Tuesday, December 04, 2007

1001 Albums – Numbers 14 and 15

So we've got a couple of these to catch up on. First up is Little Richard and his literally titled album Here's Little Richard. The style of music is early rock and roll with a swinging boogie feel, but the main focus of the songs is Little Richard's distinctive wailing voice. He's a great performer and there's no denying the energy and showmanship he exudes, but the arrangements that he's put in tend to be predictable and lifeless. Sure, it's hard not to enjoy 'Tutti Frutti', but the rest of the album drags more than a little, save for when the sax gets a chance to blast out a wild, impassioned solo, or when Little Richard gets to unleash a few of his trademark howls.

Next up is Tito Puente's Dance Mania. I generally disapprove of listening to dance music without doing any actual dancing, but in the interests of science I did my best to give this album a chance anyway. The dance in this particular instance is of the latin variety, encompassing subgenres such as cha cha and mambo, and numerous others that I won't even try to pretend I can name. Like all dance music it suffers from an excess of faked enthusiasm, especially in the vocals, when listened to at home on headphones rather than in its intended setting (a busy social environment supplied with psychoactive substances). Nevertheless once I got past that and really paid attention I was impressed by the musicianship, especially of the jazz style horns. There's actually a lot more going on here musically than my initial sneering dismissal of it as Ricky Martin's drunk, abusive parent, and it's certainly not possible to listen to without tapping your foot. In fact, maybe I should try starting latin dance lessons again...

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