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Martinis & Music

Some of my favorite LPs along with the Classic Martini will be posted here regularly.

The Martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. Over the years, the martini has become one of the best-known mixed alcoholic beverages. H. L. Mencken called the martini “the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet” and E. B. White called it “the elixir of quietude”.

The LP (Long Play), or long-playing microgroove record, is a format for phonograph (gramophone) records, an analog sound storage medium. Introduced by Columbia Records on June 21, 1948 during a press conference at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, it was soon adopted as a new standard by the entire record industry. Apart from relatively minor refinements and the important later addition of stereophonic sound capability, it has remained the standard format for vinyl “albums” up to the present.

Come back often for more great records!!!

 

Eric Burdon and the Animals, The Twain Shall Meet, 1968.  Monterey was the big hit here. Actually the album grew from that single that came out late in 1967, five months before the albums release. Monterey jumped out loud right from the start, and was Eric Burdon’s tribute to the great Monterey Pop Festival. A cool 4:18 chronicle of the event in music; the Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, the Who, Hugh Masaekalas, Ravi Shankar and of course Jimi Hendrix whose legendary performance brought down the house are all included in the songs lyrics. I think that maybe I’m dreamin’.

I first heard the entire Twain album in my 9th grade English class. Every Friday, our hippy teacher would turn out the lights, play one entire album, make us feel an orange or other organic food item, and then instruct us to write about the experience (this was California after all).  The Beatles White album was one of those soundtracks to education, but The Twain Shall Meet was the other one that blew me away. A great psychedelic bluesy album that introduced me to one of the all time great Viet Nam epic protest songs; Sky Pilot, a seven plus minute epic that covered two sides of the 45 version and included one of the most amazing crescendo building bag pipped exploding war scenes sequences ever on a record.

Remembers the words, thou shall not kill… LISTEN!   I know you are so gonna go order this album right now. and check out All Is One. The other epic on the album !!!

Nick Drake, Pink Moon, 1972.  My guess is, that if Volkswagen never used the song Pink Moon in their 1999 Cabriolet commercial, most of you would never have heard this or any other music by Nick Drake. I remember seeing his albums in the record bins back in the day, but never picked up one to listen to. When I later worked in record stores, we’d have a few copies for sale, but rarely sold any. Nick Drake was someone I just never considered to check out back then. I have no idea why, and I regret it. Nick Drake died in 1974 at the young age of 26 from an overdose of antidepressants. He barely sold 5,000 copies of each of his three albums while he was alive, but in 1999 all that changed. Too bad it was twenty-five years too late.

I recently picked up a newly remastered LP version of Pink Moon since I never owned a vinyl version of it. Boy, is it beautiful!  LOOK & LISTEN!

Ricky Nelson, Ricky Nelson.  Yes that Ricky Nelson. The singing teenage heartthrob from The Adventures of Ozzie and HarrietThis is actually my 70’s issue of the best of Nelson, containing his streak of hits from the late 50s and early 60s. A wonderful two LP set of his mono recordings with four faux Andy Warhol influenced cover package images. This particular collection is long out of print, so check out the incredible full four disc career CD overview, Legacy, or if that’s too much Ricky for you, go for a single disc hits collection. Yes he was a teen idol, but his Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins influenced rockabilly and ballads, were the real deal. Check out two of my favorites … Lonesome Town and Traveling Man. Perfect records. LISTEN and LISTEN again!

Talking Heads, Speaking in Tongues, 1983.  One of the greatest rhythmic new wave-pop albums ever released. On this, their fifth album, the Heads expanded on their already mix of African beats, soulful dance music and post-punk experimentation that begun earlier with the albums Remain in Light and Fear of Music.  Speaking in Tongues also included their only top ten hit, Burning Down the House which offered a limited edition cover package designed by the artist Robert RauschenbergLISTEN!

Beck, Sea Changes, 2002. Hands down, this is my favorite Beck album. Not urban, upbeat or funky like Odelay or Midnight Vultures, but Sea Changes seems to be his most personal and intimate record. Sweeping orchestral arrangements, that at times remind me of those on George Harrision’s, Within You and Without You, especially on the track, Paper Tiger. One wouldn’t usually use the work gorgeous to describe a Beck album, gut this one truly is GORGEOUS!  LISTEN!

The Butterfield Blues Band, East West, 1966.  With so many friends and associates still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, I thought this wonderful record would be appropriate to revisit right now. A blend of East and West, of rock, jazz and eastern Indian music, culminating with the title track, East-West.  At thirteen minutes and ten seconds, it’s a beautiful, bluesy drone, inspired by an all night LSD trip by guitarist Michael Bloomfield. LISTEN!

Roxy Music, Country Life, 1974.  The original U.S release of Country Life only had the bushes on the cover without the scantily-clad girls. A year later it was reissued in dark green shrink wrap covering up the naughty bits.Country Life is one of the great British Art-Rock albums and the record that introduced me to Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music. I originally missed their first three albums, but revisited them after I got this one. I’m a late bloomer! The Thrill of it all.. LISTEN!

Donovan A Gift from a Flower to a Garden, 1967.   A perfect folk-rock album of pure British Flower Power and one of the very first rock box sets, containing two discs along with a separate lyric sheet. I think I first starting spelling the word colour, in the Britrish form, after buying and listening to this album.  The opening track, Wear Your Love Like Heaven included the wonderful Prussian blue, Scarlet, Crimson, Havana lake, Rose carmethene and Alizarin crimson. LISTEN!

Guy Clark Old No. 1, 1975.   I was reminded of this great album after seeing an old fragile Guy Clark perform twice this weekend. First playing a short set of Jesse Winchester songs Friday night at the Great American Music Hall before headliner Nick Lowe. And then on Saturday at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park.  A great American songwriter. This is probably not Martini music but WTF!  LISTEN!

Nick Lowe Jesus of Cool, 1978. This is Pure Pop for Now People, which was the name of this album as released in the United States. Apparently the original UK name was too controversial for Americans. LISTEN!

Marty Robbins Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, 1959.  This is the best god-damn cowboy album ever released. LISTEN!

Miles Davis In Person at the Blackhawk, San Francisco. 1961. LISTEN!

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MANHATTMAN is hosted by Norman Maslov, whose Agence Internationale, represents a small group of wonderful photographers. This blog showcases images from these artists along with scribes about music, films, food, gin martinis and hats. Pontifications from a native San Franciscan and his extended family and friends. So it goes.

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