This Week’s Hit Parade

Original soundtrack. “Treme: Music From the HBO Original Series, Season 1.” (Geffen/HBO, 2010): Television doesn’t get it right very often when it comes to dealing with music. Fortunately, David Simon is no ordinary kind of TV guy, and “Treme” is certainly no ordinary TV show. It’s all about New Orleans and the struggle to survive after Hurricane Katrina. The show is chockful of great writing, authentic locations and some off-the-charts acting. It’s also got music – real deal music – because in New Orleans, life and music are inseparable. Lots of brass band music, Trombone Shorty, John Boutte, Lil’ Queenie, Dr. John, Irma Thomas & Allen Toussaint and more. We can’t wait for season two…


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Rondellus. “Sabbatum: Medieval Tribute to Black Sabbath” (Music Cartel, 2003) On the heels of Harptallica’s mindbending performance at the Judge’s Inn in September, I was seeking out other classically bent interpretations of heavy metal classics, and Rondellus fit the bill perfectly. Ever wonder what “War Pigs” would sound like interpreted as an early music ballad? Sung in Latin? Maybe not, but if you have, this disc answers the question.

del Amitri. “Waking Hours” (A&M, 1989) God, this is a great album. Opening with “Kiss This Thing Goodbye,” the band kicks out an undeniable thumping dance beat, supplements it with crunchy power chords and infectious pop riffology and then melds it all with finger-snaps, five-string banjo, harmoncia and slide guitar. I could live on a steady diet of this song. And the rest of the disc is very nearly just as good…

Corrine Bailey Rae. “The Sea” (EMI, 2010) The British neo-soul singer delivers an impressive – and unfortunately all too true – song cycle about loss. Not quite as stunning as her debut album – which was a bolt out of the blue – but this is obviously a strong sophomore effort that drills down-to-the-bone.

Grant Green. “Idle Hours” (Blue Note, 1999) Recorded in 1963, this album reveals the jazz guitar great dealing out some sublimely authentic smooth jazz – long before the term was hijacked by pop instrumentalists like Kenny G and Dave Koz. With tenor saxman Joe Henderson, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, pianist Duke Pearson, bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Al Harewood.

One Response to “This Week’s Hit Parade”

  1. Michael Hochanadel says:

    Is “Treme” New Orleans-ish for “tremendous”?
    Seriously, this show is seriously good: real, deep, true, angry and beautiful.

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