The Rob Gordon Shuffle: 3/21-3/27

I have exactly four minutes to post this week’s Rob Gordon Shuffle on time! This week may as well be the “Dad’s Records Pt. 1” Edition. Being at home = car time with Dad and new CDs.

1. Ray Charles – Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music
I watched “Ray” tonight. Jamie Foxx was great, the music was great, the scene where Ahmet Ertegun sings “Mess-Around” is hilarious, and minus the part where Ray cheats on his wife (again) and shoots heroin (again), I enjoyed it immensely. I enjoy this a lot more, and you will too. Ray’s boss at ABC-Paramount Records thought doing a country record would lose him his fanbase. Apparently not: the first real concert I attended as a card-carrying music geek was Ray Charles opening (?!?!) for Willie Nelson, the consumate country musician. Brother Ray was the most emotionally involved singer I’ve ever seen. If you’d like to know what a five-star album really sounds like, this might be as close as it gets.

2. Burt Bacharach – The Look Of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection
Three glorious discs of the most criminally unknown songwriter of the last half-century. Every time I try to ingratiate someone new into the Cult of Burt, it boggles the mind how unfamiliar people are with him. “I Say A Little Prayer,” “Close To You,” “What The World Needs Now Is Love,” “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head,” “There’s Always Something There To Remind Me”…it’s a shame that the average encounter with Burt has to involve Austin Powers or a Burger King commercial. Equally noteworthy (and less hit-and-miss) is the single-disc Dionne Warwick collection, Sings The Bacharach And David Songbook.

3. Janis Ian – Between The Lines
Found this one left in my car stereo today. I had it pegged as generic Joni-meets-James Taylor ’70s folk, but then she blew me away with self-harmonization. I can’t say no to that.

4. The Who – Live At Leeds (Reissue – with the inclusion of their performance of “Tommy”)
I only listen to the Tommy disc, which is even more ballsy and rock ‘n’ roll than their studio cut. If I could see any band live in their prime, the Who would be it. As the first great rock band with heavy musical chops, the eternal question for fans of the post-Beatles ’70s is always “The Who or Zep?” Townshend’s windmill guitars and disenfranchised youth always appealed a lot more to me than songs about elves.

5. Beck – Guero
This doesn’t fit the old Dad criteria, but what can I say? His beat is correct.


The Rob Gordon Shuffle is a weekly Sunday rundown of fascinating songs and albums without any particular regard to genre or timeliness. It is absolutely not a top 5.