Sunday, July 29th, 2007
(Or, the Creeping Hegemony of Robyn Hitchcock)
I was listening to The Last Waltz on my computer this evening and I suddenly thought, why don't I see what happens if I use the "shuffle" feature in iTunes?
- "Weary Day" by the Delmore Brothers, performed by John Miller. This is on a compilation called String Theory, that I got as a pledge premium from WFMU, and it is without question the best thing I have ever gotten from a public radio station in return for a contribution.
- "This is How it Feels" by Robyn Hitchcock, from "Moss Elixir". Funny -- this is the last song on the record and I haven't really noticed it before.
- "Muleskinner Blues" performed by Old & In The Way, from "Breakdown".
- intersong chat from Robyn Hitchcock's July 1st concert at Three Kings Pub -- including the line, "no amount of moon landings could compensate for the Beatles breaking up."
- "Railway Shoes" by Robyn Hitchcock, from "Live at the Cambridge Folk Festival". Hmm...
- "Let's Go Thundering" by Robyn Hitchcock, from the March 14, 1997 show at the Knitting Factory. A very nice performance.
- A track whose title I do not know, from the end of a Taj Mahal compilation Janis gave me.
- "Lonesome Blues" by Henry Williams and Eddy Anthony, from the compilation "Violin, Sing the Blues to Me". This is one of the best records around.
- "She Belongs to Me" by Bob Dylan, performed by Robyn Hitchcock, from the November 14, 2004 show at Maxwell's. I'm not generally a big fan of Hitchcock's Dylan covers but this one has some nice moments.
- "Ñawi (Kichwa)" by Yarina, from "Ñawi". Yarina performed at Sylvia's school last year, and I bought their CD. Fantastic rhythms.
- "Opus 57" by the David Grisman Quintet, from the October 3, 1997 show at Somerville Theater. A long piece that starts out kind of dull but gets a lot more interesting.
I turned the shuffle feature off a couple of songs later, when it got to the Carter Family, which I'm listening to now.
Friday, November second, 2007
Belle inspires me to figure out where my iPod is and listen to some random songs so I can post them here. I'm getting lots of blues and lots of Robyn tonight.
- "Alma Waltz", Mississippi Mud-Steppers
- "Singin the Blues (Till My Daddy Comes Home)", Fletcher Henderson Orchestra
- "Broken Bed Blues", Kansas City Blues Strummers
- "Flavor of Night", Robyn Hitchcock -- this shares the quality of many of the songs on I Often Dream of Trains, where the song totally sounds like it's going to be amazing, fantastic, you can't miss its potential greatness, but somehow it doesn't quite make it.
- "Hard Way", Taj Mahal -- Janis gave me this CD in an effort to make me see how great Taj Mahal is; but I'm afraid his greatness eludes me. The instrumentals are occasionally awesome.
- "Sometimes a Blonde", Robyn Hitchcock. A solo acoustic performance at Maxwell's, in the catastrophic month of November 2004. I like this a whole lot. After the song, patter about waitress Desirée.
- "Terrapin", Robyn Hitchcock. From the second set of the April 2007 Games for May concert. With cellos!
- "I Miss You More", 13 Scotland Rd. I don't think this is my favorite song of theirs but after the long instrumental at the beginning finishes, it might be their best vehicle for Bill's voice.
- Medley of "Good Morning" and "In the Midnight Hour", by Robyn Hitchcock, who so much should not try to cover the Beatles. Oh man, this is a train wreck. What the fuck's going on Robyn? You have a really amazingly good singing voice when you're not trying to sing like John Lennon. (Though the cellos are a nice touch.)
- "Sittin' on Top of the World", Taj Mahal. Nope, still not getting it.
Friday, December 28th, 2007
- "Oceanside", Robyn Hitchcock, Live at the Cambridge Folk Festival. Not produced as well as the version on Perspex Island and I think they are playing at a faster tempo.
