Been consumed with other things this past week. I have had way too much free time (office closed, no Internet, isolated from friends, although close by to them), but I have spent it mostly in watching movies and reading and texting with Ray. Oh, and also cleaning, and puttering about, and all that domestic stuff. Music has been playing when I think to turn it on. Here is the Storm-Shuffle that has been ongoing during this past catastrophic week. Right now, the nor’easter rages outside and snow is piling up. My heart goes out to those in the Rockaways, Staten Island, my friend in Long Island, the Jersey Shore, all of those with no homes tonight. It’s scary cold and crazy outside. There are certainly shelters opening, but the folks on the Rockaways can’t even get to them. It is a dire situation out there. Please, please, don’t think we are “over” this here. If you think of it, we need winter coats and blankets – go and donate. It will be months before these people’s lives are back to normal. I am so lucky that I wasn’t hit as hard. I am worried about losing power again tonight, but that is just a minor annoyance, not a life-threatening situation like having no home and no shelters available to you. Hope is happy, I am warm and safe. I am lucky.
“Blow, Gabriel, Blow” – from the new revival of Anything Goes, starring Sutton Foster. I saw the production with Patti Lupone back in the 80s. Great show. This song is an exhilarating production number. This recording captures some of the live energy. Love it when sopranos go apeshit.
“On the Jericho Road” – Elvis messing around with Carl Perkins at Sun Studio (the “million dollar quartet” day in 1956). Elvis jokes that they need “Johnny Cash” to do this one, which suggests that Cash actually was not there at the time.
“I Don’t Need Anything But You” – Daddy Warbucks and Little Orphan Annie (Andrea McArdle) in the original Broadway production of Annie. Her voice still gets me. She was such a huge influence on me. Huge. Can’t even quantify it.
“Be Careful” – Patty Griffin. Ouch.
Be careful how you bend me
Be careful where you send me
Careful how you end me
Be careful with me
“I’m Lookin’ for Someone to Love” – Buddy Holly and the Crickets. It still swings. What energy, joy. There’s a command in such music: dance, move, connect.
“Your Lovin’ Man” -Vernon Taylor. Love this angry rockabilly, great song about glorying in someone else’s suffering, post-breakup. I think we all can relate. “You’ll be sorry you let me go and I’ll LAUGH IN YOUR FACE.”
“Born to Hand Jive” – Sha-Na-Na, from Grease. Hysterical. I still can hand-jive. It’s in my DNA.
“Why” – Annie Lennox, from Diva, an album that reminds me so much of my early months in Chicago, but I mean “reminds” in a Proustian way. A song from this album comes back and I am actually transported back to the feel of that time, my sweet-smelling roach-motel corridor, my runs along the lake, the honey-almond face mask I used then, the mix of adrenaline and relaxation buzzing through me at all times, hearing Miles’ voice on my answering machine and clutching my heart in excitement/lust. It’s all there, in any of the songs on this album. Quite extraordinary.
“Song of the Shrimp” – Elvis Presley. I don’t care. I think this is adorable. And totally ridiculous at the same time. From Girls! Girls! Girls! As dumb as it is, listen to what Elvis is doing with his voice here. It’s gorgeous. Very difficult, too.
“I Can Make You a Man” – Tim Curry, from Rocky Horror Picture Show. Perverse. This is an awesome Shuffle so far.
“What” – Brendan Benson. I have written before about my love of this songwriter. Along with Bleu and Mike Viola, he is my favorite songwriter writing today.
“The Beat Goes On” – Britney Spears. Totes adorbs.
“Dancing Queen” – ABBA. How many times have I listened to this song, cumulatively, in my entire life? Either by choice, or at various weddings, parties, dances, it still gets radio play, it’s insane. The number has to be in the thousands.
“I Need You” – Eurhythmics. This song is pretty dark. A great psychological monologue, filled with truth.
“Santa Ana Wind” – Everclear. This is from his latest, I believe. I’m not familiar with it yet. But I get excited by him.
“Memphis Beat” – Dickie Lee. I don’t even know where half of these songs come from. But I’m happy when they come up.
“Poor, Poor Pharaoh/Song of the King” – from the Broadway production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The Pharaoh is played by an Elvis imitator, and it’s hysterical. He totally gets all of the different hitches, and gutturals, the sudden rough-ness that Elvis would get in his voice, and love the half-time ending. Classic Elvis, very very funny.
