Can we afford not to have young people like this as citizens?
On Where Pianos Roam
Several years ago, my good friend David Moore gave me his old record player as a gift to have and enjoy. I still remember the look of horror on his face when I casually asked which part of the record to put the needle on in order to play it (on the inside or on the outside?).
Needless to say, I still own this beloved record player, and ever since then, I have amassed a modest collection of about 70 albums.
(David, if you're reading this, I don't think I've thanked you enough for this gift. I am SO eternally grateful!!)
Most of the albums I own are classical piano albums featuring works by Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and several other greats. I thought I'd take some time to highlight some of the other jewels in my collection:
[caption id="attachment_1321" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Transformers! More Than Meets the Eye!!!"][/caption]
As I happen to be a HUGE Transformers fan, this album was a total find. The narration and voice-overs are hilarious and drenched in 80's-camp-magic!!! Sometimes, I'll take out my Transformers action figures/toys and play out the battle scenes with this album on.
Too much information? Yeah, I know.
[caption id="attachment_1322" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Thelonious Monk: Genius of Modern Music"][/caption]
I have a few Thelonious Monk albums now, but I always seem to go back to this one. All I have to do is just let it play, and I can enjoy it all the way through. With Monk classics like Epistrophy, Ruby My Dear, Round About Midnight, Off Minor, Misterioso, and a whole slew of others, this collection clearly demonstrates the genius that was Thelonious. He lives on in his music and makes me so happy that I own a record player.
[caption id="attachment_1323" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Joni Mitchell: Don Juan's Reckless Daughter"][/caption]
I do love me some Joni Mitchell. This is my most recent purchase, and I bought it after a friend of mine said that my own album "Seahorses" reminded him of it. It seems to be quite an experimental album that incorporates a variety of musical styles while still maintaining a consistent theme throughout. I wouldn't say that it is her most accessible album, and but it's definitely a bold artistic statement overall. It's a beautiful and risky departure from her other material.
[caption id="attachment_1324" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Nina Simone at Town Hall"][/caption]
Several years ago, I was hanging out with my friend Lamont, and he played a song for me in his car. He introduced this song by saying that he thought I might love it. The name of the song was Wild Is the Wind, and the performer was a woman by the name of Nina Simone. Hearing this song for the first time was like jumping into a pool of cold water on a hot summer day--a sudden, exhilarating rush that attacks all of your senses, making you feel so alive. I've been a fan ever since, and he was right. I absolutely loved that song.
This particular record is one that I actually ordered and bought brand new. It is a live recording of Nina Simone's performance at New York's Town Hall on Sept. 12, 1959. It is a brilliant recording that includes classics like the aforementioned Wild Is the Wind, Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair, Summertime, and You Can Have Him. She floats effortlessly from jazz to folks song and from blues to ballads all the while making the piano come alive!
Nina Simone, a classically trained, Julliard-educated pianist with her pure, unmistakable voice, is someone I've admired and looked up to as a musician/pianist myself. This is an album that I treasure.
[caption id="attachment_1325" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Stevie Wonder: Innervisions"][/caption]
Much has been said about Stevie Wonder's classic album Songs in the Key of Life. For myself, I happen to like his two previous albums Innervisions and Fulfillingness' First Finale even more. This might be sacrilege to Stevie purists, but in terms of quality and in my humble opinion, Songs In the Key of Life pales in comparison to these two. I actually don't have a copy of Fulfillingness' First Finale yet as I have not found one in good condition, but I do have Innervisions. I always stop what I am doing when the song All Is Fair In Love comes on. It's SO GOOD. I still marvel at his sheer talent.
God Bless Stevie Wonder!!!!!!!!!
[caption id="attachment_1326" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The Muppet Movie: Original Soundtrack Recording"][/caption]
Isn't it bad and dorky enough that I listen to that Transformers album regularly? Okay, no. I will always have a place in my heart for the Muppets and the rather odd but fitting pairing of a pig with a frog.
Well, anyone who doesn't love to hear Kermit singing The Rainbow Connection is a cold-hearted BASTARD!!! This is my room-cleaning music. I shake my tookus to Kermit and Fozzie singin' Movin' Right Along, Miss Piggy belting out Never Before, Never Again, and Rowlf (a piano-playing dog!!!!!) singing I Hope that Something Better Comes Along---cleanin' and gettin' jiggy with my trusty apron, feather duster, and fuzzy house shoes for full effect and pizzazz!!!
I mean, honestly, this album is pretty darn good!!!
[caption id="attachment_1327" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Simply Red: If You Don't Know Me By Now"][/caption]
I totally dig 80's music, and Simply Red's cover of If You Don't Know Me By Now is a true classic. I always want to smoke a cigar and drink some red wine when I listen to this. I LOVE THIS SONG, and I bought this vinyl single the instant I found it in a record bin at a Goodwill near my house. It's a heart-rending rendition, and I'm proud to own this copy of it.
[caption id="attachment_1328" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Michael Jackson: Thriller"][/caption]
In light of recent events, I've been listening to this Michael Jackson classic a good bit. I really just can't help myself. I believe that this is one of the best pop albums of all time. There isn't a dud in this bad-ass masterpiece.
I wish the world had appreciated him more when he was alive.
There are a bunch of angels moon-walking in heaven right about now--leaving the rest of us to stand in awe of his legacy and his genius. This album was and will always be a force of nature.
I'll share more of what's in my record collection in the future. These are just some of the more notable ones that came to mind.
Time to go.
I've got a bit of room-cleaning to do . . . .