Updated: Jan 6, 2019
Albums I have listened to this week:
In The Wee Small Hours (1955)
I found this one rather repetitive. I absolutely love Sinatra's voice (who doesn't), but as far as this break-up concept album goes; I don't know how many depressing unrequited love songs I can hear in a row without getting, well...sad. I definitely think it represents a broken heart, but I'm going to say it's more of a mood than a captivating group of songs.
BEST SONG: In The Wee Small Hours
Elvis Presley (1956)
This can hardly be called an album due to the fact that it was comprised of a bunch of his releases just shoved together on one record. It's sloppy, doesn't make much sense and reveals pretty clearly that this is early Elvis work. Despite that, I still loved it. From his awesome rendition of Ray Charle's 'I got A Woman' to his sad, darker version of 'Blue Moon', I couldn't not enjoy myself listening to this.
BEST SONG: I Got A Woman
The Louvin Brothers
Tragic Songs Of Life (1956)
Don't be fooled by the classic country feel of these songs, they truly are tragic. From death in their lyrics, to the actual death of one of the brothers, the art and the life of these guys is certainly melancholy. I haven't listened to much country music myself and so despite there not being much differentiation between tracks, the entire thing was pretty good. If you know Nirvana's 'Where Did You Sleep Last Night?' then you need to hear the original, which was 'In The Pines'.
BEST SONG: In The Pines
The Wildest! (1956)
If you want to smile I promise you this is the album for you. Prima's voice is exceptional and he is just so incredibly animated with everything he sings. There was even some variation when his wife began singing a few of the songs- I loved that! The album cover really does reflect the music, this guy is great. I'd heard a few of his tracks before, but taking the time to listen to this whole album, I fell in love with him as an artist.
BEST SONG: Buona Sera (of course)
This Is Fats (1956)
Another one that I absolutely loved! This one wasn't even on Spotify, so I had to create a specific playlist on YouTube. This is such a shame because I thought this album demonstrated everything I loved about upbeat 50's blues. I watched a live video of 'Honey Chile' and Fats was an incredible talent. There were so many songs I loved, it was so hard to choose the best one!
BEST SONG: So Long
Ellington At Newport (1956)
The original release version of this is also not available on Spotify, however a two-hour long version of the entire set (announcements included) is. So I listened to the whole thing and all I could think was how amazing it would have been to actually see live. I'm not a crazy jazz fan, but I respect Ellington immensely. I think if you're a Jazz fan, then you definitely need to listen to the entire live set. I like hearing applause at the end of songs and thought it was great to have mini-speech breaks in the middle of beautiful music.
BEST SONG: Sophisticated Lady
Songs for Swingin' Lovers! (1956)
Now this is more like the Frank Sinatra I know and love! Opening with his infamous cover of 'You Make Me Feel So Young' I was immediately excited to listen to the rest of the album. His voice is just so smooth, no wonder his career spanned decades. Although he also covered 'Pennies From Heaven', it didn't quite hit the mark of the original. What I was curious to hear however, was the 1946 original version of 'You Make Me Feel So Young'- Sinatra's is definitely better!
BEST SONG: You Make Me Feel So Young
Listen to the original version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q85apiL7oI
The "Chirping" Crickets (1957)
Another album I couldn't locate on Spotify unfortunately, but YouTube was my saviour. I already listened to the track 'That'll Be The Day' rather often and so was curious to hear some of their other stuff. There were several songs on here that caught my attention, including: 'You've Got Love', 'An Empty Cup (And A Broken Date)' and 'Send Me Some Lovin''. The latter is actually a Little Richard song and was also covered by Otis Reading (a version I absolutely adore). Anybody else think Buddy Holly and Elvis sound pretty similar?
BEST SONG: Send Me Some Lovin'
Listen to Otis Reading's cover here: https://open.spotify.com/track/4V5HXy1GjerDka3wSc1C5Y?si=UzjCaj6OQ0GgPghHL4IM_w
The Atomic Mr Basie (1957)
I honestly feel like I am not qualified enough to be having a valid opinion on Jazz, yet I thought this was perfect background music to a long, midday train journey into central London. I think I'm getting more and more into trumpet/piano lead rather than a voice. It's not quite as good as soulful vocals, but it's still really nice to listen to. The album flows easily from one track to another and I found it hard to choose a favourite because I liked this as a whole.
BEST SONG: Double-O
Brilliant Corners (1957)
I did not enjoy this album. It may have been the exceedingly long songs, the over-complicated instrumentation or maybe the fact that I am not a crazy Jazz-lover myself. Either way, I think this one was a one time listen only. I respect Monk highly, it's clear from this album alone that he is an extremely talented musician irrespective of my opinion. If you do love Jazz, then I'm sure you will love some of this classic early stuff, but if you're trying to ease yourself into it, I do not recommend...
BEST SONG: I Surrender Dear (because I could just about follow it)
Palo Congo (1957)
If there is an album this week that I tell you not to listen to, it's this one. Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of world music, but I really was not into 6 minutes of bongos and percussion rhythms. I understand these are not melody-lead songs, which is probably (as a melody lover) why I almost regret making myself hear the entire 40 minutes. It started off great, and there's one track in there that I could potentially be able to listen to again, but as for the rest, it's just not for me.
BEST SONG: Rhapsodia Del Maravilloso
Birth Of Cool (1957)
Now this is the kind of Jazz that I really like listening to. Or course, it's not so adventurous (being Miles Davis), but it's undeniably brilliant. This was some easy listening, talented composition and although I chose the only track with vocals as my favourite, don't mistake this for disliking the rest. I thought each song was just as good as the last and I would definitely be willing to give this another listen, because it was excellent.
BEST SONG: Darn That Dream
Maybe foreign music just isn't for me. I understand and can hear the complexity of everything the musicians are playing, but I just don't find myself enjoying it as much as I did Miles Davis. I am yet to listen to this kind of music whilst traveling around, perhaps it would be great for a car ride on a summer's day; windows down, a cold drink at hand. Or perhaps if I were ever to host a cuban-themed party this is who I would turn to for background music. In short, it's great, just really not for me.
BEST SONG: Tin Tin Deo
Here's Little Richard
This is the embodiment of poodle skirts, curled hair and American school dances in the 50s. He shows his skills by using incredible vocal embellishments and he takes control of every song. Little Richard is the star and the other musicians are following his inspiringly talented lead. I dare you not to love this. Sorry Elvis, Little Richard may have tipped you off the top spot of being the greatest singer of the 50s. I think for me, this release is far better than any from Elvis during this decade.
BEST SONG: Can't Believe You Wanna Leave
Dance Mania Vol.1
I think I'm finding, as with all of the latin-american albums I have listened to so far, that anything over 20 minutes is just too much. Dance Mania Vol.1 in my opinion is better than Palo Congo and Kenya, but it is still not something I will probably listen to again. I feel that perhaps I would be much more appreciative of this music if I were to experience it live (something I am definitely not opposed to).
BEST SONG: Llego Mijan