Friday, January 28, 2011

A Toast To Charlie Louvin

"Cash On The Barrel Head" MP3

1/27/11 A-

Ithaca Flower Power IPA- Bierkraft Park Slope, Brooklyn- 12oz. bottle into Belgian Tulip Glass- 7.5% ABV- Ithaca, NY has a place in my heart. We used to go to a music festival up that way called Grassroots. Saw alot of good bands: Del McCoury Band, The Campbell Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Mighty Clouds Gospel Group and the list goes on. Also we drank alot of beer, alot of beer. Not quality beer but alot of beer nonetheless. Haven't been up there in 4 or 5 years but hope to go back someday. This poured a golden, hazy almost orange with a nice two finger head. The aroma is heavy on citrus particularly grapefruit. Silky medium to light body, with a slick finish. This taste is very grassy mixed with citrus. I am really liking this beer. Probably more appropriate for spring or summer but a good IPA. This reminds me a bit of the Hop Wallop I tried a few months back but with a much "grassier" quality. I will definitely drink this again.

On the turntable is I'll Always Remember- Charlie Louvin- Recorded for Capitol Records in 1967- RIP July 7, 1927 – January 26, 2011- Mr. Louvin passed away the other day and I bought this LP last summer and had just broken it out to digitize the other day so it seemed like a fitting tribute to include this LP on tonight's blog.. Charlie Louvin was part of the bluegrass/country duo The Louvin Brothers with his brother Ira. Renowned for their vocal harmonies, they inspired many of the artists who came to prominence in the rock n' roll era. Gaining popularity in the 1950's the brother's eventually broke up in the early 60's. They also gained some amount of notoriety among vinyl enthusiasts for their strange LP cover for the album "Satan Is Real".

Ira Louvin died in a car accident in 1965. This LP is from 1967 and by the looks of the cover and the songs included this album was an inspired tribute from Charlie to his recently deceased brother. This is a good record with a nice mix of bluegrass and country songs with some arrangements that include some nice steel guitar. I have started posting songs to go along with the blogs when applicable and when the LP's are no longer in print. Today I have included the song "Cash On The Barrel Head". This song is a bit of an oddity on the album with its late 60's fuzzed out guitar and possibly an organ in the background. I nice little ode to old time justice.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Movin' On A Milk Stout

"I'm Movin' On" MP3

“What Kind of Fool Am I?” MP3 B+

Keegan Ales Milk Stout- Bierkraft Park Slope, Brooklyn12oz. bottle into Belgian Tulip Glass- ABV NA- Black with some hints of brown around the edges. A little over a fingers worth of head. Caramel colored head. Little to no lacing on the glass. Smoky roasted, malts coffee aroma. A bit thin bodied for a stout maybe but has a nice silky quality and a fair amount of carbonation. Again the smokey, roasted malts come throughout in the taste of this beer which is only matched by its coffee like character. I like this beer and it goes down pretty smooth. I would love to try this on tap somewhere. A good stout.

Jimmy Smith- I’m Movin’ On- Recorded for Blue Note Records in 1963-Beyond resolving to make it through a year of beer reviews I am eager to incorporate some jazz records into the blog. Jazz records were what kind of drew me to records in the first place. In the past 3 or 4 years I haven't bought much jazz because I kind of burned out on it a bit. Lately I have found myself creeping back into the genre in my daily listening. The record I am listening to today I dug out as one of the first records I ripped from vinyl to MP3 format on my USB turntable. When people ask me about getting into jazz music, which is not very often, I suggest either Jimmy Smith or Grant Green to start with. Both were pivotal players in what has become commonly known as the soul-jazz style. Following the hard-bop jazz of the late fifties and early sixties soul-jazz came to prominence among the juke box crowds hungry for a less complex gritty fusion of soul, funk and briefer instrumental passages than traditional jazz. These passages now relied on electric guitar and organ as lead instruments. The music is more accessible, I believe, to a casual listener. Their music has the improvisatory elements of jazz with a more down home feel than their be-bop predecessors. Over playing and/or complicated arrangements often confuse the average listener and can turn them away from jazz or off altogether.

This record is the only record that Jimmy Smith recorded with Grant Green. Smith and Green were two of the first Jazz musicians I was really into. I have quite a few Smith and Green records but this is the only album where they played together. The first jazz cd I bought was Jimmy Smith’s Home Cookin’ which introduced me to one of my other favorite guitarists Kenny Burrell. I’m Movin’ On is neither my favorite J. Smith record or favorite Grant Green record but it is an above average organ trio record, with Don Bailey on Drums, and was a welcome addition to my collection. Despite the presence of both Green and Smith on this album one of my favorite tracks is a solo version of “What Kind of Fool Am I?” performed by Jimmy Smith alone at the organ.

