183. Holly Humberstone -- Falling Asleep At The Wheel ** 1/2 
184. Rumer -- Nashville Tears: The Songs Of Hugh Prestwood *** 1/2 
185. Trini Lopez -- Live At PJ's (1963) * 
186. Bruce Hornsby -- Non-secure Connection ** 
187. Kathleen Edwards -- Total Freedom ** 
188. Gloria Estefan -- Brazil305 ** 1/2 
189. Matt Rollings -- Mosaic ** 1/2 
190. Mandy Barnett -- A Nashville Songbook ** 
191. Beta Radio -- Way Of Love ep ** 1/2 
192. Ryland James -- Ryland James ** 
193. The Texicana Mamas -- The Texicana Mamas ** 
194. Troye Sivan -- In A Dream ep *** 
195. Michael Harrison w Roomful Of Teeth -- Just Constellations *** 
196. The Waterboys -- Good Luck, Seeker ** 
197. Bettye LaVette -- Blackbirds *** 
198. Toots & The Maytals -- Got To Be Tough ** 1/2 
199. Emitt Rhodes -- Mirror (1971) *** 
200. Linda Martell -- Color Me Country (1970) ** 1/2 
201. Hal Wilner/VA -- Angel-headed Hipster: The Songs Of Marc Bolan and T-Rex ** 1/2 
202. The Bangles -- All Over The Place (1984) *** 1/2 
203. Elliott Brood -- Keeper *** 
204. VA -- Bob Stanley Presents '76 In The Shade ** 1/2 
205. A Passing Fancy -- A Passing Fancy (1968) ** 
206. Frank Sinatra -- September Of My Years (1965) *** 1/2 
207. Suzanne Vega -- An Evening Of New York Songs and Stories *** 
208. Thelonius Monk -- Piano Solo (1954) **** 
209. Thelonius Monk -- Monk's Music (1957) **** 
210. Cat Stevens -- Tea For The Tillerman (1970) ** 
211. Toots and the Maytals -- Funky Kingston (1973) *** 
212. Paul McCartney -- Flaming Pie (deluxe) (1997) ** 1/2 
213. Fleet Foxes -- Shore 
214. Various Artists -- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season Three Soundtrack *** 
215. Diana Krall -- This Dream Of You ** 1/2 
216. Carrie Underwood -- My Gift * 1/2 
217. Dolly Parton -- A Holly Dolly Christmas * 
218. Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton: Once Upon A Christmas (1984) * 1/2 
219. John Michael Talbot -- Songs From Solitude * 1/2 
220. Lateral Blue -- This Christmas (2019) * 1/2 
221. Bob Mould -- Blue Hearts *** 1/2 
222. Dawn Landes -- ROW ** 
223. Loudon Wainwright -- I'd Rather Lead A Band ** 1/2 
224. The Budos Band -- Long In The Tooth *** 
225. John Lennon -- Gimme Some Truth boxed set ** 1/2 
226. Sturgill Simpson -- Cuttin' Grass Vol. 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions) *** / 
227. The Struts -- Strange Days *** 1/2 
228. The Jaded Hearts Club -- You've Always Been Here *** 
229. Ella Fitzgerald -- Ella: The Lost Berlin Tapes (Live) *** 1/2 
230. Sam Amidon -- Sam Amidon ** 
231. Ryland James -- A Little Christmas ep * 1/2 
232. Tears For Fears -- Sowing The Seeds Of Love (1989) ** 
233. Ruel -- Bright Lights Red Eyes ep ** 
234. Sharon Jones -- Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Rendition Is In) ** 1/2 
235. The Doors -- Morrison Hotel (1970) ** 
236. Chuck Prophet -- The Land That Time Forgot *** 1/2 
237. Bran Van 3000 -- The Garden (2010) *** 
238. Bruce Springsteen -- Letter To You ** 1/2 
239. For King and Country -- A Drummer Boy Christmas * 
240. Drake Bell -- Sesiones En Casa *** 
241. Gillian Welch and David Rawlings -- All The Good Times ** 
242. The Goo Goo Dolls -- It's Christmas All Over * 1/2 (but "Ain't Getting Nothing" a keeper) 
243. Leslie Odom Jr. -- The Christmas Album * 1/2 
244. Straight No Chaser -- Social Christmasing * 1/2 
245. Joni Mitchell -- Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967) *** 
246. Shirley Bassey -- I Owe It All To You * 1/2 
247. Sara Bareilles -- More Love: Songs From Little Voice, Season One ** 
248. Hello Forever -- Whatever It Is ** 
249. Common -- A Beautiful Revolution (Pt 1) ** 1/2 
250. Kim Wilde -- Wilde Winter Songbook * 
251. Grant-Lee Philips -- Yuletide ep ** 1/2 
252. Pentatonix -- We Need A Little Christmas * 
253. Professor Longhair -- Crawfish Fiesta (1980) *** 1/2 
254. Shenandoah -- Every Road ** (but I'll Take Another One Of Those a keeper) 
255. Frank Turner and Jon Snodgrass -- Buddies II: Still Buddies ** (but amusing) 
256. Chris Stapleton -- Starting Over ** 1/2 
257. Dua Lipa -- Future Nostalgia *** 
258. Ellie Goulding -- Songbook For Christmas * 
259. Anne Murray -- The Ultimate Christmas Collection * 1/2 
260. Black Violin -- Give Thanks * 1/2 
261. Engelbert Humperdink -- Sentiments ep * 
262. Jamie Cullum -- The Pianoman At Christmas *** (fun vibe) 
263. VA -- If The Fates Allow (A Hadestown Holiday Album) * 1/2 
264. Grace Jones -- Nightclubbing *** 
265. Jeff Tweedy -- Love Is The King ** 1/2 
266. Ernie Haase & Signature Sound -- A Jazzy Little Christmas * 
267. Courtney Marie Andrews -- Old Flowers ** 
268. Meghan Trainor -- A Very Trainor Christmas * 1/2 
269. The Best Of The Girl Groups Vol 1 **** Vol, 2 *** 1/2 
270. Haim -- Women In Music III *** 
271. Nick Cave -- Idiot Prayer (Nick Cave Alone At Alexandra Palace) *** 
272. Fiona Apple -- Fetch The Bolt Cutters *** 1/2 
273. Tori Amos -- Christmastide * 1/2 
274. Nellie McKay -- Bagatelles *** 
275. Ike Quebec -- Blue and Sentimental (1963) ***/ 
276. Count Basie Orchestra -- A Very Swingin' Basie Christmas ** 
277. Kamasi Washington -- Becoming soundtrack ** 1/2 
278. M Ward -- Think Of Spring ** 1/2 
279. Hailey Whitters -- The Dream ** 
280. Brett Eldredge -- Sunday Drive ** 1/2 
