The Second Disc

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Starbucks Serves Up Cocktails with Mel, Serge and Judy, and Folk with Nick, Sandy and Eliza

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Fall apparently wasn’t arriving early enough for the folks at Starbucks, so the international coffee giant moved it up – to this past August 25 – with the early arrival of its familiar fall drinks. But when ordering up that pumpkin spice latte, you might want to check out two recent musical offerings, both curated with the Starbucks Entertainment label’s customary care.

The simply-titled British Folk emphasizes the current crop of troubadours who currently follow in the footsteps of Nick Drake and Sandy Denny, both of whom are represented here with “Hazey Jane” and “Listen, Listen,” respectively. The British folk revival of the late 1960s – which also encompassed artists like Davy Graham, Martin Carthy and John Martyn, and groups such as Pentangle and Fairport Convention – clearly inspired the young singers on British Folk. Yet the compilation incorporates many sounds and styles, some more indebted to the rock side of folk-rock but all rooted in the love of traditional, acoustic music.

Modern spins on folk come from Stokes, William’s “In/Of the World,” Beth Orton’s “Call Me the Breeze” and Eliza Carthy (daughter of folk heroes Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson)’s “Train Song.” Johnny Flynn is heard twice, once with Laura Marling on “The Water” and once solo with “Lost and Found.” Sam Lee rearranges a traditional tune with “Goodbye, My Darling,” and Kat Flint offers a striking political comment with the bitterly ironic “Christopher, You’re a Solider Now.” British-American band Treetop Flyers’ 2013 “Things Will Change” taps into the strains of both countries’ folk-rock styles. The late Drake and Denny’s contributions still sound fresh within the context of these musicians who followed them.

After the jump: take a little time to enjoy a swingin’ Cocktail Hour with many famous names – plus we have track listings for both albums!

For a lighter spin, Starbucks is also offering The Cocktail Hour, perhaps the only CD on which you’ll find the great present-day songstress Sam Phillips followed by the harmonica men of Jerry Murad’s Harmonicats! Indeed, The Cocktail Hour isn’t strictly a compilation of so-called “lounge music” but rather a cross-section of vintage sounds.

The set opens and closes with “Cocktails for Two,” beginning with Betty Carter and Ray Charles’ cool rendition and ending in a playful cha-cha style courtesy of those Harmonicats. In between, drinking itself also gets the spotlight via Mel Tormé’s “Moonlight Cocktail,” while Anita O’Day opines “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” putting her own spin on the Billie Holiday standard. The Cocktail Hour takes in songs from the perennially hip Cole Porter (The Red Norvo Trio’s “I Get a Kick Out of You” with Charles Mingus and Tal Farlow), Antonio Carlos Jobim (Herbie Mann, Joao Gilberto and Jobim himself on “One Note Samba”) and Serge Gainsbourg (“Comic Strip”) and goes for the full-out lounge treatment via Quincy Jones’ swinging “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and Mongo Santamaria’s Latin-ized “Day Tripper.” In this tradition is Seattle-based jazz pianist Alex Guilbert’s take on The Shins’ “New Slang,” the song promised to “change your life” in the hit film Garden State.

On the seductive side, Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry croons “The Way You Look Tonight,” Judy Garland insists “You Go to My Head,” and Eartha Kitt purrs, “I Want to Be Evil.” Other treats come from Joao Gilberto’s daughter Bebel with Antonio Carlos Jobim’s grandson Daniel Jobim on “Bim Bom,” Carmen McRae and The Dave Brubeck Quartet on the vocal version of “Take Five” and actress/singer Emmy Rossum with the lilting “Summer Wind.”

There’s just the right amount of kitsch in this package – the cover has an actual coaster mounted onto it, and the booklet offers a full complement of eleven cocktail recipes from author A.J. Rathbun for drinks like the Singapore Sling and the Violet Fizz. The fizzy, stylish party music of The Cocktail Hour is ideal for these waning days of summer, but is good-time listening year-round.

Both British Folk and The Cocktail Hour are housed in digipaks containing booklets with copious track-by-track liner notes, as per Starbucks’ norm. These titles are likely to be found at the counter of your local outpost of the ubiquitous coffee retailer; they don’t appear to be available online at the time of this writing. You can peruse the track listings below!

