Thursday, September 28, 2006

before the animals...


everyone has probably heard the eric burdon and the animals version of house of the rising son... but i was driving home late tonight, feeling a bit down after giving a talk on my work. listening to some 78's in my ipod (yes... scratchy mono 78's in the ipod) in the car, and the josh white version of house of the rising son comes on and just slays me. first there is the giant amount of history on the surface of the shellac that makes the darkness fill with rain (the beauty of not collecting items in mint condition is you can actually HEAR the patina on the surface) and then his goddamn voice, it's just a hair away from being a croon, but fragile enough that it moves slowly inside of you. the thing about josh white is that he was so all over the place with his material. a lot of mediocre historical and topical wwII songs, silly songs like one meatball; and then he'll do a record like this, with strange fruit on one side (which rivals billie holliday in ethereal haunting-ness), and house of the rising son on the other side where he just sounds like he's lived it. i love the incredibly slow tempo, and his guitar playing ain't too shabby either. i think the recording is from 1944.

perhaps i like inconsistent artists because sometimes they fail, and it is this ability to fail - a kind of vulnerability - that makes the good stuff seem that much more honest. i swore if i ever started a blog it would simply be to share things from the collection, and would avoid the kind of sophmoric poetic waxings i've got going on here, but sometimes you gotta share the way gotta share... click and listen here.

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