281. Joshua Ray Walker -- Glad You Made It ** 
282. Katie Pruitt -- Expectations ** 1/2 
283. Ashley McBryde -- Never Will *** 
284. Charley Pride -- Christmas In My Hometown * 
285. Colter Wall -- Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs ** 1/2 
286. Fred Hersch -- Songs From Home ** 1/2 
287. Hothouse Flowers -- Let's Do This Thing ** 
288. Michael Buble -- Christmas (Deluxe) ** 
289. The Explorers Club -- The Explorers Club *** 
290. A Girl Called Eddy -- Been Around *** 1/2 / 
291. Kali Uchis -- Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) ** 1/2 
292. Lido Pimienta -- Miss Colombia ** 
293. Bonny Light Horseman -- Bonny Light Horseman *** 
294. Tame Impala -- The Slow Rush *** 
295. Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie -- Another Flower *** 1/2 
296. Shirley Collins -- Heart's Ease ** 1/2 
297. The Sparks -- A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip *** / 
298. Taylor Swift -- Evermore ** 
299. Ron Miles -- Rainbow Sign ** 
300. The Psychedelic Furs -- Made Of Rain ** 
301. Sufjan Stevens -- The Ascension *** 
302. Jessie Ware -- What's Your Pleasure? *** 
303. Chilly Gonzales -- A Very Chilly Christmas ** 1/2 
304. Sturgill Simpson -- Cuttin' Grass Vol. 2 (Cowboy Arms Session) *** 
305. Tony Allen and Hugh Masekala -- Rejoice! *** 1/2 
306. Jyoti -- Mama, You Can Bet! *** 
307. Tim Heidecker -- Fear Of Death ** 1/2 
308. Michael Harrison w Roomful Of Teeth -- Just Constellations *** 1/2 
309. Olafur Arnalds -- Some Kind Of Peace *** 1/2 
310. Chouk Bwa -- Vodou Ale ** 1/2 
311. Groupe RTD -- The Dancing Devils of Djibouti *** 1/2 
312. Songhoy Blues -- Optimisme *** 
313. Sharhabil Ahmed -- The King Of Sudanese Jazz *** 1/2 
314. A Girl Called Eddy -- A Girl Called Eddy (2004) *** 1/2 
315. Bad Bunny -- El Ultimo Tour Del Mundo *** 1/2 
316. Immanuel Wilkins -- Omega *** 1/2 
317. Lina Rodriguez -- Lina_Raul Refree *** 1/2 
318. Duma -- Duma ** 
319. Tami Neilson -- Chickaboom! ***/ 
320. Wynton Marsalis and JLCO -- A Swingin' Sesame Street Celebration ** 
321. Emilio Solla Tango Jazz Orchestra -- Puertos: Music from International Waters *** 
322. American Aquarium -- Lamentations *** 
323. Wynton Marsalis and JLCO -- The Ever Fonky Lowdown ** 
324. Gabriel Garzon-Montana -- Aquita ** 
325. S.G. Goodman -- Old Time Feeling ** 
326. Lilly Hiatt -- Walking Proof ** 
327. Kurt Rosenwinkel -- Searching The Continuum ** 
328. Kandace Springs -- The Women Who Raised Me ** 1/2 
329. Carla Bley -- Life Goes On *** 1/2 
330. Grimes -- Miss Anthropocene ** 1/2 
331. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah -- Axiom ** 
332. Los Mocosos -- All Grown Up ** 
333. X Alfonso -- Inside ** 
334. Bill Frisell -- Valentine ** 
335. Guillermo Klein -- Los Gauchos Cristal ** 
336. John Beasley -- MONK'estra Plays John Beasley *** 1/2 
337. Jason Isbell -- Reunions *** 
338. Jake Blount -- Spider Tales *** 1/2 
339. Watkins Family Hour -- Brother Sister ** 1/2 
340. Chloe x Halle -- Ungodly Hour ** 1/2 
341. Bones -- Damaged Goods ** 1/2 
342. Blake Mills -- Marble Set ** 
343. William Tyler -- New Vanitas ** 1/2 
344. Alejandro Fernandez -- Hecho En Mexico ** 1/2 
345. Ben Watt -- Storm Damage ** 1/2 
346. Burt Bacharach and Daniel Tashian -- Blue Umbrella  ep ** 
347. Flo Mill -- Ho, Why Is You Here? ** 
348. Don Bryant -- You Make Me Feel ** 1/2 
349. Frank Bey -- All My Dues Are Paid ** 1/2 
350. Bobby Rush -- Rawer Than Raw ** 1/2 
351. The Chicks -- Gaslighter *** 
352. Daniela Cotton -- A Different War ep ** 
353. The Flat Five -- Another World ** 1/2 
354. Jim Andralis -- My Beautiful Enemy ** 
355. Danny Barnes -- Man On Fire ** 
356. Conan Gray -- Kid Krow ** 
357. Jessica Reyez -- Before Love Came To Kill Us ** 1/2 
358. Jhene Aiko -- Cholombo ** 
359. Debi Nova -- 3:33 ** 1/2 
360. Jeff Parker -- Suite For Max Brown ** 
361. Harold Lopez-Nussa -- Te Lo Dije *** 1/2 
362. James Elkington -- Ever-Roving Eye *** 
363. Beastie Boys -- Music **** 
364. Gregory Porter -- All Rise ** 
365. Plants and Animals -- The Jungle ** 
366. Bright Eyes -- Down In The Weeds, Where The World Once Was *** 
367. Sarah Jarosz -- World On The Ground *** 
368. Clarice Jensen -- The Experience Of Repetition As Death *** 1/2 
369. Sarah Jarosz -- World On The Ground *** 
370. Gorillaz -- Song Machine Season One Strange Times ** 1/2 
371. Melody Gardot -- Sunset In The Blue *** 
372. Afro-Peruvian Jazz Orchestra -- Tradiciones ** 1/2 
373. Brad Mehldau -- Suite April 2020 *** 
374. Miley Cyrus -- Plastic Hearts ***\ 
375. Kenny Washington -- What's The Hurry *** 
376. Kidd G -- Teenage Dreams: 1000 Miles From Georgia ** 1/2 
377. The Killers -- Imploding The Mirage ** 1/2 
378. Mighty Oaks -- All Things Go ** 1/2 
379. Matthew Sweet -- Catspaw ** 1/2 
380. Katrina Leskanich -- Hearts, Loves & Baby's ** 1/2 
381. Jimmy Heath -- Love Letter *** 1/2 
382. Andrew Bird -- Hark! ** 1/2 
383. Sault -- Untitled (Black Is) *** 1/2 
384. Bones -- Remains *** 
385. Jimmy Buffett -- Songs You Don't Know By Heart *** 
386. Harold Budd -- Another Flower *** 1/2 
387. Sault -- Untitled (Rise) *** 1/2 
388. William Tyler -- First Cow soundtrack *** 1/2 
389. Neil Young -- Archives Volume II *** 1/2 



MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES 

(Not TV movies, of course, but movies and TV -- and TV movies if it comes to that. Mostly I only list TV shows when I've tackled an entire season at once or reappraising an entire series after it's over This doesn't really capture my ongoing watching of current TV.)


1. Local Hero (1983) ***
2. Where Is The Friend's House? (1987) *** 1/2
3. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) **
4. Local Hero (1983) ***\
5. Where Is The Friend's House? (1987) *** 1/2
6. L'Argent (1983) ** 1/2
7. Sans Soleil (1983) ** 1/2
8. High Hopes (1988) ***
9. Atlantic City (1981) ***
10. The Day Of Rest (1939) Robert Benchley short *
11. The Mandalorian S1 ** 1/2
12. Pacific Liner (1939) **
13. Tiger King (Netflix doc) ** 1/2
14. An Hour For Lunch (1939 Robert Benchley short) *
15. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) ** 1/2
16. Derry Girls S1 ***
17. Derry Girls S2 *** 
18. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance S1 *** 
19. The End of the F---ing World S2 **** 
20. The River (short film by Pare Lorentz) (1938) ** 
21. The Plow That Broke The Plains (1936) music by Virgil Thomson, Didactic, confusing and haphazard. barely gets across the idea that ending grasslands doomed the plains to drying up. Much mention of the war driving up wheat prices. 
22. Poetry of Nature: A Pete Smith Specialty (1939) "humorous" short about wildlife in California redwoods * 
23. The Sea Around Us (1953) ** 
24. Star Trek: Picard S1 ** 1/2 
25. A Small Town Idol (1921/1939) no stars 
26. Old Hickory (1939 short) * 
27. Seeing Red (1939 short w Red Skelton) * 
28.  Word Is Out (1977) *** 1/2 
29. Better Call Saul S1 *** 1/2 
30. Rough Riders' Round-up (1939) Roy Rogers * 
31. Welcome To Chechnya (doc) *** 
32. Unsettled: Seeking Refuge In America (doc) ** 1/2 
33. Sexual Exiles (1999 short; 30min) *** 
34. The Fighting Gringo (1939) * 1/2 
35. Family Romance LLC *** (Werner Herzog film) 
36. Beanpole *** 1/2 (plus acting, prod design) 
37. A Russian Youth ** 1/2 
38. Star In The Night (1945) Don Siegel dir short about hotel/diner in middle of nowhere on Christmas Eve * 1/2 
39. Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) ** 
40. One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937) * 1/2 
41. It Started With Eve (1941) ** 
42. I Know Where I'm Going! (1945) *** 1/2 
43. Brief Encounter (1945) *** 1/2 
44. Smashing The Money Ring (1939) * 1/2 
45. Big Wednesday (1978) * 1/2 
46. Rewind ** 1/2 
47. Death On The Nile (1978) * 1/2 
48. Another Thin Man (1939) *** \ 
49. The Mirror Crack'd (1980) * 1/2 
50. Evil Under The Sun (1981) *** \ 
51. The Personal History Of David Copperfield * 1/2  
52. Bill & Ted Face The Music ** (but sweet) 
53. Tenet ** 
54. The City (1939) doc ** 
55. James A FitzPatrick's TravelTalks: Rural Hungary (1939) ** 
56. James A FitzPatrick's TravelTalks: Land Of Alaska Nellie (1939) ** 
57. The Vast Of Night *** 1/2 (score, cinematography, supporting actress, etc) 
58. Ammonite *** 1/2 
59. Martin Eden ** 
60. Boys State ***/ 
61. Wolf Walkers *** 
62. Matthias & Maxime *** 1/2 
63. Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds (Herzog doc) *** 1/2 
64. Nomad: In The Footsteps Of Bruce Chatwin ** 1/2 
65. Nomadland *** 1/2 
66. The Painter and The Thief *** 
67. Palm Springs ** 1/2 
68. The Whistlers ** 1/2 
69. My Octopus Teacher ** 1/2 
70.  The Kid Detective *** 1/2 
71. Dick Johnson Is Dead *** 1/2 
72. Another Round *** 1/2 
73. Small Axe: Mangrove ** 1/2 
74. Small Axe: Lovers Rock *** / 
75. Small Axe: Red, White And Blue 
76. Small Axe: Alex Wheatle 
77. Small Axe: Education 
78. Time (Amazon doc) ***/ 
79. Weathering With You *** 
80. Collective *** 1/2 
81. Minari *** 1/2 
82. Sound Of Metal *** 1/2 
83. Never Rarely Sometimes Always *** 1/2 
84. First Cow *** 
85. Jasper Mall *** 
86. Crip Camp *** 1/2 
87. Judas And The Black Messiah ** 1/2 
88. 


THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS
(The names after the shows are the people who joined me at the performance.)


1. Dana H *** 1/2 (Lucas Hnath play; saw solo)
2. A Christmas Carol (w Jefferson Mays, streaming only) *** 
3. Nellie McKay at Joe's Pub Live on Demand (streaming only) *** 


Updated as of December 31, 2020

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Christmas Music -- A MindSpace Discussion

 NEW STANDARDS -- CHRISTMAS SONGS OF THE 1970S TO TODAY 


CHRISTMAS PLAYLISTS 

Follow me on Spotify! 