I learned of this record after reading Grant Green's Biography which included a pretty detailed discography. I looked for this record for a long time and found it in Brooklyn one Saturday afternoon. I was on my way out of the store when I realized I hadn’t checked the J. Smith section, which at the time was a must. I went to the back of the store and started flipping through the Smith section, which was only a handful of records to begin with, and there it was! I was shocked I spent the better part of about 4 years looking for this record. Not just in shops but also at record fairs without success. I saw it on EBAY a few times but resisted the urge to bid on it. It has turned out to be one of my only original pressing Blue Note records and one of the records I appreciate most in my collection for the chase.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

First Post of the New Year: An English Style Barley Wine From Brooklyn with Bert Jansch

January 13, 2010 rating- B+

Brooklyn Monster Ale 2010- 12oz. bottle into Belgian Tulip glass- Bierkraft- Brooklyn, NY- 10.8% ABV. My first post for the new year and I hope to make it through a complete year this time. I went to Bierkraft in Park Slope, Brooklyn last week with a friend who wanted to check it out as well. They had a good selection of growlers and bottles but for me it’s a bit far from home so I don’t expect to go back often but it was a cool place to check out. This Barleywine poured a deep ruby color, bordering on brown. About a fingers worth of head which receded rapidly. I have read this maybe due to the high alcohol content. Raisins, dates and alcohol in the aroma. Little to no lacing. Medium to light carbonation and a medium to light mouthfeel. This maybe the booziest tasting beer I have ever had. Wow, there is definitely some heat here, bordering on heartburn. Not that it is a bad thing just unexpected. I kind of like the heat considering its pretty cold outside but I sure wouldn’t want to have this at anytime other than in the late fall or winter.

For Christmas my wife got me a USB Drive Turntable. It’s pretty exciting so after the initial set-up and subsequent engineering of my storage capabilities I started ripping some of my old vinyl. I am not planning on ripping all my vinyl to mp3’s but definitely a bunch of stuff which is not available in CD format. I hope to post a few tracks here and there on the blog but that’s still a bit down the road.

The Best of Bert Jansch- Bert Jansch- Shanachie Records. So I was inspired to pull this LP out because I have been casually reading Whole Lotta Love- The Illustrated History of the Heaviest Band of All Time which I got from the library. It’s similar in format to the Neil Young book I described in an earlier post and it inspired me to dig out this record. A small mention of Bert Jansch reminded me of my neglected Best of LP. All you Jimmy Page fans may or may not already know but he didn’t just cop his licks from old black bluesmen, he also cribbed a few riffs from young white folkies i.e. Bert Jansch. Bert Jansch’s arrangement of the traditional song“Black Water Side” was famously recreated by Jimmy Page as “Black Mountain Side” for Led Zeppelin without crediting the original source. It was not until years later that Mr. Page acknowledged Mr. Jansch’s influence on the song. It has been speculated that Pablo Picasso said the best artist's don't borrow, they steal. An interesting website which goes further into the subject of Jimmy Page’s “influences” can be found at This post is not a knock on Jimmy Page, in fact I am a huge fan of him and have been since I first heard 'Black Dog" ringing from my friends bedroom window while we played basketball, but just an interesting intro to today’s post.

I bought this at a record store in Brooklyn, which is no longer there, a few years ago. I had wanted some Bert Jansch for awhile and when I found this LP I actually shelved it for awhile and listened to it later on. Not as commercial or successful as some of his contemporaries he has been rewarded and recognized in recent years by both new artists and old. I am not sure how I learned about him but I am think he may have been referred to in a magazine article by one of these new “freak-folk” artists from a few years ago. This LP is a good intro to his work and highlights both his instrumental work and creaky vocal abilities. Angie, The First Time I Ever Saw Her Face, Box of Love and It Don’t Bother Me are some of the selections represented here which resonate with me and represent Jansch’s solo career from 1965-71. My favorite Bert Jansch album is probably LA Turnaround mentioned in an earlier post where he plays with the steel guitar legend Red Rhodes and was produced by none other than ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith. I have been enjoying the Best of LP all week actually on the train since digitizing it. His guitar playing is hypnotic and at times haunting but enjoyable and wonderfully fluid. Not a record you would reach out for if you were hoping to hear shredding, lead guitar work but if you want some meditative, brooding musicianship I would recommend seeking out some Bert Jansch.