All I want for Christmas ...
to find that perfect Christmas gift for the music lover in your life, so I’m going to throw a few suggestions your way. But before I dip into the grab bag, I’d like to make my strongest recommendation.
If you haven’t heard the news already, two marvelous local, live-music venues are closing indefinitely this weekend. Shuttering after a Sunday, Dec. 19, performance by Jono Manson and Donald Rubinstein,
in Eldorado (7 Caliente Road, 466-2782, www.mikesmusicexchange.com) has been liquidating the inventory in its music shop. According to the venue’s website, the business hopes to restructure as a nonprofit and reopen the performance space soon.
The became a beacon for live-music lovers after the Paramount nightclub closed in 2005. Now, at least for a little while, it’s going dark. According to Jason Reed, who mans the open-mic nights at the Pub & Grill, the music venue/restaurant will close after a Friday, Dec. 17, performance by Boris McCutcheon & The Salt Licks.
In light of these closings, I need to stress (again) the importance of supporting local music venues. Bar and club owners, if you don’t offer tickets for concerts that can be purchased in advance, you should. And music lovers, you need to buy them. And then go see the show. If you don’t like the acts being brought in, complain. Loudly. But complain to the bar owner — not to each other. Now for some choice holiday booty.
I had seen him perform before, but when I saw Mister Kali slay the mic during a Pato Banton show in April 2009 at Corazón, I knew for sure that this cat had no stylistic competitor in the state. Mastered at Stepbridge Studios in Santa Fe by Andrew Click, is the New Mexico-based dancehall-reggae album you’ve always wanted to hear but could never find — because it didn’t exist. Production value is high, Kali is a tongue-twisting lyrical master, and his backup musicians are solid-state. If you like dancehall, you’ll love this album. It’s available through www.cdbaby.com and Ernie B’s Reggae Distribution at www.ebreggae.com. You can also download it from iTunes.
The latest from McCutcheon and company serves up a smokin’ slab of countrified tuneage, from the up-tempo honky-tonk of “What Ails You” to the twangy, cry-in-yer-beer cover of the Townes Van Zandt ballad “No Place to Fall.” isn’t as bouncy as earlier efforts, like 2008’s but it’s still a fine piece of homegrown Americana.
For the hip-hop enthusiast, you can’t go wrong with these two books, one serious, the other hilarious.
(Yale University Press) is a collection of more than 100 rap lyrics written between 1978 and 2010, with a foreword by literary critic Henry Louis Gates Jr. and afterwords by rapper Common and Public Enemy’s Chuck D.
Book editors Adam Bradley and Andrew DuBois present hip-hop as it should be regarded: as a serious art form that has rescued rhyming from poetic obscurity. The other book is
by William Buckholz (Abrams Image). It’s simple: read rap lyrics, and then read Buckholz’s translations. For example, 50 Cent might rap, “Gettin’ what you get for a brick to talk greasy.” That means, according to the author, “I easily make a lot of money rapping, as lyrics quickly come to mind and flow out of my mouth smoothly, and the amount of time it has taken me to earn this quantity is much shorter than the long hours you work selling the constituent parts of a large package of cocaine in many small transactions, which is difficult work for you.” Word.