Amoeblog

Worry Me: Horror Folk/Pop weirdo Grace Sings Sludge returns with new album Life With Dick

Posted by Kells, June 7, 2017 11:26pm | Post a Comment

Back again with another batch of demented home recordings from her very own twilight zone, former Sandwitches and Fresh & Onlys siren Grace Cooper, a.k.a. Grace Sings Sludge, continues to bleed out her uniquely brooding singer/songwriter stylings via Life With Dick, her new confessional LP/CD out courtesy of Empty Cellar Records, thus ensuring that all things strange and amazing haven't entirely vanished from the Bay Area.

Evocative of intimate interiors and a labor for love, or "the weariness of a woman giving in to a love requited" as Empty Cellar so perfectly puts it, the self-produced sound of Life With Dick is neither crunchy nor polished, but seems to teeter on the edge of a reality that alternates between ominous assertion and a sultriness so creepy it'll make you check your six if you dare listen to it alone, headphoned, in the dark (recommended!). Sometimes the vibe tilts toward the otherworldly as raw, layered melodies drift and amble in and out of sonic focus as if attempting to haunt every moment they're allotted—pianos echoing here, guitars heaving there, with now-and-then hallow drum lines (courtesy of Nick Russo) sauntering along beneath Grace’s emphatic vocal clips, plaintive wails, and whispered half-breaths. There is also a pervasive after hours type of jazziness that slinks in and around almost every song, coloring Grace's achingly bare vocals a deep rouge (a darker, redder version of the opening credits for the 1975 film The Rocky Horror Picture Show comes immediately to mind). 

For me, the track "U.C.B.", buried on side two, delivers some of the most iconic, or "Grace-ist" if you will,  lyric threads and vocal sincerity found on the album, especially when she croons, "I hate to see you in pain; what kind of chain keeps you here? The sooner that I let you go is the sooner that you go. Back to what you've always known," only to issue the punctuation, "Over my dead body."

Stills from the official video for "A Man Doesn't Want" from Life With Dick, directed, shot, and edited by Grace Cooper

The album's extensive accompanying visuals offer further glimpses into the mire and musings behind the music and, what's more, every bit of it appears to be solely produced by Grace Cooper herself. As with her previous collections of home recordings, the outer and inner sleeve artwork for Life With Dick bears Grace’s own signature scrawls and pen and ink/watercolor reveries, this time in strands and snarls of pale yellow/greens. And, in what I personally hope will be a venture not limited to a one-time gig, Grace went ahead and directed, shot, and edited her own video for the album's lead-off track "A Man Doesn't Want", delivering "wrapped in plastic" realness and then some (see below; NSFW).


Speaking of "wrapped in plastic" realness, given the timing of this release and the consistent thematic and atmospheric similarities between the two, I feel, now more than ever, like I cannot help but associate the looks, sounds, and feels of Grace Sings Sludge with the world of Twin Peaks, a connection made way back when she seemed to be channeling Ronette Pulaski in her 2007 video for "Oh Baby Look". We are so lucky to be getting more official Twin Peaks transmissions and flavors to savor, and, considering all the new music that comes along with this new season, it makes me curious about what other artists could potentially fit into a kind of Twin Peaks song cycle (not that we need yet another arbitrary genre to obsess over). That said, self-control be damned! If you have any thoughts or suggestions regarding artists that could fit into a dedicated Twin Peaks playlist, by all means please do share. In the meantime, let Grace Sings Sludge sings Life With Dick (or any other albums of hers for that matter) take you there.
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Ten More Recommended Picks for Record Store Day 2017 (for folks who don't know what to get)!

Posted by Kells, April 18, 2017 09:11pm | Post a Comment
Ever felt lost at Amoeba or so overwhelmed by the selections that you forget what you're looking for? Or, worse yet, you don't even know what to get?
Generally speaking, it can be tough to stay focused at Amoeba, and on Record Store Day, what with the increased scope of releases both in terms of limited RSD offerings and other freshly stocked new arrivals, not to mention the scope of the crowd, the struggle can be all too real. Each year come Record Store Day we do our very best to provide everyone with personal copies of our comprehensive RSD product list as well as directions to where these items are stocked in the store, and we always try to accommodate all individual queries, quandaries, and quests with safety and fairness. Sometimes this is as simple as recommending something to someone who doesn't know what they want, but knows they definitely want something because it's what? Record Store Day! With that in mind, I've created a list of RSD product picks especially for those folks who don't know what they want, but surely want something.