“Praying for Time” – George Michael. This is such a good album. I should listen to it more.
“Spanish Lady” – The Irish Tenors. I find the entire thing rather distressingly sentimental, but I like this one a lot.
“Beginner’s Luck” – Elvis Presley, from Frankie and Johnny. A perfect example of the horrible “mix” on the soundtracks, where his beautiful voice is pushed so far out in front of the accompaniment that it doesn’t sound good. If the mix was better, more fluid, he might not sound so odd. This was the Colonel’s taste, and Elvis hated it (haaaaated it), and would fight back in projects that mattered to him (gospel, his later albums), but at a certain point during the movie years he thought, “Fuck it, I don’t care”. He took care of business in a flash, got in, got out, hated the mix, hated how his voice hovered so far outside of the music that the song itself can barely be perceived, but he didn’t want to fight about it. This is actually a pretty song, if a bit boring.
“Everybody Has a Dream” – Billy Joel. This isn’t news, Billy.
“Smoke” – from Liz Phair’s really really weird latest album. I love her. This song is freaky. I would never guess that it was her. “What’s in the box, Liz?” “It’s my little box of self-doubt.”
“Without You” – The Dixie Chicks. Pretty song. Girl can sing.
“Help!” – The Beatles. I mean, honestly. LISTEN to this song. You can feel an old world break apart in between the notes.
“Introduction by Elvis” – Elvis’ introduction of the band/back-up singers during his Aloha From Hawaii concert. Elvis sounds out of it. That is true throughout the entirety of this particular concert.
“Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” – Elvis. Oh, sweet sweet Elvis. How does he do it without becoming a parody of himself? Listen to his vocalizations. It’s crazy, how fresh he makes it seem.
“I’m In Love With My Car” – Queen. YES. These guys make the hair on the back of my neck rise up.
“Why Don’t You Do Right” – Sinéad O’Connor. I love this album of standards, this one in particular with the big-band swing. It suits her. She’s so (melo)dramatic.
“Entertainment” – Pat McCurdy. Wondered when he would show up. This song is a nightmare.
“Now and Then There’s Such a Fool As I” – Elvis, messing around in a rehearsal, on the That’s the Way It Is album. This song takes on a country-swing feel here.
“One Night” – Elvis, a very rough recording of his fund raiser in 1961 in Honolulu. I love it, though, because it really gives a sense of how he was live, how crazy the crowd was, and what an energy he put forward live.
“Don’t Stop” – Fleetwood Mac. Perfect song, perfect album.
“Sarah Brown Eyes” – Brian Stokes Mitchell and Audra McDonald, from Ragtime. Gorgeous.
“My Baby Does Me” – Queen. I could draw the cover to this album from memory, probably.
“Lawdy Miss Clawdy” (alternate take 1) – Elvis Presley. I love all of these alternate takes. You can hear, first of all, how consistent Elvis was, and how hard he worked. This song is so weird to me, in a great way. It doesn’t sound like anything else. It took the band some time to sync themselves up and get it together. Lots of takes.
“Desolation Row” – My Chemical Romance. You know, other bands are just as loud and frenetic but their pain and rage feels more kosher, more organic. These guys just sound manic. I want to tell them to calm down, get laid, enjoy life. I like them, but it’s all a bit much, you know.
“Callin’ Baton Rouge” – Garth Brooks. I’m a huge fan. Went to his concert in Central Park, where he introduced onto the stage “the man who inspired me most” and out came Don McLean. They sang “American Pie” together and I thought I was going to faint. I like this song a lot, great steel guitar.
“Dentist” – Steve Martin, in Little Shop of Horrors. Hilarious.
“Breakthru” – Queen. Lots of Queen, and that always makes me happy. His voice could raise the dead.
“Le Jazz Hot” – Chris Colfer, in Glee. This is pretty fabulous.
“Because” – Dana Fuchs, Evan Wood, Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson, Martin Luther McCoy & T.V. Carpio – gorgeous rendition of the Beatles song from Julie Tambor’s Across the Universe
“Say Yeah” – Pat McCurdy. Hm. Think this was written for a certain someone. But I ain’t saying who.
