Friday, December 30, 2011
December's Underappreciated Music (w/links): RIP: Sam Rivers, and Johnny Cash: DESTINATION VICTORIA STATION (Columbia Special Products, 1975)
It doesn't seem too likely that a promotional item for a gimmicky chain restaurant might be one of the best anthology albums of the career of someone of Johnny Cash's stature, nor the best collection of train songs I've encountered (even when compared to Cash's own early themed album Ride This Train); the Wikipedia entry on the record states that most of the recordings were new for this album (seems possible, though that wasn't the usual procedure for CBS Special Products releases, but this is Cash, and some of his favorite songs). But it's the very fact that this album cherry-picks wisely from the catalog of Cash's recordings for CBS that makes it such great listening, even with the fleshing out by Cash of his Victoria Station jingle into a pleasant, unmemorable "real" song at the tag end.
Look to this selection:
Casey Jones (Johnny Cash) 3:01
Hey Porter (Cash) 2:41
John Henry (Traditional) 2:51
Wabash Cannonball (A.P. Carter) 2:39
City of New Orleans (Steve Goodman) 3:38
Folsom Prison Blues (Cash) 2:45
Crystal Chandeliers and Burgundy (Jack Routh) 2:27
Wreck of the Old 97 (Trad. arr. by Cash, Norman Blake, Bob Johnson) 1:49
Waitin' for a Train (Jimmie Rodgers) 1:46
Orange Blossom Special (Ervin T. Rouse) 3:05
Texas 1947 (Guy Clark) 3:16
Destination Victoria Station (Cash) 2:20
--and you see it's not only a good representation of Cash's career, but a not too terribly unrepresentative slice through the history of country music and the folk music which it came out of. And Cash is, unsurprisingly given that this is a cherry-picking anthology, at his best, with some of his best bands and arrangements, throughout. When I picked up this LP at a rummage sale for 50c, I wasn't aware of the Victoria Station chain of restaurants, and I still haven't been inside of one (if they're even still in operation), but even given the promotional nature of this record, it's still a gift from Cash and his colleagues, and we're lucky to have it as a measure of their legacy.
An incomplete reading of "City of New Orleans" but a similar if less accompanied version:
"Hey, Porter" (similar vintage, same arrangement)
Scott Parker usually has a list of participating blogs in this monthly meme...but if none arises over the course of the day, I'll probably compile what I see...
...and I've been missing the news a lot of late, so missed till just now the note that the seminal jazz reed-player (primarily a saxophonist, but also flautist and more) Sam Rivers died on 26 December, in an item Bill Crider posted. Rest in glory; two of his tracks for Blue Note albums, when he and Eric Dolphy were the primary free jazz innovators for that label:
"Dance of the Tripedal"
More recent big-band work: "Pulsar"
Patti Abbott: Etta James: "At Last"
Yvette Banek: John Williams: Score to Superman (1978)
Sean Coleman: The Flying Burrito Brothers: The Gilded Palace of Sin
Bill Crider: the music of Robert Mitchum
Jerry House: hymns
Randy Johnson: Chuck Mangione: Children of Sanchez
George Kelley: Linda Eder: Now
Kate Laity: The Cundeez
Todd Mason: the music of Sam Rivers; Johnny Cash: Destination Victoria Station
Eric Peterson: Demon Knight (soundtrack album)
Charlie Ricci: Chicago: Hot Streets