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Jason Panella

Worthwhile music we missed the first time around

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Similar to the New Stuff Worth Hearing thread, just minus the 'new' bit.

I got my eMusic downloads yesterday and picked up two releases that I am not regretting.

Buffalo Tom's Let Me Come Over is fantastic. It's one of those '90s albums that slipped through the cracks...it was probably too nuanced for mass audiences, but too straight-ahead for the underground kids that were still reeling from the '80s. But it's relentlessly melodic, the lyrics are quite good, and it's incredibly heartfelt. It's great to hear a tune like "Stymied," a tune that manages to be a pop song with sadly reflective lyrics--but also sport a Harrier jet wall of distortion and still sound delicate.

And Pinback's Offcell EP is just great. Period.

Edited by Jason Panella

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strange Jason, I was just thinking about this yesterday. I recently re-discovered Mercury Rev's Deserter's Songs and realized what I should have known a long time ago - it's complex, obtuse, difficult and yet strangely rewarding album. However, I didn't think it deserved it's own thread and certain didn't fit in the pinned new music thread. "Best Old Music" perhaps?

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That was my working title, but then it conjured images of men with glossy mustaches gathering 'round the wax cylinder device.

Edited by Jason Panella

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I mentioned earlier, Archer Prewitt's 2005 album Wilderness, which I recently picked up. It's been on my playlist steadily for the last two weeks and it's a wonderful and spacious album.

Also... on Tweedy's recommendation... Dr. Dog's, Easy Beat from a few years ago. The Pretender gets my vote for song of the month. The kitchen sink approach of Music From Big Pink meets the Strokes, with subtle hues of James Gang and the Beach Boys. Not a real consistent album, but a lot of fun nonetheless. Their 2007 offering, We All Belong, is a more satisfying listen from start to finish, but lacks some of the soul grit of Easy Beat.

At the top of my New-Old Music pile is Motorhead's No Sleep Till Hammersmith, which is just an amazing and jarring experience. For the record I don't typically listen to metal these days, or punk for that matter, even though I grew up as a fan of both. No Sleep belongs in its own subversive category. I can't believe I neglected it all these years and am floored by the break-neck delivery of these songs. The balance between garbage can thrash and dynamic interplay is amazing, especially given the year--1981. Metal is so easily dated. This dirt is timeless.

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I also purchased the albums recommended by Tweedy, and Dr Dog reminds me of... Wilco.

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I agree. But both Dr. Dog albums sound a lot more like Sky Blue Sky than YHF or Wilco's early stuff... Which makes me wonder who influenced who with regard to the bouncy piano, duel guitar line stuff, since Easy Beat and We Belong were released before Sky Blue Sky.

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I got two CDs in the mail yesterday, and I'm really enjoying both.

-Band of Horses--Everything All the Time (2006)-- I knew the buzz surrounding this band but ignored it, despite hearing and liking "the Funeral." But after hearing a few more tracks ("Great Salk Lake" and "the First Song") I caved and bought the album. And it's really good! I'm still not sure how to classify the band (downtempo pop? jangle twang?), but it's a good listen. I have yet to let it sink fully in, though, but there are--at least right now--what seems to be a bunch of standouts.

-Velvet Crush--Teenage Symphonies to God (1994)-- They've basically becoming Matthew Sweet's rhythm section over the past decade, but that doesn't mean they're not great songwriters on their own. The album screams Anglo-loving power pop. The cover is straight out of the '60s. The title is a stolen quote from Brian Wilson. The band photo on the back looks like a lost photo of Big Star before Chris Bell bowed out. And the songs veer between jangly, fuzzed-out pop tracks and country-tinged ballads. I'm loving it.

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I got two CDs in the mail yesterday, and I'm really enjoying both.

