Friday, July 01, 2005

Music This Month
A month with no scheduled shows that I have to attend. And after careful consideration I realized that my collection of one of the all-time great Hillbilly hippie folksingers (kinda narrows it doesn't it) was incomplete. Not that it ever will be complete as three of his titles are out of print. Dadgummit. Mike Cross is the man. Not just the man, he is The Man. More talent in his flying fingers than in several contemporary bands put together (more talent than in the entire artist stable of some record companies).
As you can see in the "longings" sidebar, I'm going to get "Solo At Midnight" and "At Large in the World." I don't own "Michael's Magic Music Box" but as it's a kid's disc (and more power to Mike for making it), I don't expect to ever own it.
It's the original three that are out of print: "Child Prodigy," "Born in the Country" and "Rock 'n' Rye." At least I own all three on vinyl and, given sufficient time and inclination, I can put them on tape, then digitize the songs from the tape thus creating CDs that are no longer in print. I know I'll miss having all the jewel box inserts but inasmuch as I listen to my music now off my iPod (have I mentioned my iPod? I like my iPod), it's not an overwhelming loss.
My introduction to the World of Mike Cross was hearing "Born in the Country" played on Duke's FM station in its entirety upon its release in ... (thinking) ... 1975. Maybe 1976. I had a roommate who worshipped at the altar of John Denver and I had a Mike Cross quote I'd heard, again on the Duke FM station which was broadcasting a live tape of a show in Chapel Hill, to the following point: "There's nothing wrong with John Denver. That a good snort of scotch wouldn't cure." So I was inclined to like the guy before I really listened to the music. Which meant I was paying attention when the album was played. And "BitC" is a knockout: "Blue Skies and Teardrops" right out of the starting gate is quite simply superb. "Wisdom or a Drink" is one of his break-your-heart beautiful love songs. Both "Mountain Mean" and "Nobby" (his Leon Rebone-inspired song) are bust-out laughing funny. The album closes with "Born in the Country/Devil's Dream" which is dead solid perfect.
There I was, a neophyte in the path of the Cross, listening to what I knew instantly was one of the best albums I'd ever heard. I made the pilgrimage to Schoolkid's Records in Chapel Hill - one of the greatest music stores I've ever slipped an ear into (I doubt it's still there but wow! I could have dropped several hundred dollars there in no time). Upon finding "BitC," I went ahead and bought his first album "Child Prodigy" as well. I also sent copies to Lycurgus down in Florida. Which is what led to my meeting Mike. But that's a story for another time.

I just wish Mike would come back to NoVa and play the Birchmere

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