Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 69: Mrs. Miller "Wild Cool & Swingin' Vol.3" & Paul Bley/Gary Peacock/Paul Motain "Not Two, Not One"

Being able to measure traffic is a mixed bag. Like, it's cool to see new readers who come from traffic sources I didn't know about. But then you also get to see the days when even Googlebot isn't interested in your crap.

Anyway, it's Day 69. Insert your favorite joke here.

Mrs. Miller
Ultra-Lounge: Wild, Cool & Swingin' - Artist Series Vol 3

I actually remember this CD. I got it as part of that whole 'lounge' thing that happened and of all the CDs I ever got it elicited the biggest 'what the hell...?' reactions I've had from a promo.

How to describe what is happening to my ears right now...? It's regular old 50s/60s pop-style lounge, the album starts off Girl from Ipanema. Okay, and apparently makes its way to Yellow Submarine...but then there's Mrs. Miller herself.

Imagine some sort of June Cleaver caracature of domestic mid-century motherhood/housewife-ness. Now, pretend some hack comic was going to mock her singing popular yet innoffensive tunes. Falsetto, a warbling vibrato, just sort of hammering away through the song completely oblivious.

That's what's happening. Apparently, and this comes once again from Wiki, she was a novelty act in the 60's. I'll let you read that there instead of digesting it. Being the internet, there is of course also a website. Also worth exploring. Seriously, turn off your ad-block and click the player or right click on the link in the header for the album, listen to the samples at Amazon, experience this.

Generations might have a tendency to think that they invite irony. I know that I look at the younger generations romance with irony and think, "amateurs,  Gen X already nailed that down..." But apparently the Boomers were into appreciating things ironically on their own (ours was still better...). Oh good lord, A Hard Days Night...

This is the kind of thing that existed before Karaoke where you can listen to average people murder popular songs in bars across the country.

From what I'm gathering from the various websites she was that perfect combination of novelty and completely sincere.  There apparently wasn't much interest in letting her in on the jokes (there was a second tier to it when she apparently was used as an icon of the drug culture late in her career to her own dismay) but for the most part she was good natured about it. Sort of a 1960s William Hung.

This is the kind of thing I loved about getting promos. There's no way I would have known anything about this unless I had gotten this CD. And now I have 50 minutes of delightful ridiculousness on my iTunes.

How has she not ended up on a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack yet?

Okay, that's ridiculously adorable. She apparently does a take on Roger Miller's King of the Road but instead it's Queen of the House. I really feel the overwhelming urge to create some referential pop-culture laden ironic movie that involves homemaking at least tangentially film just to use that song.

And of course he 'big hit,' Downtown. This kind of grows on you in an incredibly weird and indescribable way. And then there's that bizarre bird whistle...

I started this album with a 'Seriously?' and have ended it wanting to have met this woman. I feel bad because we're not entirely laughing with her but at the same time...I don't know. Very interesting.

Paul Bley
Not Two, Not One

I'm cheating with the image, this is another homeless CD but I forgot to scan it before I put it in the computer and now I'm too lazy to stop the CD to scan it and for some reason don't want to do the graphic bit after the fact. Plus, the dim, gray cover lets you in on the kind of album it's going to be. Where Mrs. Miller might have been light and whimsical, this is the kind of arrhythmic, sparse and dissonant kind of music that you apparently hire Paul Motain to play drums on.

This is of course a sharp contrast to the previous album, but they were in the same CD case (to which neither of them belonged.) Which probably means they were part of one of my 'listening blitzes' that I've talked about before, where I listened to half of a few tracks on each CD and then ejecting it and moving on.

I think that every twentieth century composition class has someone at the final hammering or plucking or otherwise attacking the strings of the piano without the keys, which makes me not as receptive when modern performers do it.

This is pretty sparse, a lot of solo piano in it. But where I usually comment on the college common room piano pounders, Bley isn't any where near as dense and isn't mistaking pounding as intensity.

I like this kind of stuff, but I am having a hard time finding anything to say about it. There have been so many of these with this basic line up slipping in that I almost am just listening to it like music and forgetting this is supposed to document  the experience. Or something. If this part is boring, please re-read the Mrs. Miller stuff, that's down right hypnotizing.

I don't have the liner notes to tell me what the idea behind the overall album was, but as we've learned, that doesn't always help.

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