“Canary In a Coalmine” – The Police. God, I was so obsessed with them in high school. I love this song, and I remember it seemed like the height of sophistication and intelligence that I understood the metaphor of the title. Great album.
“Sweet Sacrifice” – Evanescence. Chick can sing.
“Me & My Monkey” – Robbie Williams, live at Knebworth, for 350,000 people. What a rush. He’s great live, too: the voice holds up. He’s a great live performer. This, as we all know, is not so true nowadays with all of these Made-In-the-Studio singers, who rely on tricks and autotunes and anything else.
“I Really Don’t Want To Know” – Elvis, in concert. This is from the concert televised following his death, when he seems ill and tired. You can hear it in his voice. But still, man, still: he’s still in there, projecting it out. Even not at his best, he’s better than most. But to hear Elvis sing this when he’s at the height of his powers is something else!
“Greystone Chapel” – Johnny Cash. “This song was written by a man right here in Folsom Prison … I hope we do your song justice, Glen.” Electric.
“Everybody’s Fool” – Evanescence. They’re so dramatic. I love it. Women are dramatic, we feel stuff and we mean it. Someday I will gather my forces together to write about Sucker Punch, which is one of the best movies I’ve seen in the last 5 years. It’s all about the interior life of women, and the space we have to carve out for ourselves, and how difficult that is in a patriarchy, how overblown things start to seem when you are hemmed in on all sides. Yes. That’s what Sucker Punch is about. This song reminds me of Sucker Punch.
“Happy Birthday” – Marilyn Monroe to J.F.K. You can’t believe that this was even allowed to happen.
“Don’t Leave Me Now” – Elvis Presley. I love this performance of his: it is a perfect example of how self-aware he was. He was imitating himself, and early, because he knew what worked. But he could poke fun at it, too. Listen to how I ache my voice on the high notes, listen to the chug-chug of my lower registers … He was aware of every single thing he was doing and he knew the effect he wanted. Don’t listen to the people who think he was just an instinctive performer. They’re wrong. He was a highly conscious individual and knew exactly what he was doing. From the get-go.
“Ace of Spades” – the great great Link Wray. He’ll always make me think of Kim now.
“Jerry Rigged” – Mike Viola and the Candy Butchers. One of the best songwriters writing today. I think he has a new one out.
“I’ll Remember April” – Bobby Darin. SWING IT.
“Old Dan Tucker” – Bruce Springsteen, from his awesome We Shall Overcome album. Great banjo.
“Atlantic City” – Bruce Springsteen. This should satisfy the poor commenter who asked on one of my Shuffles: “Why no Springsteen?” (Uhm, cause this is a SHUFFLE. Ie: RANDOM.)
“Don’t Be Cruel” – Elvis Presley, sung in the boxing ring-like stage surrounded by an audience on all sides in the 1968 NBC special. He is on FIRE.
“Hound Dog” – Elvis, live, in Vegas. “The only way you can sing this song is leaning over like this … you can’t sing it standing straight up cause it’ll strip your gears, boy.” His banter sometimes makes him sound crazy, I love it. He’s at home on that stage. “The sound’s gotta come from the floor, you know, and go right up your leg …”
“If You Love Me (Let Me Know)” – Elvis, covering Olivia Newton-John. This was on Moody Blue, released after his death. He sounds great, but there’s a part of him that is phoning this one in.
“Just You Tonight” – Lucy Kaplansky. I’ve seen her a bunch and I love her so much. Siobhan took me to see her for my birthday last year. She writes great heartbreak. It hurts.
“Riding the Rainbow” – Elvis Presley, from the unfairly maligned Kid Galahad. He’s very good in that movie, there are some good songs involved (this is one of them), and it’s all very entertaining. I don’t know what people WANT from this man if they dismiss Kid Galahad. Sure, it’s not Taxi Driver, but that’s your problem if you expect that.
“The Bullfighter Was a Lady” – Elvis Presley, from Fun in Acapulco. Elvis is singing the SHIT out of this song. He can do anything.
“Bitch Please II” – Eminem. From the crazy-good Marshall Mathers LP. This is pretty fierce.
“Wake Up Alone” – Amy Winehouse. God, I miss her.
“Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall” – Elvis Presley. Elvis is magnificent here. He has no fear. I love big melodramatic heartbroke ballad Elvis.
