Unless you have their collection memorized....gift card.
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a) 'I think I'll quit drinking today' by Michael & the Messengers;
b)The audience would be very discriminating as most of my friends drink to much of the laughing juice;
c)They would not really care if the recording is good sadly as they are usually to sloshed and out of it to even notice.
The thought was there though.
You need to understand your host's musical tastes otherwise the CD will just end up in a cupboard or Ebay, So for a dinner a bottle of wine will do better and you can choose a less wines from a less traditional wine production country.
Coming back to your question, they are unlikely to have anything from Mina Agossi
If I were giving music to a classical music lover and he/she liked Bach and Baroque, I'd give the Zelenka Trio Sonatas on ECM with Heinz Holliger playing oboe. Performance, recording and music all are top-notch. Having listened to Bach all my life I find Zelenka in some ways a relief -- less virtuosic, more melodic and still brilliant.
Theo, as long as the recipients also take up CD-giving, even if you give someone something they already have or secretly despise, they can simply give the same one away when they go somewhere.
CW, I personally think it is a great idea - I have but two local friends who have decent taste in wine, and discovering new music is cool.
In my local music stores, I can get some great samplers for cheap (you know, the ones where the music is off-copyright). I have listened to a lot of music I might have overlooked this way so I might do that. For a friend who loves a lot of music, I might do the 10-disc sets of great Blues artists, or a set of Dino Lupati recordings; for someone where I don't know their taste, I admit I'd spend longer thinking about it - depending on their age and general demeanor, perhaps a 60s jazz sampler, or something like LAGQ. If I truly had no idea but I knew the person had a sense of humor/discovery, I might try a sampler of 70s funk. So few people own any funk music but so many people get a kick out of listening to it. That said, if the partyholder is a control-freak, funk might be one of the more annoying things one could bring... :^)
The movie soundtrack "Shaft." This would make an outstanding gift. Excellent recording and timeless music that still sounds fresh after almost 40 years. For those who are unfamiliar (though everyone knows the "Shaft" theme song), the high quality of the writing, production, arrangement and performances in this recording is a happy revelation. IMO, this is Isaac Hayes' seminal work and legacy to popular music. A classic.
"Junta" by Phish. A lot of people may have preconceived notions, but I really don't see how anyone could not find this music captivating and beautiful, if a little quirky. Although Phish are definitely known for their live shows, I think their studio work is very tight and polished. Other choices that should please most everyone are "Billy Breathes" and "Round Room". I am most grateful for the college buddy who first turned me on to them, and hope I could turn someone else on to them too.