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February 21, 2004

Songbook

I've no idea where this meme started, but I suspect it was orginally inspired, in part at least, by Nick Hornby's Songbook, his paean to 31 songs and 15 albums. Myself, I got it from Ron.

The rules are simple - Set your MP3 player to random, then write about the next 20 songs it plays.

So, here goes.

1. Brand New Second Hand - Peter Tosh - I acquired a lot of Peter Tosh while attempting to corner the ska tune market back in the glory days of Napster. His first album, The Toughest was released during the height of the first ska craze--in the mid sixties, before reggae was born in the hot summer of 68.

2. First it Giveth - Queens of the Stone Age - A lot of the tracks on this PC are from bands that I've heard nothing about prior to a decent review from another site, NPR, or the Sunday reviews in the News & Observer. If I can track down a cheap copy of the cd, in it goes to pop up now and again in random play. This is one of them.

3. Eating Goober Peas - Burl Ives - A peppy little number about Confederate soldiers consuming mass quantities of peanuts. Peas, Peas, Peas. Eating Goober Peas!

Kind of a schizophrenic first three, if you ask me. It's probably won't get better.

4. Willow Weep For Me - Art Tatum - Would not have ever heard of Art Tatum were it not for the Ken Burn's Jazz documentary. The film was dissed by a number of sources when it was first broadcast, but without it my jazz collection would have been limited to Dave Brubeck

5. Daydreaming - Massive Attack - Getting old means not only being out of touch with what the kiddies are listening too, but worrying about not knowing what the kiddies or listening to, or deciding "The Hell with it," and wishing they would turn down the goddam noise. This track sprang from the former impulse, when I decided I should at least know something about electronica. So, off I went to The List of Bests' Top 25 Electronica Albums of the 20th Century. This track is off #2.

6. Fast As You - Dwight Yoakam - I bought Yoakam's "Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc" from the used bookstore I worked at in the mid-eighties. It took me a while to realize it was country, so different did it sound from the dreck being released at the time. It was the old fifties Bakersfield sound, as opposed to the later Nashville sound, I later learned. I still prefer it. Since then I've tried to pick up everything he's released.

7. Walk A Country Mile - Slim Dusty - Probably one of Australia's most beloved songsters. I first heard Slim when he sang "Waltzing Matilda" at the closing ceremony for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when the spectacle of the home crowd going absolutely batshit as this old guy strolled into the stadium carrying a beat-up guitar nearly reduced me to tears. I've looked for a tape or DVD of the ceremony ever since, but I've never found one.

8. Somebody's Crying - Chris Isaak - Isaak's version of the classic Roy Orbison tune, for which he has been well rewarded. I've always liked the high "PleeeEEEeeeEEEse" in the chorus.

9. Spooky - Dusty Springfield - There is no instant more paradigm shifting in this world for a minister's son than the first time he understands what "Son of A Preacher Man" means when he hears it on the radio. All of us male PK's need to own a couple of Dusty albums just as a way of saying "Thanks."

10. Piss On The Wall - J. Geils Band - 20 plus years ago, I called WQDR, back when it was album-oriented rock rather than country-pop, to request this. "No way," I was told by the DJ. "It's too dirty."

My, how things have changed.

11. In The Jungle - The Vines - The Vines can thank Rathergood's Kittens for this purchase, as can a couple of other bands, such as Elbow. Rathergood can thank Ngnat for making me visit them time and time again, until the songs grew on me, but he's probably tied up with his Quizno's deal.

12. Calling Rastafari - Burning Spear - For some reason, this is listed as "Walk On By" by Cake in Itunes. Think I'll change that real quick.

Once new ska tunes became harder to find on Napster, the natural progression was to start looking for early reggae tunes, as the two were still closely genres then. Early reggae led to later reggae, as well as Rocksteady, Dancehall, Dub and Ragga. I picked up a few Burning Spear cds on ebay for under a dollar each after Napster (and the 20 gig hard drive containing all my Napsterized tunes) crashed and burned.

13. Tunnel Of Love - Dire Straits - Hard to get through the late 70s and early 80s without at least a couple of Dire Straits' songs magically appearing in the collection. For instance, Sultans of Swing was on seemingly every K-Tel rock compilation album that company released for 20 years. If it wasn't, then "Tunnel of Love" or "Rollergirl" was. I always considered the group, along with Steely Dan, as "smart white boy rock," and so of course had to own records from both, as that would announce to the world that I was also a smart white boy.

14. A Real Man - Sleater-Kinney - They're girls! They're punks! From back when riot grrrls were the thing! Janeane Garofalo likes them!

15. Here Comes the Flood - Robert Fripp - My freshman roommate at Carolina had a thing for King Crimson. Somehow I ended up with his Robert Fripp album. I've never actually cared for prog-rock, but I've got more than I probably should for a man who doesn't like it that much.

16. Solsbury Hill - Peter Gabriel - Stan should have tried this one instead. Technically another prog-rock song, or at least a descendant thereof. My favorite Gabriel song aside from "Biko." Would that he had rendered Phil Collins a deaf-mute as he was leaving Genesis. Sarah McLachlan's version of this song is also pretty good.

17. Rock Star - Everclear - Part of Everclear's return to form after the disappointing response to Songs from an American Movie Vol. 1, though for my money "A.M. Radio" is one of the best guilty pleasures of the century so far.

18. Happy Sad - Pizzicato Five - The initial title track from the very first mix cd I burned for Ngnat. The lyrics are almost all Japanese, but she likes singing the "Happy, Sad" parts of the chorus.

Pizzicato Five was stuck in the Retro-Lounge category when that genre achieved its brief popularity a few years back, though to my mind they didn't have a lot in common with Esquivel and Combustible Edison .

19. Glory Days - Pulp - Brit-pop. Another 1 cent wonder from ebay. Never heard of them before I ran across them there, but the reviews of the cd seemed good enough, so I figured it was worth at least a penny.

20. Take Me To The Backseat - The Donnas - The favorite all-girl punk band of dirty old men everywhere.

Posted by Bigwig at February 21, 2004 10:48 AM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
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