WHAT I’M SPINNING NOW

SpinningBeachBoysChristmasBaja

A fun and endearing Christmas album.  The first side consists of pop Christmas songs, with several Beach Boys originals, which are a little dorky but amiable. The sentimental classics on side two are genuinely lovely.

The arrangements, especially the vocal arrangements, throughout display the usual Beach Boys mastery.

WHAT I’M SPINNING NOW

SpinningNewMorningBaja

This album, New Morning, came as a relief after Dylan’s fascinating but uneven and puzzling Self Portrait.  It was a sign that Dylan was back on track — but in fact the album is excellent on its own merits, not just compared to Self Portrait.  It’s one of Dylan’s best.  The lyrics contain some simple but beautiful poetry and the easy, country-inflected arrangements fit the songs perfectly.

The eccentric, deadpan Three Angels, not much remarked upon in the Dylan literature, ranks among Dylan’s best religious songs (though the more conventional, psalm-like Father Of Night does not.)