“Heartbreak Hotel” – Elvis, in the 68 comeback special. The first song he sang in the informal sit-down session. You can hear women literally moaning in a carnal manner all around. It’s alarming. He’s shy. He doesn’t know how to start. He jokes, “Good night” and goes to leave, and the women moan in despair. The song is a bit high for him. He struggles. When he finishes he says, “Man, that is the worst job I have ever done on a song.” Love you, Elvis. You never lie.
“Run, Freedom, Run” – the big inspirational production number from Urinetown. Hysterical and rousing.
“I’m Movin’ On” – Elvis Presley. This is hot. Great band, great steel guitar, and sexy-pants Elvis. Love this. Love how it builds, too. These guys are jamming.
“Roll Over Beethoven” – The Beatles, live at the BBC. It’s rough, raw, and real.
“Bleeding Me” – Metallica, from S&M, their great double album concert that they did with the San Francisco Symphony. One of my favorite albums of theirs. Their song translates well to a giant orchestra, it really adds something.
“Our Song of Love” – Pat McCurdy. A friend of mine from years past. He’s a big star in the Chicago-Milwaukee area. Plays constantly. If you live in the area, check him out. He’s always playing. His shows are like visiting a cult meeting.
“Good Boys” – Yipes! Speaking of Pat McCurdy … this was an earlier band of his. He actually was on Star Search back in the day. He lost to Sawyer Brown. Weirdly enough, I watched Star Search as a tween, and was obsessed with that particular season, because I loved Sam Harris, one of the contestants (member him?) So, when I was in junior high, 14 years old, whatever, I watched Pat McCurdy compete on Star Search. 10 years later, this would be going on. I don’t even think I put it together at the time, “Oh God, I must have seen you on Star Search back then …” It took a while for that to sink in. Life is weird.
“Diamonds Are a Best Girl’s Friend” – Marilyn Monroe. Perfection.
“Then We Are Decided” – from Jesus Christ Superstar. “The difference is they call him King … the difference frightens meeeee!” It should frighten you.
“Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)” – Queen. God, it makes the hair on my arms rise up. Talk about missing someone. I have never recovered from his death. He has left a hole. He will never be replaced.
“All My Loving” – Jim Sturgess, from Julie Tambor’s Across the Universe, which I thought was adorable and very entertaining.
“Next Time/I Wouldn’t Go Back” – from the musical Closer Than Ever. I LOVED this musical in the late 80s, early 90s. I think of it as the thirtysomething of musicals. It has a Baby Boomer self-obsession to it, but the singers are incredible, and the songs are undeniably great. But it sort of had its day (at least for me).
“Don’t Rain On My Parade” – Barbra Streisand. When she’s on, nobody’s better. This is thrilling.
“True Love” – Elvis Presley. Now this is really interesting: Elvis singing with a quartet. Of course, he always sang with a quartet (the Jordanaires). But this is a different sort of arrangement. They all sing together, like a barber shop quartet. It stands out in Elvis’ work. It’s old-fashioned. You so rarely got to hear Elvis sing WITH someone. This is lovely.
“Make Me Know It” – Elvis, from the great Elvis is Back album, released when he got out of the Army. Elvis sounds great, irrepressible, free, there’s a joy in what he is doing, a new adult brand of confidence and control.
“Yo George” – Tori Amos. Not my favorite (I prefer her when she’s rocking and pissed off, not introspective and sensitive), but I like the “madness of King George” dovetail in the lyrics.
“Russians” – Sting. Ah, Sting. Giving us his treatise on the Cold War. Thanks, Sting. I wasn’t sure how to feel about it until you enlightened me! I tease. This is a good song.
“Advertising Space” – Robbie Williams’ tribute song to Elvis! More here.
“Rose Tint My World” – from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Damn, I’m liking this Shuffle. You never know with Shuffle. Rocky Horror was so huge to us in high school: the coolest hugest thing EVER.
“The Things You Do To Me” – the great and sultry Wynona Carr. I am so glad I discovered her.
“Breadfan” – Metallica. Hard and fast, just like I like it.
“Let Him Fly” – the Dixie Chicks cover of the great Patty Griffin song.
“When I’m Gone” – Eminem. One of his self-pitying anthems.
“We Are the Champions” – Queen, live at Wembley Stadium. It’s just goosebump-inducing to hear that enormous crowd singing along with him at the tops of their collective lungs. JOY. Life-affirming.
“Starting Today” – Elvis Presley. On one of the mish-mash albums put out while he was in the Army. A beautiful ballad. Hard to believe this is the same guy as the one who sang “Trouble” or “I Got a Woman” or “Santa Claus Is Back In Town”.
