Library CD Roulette #2

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After I posted the first column it dawned on me that I forgot to explain the rules of my little game. Selections are made at random, but not totally so. My library limits you to ten CDs at a time. As such, I shall never rent ten from the same genre. In fact, three ‘library genres’ have to be hit each time. (The library has odd ideas of what genres are, but this is how they are sorted so I deal.) Also, the library has random CDs displayed prominently. One of these must be chosen if possible. Never get more than one from an artist unless they are a known entity. Lastly, randomly asking someone else to pick a CD for you is encouraged.


The Ballad Collection by June Christy

Release Date - 2000

Run Time - 55:50

Album Art - Classy

Reason for Rental - Library Choice

Listening Experience - Lovely. I love this style of jazz. It creates an atmosphere of sitting in a dimly lit, smoke filled jazz club watching a beautiful woman sing soulfully in a gorgeous dress. Yes, I have an active imagination. My only problem is I absolutely adore Julie London. As such, I have the genre kinda covered. Nothing against June Christy, but she sounds really similar to London, which in turn, make it unmemorable.

Score - Engaging. While this collection was not what I was looking for, it is still excellent. I will seek out a proper June Christy album and hopefully have better results.


Classic Railroad Songs by Various

Release Date - 2006

Run Time - 1:12:25

Album Art - Vintage

Reason for Rental - I looked on the back and noticed multiple people I like.

Listening Experience - Incredibly informative. I love little finds like this. Produced by the Smithsonian’s record label, this album takes a look at the traditional blue/folk/bluegrass tunes of the railroad. This took longer than usual to go thru, as I find myself hearing something, pausing, and recognizing it from a song I know. I heard “Linin’ Track” by Lead Belly and remember the lyrics being in the Aerosmith song “Hangman’s Jury”. Or hearing a line in “Jay Gould’s Daughter” and instantly remembering it being in Johnny Cash’s “Rock Island Line”. Then I hear Lead Belly playing “Rock Island Line” twenty minutes later. Which in turn, made me listen to Cash’s version again to see how he made the song his own. I just love being able to trace musical origins like that.

But what really puts this over this top is the liner notes. Each songs has two simple paragraphs written about them. The first is a mini-biography of the artist. The second is background about the song itself and a little recording history. I love Elizabeth Cotton. She will forever be the female voice of the blues for me. Oddly, I had never wiki’ed her, so the mini-bio was a nice little addition. As was learning that the New Market Train Wreck killed 62 people, most of which were in two separate funeral processions along the train tracks. Random history tidbit, but nonetheless interesting.

Score - A History Channel Special. Now, I loved this album. But would I buy it? I don’t think so. Like a History Channel Special, it was very entertaining, but I doubt would revisit, specially the liner notes. The music is uneven at times, but the good outweighs the bad. I hate sitting on the fence, but I think I have to. So, check your local library for a copy and spend two hours with it. I’d also go a far a to check out any albums from the Smithsonian Folkways label. That is my plan. (Holy Crap! My library has 52 titles from the label. Awesome.)


Lucy Old Sun by Kenny Chesney

Release Date - 2008

Run Time - 44:21

Album Art - Meh

Reason for Rental - My dad. He loves the guy. Tells me I am missing out.

Listening Experience - Sleep educing. Everything is just so mellow. I was expecting something more than that. By now means am I a fan of the current country landscape. I think that last time I was a fan of current country Billy Ray was complaining about his heart. So I have missed some stuff. I know the name Kenny Chesney. He seems like a big name, with 13 studio albums and all. But I just don’t get the appeal. He is just so mellow. Too mellow. Annoyingly mellow. The best song on the album is the “That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day)”, but don’t get too excited. It is mellow. When Johnny Cash or Ray Charles talk about ‘working like the devil for their pay’, the passion they sign with makes me believe it. Kenny sounds like a beach bum complaining about working at all. I am not happy with my father at the moment and am making plans for my musical revenge.

Score - Sleeping Aid. Cheaper than pills I would wager.


Rocky Horror International by Various Artist

Release Date - 1990

Run Time - 46:10

Album Art - Bad Photoshop

Reason for Rental - I love Rocky Horror. Why not?

Listening Experience - Like I said, I love Rocky Horror. I try to go to a midnight showing at least once a year. I have seen it preformed by talented professionals in a legitimate theatre, and I have seen it preformed by some drunken college kids above a dive bar. It has never failed to entertain. I love the music, and always have a copy of the soundtrack in my car. Notice how I have yet to mention this album? That is because there is nothing to say. It is what it is. This is a soundtrack for the show, in order, but taken from various sources: the movie, London, New Zealand, Mexico & Norway. Yes, you can hear “I Can Make You A Man” in Norwegian. As I only understand English, it is a little lost on me.

Score - This is a curiosity. “Hey, I wonder what this song sounds like in Spanish..” Answer is exactly like you think it does. So you can skip this. Go to a live show, it's a better use of your time.

New Gimmick. Quick Hit. Go.


The Star Trek Album by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

Release Date - 2003

Run Time - Two Discs (53:10 & 44:31)

Album Art - Generic

Reason for Rental - Blind Pick.

Listening Experience - Sounds like the Star Trek TV & Movie themes.

Score - Trek Fans: Think about buying. Non Fans: Why bother?

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