Spider Sounds: The Beatles “Abbey Road”

Editor’s Note: Spider Sounds invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of Spider Sounds comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker Gabriela (class of 2020) and features Abbey Road, the last studio album by the Beatles. Thanks, Gabi!

The Beatles

Abbey Road

The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969)

Abbey Road may have one of the most recognizable album covers in all of rock music.
It is known for depicting the Fab Four walking across the famous London street near the studio where the Beatles did most of their recording. Apart from the iconic artwork, however, Abbey Road’s production quality and track list are undeniably stellar.

The Beatles photographed in 1969

There are several stand out songs, like “Come Together,” “Something,” and “Here Comes the Sun,” which are individually famous and could be enjoyed on their own.
However, if you listen to Abbey Road from start to finish, it is almost as if the entirety of the album is one song. The transitions from track to track are so perfect, that the flow of listening is almost medley-like.

The Beatles - Abbey Road

An out-take from the August 8, 1969 photo session for the album cover.

The album also highlights the talents of all band members, with some of George Harrison’s most beautiful songs (“Something” and “Here Comes the Sun”), Ringo’s quirkiness in “Octopus’s Garden”, and of course, the amazing harmonies between Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison in “Because” — a song that barely needs instruments.

The Beatles - Abbey Road

Another out take from the album cover photo shoot

Abbey Road is my favorite Beatles record because it represents everything I think a record should. Abbey Road was the last album to be recorded by the Beatles, and throughout the last four tracks (especially in “The End Continue reading

Spider Sounds: Billy Joel

Editor’s Note: Spider Sounds invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker James (class of 2017) and features a greatest hits compilation from American singer-songwriter & pianist Billy Joel. Thanks, James!

Billy Joel

Greatest Hits Volume 1 and 2

Billy Joel - Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2

If your only experiences with Billy Joel are “Piano Man,” “Uptown Girl,”or maybe “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” — boy, are you missing out. We forgive you, but do yourself a favor and stop by the Parsons Music Library to check out Mr. Joel’s 1985 album, Greatest Hits – Volume I & Volume II.

Billy Joel performs his first show of his Madison Square Garden residency, on Monday, January 27, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)

Billy Joel performs his first show of his Madison Square Garden residency, on Monday, January 27, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)

We’re confident you will hear something incredibly thoughtful and provocative in nearly every track, whether it be in the melodies, timelessness, or even social commentary found in the lyrics. The worst thing that could happen would be gaining exposure to one of the most celebrated musicians of our time.

Spider Sounds

Spider Sounds: Moses Hogan

Editor’s Note: Spider Sounds invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item (or items) in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker Zach (class of 2017) and features African American pianist, conductor, and arranger of international renown, Moses Hogan. Thanks for contributing to Spider Sounds, Zach!

Moses Hogan

Choral and Vocal Arrangements of Moses Hogan: Volume One

and

Negro Spirituals

Moses Hogan - Choral and Vocal Arrangements Vol. 1

Moses Hogan is renowned for his captivating arrangements of spirituals and hymns. Capturing the essence of African American spirit that has endured adversity throughout United States history, Hogan appeals to the Christian tales that are so ingrained within Black American culture. Parsons Music Library has two albums featuring Hogan’s work: Choral and Vocal Arrangements of Moses Hogan: Volume One (CD) and Negro Spirituals (online resource).

Moses Hogan - Negro Spirituals

While the style of spirituals are fairly monorhythmic and repetitive, the harmonic layering and upbeat nature within each piece is unique and vibrant. Spirituals also have a tendency to use similar tunes throughout their history while allowing a personal spin on how they should be sung.

Walk Together, Children”, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, and “Wade in the Water” are all fairly well-known spirituals that Hogan uses to put his own musical interpretation as to how to capture the sentiment and history behind it. Many well known scriptures are also revisited through these two albums that help to encapsulate the ethereal nature behind spirituals.

Moses Hogan

Moses George Hogan, born in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 13, 1957, was a pianist, conductor and arranger of international renown.