“For the Heart” – Elvis. Late-ish Elvis. The Judds covered this song as well. I like him here, I like the sound he and his guys are going for. It’s funky country.
“Down to the River to Pray” – Alison Krauss. Haunting.
“Is It So Strange” – Elvis. This, for me, is the most romantic song he ever recorded. I think June Juanico may agree. It was “their” song. Imagine breaking up with someone and then having him record “your” song a month later. Imagine driving around in Biloxi, heart broken, hearing “your” song on the radio. OUCH. Hats off, June. Love sucks.
“When You Were Mine” – Cyndi Lauper. She’s so awesome. Great song. She hit while I was in high school and even then you could tell: something important was happening with this woman. She was releasing something important in the culture, space that was then co-opted by Madonna. But Cyndi was there first. She staked out her claim. You could FEEL it happen. The space … for us … girls … got bigger.
“Your Face” – Cliff Eberhardt. One of the most heartbreaking songs ever written. As a matter of fact, I can’t listen to it.
“Outrageous” – Britney Spears. Yes, Brit-Brit, we know. You’re outrageous. Relax.
“Ashley” – Green Day, from Dios, which just came out. The whole thing is great. I’m loving it so far (the triple release they just came out with). Some of it is a bit stock, but some have that Green Day “thing” that happens when they tap into something real.
“Welcome to England” – Tori Amos. See, this is the Tori that starts to drive me insane. I like it, I get it, but … somehow, her music leaves me OUT. I know I am in the minority on this. I know that rabid Tori Amos fans disagree with me on this one. But something about her distances me. I was a fan before she even hit it here in a big way. I saw her play at Park West in Chicago before Little Earthquakes came out. Just her on a stage, in jeans, with her piano. She was incredible. Great onstage too: funny, sweet, and a real show-woman. But the interior nature of some of her stuff leaves me cold.
“The Colors Of My Life” – Jim Dale and Glenn Close, from Barnum (on Broadway). Okay, this is the weirdness of Shuffle. Really, Barnum? I saw this show on Broadway when I was in high school, with Tony Orlando as PT Barnum, and he was fantastic.
“Nowhere Man” – The Beatles. Rubber Soul is one of my favorite albums of all time.
“Hailie’s Song” – Eminem. This is really sweet. Eminem, sweet? Sure. Get to know him, you’ll see it. He sings the majority of this. And honest: “My insecurities could eat me alive.” Listen to how he sings those words.
“Bird Dog” – The Everly Brothers. These guys are so much fun. I used to have them on vinyl. That makes no sense. I am a child of the 80s. But I always loved them.
“Trou Macacq” – Squirrel Nut Zippers. Insane and fun.
“The Water Is Wide” – James Taylor. I have to be careful listening to him. He can crack me open and ruin my whole day in one guitar strum.
“Break Your Heart” – Mike Viola and the Candy Butchers. Never get sick of him. His music has actually helped me. Not just the lyrics, but the chord changes … I don’t know: they speak out the hurt, the life, they say “this is what it feels like, doesn’t it?” Yes, it does.
“Jingle Bells” – the Glee cast version. I like this very much. I like the arrangement a LOT.
“Eternity” – Robbie Williams. I love it when people comment here who also know and love Robbie. It’s so hard to describe it if you are not already on board the Robbie Train. He is so good. The real deal.
“Don’t Put It Down” – the cast of the Broadway revival of Hair. Balderdash. It must have seemed very deep when it first came out. Typical hostility towards Southerners! They’re all just stupid rednecks.
“I Want Your Sex, Pts 1 & 2″ – George Michael. This album basically ruled the airwaves for a year when I was in college. I associate it very much with a guy I was dating in a tormented off and on way at the time. I was a virgin, and felt this song was far too bossy.
“Heartbreak Hotel” – Elvis Presley, from Prince From Another Planet, the recently re-released concert album from his triumphant 4 sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden in 1972. This is an insanely hot version of this song. I thank very much Troy Y, from the indispensable Mystery Train blog, for sending this to me in the middle of the Hurricane Sandy devastation. It really brightened those dark couple of weeks following that damn storm.
“Ducky” – by Bleu. I believe I have made my feelings about him clear.
“Talk To Me of Mendocino” – Kate McGarrigle, Rufus & Martha Wainwright, from the great McGarrigle Hour. Mother and children singing. It’s too much for me.