“Hammer and a Nail” – The Indigo Girls. So earnest! “Even my sweat smells clean …” No. It doesn’t. Appreciate the sentiment, but your sweat does not smell clean.
“Wheels” – The Foo Fighters. I love them. Great pop/rock anthems. Heard Grohl will be drumming with Queens of the Stone Age again which is exciting news.
“Five Steps” – The Davenports. Haha. This is the theme song to Intervention and it haunts me and pleases me so much that I tracked it down on iTunes.
“Astronomy” – Metallica. Pretty. A Metallica song, pretty? Yes. I love Hetfield’s voice.
“Galaxy Song” – Monty Python. Hahahaha. “on a planet that’s revolving at 900 miles an hour …”
“I Want to Tell You” – The Beatles. I love how the song “fades in”. Did anyone else do that? I know they did it a couple of times. It still seems a bit radical to me.
“All Nightmare Long” – Metallica. As the title shows, this song is eerie and terrifying. I love it when they get terrifying. “Luck ……. runs ……. out.”
“Blood Roses” – Tori Amos, from her very bizarre and difficult Boys for Pele album. This has a creepy harpsichord accompaniment. She sounds NUTS.
“Longview” – Green Day. From International Superhits which I listened to to distraction.
“It’s Saturday Night” – The Proclaimers. I adore this. I adore them.
“I Will Follow” – Katie Herzig. Cousin Mike turned me on to her, thinking she would be a good accompaniment for any final production of my script. I have fallen in love with her. Wonderful stuff.
“How Blue” – Bleu. I don’t know if I can even explain what this guy means to me. He’s helped me. He’s healing. He’s exciting. He’s smart. And the voice.
“To Die a Virgin” – The Divine Comedy. This guy is great. Here’s a clip of him singing this song. Very witty lyrics.
“Summer’s End” – The Foo Fighters. I love them, but this song feels a bit stock to me. The best part about them, though, is I sense joy behind everything they do.
“I Want to Belong To You” – Katie Herzig. A Herzig cluster. Cousin Mike would be pleased.
“House of Sand” – Elvis, from Paradise, Hawaiian Style. The whole thing is tired, dismal, and sad.
“I Believe in the Man in the Sky” – Elvis. Now that’s more like it, right, Elvis? I love the arrangement of this, and of course that is all Elvis. He sounds so good here, so in his element.
“Why Don’t You Do Right” – Tony Burgos and his Swing Shift Orchestra. That’s the question. Why?
“Otis Redding” – Everclear. Gorgeous. These guys slice me right open. I’ve written about it before. I associate them a little bit too much with 2009, my annus horribilis, but they helped me a lot. Gave me a lot of comfort. Now, when they come up, I just remember the anguish of that year, but at the time, they helped.
“Stull a Run” – The Chieftains with Sissel. A melancholy ayre while Athena bears down on us.
“Heal the Pain” – George Michael. I reiterate my earlier comment: what a good album this is.
“How’s the World Treating You” – Elvis Presley. Gorgeous, with that RCA echo on his voice that makes it sound like he is at the bottom of a well.
“Since I’ve Been Loving You” – Led Zeppelin. A bluesy melodramatic lament. His voice goes right through me.
“Bad” – U2. I was worried, wondered where these guys were.
“Walk In Jerusalem” – New Grass Revival. I love this album!! I’ve had it since college. This is live, a capella, great harmonies, the audience clapping in time.
“Too Late” – No Doubt. Boy, member them? What’s Gwen Stefani doing these days? I like her. Is the atmosphere too teeny-bopper-sex-pot for a grown woman? Hope she keeps going.
“Jet Lag” – the fantastic Brendan Benson. Certainly you can hear the Beatles influence in his stuff – like really hear it – but there’s no shame in that.
“St. Louis Blues” – Cab Calloway. I am so glad I bought the huge album of Cab Calloway stuff. So good, so fun. You can feel the atmosphere from which music like this sprung, pinstripe suits and speakeasies and huge fur collars and two-tone spats.
“Something Lost” – Longpigs. I only have the one album of theirs, which I have had for years. There’s not a bad song on it. As a matter of fact, they are anthems. I know nothing about this band, never saw them live, am not up to date on what their deal is/was, but I do know that these are hellishly good songs.
“Home” – the cast of Glee and Kristen Chenoweth. Adorable and sweet.
