Danny Crocome is a guitar teacher, dad-to-two, and intermittent creative for Auckland acoustic act Bluebird Avenue. He’s well into the process of working through Tom Moon’s music-bible-masquerading-as-a-mere-book, ‘1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die’ . The more you love music, the more music you love. Here are five albums he’s loving right now…
1 – The Band, Music from Big Pink: Bought this album on a whim several years ago, knowing virtually nothing about the music or the men behind it. The tracks Tears of Rage and The Weight jumped out as immediate favourites, but I recall feeling rather impartial to the others, though I felt compelled to keep listening. And listening. Few years down the track, it’s on repeat in the car and nothing else comes close (though their second album is all killer, no filler). The CD bonus tracks are pretty kickass too – Richard Manuel’s vocals on the alternate take of Tears of Rage are heartbreaking, and the version of Yazoo Street Scandal here is great (Levon’s growly guts vocals, and those cheeky Garth Hudson lines that enter around 0:38).Try: In a Station.
2 – Jackson Browne, Late for the Sky: Eight songs which cover such huge emotional territory – and stunning songwriting. This guy captures tired love and disillusion like nobody else. The musicians on display here are incredible too, particularly Jackson’s secret weapon David Lindley. That guy can play. For A Dancer might just be one of my favourite songs of all time. Even the cheesy Walking Slow was a singalong favourite for a while there. This album has been played (and sung along to) MANY a time in the Toyota. Jackson’s songwriting is deceptively simple, but he’s the man at slipping in one or two unexpected chords that make the lyrics all that more devastating. The solo acoustic volume 1 album has some great renditions of this era of his music.
4 – Michael Hedges, Aerial Boundaries: Magical instrumental acoustic guitar music from a true master of the instrument. Michael Hedges possessed ungodly amounts of technique, but could use it in such respectful service to the music. His sense of melody and harmony were superb, and he throws all sorts of musical plot twists at the listener, but he always goes places SO much better than you would predict. The tracks Ragamuffin and Bensusan are an excellent starting point to get into this fascinating musician’s catalogue. His cover of Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush is sublime too – featuring some really understated fretless bass playing and gorgeous guitar chord voicings.
5 – Chris Whitley, Living With The Law: I’ve thrashed this album since 2004, and have never had a time where the magic has lessened. The writing, the guttural jagged slide guitar lines (always devoid of bluesy cliché), the inimitable yelping/howling thang only Whitley did – and THAT union between the lyrics and the music. I recall hearing the title track for the first time, and within seconds I felt a connection with the music (though the initial impression was something like a tasty version of Everlong-meets-Amazing-Grace-as-sung-by-Eddie-Vedder-channeling-Elvis…) Big Sky Country, Poison Girl, Dust Radio, I Forget You Every Day – this is an album.