For more Record Store Day recommendations, please see the links at the bottom of this post. Happy hunting everyone thank you for continued support!


Johnny Cash - The Johnny Cash Children's Album (LP)

Sounding sometimes like Johnny Cash doing his best impression of Jerry Reed doing a Burl Ives record, you just can't go wrong with this lighthearted ramble into Cash country whether you're buying it for yourself or as a gift—it's good, it's weird, and it's, you know, for kids! Originally released in 1975, this sweet li'l collection features songs like "Nasty Dan" (penned by Sesame Street writer Jeff Moss—do look up Cash's Sesame Street performance of this song to an unusually enthusiastic Oscar the Grouch who refers to The Man in Black as "Johnny Trash/my kinda guy") and “I Got a Boy (and His Name is John)” written about Cash’s only son, John, and performed as a tongue-in-cheek duet with his wife, June Carter Cash. Worth it for "The Dinosaur Song" alone.



Def Leppard - The Def Leppard E.P. (45 RPM 12")

Pour some sugar on yourself all you want, but holy smokes is this very first Def Lepp effort an eon away from the bankable high-gloss of their MTV-friendly Pyromania and Hysteria. Which is to say that, despite it sounding like an obviously homespun self-released recording, this debut EP effing rocks, hard and rough! Originally sold at Def Leppard's first shows in 1976 (printed, glued, and assembled by singer Joe Elliott and his mother—aww), this reissue of a riff-laden NWOBHM rarity is a faith-restoring record of the bad as hopeful young lads treading early currents of heavy metal, all beacons lit, all engines revving and ready to cruise 'n bruise 'n have some fun. No disrespect to "Rock of Ages", but this here is real rock for the ages.



Noise Addict - 10,000 Kids With Guitars (2LP)

Chicago-based label Numero Group never pushes crap on Record Store Day so even if you aren't familiar with the totally 90s sounds teenage Aussie alt-rockers Noise Addict, this is definitely a record worth sniffing out, especially as the other two Numero RSD exclusives (Southwest Side Story Vol. 19 and the White Zombie Gods on Voodoo Moon 7”) might disappear fast. With a record cover that doubles as working chalk board, this comp spans the band's charmed career, including their darling acoustic ode to Lemonheads' frontman Evan Dando, "I Wish I Was Him", their Thurston Moore produced demo, and choice cuts from their Young & Jaded EP and Meet the Real You LP reissued during the mid-90s on the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal label. File under: cuute



The Cure - Greatest Hits Acoustic (2LP Picture Disc)

This was included in a previous Amoeblog post of RSD 2017 recommendations, but the part of me that still lives in 2001 (bless!) feels compelled to also include it here/push it again because, even if you're only remotely fond of The Cure, this record is a must have (even though it's a picture disc). Back in 2001, The Cure released one of those obligatory contract-fulfilling greatest hits compilations filled with kinda predictable tracks spanning their then 25-year history plus two new songs that were just kinda okay. However, wanting to provide something different/new for their fans, they re-recorded acoustic versions of their greatest hits and bundled it with first pressings of the Greatest Hits CD. Finally, a vinyl version of that splendid bonus disc! So good.



Dolly Parton - Puppy Love (7")

If you've ever wondered what simpler times sounded like for Dolly Parton, ponder no longer for this reissue of one of her earliest recordings (originally released in 1959—she was thirteen!) will enlighten you. Complete with packaging that is "as true to the original as we could make it", the upbeat A-side and comparatively tamer “Girl Left Alone" on the flip, a track written by Parton, her Aunt Dorothy Jo Owens, and her Uncle Bill Owens (who sound as if they may be backing up her vocals on the recording), makes this record interesting and downright adorable as it is. However, I can't help but wonder how these songs might sound slowed down to 33rpm.



Moondog
- Moondog (LP)

What is it, Jazz? Classical? Some kinda symphonic soundtrack? With spoken word? Yes, and maybe no, but surely there is no mistaking that Moondog's seminal 1969 self-titled album is one of those rare and thrilling cosmic oddities that must to be heard to be believed. If you haven't heard it, you probably don't own it, and that means that Amoeba, and the internet, has failed you. But no worries, Moondog's Moondog is getting a fresh pressing on white wax for Record Store Day this year (its first pressing in over a decade) making it a prime item to fill that Moondog-shaped void in your vinyl collection. Folks may be too hasty to declare this or that to be "everything" these days, but this record is pretty much it.




