Saturday, December 15, 2007

Michael Hurley "Ancestral Swamp" mp3s
Joseph Spence "Bahamian Guitarist" mp3s
Grateful Dead "Anthem of the Sun" mp3s
Grateful Dead "Anthem of the Sun" LP
Michael Hurley "Ancestral Swamp" mp3s

This new Michael Hurley album is great -- just him & guitar (or piano), dry, laconic, skeletal, at the same time both nonchalant and mournful. He is getting up there in years, born the same year as Dylan, and as much as I like Modern Times and, say, World Gone Wrong (which is much closer to the sound of Ancestral Swamp), Hurley seems to have found a more casual and naturalistic merger of aging and bardism. It's always fun when one album makes me think of the next one I'm gonna play, and something about the Hurley was reminding me of Joseph Spence, so when it ended I put on Bahamian Guitarist and it seemed like just the next act on the bill at folk night. I mean, of course, they're both older dudes playing a guitar and singing, somewhat playful and light in their approach, the similarities are obvious.... (lessee, Bahamian Guitarist was recorded in 1971, when Spence was 61, and Ancestral Swamp was recorded "over the last seven, eight years", starting right about when Hurley turned 60)..... Anthem of the Sun is sounding better than ever. I always passed on it for Live/Dead and soundboards, because it's the one Dead album all the Siltbreeze fans like me are allowed to like and still be allowed to hate hippies, but I already liked hippies (as long as they're not TOO hippie) and I've always loved the Dead whether they're being noisy or not. Whoah, right now Lesh's bass on "Born Cross-Eyed" is amazing -- sick low end, playing his usual rambling, gutsy, and strangely nimble blues basslines. This mp3 rip sounds great, I've gotta put on my LP and compare! Hmm, it's a 1980s-ish Warner Bros. reissue, sounds pretty similar to the mp3. And finally, while writing the above about Ancestral Swamp while listening to Anthem of the Sun, I got the urge to put it on again next. So that's what I did. Still sounds great -- dig that finger-plucking on "El Dorado"!

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