Saturday, 1 July 2017

Playlist: Snapshots in Time - 1950-1954

Lightnin Hopkins Shotgun Blues
Lightnin' Hopkins



Info: Way back when, when I started this blog, I did a series on albums from the 1950's onwards which screeched to a halt around 1981. The objective at the time was to highlight lost gems, or lesser-known classics, and it was mainly so I could find them for myself by trawling the internet, and learn a tiny bit more about where the types of music I loved, particularly the blues, came from. 

I remember being struck by a statistic that it would take well over 200 years to listen to every song ever written (granted you could chop that down a wee bit by omitting certain acts!), and that would be 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No one will ever hear every song ever written, from Bach to Boyzone, Chopin to Creedence Clearwater Revival, it can't be done, and there's a certain romanticism in that. That's definitely a driver for me, to discover as much music as I can before I pop off this mortal coil, from the past, and the present. 

Of all of the arts, I think music is the only one that never lets you down, never disappoints you, and will always make you happy so long as you are listening to what you like or might grow to like. I would even go as far as saying that music is the only thing / medium that has never let me down, I've never lost interest in it, and it has never ceased to bring me anything but joy.

Chet Baker - 1964 ' 'So What'

We're well used to it at this stage, but behind all of these great musicians are fascinating back-stories, and they often prove to be more interesting than fiction itself. On the above playlist I would recommend reading up on Chet Baker in particular, or watching the Oscar-nominated documentary on him, Let's Get Lost, Baker was a bit of an anomaly, a jazz musician who was equally at home with an entirely instrumental album, and on the other hand, excelled when he made albums with vocals such as Chet Sings. It's well-documented how heroin ruined his career in the 60's and 70's, which was almost non-existent, but he did experience a revival from the 80's onwards.

But enough about Chet! Everyone on this first Playlist has an equally interesting story, from Lightnin' Hopkins, Les Paul, the co-creator and namesake of the legendary Gibson Les Paul guitar, Ella Fitzgerald, the glorious Dinah Washington and all of the rest. I do hope you enjoy this collection of tracks from 1950-1954 and it piques your curiosity to delve deeper. Next weekend I'll be posting the second Snapshots in Time: 1955-1959, I'll do the digging, you just hit the play button. 

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