Thursday, October 21, 2010

Record of the Month - Classic

Another installment of a disk I have enjoyed over the years. I'm trying to keep the Record of the Month posts to be fairly new releases. Classics are going to be ones that are at least 5 years old.

I'm going for another '80's disk for my Classic post. I mean, do you really want me delving into the '70's? I mean, I can. I might.

While amazon says that the Cowboy Junkies' second album, the Trinity Sessions was released in 1990, it was actually released two years earlier.

The disk was recorded live entirely in a church, though I'm not sure it was an abandoned one. Don't get me wrong the 'live' part - there was no audience, just the band playing as one with no overdubs or studio trickery.

While their other albums (and there are many) are fleshed out, the Trinity Sessions is sparse, as you might imagine. Bordering on folk/country, but sliding into blues, at first listen there doesn't seem to be much variation from song to song - but really listen to it and you know that is not true.

Only about half of the songs are originals - mostly written by brother and sister Michael and Margo Timmins. The others are covers that, in theory, most people know or know of. Hank Williams ("I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"), Patsy Cline ("Walkin' After Midnight"), Lou Reed ("Sweet Jane"), Rodgers & Hart ("Blue Moon") all make appearances.

Don't look for standard covers either - the Junkies do a great job at reinterpreting all.

Margo's alto is completely understated throughout the disk. Not monotone, not limited, no vocal theatrics and yet completely expressive. It is her stark vocal arrangements that really show her talent and the band is great at holding back on full-out playing. Nothing moves out of 4/4 timing.

If I smoked and drank scotch, this would be a great disk to sit and listen to in its entirety, in a dimly lit room where I could just absorb the experience. But I don't - drink scotch or smoke, that is.

It's what I call a great evening or night time record, perfect from start to finish - again, in its entirety. A gloomy rainy day is good for this too. It's not a sad album, just one of melancholy and reflection.

I'd call out the good songs, but there is no reason - all are good and the sequencing is well done.

I know they re-released the disk a few years back, but I haven't done anything to seek it out. I'm sure it's remastered, it probably has additional material. But I feel you don't fuck with perfection (or near perfection), so I'm not going near it. Why potentially ruin a great thing?

1 comment:

Alan Bennett Ilagan said...

I love that you highlighted this disc - it's almost spiritual - and while it is a great evening/night album (moody and evocative), I've also given it a listen on a rainy Sunday morning, and it works a totally different kind of magic.