“Thin Ice” – Lenny Kravitz. This is from the Circus album when everyone thought he had “lost it”. Whatever happened to the “love conquers all” hippie-boy? What was all this darkness and angst? I think it’s one of his best albums.
“Big Boss Man” – Elvis Presley. One of his sexiest songs. Like, I need some alone time, basically. What I love best is all of the little comments or sounds he throws in in between phrases, “all right …”, “Uh uh!”, etc. Sometimes he clenches his jaw and growls out the words. I mean, it’s SEXY.
“As Long As He Needs Me” – Doris Day. From the musical Oliver! Her version is perfection. I find her so soothing to listen to.
“The Walls Have Ears” – Elvis, from Girls! Girls! Girls! A tango number which would make zero sense for Elvis to record unless you saw the movie (where the song is woven into the plot … sort of). I do love hearing Elvis doing Latin-inspired numbers. I know he loved stepping into Dino territory, it helped him stretch his instrument. He loved that stuff.
“Snow White Queen” – Evanescence. She’s got one of the best voices out there, currently. I have to be in the mood for them. They can be a bit heavy. But love them.
“That’s All Right” – Elvis, again, performing live at his Honolulu fund raiser in 1961. It’s a bad recording but it’s great and vibrant because you can feel the mania. I also like how Elvis always refers to his career in the plural: “when we first started out … this was the first song we recorded on the Sun label”. Rather generous, when you consider that his popularity was of a personal nature unprecedented, before or since. He wasn’t a member of a band, he was a singular force of nature, all by himself. But he did say “we”, quite a bit.
“Paralyzed” – Elvis, live on Dec. 16, 1956 – his last show on the Louisiana Hayride. It’s such chaos that he has to shout to be heard, begging people to sit down, etc. It’s insane. He makes a joke he made thruout his life, holding onto the mike stand: “Nobody move, I think I see Moby Dick.” When he introduces the name of the song, he goes into preacher mode, “All I could dooooo … uh-was stand they-ah …. paralyzed.” It’s goosebump-inducing. The crowd goes apeshit.
“The Pledge” – Brendan Benson. Fun. What is it about this guy? He hits the sweet spot.
“Love’s In Need of Love Today” – Stevie Wonder. This was what he performed during the telethon right after 9/11. So gorgeous, so healing. Pain. But hope, too.
“Kickapoo” – Tenacious D. I get so happy any time they come up. I suppose some people may find them “stupid”. For me … this is the essence of the kind of comedy I respond to. It’s serious, it’s parodical, it’s also well done. These are stupid songs, but GOOD songs.
“Such a Night” – Elvis. Wow, the third track from the very rough recording of the March 1961 fund raiser Elvis gave in Honolulu (and if I’m not mistaken this was the last time he performed live until the end of the decade). You can barely hear him. The crowd is so loud. He’s toying with them, he’s loving being on display. He sounds great, when you can actually hear him.
“(Every Time They Play) Our Song” – Wanda Jackson. Classic: in one song you can hear the genres merged, the merging that was such a revolution.
“Make You Feel My Love” – Bob Dylan. Too painful to listen to.
“You Give Love a Bad Name” – Bon Jovi. It’s that insanely melodramatic a capella opening as well as the ridiculous and awesome guitars underneath the main action that puts this song over the glorious edge into the epic.
“It’s Only Make Believe” – Conway Twitty. This song is so painful. I understand this song. Love the doo-wop background singers. Fantastic.
“White As Snow” – U2. Very pretty. It sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a cowboy movie, pioneers plodding through Monument Valley or something.
“Puttin’ on the Ritz” – Rufus Wainwright, doing Judy Garland’s concert at Carnegie Hall. I’m getting a bit sick of this, actually. I love him, but I never feel like listening to him do Judy. I wonder why that is. Moving on.
“Little Darlin’” – Elvis, in Shreveport, in 1975. The stupidest song he ever recorded. Well, that’s probably not true. “Rhumba in a Sports Car” or the stupid song to Domino the Bull probably can take the laurels on that one. But these lyrics … and it’s a throwback song, going for the nostalgia vote. Elvis cannot take it seriously, which, ironically, makes it. Listen to how he makes fun of the spoken word part, making it overly serious and ponderous, which only points up the absurdity. He always would introduce the song by saying, “Here is a very heartfelt song …” Or “This is a very serious song, hope you enjoy it.” Then you hear him warbling, “Hoopa hoopa hoopa” – it’s hilarious. He finishes the song and jokes, “If you buy that, you’ll buy anything.”
