Sunday, February 2, 2014

Theme de Yoyo: Music Hath Charms

A long time ago I moved from one city to another. The distance between these towns was several thousand miles.

I drove to the new berg in a tiny car that lacked enough power to haul a trailer. So I shipped some of my stuff ahead, but also took the opportunity to shed a lot of what I'd accumulated over the years.

That included hundreds of albums. My record player was broken, vinyl was obsolete, so most of them had to go. I pulled out those I could not part with and stored them in a friend's basement. The rest went to a used record store, where I reaped a tidy windfall.

My life in the new distant city expanded and contracted, the way life usually does. I did not forget about all those treasured LPs in my friend's basement. But by the time I reclaimed them, three years had passed. I was married. My wife had a functioning turntable.

I took them out of the shipping crate with great anticipation. First thing I played: Les Stances a Sophie, an Art Ensemble of Chicago LP. As the first track began – with the softly pulsing bass line of Malachi Favors, and Don Moye's percussion – I felt like I'd bumped into a dear old friend.

The late Fontella Bass ("Rescue Me") is on vocals. She and AEC trumpeter Lester Bowie were married. Check it out:

There are many, many records I wish I hadn't sold all those years ago. Some have been replaced by CD and Internet download. I'm amazed at some of the stuff I've found on iTunes, including a favorite old drum solo by Baby Dodds. (That solo, sometimes called "Spooky Drums," does not appear to be available for linking, but another one by Baby Dodds is similar.)

Some of those old sold records have never been released on CD. Woe is me! I may never hear them again. Which is very very sad.

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