-Band of Horses--Everything All the Time (2006)-- I knew the buzz surrounding this band but ignored it, despite hearing and liking "the Funeral." But after hearing a few more tracks ("Great Salk Lake" and "the First Song") I caved and bought the album. And it's really good! I'm still not sure how to classify the band (downtempo pop? jangle twang?), but it's a good listen. I have yet to let it sink fully in, though, but there are--at least right now--what seems to be a bunch of standouts.

Have you heard Carissa's Wierd? Band of Horses emerged from the ruin of that band. BOH leader Bidwell drummed for Carissa's Wierd and the primary male songwriter for Carissa's Wierd, Matt Brooke played bass on BOH. Because I love Carissa's Wierd so much I sort of purposely missed BOH because they don't really sound like Carissa's Wierd, although they aren't far from each other, musical taxonomy-wise. Sadly, the first two and best Carissa's Wierd albums have fallen out of print which is too bad because they are downtempo sad-sack indie at its finest and most miserable.

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Listening to Dr Dog's We All Belong right now and it's a really fine pop album, filled with ideas at any level (tunes, arrangements). It's of those albums that use every influence of the past it seems, exactly like Wilco or the New Pornographers. Something Big Star did also in the 70s. I also hear the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev in Dr Dog.

As long as the influences are well used, with imagination and sense of adventure, it's a joy to hear.

I agree with Tweedy: great band.

Edited by Hugues

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Have you heard Carissa's Wierd? Band of Horses emerged from the ruin of that band. BOH leader Bidwell drummed for Carissa's Wierd and the primary male songwriter for Carissa's Wierd, Matt Brooke played bass on BOH. Because I love Carissa's Wierd so much I sort of purposely missed BOH because they don't really sound like Carissa's Wierd, although they aren't far from each other, musical taxonomy-wise. Sadly, the first two and best Carissa's Wierd albums have fallen out of print which is too bad because they are downtempo sad-sack indie at its finest and most miserable.

I've heard a good deal about them, but haven't heard any material. Sounds like I'd like them.

Just thought of a few other albums I picked up this weekend (and that I somehow forgot about).

-Shudder to Think, Pony Express Record--Former Dischord band's major label debut. I know a few hipsters that think it's one of the best albums of the '90s. It's D.C. punk meets glam rock meets free jazz meets everything else. Frontman Craig Wedren has a crazy, near-operatic voice. It's weird enough that I'm still not 'getting' it yet, but some tracks are just insanely cool.

-Vigilantes of Love, Slow Dark Train--I'm a big Mallonee fan, but I realize that the man has had some up and down moments. This album isn't terrible, but it's far from great. Still, a few standout songs among the bunch. (It's no Killing Floor, that's for sure.)

-Superchunk, On the Mouth--For some reason I've always avoided the 'chunk's earlier material (I'm more of a sucker for their slower, complex glossy pop than the manic garage power pop side). But after a few spins, it won me over. I think "Precision Auto" could play through my head for hours and I'd not get tired of it.

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Guest thom_jurek

Well, this thread dates me because I remember all those records first time around, reviewed the Buffalo Tom for sombody back in the day as well as Deserter's SOngs and thinking that Dr. Dog was a terrible clone of the first Wilco album,and that The VOL record mentioned here was their worst to date.

So what got missedfirst time around during my lifetime? So much:

Bennie Maupin' s Jewel In the Lotus,

Eddie Henderson's two records for Capricorn--Inside Out and Realization, as well as the awesome Mahal LP.

Charles Earland's Great Pyramid

Rainbow _ Crystal Green (with MIchael and Randy Brecker)

Herbie Hancock's Flood

Johnny Jenkins' magnificent blues funk album Ton Ton Macoute on Capricorn

Wayne SHorter's Odyssey Of Iska

The first three Last Poets records

Soul Playground by Walter Bishop Jr.,

Gabor Szabo

man, so much . . .

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My last trip to the used CD store found two late 90's gems, each for under $4: Daft Punk's Homework and Supergrass's In It for the Money. While the Daft Punk is techno as I've always remembered it, it's been fun to spin from time to time. Sure, its 70 minutes of club beats but it's worth it for "Around the World" alone.