“Allez-Vous-En”- Martha Wainwright, from the wonderful McGarrigle Hour: I have Mitchell to thank for introducing me to this marvelous album. The Wainwright family, unplugged.
“P.S. I Love You” – The Beatles. I love the harmonies here.
“I Think I’ll Join a Cult” – Pat McCurdy. We both are obsessed with cults. During his last visit in New York, we went and stood outside the building of a certain cult and pondered what the hell was going on inside. It was 11 at night. There aren’t too many people who would be into doing something like that.
“I Wanna Go” – Britney Spears. Then do it, Brit-Brit. If you “wanna go” then “go”, for God’s sake!
“What a Wonderful Life” – Elvis. From Follow That Dream, one of the good soundtracks, especially with this fantastic song on it. It’s actually one of my favorites of all of Elvis’ recordings, and if you know me, then you know that’s saying a lot. There’s such joy here, such freedom and openness: his very best qualities, indestructible really.
“Some Other Time” – the wonderful Sally Mayes. This is from her Comden & Green album.
“Sleeping On the Sidewalk” – Queen. Best blasted loud. Classic blues structure.
“Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” – U2. A bit of a snoozefest, I am sorry to say.
“Farther Along” – Elvis and Carl Perkins, and others, in Dec. 1956. Gorgeous, meditative. Elvis singing lead, Carl singing harmony. This was by request and Elvis, in his typically shy way, sort of hems and haws before he starts up the song. I imagine that I hear in his hesitations a sort of unwillingness to be led down a path HE didn’t want to go on. But then he gets into it. Just my analysis of his behavior at the beginning. He doesn’t just launch into the song, he sort of goofs off, pretending to find the right key (come on, Elvis, you have perfect pitch, you know exactly where it would go on the scale for you), and laughing a bit. It’s his way of being polite, but also reminding everyone that he is in control.
“Fancy” – Reba McIntire. Brilliant bullshit! Mitchell and I used to sing this at the top of our lungs. “HERE’S YOUR ONE CHANCE, FANCY, DON’T LET ME DOWN.” It’s worthy of Cher at her “Dark Lady” best.
“Could It Be Magic” – The Puppini Sisters. I love these gals.
“Big City” – The Pogues. Fantastic. I like the bridges best.
“Auntie Purple’s House” – Pat McCurdy’s beloved Halloween song. “There’s a cat from Siam sitting in a pentagram …” Everyone knows all the words.
“8 Easy Steps” – one of Alanis Morrissette’s obsessive counting list-based songs. I have a love-hate relationship with her. I kind of love her songs, and hate her weirdo phrasing. But I love her. I’m a fan, what can I say. I’ll follow her anywhere. Love her latest.
“Here (In Your Arms)” – Hellogoodbye. My friend Emily sent me their CD, or one of them, and I became an instant fan.
“Ain’t That Loving You Baby” – this take only lasts 18 seconds. Crazy drumming that goes on too long and then Elvis starts laughing, saying in his thick accent, “I got lost, man.”
“Softly and Tenderly” – Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins, Dec. 1956. Beautiful. I love hearing Elvis actually singing with harmonizing alongside of him – that didn’t happen often in his career, he was so much a solo act. They all really get into it here. You can hear people chatting and laughing in the background. It’s a social hour.
“The Postcard” – Robbie Williams. Can’t believe this is his first appearance, so late in the game. A poignant song about an old love who died from a drug addiction.
“I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water” – Elvis, from his awesome country album. This song swings. You can feel Elvis loving life, vibrating through every line. It’s a joy to be in the presence of it, even just translated through my ear buds.
“Just Blew In From the Windy City” – Doris Day, from Calamity Jane. “Purty ladies in the big chapeaus …”
“The Celtic Lament” – Eugene O’Donnell. Weepy violin, gorgeous. Where have the Clancy Brothers been, I wonder? They are suspiciously absent so far.
“Loser Like Me” – Lea Michele, from Glee. Her voice is just so pretty to listen to.
