Salt and Samovar

I’ve been listening to a new group called “Salt and Samovar”, great stuff out of New York. They send out their CD in a hand-typed envelope, with a hand-made case, sealed up with sealing wax, and a quirky little booklet which reminds me of a John Phillip Sousa era imprint. I would say it’s sort of like Walt Whitman meets the Grateful Dead, though I can’t stand the Grateful Dead, as a rule, and Whitman can be downright silly – but there you have it.

Also listening to Tom Waits’ “Orphans”, which I’ve had for a year, but still haven’t completely listened to, due to squirrels and such. Brilliant stuff. This is what music should sound like. Like “Salt and Samovar”, this is one set of CD’s you don’t want to download. The packaging is a thing of beauty, full of weird black and white photos of Tom and crew in various states of gritty abandon. Also plenty of photos of what one can only assume are blood stains on concrete. Then, in the back, clipped, yellowed pages of quotes in tiny print, looking like they have come directly from a 17th century compendium of wisdom. Under the category “Dying Words of Famous Men” there is this from Raleigh; “It matters little how the head lieth.” and this from R. Hooker: “My days are past as a shadow that returns not.” Great stuff. Not noted are Oscar Wilde’s apocryphal last words, “Either this wallpaper goes or I do.” Always a wag, even to the bitter end, if you can believe it.

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