Christmas Traditional 1 

Christmas Pop 1

Christmas Hip 1

Christmas Traditional 2 

Christmas Pop 2 

Christmas Hip 2

Christmas Traditional 3 

Christmas Pop 3 

Christmas Hip 3  

Christmas Traditional 4

Christmas Hip 4

Elvis Presley/Frank Sinatra's Jolly Christmas Album


THE ESSENTIAL CHRISTMAS ALBUM LIBRARY 


Herb Alpert -- Christmas Album (1968)

Bing Crosby -- Merry Christmas aka White Christmas (many editions) 

Bing Crosby -- Sings Christmas Songs 

Ella Fitzgerald -- Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas (Just the first 12 songs, please; skip the rest) 

Vince Guaraldi -- A Charlie Brown Christmas

Emmylou Harris -- Light Of The Stable

Mahalia Jackson -- Silent Night: Songs For Christmas 

The Living Sisters -- Harmony Is Real: Songs For A Happy Holiday

Los Lobos -- Lleg√≥ Navidad 

Aimee Mann -- One More Drifter In The Snow

Wynton Marsalis -- Crescent City Christmas Card

Johnny Mathis -- Merry Christmas 

Liam Neeson -- The Polar Express (narrator) (out of print)

Willie Nelson -- Pretty Paper 

Odetta -- Christmas Spirituals (1960) or Christmas Spirituals (1987) (sometimes but not always repackaged as Beautiful Star 


Elvis Presley -- Elvis' Christmas Album side one **** (side two is mostly not Christmas!) pair it with Sinatra side one from Jolly 


Lou Rawls -- Merry Christmas Ho! Ho! Ho! (1967) pulled from compilation and sequenced properly





Frank Sinatra -- A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra (1957) *** (first side ****, second **) pair it with Elvis side one


Sufjan Stevens -- Songs For Christmas Vol 1-5 and Silver & Gold Vol. 6-10 




Marion Williams -- O Holy Night  (not on Spotify but you can buy the CD)




VARIOUS ARTISTS, SOUNDTRACKS, COMPILATIONS 

A Big Band Christmas (Columbia, 1988) 


Hipster's Holiday (Rhino, 1989) (album not on Spotify, partial playlist)

I'll Be Home For Christmas: Songs That Won The War (does it exist?) 

The Original Soul Christmas (Atlantic, 1968) *** 1/2 

Where Will You Be Christmas Day (Dust To Digital, 2004) (partial playlist; album not on Spotify)




A MINDSPACE ROUNDTABLE ON CHRISTMAS MUSIC 


Great Songs/Standards  Since 1970 


Jose Feliciano -- "Feliz Navidad" (Nov 1970)

Donny Hathaway -- "This Christmas" (Dec, 1970) 

Joni Mitchell -- "River" (June 1971) 

The Pretenders -- "2000 Miles" (single from Learning To Crawl, for o.d. James Honeyman Scott) 

Ron Sexsmith -- "Maybe This Christmas" 

Wham -- "Last Christmas" 

Stevie Wonder -- "Someday at Christmas" (1967)



Great Records Since 1970


Band Aid -- "Do They Know It's Christmas" 

The Bangles -- "Hazy Shade of Winter" (cover of 1966 S&G) (Less Than Zero) 

Barenaked Ladies -- "Deck The Stills" 

Mariah Carey -- "All I Want For Christmas Is You" 

Bing Crosby and David Bowie -- "Peace on Earth/The Little Drummer Boy" (1977 special)

Everything But The Girl -- "Come On Home" 

Aled Jones -- "Walking In The Air" from 1982's The Snowman TV special Raymond Briggs 

The Kinks -- "Father Christmas" 

John Lennon & Yoko Ono -- "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" 

The Pogues w Kristy MacColl -- "Fairytale Of New York" 

Queen -- "Thank God It's Christmas" 

Chris Rea -- "Driving Home For Christmas" (1988, Top 40 since 2008) 

Run-D.M.C. -- "Christmas In Hollis" 

Bruce Springsteen -- "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" 

U2 -- "New Year's Day" 

Kate Bush -- "December Will Be Magic Again" and "Home For Christmas" 


Most Emotional 

Band Aid -- "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (Bono) 

Darlene Love -- "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" On Letterman/The View 

John & Yoko -- "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" 


Terrible Records By Great Artists 

Elton John -- "Step Into Christmas" 

Paul McCartney -- "Wonderful Christmastime" 


Under-appreciated 

Extreme -- "Christmas Time Again" 

Stevie Wonder -- "One Little Christmas Tree"  



Greatest Christmas Songwriter?

Johnny Marks -- Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree, A Holly Jolly Christmas, Silver and Gold, I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day AND Run Rudolph Run for Chuck Berry! Plus all the songs on the Rankin-Bass TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Like "We're A Couple Of Misfits"




Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Rolling Stone 500 Best Albums of All Time 2003/2012/2020/?

  • Albums Returning To 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time List 2020 Edition


  • Boogie Down Productions' Criminal Minded (2003: #444; 2012: Not on list; 2020: #239)
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival's Cosmo's Factor (2003: #265; 2012: Not on list; 2020: #413)
  • Massive Attack's Mezzanine (2003: #412; 2012: Not on list; 2020: #383)
  • Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill (2003: #327; 2012: Not on list; 2020: #69)
  • Linda Ronstadt's Heart Like A Wheel (2003: #164; 2012: Not on list; 2020: #490)
  • Roxy Music's Avalon (2003: 307; 2012: Not on list; 2020: #336)


Albums No Longer On 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time List 2020 Edition