- "Keep on the Sunny Side", Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Will the Circle be Unbroken. Can't say much about this. It is totally unironic and is Maybelle Carter's signature piece; I love it but it brings back unpleasant childhood sing-along memories.
- "Penny Lane", Robyn Hitchcock. Lousy. I ought to take this concert off my iPod, there is no reason to keep it. The banter following the song -- "One of the things that really distinguished the '60s from the present was that they didn't have these things that say 'if you like that, try this!'" -- struck me as kind of humorous but not really up to RH banter standards.
- "Rukus Juice Blues", Big Bill Broonzy. Awesome. Broonzy says "rookus", not "ruckus"; at first I thought he was talking about "ruby juice".
- "Birds in Perspex", Robyn Hitchcock LCFF. Maybe my favorite RH song ever. But again, not up to the level of the album version -- this record could probably come off the iPod as well. It is impossible not to sing along with "come alive" even though I'm in public, sitting on a bench on the street.
- "Pretty Little Dog", Critton Hollow String Band. Instrumental. Just right after #5. (from the "String Theory" compilation)
- "This is the Last Time I'll Say Goodbye", The Sirens -- from the Apostropher's Don't Bogart That Groove compilation. I hadn't noticed before what a remarkable song this instrumental piece is. The music has a really structural feeling to it like it's building a walled passageway that you travel through -- the notes are textural elements in the structure. This has to maybe have something to do with percussion -- I've gotten the same feeling from some tracks on Perspex Island that have really strong drums.
- "Johnny B. Goode", The Dead 2/27/77 -- this random set is trending toward songs that are totally characteristic of their performers.
- "Mambo Dominica", David Murray Latin Big Band, from Don't Bogart That Groove. "Cute but corny" is my initial reaction. As I listen to it for a while (it is a very long song), I start to hear the horns more individually, less as part of a mass of sound, which is pleasant. This would be good music for walking.
- "Each of her Silver Wands", Robyn Hitchcock 3/14/97 Knitting Factory. I don't know this song. It sounds like it could be pretty good but like he hasn't really written it yet at this performance. Very short.
The combination of numbers 1, 5, and 7 inspired me to listen to Perspex Island, which I had not in a while. It sure gets to me -- this is my favorite record of the year. When "Birds in Perspex" came on I had to run outside to avoid embarrassing myself by singing "come alive" in the Avery Fischer Hall lobby.
...Can I analyse the structure of "Birds in Perspex"? That is sort of what I wanted to do during my Song by Song project but I don't think it really came across. Every line of that song just really touches my heart -- the lyrics to be sure and the way they fall across the canvas of music. When Andy Metcalfe came in at the end singing "birds in perspex, come alive" it actually startled me that the person singing on the recording was not myself.
Sunday, March 16th, 2008
My usual practice, when I'm in the gym with my iPod, is to listen to one of the Apostropher's Unfunkked tapes -- they get your blood moving nicely. Today I listened to the pod's shuffle function, which gave me mixed results as far as good workout music. 12 tracks, from getting on the machines to getting back to the locker room.
- Started out with the Hot Five's "Djangology", which turns out to be a fantastic song for running on the elliptical machine, one of the best ever I think. It's just so exuberant and fun. Source was disk 2 of the fantastic mix tape which Gertrude Crumlift Sturdley sent my way.
- Next was "Broke Down Engine", from The Definitive Blind Willie McTell. Not such a great tune for moving (although I think the Dylan version would be). Indeed I was about to make a categorical statement that Blues are no good for workout music, when
- "Candy Man" from Best of Mississippi John Hurt came on. This might not totally invalidate my thesis since it is more rag-time than Blues, but still. A funny performance -- this is recorded live at Oberlin College in 68 or so, Hurt was getting pretty old, and towards the end of the record he is missing a lot of lyrics. But you don't hold it against him -- he's good-natured about it and so is the audience. And his guitar playing is totally solid.
- "Satellite", from Robyn Hitchcock's 11/14/2004 performance at Maxwell's. I've been listening repeatedly to his cover of "Satellite of Love" and initially I thought he was playing that. A little slow, but still fun to move to.
