Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ballads and Blues 1972

I'm having one of those moments where I really want to listen to a specific mood-enhancing album (you know, one reflecting the mellow, cloud-infused mid-March Sunday morning thing we've got going on, though it looks like the sun might break out yet), but I have no idea what it might be. Too many options.

So I settled on George Winston's Ballads and Blues 1972, some of his earliest recordings and released on the late John Fahey's Takoma label. Maybe not entirely as consonant with my mood as I'd like, but I'm malleable.

I still have a huge soft spot for Winston's 70's and early 80's recordings. His season themed albums (Autumn, Winter Into Spring, December and Summer...the last of which came out in the early 90's but is just as good, if not better then the other 3) are all, in my mind, masterpieces of warm, folksy piano. Besides Harold Budd, nobody has better rapport with the sustain pedal. But where Budd wrings out drifting ghost chords, Winston's are full of wide-eyed Rockwellian charm and lightly worn, rustic melancholy. Maybe too benevolent, too mawkish (or, as I fear, too frequently discarded with a knee jerk into the New Age dustbin) for some, but it's been doing me right for over 20 years.

Now where did I put down that Laura Ashley catalog?

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