JIM FINNIGAN’S POOP 2021
Well the good thing was that at least we stopped (some of) the crazy. But TFG’s minions are still hell-bent on further trying to destroy the country by opposing any measures to control the virus that his incompetence caused to be spread everywhere.
At least concerts and movies have been making a comeback, although tentatively. I’m still not into exploring the recordings of new artists and groups, but what the hell, I can still provide a Poop list based on a bunch of oldies but goodies.
So here’s some stuff that I got into this year:
- Both Ways – The Jeffrey Lewis & Peter Stampfel Band – tackling folk songs by Sonny Bono, e e cummings, Hawkwind, Autosalvage, Lou Reed, and Tom Verlaine, as well as the usual exhumations from the Folkways Anthology. Louder and more rocking than their previous releases, and Peter still in good voice.
- The Time of the Foxgloves – Michael Hurley in a bucolic mood. Includes a tribute to the Nelsonville Festival, and a version of Jacob’s Ladder.
- Peter Stampfel’s 20th Century in 100 Songs – 5 discs of great songs – lotta Tin Pan Alley for the first 3 discs, and then when rock ‘n’ roll takes over the weird ones come out. Unfortunately Peter was developing a case of dysphonia at the time of the recording of the rock ‘n’ roll songs, so some of those songs are not the best and brightest vocals, but he and producer Mark Bingham try different things to ameliorate the situation. But still – I’ll take 3 full CDs of keepers.
- Speaking of dysphonia, Shirley Collins has been recovering from the condition in the last few years. On her latest, the Crowlink EP, she’s sounding even better than on last year’s Heart’s Ease. With her backing musicians providing “settings”, and her now baritone voice, she is becoming the new Nico.
- The Essential Gary Lucas – The first disc is the perfect Gods and Monsters compilation, and the second is a pretty good sampler of his various collaborations.
- An Evening with Silk Sonic – The Motown sound (and choreography) updated. And Bootsy!
- And more Bootsy Collins! – The Power of The One. Including a version of Jacob’s Ladder (though you gotta find it in the Off-Broadway number).
- And next we have Elvis Costello and compatriots presenting Si Spanish Model. Paging Joe “King” Carrasco! Very enjoyable, very energetic.
- And more proof that we 60-somethings can still rock out: The Problem of Leisure* – *A Celebration of Andy Gill & Gang of Four just reeks of punk-funk.
- Floating Points by Pharoah Sanders with the London Symphony Orchestra (and the actual Floating Points guy) – an almost “Ambient” jazz album.
- Finally caught up with June Tyson’s Saturnian Queen of the Sun Ra Arkestra – from 2019 – a perfect companion to last year’s Sun Ra bestie, Swirling.
- All Aboard The C.N. Express – Rock Steady and Boss Reggae Sounds 1967-1968 – excellent rocksteady compilation, the riddims never let up.
- Pressure Sounds keeps popping out excellent Lee Perry compilations – Black Art from the Black Ark is another good’un. Like Betty White, never thought Scratch would leave the planet
- Not much activity from the On-U Sound front: Enjoyed the Big People Music LP and Hercules EP by Ghetto Priest, The David Asher Band’s DAB (he hosts monthly On-U Sunday Roasts on the Widgeon Theatre Boat internet radio station), and Jeb Loy by Jeb Loy Nichols with Cold Diamonds & Mink.
- Punk Professor Vivien Goldman (former On-U Women's Auxiliary) made a good impression with her debut album Next Is Now – pretty nice to put out a dub debut album at 69! Quite as nice as the Resolutionary Songs compilation of singles and album appearances of a couple of years ago.
- Rhiannon Giddens + Francesco Turrisi’s They’re Calling Me Home is a “classy” folk album if ever I heard one.
- Natural Velvet’s Emblemata – Mirror to Make You Remixes is a bit of a pleasant surprise. The guitar is mixed down and the beats are emphasized. I like.
- The two most recent entries in Kompakt’s Pop Ambient series of compilations are good’uns – Pop Ambient 2021 and Pop Ambient 2022.
- And shout out to two recent Echo Beach compilations – the Don Letts curated Late Night Tales – Version Excursion and Repulse Reggae Classics by Dennis Bovell meets Dubblestandart.
Loved me some music films this year too – great to see them in actual movie houses:
?Questlove’s Summer of Soul at Upstate Rhinebeck
Edgar Wright’s The Sparks Brothers at the Poughkeepsie Galleria
Todd Haynes’s The Velvet Underground at the Bardavon
Richard Peete & Robert Yapkowitz’s Karen Dalton: In My Own Time at Upstate Saugerties (with a brief Peter Stampfel set)
Been enjoying gigs in person too – special props to venues who *actually check for CDC vaccination cards* as opposed to those say they will but don’t:
David Amram @ The Falcon Marlboro
Corey Glover & friends @ The Falcon Marlboro
The Down Hill Strugglers @ Tompkins Corners Cultural Center
The Dead Lecturers (James Brandon Lewis, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Melanie Dyer) @ Elysium Furnace Works @ Beacon Yoga
Liana Gabel & The Star Sisters @ Rail Trail Cafe Rosendale
Madeleine Grace a/k/a Sonic Elixirs @ Rail Trail Cafe Rosendale [one of The Star Sisters]
Taiko Masala @ Widow Grace Mine Rosendale
Paul Oakley Stovall [from ‘Hamilton’] re-creating Frederick Douglass’s 1 August 1858 speech at its original location @ College Hill Park Poughkeepsie
Jennifer Maidman Trio @ The Colony Beer Garden Woodstock
Eric Person Trio, Judith Tulloch Trio, Breakneck Ridge Revue, The Cabos (ex-Solar Sound Band) @ Beacon Sloop Club Corn Festival
The Esopus Creek Puppet Suite @ The Arm-of-the-Sea Tidewater Center @ Saugerties
The Guzmango Saxophone Quartet @ Rail Trail Cafe Rosendale – and – at Sinterklaas Rhinebeck
Jeffrey Lewis & The Voltage @ The Colony Beer Garden Woodstock
The Trouble Sisters @ The Dogwood Beacon
Ed Palermo’s Big Band ‘Zapped Vaxed & Saxed’ @ The Falcon Marlboro
The Balkan Festival with Mac $ Cheese and Eva Salina @ Rail Trail Cafe Rosendale
Carlos Niño & friends with Laraaji @ Commend @ Forsyth St. @ Lower East Side Manhattan
Eric Person Quartet performing the music of Ronald Shannon Jackson @ Quinn’s Beacon
Sinterklaas Rhinebeck with (besides the Guzmangos) the Vassar Devils, Betty & The Baby Boomers, Bard College Georgian Choir, Djam Gong, Batata New York Samba Band, The Chinelos, Demolition Brass Band, and a beautiful warm night for a change [and Lin-Manuel Miranda (speakng of ‘Hamilton’) checking out the scene as one of the ‘unwashed public’]
Finally, I was too disappointed with The Specials Protest Songs album to include it in my list mainly because it was *not ska!*. But I somehow ended up with a Czechoslovakian pressing of the CD with 2 bonus live cuts which I do like. From the parting words on the live cuts: “Beware of the New World Order: Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and Simon Cowell”