Various Artists, British Folk (Starbucks B0020232-02, 2014)

  1. The Water – Johnny Flynn feat. Laura Marling
  2. Listen, Listen – Sandy Denny
  3. Runaway – The Melodic
  4. Second Lover – Noah and the Whale
  5. In/Of the World – Stokes, William
  6. Hazey Jane I – Nick Drake
  7. Don’t Let the Sun Steal You Away – Bear’s Den
  8. Christopher, You’re a Soldier Now – Kat Flint
  9. Youth – Daughter
  10. Call Me the Breeze – Beth Orton
  11. Things Will Change – Treetop Flyers
  12. Train Song – Eliza Carthy
  13. Lost and Found – Johnny Flynn
  14. Playing at Gypsies – Telling the Bees
  15. Goodbye My Darling – Sam Lee

Track 1 from Been Listening, 2010
Track 2 from Sandy, 1972
Track 3 from Effra Parade, 2013
Track 4 from Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down, 2008
Track 5 from Stokes, William, 2011
Track 6 from Bryter Later, 1970
Track 7 from Without/Within, 2013
Track 8 from Dirty Birds, 2008
Track 9 from The Wild Youth, 2011
Track 10 from Sugaring Season, 2012
Track 11 from The Mountain Moves, 2013
Track 12 from Angels and Cigarettes, 2008
Track 13 from Been Listening, 2010
Track 14 from An English Arcanum, 2009
Track 15 from Ground of Its Own, 2012

Various Artists, The Cocktail Hour (Starbucks B0020971-02, 2014)

  1. Cocktails for Two – Ray Charles and Betty Carter
  2. The Way You Look Tonight – Bryan Ferry
  3. Bim Bom – Bebel Gilberto feat. Daniel Jobim
  4. Day Tripper – Mongo Santamaria
  5. I Want to Be Evil – Eartha Kitt
  6. Moonlight Cocktail – Mel Torme
  7. What a Little Moonlight Can Do – Anita O’Day
  8. Take Five – Carmen McRae with the Dave Brubeck Quartet
  9. New Slang – Alex Guilbert
  10. Summer Wind – Emmy Rossum
  11. I Get a Kick Out of You – Red Norvo Trio with Tal Farlow and Charles Mingus
  12. One Note Samba – Herbie Mann, Joao Gilberto, and Antonio Carlos Jobim
  13. You Go to My Head – Judy Garland
  14. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – Quincy Jones and His Orchestra
  15. Comic Strip – Serge Gainsbourg
  16. Zero Zero Zero – Sam Phillips
  17. Cocktails for Two Cha Cha – Jerry Murad’s Harmonicats

Track 1 from Ray Charles and Betty Carter, ABC, 1961
Track 2 from As Time Goes By, Virgin, 1999
Track 3 from All in One, Verve, 2009
Track 4 from All Strung Out, Columbia, 1969
Track 5 from RCA Victor Presents Eartha Kitt, 1953
Track 6 from Swingin’ on the Moon, Verve, 1961
Track 7 from Trav’lin Light, Verve, 1961
Track 8 from Take Five at Basin Street East, Columbia, 1962
Track 9 from On the Ground with the Alex Guilbert Trio, self-released, 2012
Track 10 from Sentimental Journey, Warner Bros., 2013
Track 11 from The Red Norvo Trio, Volume One, Discovery, 1951
Track 12 from Do the Bossa Nova with Herbie Mann, 1962
Track 13 rec. 1960, released on Judy in London, Capitol, 1972
Track 14 from Quincy Plays for Pussycats, Mercury, 1965
Track 15 from Initials B.B., Philips, 1968
Track 16 from Zero Zero Zero, Virgin, 1968
Track 17 from Harmonica Cha-Cha, Mercury, 1958

One Response

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  1. Sorry to see that the British Folk collection is missing one of the best of the U.K.’s new folk/blues singer/songwriters, Jon Allen. His three British CDs and assorted online releases prove him to be a natural storyteller with a bent towards bluesy12-bar or heartbreaking ballad. A graduate of the LIPA school in Liverpool, Allen needs a good, long summer tour of U.S. folk festivals and coffeehouses to break him in this country. Highly recommended….give a listen, if you can. Pity that Starbuck’s passed him over.

    Sean Anglum

    September 4, 2014 at 10:46

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