  • AC/DC's Highway To Hell (2003: #199; 2012: #180)
  • Aerosmith's Toys In The Attic (2003: #228; 2012: #229)
  • Arctic Monkeys' Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2003: Unreleased; 2012: #371)
  • The Beach Boys' The Smile Sessions (2002: Unreleased; 2012: #381)
  • The Beach Boys' Sunflower (2003: #380; 2012: Not on list)
  • The Beatles' Please Please Me (2003: #39; 2012: #39)
  • The Beatles' With The Beatles (2003: #420; 2012: Not on list)
  • Beck's Sea Change (2003: #440; 2012: #436)
  • Blood, Sweat & Tears' Child Is Father To The Man (2003: #264; 2012: #266)
  • Bobby Bland's Two Steps From The Blues (2003: #215; 2012: #217)
  • Bob Marley's Burnin’ (2003: #319; 2012: #319)
  • Bob Marley's Natty Dread (2003: #182; 2012: #181)
  • David Bowie's Aladdin Sane (2003: #277; 2012: #279)
  • David Bowie's Changesone (2003: #425; 2012: Not on list)
  • James Brown's Greatest Hits (2003: #414; 2012: Not on list)
  • James Brown's In The Jungle Groove (2003: #330; 2012: #329)
  • Jackson Browne's For Everyman (2003: #457; 2012: #450)
  • Jackson Browne's Late For The Sky (2003: #372; 2012: #375)
  • Jackson Browne's The Pretender (2003: #391; 2012: #391)
  • Buena Vista Social Club's Buena Vista Social Club (2003: #360; 2012: Not on list)
  • Buffalo Springfield's Buffalo Springfield Again (2003: #188; 2012: #188)
  • The Paul Butterfield Blues Band's The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (2003: #476; 2012: #468)
  • The Byrds's Greatest Hits (2003: #178; 2012: Not on list)
  • The Byrds' The Notorious Byrd Brothers (2003: #171; 2012: #171)
  • The Byrds'Younger Than Yesterday (2003: #124; 2012: #127)
  • Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band's Trout Mask Replica (2003: #58; 2012: #60)
  • The Carpenters' Close To You (2003: #174; 2012: #174)
  • Johnny Cash's American Recordings (2003: #364; 2012: #366)
  • Manu Chao's Proxima Estacion: Esperanza (2003: Not on list; 2012: #474)
  • Ray Charles' The Genius Of Ray Charles (2003: #263; 2012: #265)
  • Cheap Trick's At Budokan (2003: #430; 2012: #426)
  • Cheap Trick's In Color (2003: #448; 2012: #443)
  • Eric Clapton's 461 Ocean Boulevard (2003: #409; 2012: #411)
  • Eric Clapton's Slowhand (2003: #312; 2012: #325)
  • Leonard Cohen's Songs Of Love and Hate (2003: Not on list; 2012: #295)
  • Alice Cooper's Love It To Death (2003: #460; 2012: #454)
  • Elvis Costello's Armed Forces (2003: #482; 2012: #475)
  • Elvis Costello's Imperial Bedroom (2003: #166; 2012: #166)
  • Cream's Fresh Cream (2003: #101; 2012: #102)
  • Cream's Wheels Of Fire (2003: #203; 2012: #205)
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival's Chronicle, Vol. 1 (2003: Not on list; 2012: #59)
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival's Green River (2003: #95; 2012: Not on list)
  • The Cure's Boys Don’t Cry (2003: #442; 2012: #438)
  • Miles Davis's Sketches Of Spain (2003: #356; 2012: #358)
  • Def Leppard's Hysteria (2003: #472; 2012: #464)
  • Def Leppard's Pyromania (2003: #384; 2012: Not on list)
  • Neil Diamond's The Neil Diamond Collection (2003: #222; 2012: #224)
  • The Doors' L.A. Woman (2003: #362; 2012: #364)
  • The Doors' Strange Days (2003: #407; 2012: #409)
  • Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left (2003: #283; 2012: Not on list)
  • Nick Drake's Bryter Layter (2003: #245; 2012: Not on list)
  • The Drifters' Golden Hits (2003: #465; 2012: #459)
  • Bob Dylan's Desire (2003: #174; 2012: #174)
  • Bob Dylan's Modern Times (2003: Unreleased; 2012: #204)
  • Bob Dylan's Time Out Of Mind (2003: #408; 2012: #410)
  • Steve Earle's Guitar Town (2003: #489; 2012: #482)
  • Echo and the Bunnymen's Heaven Up Here (2003: #471; 2012: #463)
  • EPMD's Strictly Business (2003: #459; 2012: #453)
  • Eurythmics' Touch (2003: #500; 2012: #492)
  • Fleetwood Mac's Fleetwood Mac (2003: #183; 2012: #182)
  • Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim's Getz/Gilberto (2003: #454; 2012: #447)
  • Grateful Dead's Anthem Of The Sun (2003: #287; 2012: #288)
  • Grateful Dead's Live Dead (2003: #244; 2012: #247)
  • Merle Haggard's Branded Man (2003: #484; 2012: Not on list)
  • PJ Harvey's To Bring You My Love (2003: #435; 2012: Not on list)
  • Don Henley's The End Of The Innocence (2003: #389; 2012: #389)
  • Buddy Holly's The “Chirping” Crickets (2003: #421; 2012: #420)
  • John Lee Hooker's Ultimate Collection 1948-1990 (2003: #375; 2012: #377)
  • Jane’s Addiction's Nothing’s Shocking (2003: #309; 2012: #312)
  • Jane’s Addiction's Ritual De Lo Habitual (2003: #453; 2012: Not on list)
  • Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers (2003: #370; 2012: #373)
  • The Jesus and Mary Chain's Psycho Candy (2003: #268; 2012: #269)
  • Jethro Tull's Aqualung (2003: #337; 2012: #337)
  • Billy Joel's 52nd Street (2003: #352; 2012: #354)
  • Dr. John's Dr. John’s Gumbo (2003: #402; 2012: #404)
  • Elton John's Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (2003: #158; 2012: #158)
  • Elton John's Elton John (2003: #468; 2012: Not on list)
  • Elton John's Greatest Hits (2003: #135; 2012: #136)
  • Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection (2003: #463; 2012: #458)
  • Joy Division's Substance (1988)(2003: #361; 2012: Not on list)
  • Albert King's Born Under A Bad Sign (2003: #499; 2012: #491)
  • B.B. King's Live In Cook County Jail (2003: Not on list; 2012: #499)
  • The Kinks' The Kink Kronikles (2003: #231; 2012: #232)
  • Kiss' Destroyer (2003: #496; 2012: #489)
  • Labelle's Nightbirds (2003: #272; 2012: #274)
  • Little Walter's The Best Of (2003: #198; 2012: #198)
  • LL Cool J's Radio (2003: #478; 2012: #470)
  • Loretta Lynn's All Time Greatest Hits (2003: #485; 2012: #478)
  • Madonna's Music (2003: #452; 2012: Not on list)
  • The Mamas and the Papas' Greatest Hits (2003: #423; 2012: Not on list)
  • The Mamas and the Papas' If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears (2003: #127; 2012: #112)