“’97 Bonnie and Clyde” – Tori Amos’ creepy version of Eminem’s song. To hear a woman whisper these lyrics is even more disturbing, although you can’t get more disturbing than MM’s version.
“Mecca Flat Blues” – Albert Ammons. Awesome piano boogie-woogie.
“Dragnet for Jesus” – Wynona Carr. If you haven’t checked out this singer, I implore you to do so. She was also a songwriter. “This is Sister Wynona Carr, and I’m on the case …” It’s sexy, it’s profane, it’s divine. This is what religious faith and worldly pain sounds like.
“How Could I Forget” – Pat McCurdy. As Pat announces, “This is the fastest song I ever wrote.” You can hear his mania for Gilbert & Sullivan here.
“On the Street Where You Live” – Doris Day. Lots of Doris in this Shuffle! I bought a ton of Doris after Mitchell talked about her in such depth, and I’ve been loving it. She’s delicious. This is a great arrangement of the song: very big band-ish and swinging.
“Duke” – Stevie Wonder. This song always makes me think of the magical summer when Mitchell and I cemented our friendship. We would drive around Rhode Island, go to Bess Eaton Donuts, or Dairy Queen, and then sneak in to see a movie. We would blast this song and sing along at the tops of our lungs.
“Collecting You” – The Indigo Girls. I never want to listen to this song when I am trying to get over somebody. This song will be banned forever should that tragedy befall me.
“The Egg” – from 1776. Goosebumps. Eternal goosebumps.
“That’s Entertainment” – Rufus Wainwright, in his recreation of Judy Garland’s triumphant concert at Carnegie Hall. See? I just never feel like listening to it.
“Would Not Come” – Alanis Morissette. Another list!!
“Bad Meets Evil” – Eminem. From the wild west album of The Slim Shady LP
“All I Have” – Mike Viola and the Candybutchers. As I mentioned earlier, he is one of my favorite songwriters writing today. I have Siobhan really to thank for me learning about him, although he is also beloved by my brother, my cousin Liam, and all right-thinking O’Malleys. Siobhan even had the thrill of opening for Mike Viola, which was such a great night.
“Ghost” – The Indigo Girls. God, girls, go away. I’m actually happy these days. Your songs are triggers of sadness in days past. I remember, years and years ago, Maria telling me that this song reminded her of me. It’s a chilling thought, because she said it to me long before the song’s prophecy actually came true. But clearly Maria sensed something. I didn’t take it seriously at the time, just thought, “Huh, interesting.” I have never forgotten that she said that, though.
“Gonna Get Back Home Somehow” – Elvis Presley. One of the random songs on the random album Pot Luck. Terrible title, yet also quite accurate about said album. I love this, though. Elvis is dramatic and in top form.
“I Don’t Care If the Sun Don’t Shine” – Elvis Presley, one of the Sun singles. Dave Marsh calls it the worst thing Elvis did at Sun and I would be hard pressed to argue. He does some good things with it, his talent was unsinkable, even by poor material.
“I Got Stung” (alternate take 16) – Elvis, from those insanely productive 1958 sessions, crammed in before Elvis left for the Army. I love the sound of that album, loud, jangly, messy, with piano – boogie woogie piano giving it a swing and a sound unlike anything else Elvis had done up to that point. Elvis was tireless, showing up in take after take after take. I love all of these alternate takes, I think I have the entire session.
“Angel, Won’t You Come Down” – Tracy Bonham. I love this chick. I loved her more when she was in a rage, and she seems to maybe have lost something because she’s happy now. But still: wonderful songs, intelligent, raw.
“Karma Killer” – Robbie Williams. Ridiculously over-the-top. Only Robbie could pull it off. He’s ironic, but you never get the sense that he’s slumming. Never.
“All You Need Is Love” – Dana Fuchs & Jim Sturgess, from Across the Universe. This is beautiful.
“Wade In the Water” – Eva Cassidy. She’s classic.
“Trying to Get to You” – Elvis Presley, in his final televised concert, which is painful to watch, he is so clearly ill and exhausted. HOWEVER. He pulls it out here. He pulls it out. It brings tears to my eyes. The generosity of spirit, even in the midst of his giant self-destructive streak … his impulse was not to shit all over his own success (which is what often happens with such big stars). He sounds great here. (Some of the other tracks of this concert are un-listenable, to my ears. He’s slurring, he sounds exhausted, and it just makes me mad. He should be in bed.)