Even if a person does not have involvement within the Christian community, the artistic merit and joyful feeling behind these works is infectious and notable. Music is a universal language understood by all, regardless of background, interest, or creed. Moses Hogan’s work is simply another voice in the infinite meanings behind the untranslatable essence of music.

Spider Sounds

Editor’s note: you can also find performances of Hogan’s works as performed by various UR Music ensembles like Schola Cantorum and the Women’s Chorale in the Music Library’s collection — just ask at our front desk!

Spider Sounds: Beyonce “Lemonade”

Editor’s Note: Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of Boatwright Library Faculty Member Irina Rogova, who is the project archivist for UR’s Race and Racism project. She has chosen to highlight Beyoncé’s latest album, Lemonade which was released earlier this year. Thanks, Irina!

Beyoncé

Lemonade

Beyonce - Lemonade

On April 23, 2016, Beyoncé released her sixth studio album, Lemonade, to mass critical acclaim. Leading up to the release, promotional materials alluded to some sort of release on HBO, though no details were given about what was actually being released—album, documentary, live show?

Considering the precedent set by her 2013 release of Beyoncé, which was dropped with accompanying music videos for all tracks with no promotion, fans speculation hit an all-time high leading up to the release. The Lemonade premiere on HBO was accompanied by a visual album which interspersed songs from the record with prose and poetry by London-based Somali poet Warsan Shire, and featured a wide cast including Serena Williams, Amandla Stenberg, Quvenzhané Wallis, along with the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner, all victims of racial profiling and extra-judicial killing at the hands of law enforcement officials and vigilante citizens. The album and its visual component weave a story which has been described as “every woman’s journey of self-knowledge and healing.”

Immediately following the release of Lemonade, fans and academics took to Twitter to contribute to a syllabus which would give context to the plethora of references and symbols used in the visual album. Connections ranged from black southern gothic traditions to visual references to Yoruba deity Oshun to audio of Malcolm X. The syllabus was eventually compiled and made available for download by Candice Benbow, who launched the campaign.
Download it here: https://issuu.com/candicebenbow/docs/lemonade_syllabus_2016.
The syllabus, made through collaborative efforts from over 70 black women, focuses heavily on work created by and about the experience of black women in the United States and beyond.

The syllabus was only one of the various intellectual endeavors inspired by Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Melissa Harris-Perry, bell hooks, dream hampton, Ijeoma Oluo, and countless other theorists, activists, and cultural critics have written on the album’s meaning and impact.
Find a collection of some of these pieces here: http://www.threemonkeysonline.com/beyonces-lemonade-ten-articles-on-queen-bey-that-are-actually-worth-reading .

Lemonade Collage - Boatwright Memorial Library

A collage of images from Boatwright Memorial Library’s Lemonade Syllabus display

During the first half of the Fall 2016 semester, a display of materials from the Lemonade syllabus was on view on the second floor of Boatwright Memorial Library.

Spider Sounds

Spider Sounds: Eva Cassidy “Songbird”

Editor’s Note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker, Emily (class of 2017) and features a compilation of songs by the late Eva Cassidy. Thanks for contributing to Spider Sounds, Emily!

Eva Cassidy

Songbird

Songbird - Eva Cassidy

I picked the album “Songbird,” by Eva Cassidy. This is one of my favorite albums, because it
can find its way into almost any occasion, and makes you smile–and sometimes makes you cry. My mom would always listen to it in the car, and I’ve found it complements studying and cooking time, or can be a good refuge if you are stressed and need to zone out.

Eva Cassidy

Rather meditative and nostalgic, the tone set by the album is reflective of its publication. It was compiled two years after Cassidy’s death, in her memory. Many of the songs are from live concerts, and her introductions have been maintained, to give the listener not only a feel for the song they are about to hear, but for the character and spirit of the singer. Many of the numbers are recognizable, others more obscure, but for all, the experience will pull at a listener’s heart.

Spider Sounds

Spider Sounds: Bon Iver

Editor’s Note: Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker, Liza (class of 2017) and features indie folk band Bon Iver’s second album, “Bon Iver, Bon Iver”. Thanks for contributing to Spider Sounds, Liza!

