Over the weekend I spun some vinyl that I hadn't listened to in a while. One of the records was a three LP Impulse Records Collection entitled Energy Essentials that takes a fairly detailed look at some of the more outre music that was recorded for Impulse during the late 60's and early 70's. For all of the collections that were rushed out the door in the wake of Ashley Kahn's book it's a shame they couldn't have revisited this well thought out collection as a mid price two disc sampler. It mixes the fire breathing music that was produced, like John Coltrane's "Ascension" and "Leo" with more lyrical music such as Charles Mingus's "Hora Decubitus" and Michael White's "John Coltrane Was Here." Some of the tracks are edited, but the edits are done tastefully and never detract from the music's message. If you see this is a used record bin, don't hesitate to pick it up, it's a well done primer to Impulse's avant-garde side. I hadn't delved into Elvis Costello's great early albums in a while, so it was like greeting an old friend to hear the headlong rush of the short but impeccably executed songs on his fourth album Get Happy. The misconception that Costello was a punk is finally laid to rest here with twenty nuggets of pure pop and soul music. Some of his wittiest songwriting is found here as well with the tricky wordplay of "New Amsterdam" and "Secondary Moderns" rivaling any of his earlier songs. "5ive Gears in Reverse" and "The Imposter" show that he can still belt out a breathless rocker like the angry young man of yore. Not a bad song on the LP, and it's worth revisiting often.
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