Wednesday, October 23, 2019
To my delight, as I have begun compiling a list of the hundred greatest albums ever (being 100 albums that are in and of themselves the single greatest album ever made), my choices have leaned slightly more... obscure. Oh, not wildly obscure, Dylan, Neil Young, and Miles Davis are all there, but it's not the notable things like Blood on the Tracks, or Harvest, yet (though it is Kind of Blue). And Lucinda Williams has appeared, along with the maybe not wildly known Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. This has not been by design. It just worked out that way. So it's a nice learning experience for everyone, albeit one without serious challenges.
You cannot hear this album. It is not commercially available. It never made the radio. There are no YouTubes of it. I can't link it for you. You have not heard it. You probably never will.
My friend made it, like, 25 years ago!
Go ask him for it.
Because it is the greatest album ever.
Today is my friend Grape's birthday. I like to say a thing or two about him here on that day. But I won't cheat. I have written before in this space about Grapesongs. Grapesongs is not gratuitously included. It would make its way to my list regardless of dates. I doubt anyway it will do any favors to my friend. My 20 regular readers won't be catapulting Grape to fame. Grape has a middle reader book that just came out that I quite like, called, get this, Grape, and I'm sure he'd be far more keen in anyone's interest in that over some ancient foray he took into singer/songwriter glory. I don't even know if he can play the guitar anymore. It's history. Maybe it's just an old dream to my friend now, curious, a mysterious disappointment he made peace with.
But when I get tired of using my own blog as the poster child of everything wrong with the Capitalist winner-takes-all art system, of the stupid Internet that managed to shock everyone by being even more hostile to art than the world it replaced, there is always Grape and his lovely masterpiece of an album, never published, sitting in my family's music drawer to bear the brunt of our cultural disasters. Let it stand for all the things unsung, to marketing over content, to the quiet way that the best things in life are not destiny, they are moon shots and prayers in the dark. They are triumphs one at a time.
Like in my heart.
One is enough, isn't it?
Because this is a beautiful album.
It is a serendipity for me to realize, hey, I can include this album on Grape's birthday. But it is not disingenuous or convenient. I sing these songs all the time, to this day. More than 20 years on I will wake up with these songs. I live my life with this soundtrack. Witness I Can't hide is as part of my consciousness, elevating, informing, leavening, as much as, say Homeward Bound, or Oh Very Young.
"Just come and walk with me. It ain't so heavy when we talk it through."
That's all I'm doing with this blog.