Bon Iver

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

If you haven’t heard of Bon Iver before, you can already get a feeling of their music with a glimpse at this album’s cover artwork.
Bon Iver is an American indie folk band founded by the singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, who won the 2012 Grammy Award for Best New Artist and Best New Alternative Music Album for Bon Iver, Bon Iver.

A promotional photo of Bon Iver frontman Justin Veron taken around the time the album was released.

A promotional photo of Bon Iver frontman Justin Veron taken around the time the album was released.

Differentiating himself from the typical sounds of “folk,” Vernon combined chamber pop with an edge to create his own sounds from scratch. His soulful voice remains a unique characteristic that no other singer sounds like; he evokes an earthy virtuosic voice that you can easily get lost in when listening to his lyrics.

The album is composed of 10 songs, each representing a place. In particular, “Holocene,” is one of my favorite songs on the album because of its ability to trigger dozens of emotions within seconds. I would recommend listening to Bon Iver when you’re in a “chill” and relaxed mood or even when you’re studying, so come by the Parsons Music Library to check it out!

Spider Sounds

Spider Sounds: Florence + the Machine “Lungs”

Editor’s Note: Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker, Claire (class of 2020) and features “Lungs” the 2009 studio album debut of English indie rock group Florence + The Machine. Thanks for contributing to Spider Sounds, Claire!

Florence + The Machine

Lungs

Florence + the Machine - Lungs

I can still remember the stormy, humid night I spent sitting up on a hill in Grant Park, watching Florence whirl across the stage. At Chicago’s largest music festival, I had spent the entire day listening to dozens of bands, eating gooey, cheesy Chicago-style pizza, and wondering if life could get any better. But let’s face it– standing in lines, dancing like a maniac, and jamming out to live music takes a lot out of a person, and by the nighttime, I was exhausted. For days, I had been anxiously awaiting Florence + The Machine, and now, as I plopped down to watch the last show of Lollapalooza 2015, I just couldn’t wait any longer.

I guess the biggest reason why I love this album is the way it takes me back to that night… Florence + The Machine has always been one of my favorites, and getting to see them in concert was a night I will never forget.

Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine mid song

Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine mid song

There is something about the way their songs make me want to move that I have yet to find in any other band. Even in songs that were never played on the radio, like “Between Two Lungs,” there is a unique force (especially during the chorus) that somehow encourages me to get up and dance, whether I’m at home, with friends, or even alone in my room.
This album is perfect for anyone who needs to add a little smile to their day–it never fails to cheer me up. I hope you find your own slice of happiness in it, too.

Spider Sounds

Spider Sounds: Brian Eno “The Shutov Assembly”

Editor’s Note: Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker, Aly (class of 2018) and features “The Shutov Assembly” a 1992 ambient album by English musician, composer & visual artist Brian Eno. Fun Fact: The Shutov Assembly album was dedicated to Russian painter Sergei Shutov. Thanks for contributing to Spider Sounds, Aly!

Brian Eno

The Shutov Assembly

Brian Eno - The Shutov Assembly

If you are looking for some chill, ambient studying music, or just looking for a break from your usual go-to playlist, look no further than Brian Eno’s The Shutov Assembly.

Brian Eno

Eno is one of the pioneers of electronic and rock music production, and his style varies greatly from album to album. The Shutov Assembly, an electronic album, is ambient, dynamic, and deeply calming, making it perfect for some hardcore studying or just relaxing.

You’ve almost certainly heard Eno’s music before. His music is featured on soundtracks of some very popular works, like Criminal Minds, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, American Horror Story, and even Netflix’s Stranger Things!

Eno is commonly regarded as one of the best musicians in his genre, and for good reason. His vastly diverse works will appeal to anyone, even those with the pickiest of music tastes.

Spider Sounds

Spider Sounds: Corinne Bailey Rae

Editor’s Note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker, Mary (class of 2018) and features the 2006 self-titled debut album of British soul songstress Corinne Bailey Rae. Thanks for contributing to Spider Sounds, Mary!

