Saturday, May 31st, 2008
My mix tape of happy music is now online -- an hour of tunes with the common factor being that they all lift my spirits when I listen to them. ("Easy Listening"?) Download the mp3's here: Feel Alright mix. Track listing and some notes below the fold. Let me know how you like it!
(...Damn, I knew I was going to do something wrong with the metadata. If you add these files to iTunes, they will go in the wrong order. You can, if you wish to, correct the order by highlighting all of the songs, choosing "Get info (ctrl-I)", and deleting the "disk # of #" fields. ...Okay, I think this is fixed now... But if you add them into iTunes and the order looks wrong, well you know what to do.)
- Robyn Hitchcock & the Electric Trams: mic check/"The Museum of Sex" -- Concert at Arts Theatre, London, 5/18/08 (a date close to my heart)
- Merle Travis: "Blue Smoke" (1960?)
- Fletcher Henderson & his Orchestra: "King Porter Stomp" (1932)
- Luther Strong: "Hog-Eyed Man" (1937)
- Clarence Samuels: "Boogie-Woogie Blues"
- Pachacamac: "Arpay" (2006)
- The Band with Muddy Waters: "Caldonia" (1978)
- Jelly Roll Morton & the Red Hot Peppers: "Little Lawrence" (1930)
- The Carver Boys: "Sleeping Lula" (1937)
- Rick Danko and Levon Helm: "Ophelia" -- Concert in Eugene, Oregon, January '83
- Natalie MacMaster: selections from "The Fiddling Ladies" (1999)
- The New Riders of the Purple Sage: "It's Alright With Me" (1973)
- Dixieland Jug Blowers: "Boodle-am-Shake" (1926)
- Jimmy McGriff: "A Thing to Come By" (1969)
- Old & In the Way: "Jerry's Breakdown" -- Concert at Sonoma Fairgrounds, 11/4/73
- Abrew's Portuguese Instrumental Trio: "Cabo Verdranos Peca Nove" (1931)
- Delmore Bros.: "Kentucky Mountains"
- Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: "Black Mountain Rag" (1972)
- Robyn Hitchcock: "Alright, Yeah" (1996)
I open and close this mix with Hitchcock, just like I did my last one. I'm happy with this, I'll probably do it on my next mix as well. (After all, I mean he is the Alpha and the Omega.) The "Electric Trams" are (I believe) a nonce group, I've never heard of them other than this concert. Personnel include Hitchcock regulars Kimberley Rew and Morris Windsor. The mic check at the beginning of "The Museum of Sex" was sort of what made me start building this mix.
The Luther Strong and Carver Boys tracks are from a collection of early recordings from Kentucky that my parents gave me for my birthday (thanks!) -- if you like it be sure to check out the Luther Strong recordings archived at Juneberry. (Juneberry is also the source of the Jelly Roll Morton and Dixieland Jug Blowers tracks.) There's also some more recent folk-music type recordings here, and blurring over from folk-music into rock and roll. Enjoy!
Saturday, November 10th, 2007
Listening to The Basement Tapes today, I was thinking about how the opposition between immersing oneself in the experience of listening and retaining one's identity through analysis, is a good framework for thinking about art and the creative process. I've been listening to this record pretty frequently over the last couple of weeks and thinking about writing a blog post concerned with how it is different from Dylan's other music that I like, and similar to The Band's other music that I like, or along those lines -- but then there are moments (especially during "Bessie Smith") where I'm suddenly singing along and identifying with the music instead of thinking about it. I love those moments.
Wednesday, June 27th, 2007
There's something in music I like, a quality I can't identify, that gives me this rush of pleasure that is strongly associated with wanting to sing along. I've talked about this before in relation to Perspex Island, and this afternoon when I was mowing the lawn and listening to Nextdoorland it hit me -- Robyn sings "Can you make it rain,/ Can you make it rain tonight" and I can't help it, singing along is just an instinctual reaction to the pleasure I feel. And then, just now I was sitting and listening to the Band playing "Up on Cripple Creek" and the same thing happened to me when Levon sang "If there's anything she can do --"... (A few nights ago Ellen and I were watching The Last Waltz and together we sang along with the whole song when they were playing "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", and that was a beautiful thing.) I want to know what this quality is.
Saturday, June 23rd, 2007
Last time I watched The Last Waltz -- which must have been 15 years ago -- I did not appreciate it. I think I was watching it for the Dylan appearance, which is only a few songs at the end, and wasn't really paying attention to the greatness of every song in the movie (well except "Dry Your Eyes", I wouldn't count that as a great song, though I do think it might have some possibilities if someone besides Neil Diamond were singing it). Ellen and I watched the movie last night; what a wonderful thing it is.
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