  • John Mayall's Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (2003: #195; 2012: #195)
  • Curtis Mayfield's The Anthology 1961-1977 (2003: #179; 2012: #178)
  • Paul McCartney and Wings' Band On The Run (2003: #418; 2012: #418)
  • MC5's Back In The USA (2003: #451; 2012: #450)
  • Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell (2003: #343; 2012: #343)
  • The Meters' Rejuvenation (2003: #138; 2012: #139)
  • MGMT's Oracular Spectacular (2003: Unreleased; 2012: #494)
  • M.I.A.'s Kala (2003: Unreleased; 2012: #393)
  • Steve Miller Band's Fly Like An Eagle (2003: #450; 2012: #445)
  • Moby's Play (2003: #341; 2012: #341)
  • Moby Grape's Moby Grape (2003: #121; 2012: #124)
  • The Mothers Of Invention's Freak Out! (2003: #243; 2012: #246)
  • The Mothers Of Invention's We’re Only In It For The Money (2003: #243; 2012: #246)
  • Mott The Hoople's All The Young Dudes (2003: #491; 2012: #484)
  • Mott The Hoople's Mott (2003: #366; 2012: #370)
  • My Morning Jacket's Z (2003: Unreleased; 2012: #457)
  • Willie Nelson's Stardust (2003: #257; 2012: #260)
  • Randy Newman's Good Old Boys (2003: #393; 2012: #394)
  • Randy Newman's 12 Songs (2003: #354; 2012: #356)
  • New Order's Substance (1987) (2003: Not on list; 2012: #363)
  • No Doubt's Rock Steady (2003: #316; 2012: Not on list)
  • No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom (2003: #441; 2012: Not on list)
  • The O’Jays' Back Stabbers (2003: #318; 2012: #318)
  • Graham Parker's Squeezing Out Sparks (2003: #335; 2012: #334)
  • Gram Parsons' Grievous Angel (2003: #429; 2012: #425)
  • Pearl Jam's Vitalogy (2003: #492; 2012: #485)
  • The Pogues' Rum, Sodomy and the Lash (2003: #445; 2012: #440)
  • The Police's Ghost In The Machine (2003: #322; 2012: #323)
  • The Police's Outlandos D’Amour (2003: #434; 2012: #428)
  • The Police's Regatta De Blanc (2003: #369; 2012: #372)
  • Professor Longhair's New Orleans Piano (2003: #220; 2012: #222)
  • Public Enemy's Yo! Bum Rush The Show (2003: #497; 2012: Not on list)
  • Public Image Ltd.'s Metal Box (2003: #469; 2012: #461)
  • Quicksilver Messenger Service's Happy Trails (2003: #189; 2012: #189)
  • Radiohead's Amnesiac 2003: Not on list; 2012: #320)
  • Rage Against The Machine's The Battle Of Los Angeles (2003: #426; 2012: Not on list)
  • Bonnie Raitt's Give It Up (2003: Not on list; 2012: #495)
  • Otis Redding's Dock Of The Bay (2003: #161; 2012: #161)
  • Otis Redding's Live In Europe (2003: #474; 2012: Not on list)
  • Lou Reed's Berlin (2003: #344; 2012: #344)
  • R.E.M.'s Document (2003: #470; 2012: #462)
  • The Replacements' Tim (2003: #136; 2012: #137)
  • The Rolling Stones' Between The Buttons (2003: #355; 2012: #357)
  • The Rolling Stones' Now! (2003: #181; 2012: #180)
  • The Rolling Stones' Out Of Our Heads (2003: #114; 2012: #116)
  • The Rolling Stones' Tattoo You (2003: #211; 2012: #213)
  • Linda Ronstadt's The Very Best Of Linda Ronstadt (2003: #324; 2012: #164)
  • Roxy Music's Country Life (2003: #387; 2012: Not on list)
  • Roxy Music's Siren (2003: #371; 2012: #374)
  • Santana's Santana (2003: #150; 2012: #149)
  • Boz Scaggs' Boz Scaggs (2003: Not on list; 2012: #496)
  • Simon & Garfunkel's Bookends (2003: #233; 2012: #234)
  • Simon & Garfunkel's Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (2003: #201; 2012: #202)
  • Frank Sinatra's Songs For Swingin’ Lovers (2003: #306; 2012: #308)
  • Sly and The Family Stone's Fresh (2003: #186; 2012: #186)
  • Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness (2003: #487; 2012: Not on list)
  • The Smiths' Louder Than Bombs (2003: #365; 2012: #369)
  • The Smiths' Meat Is Murder (2003: #295; 2012: #296)
  • The Smiths' The Smiths (2003: #481; 2012: #473)
  • Soundgarden's Superunknown (2003: #336; 2012: #335)
  • Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift For You (2003: #142; 2012: #142)
  • Bruce Springsteen's Greetings From Asbury Park (2003: #379; 2012: Not on list)
  • Bruce Springsteen's The Rising (2003: Not on list; 2012: #424)
  • Bruce Springsteen's Tunnel Of Love (2003: #475; 2012: #467)
  • Steely Dan's Pretzel Logic (2003: #385; 2012: #386)
  • The Stooges' Raw Power (2003: #125; 2012: #128)
  • Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense (2003: #345; 2012: #345)
  • Talking Heads' Talking Heads: 77 (2003: #290; 2012: #291)
  • Richard & Linda Thompson's Shoot Out The Lights (2003: #333; 2012: #332)
  • U2's All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2003: #139; 2012: #280)
  • U2's Boy (2003: #417; 2012: #417)
  • U2's War (2003: #221; 2012: #223)
  • Vampire Weekend's Vampire Weekend (2003: Unreleased; 2012: #430)
  • Tom Waits' The Heart Of Saturday Night (2003: #339; 2012: #339)
  • Tom Waits' Mule Variations (2003: #416; 2012: #416)
  • War's The World Is A Ghetto (2003: #449; 2012: #444)
  • Muddy Waters' At Newport 1960 (2003: #348; 2012: #348)
  • Muddy Waters' Folk Singer (2003: #280; 2012: #282)
  • Barry White's Can’t Get Enough (2003: #281; 2012: #283)
  • The White Stripes' White Blood Cells (2003: Not on list; 2012: #497)
  • The Who's A Quick One (Happy Jack) (2003: #383; 2012: #384)
  • The Who's Quadrophenia (2003: #266; 2012: #267)
  • The Who's The Who Sing My Generation (2003: #236; 2012: #237)
  • Hank Williams' The Complete Hank Williams (2003: #225; 2012: Not on list)
  • Jackie Wilson's Mr. Excitement! (2003: #235; 2012: #236)
  • Wings see Paul McCartney
  • Howlin’ Wolf's Howlin’ Wolf (2003: #223; 2012: #238)
  • Peter Wolf's Sleepless (2003: #432; 2012: #427)
  • X's Wild Gift (2003: #334; 2012: #333)
  • The Yardbirds' Having A Rave Up With The Yardbirds (2003: #353; 2012: #355)
  • The Yardbirds' Roger The Engineer (2003: #349; 2012: #350)
  • ZZ Top's Eliminator (2003: #396; 2012: #398)
  • ZZ Top's Tres Hombres (2003: #498; 2012: #490)
  • Various Artists' Anthology Of American Folk Music (2003: #276; 2012: #278)
  • Various Artists' Best Of The Girl Groups Vol 1 and 2 (2003: #422; 2012: #421)
  • Various Artists' The Sun Records Collection (2003: #308; 2102: #311)


