Some favourites from the D vaults:
Miles Davis: Nuit Sur Les Champs-Élysées (1958)
This is from the soundtrack to “Ascenseur pour l’Échafaud” and was recorded by Miles Davis in Paris the year before Kind of Blue was released. It has a similar mood. Davis hadn’t met the musicians before the session and only gave them a few basic sequences. There was no precomposed theme; just improvisation while watching excerpts from the film. This was the first Miles Davis record I ever heard, and I chose it solely because it had french on the cover. A lucky find.
Bob Dylan: Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie (1963)
At the end of Bob Dylan’s concert in New York City’s Town Hall on 12 April 1963, he returned to the stage to recite a poem as a tribute to Woody Guthrie for a forthcoming book. This is the song / poem that I use to convert people to Bob. It seems to usually work, but maybe they’re being polite.
The Decemberists: The Crane Wife 1 and 2 (2006)
My friends are probably sick of me talking about this band. I love Colin Meloy’s lyrics and they’re fantastic live – unpredictable, but in a good way. Not many bands can sing about Japanese folktales and get away with it.
Nick Drake: Northern Sky (1970)
I’d known Nick Drake’s name from interviews and magazines for years before finally hearing his music in Dublin. This is a beautiful song and reminds me of my time in Ireland in 1998 under northern skies – usually wet ones.