I purposely missed Supergrass the first time around. For a stretch I was pretty big into Brit-Pop: Pulp, Blur, Oasis (hides head in shame but still believes their first two albums and b-sides from that era are still fantastic), and Ash (who are not Brits nor really "pop" but get lumped into that era all the same). Yet, I really didn't want to give Supergrass a chance. Compared to the immediacy of the former bands I found Supergrass lacking. Yeah, I know, how can you consider the songs "Alright" and "Caught by the Fuzz" lacking? Somehow I did. Somehow I've come around. In It for the Money is more "mature" than I Could Coco, but is full of hooks galore. Not bad for $3.

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I purposely missed Supergrass the first time around. For a stretch I was pretty big into Brit-Pop: Pulp, Blur, Oasis (hides head in shame but still believes their first two albums and b-sides from that era are still fantastic), and Ash (who are not Brits nor really "pop" but get lumped into that era all the same). Yet, I really didn't want to give Supergrass a chance. Compared to the immediacy of the former bands I found Supergrass lacking. Yeah, I know, how can you consider the songs "Alright" and "Caught by the Fuzz" lacking? Somehow I did. Somehow I've come around. In It for the Money is more "mature" than I Could Coco, but is full of hooks galore. Not bad for $3.

I sometimes wonder if we're really the same person, Kyle; I avoided Supergrass for the same reasons. I remember getting a comp. from CMJ my freshman year of college (1999). I distinctively recall liking the first song (From Elliot Smith's then-forthcoming Figure 8), but then skipping to the Supergrass song because I knew people compared them to other Brit-Pop bands I liked. I couldn't stand the song because it wasn't as hook-filled as I would've hoped.

I have a feeling my opinion would be different this time around. Thanks for jogging my memory, Kyle; I'll see if I can pick some of their stuff up in the future.

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I purposely missed Supergrass the first time around. For a stretch I was pretty big into Brit-Pop: Pulp, Blur, Oasis (hides head in shame but still believes their first two albums and b-sides from that era are still fantastic), and Ash (who are not Brits nor really "pop" but get lumped into that era all the same). Yet, I really didn't want to give Supergrass a chance. Compared to the immediacy of the former bands I found Supergrass lacking. Yeah, I know, how can you consider the songs "Alright" and "Caught by the Fuzz" lacking? Somehow I did. Somehow I've come around. In It for the Money is more "mature" than I Could Coco, but is full of hooks galore. Not bad for $3.

I sometimes wonder if we're really the same person, Kyle; I avoided Supergrass for the same reasons. I remember getting a comp. from CMJ my freshman year of college (1999). I distinctively recall liking the first song (From Elliot Smith's then-forthcoming Figure 8), but then skipping to the Supergrass song because I knew people compared them to other Brit-Pop bands I liked. I couldn't stand the song because it wasn't as hook-filled as I would've hoped.

I have a feeling my opinion would be different this time around. Thanks for jogging my memory, Kyle; I'll see if I can pick some of their stuff up in the future.

So does that make you the east coast me or am I the west coast you? :D

The cool part about finding music you missed the first time around is you can usually find it dirt cheap, which is awesome for a penny pincher like myself.

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I've been listening to Joe Henry's "Tiny Voices" for the last month or two. I'm beginning to think that it really is the best, or one of the best, albums that I've heard in a long, long time. I kind of knew of him back when the album came out in 2003. But it never got far enough up on my list to be considered for purchase. And so I've been missing out on my favorite album of the decade.

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I picked up five albums from eMusic this weekend, and I like all of them a lot:

-Idaho- Alas: Minimalistic slowcore that falls somewhere between Red House Painters and Early Day Miners. Frontman/sometimes only member has the vocal soothe of AMC's Mark Eitzel, and plays a mean tenor guitar (his guitar tone is really distinct, frankly). I'm digging it, but so far it's really top heavy with the good tracks...it veers near the end.

