You're going or they're coming. Oh, perfect. The key is to retain your personality, patience and feeling of self-worth. The slightest things will annoy you. You will not be yourself and you will find it hard to follow your first mind. You must be prepared to hold your ground and to please yourself. Don't give in to doubt or pettiness. Take three of these and call someone else in the morning."Negro Prison Blues and Songs" (Legacy International)
This is a collection of Alan Lomax's mesmerizing field (literally) recordings of men in prison singing songs of suffering and hope. Consider this crucial.
Tom Waits "The Black Rider" (UNI/Mercury)
My friend Shane's Aunt Judy said this music made her feel like she was in a concentration camp. I knew then that I had found a useful tool. It doesn't make me feel that way, but it does take me away to a strange and dark country. It is accessible only by train, and there is much fog and a sinister forest. I catch glimpses of strange beings out of the corners of my eyes. I dare not look. You can torture others with this album, or you can soothe yourself by escaping to a different land where there is more darkness, insanity and evil lurking than in the one you currently inhabit.
John Prine "Common Sense" (Oh Boy Records)
Good ol' John Prine. He'll sit down on the back porch and have a beer with you. He won't pick at you. He'll just sit there and grin and nod. He knows what you mean. He's like a good dog with a guitar. John'll slap you on the back and laugh with you. He'll sing you songs about Wedding Day in Funeralville and feeling Way Down and about being your own best friend. It's the best advice you never asked for. This album makes me want to hug John Prine and say thank you, thank you so much.Next time: Jazz Fanatics The Weight of Conversation
Send your suggestions for the best albums to know when cornered by the Jazz Police to firstname.lastname@example.org.