that thing which sometimes happens to me has happened again. every now and then, look you see, quite by chance my vibes collection sort of grows by accident. sometimes i set off with absolutely no intention of acquiring more music in a physical, digital form and yet it happens.
what did i get this time? ostensibly three albums as such, but in total five shiny new discs.
yes, it is indeed true that the music i bought - for i am one of those who remains of the belief that actually paying for and physically owning music is a good thing - is of quite the American slant. as, bar some slight appearances on the Barbs one, there's no British or if you like English talents on the go. and, strangely, the quality does not suffer as a consequence.
a quick gander and look at their relative merits and faults? sure, why not, since i've gone to the trouble of taking some pictures. and, you know, listening to the music.
to be quite honest, of the three this Springsteen one was the third choice. it was bought mostly as a makeweight in a deal that was brokered with HMV, which we shall get to. it's not that i've got anything against he who is called The Boss. far from it. being a fan means that i've got most, if not all, of his albums, and so yet another "best of" didn't have much appeal. this was in particular with regards to the fact that the "bonus", the five previously unreleased tracks, had got far from great reviews.
so, if we assume that 13 of the tracks on this set are well known, what are these 5 otherwise unreleased ones like? i wouldn't call any of them essential, but one called The Ballad Of Jesse James really caught my ear. He's Guilty isn't bad either, and the apparent critics choice of the best, Henry Boy is decent. Springsteen completists will have no doubt already had these songs on bootlegs anyway, or rushed off to get this CD as soon as it was released. for the passing Springsteen fan i would suggest that nothing in the five that you won't have anywhere else is all that essential.
this CD has been released as a "companion" to the apparently long awaited Springsteen autobiography, which i believe has the same name. awaited by who, i wonder. granted, i am not really much of a non-fiction reader, but i have absolutely no interest in this memoir. as far as i am concerned, anything i could possibly wish to know about the life and times of Bruce Springsteen, or what he thinks about stuff, is right there in the music he's created.
as mentioned above, this CD was bought as a dealbreaker. the new(ish) Barbs album, Encore, had finally been reduced in price and was on the 2 for £15 offer. my choices of something else to get with that were The Boss, or take a punt on the new Barry Gibb album (very nearly did), or get a new(ish) McCartney compilation that i had slight interest in. money spent on McCartney, after all, is money not spent on Ringo.
also i suppose i could have just got two copies of the Barbs album, but i didn't think of that until now.
what is this? theoretically it's a sequel to Barbs' last outing, the seminal and celebrated Partners record, on which she allowed lesser artists to perform on songs with her, albeit for the most part without letting them be in the same studio as her. in regards of the latter, a similar thing happens here, as the pictures in the book shows how much Barbs tolerates certain other, lesser artists by whether or not they were permitted to record their smaller parts of the songs in the same studio.
it was disappointing to firstly pay £7.50 for this and secondly to only get the standard edition. Partners i got as part of a 2 for £10 deal, and it was the special edition. i suppose i could have held out a bit longer and got it cheaper eventually, but hey, the opportunity arose.
what's the record like? quite good. a lot of it is Barbs telling some remarkably sexist jokes, and Barbs telling certain so-called celebrities that they are simply nowhere near her level or stature. there's also a bit of singing here and there, with the songs ostensibly being from classical musicals of stage and screen fame.
any particular highlights? not really, beyond the obvious moments of when every time Barbs sings anything at all, or when you can hear an inkling of that private little snort when one of her guests has a go at singing. him off of new Star Trek is on it, as well as him off of X Men, her off of new Star Wars, him off of Collateral that wasn't Tom Cruise and him that used to be married (i think) to her off of LA Confidential all appear, along with some others.
whilst i am happy to have it, i would also say that i would totes wait for it, or even better the special edition version, to be an even more reasonable price to buy it. it's what Barbs would want.
third, final and best, then, is this smart three disc collection of The Rat Pack. not that The Rat Pack was an actual band as such, but, well, you know who they are, or were.
US Presidents always get smart code names. i believe the one for Obama was Renegade. no idea what the new one would be. if any of these three had become President, and let's be honest in retrospect that would have been quite smart, their code names would have been, in the order that they appear above, Drinks, Glass Eye and Chairman.
just look at them on the cover, man. dressed smart, having a drink and a fag, enjoying some conversation and no doubt keeping an eye out for the dames. stylish. more stylish than me, anyhow.
usually it is The King, Elvis Presley who is described as the first rock and roll star. i believe Lennon said "before Elvis there was nothing". true, perhaps, but arguably Mr Sinatra was the first "popular music" star. it's easy to forget how, as far back as the 40s, he attracted the kind of adulation, attention and star status that perhaps we only associate with musicians from the 60s onwards.
perhaps i am getting old, but i am really, really loving this 3 CD set. beautiful, big band swing and just some of the finest vocal performances ever recorded. wonderful, charming, relaxing and enjoyable songs too, each and every one of the 75 featured here. and yes, the split is pretty much fair across the three artists.
would it be fair to suggest that The Rat Pack were sort of like a prototype, early days American version of anticipating Chas n Dave? yes, and no.
cost of this set in coins of money? £3 off of Tesco. bargain of note, as the music is priceless.
anyhow, i am off to listen to them some more. whilst i highly doubt that such a thing would be possible, to be sure, hopefully some snippets of information above have proved of interest.
which of The Rat Pack would i think would have made the best President? totally Dean Martin. for Mr Sinatra the presidency would have been a massive step down in terms of how much power he had, and Sammy would have been too busy doing all that smart dancing to be dealing with trade agreements.
dig whatever it is you dig when it comes to listening to vibes, man.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!