-Red House Painters- s/t #2 (aka Bridge): It took a few listens of Down Colorful Hill for me to finally "get" RHP (after being a casual fan for a few years), so now I feel like I can finally appreciate all of their varied output. #2 is a good collection; it's not as strong overall as the first self-titled from 1993, but it has some good stuff. I was surprised at how much I liked the cover of "I am a Rock."

-A Hawk and a Hacksaw- the Way the Wind Blows: Pseudo-Eastern European/Baltic folk from former Neutral Milk Hotel drummer. Lots of accordion, strings, brass, odd percussion. I really like it, and I think I can see some of the ties to the sort of thing David Eugene Edwards is doing these days.

-American Music Club- Everclear: Pretty harrowing, but really good songwriting. More "rock" than other sadcore/slowcore type bands, but that doesn't stop it from being good.

-Okkervil River- Black Sheep Boy: Probably the best album I got out of the bunch. Just unbelievable.

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I picked up five albums from eMusic this weekend, and I like all of them a lot:

-Idaho- Alas: Minimalistic slowcore that falls somewhere between Red House Painters and Early Day Miners. Frontman/sometimes only member has the vocal soothe of AMC's Mark Eitzel, and plays a mean tenor guitar (his guitar tone is really distinct, frankly). I'm digging it, but so far it's really top heavy with the good tracks...it veers near the end.

-Red House Painters- s/t #2 (aka Bridge): It took a few listens of Down Colorful Hill for me to finally "get" RHP (after being a casual fan for a few years), so now I feel like I can finally appreciate all of their varied output. #2 is a good collection; it's not as strong overall as the first self-titled from 1993, but it has some good stuff. I was surprised at how much I liked the cover of "I am a Rock."

-A Hawk and a Hacksaw- the Way the Wind Blows: Pseudo-Eastern European/Baltic folk from former Neutral Milk Hotel drummer. Lots of accordion, strings, brass, odd percussion. I really like it, and I think I can see some of the ties to the sort of thing David Eugene Edwards is doing these days.

-American Music Club- Everclear: Pretty harrowing, but really good songwriting. More "rock" than other sadcore/slowcore type bands, but that doesn't stop it from being good.

-Okkervil River- Black Sheep Boy: Probably the best album I got out of the bunch. Just unbelievable.

What an upbeat collection of tunes. :-) You're missing only Joy Division to complete the "music to slash your wrists by" collection.

I'm glad you mentioned American Music Club. Mark Eitzel, both with AMC and as a solo artist, is one gloomy, literate guy. Everclear is a great album, as is its followup Mercury, which probably remains my favorite, if only for the audacious titles ("What Godzilla Said to God When His Name Wasn't Found in the Book of Life," "The Hopes and Dreams of Heaven's 10,000 Whores," "Johnny Mathis' Feet").

I have to say that if people took the title to this thread seriously, it would be flooded with thousands of responses. Worthwhile music we missed the first time around? Are you kidding? It's the nature of the music world for the most worthwhile music to fly under the radar while all manner of worthless swill ships millions of units. That was brought home to me again last night when I briefly switched on the American Music Awards and realized within the first three minutes that there wasn't a single big-name performer I cared about or wished to see perform.

So I figure that every year there are hundreds, if not thousands, of worthwhile albums I don't get to hear. Some of them I discover later. Some of them I never discover. But here are a few of this year's discoveries of worthwhile music I missed the first time around:

-- Ed Askew -- Little Eyes (from 1971, no less)

-- Lee Morgan -- The Gigolo (from 1965, no less)

-- Genesis -- Duke (from 1980; I had written it off as Phil Collins whiny pop; I was wrong)

-- The Pentangle (the whole catalogue; I was familiar with their jazz/folk/Celtic hybrid back in the day, but their newly released 4-CD box set really renewed my love for this underappreciated band)

-- Mission of Burma -- Mission of Burma -- (I was aware of them; I just never listened to them. Until this year. They're great; one of the earliest and best of the indie bands when "indie" still meant something.)

