Ralph Towner, Diary (1973)
A chance flip through the YouTube unearthed this clip of Ralph Towner doing his thing. It reminded me that I was a big fan, a decade or so ago, of Anthem and from there a few other records from Towner’s extensive, always interesting, oeuvre. So that sent me on a hunt for vinyl. The trusty Slow Boat crew unearthed Diary – a decent-condition copy for the very-decent price of $15. It’s a beaut of a record; I hadn’t heard it before but I had to play it twice in a row. That’s four sides playback-wise. That doesn’t happen all that often, an instant repeat-play of a record. Not for me anyway. Diary has Towner superimposing his guitar and piano skills; deftly layering them via overdubs to create cascading lines. Towner plays guitar with a hybrid approach – you can imagine him as a jazz player tackling classical guitar or you could see him as a classical guitarist wrestling jazz guitar in to submission. It works for me to picture him both ways, but there’s folk phrasing here too. And I never knew about his piano playing until hearing this album. It’s in that rare, exquisite genre of Midnight Mood Music; you’re there with your glass of whatever, perhaps you’ve got some troubles with you, maybe you have no worries. Either way, you’re there with this record – the background to your thoughts. And so much more than just background music. It’s similar in a sense to Bill Evans’ Conversations With Myself. It’s similar in a sense to Keith Jarrett’s Koln Concert. It’s similar in a sense to James Blackshaw’s The Glass Bead Game. In fact this is The Glass Bead Game – just 35 years earlier. I was very pleased to find this record. You should check it out if you haven’t.
Sample Track: Icarus
The Vinyl Countdown is a document of every LP I listen to, brand new discoveries and old-old favourites; extremely pre-loved, previously abandoned or with the shrink-wrap having just been removed it’s all here at The Vinyl Countdown