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“Dolby’s Holiday Wish List”

No matter what your ethnicity is, we can all look forward to a couple of days off around the end of this month, having some drinks, sharing some laughs, and probably loosening the ol’ belt a notch or two. I’d originally planned on boycotting Christmas entirely because of my association of it with corporate America and therefore Donald Trump, and to be sure I still haven’t bought any presents or anything, but god da**ed if there isn’t something salacious about all the decorations, and the overall feel you get this time of year.
Plus, I still want stuff! I still want ze CD’s! Easy enough. Take the CD home, pop it in the player, etc., etc. You can even skip tracks, ‘cause baby you’re a full grown man.
It’s funny, too: I have the exact same music taste as the old bearded who runs the store down the street (Headstone and Friends), except that he doesn’t listen to rap, so he was a big help in cluing me in on this Hendrix release — Machine Gun release that just happened. I’m personally glad to see that it’s billed as the “Debut Concert of Band of Gypsys… Released in Its Entirety.” Just a few weeks ago on this blog, I published a blurb called something like “Grateful Dead – Europe ’72: The Classic Album That Should Have Been,” and my point was that exact thing, that the album did not cover spectral segments of concert completeness. It was like the WHOLE THING was one big climax, which obviously makes for a multitude of great songs, but less so in the realm of listening to the thing from front to back. Consider a track like “Untitled” on Pearl Jam’s Live on Two Legs. Since I was 15 when that album came out, I don’t think I’ve ever once skipped over that song, but I also never would have necessarily named as a favorite the way I perhaps would the anthemic “Jack Straw”; “Ramble on Rose”; “I Know You Rider”; “Brown-Eyed Women”; “Tennessee Jed”; and all those. Just recently it’s hit me how great a song it is, besides for the simple fact of its allowing the energy to ebb for a moment, like an exhale before and after every inhale.
So here’s what I want.
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Blitzen Trapper – Live at Third Man Records
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Part of the satisfaction of this band is constantly discovering new songs they might have under their sleeves, and within the scope of this live album you can be fairly sure that they’re not just playing a big practical joke on their fans, and on critics. With this being the case, and the fact that it’s this band, it’s probably gonna be some hummable freakin’ music.
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Grateful Dead – Arista Years
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Unlike the Jimi Hendrix Experience (not to be confused with Jimi Hendrix and the Band of Gypsys, which made this list), the Grateful Dead turned in a classic track or two in the studio, as well as live. “Estimated Prophet” kicks things off in a most spirited way, and for a while I forgot what an off-the-charts song “Throwing Stones” is — you really get caught up in the political implications of the lyrics when you listen to it, and Bob Weir’s voice is a great seller.
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Grateful Dead – Complete Live Rarities / Boxed Set
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Check back somewhere around Christmas 2017 for a full assessment of this full Grateful Dead steak dinner here.
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Jimi Hendrix – Machine Gun: First Fillmore East Show
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How many live albums actually consist of one concert, all the way through? The Velvet Underground – Live at Max’s Kansas City, Hendrix’s unbelievable, spellbinding Live at Winterland (Live on Two Legs doesn’t, actually), and many of the Grateful Dead ones, and da**ed if they don’t generally tower over that cautious bits-and-pieces strategy we find too often. The bevy of old blues covers will be welcome too, I think, although originals from the Gypsys usually also haven’t disappointed.
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Mudhoney – Piece of Cake
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I had a Mudhoney playlist on at work a couple weeks ago and “Blinding Sun” off of this album came on somewhere in the middle of it. And it was like staring straight into the sun, or taking some acid that was too strong. Great rock and roll, in other words. Why hasn’t this album gotten more press? No idea, other than its lack of hipster draw for major label debut, perhaps.
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Ras Kass – Intellectual Property: S012
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This dude’s just throwin’ it down. Nothing more and nothing less than the best hip-hop album of the year, just like To Pimp a Butterfly was last year, except maybe even more entertaining for the fact that he gets RZA on here and then just has him repeat one thing the whole time. That ego made quite a pop there!
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Umphrey’s McGee – Zonkey
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I’m not even lying to you… I’ve been having the WEIRDEST coincidences happen with music lately. Well, the first one of course was that my parents for some very odd reason chose to raise me in South Bend, Indiana, the birthplace of Umphrey’s McGee. Then I was listening to pop radio (pretty tolerable) at work last Sunday, I just kept thinking of Jimmy Eat World, and all of a sudden they played “The Middle,” though not “Sweetness.” Then just a second ago on my cpu., dang, I go, Umphrey’s totally needs a cover album. Props to ‘em for concealing the heck out of this thing. I guess. Didn’t check yet if it has Beatles or Zeppelin.
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Wilco, Shmilco
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This is one of those albums I refuse to pay money for (hey, the name says it all!), but with some warming, buzzing and hearty production the band do manage to churn out some pretty da** playable, light tunes, sort of like if that Beck rockabilly stuff didn’t suck.
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Wire – Nocturnal Koreans
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Veteran band, self-explanatory.
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Yo La Tengo – May I Sing with Me?
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For some odd reason this is not the hipster preferred Yo La Tengo album (that honor would probably go to its successor Painful)… this one is more full of little ditties than extended, noisy jams, but is the better for it, at least if “Upside-Down” and “Swing for Life” are any indication. I don’t think the greatest hits-es-es usually do this band justice. This even goes for their recent albums.

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