Bargain Hunt Giveaway: Tom Waits, Björk & Charles Mingus

The Murfie marketplace is full of ridiculous bargains. Working here at Murfie HQ, I see more great deals on the site than I could possibly justify snagging myself. That’s why I’ve decided to start the “Bargain Hunt Giveaway.”

Here’s how it works: When I see an awesome deal on an interesting album, I take note of it. I’ll spend $5 (total) on some great albums, talk about them a bit, then give them away to you!

For a chance to win, either comment below or tweet @murfiemusic with the hashtag #BargainHuntGiveaway, and include the name of the album you’d like to win. Next week, I’ll pick three random winners and gift them the album on Murfie.

Read on for my recent finds, and remember that I only paid $5 for all three of these albums!

First Find: Tom Waits – Bone Machine
Tom Waits has been one of my favorite artists since the day I purchased a copy of Real Gone on vinyl. It was the first of many vinyl purchases made on a whim, and I never regretted it. While Real Gone may have been my gateway album, Bone Machine has some absolute classics. “Earth Died Screaming”, “Dirt in the Ground” and “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” are the kind of songs you will find on just about every Tom Waits cover album, and Bone Machine was in general a taste of the sort of material he’d release for the next two decades.

This album even includes the quintessential manthem* “Goin’ Out West“.

Well I know karate, voodoo too
I’m gonna make myself available to you
I don’t need no make up
I got real scars
I got hair on my chest
I look good without a shirt

Second Find: Björk – Vespertine
Vespertine is an album I always forget about.  And for no good reason! Perhaps it’s because I really hopped on the Björk train full-bore with Volta in 2007. The rest of her catalog came to me in an attempt to find more of what I loved about Volta. Make no mistake, though – Vespertine is its own beautiful beast. “Hidden Place” is an incredibly subdued starting point for the album, and she somehow brings it down another notch immediately after with “Cocoon”. The glitchy beats spread throughout the album really compliment the ever present harp work and her typically ethereal vocals, and in general, Vespertine is all about the atmosphere.

My favorite track on the album is hands down “Sun in My Mouth”, which draws lyrics directly from the e.e. cummings poem “Wade.” Melodically, the song also reminds me of the more delicate moments in some of Sondheim‘s work.  It’s one of e.e. cummings’ more visually evocative pieces, and the brevity of Björk’s interpretation makes sure it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Final Find: Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um
The year 1959 was a huge one for jazz to say the least. Time Out (specifically the song “Take Five”) made Brubeck a household name, while Miles Davis released the masterpiece that is Kind of Blue. We also got three albums by John Coltrane (including the unforgettable Giant Steps) and Ornette Coleman‘s The Shape of Jazz to Come.

While I love all of those albums, Mingus Ah Um will always have a special place reserved in my heart as one of the first jazz albums I really got to know inside and out. I became a fan of jazz in early high school, and Mingus Ah Um is full of tunes I’ve been listening since then. What I love most about the album is how down to earth it is. It sounds like Mingus and his crew are playing in the room with you. I love the realness of the group clapping and distant preaching in album opener “Better Git It in Your Soul”.

Mingus Ah Um is an album completely filled with these intimate moments, including tributes and homages to the likes of Lester Young, Duke Ellington and Jelly Roll Morton. It even caused a bit of a stir in its own right when Columbia famously refused to let Mingus record the politically charged lyrics for Fables of Faubus (though the validity of this claim is still debated). If you come across it, I highly recommend the 50th anniversary 2-disc Legacy Edition, which includes three alternate takes, as well as the sister album Mingus Dynasty.


If any of these albums sound interesting to you, comment below or tweet @murfiemusic with the hashtag #BargainHuntGiveaway, and include the name of the album you’d like to win. Three random winners will be gifted these albums next week!

*manthem = man + anthem

Get to Know a Murfie Staffer!

Today you can get to know someone who does a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff at Murfie! As you know, many good changes to the site have recently been rolled out, and the people who make those ideas reality are our developers! Meet one of these folks today:

                   TIFFANY GREEN

4a1b33a2-d849-11e2-867c-7a9e1c310b2aWhere are you from? > I’m from Madison, but I grew up in Janesville and lived in Illinois and Louisiana for a while.

How long have you been working at Murfie? What is your role? > I’m a front-end developer, though all the developers cross into a lot of code areas. I’ve been here for about 8 months.

What do you like about working at Murfie? > It’s so challenging and interesting, and I really like all my co-workers. It blows me away when I think about how much I’ve learned since I started here, and all of my co-workers are so creative and interesting.

What kind of music can be found in your collection? > Some jazz, singer/songwriter stuff, a bit of heavy metal, old punk, some swing, a bit of classic rock.

21270-largeWho are your favorite artists/bands of all time? > That’s a hard question. At least right now, I’d say Tom Waits, Gogol Bordello, John Lee Hooker, Regina Spektor, Peter Gabriel, and Morphine.

If you could have coffee with any musician, from any time, who would it be and why? > Janis Joplin – I don’t think I can talk about why in a work-related blog post. :)

What album are you really digging right now? > Babel by Mumford & Sons.

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Do you have any pets? > Yep, 3 chihuahuas and 2 cats. The total weight of cats exceeds the total weight of dogs in our house.

What is your favorite food? > Buttermilk biscuits.

What can people find you doing when you’re not at Murfie? > Working on my house and garden, baking, reading, and playing with my goofy dogs.

Now you know more about Tiffany, someone who does a lot for Murfie! You can follow her on twitter via @squareleaf.

Shopkeep of the Week

jeff pic

In early 2011, JP’s CD collection took a journey from the warm climes of New Mexico to the waning winter of Wisconsin. Since then he has sold hundreds of his pre-loved CDs on Murfie and has over 200 more listed for sale.

JP’s musical tastes run in quite a few directions, and his CD collection numbered about 1,200 discs at its peak! He’s a big Motown guy. He’s also an avid fan of numerous singer-songwriters like Van Morrison, Dylan, Tom Waits, and Jim Croce. You’ll also find The Beatles, Wilco, Mumford and Sons, and The Allman Brothers Band sprinkled throughout his musical sundae—along with a few scoops of Kanye West, Miles Davis, and Oasis —all topped off with a Sinatra cherry! With that said, he admits that there are some stinkers in the collection too, but hey, we all make mistakes sometimes! :-)

MURFIE: When did you purchase your first CD? What was it?
JP: I think about 1986 —Peter Gabriel’s “So.”

M: What do you plan to do with the millions of dollars you’re making from your Murfie shop?
J: Buy an electric toothbrush.

M: Favorite Beatle?
J: Lennon —natch.

Check out JP’s collection on Murfie and find yourself a deal!

Shopkeep of the Week is a weekly feature that focuses on our most interesting Murfie shopkeepers. These are music lovers like you who have sold hundreds of pre-loved CDs on Murfie and have hundreds more at the ready to please your ears! If you’d like your Murfie Shop to be featured, or if you’d like to nominate a shop to be featured, please e-mail us at info@murfie.com and let us know.