One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


John Coltrane Quartet - "Afro Blue"

Sean having set the stage by posting a six hour song on Friday, I now follow suit with this, the shortest cut off my favourite release of 2005, "Afro Blue" from John Coltrane's One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note. Recorded in the Spring of '65, just after Coltrane's year of unsurpassed brilliance, this live set showcases the classic Coltrane Quartet in top form, pushed stylistically beyond what they had done on Crescent and A Love Supreme, right up to their limit, as it would turn out. These are longer, freer, more exhaustive investigations than the band or almost anyone else had done previously. Coltrane does not cease to surprise - just as you feel he has explored all a theme has to offer, he will approach it from a new, more oblique angle, showing you something about the song that was there the whole time, that you'd never heard but that you'd felt. Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones provide an erratic, tense heartbeat, while McCoy Tyner furiously bangs out storms on the piano. When the radio announcer's voice interrupts the end of the song, we are presented with a very strange juxtaposition indeed: the immanent, earth-bound voice of a radio dee-jay and the transcendent, inter-stellar sounds of the best band of all time.

The band would take on a new form before the end of '65. Where Coltrane was going next he would need a drummer who would abandon traditional rhythms altogether, and horn players whose fluid and continuous shredding and skronking would provide a bed and a foil for his experiments. For me though, this moment, this night at the Half Note, is the high point of an arc, the lowest points of which themselves exist on a higher plane. [Buy]


Arthel "Doc" Watson - "Hicks' Farewell"

Arthel "Doc" Watson is known primarily as a master of flat-picked, rather milquetoast country music. But here, accompanied by a lone scratching fiddle, he unflinchingly examines his own mortality. Soon he will die, and though he will miss his wife, children, and friends for the short time he is separated from them, those he loves will come to join him soon enough, and for all eternity. He is absolutely sure of this. His voice is rich with bitter herbs, wet grass, moss, dirt, ash. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at January 23, 2006 2:33 PM

the one and only john coltrane i'd ever need in my life is ascension, i think. a holy communion of free jazz. sorry for being so negative.

Posted by alex at January 23, 2006 3:24 PM

"milquetoast country music"? If I didn't like your blog so much, and if I wasn't such a wuss, them would be fightin' words.

No, seriously, thanks for the Doc Watson. I don't have this one.

Posted by G-Dub at January 23, 2006 5:13 PM

that coltrane clip is AMAZING thanks for sharing

and i find it really great that you appreciate doc watson simultaneously, haha thats somethin the jazz snobs turn their nose at :p

im not big into blogs but i stumbled on this one, and its pretty awesome. i might add it as a favorite or whatever and check in every now and then.

Posted by joshmay at January 23, 2006 9:55 PM

I really like your blog and appreciate the music, but Doc Watson and "milquetoast?"

Posted by boblinn at January 24, 2006 12:31 AM

Alex - There's nothing wrong with Ascension, but I definitely wouldn't list it among my top five Coltrane albums. But let's not fight, Coltrane is a man with much to offer to many. (I don't really see your comment as very negative).

Milquetoast Complainants - Though some of his songs are really quite substantial and moving, the good doctor has also released a great deal of very light material.

Posted by Jordan at January 24, 2006 1:13 AM

Did you know:

milquetoasty adj.

Word History: An indication of the effect on the English language of popular culture is the adoption of names from the comic strips as English words. Casper Milquetoast, created by Harold Webster in 1924, was a timid and retiring man named for a timid food. The first instance of milquetoast as a common noun is found in the mid-1930s. Milquetoast thus joins the ranks of other such words, including sad sack, from a blundering army private invented by George Baker in 1942, and Wimpy, from J. Wellington Wimpy in the Popeye comic strip, which became a trade name for a hamburger. If we look to a related form of popular culture, the animated cartoon, we must of course acknowledge Mickey Mouse, which has become a slang term for something that is easy, insignificant, small-time, worthless, or petty.

PS Not even the top 5?

Posted by Joel Taylor at January 24, 2006 2:59 PM

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This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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our favourite blogs
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Ill Doctrine
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Words and Music
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Gorilla vs Bear
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Clouds of Evil
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Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
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Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
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The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
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st-viateur bagel
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drawn + quarterly
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blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
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yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
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