Monday, May 14, 2007

Charles Mingus - "Ysabel's Table Dance"

Supposedly inspired by a bender in Mexico following the dissolution of his first marriage, Tijuana Moods is something of a forgotten masterpiece from Mingus. (It came after Pithecanthopus Erectus, before Mingus Ah Um.) In 1986 it was reissued as New Tijuana Moods, a double LP with alternate takes of each cut on the original.

The five tracks together tell a story of a weekend in Tijuana, each describing a sight taken in by the revellers: street musicinans, a strip bar, even a souvenir store. I was originally going to post "Tijuana Gift Shop" because of its manageable length, but it's a fairly pedestrian cut. "Ysabel's Table Dance", on the other hand, is ridiculous, so I'm posting the whole thing, bandwidth be damned. It's the alternate take from New, by the way. The rapid shifts in key and time signature encapsulate why Mingus was a notorious nightmare of a boss; one imagines the musicians being miserable rehearsing this stuff, but forced into the best performances of their careers in spite of themselves.

The hand-written price tag comes in at a cool $8.99, but I can't recall the source, other than to say it may very well be the redoubtable Nuggets in Boston's Kenmore Square, one of my all-time favourites and a terrific source for both vinyl and cheap cassettes for your car. If you've never been to Boston but have watched a Red Sox home game on TV, Kenmore is the home of that ratty-ass Citgo sign behind the monster, located a mile or so from Fenway.
Buy it... on vinyl.
From my deck to you: Charles Mingus - "Ysabel's Table Dance (Alternate Take)"

NOTE: Due to the length of the track and limits on file size permitted by my storage site, this track is encoded at 192 kbps VBR, rather than the usual 256. Sorry about that.

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