Various Artists - Sharon Signs To Cherry Red (LP)

"Darling, it's Cherry Red Records on the phone. They want you to go to London and record some songs while you're still feeling tortured and angst-ridden..." It could be argued that these two lines, spoken during a lull in the lead-off title track, are a neat summary of this compilation's many parts, but that would dismiss the multitude of reasons why this mix is exciting. Culled from a 2CD compilation of the same name showcasing "Independent Women 1979-1985" these creative and insightful female-led post-punk delights offer  varying glimpses into was happening outside the comparatively cheesy commercial pop of the time. That's not to say this mix is completely without its cheese, but it is guilt-free. 




Allen Toussaint
- The Allen Toussaint Collection (2LP)

This is the first ever vinyl release of a 1991 CD compilation of songs taken from the legendary New Orleans composer/piano guru's first four studio albums (From a Whisper to a Scream, Life, Love and Faith, Southern Nights, and Motion). I'm including this here because the first time Toussaint's music really reached me is when someone long ago played that CD comp at work and—blam!—I was completely rapt in that way that only music, and okay maybe also cute animals and inspirational landscapes, can instantly seize one's soul. Toussiant's compositions and performances themselves are like little landscapes of Soul, R&B, and Funk that maintain a distinctly New Orleansian tint, magical music that is as grounding as it is transportive.



Mungo Jerry
- In The Summertime (7")

This year's list of RSD exclusives is not short on 7-inch reissues of down 'n dirty ditties and other cruddy psychedelic garage door openers, but I predict that this one won't be flying off the shelves as fast as the others thus making it a prime target for late afternoon shoppers browsing the leftovers. I could be wrong though! Anyway, Summer is coming for half the planet soon (heck, in some places it feels like Spring barely got a day in) and "In The Summertime" is a pretty good song to have tucked in your arsenal of party 45s if you don't already have it. However, the B-side here, "Baby Jump", is where the real action's at, even if it boogies like it's wallowing in how bloozy-gross it is. Either way you play it, you got two bonafide horndog hits on your hands!



Colleen
- The Golden Morning Breaks (LP)
 
In an effort to end this list with the suggestion of a purely enchanting and ethereally beautiful album, this reissue of Colleen's long out of print and highly sought after second LP, originally released in 2005, is probably not an item you should sleep on if you're serious about getting your paws on it. But, again, I could be wrong! Pressed on gold vinyl (to further treasurise its tangibility?), The Golden Morning Breaks' melange of live instrumentation and experimental electronic interference, mixing courtly strings and music box chimes with atmospheric sweeps and intrusive bloops, marks a departure from sample-dependent sound of Colleen's debut effort. Altogether now a strangely nostalgic sound, but 2005 was good like that.

Looking for more Record Store Day recommendations? Check out this other list of RSD highlights, our RSD soundtrack picks, RSD Star Wars exclusives, Billyjam's overview of the Get On Down label's RSD exclusives, and come see about us this Saturday as we celebrate record Store Day at all three Amoeba locations! Best of luck to everyone and, again, thank you for continued support of local record stores everywhere!
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Best of 2016: Kelly's Personal Picks (now with more cat)!

Posted by Kells, December 31, 2016 02:18pm | Post a Comment
Looking back at 2016, it was a good year for music, if for nothing else. If you're reading this—hey!—you survived the ride. How did you do it? Was it the music? Without a doubt, music has saved my life, or at least my mood, as often as once a day (very probably) over this past year and for that I am thankful (most definitely). Here follows a little list of personal favorites that really came through for me in 2016. My cat may be in some of these pictures...


Tony Molina
- Confront the Truth
(Slumberland)

I never know what to expect from Tony Molina, aside from hella Bay Area bombast and great short songs, and Confront the Truth further confused matters for me (save for the short songs tip) in the best way possible. This lovely 45 is brimming with just the sort of comfortably spun, little-bit-country/little bit folk 'n roll melodies I like. It can also be said that it's brimming with conspicuous influences, namely bits n' bobs reminiscent of The Beatles, Elliott Smith, and perhaps even a little early Skynyrd (think "The Seasons"). Nevertheless, it's easy to appreciate the truth of Molina's heartfelt songwriting and superb ability to navigate a softer power as he coaxes and bends his strums and twangs 'til the bitter end on this ten-ish minutes long, eight song confrontation. Or 'til the bittersweet end, as the cherry on top is a loving cover of Thin Lizzy's wistful instrumental "Banshee" rounding out the record like a would-be bonus track. Altogether a perfect example of how beautifully moving even the most fleeting music can be.



