Friday, January 9, 2009

Magazine Samplers Revisited

A previous year’s issue

Every year, I look forward to getting my copy of the Oxford American’s music issue. The subtitle of the magazine is the Southern Magazine of Good Writing. I only buy the music issue, and it definitely features some of the best writing about music and musicians you can find anywhere. And there is always a sampler disc. I don’t whether the songs chosen for the sampler dictate the topics for the articles, or the other way around. But the sampler always seems to be a collection of obscure tracks. Some of the artists are well known, but the chosen track is not. And some of the artists represented have been all but forgotten.

I have said before that sampler discs are a crapshoot. This one spans the years 1928 to 2008. Given 80 years of recorded music, the editors have rescued what they consider to be forgotten gems. But sometimes a song sounds better to a listener who feels that they are its rescuer. It becomes personal. That said, the Oxford American music samplers always contain a higher percentage of great music among the dross than any other samplers that I have heard. This year, that is especially true. The Oxford American celebrates the tenth edition of the music issue by putting out a two-disc sampler, instead of the usual single disc.

I have chosen two of my favorite tracks. One is by Chuck Jackson, who I am sure I have heard of, bur definitely never heard until now. The other is by the York Brothers, who are completely new to me.

Chuck Jackson: I Keep Forgettin‘ (Every Time You‘re Near)


The York Brothers: Tremblin‘



boyhowdy said...

Agreed on all counts -- I have my copy already from this year, and it's yet another stellar sampler. Like Mojo and Paste samplers, this one sets a standard: focused, high hit-to-miss ration, and always drastically diverse.

You know that back issues go for big bucks on ebay, too, right? Buying two copies each year has become a way to save for my kids' college edumacation.