-- Dinah Washington -- The Definitive Dinah Washington -- (Washington recorded her share of sappy, string-laden Broadway ballads, and that hurt her reputation. But she was a great jazz and blues singer, as this collection shows; the equal of Billie Holiday if only she had avoided the schmaltz)

And I'll start off the Lousy Music You Mostly Missed the First Time Around and Didn't Like Any Better the Second Time Around List:

The Doors -- The entire catalogue -- I'll come out and say it: Jim Morrison is the most overrated rock star of all time. His "poetry" sucks ("There's a killer on the road/His brain is squirming like a toad"), his narcissism is unmatched in a world where narcissism runs rampant, and, except for keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who carried the group, his band is dismal. How is this guy considered a superstar? Apparently it helps to die young and stupidly.

Edited by Andy Whitman

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I have to say that if people took the title to this thread seriously, it would be flooded with thousands of responses. Worthwhile music we missed the first time around? Are you kidding? It's the nature of the music world for the most worthwhile music to fly under the radar while all manner of worthless swill ships millions of units.

Well, that's maybe why I'm glad no one is taking it seriously :)

And I'll start off the Lousy Music You Mostly Missed the First Time Around and Didn't Like Any Better the Second Time Around List:

The Doors -- The entire catalogue -- I'll come out and say it: Jim Morrison is the most overrated rock star of all time. His "poetry" sucks ("There's a killer on the road/His brain is squirming like a toad"), his narcissism is unmatched in a world where narcissism runs rampant, and, except for keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who carried the group, his band is dismal. How is this guy considered a superstar? Apparently it helps to die young and stupidly.

Agreed 100%. I am wary of people that refer to Morrison as a "poet." (I knew a guy in college who had a book of his poetry and my opinion of him nosedived significantly, especially when he invited everyone to a bonfire so he could read some of it out loud.)

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I picked up five albums from eMusic this weekend, and I like all of them a lot:

-Idaho- Alas: Minimalistic slowcore that falls somewhere between Red House Painters and Early Day Miners. Frontman/sometimes only member has the vocal soothe of AMC's Mark Eitzel, and plays a mean tenor guitar (his guitar tone is really distinct, frankly). I'm digging it, but so far it's really top heavy with the good tracks...it veers near the end.

I missed this too. When I first signed up for emusic about five or six years ago, this album and Songs: Ohia were some of my first pick-ups. Because Idaho and Songs: Ohia sounded so similar I ended up choosing to listen to only one artist and Songs: Ohia way more often. 20 Songs:Ohia/Jason Molina/Magnolia Electric Co. albums later and I'm a huge fan. Sadly, Idaho sits in my cd case never listened to more than once per year.

-Okkervil River- Black Sheep Boy: Probably the best album I got out of the bunch. Just unbelievable.

Yes it is. There are a half-dozen songs that are jawdropingly awesome, especially "For Real", "Black", and "A Stone". Yikes. Now you'll have to get the Black Sheep Boy Appendix which is also exceptional.

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Finally picked up a good sacred steel compilation: None But the Righteous on Ropeadope/Rykodisc, and it's blow-the-doors-down good. Also diggin' Why Say No? from the late lamented Yes Yes Boys. Del Rey (ukulele) and Craig Flory (clarinet, sax) lead a tight ensemble through a pleasing set of vintage ragtime, supported on bass by my acquaintance, the redoubtable Matt Weiner (Asylum Street Spankers, Hot Club of Cowtown).

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Speaking of Pedal Steel.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Jazz on pedal steel is a very niche market. Amazing Steel Guitar: The Buddy Emmons Collection may well own the niche. I forgot I had this. I went looking for something and couldn't find it but I did find this, and it sure is fun.

There are a couple of things that wander into Speedy West, Jimmy Bryant territory but when he dives into Oleo........mmmmmmmm.

