Tony Coulter here, back again with square sights and round sounds -- LPs and their jackets, that is. Before we dive in (careful not to cut yourself on the vinyl shards), let me just briefly toot-toot my own horn: my new three-hour program on WFMU's alternate Web stream Give the Drummer Radio is running and up -- running, as in hearable every other Tuesday at noon o'clock EST, with a rebroadcast the following week; up, as in archived. Tune in for the Tony tunes, won't you?
For now, though, focus your attention on what lies within and beyond: music by Don Muro and Abner Burnett.
Let's start with multi-instrumentalist Don Muro, a man with a musical split personality. Muro's first album, It's Time, from 1977, finds him playing every instrument -- from keyboards and synthesizers, to guitars and bass, to drums -- and presents him in two distinct modes: as a virtuosic prog-fusion keyboard/synthesizer-player in a Jan Hammer-ish vein, and as a writer of atmospheric rock songs showcasing his guitar and vocals. Impressively, Muro convinces entirely with both approaches, though I must admit something of a preference for his songs, the best of which I find quite haunting.
Muro's second album, Anthology (1981), adds other musicians on some tracks, but preserves the stylistic split. You'll find examples of both styles below, taken from both albums. In the years since the release of these records, Muro has become a recognized expert on the use of technology in music education. Have a gander at his Web site, which has some interesting info about his early experiences with synthesizers.
Don Muro: It's Time (Sine Wave Records, 1977) LP
Don Muro: Anthology (Sine Wave Records, 1981) LP
Let's turn next to Texas singer-songwriter Abner Burnett, whose quicksilver-ish sound is both mystical and humorous. I've given you tracks from his first two albums -- the first, Crash & Burn (1975), recorded with his group the Burnouts; the second, Old McDonald (1979), more of a solo affair with musical guests. Of the two, Crash & Burn is more smart-alecky and (enjoyably) ramshackle, while Old McDonald seems more personal and poetic, and also somewhat more musically refined and harmonically/melodically adventurous. According to Burnett, the cowboy poet Buck Ramsey exerted a strong influence on him at the time, and was the inspiration for the beautiful track "The Bluebird," which you'll find below.
Unfortunately, Burnett's fine second album was followed by a twenty-two-year hiatus. Burnett now works as a criminal defense lawyer, but in 2001 he began recording again and he now has three new CDs to his name. Prior to this rebirth, in 1997, he reissued his two LPs on a single CD, under the title 1975 -1979. You can find out more at Burnett's myspace page.
Abner Burnett: Old McDonald (Worpt, 1979) LP
Abner Burnett: Hindu Pickin' Cowboy
Time now for the pictures: this time, a quintet of intriguing record jackets. I should add that contrary to some previous posts, all of these LPs have something to recommend them musically, and one (the Chris Turner) is extraordinarily good.
Scott X: Scott X (Rockhouse, 1984) LP
Various Artists: Woodstock - Moods & Moments (Prism Records, 1975) LP
Original Soundtrack: Arnold's Wrecking Co. (East Coast Records, 1970) LP
Bob Mel: Goin' Up (TNA Records, 1987) LP
Art: Fran "Rocky" Troiano
Chris Turner: Harmonicas (Bent Reeds, 1973) LP
That's it for now -- see you in two weeks!
Art: Janice Goldfrank