Corinne Bailey Rae
by
Corinne Bailey Rae

Corrine Bailey Rae

I picked this album because I am a big fan of Corinne Bailey Rae’s music.

"Like A Star" UK Single cover

2005 UK CD single cover for “Like A Star”

The first track called “Like A Star” is considered one of her biggest hits was first released as a single in 2005 and was so popular that it was re-released on her self-titled debut album. This song is generally considered a combination of soul, jazz and downtempo. The laid-back smooth tempo matched with Rae’s soulful voice and the sweet lyrics entirely written by her makes it one of my favorites to listen to on a summer night while driving.

"Put Your Records On" CD single

2006 CD single cover for “Put Your Records On”

The third track “Put Your Records On” is also another favorite of mine. It has a relatively faster tempo and a brighter feel compared to “Like A Star,” but still has the Rae’s soulful voice matched with precious lyrics that almost sound like she is talking directly to you as a close friend or a sister. As a young woman, I feel very encouraged and relieved by her sister-like tone of the lyrics in this song as she includes many phrases like “don’t need to worry” and “you’re gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow” along with positive and peaceful images of “three little birds” sitting on her window and summer coming like sweet cinnamon with her favorite music in the background. If you have had a long week and need some music to help you relax, put this song on and it will surely brighten up your day.

Spider Sounds

Spider Sounds: “Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism”

Editor’s Note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of UR Music Department faculty member Dr. Gene Anderson. Dr. Anderson is the author of a number of articles about early jazz and the analysis of wind music. He has been kind enough to share a review of a recent biography about Louis Armstrong’s early career entitled Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism. Thanks, Gene!

Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism
by Thomas David Brothers

Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism book cover

Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism. By Thomas Brothers. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co., 2014.

It is difficult to imagine what more there is to know about Louis Armstrong. WorldCat lists over 9,000 works about the musician in over 17,000 publications scattered among libraries throughout the world. Besides two published autobiographies and dozens of unpublished autobiographical writings, Armstrong’s life has been recounted in a host of personal interviews, recollections by contemporaries and published biographies. Of the latter, Thomas Brothers’ Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism is the most recent, winning the 2014 Irving Lowens Book Award from the Society for American Music and becoming a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Biography. Master of Modernism is the third Armstrong-related book by Brothers, a Professor of Musicology at Duke University, preceded by an edited selection of Armstrong’s unpublished writings, Louis Armstrong, In His Own Words (1999), and Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans (2006), of which this volume serves as a sequel.

The main thesis of Master of Modernism, which focuses on the period between Armstrong’s departure from New Orleans to join King Oliver’s Creole Band in 1922 to his successful transition into the swing era in the early 1930s, is that the trumpeter’s success “depended on his ability to skillfully negotiate the musical and social legacies of slavery,” and whose career, “can be understood as a response to these interlocking trajectories.” The fulfillment of such a thesis demands nothing short of a cultural history of the period, which Brothers eloquently and compellingly provides. Although the author contributes few new revelations to Armstrong’s well-known life story, he furnishes the most coherent narrative of these years to date by adding details and filling in chronological gaps by means of little-known archival photographs, first-person recollections from contemporaries and primary sources like black newspapers and periodicals.

Armstrong, armed with an exceptional ear, extraordinary memory and a nascent ability to read music, left his hometown with a thorough grounding in black vernacular music—its blues-infused aspects of collective improvisation, freak and obbligato playing (“playing second”) having been fostered variously by plantation music, the heterophonic singing of the Sanctified Church, King Oliver’s “monkeyshines” or “ragging the tune” to Manuel Perez’ leads, and the hawking of wares by street vendors, Lorenzo and Santiago. Most importantly, he was immersed in what Brothers calls the “fixed and variable model” of performance which “became the key ingredient in Armstrong’s mature style.”

Brothers concludes his investigation by summarizing the characteristics that made Armstrong a great melodist. The author’s stances on a few controversial issues have been addressed by others, but this exquisitely written and exhaustively researched work stands as an invaluable addition to the literature and will very likely come to be regarded, with its companion, Louis Armstrong in New Orleans, as the definitive study of Armstrong’s early career.

Spider Sounds