“Where Do You Come From?” – Elvis Presley, from Girls! Girls! Girls! The song is quite stupid and over-the-top, and Elvis does his best, which is pretty damn good. He justifies a song’s existence by singing it. This is almost 100% the case, even when it comes to “Old MacDonald”.
“My Baby Left Me” – Elvis Presley. Early Elvis, it’s just astonishing to hear this back to back with “Where Do You Come From?” I suppose you could look at it as sad, like “God, look at what ‘they’ in Hollywood did to Elvis …” But as I have made clear, I refuse to be sad about Elvis Presley, because it is a waste of time and also dismisses the vastness of his talent and accomplishments. While no one could prefer “Where Do You Come From?” over the great “My Baby Left Me”, what I hear is: listen to how he transformed itself, listen to his versatility: he was greater than even HE knew back in the old Sun days. Or … maybe he knew all along.
“Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely)” – Pink. This song is an anthem. I relate to it.
“I Won’t Stand In Your Way” – The Stray Cats. An awesome ballad. One of my favorites of theirs.
“Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk” – Rufus Wainwright. I’m not so sure of his latest albums, although I’ll hang in there with him. He’s wonderful.
“Black Velveteen” – Lenny Kravitz. I’ll buy anything this guy does. Fan for life.
“Patch It Up” – Elvis, live in Vegas. I’m not a big “Patch It Up” fan. Just doesn’t hook me, although when he starts to go up that scale, the chorus echoing him … his voice is so impressive. Exciting.
“Black Coffee In Bed” – Squeeze. Squeeze IS college to me. I hear this song and see my freshman dorm room, my posters, my books, my green shirt, dancing at a frat party with my friends, drinking beer out of plastic cups. Squeeze is completely attached to one time, one place, to me.
“You Learn” – Alanis Morrisette. From that first album that TOOK. OVER. THE WORLD. Good God, you could not escape this girl. I fell into her clutches, too, and I’m still there. For better or worse.
“Over Our Bodies” – Longpigs. Longpigs, you say? I have one album. Every song on it is fantastic. What happened to them? Never even checked.
“Live and Let Die” – Wings. I’m a little bit obsessed with this song.
“Little Child” – Des’ree. God, member her? This was a great album, although she really only had that one big hit.
“Rent” – the cast of Rent. I think I said this last time: why does this song come up on EVERY Shuffle? How does that happen? This song rocks, but I roll my eyes at the sentiment. “Eviction or pay.” Yeah, guys. That’s not unfair. That’s LIFE.
“I Need Your Love Tonight” (take 5) – Elvis Presley, from those raucous 1958 sessions I mentioned a while back. They did countless takes of this song. It’s amazing when you hear the final version, how polished, how fun and free it sounds, especially when you know how hard they WORKED this song, even re-arranging it. Elvis would get befuddled during some of the takes and burst out laughing. This is a pretty good take. You can hear him clapping during the guitar break.
“Going Back to Orleans” – Jesse & Buzzy. Insistent rough rhythm & blues, that makes me think of what Keith Richards said about “the rhythm of the tracks”. That rhythm is here.
“Extraordinary” – Liz Phair, on what the idiots call her “sell out album”. Shut up. I wish she’d “sell out” more often if it resulted in an album like this one. I love the honesty in this song: “I am extraordinary if you’d ever get to know me.”
“Sister Suffragettes” – Glynis Johns, from Mary Poppins. Hahaha.
“The Light of Day” – Brendan Benson. Another of my favorite songwriters out there today.
“The First Time I Saw Your Face” – Elvis, recorded 3-15-71. A bit of a snoozefest, pal.
“Here We Go Again” – Paramore. I forgot about them for a while. I like them. I like her.
“Gold Into Straw” – Brendan Benson. I’ve said it before: he seems incapable of writing a bad or boring or stock song. His stuff excites me. The way I discovered him is perhaps embarrassing: there was that Apple commercial, with a “jingle” – “well, I don’t know what I’m looking for …” and it called to me. Something about it. So I Googled the lyrics, found him, and whaddya know, every single song he has written is as great as that one. I’m a huge huge fan. So thanks, Apple. I probably never would have found him otherwise.
“Shakin’ All Over” – Wanda Jackson. Hotness personified. A song to dance to, or, better yet, grind up against each other in the back of a purple Cadillac Eldorado. She sang this when I saw her.
“She Wears My Ring” – Elvis Presley. From Promised Land, a really good album. Elvis had loved this song for years. He milks it, baby. I like his vibrato here. He had great control. Listen to him. Listen to what he is DOING with that voice.
