The Audio Geek!

Christmas music & audio goodies

No, not the Yuletide stuff, but musical gifts I received for Christmas.

Paul Kelly
First off is an awesome Paul Kelly boxed set, 'The A to Z Recordings'. some 105 tracks all up recorded live over the period 2004 thru 2010 . Beautifully packaged, the songs on the eight disc set are organised alphabetically starting with 'Adelaide' and ending with 'Zoe'.

All Paul Kelly originals plus collaborations, the music is sparse, consisting usually just Paul and guitar / harmonica with other band members sitting from time to time but Paul's songs and his voice are the main event here not lush productions or stage pyrotechnics.

I am enjoying the older / mature Paul Kelly playing much of his back catalog. The sense of history and place, social justice, and humour shine thru most clearly. Perhaps, a Paul Kelly Greatest Hits might suit listeners new to this artist, but for long term fans, this collection is a gem.

Bill Frisell
The second CD gifted was 'All we are saying...' by Bill Frisell.

This is a jazz guitar led set of covers of John Lennon-penned material. Frisell has been an active jazz / session guitarist for many years with a great sense of phrasing and timing. Frisell has been named 'The Most Influential Guitarist of the Last 25 Years' by the Wall Street Journal so he has some serious credibility and chops.

On this disc, Frisell sets to work diligently on respectful interpretations of 16 Lennon songs from the Beatles, Plastic Ono Band and John Lennon solo catalogs.

While I enjoy the recording quality and individual playing on this disc, it feels a little 'studio-session' like to me. A touch sterile on a set of songs that I always felt were meant to be a little grungier and earthier. One exception is a fine version of 'Mother' where emotion pours out in somewhat stark contrast to the other tracks. As a Beatles addict, this album was a must have, and it is worth it for the recording quality alone.

The final item is a simple Sennheiser headphone holder. Easily clamped to a shelf, desk or equipment rack it is a cheap, portable and effective way to keep your headphones neat and tidy and always at the ready.

In fact, despite their portability, I am thinking about buying another couple of these just to have them where I 'might' listen to my headphone rig.

Highly recommended!