- Between-song talk from the same concert -- a wonderful Happy Thanksgiving from Hitchcock -- he says "I hope this Thanksgiving you can find something to be thankful for -- it just has to be an internal thing," and more.
- More concert banter from Hitchcock -- this from a Jan. 2008 show in London. Cracking me up but not great for working out. Check this out:
Now, the thing about voices in your head, is, the first very important question: Is it your friend. George Bush, the president... of the, united, states... has a direct line to God. But we only have his word for it; God has said nothing at all. When your little pal in there gets chatty, just... don't give him your pin number.
- "For the Sake of Days Gone By", by America's Blue Yodeler, Jimmy Rodgers (though I was thinking at the time, it was by Ernie Tubb). Now this is more like it -- I'm moving fast again.
- A twofer, "Mule Skinner Blues" by Jimmy Rodgers.
- Stage banter again? From Hitchcock's 3/14/97 show at the Knitting Factory.
- Good music again -- I seem to be hitting about .500 -- "Skoodle Oodle Doo" by Big Bill Broonzy. I should make a "good music for working out" playlist which could then be shuffled freely.
- "Sugarfoot Stomp" by the Fletcher Henderson orchestra, which would definitely go on that playlist.
- "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest" by Dylan, which would probably not go on; but it was a very nice song for cooling down and walking back to the locker room. I wonder if Dylan was thinking about "The Walrus and the Carpenter" when he wrote this lyric, it fits very well.
Monday, May 11th, 2009
Haven't done one of these posts for a while; I was inspired to by cleek.
Lots of Apostrophic tracks in this selection; and I would be remiss if I did not mention that he has published another mix tape, Unfunkked X: Stretch -- a FB friend asks whether the image is a still from the live-action movie of "The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers". Looks like a good mix; but I haven't been listening to it because I'm listening to another recommendation from Apo. Ain't no sunshine.
- "The Brave Engineer", The Carver Boys. About as Appalachian a song as I can imagine.
- "How You Want It Done", Big Bill Broonzy. Really nice, strange-sounding guitar, I think it's a National?
- "Mo Jo Hanna", Tami Lynn. (from an Apo mix.) -- This song ought to be on a mix tape right in front of "Polk Salad Annie".
- "Yah! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread", Dylan and the Band. The comic book and me, just us, we caught the bus. A good candidate for favorite Basement Tapes track.
- "Ozan Kouklé", Lafayette Afro Band. More Unfunkkedage.
- "Doin' My Time", Flatt & Scruggs.
- "The Wonderful City", Jimmy Rodgers. Cool, this mix is really drawing pretty deep on the breadth and depth of my music collection. (And wow, not even one Robyn Hitchcock track so far!)
- "Honky Tonkin", Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
- "Original Midnight Mama", Sylvia Smith.
- "Avalon Blues", MS John Hurt.
- Bonus track, "Pablo" by Sol Ho'opi'i and his Novelty Quartet.
Sunday, August 16th, 2009
Another difference between Inherent Vice and my standard category of novel-reading experience is, I like the reading a lot better if there is music playing in the background. Normally I have a hard time reading when I'm listening to music, here they seem to enhance one another. From my iTunes shuffle today:
The book? I'm dying to recommend it to you but having trouble with what to say about it... I am bursting out laughing about once per page.
- It ain't nobody's business, Mississippi John Hurt
- La-Do-Dada, Dale Hawkins
- What Goes On, Robyn Hitchcock and Grant Lee Phillips -- this was a very nice coincidence because it came on just as I was starting to read the lyrics to the Spotted Dicks' new single "Long Trip Out" (which is on the radio in Doc's car), and suddenly I am singing them to the tune of "What Goes On", and they are fitting pretty well. Here is a verse of it:
Long trip out, from the Mekong Delta... Then I spent a little while distracted, trying to find out more about "What Goes On" -- turns out it is a Velvet Underground song.