“I Want To Be Free” (take 12) – Elvis Presley, from Jailhouse Rock. He had to record a couple different versions of the song. It’s a good song, and he turns it into a gospel anthem.
“X-Ray Man” – Liz Phair. From the Whip-Smart album. I love this album. She is so bold (ironic, considering her awesome stage fright). To launch her career with a double-album, first off, and then …. to keep going. It would be hard to follow up Exile to Guyville, but she did. She’s awesome.
“Rope” – The Foo Fighters. They just get me, that’s all. Who knows why certain bands have an easy ability to just get in there with you.
“Hey Little Girl” (takes 1 and 2) – Elvis from Harum Scarum. This is the really creepy number which makes Elvis Presley look like Humbert Humbert. You can hear him struggling to find a way to make this song … anything other than …. so so stupid.
“Can’t Help Falling in Love” – Elvis, onstage in Las Vegas. He’s so easy, so sweet, so at home in this song.
“Maudabawn Chapel/The Wild Irishman/The Moher Reel” – Kevin Burke & Mícheál Ó Domhnaill. Good old-fashioned Irish fiddling.
“The Fever” – Garth Brooks. “He’s got a lunatic smile …” I love Garth Brooks. I mean, it’s ridiculous when he tries to paint himself as a common man, although I understand that country-western singers have to do that. But come on, dude, you’re a bazillionaire. I love him, though. I also love him for standing on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry and saying what an honor it was to stand on the same stage where Elvis once stood. Elvis, of course, flopped at the Grand Ole Opry and never went back, at least to perform. Elvis did not forget, he did not forgive. So I loved the little dig in Brooks’ comment. Fun fiddling in this song.
“Primary Care Giver” – Mike Viola. There’s such an ache at the heart of his songs.
“Let It Go” – Bleu. I implore you all to check him out. One of the best male voices out there right now, if not the best. He kills me. I will meet him someday.
“Within You Without You” – The Beatles. Completely eerie. So many drugs are clearly involved. Still brilliant.
“Beautiful” – Christina Aguilera. To quote my brother: “Hats off.”
“Mosquito Song” – Queens of the Stone Age, speaking of Dave Grohl’s awesomeness. Although there doesn’t seem to be any drumming on this one.
“Tomorrow Night” – Patty Griffin. Heartfelt. Her voice is so emotional, so pleasing, so FULL. This sounds like a dance-hall number.
“Happy Most of the Time” – Brendan Benson. Another gem.
“It’s a Line” – Mike Viola and the Candybutchers. Fantastic. “The older I get the more it seems I watch my dreams get smaller. Hell, no, don’t get me wrong, I want more from this life than I ever wanted, it’s just that these days I’d settle for less.” He’s so good.
“You Gave Me a Mountain” – Elvis Presley, again in that last concert where he seems so ill. Yet again, he can’t NOT “go there”, especially in a song like this one which is practically autobiographical. Listen to him go there. It’s awe-inspiring and painful, because you know how much it took out of him.
“I’m Down” – The Beatles. “How can you laugh when you know I’m down?” It’s an awesome question, boys.
“All Shook Up” – Elvis Presley, from That’s the Way It Is, which I fall in love the more I listen to it. It’s so alive, so on fire.
“Three Hits” – The Indigo Girls. Okay, girls, I’ve had enough. Out of my shuffle. Kthxbai.
“The River Jordan” – The Louvin Brothers. I love these guys so much. I want to read the new biography of one of them. Bren gave it to Siobhan for her birthday. Their harmonies are so exquisite, and their Christianity is so literal, so present, so un-ironic in any way, shape or form. Great guitars, great sound.
“Easy To Be Hard” – the Broadway revival of Hair. “How can people be so heartless?” she asks. Easy. Easy to be hard.
“My My Baby’s Gonna Cry” – The Eurhythmics. Terrific song, love the opening. I love it when she’s mad. Genius comes out then.
“Dance Me to the End of Love” – The Civil Wars. Another suggestion by cousin Mike for music for my play, when it finally reaches production. They’re incredible. A duo, male, female. Check them out.
“Honey Don’t” – Carl Perkins, one of his Sun recordings. There’s that chord change that changed the world.