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Chris O’Shea's sound advice

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L. E. O’SHEA
  • L. E. O’Shea
Chris O’Shea is the host of Classic Album Sundays, an ultra-high-fidelity “communal listening experience” that takes place monthly at Local Relic brewery in downtown Colorado Springs. A Kansas City-area native with a lifelong addiction to vinyl, O’Shea began deejaying at a 10-watt college station, went on to host the jazz show at Kansas University’s NPR affiliate, and relocated to Colorado Springs in 1986. The next Classic Album Sundays event will take place on Feb. 25 and feature Alice Coltrane’s 1971 Journey in Satchidananda. We caught up with the unrepentant audiophile recently to ask about some of his favorite music.

My latest online discovery: The Wildest Guitar by Mickey Baker. The great studio guitarist recorded this LP for Atlantic in 1959. Some of the tracks are so bad they are good, some are just great. It was recently reissued on vinyl.

First record I bought with my own money: Command Performance / Live in Person by Jan & Dean. I bought this LP at the A&P grocery store in Arlington, Texas. It reflects the era perfectly, when pop concerts were often marked by young girls screaming and crying. Today, I get worn out just listening to this.

“Wish I could unhear that” song: “Theme From The Bodyguard” by Whitney Houston. Whitney wasted her considerable vocal chops on a forgettable pop tune, and in the process spawned a generation of singers who attempt to portray emotion with vocal pyrotechnics.

Essential Saturday night listening: In a Silent Way by Miles Davis. Turn the lights out, put this album on and watch the music. John McLaughlin’s electric guitar on “Shhh/Peaceful” weaves in and around the elastic beat, set down by the master drummer Tony Williams, as Miles “speaks” softly and directly to the listener through his horn.

Essential Sunday morning listening: Any piano concerto by Mozart. They display a perfect combination of orchestral construction and pianistic expression. It’s music that
stimulates the mind and moves the soul.

Artist more people should know about: XTC. After The Beatles, XTC is my favorite pop band. Andy Partridge is one of the greatest songwriters of the last 40 years. Start with Drums and Wires and English Settlement.

Guilty pleasure: I love Dick Hyman’s The Man From O.R.G.A.N. on the Command label. One listen and you’ll hear why clean copies go for $15 to $30. This one is truly so bad that it’s good.

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