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Monday, January 30, 2006

Classics to Check Out - Girl Power Edition

I've been a little burned out on modern music, so I've been retreating from it at work and in the car as much as possible. Most of it has been jazz standards and torch songs, which I simply love singing along to all dramatically in the car. It's great music for reading or daydreaming too. But I've also gotten some sixties pop stuff in there, which is excellent to bop around to when you have to vacuum the living room or redesign the same goddamn collaterals for the 4,000th time. Here are some classics you should give a try:

Judy Garland: Judy Live At Carnegie
Judy gives a stellar performance on this double disk. It's only a few years before she tragically passed away at 47, and that certainly lends it an aura of supernatural elegance. She sings her most beloved movie songs and jazz standards in a blockbuster performance. I've always loved her, mostly due to her wonderful films, but nobody delivers a song of pain like Judy.

Ella Fitzgerald: Pure Ella: The Very Best of Ella Fitzgerald
I love this whole album, as well as other ones I have (or have access to). Her renditions of "My Funny Valentine," "Love is Here to Stay," and "They Can't Take That Away From Me" are the standards by which all others are judged in my opinion. Her take on "Over the Rainbow" is markedly different from Judy's, in a good way. Best romantic holiday song ever? "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" She's the classiest act of all.

One Kiss Can Lead to Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost and Found
It was a strange request I made on my wish list, but Spencer came through and got this for me. It's a box set of girl group recordings from the late 50s to the late 60s. The stories of the women involved in this lesser known pop movement are striking. These were average women who made exquisite pop confections featuring stellar arrangements that still hold up over time. I'm still working my way through all four disks, but it's been very fun so far. Melodramatic and melodic, alternately heartbreaking and joyful, this kind of pop music will never go out of style with me.


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