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Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Second is Better than First. Part 7.

George writes:
I was wondering how I could communicate the first two albums of Furgone di Piufiglio without incurring the wrath of the takedown squad. But it turns out that the tedious Astral Weeks is his second release. Instead I will turn my attention to the makers of the at-times My Favourite Album Of All Time. Like many albums I have written about and will write about, the albums today were purchased out of sequence, the first Calexico album I bought was Hot Rail. I suspect that the (at-times) MFAOAT was the second one of theirs I acquired. Then that well-known Collector Syndrome kicked in and The Black Light and Spoke were purchased (the latter from Reveal Records in Derby, who labelled it a bargain at £9).

Spoke is a perfectly fine album, plenty of good tracks on it. There’s a range of musical styles, “Scout”, for example, is a twangy-surfy instrumental, “Navy Cut” is very much an americana track, as is “Point Vicente”, there’s some of that mariachi/latin influences in some tracks (“Mazurka”), and interspersed are some brief ambient instrumentals. And here’s the album stand-out wistful americana track:

The Black Light is a more musically consistent album than Spoke, the songs all have that mexican-latin feel that is associated with the band (although the piano in “Chach” does veer into Aladdin Sane territory). There’s plenty of steel guitar on this album, as can be heard on here:

And there’s this mariachi track (that reminds of the theme tune to The High Chaparral - I wonder if Calexico were fans, there is the Arizona connection.)

This album is one of those that, a few tracks in, you realise is better than the sum of its parts, it just seems to get better as you are listening to it. Of course, they have done better albums, and they have also done worse. And Spoke is by no means a “why oh why did I buy this” album, but The Black Light is one of those Second Is Better Than First albums.

Thank you kindly

CC writes

Now that’s more like it!
The Black Light also has the better cover


  1. Agreed George. Calexico never made a bad or even lacklustre album btw, which is no mean feat. Which brings me to another possible entry in this series: Sailin' Shoes is better than s/t., if you know what I mean.

    1. I will put it on teh list. But if you want to write it up I'm suree ChartiyCHih would be glad to accept

  2. The Black Light was my 1st Calexico album and I like it a great deal. Minas De Cobre is brilliant, exactly what I fell for with them in the first place.

    1. you are not wrong, it is a great song, Adam

  3. Once I'd discovered them I also seemed to get their albums in a haphazard fashion. Agree with George on Black Light though over Spoke for what it's worth.