Egyptian Lover - 1983-1988
(Stones Throw)

This 4 LP box set, along with the 1984 LP Egyptian Lover released last year, has been the most important music for me during 2016, no contest. I'm no noob to Egyptian Lover's 808 kingdom, but something clicked in me over the last 12 months that made fiend for his beats more than ever and, as such, I pretty much forced it on everyone around me (not that anyone complained). Though I have already expressed my many thanks and affection for Greg Broussard's electro alter ego and his freadky deaky machine in a previous post, I'd be remiss if I didn't include Egyptian Lover in this year end best-of post.  To quote the man himself: "What is a D.J. if he can't scratch? What is a MC if he can't rap? What is a beat without a live clap? Well, I can do it all, baby, just like that."



Dick Stusso - Nashville Dreams/Sings The Blues
(Vacant Stare)

Somewhere out there a guy is chasing his dirty rock 'n roll dreams tonight, do or die. Oakland's Nic Russo is the that guy bringing Dick Stusso's hellbent fantasies to life, maybe real life, or something like it. He may look okay, but Dicky sounds like a demented drunk branded to fail upwards
towards his hardtack escapist visions of fortune and freedom via middle America's back-country highways, one infectious, nightmare-edged ditty at a time. Part T. Rex boogie, part Gram Parsons twang, all grain alcohol down the hatch and back again, these country fried, mud-soaked porch aspirations hang loose together like plucked notes on a low string being tuned ever downwards. Featuring additional vocals by Grace Cooper (The Sandwitches/ Grace Sings Sludge), this record is pretty limited so don't sleep on it. Get some Dick asap!



Tele Novella
- House of Souls

(Yellow Year)

I got my first taste of Natalie Ribbon's penchant for dark n' lovely bygones and whip-smart singer-songwriter prowess years ago the first time I saw her perform as a part of Agent Ribbons, and I've been hooked ever since. She brings that same sinister energy and torch-bearing realness to Tele Novella, the "macabre-pop" band she joined after moving to Austin, Texas a few years ago. Her mark on their debut LP, House of Souls, is as recognizable as her distinctly smokey yet capable-of-cracking-a-marvelous-squeal vocal range. The album showcases a curio cabinet of yummy trick-or-treat compositions wreathed in dreamy harmonies and spooky jingle-jangle know-how. Another limited press best snatched asap.



Little Wings - Light Green Leaves
(Gnome Life)

Technically this is a re-issue, but it also kind of isn't. When Little Wings' Light Green Leaves was first released via K Records in 2002, the main man behind the magic, Kyle Field, recorded three versions of the record and each version was released via three formats (CD, LP, and cassette tape). The CD version was my gateway to Little Wings' trippy, lo-fi landscape, with songs like "Look At What The Light Did Now" quietly pushing that whole "Freak folk" movement towards it's zenith. Thanks to the good folks at Gnome Life, this year was the first time that the CD version of Light Green Leaves saw the needle on my turntable (yes!!). What's more, this pressing comes with added rainbows thanks to the thrilling effect of the holographic foil-stamped cover sleeve. Also, I've had the pleasure of chatting with Kyle a few times, here and here are two of those times.


Violent Change - VC3
(Melters)

VC3 is the third full-length effort from San Francisco's Violent Change, a dank basement rock band that always sounds like they're broadcasting live from some subterranean rusty-yellow iron lung via janky infernal radio channels that just won't tune in, and therein lies the appeal. This record is a bit mellower than their 2014 release, A Celebration of Taste, and brandishes a less Sex Pistol-y energy while putting the damage on some decidedly Shoes-y sounding riffs, with "Unit A" being a standout example of bandmaster Matt Bleye's ability to  cut crystal visionary pop melodies through all that fuzzy distortion. VC3 is "the lowest form of high art" indeed.



The She's/The Dry Spells split 7"
(Empty Cellar)

This cool little spit 45, housed in some fun, lens-bending 3D cover art, contains atmospheric and sonic harmonies exemplary of a very "San Francisco" sound duality, each side presented in perfect reflection by two different San Francisco bands. Side A sees The She's ripping through “Cherry Red"—a golden nugget of a California beach-ready lipstick bop reminiscent of The Breeders and Shonen Knife. Then the fog rolls in languid and thick on side B as The Dry Spells' moody, spellbound psych-folk tendrils slowly wend all over "Heliotrope," the first new music from the band since their 2009 LP Too Soon For Flowers, thus making this split effort one of the more satisfying 7-inch fixes this year.