It's a last lost chance, when you need a friend,
And you're flyin on out of
Cam Ranh Bay at midnight,
And you won't know how, to
Get back home again.
- The Birds Were Singing, Carter Family
- There'll be Joy, Joy, Joy, Carter Family -- the Carter Family threatening to distract from the novel, they do not quite work together.
- Floater, Bob Dylan -- now this is more like it --
- Till the End of the World, Ernie Tubb
- Salty Dog Blues, John Hurt
- Knockin on Heaven's Door, Dylan and the Band -- I was not actually participating in the music-listening/reading activity here, "Salty Dog" had reminded me that Lola needed to go out --
- I Something You, Robyn Hitchcock.
...and later on in the shuffle, Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra plays the "What-cha-call-'em Blues" which go very nicely with the lyrics I am reading at this moment, to Carmine and the Cal-Zones' "Just the Lasagna". Conclusion, when there's music playing it's much easier to imagine Pynchon's lyrics being sung.
Saturday, November 7th, 2009
I found my iPod today! Have not seen it for months, and wondered occasionally on its whereabouts... Today it was sitting in plain sight on my desk. To celebrate, I shuffle:
- Pit of Souls, Robyn Hitchcock. Fantastic -- I don't really associate this style of music with Robyn but it is very nice for a change. Shades of Interstellar Overdrive!
- Djangology, the Hot Five. From Pet's picks. I can spend too much time on Hot Five listening for Grappelli's work and may miss some of the guitar. The violin solo about a minute ½ in is amazing though.
- Blue Moments, the Fletcher Henderson band.
- I'm Only You, Robyn Hitchcock. For you... (I like his play with pronouns, it reminds me of FaceBook a bit.) Live 2003 at the Great American Music Hall.
- Soldier's Drill, Rev. Gary Davis.
- The Clothes Line Saga, Dylan/The Band. Hypnotic. Wish this song was longer, it could easily have another verse and hold the mood.
- Morning Dew, The Grateful Dead.
Monday, May 31st, 2010
This weekend I finally got around to moving all of my music files over to the (no longer) new computer... It's nice having all my music, or much of it, all in one place and easy to access. I'm working on a mix tape of songs with nice fiddle parts... In the mean time, here are ten consecutive songs in the shuffle...
I like this WMP shuffle function, it flatters my tastes in music...
- "When You Awake" by Bob Dylan and The Band; and what's more the version from Before the Flood with its pretty fiddle part, which track is going right onto the mix tape!
- "Lime House Blues" by Roy Smeck. Off a lovely mix tape from Petquality, "Pet's Guitar Picks".
- "The Boys of Blue Hill" from one of my practice tapes. This was a surprise for me -- turns out since I'm storing my practice sessions under the "My Music" folder, Windows Media Player considers them part of its library. Cool!
- "Let the Mermaids Flirt With Me" by Mississippi John Hurt.
- "Lonesome Road Blues," by W. Lee O'Daniel and his Hillbilly Boys. The band name sort of says it all...
- "Egyptian Cream" by Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians. Song I know vaguely but not too well, by the Egyptians!
- "King Bolden's Song", by the Louis James String Band. More fodder for the fiddle mix tape...
- "The Tennessee Stud," Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
- "Chinese Water Python," Robyn Hitchcock.
- "Simple Twist of Fate" by Jeff Tweedy.
Links below the fold, as I find them...
- Here is Django's performance of "Lime House Blues"
- the Tweedy performance of "Simple Twist" comes from Carnival Saloon's mix tape
- The Louis James String Band tune is on the record of the Mobile Strugglers and the Louis James String Band, which I recommend highly.
- "Let the Mermaids Flirt With Me" by Mississippi John Hurt. I don't think I have heard this song even once, which surprises me. It is a fun tune. An amazing number of amateur covers of this song can be found searching the web; some of them are very well done.
- "Lonesome Road Blues" is available on Volume IV of Western Swing Chronicles.
- "Egyptian Cream" is on Gotta Let This Hen Out; but the version I was listening to is from Give it to the Thoth Boys.