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I know of a guy who plays Stravinsky on the pedal steel. Can't recall his name right now. Of course there's nothing wrong with Speedy & Jimmy either; their two Razor & Tie CDs are thoroughly enjoyable.

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Speaking of Pedal Steel.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Jazz on pedal steel is a very niche market. Amazing Steel Guitar: The Buddy Emmons Collection may well own the niche. I forgot I had this. I went looking for something and couldn't find it but I did find this, and it sure is fun.

There are a couple of things that wander into Speedy West, Jimmy Bryant territory but when he dives into Oleo........mmmmmmmm.

Buddy Emmons is great, but he doesn't have a corner on this market. Steel guitar player Jon Rauhouse's latest album Steel Guitar Heart Attack explores old swing tunes ("Begin the Beguine," "East of the Sun, West of the Moon"), goofy TV show themes (Theme from Mannix, Theme from Andy Griffith), and throws in a couple western swing and Martry Robbins tunes for good measure. Plus Neko Case sings on a couple tracks. It's a fun and delightful album, and does as much to explode pedal steel stereotypes as any album I've heard.

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Guest thom_jurek
Speaking of Pedal Steel.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Jazz on pedal steel is a very niche market. Amazing Steel Guitar: The Buddy Emmons Collection may well own the niche. I forgot I had this. I went looking for something and couldn't find it but I did find this, and it sure is fun.

There are a couple of things that wander into Speedy West, Jimmy Bryant territory but when he dives into Oleo........mmmmmmmm.

Buddy Emmons is great, but he doesn't have a corner on this market. Steel guitar player Jon Rauhouse's latest album Steel Guitar Heart Attack explores old swing tunes ("Begin the Beguine," "East of the Sun, West of the Moon"), goofy TV show themes (Theme from Mannix, Theme from Andy Griffith), and throws in a couple western swing and Martry Robbins tunes for good measure. Plus Neko Case sings on a couple tracks. It's a fun and delightful album, and does as much to explode pedal steel stereotypes as any album I've heard.

Gentlemen, I beg to differ with you both--good naturedly of course. I actually LOVE John Rauhouse's playing, and Buddy Emmons Steel Guitar Jazz is a classic period because Emmons phrasing is so close to a jazz pianists--and I am talking more in the line of someone like Horace Parlan or Jaki Byard than say Bill Evans or on the other side, Bud Powell. But there are a couple of players that I'd like to put forth in the discussion (we may have to take this to a separate thread perhaps).

THE FIRST IS SPEEDY WEST:

His first album was actually credited to his guitar playing partner Jimmy Bryant (who was an influenced more by Django Reinhardt than any country or blues player), called Country Cabin jazz. Before recording as a a solo act the pair backed everyone from Kay Starr to Sheb WooBobby Blackley and Tennessee Ernie Ford, and played in the bands of Moon Mullican and Billy May. Throughout the duo's carer form the middle fifties until they split up in the late '60s, they released album after album of twisted up genre busting wildfire. Steel guitarist Pete Drake got them back together again for one more recording in 1977 called For The Last Time--Bryant died shortly thereafterand it was as if they never took a break. There were a couple of comps on Razor & Tie in the 1990s (when they were one of the best reissue labels around) the first was called Stratospheric Boogie, and the other one called Swingin' On The Strings.

The next would be

The next up was a serous jazzman who learned how to swing roots country style, the terminally underrrated BOBBY BLACK who played with COmmander Cody in the Early Days but had done stints with everybody from Don Byas to an orchestra big band put together by Duke Pearson! but of course came ut of the whole Western Swing thang. Other fine stel jazzers that played withte Cody band was Ernie Hagar whose big influence was Speedy West.

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Last I checked, Speedy West is still alive, but a stroke has rendered him unable to play.

Here, however, is Mike Perlowin and his pedal-steel take on Stravinsky's Firebird Suite ... and it looks like he's got a Bernstein record out as well.

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