Essential Album Guide
Edited by Steve Knopper
following my first swing dance lesson, I rushed off to the
nearest Virgin MegaStore to find a disc I could practice my
step, step, rockstep to. Nothing in my collection fit the
billRobyn Hitchcock, X, and Built To Spill don't exactly
swing. But what I did know from swing music? With no clue
where to start, I blankly shuffled through the racks for a
long time. In the end I zeroed in on Glenn Miller, who I (erroneously)
believed to be the emissary of swing. But, I still had had
no idea what to buy: there were myriad Miller CDs. How was
I supposed to tell which was a "good" Miler recording?
I needed a friend whose opinion I trusted, who was knowledgeable,
and who would tell me what CDs were worth my cash and my time.
The Essential Album Guide, brought to you by the good
folks at MusicHound, is the swing music consumer's trusted
friend. Moreover, this is a friend with more historical knowledge
than any one person could possibly possess, a friend with
near-exquisiste taste, who knows what swing music is all about.
Recognizing that the genre encompasses everything from lounge
to jump blues, Editor Steve Knopper and his team embrace a
huge bredth of music for inclusion in their album guide. You
will find elvis Presley alongside Louis Prima, and Fred Astaire
rubbing shoulders with The Atomic Fireballs.
addition to invaluable biographical and historical information,
the guide lists each artist's best albums as Waht To Buy,
notated with MusicHound's trademark bone ratings (five bones
being the best). There are also listings for What To Buy next,
Best Of The Rest, Worth Searching For (hard to find albums),
and the ever-important What To Avoid. The indeces list further
references, including Web sites, compilations, and readio
stations. As a bonus, the folks ar Rounder Records have slipped
in a 7-song CD that offers a nice, if already standard, sampling
of contemporary swing.
course, undertaking such a formidable task is to invite criticism.
Some early R&B pioneers were excluded (most notably The
Treniers, The Ravens, and Johnny Otis), as were many modern
swing practitioners. In addition, while The King and Jerry
Lee Lewis get four pages apiece, greats such as Harry James
and louis Jordan (Louis jordan for Christ's sake!) are stuffed
down to a half-page each. Granted, it is impossible to make
everyone happy, and the folks at MusicHound have done a better
job than most. They have produced a first-rate, fascinating,
and informative guide to a wealth of music that has become
its own genre. So before sinking anymore of your salary into
CD purchases that may only end up collecting dust on the shelf,
make youtself a new friend. this one won't let you down.