Many people don’t realize this, but many public libraries have a service called FREEGAL, which lets you download 3-5 albums per week for free. Their selection isn’t great and they often don’t let you download tracks longer than 10 minutes,
For Saint Patrick’s Day, I relistened to some albums by the Cranberries — and realized that I hadn’t heard their last few albums.
Capsule Reviews of my Collection
Here is an extremely pleasant and upbeat collection of Panamanian tunes from the 1960s and 1970s with an awesome and jamming accordion. I’m assuming that Espino plays the accordion and sings. The female singer is also lots of fun.
Musical Mystery Meat
Last month I mentioned how I regularly download this gigantic stash of audio tracks by all sorts of musicians who perform for South by Southwest. I was bowled over by Nigerian Afropop sensation Yemi Alade; here’s an infectious song bumbum (she also sings in English and Nigerian language), and almost all her songs have well-made vids. These songs are just about dancing as they are about the melodies. All the songs have a joyous — get off your feet quality.
Articles about Music
I have noted early about my love for the Ukrainian electronic-folk band Onuka who did this dynamite debut as the “interval act” during Eurovision. Here’s a nice interview of the lead singer Nata Zhzhchenko in a Kiev publication and a profile in Odessa Review. Lots to chew on in both articles, but delighted to learn that her husband’s band Maneka is on the same label, and the two frequently collaborate. Here’s a nice live concert (with a popin from Nata in the middle).
Maybe you already know this, but the song You Light Up My Life was written by a serial rapist named Joseph Brooks, and Debby Boone ended up having to re-record the song after the original singer for the movie soundtrack (Kasey Cisyk) refused to sleep with him, and Brooks wanted to take revenge. It got pretty sordid. Cisyk’s singing of the song was nominated for an Oscar for best song and won, but Brooks instead had Debby Boone perform it at the Oscar ceremony and removed Cisyk from the song credits in the movie and album. (She later sued and won. 3 decades later, NYC indicted Brooks for 90 charges of rape, and he killed himself before he got to trial). Strangely Debby Boone was in the dark about all this — and admitted that she was told simply to copy the original singer’s performance for the recording, and she sang it as if it were a religious song.
Here’s Cisyk’s version . It’s an excellent version and not very different from what Boone did. Although this was a definite low point in her career, she did a lot of singing in US commercials — and recorded a lot of Ukrainian folk albums in the 80s before dying of breast cancer. But you have to wonder, what would have happened if the version with the original singer was released and not Debby Boone’s version. For the record, my sister loved this song when we were growing up… and I couldn’t stand it….
- Blow Up by Television. 6.99, 13 tracks, 82 minutes.
- Sale% by the Maneken. 61 minutes, 6.49, 14 tracks. On the Vidlik label (the same label that produces Onuka). Maneken is married to the lead singer of Onuka and kind of runs that band. Here he is doing Bruno Mars like pop stuff.
- Lost Art of Longing by BT. I have downloaded several BT albums. Great EDM stuff — very frenetic and energetic. This one feels slower, more relaxing, more like Robert Miles’ dream trance. This is great stuff to listen while taking a nap — never too intense or harsh — well, the remixes are somewhat more intense
- Sketches in D Minor by Hardy Tree, 99 cents
- Summer by Iorie
- Fiesta by Chick Corea. 99 cents, 5 tracks, 34 minutes.
- Gran Riserva by Dzihan & Kamien
- Singing through the Hard Time: Tribute to Utah Phillips. 39 tracks, 6.49 130 minutes. Nice performers of songs for an acclaimed writer of folk songs.
- Slugger by Sad13. 35 minutes, 11 tracks for 6.49. (BC page).
- Several releases from Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records: Make it Beautiful by Sara Lee (10 tracks, 48 minutes, 5$), Dilate by Ani DiFranco (same), Knuckle Down by Ani DiFranco and Binary (4.99, 11 minutes, 49 minutes). Will buy some more of that label later.
- Tough Love by Hamell on Trial. (BC, Pay What You want), Songs with an Attitude. Actually about half of his albums are PWYW. I really love the guitar jamming; these are real bluesy rock songs! Update: Ok, there’s some bluesy rock, but there’s also punk a la Violent Femmes. Versatile, never know what to expect.
Freegal Downloads & Library CDs
- Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple. Grammy winner.
- Bubba by Kaytranada. EDM Grammy winner
- Afro-Peruvian Classics. Great compilation.
- Roses by Cranberries — an album released shortly before Delores O’Riordan’s death.
- Revolutionary Love by Ani DiFranco. Hey I bought a few other DiFranco albums, I deserve this freebie!