- "Tennessee Stud" is a Johnny Cash song; this version is from Will the Circle Be Unbroken, which should be in everybody's music collection. Some other nice versions (including Doc Watson's, who plays guitar in the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band version) are on YouTube.
- a decent cover of "Chinese Water Python."
Saturday, June 12th, 2010
Nice music for listening to while translating (if that verb is not going too far).
The rare kind of random selection of tunes that makes you think it ought to be saved as a playlist and distributed as a mix tape.
Files beneath the fold.
- "The Ballad of Hollis Brown" performed in practice by me and John. I think this would be a really good song to cut a recording of. (edit:) We recorded a better take of Hollis Brown, a medley with "Alabama Bound" -- I have included this in the mix.
- (edit:) I am adding a track here, though it was not in the shuffle, Ray Wylie Hubbard's version of "Choctaw Bingo".
- Weird and entertaining dialog between Robyn Hitchcock and Grant Lee Phillips as part of their Elixirs & Remedies record, about getting Grant a bloody drink.
- A guest appearance by Robyn on Departure Lounge's Win them back (which is almost exactly "Heart of Gold").
- "I'm only you" from Storefront Hitchcock. Ahhh....
- "All around the watertank" by Old and in the Way (song that belongs on the fiddle mix)
- "(A Man's Got to Know His Limitations,) Briggs" from Obliteration Pie
- "Wang Wang Blues" by Fletcher Henderson's orchestra.
- Kim Rew, "The Radio Played 'Good Vibrations'"
- "I Miss You More" by local band 13 Scotland Rd., who are totally deserving of wider attention -- check out their web site.
- Venus 3!!! playing "Red Locust Frenzy".
Here are the files: Hitchcock-heavy random 10. Artists represented:
- Me and John (who still need a band name) (Update: We have a name! We are Mountain Station.)
- Robyn Hitchcock in various configurations
- Old and In The Way
- Fletcher Henderson and his orchestra
- Kimberley Rew (who is almost a various configuration of Robyn Hitchcock in my limited understanding)
- 13 Scotland Rd.
- (added) Ray Wiley Hubbard.
(Realizing that the greatness of this mix tape depends on the listener not minding that almost all of the songs are by Robyn Hitchcock -- to me this seems more like a selling point than a hit against it.)
Most of the Hitchcock music represented here can be had by purchasing Olé Tarantula and Storefront Hitchcock (either of which purchases is easily justifiable on the merits).
I think a better take of "Hollis Brown" should happen this afternoon -- God willing, it will replace the one that's currently in the mix. (Done!) Another change that needs to be made to the pure random-10-ness of this mix is, "Choctaw Bingo" should be inserted between the first and second tracks.
The combination of this mix and the fiddle mix is making me think shuffling recordings of songs I am playing in with songs I am listening to, could be a really productive way to go about making music...
Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
(Hoping the posting of random playlists does not wear on my readers' patience...) Tonight's shuffle went very nicely indeed:
- "Cryin' Holy Unto the Lord", The Charles River Valley Boys
- "Dead Cats on the Line", Vassar Clements (This is originally by Tampa Red.)
- Dialog of patter between Robyn and Grant Lee, about "the rubber thing". At the end of this interlude, Robyn counts in "1, 2, 3, 4--" to the next song they are going to play, and the playlist moves to
- "The Dozen" by Big Bill Broonzy, in exactly the rhythm and tempo that Robyn had counted out. This is one of the most pleasant things that has happened to my ears all day.
- "Señor Blues", Taj Mahal
- "A Globe of Frogs" -- live performance, off of Give it to the Thoth Boys
- "Beaver Slide Rag", Peg Leg Howell and his Gang
- "The Truth", Kimberley Rew -- shades of "The Man With the Lightbulb Head"!
- "Grooving on an Inner Plane"
- "I'm Thinking Tonight of my Blue Eyes", the Nitty-Gritty Dirt Band with Mother Maybelle.
More posts about random tunes
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