Friday, July 17, 2020

DEANNA DURBIN -- A HUGE STAR THAT NEVER QUITE MADE IT




DEANNA DURBIN COLLECTION I 
$49.95 BluRay; Kino Lorber Studio Classics 

By Michael Giltz


What a talent. What a waste. For a brief period in the 1940s, singer and actress Deanna Durbin was the highest paid actress in the world. Her first two films were nominated for Best Picture and reportedly saved Universal from bankruptcy. Her fan club was the biggest in the world. The Metropolitan Opera came a'calling and offered this lyric soprano the chance to sing for them. Heck, she made her debut in a short opposite Judy Garland and soon eclipsed that artist in almost every way. Almost. 

The truth is Durbin never made a great film, a great album or even more than a decent single or two. She easily made the leap from juvenile lead to terrific-looking and talented adult star but to what purpose? Garland demanded the spotlight; Durbin fled from it. After 21 films at Universal, Durbin walked away from it all, married her third husband and never did anything creative again. It worked. Her death in 2013 was certainly noted but as more of a curiosity. Durbin became the answer to a trivia question, one most people would get wrong. Her movies are rarely watched; her recordings rarely listened to, even by those who dimly remember her. 

That indifference will probably extend to this odd selection of three films, as random a choice of movies as one could ask for. Durbin made 21 films for Universal and if you were going to showcase just three, surely you'd choose the 3 Smart Girls trilogy: the first was her debut and a massive success. Or maybe you'd choose her first three. Or the first three she made with director Henry Koster and producer Joe Pasternak, the men who snapped her up when MGM passed and coached Durbin into stardom. Or all six films she made with Koster. Or something that made a lick of sense. 

Instead, this collection includes the SECOND film in the 3 Smart Girls trilogy, her SECOND film at Universal (100 Men and a Girl) and her LAST film with Koster (It Started With Eve), which at least has the distinction of being considered one of Durbin's best. On the bright side, the three prints on this BluRay collection are solid, the sound quality good and to continue the random nature of this endeavor, it features TWO audio commentaries instead of three. You'll also find trailers for all three films, though weirdly none of them are available on YouTube. Here's a clip of Durbin singing the Irish traditional "Danny Boy" to Charles Laughton in It Started With Eve.



All three films are this side of good. They contain strong talent, decent scripts and enough smarts to make clear everyone was trying. It's easy to see why they were hits and why no one bothers with them much anymore. In 3 Smart Girls Grow Up, Durbin must untangle the romantic confusion of her two older sisters. The blonde is marrying a family friend but it's the OTHER sister (a brunette) who really loves him. To console the loser, Durbin dragoons Robert Cummings into falling for the brunette, but he too wants the blonde. Hilarity ensues. In 100 Men and A Girl, Durbin is the daughter of down on his luck classical musician Adolphe Menjou. They're surrounded by out of work artists (99 of them, to be exact) so naturally Durbin convinces a wealthy producer to back her new orchestra and shames conductor Leopold Stokowski into leading them. It Started With Eve cranks up the confusion even more: Cummings (again) is engaged to be married, which is easy to imagine since he's the son of one of the wealthiest men in America (Charles Laughton). When dad is dying and wants only to meet his son's fiancee, Cummings panics when she's not available and grabs a hat check girl (Durbin) to take the woman's place and let dad's last moments go quietly. Needless to say, Laughton recovers, Durbin sees a chance to launch her singing career and despite himself Cummings falls for this inconvenient gal. 

Each film is painless and breezy, as long as you're in an undemanding mood. Each features a few moments of real charm and artistry, along with laugh-out-loud nonsense like only old Hollywood can muster. And each film shows Durbin was a real, if squandered talent. My favorite comment on Durbin's career comes from Durbin herself when ending her career: she was tired of being "the highest-paid star with the poorest material." Indeed. It's not that these films are awful; they're just far from what she deserves. 

If Universal was going bankrupt until Durbin rescued her, it might have been due to construction costs. Even by the standards of Hollywood, the sets for these three films are bat shit crazy. We're used to Astaire and Rogers dancing across a massive living room floor in a sky-high penthouse. Nonetheless, the home of Stokowski in 100 Men and A Girl is bonkers. He apparently enjoys an atrium in the middle of his Manhattan home that's so elaborate, an entire 100 piece orchestra can be arrayed on three levels, with Stokowski popping out of his room and steps onto an interior balcony to check out the talent as the orchestra plays. (Indeed, the funniest moment of the film is the twitching in Stokowski's hands when he simply can't resist the desire to conduct.) The home of gazillionaire Lauhgton in It Started With Eve is cozy in comparison, even as Durbin shoves a grand piano from one cavernous room to another so she can serenade the old buzzard. 

