07-09-19 | Songs for Listening | M.C. Taylor (Hiss Golden Messenger)
Singer, songwriter, and bandleader M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger picked tunes for Tuesday, July 9 at Songs for Listening.
Here's M.C. Taylor's selections with annotations:
"Theme from 'Proof of the Man'" by Archie Shepp & Dollar Brand
"Dollar Brand is among my very favorite piano players. So elegiac, haunted, holistically joyful. And Shepp's tone on this tune is so lovely. Actually, my very favorite Dollar Brand album is called 'Cape Town Fringe' which is perfection, but it's not on the streaming services. Story of my life."
'Book of Rules' by The Heptones
"I originally heard this song many years ago when watching the film 'Rockers'. The Heptones aren't as dread as many of my favorite Jamaican artists, but I'll be damned if they don't boil the gospel philosophy down to a perfect couplet or two. 'Each is given a bag of tools / shapeless mass / and the book of rules.'"
'Amelia' by Joni Mitchell
"Joni Mitchell is, in my opinion, the greatest among great Western songwriters. The best of them all. Many heads, including myself, consider 'Hejira' her greatest album — very introspective and wandering and yearning."
'Moonshake' by CAN
"'Future Days' is a something of a resting period for CAN after the rhythmic masterstrokes of 'Tago Mago' and 'Ege Bamyasi'. There is something of the occult about this record that I find myself returning to often. It was also the end of singer Damo Suzuki's tenure with the band. CAN later reworked (or remixed? It's hard to tell) 'Moonshake' under the name 'Don't Say No' on their album 'Saw Delight'."
'Brother' by Jorge Ben Jor
"'A Tabua De Esmeralda' is a very mystical record full of the gospel. One of my favorite Brazilian records. It continues to affect me every time I listen to it."
Hiss Golden Messenger bio from Merge Records:
"Describing the Durham-based Hiss Golden Messenger is like trying to grasp a forgotten word: It’s always on the tip of your tongue, but hard to speak. Songwriter and bandleader M.C. Taylor’s music is at once familiar, yet impossible to categorize: elements from the American songbook — the steady, churning acoustic guitar and mandolin, the gospel emotion, the eerie steel guitar tracings, the bobbing and weaving organ, and electric piano — provide the bedrock for Taylor’s existential ruminations about parenthood, joy, hope, and loneliness — our delicate, tightrope balance of dark and light — that offer fully engaged contemporary commentary on the present. And then there’s an indescribable spirit and movement: Hiss Golden Messenger’s music grooves. There’s nothing else quite like it.”
"Theme from 'Proof of the Man'" by Archie Shepp & Dollar Brand / Abdullah Ibrahim from 'Duet'
'Book of Rules' by The Heptones from 'Book of Rules'
'Amelia' by Joni Mitchell from 'Hejira’
'Moonshake' by CAN from 'Future Days'
'Brother' by Jorge Ben Jor from 'A Tabua De Esmeralda'