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Intellectual House o' Pancakes Webdiary

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2006-06-09 - 11:12 a.m.

Aw, it's a hedgehog with a lump.

Scott Walker occupies a special place in the musical canon in that I don't think anyone can say they "enjoy" his music, but it is confoundingly compelling.

His new album The Drift is at times kind of horrifying but beautifully wrought. You get the sense that he is dead serious, committed to his vision, and not just tossin' off some records to fulfill a contractual obligation.

Some beautiful box sets have joined us on earth recently...perhaps just in time for father's day or a graduation present or a little gift for yourself for making it through the Scott Walker album without killing yourself.

Gram Parsons - The Complete Reprise Sessions is a simple little box housing his two albums (in their original covers, shrunk down to Chu-Bop size), a glossy booklet, and a CD of alternate takes. It's just perfect--even though I'm not a fan of alternate takes and bonus tracks so much as I am a fan of little boxes and booklets and hedgehogs.

Also from Rhino is the Complete Atlantic Sessions (73-74) by Willie Nelson. Basically the same deal--li'l album covers, tons of bonus tracks, a well-written booklet--but the packaging is irresistible: a box made to look like tooled cowboy leather.

And, finally, although diehard fans already have Matthew Sweet's Goodfriend: Another Take on Girlfriend (with its Zuma-like cover art), Sony/Legacy has released it along with the "legacy" edition of Girlfriend, all in one package, with even more alternate takes.

Another Father's Day gift idea, if your dad is the sensitive type like mine, is Po Bronson's Why Do I Love These People?, a compendium of as-told-to tales about the hardy bonds of family.

Some may find Bronson's style a little weird--he's not a transparent Studs Terkel reporter, not is he a Joe Mitchell story-teller...he inserts himself into the the text here and there like he's on a commentary track of a DVD.

Nevertheless, it's a heart-warmin' though not overly sentimental look at blood relations.

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