A few weeks ago I had an idea. Here at Spitfire HQ we constantly text/email/call/tweet each other songs we love, songs we’ve just heard, or songs that we want to try singing with the band. Every so often, one of us will exclaim, ‘I can’t believe you’ve never heard this song!’, or ‘This is all I played on my CD player growing up!’ We have come to realise that we each have gaps in our musical knowledge that the others can’t believe are there. For three people who share so much with each other, I thought it was about time we got rid of the musical mysteries in our lives.
The rules are simple. Each month, one of us will gift someone with a CD that they believe is essential listening. We will take it in turns. I’ll present Louisa with my choice, Louisa will choose something for Anna, Anna will select an album for me, and then we will reverse it - Hannah to Anna, Anna to Louisa, Louisa to Hannah. The person giving the CD then has to take to the blog to write about why they love it, and a couple of weeks later the person who received the CD has to share their response.
We hope you enjoy reading about our music swaps; please get in touch or comment below with your favourite albums or artists that you think we have to listen to. We are always very happy to take recommendations!
ALBUM SWAP #1
My choice for Louisa was Simon and Garfunkel - The Concert in Central Park. I’ve grown up with this album; we had this in the car across all three continents that I’ve lived in with my family, so it’s hard to get it out of my head. It’s not necessarily a Greatest Hits CD; it’s a reunion with an epic selection of Simon & Garfunkel tunes, as well as some of their individual solo work too. You can watch a trailer for the concert here:
I chose this because over a late night text conversation, Spitfire pianist Steve suggested that we added Paul Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years to The Hannah Castleman Quartet’s setlist. (Shameless plug, sorry.) I was very happy to oblige, and at the next rehearsal I suggested we go into Still Crazy from 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, another epic Paul Simon tune and one of my favourite songs of all time. Louisa said she had never heard these songs before...and I immediately went home and ordered it to be sent to her address.
The songs on this album are so comforting, partly because of how well I know them, but also because the lyrics are personal and moving. I love it when you listen to a song and can identify the feeling they are singing about, and it catches you off guard because you didn’t know that was a feeling that everyone has. (That was so cliched, but I mean it.)
Their band is amazing (a healthy serving of delicious saxophone courtesy of Dave Tofani and Gerry Niewood), but the most striking thing about this album is that it simmers down to two men and a guitar, standing in the middle of a stage, playing their hearts out to 500,000 people. Everything else is superfluous; with or without the band, you would be captivated.
TOP THREE TRACKS
It’s so hard for me to choose favourites from this album; I feel like it’s complete as it is. However...if I had to choose a top three, it would be
Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
...and Still Crazy After All These Years.
...and Homeward Bound.
...and their tasty reinvention of Late In The Evening.
...and...okay. I can’t choose.