Visit Your Local Record Store

April 20 was Record Store Day, dedicated to the preservation of a vanishing institution. Like many consumers, I buy much of my music digitally these days, mostly as a space-saving concession. That said, I still have a strong affinity for physical media; there’s something about the cover art, liner notes, and sense of tangible connection to the art that can’t be replaced by an audio file. I also enjoy rifling through the inventory of record shops, especially cavernous used outlets like CDepot in College Park. It’s often possible to find albums that have been passed over by the digital transition, like these two finds. Corn Pickin’ and Slick Slidin’ is a 1968 instrumental album by two leading session musicians of the era — James Burton (lead guitarist of Ricky Nelson and Elvis fame) and Ralph Mooney (pedal steel sidekick to Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings, among others). It’s an interesting if unexpected album. Rather than dazzling with instrumental wizardry, the duo opt for a more restrained and tuneful approach, displaying the taste and melodic deference that earned them spots on so many hit tracks. Three for the Road is a typically solid 1997 outing by leading Canadian jazz musicians Rob McConnell (trombone), Ed Bickert (guitar), and Don Thompson (bass). Regular blog readers probably know by now that I’m a huge Bickert fan.  Much of the guitarist’s output is either out of print or unavailable in the States, so stumbling on this CD was a pleasant surprise — a surprise that’s increasingly hard to come by as brick-and-mortar record shops fall off the map.

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