Bill Cosby – Himself

Bill Cosby - Himself

Bill Cosby - Himself

The latest CD I pulled from the 266 CD stash is Bill Cosby – Himself. The TL;DR version is that it’s still a funny CD, but the HBO/DVD special is far better.

Long version : This CD brings back a lot of memories for me. Bill Cosby was the first “adult” comedian I was able to listen to on my parent’s original LP collection late at night. Completely without their approval and knowledge, of course! Little did I know the Bill Cosby I was familiar with from the Fat Albert cartoon was not the same character who was recorded in the comedy circuit! I remember hearing “adult” topics from him was shocking the first time I played one of his concerts on vinyl. By today’s standards, though, he is very inoffensive, and yet far more genuine in his delivery than any other comedian in recent memory.

This CD is a compilation of the same show that aired on HBO waaaay back in the 80s. Having heard Cosby’s previous material on vinyl, I was definitely ready for the HBO special when it aired. Although this CD captures the main portions of the comedy show, it’s just not the same. There are dozens of minutiae you lose out on by not seeing his facial effects that accompany the delivery of the jokes and punchlines. There are also lead-ins and denouements in the HBO special that greatly enrich the jokes and bridge one segment into the next. Having seen the HBO special first, I know exactly what is missing in this CD.

Having said all that, it’s still a good slice of nostalgia for me. The jokes will probably fall short for the current generation, but for me, this was a very pleasant diversion down memory lane. I still laughed out loud at “The Dentist” and “Natural Childbirth” segments, while the rest of the CD had me smiling throughout the performance.

If you can, I recommend you see the Bill Cosby, Himself DVD first. Keep the CD for the iPhone/iPod.

4 out of 5 stars.

You can still buy the Bill Cosby: Himself CD from Amazon.

Dwight Yoakam – Dwight’s Used Records

Dwight's Used Records

Dwight's Used Records

The second CD that was pulled out of the 266 CD pile was Dwight Yoakam’s album titled Dwight’s Used Records. (Yes, I really do listen to everything!) The TL;DR summary is that it’s a cover CD where he “deep country fries” a lot of hits other musicians have performed.

Here’s the long version: I couldn’t concentrate on some of the songs. It wasn’t a clear country album throughout the CD to me because I know most of the cover songs on this album pretty well. I couldn’t hear “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide” without hearing ZZ Top in my head. Same with the “Loco-Motion” and hearing Kylie Minogue’s 80’s take instead. He does sing every song on the album very well, and carries through all the different musical variations fairly adeptly. His voice is up to the musical challenges of each song, and I think he does knock the adaptations of the original country songs way out of the ballpark. His notes are always held at a good solid pitch and aren’t screeched out as many of the country wannabees try and pass off as authentic singing.

Fair warning – Yoakam pulls everything into deep country music on this album. This isn’t the popular-mainstream-Taylor Swift-crossover kind of cover stuff. If you get the CD, expect country music.

My favorite track was “Mercury Blues”, and I definitely would listen to “Miner’s Prayer” and “Paradise” again.

Having said all that above, it’s good overall. I’ll rate it a solid 3.7 out of 5. It was an entertaining listen, and showed Yoakam can stretch pretty far in different directions while keeping his core sound intact.

You can get Dwight’s Used Records at Amazon here.

Dan Zanes – Rocket Ship Beach

Dan Zane's Rocket Ship Beach

Dan Zane's Rocket Ship Beach

The first CD I pulled out of the 266 CD pile is Dan Zane’s Rocket Ship Beach. The TL;DR summary is that this CD is all about songs for kids, but they are played so that adults will actually enjoy them too.

Here’s the long version : The songs on this CD reminded me of the giant 33 LP records from my childhood, but with modern musical interpretations. The overreaching hyper-kinetic-sweetness of the old vinyl era music isn’t here, but the innocence of the songs and the good will of the singers is.

My favorite song by far on this CD was “All My Friends Live In The Woods (with Simon Kirke)”. A close second was the very heartfelt final song “Over The Rainbow (with Donald Saaf)”. Every other song is outstanding, though. Sheryl Crow gently knocks “Polly Wolly Doodle” out of the ballpark, and Suzanne Vega does a great “Erie Canal” you really feel compelled to sing along with. The only hiccup is that “Father Goose (with Rankin’ Don and the Rocket Ship Singers)” takes a minute to get to the music, but once it does, the song mixes snippits of childhood favorites over a gentle beat that’s pretty addictive.

This CD comes in a cardboard-style book with the CD case/insert as part of the back cover. None of the songs will get kids overly hyper, but it won’t leave them bored either. I think it strikes a perfect balance of entertaining the kids and getting them up to dance but not over-stimulating them enough to have them run around the house screaming one vowel at the top of their lungs. I really think it’s the perfect CD for kids to listen to and for parents to have nearby.

You can still order Rocket Ship Beach at Amazon and you can listen to MP3 clips on Amazon from here as well.

I rate it a five out of five. It’s a perfect CD for kids and genuinely fun for adults to listen to.

Project 266 kickoff – 5 CDs a week for a year

So I’ve just added up how many CDs I purchased at the $1 sale a local store was having to liquidate their entire music collection.

Initially I purchased 77 CDs for $77, but now the grand total is 266 audio CDs.

I spent $266 to get audio CDs that averaged $11.99 each at regular retail price. If I bought these CDs at their original price of $11.99 * 266 = $3,189.34.

I saved $2,923.34.

That’s just all kinds of nuts.

I’m ripping them all now, but every week I’ll post a review of 5 CDs from the stash. Maybe daily. I figure if I actually focus on 5 CDs a week, I’ll get a better appreciation of them over the course of a year.

I’m gonna need a very big friggin’ hard drive to dump all these to now.

77 CDs for $77

I’ve been lagging behind posting because I found a local department store in town that’s been quietly getting rid of their entire audio CD department.

Every new shrink wrapped CD with a red sticker is $1.

This is a major brand-name store too, so I know they’re all legit CDs.

Sooooo needless to say I’ve been going slightly bananas. Last night I picked up 77 CDs for $77. If I bought them for their average price of $11.99, I would have spent $923.23 to get these same 77 CDs, so I actually saved $846.23.

The photo has last night’s run stacked 5 CDs high (except for the top left corner with Stevie Wonder).

77 CDs for $77

77 CDs for $77

White Stripes, Ray Charles, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, She Wants Revenge, Parliament, BB King, Usher, Lenny Kravitz, Elton John, Black Eyed Peas, MGMT, Paula Cole, Melissa Etheridge, Staind, Static X, Willie Nelson, The Boxmasters… they’ve got everything. Even The Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack!

I’m going back later today to see if there’s anything left after the official announcement was made earlier today.

Now I need to get a really big frikin’ hard drive to rip these to!