Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Oxford American Music Issue

Every year the Oxford American puts out its annual music issue. Well, except when they aren't publishing at all, which is frequently, but what can you do? This year's has been out for a while, but I finally got my hands on it. It's worth buying, if you see it, for three reasons. One and two--The CD. Every year they include a great CD of Southern music. This year's is not their best. (Last year's was amazing--Esther Phillips, you are my queen.) But every year there's something that makes you stop dead in your tracks. This year I'd say there are two moments. One is Buddy Holly's "Dearest," which has to be the sweetest little song ever. The other comes in the middle of Sammi Smith's "This Room for Rent," when Smith delivers "There's the door that he walked through when he finally found the nerve to say all the things she would have sworn he'd never say" that makes you just want to curl up and cry for that girl. (There's also an awesome version of "Piece of My Heart" by Aretha Franklin's sister, Erma, which has to be heard to be believed.) And you should get it for Tom Piazza's amazing obituary of Jimmy Martin. I'll admit right up front that I'm biased. Tom Piazza is one of my favorite people on the planet--an amazing writer and a kindhearted man with a voracious curiosity (my favorite trait in just about anyone). But biases aside, he really gets Jimmy Martin in a way I think few people do. Tom says about Martin, "He was incapable of the kinds of dissembling, duplicity, politeness, and homogenization that make for a smooth careeer in today's Gentleman's Business of country music, where every outlaw has his own hairdresser. He did everything to the hilt, whether it was telling a joke, hunting, eating, feeling sorry for himself, or playing music. Above all, playing music. He had a kind of contempt for half-measures and timid souls, and his first project would be to try to find out how steady you were on your feet." The rest of it is just as good.


Blogger Peggasus said...

Cool. Thanks for the notice. I've got some errand-running to do tomorrow and plan on stopping by a Borders as my treat for going to areas where malls are. I hope they have it.

10/27/2005 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

If you find it, Peg, you'll have to let me know what you think.

10/27/2005 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger grandefille said...

Oh, darlin'. First thing I did when I changed computers was load all my OA CDs into iTunes. I'd have a hard time saying which is my favorite of all, because Rosie Clooney's "Blues in the Night" from the 1998 issue is possibly the world's most perfect song.

Although Lynda Lyndell's "What a Man" from 2001 is right up there with it. And Ann Peebles' "I Can't Stand the Rain."

This newest one's probably their best collection yet. I wish it had included the cut of Johnny Cash and Louis Armstrong singing "Blue Yodel No. 9" that they discovered in a box in the Ryman. A prof I know had a great article ready for it, but they had some problems getting the licensing done in time, I think. (If you ever EVER get a chance to see that video, do so at once. It's a clip from Cash's TV show and it's such fun to watch.)

I love the articles with all the background on the obscurities. So. Much. Fun.

10/30/2005 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger 2NA said...

Does a buzzer go off when somebody responds to a post this old?

I'd only vaguely heard of Sammi Smith before the OA CD, I'm a big fan now. WIth respect to the lyrics of "This Room for Rent," they are quite a piece of work. I've listened to that song over and over and the most impressive thing about it is the wordplay. Writer's name is Janett Tooley who wrote two other songs on the original LP from which "Room" was taken. She's disappeared without a trace, as near as I can tell.

12/06/2006 07:24:00 AM  

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