Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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The Long Haul

I had a half hour today to spend before picking up Skylar. Since I was already crossing Glenn on Campbell when the realization hit me, I made a right turn in front of Rubio's Baja Grill and headed into CD City. Impecunious after the birthday insanity, I went straight to the back, where they have the 2 for $5 bargain discs. Here's what my searching turned up, with links to the relevant All Music Guide reviews and the number of stars each record receives on their five-point scale where appropriate:
1) Status Quo, Dog of Two Head -- 4 stars
2) Pete Seeger, Live At Newport -- 3 stars
3) Pete Seeger, Dangerous Songs -- N.A.
4) Gustav Mahler, Symphony #5, Zubin Mehta conducting -- N.A.
5) Serge Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet ballet score (highlights) -- N.A.
6) Superconductor, Hit Songs For Girls -- 2 stars
Despite the two-star rating, it's that last record that I was happiest to find. I've been looking for it for a long time. Destroyer and the New Pornographers' Dan Bejar was in Superconductor, which is good enough for me. I'm listening to the album right now and it's pleasingly steel-toed.

The classical picks were no-brainers, since I'll take anything that's a first or second-quality recording -- none of that post-1989 Eastern European musical sweatshop fare, please -- and am a fan of both Mahler and Prokofiev.

The Status Quo I got because I like the Camper Van Beethoven cover of "Pictures of Matchstick Men" and have been listening to the new CVB record all week.

As for the Pete Seeger, well, he has been a huge influence on me. I have extraordinarily fond memories of those times in Pennsylvania when I was nine or ten and, my father out of town on business, my mother would appropriate the otherwise sacred record player to play me her favorite folk albums. Later, living in D.C., my parents took me to see Pete Seeger at Wolf Trap on a number of occasions. And we must have watched that PBS special on the Weavers' reunion five times.

I'm partial to anyone who was blacklisted in the 1950s. But Pete is at the head of the list. Although I probably would have turned into a leftist without his provocations, it would have happened later and with less humanism. I know, I know a self-professed "bad subject" should be wary of all that touchy-feely populism. In the end, however, I'd side with the American folk tradition over Althusser. Perhaps that makes me a bad bad subject. I don't care. This is for you, mom.

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