But both are topped by the epic proportions on display in 3 Smart Girls Grow Up. Their Manhattan home is jaw-dropping in its immensity. And again, this is in comparison to other insanely lavish Hollywood movies, not reality. At one point Durbin must storm out of a room and upstairs in a huff. But the room is so gigantic, the next one so expansive, the stairs so sweeping that Durbin practically sprints so she can get to the landing on the next floor and deliver her final zinger. While she's running,  you could head to the concession stand, get popcorn and a soda and head back into the theater without missing a thing. Robert Cummings has the best line in the film. When asked if he had trouble finding their home Cummings admits he did. He walked by twice, Cummings says, because he thought their home was the Museum of Natural History. 

Cummings is a good example of the frustrating nature of Durbin's vehicles. He breezes in so naturally in 3 Smart Girls Grow Up, it's like a breath of fresh air. Durbin is surrounded by talent, even if they are forced to elevate the material rather than getting the script they deserve. Eugene Pallette is his usual, gravelly voiced charmer as a wealthy producer confused as to how he suddenly became the not-so-proud owner of a 100 piece orchestra. Laughton is slumming it in It Started With Eve, but he's got marvelous chemistry with Durbin and his hamminess is held in check. Butlers, waiters, cabbies -- these films are filled with strong bit players who make the most of their moments. It Started With Eve in particular is a bummer. It's got the bones of a good screwball comedy; they just needed to deliver another draft or two. 

And Durbin is a treat. Director Koster and the scripts do one thing right: they slip in the classical bits with ease. In 3 Smart Girls Grow Up, Durbin is allowed to trill away to annoy her two sisters, delivering the "classy" material with a girl-next-door casualness and a hint of comedy. Again and again, they incorporate her musical moments smoothly or give Durbin some comic bit to deliver physically while singing away. The singing is high class and never mocked, but if they can have Durbin flirt or joke while delivering a number, they do. 

Durbin is also a charmer as an actor, enjoying the same onscreen relaxed vibe that turned Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland into all American kids just when America needed them. And unlike so many child actors, Durbin grew up very nicely. Look at the scene in It Started With Eve where Laughton is thought to be dying. Durbin barely has a word to say, but her face tells it all: sympathy for a dying man, an immediate chemistry, shame over the trick they're playing on him (well intentioned though it may be) and above all a sweetness and goodness that Laughton immediately grasps and which powers the rest of the film. Best known for her singing, Durbin holds the screen here without saying a word. 

If you're one of the vanishing few that remembers Durbin, this random grab bag of movies is presented nicely and with care. If you've never heard of her,  you won't discover any gems from Hollywood's golden age. But pay attention and you'll appreciate her talent and wonder what might have been. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Music Library Master List Z+ Various Artist Compilations

VARIOUS ARTISTS

Africa Screams Contest *** 1/2 
Africa Screams Contest Vol. Two *** 1/2 
Afrocubism *** 1/2           
Aloha Got Soul 1979-1985 ***        
Angel-Headed Hipster: The Songs Of Marc Bolan and T-Rex ** 1/2  
The Best Of The Girl Groups Vol 1 **** Vol, 2 *** 1/2   
Bluesin' By The Bayou ** 1/2 
Bob Stanley Presents '76 In The Shade ** 1/2 
Burnwood PLaylist: Deep Lizzy -- Thin Lizzy *** 1/2 
Burnwood Playlist: This Won't Take But A Minute Or Two *** 1/2 
A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector **** 
Come and Get It: The Best Of Apple Records ** 1/2 
Come On Let's Go: Powerpop Gems From The 70s and 80s *** 
Come On Up To The House: Women Sing Waits *** 
Country Soul (2015) ** 1/2 
Divided And United: Songs Of The Civil War *** 1/2 
Dub Specialist: Studio One Dub FireSpecial ** 1/2 
Feelin' Right, Saturday Night: The Rick and Ron Anthology *** 1/2 
The Golden Age Of Popular Music: Jazz Hits From 1958-1966  ****
The Golden Age Of Popular Music: More Country Hits *** 
Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout: Bluegrass Gospel From The Pen Of Rick Lang *** 
The Great Gospel Men: 27 Classic Performances *** 1/2 
Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters Collection (1995) *** 1/2 
Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters Collection Volume Two (1999) *** 
The Indestructible Beat Of Soweto Volume One **** 
The Indestructible Beat Of Soweto Volume Two *** 1/2 
John Savage's 1966: The Year The Decade Exploded *** 
Let The Good Times Roll: 40 Jumping R and B Classics *** 
Live From The Old Town School, Vol. 1-4 *** 1/2 
The Lost Notebooks Of Hank Williams *** 
Mercyland: Hymns For The Rest Of Us *** 1/2 
Motown: The Complete #1s (11 CD set) *** 1/2 \ 
The Nebraska Sessions (tribute to Springsteen album via Clubhouse Records UK) *** 1/2 
Nigeria Disco Funk Special: The Sound Of The Underground Lagos Dancefloor 74-79 *** 1/2 
Nigeria Freedom Sounds: Popular Music and the Birth... ** 1/2 
Nigeria 70: No Wahala -- Highlife, Afrofunk and Juju 1973-1987 ***  
Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds & Nigerian Blues 1970-1976 *** 1/2   
Nippon Girls 2: Japanese Pop, Beat and  Rock n Roll 1965-1970 *** 1/2  
Nostalgique Porto Rico (Puerto Rican Roots 1940-1960) *** 1/2
Now That's What I Call Yacht Rock *** 
NOW That's What I Call Yacht Rock Vol. 2  ** 1/2 
Remembering Mountains: Unheard Songs by Karen Dalton **           
Roll Columbia: Woody Guthrie's 26 Northwest Songs ** 
Songs Of Lennon and McCartney (UK) ** 1/2 
Songs That Got Us Through WW II (Rhino, 1990) *** 1/2 
Soul Of A Nation: Afro-Centric Visions In the Age of Black Power ***/ 
The Sounds Of Siam ***
Southern Soul Crate *** 1/2 
A Tribute To Dan Fogelberg ** 
Tropicalia Ou Panis Et Circensis (1968) ****  
You Make My Heart Sing: 50 Of The Greatest Love Songs Ever (UK) *** 1/2