Yesterday on “Wavelength” I continued the approach I have been taking the past few weeks—playing two songs each from selected favorite albums. Here’s today’s playlist.
Let me recommend five of the records I featured on the show.
Sam Cooke—Night Beat. About a year before he was shot to death, Sam Cooke was reaching the peak of his powers. Prior to that time, his albums were simply collections of singles. With “Night Beat” he put together a coherent long playing record, the only one he created in his all-too-short life. It can be heard on Lala here. And here is the All-Music Guide review.
Mavis Staples—We’ll Never Turn Back. I named Mavis Staples’ record “We’ll Never Turn Back” the Wavelength record of the year in 2007. It’s a wonderful tribute to the American Civil Rights movement, recovering some powerful justice songs. And, Mavis can bring it! It can be heard on Lala here. And here is the All-Music Guide review.
John Trudell—AKA Grafitti Man. Several years ago, I watched a moving documentary on the Native American social activist John Trudell. The film ends with treatment of Trudell’s poetry/music. I decided to check it out and discovered this record, that was released in 1993. It’s kind of a version of rap, with mostly spoken voice and a lot of driving instrumentation. Trudell minces few words in his critique of empire and his call for liberation. It can be heard on Rhapsody here. And here is the All-Music Guide review.
Ray Wylie Hubbard—A: Enlightenment B: Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C) (Dig). Ray Wylie has become a senior figure in the Texas music scene, but his energy has yet to be diminished, as seen in this brand new (January 2010) record. It ranks among his best. As one reviewer states: “His songs possess the tenderness of a poet, the empathy of a historian, and the raw nerve of a card shark.” It can be heard on Lala here. And here is the All-Music Guide review.
Bruce Cockburn—Live. I’ve long been a Bruce Cockburn fan; I love his combination of progressive politics and religious faith. And he’s a fine writer and great guitarist. In fact, it was back in April 1989 that I saw him in concert. He was in the midst of a very long tour at that point—the music from that tour is captured on this fine live record. It can be heard on Lala here. And here is the All-Music Guide review.