Solange - A Seat At The Table

(Columbia)

Sisters, sisters...it's been a good year for the
Knowles sisters. Both Beyoncé and Solange released absolutely fab, extremely successful pop albums that simultaneously reinforce and redefine what a fab, successful pop album is and how it's made. It can even be argued that both albums are "important" in their own way. That said, the two records differ greatly enough that discussions on the topic can spur folks to declare one's preference for one over the other, which isn't important at all. Still, while Beyoncé's Lemonade is an audiovisual tour de force and cause for much commotion, Solange's subtle yet powerfully meditative A Seat At The Table (and the accompanying body-positive music videos) have inspired comparisons to theatrical surrealism and the nickname "the thinking man's Knowles" within my social circles, which I find amusing. Whatever, they're both splendid works and you've probably already decided you like both, no matter how you rank them. Don't hurt yourself!


Blonde Redhead - Masculin Féminin [box set]; Peel Sessions [RSD 7"]
(Numero Group)

Any year that sees a release from Blonde Redhead is a good year for me. In addition to the powered-by-various artists Freedom Of Expression On Barragán remix album, Numero launched two trips into the Blonde Redhead vaults with the Record Store Day special Peel Sessions 45 and a the gag-worthy 4 LP Masculin Féminin box set comprising the band's first two albums, singles, and demos from their early era—stuff that has been out-of-print, hard to find, or otherwise unheard until now! Even if you already have the albums and the singles, this box set is simply a must for the rarities et cetera contained within, including a heap of old photographs and two telling essays by Arto Lindsay (DNA) and Erin Osmon, altogether exploring to the source of the Blonde Redhead sauce. Did you know Blonde Redhead recorded a country song?!

Incidentally, Numero Group has, as always, been killing it with some great new releases this year. If I were made of money, I'd be all up on everything they have to offer, but aside from the Blonde Redhead stuff, two compilations in particular (pushed via their Numbero imprint) have continued to delighted and surprise my senses: the mysterious Shanghai'd Soul Episode 4 collection of bygone deep funk/soul gems mined for the adornment of modern hip-hop cuts (hence the titular tip-of-the-hat to Wu-Tang's Shaolin stylings), and the Record Store Day compilation Los Alamos Grind—a "post-apocalyptic-bachelor-pad" gyrating jukebox homage to those tattered yet titillating Las Vegas Grind comps that still filter in through the used new arrivals vinyl bin from time to time. Get into it!

Well, that about does it for my picks, save for this year's killer stack of Exotica and Exotica-adjacent releases pictured way up top (I wrote about those here) and my Burt Reynolds odyssey (saving that for another post). Happy New Year everybody! Dumpster fire or no, it's time to get a move on. 
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Egyptian Lover: Into the Future

Posted by Kells, November 30, 2016 08:11pm | Post a Comment

Always timeless, it comes as no surprise that electro hip-hop pioneer The Egyptian Lover - aka L.A. native Greg Broussard, aka chief 808 seductor supreme - keeps moving forward masterfully with his patent "throwback" sound, conquering the dance floor one ass at a time. By any reckoning, it seems like 2016 has been a good year for Egyptian Lover. He's been consistently killin' it on the road in support of his latest full-length LP 1984 (Egyptian Empire), he released a 4 LP anthology, 1983-1988, and a super dope pyramid-shaped 7-inch reissue of Egypt, Egypt (both on Stones Throw), and lately he has been offering up some seriously rad hand drawn custom 12" art covers in addition to droppin' new music videos (like the vibetastic "Into the Future" above, complete with TRON meets Pole Position visuals). He even rustled up a late night, cure-all infomercial for his new box set featuring clips from some of his best videos for folks suffering from some serious new music fatigue (like me):


If that doesn't make you feel all good deep down inside, then perhaps, sadly, The Egyptian Lover isn't your medicine man. Personally speaking, I don't know that I could have made it through this bumpy year without Broussard's past and present old skool stylings, and I've preached the benefit of tuning out any and all modern cacophony by turning on some Egyptian Lover at length to anyone who will listen, for all of my life I've been a freak, doin' what I want to seven days a week. Seriously, if it weren't for the his music, this year might have brought me so far down there'd be no future to get into. Here's to enjoying the past by looking ahead with The Egyptian Lover—today, tomorrow, and always—because in these times of hate and pain, we need a remedy...in fact, we need a freak:

New Taboo: Recent Vinyl Releases for Exotica Enthusiasts

Posted by Kells, August 31, 2016 10:32pm | Post a Comment

Lounge lizard brothers and sisters, tiki torch-bearers, and any other Jazz/World/Oldies bin-combers craving an escape from the harsh realities of this cruel world: rejoice! A splash of freshly pressed exotic pu-pus for your easy listening pleasure platters has hit the shelves this Summer, with the quartet of new releases pictured above presenting an especially potent sonic swizzle of hi-fi reverie. So disable your rudder, lose the shoes, stir up a tipple or two and drift into the intoxicating lagoon of these "new" grooves.


V/A - Taboo: An Exploration into the Exotic World of Taboo Vol. 1 (Stag-O-Lee)

The first of a series dubbed Journey To The Centre Of The Song (each volume celebrating a singular tune by exploring a sampling of various recorded versions), this 10" contains nine genre-spanning interpretations of the popular standard "Taboo" (or "Tabou" or "Tabu") composed by Cuban musician Margarita Lecuona, a lady also responsible for the classic "Babalou". From Charles Blackwell's raucous "Surf'stramental" opener to the brassy cha-cha of Tito Rivera, and from the island rhythms of Cyril Diaz to Sylvia Mora's noir popcorn grind, all these and more buttoned up nicely by Arthur Lyman's own sensual evocation, nothing feels forbidden about the magic of examining these songs altogether or individually. In fact, it feels great to have them all in one place.



V/A - Voodoo Party Vol. 1 (University of Vice)

This recent release is actually a reissue of the first Voodoo Party compilation, long sought-after since being out of print for over a decade. It's return may also be in part due to the success of the most excellent Voodoo Party Vol. 2—the second volume in the series of occult-focused eccentricities compiled by music research gurus University of Vice (please, oh, please let there be a volume three). In any case, both enchanting volumes are chock full of enough nocturnal, ritualistic burners from Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Peru, Puerto Rico, the African continent, and the infernal beyond to make ones head spin. With song titles like "Zombie Jamboree", "El Diablo", and "Animal Concert In A Cemetery", expect something wild, something weird, something sensual, something sinister, and drums, baby, DRUMS! 



Eden Ahbez - Wild Boy: The Lost Songs Of Eden Ahbez (Bear Family)

Eden Ahbez—if ever there were a true mystic of the nebulous Exotica genre, it would be he. Be it a demo sung by Ahbez himself or a rare renditions by Eartha Kitt and Arthur Lyman, most of the "lost" songs gathered for this collection span the years between Ahbez's best known work, "Nature Boy" (an autobiographical song that scored a hit with Nat "King" Cole in 1948), and his lone 1960 solo album and cult/tiki collector's item Eden's Island. The insightful and  extensive liner notes by Brian Chidester flesh out Ahbez's somewhat foggy past and posits his lifestyle choices and creative expressions as a well-spring of the hippie movement and a plausible genesis for psychedelic music as we know it. Needless to say, and all novelty aside, this is essentially far out.



Elvis Presley - Way Down in the Jungle Room (RCA/Legacy)

While Elvis' last studio recording sessions may seem more than a tad removed from the above three LPs, it makes up for any lack of sonic similarity with a certain vibe imparted by its ambient provenance. Consider for a moment how this record might be received if it had been recorded, say, way down in the TV Room. It could sound the same, but dropping the needle on this collection "fly-on-the-wall" late night outtakes (at one point you can hear Elvis yelling for someone to shoot the phone off the wall or something) while the tikitastic Jungle Room album cover stares down at you with it's hulking and markedly empty Witco chair propping Presley's guitar on its arm, flanked by more Witco, tropical plants, a meadow of funky, and overgrown shag "grass" carpet hemmed with a cut stone, red-light waterfall wall, a distinct transportative quality is lent to the listening. That Elvis chose to render Graceland's Jungle Room into a recording studio says something about the man's moods and relaxation preferences, and I think anyone with piqued interest in the three records reviewed above can heartily recognize these leanings and savor the flavor of the particular atmosphere harnessed on this record. I'm no expert when it comes to late, late-era Elvis, but it seems to me that he and his players were really feeling this gig and living it up accordingly way down in the Jungle Room. Just browsing the photos included in the album artwork is intoxicating enough to induce delirium.
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