“El Condor Pasa” – Simon & Garfunkel. I grew up listening to them. My parents had all of their stuff. It’s in my blood.
“This Time / I Can’t Stop Loving You” – Elvis, rehearsing for Vegas. He’s goofing off, changing lyrics. “I forgot to wear my cup … that’s just my way of loving you.” He finds it hilarious. And he’s right. I love the recorded rehearsals for his big 1969 opening. Things are loose, crazy, and yet watch … watch how he lets the goofing off go and gets down to work. The goofing off serves a purpose, and it always did with him.
“Desire” – U2. It’s a bit otherworldly, it exists on some other higher plane.
“Fancy Forgetting” – from the original Broadway production of The Boyfriend. I saw this show when I was a kid at the local university and it helped launch me into an obsession with the 1920s that led to my novel about flappers, written when I was 12, and everything else. The Boyfriend was a huge part of making me ache to go back in time.
“Hard Luck” – Elvis Presley, from Frankie and Johnny. The movie is pretty forgettable but in the middle of it is this bluesy song with Elvis singing, only with a lonely harmonica accompanying at first. Unfortunately, the mix of the song is par for the course in terms of Elvis’ Hollywood years: his voice is pushed so far out in front of the accompaniment that it, frankly, sounds weird. Why do that to him? (I mean, I know why, but this song has a real chance to live, to stand on its own … if his voice was pushed back, and integrated into the accompaniment). I like him a lot here. It’s a dumb song, but he’s doing some interesting things with it, and it sounds like he’s having fun. Great harmonica, too.
“Blue Christmas” – Elvis, singing in a riveting bluesy manner in the 1968 special, in black leather. Women are flipping out. They aren’t screaming. They MOAN. They suddenly erupt into shrieks and then trail off into moans and cackles. It’s insane. And through it all is the best version of the song Elvis ever did.
“Henry Ford” – from the Broadway production of Ragtime, a magnificent accomplishment. How do you weave all of the threads of that book into a musical? Well, it seems made for it. Ragtime holds it together. This is Henry Ford’s big production number. Great score.
“I’ll Be On My Way” – The Beatles, live at the BBC. Beautiful. They make my heart ache.
“A Shot of Rhythm & Blues” – The Beatles, again, live at the BBC. It’s thrilling.
“Drowse” – Queen, from Day at the Races, I believe. What an album.
“Our Father” – Wynona Carr. This sounds like it was actually recorded in a church. You can hear people, a crowd. She is so incredible. If you haven’t had the pleasure … check her out.
“Llorando” – Rebekah Del Rio, made famous by one of the best scenes in a film not only in the last 20 years, but perhaps ever.
“Green, Green Grass of Home” – Elvis Presley. Great soothing country Elvis. I love country-music Elvis.
“Follow That Dream” – Elvis Presley, the title song of Follow That Dream, one of his best movies and best performances (but you never hear anything about it. Well, that will change, if I have anything to say about it). I love this song. He’s so joyful.
“Spanish Lady” – The Irish Tenors. My dad made fun of them. “They’re just copycats. Not as good as the Italians. Get outta here.” I see his point, although I do own the album. I always think of Dad’s cranky comments when their songs come up. Mum and I laugh about how Dad’s commentary lives on. He dominates, still.
“It’s Still Here” (takes 1, 2, 3) – Elvis Presley. This is late Elvis. Such a great performance. They didn’t do a lot of takes. And each one is perfection. This is obviously very very personal for Elvis. It’s almost hard to listen to, the pain is so palpable. Beautiful.
“Peter’s Denial” – from Jesus Christ Superstar. “You’ve got the wrong man, lady.” Poor Peter. He’s so human.
“To the Sea” – Jack Johnson. His stuff is a bit cutesy for me, but I do like him and I like this.
“The Violet Hour” – The Civil Wars. An incredible singer/songwriter duo. My brother has informed me they have broken up. Too bad, although their name would suggest the end was always a done deal. Their harmonies are perfection, their songs filled with heartache and longing. My cousin Mike introduced me to them.
“Where the Streets Have No Name” – U2. One of their finest songs. It always makes me think of that great scene in Fearless when he crashes the car into the wall. Great use of song as accompaniment in a film.
“Curtain Call: Hair (reprise)” – from the Broadway revival of Hair. It really is a terrific ensemble.
“Electric Chapel” – Lady GaGa. I love the rock-star metal opening. This is a great song. I’m a big fan.
“We Will Rock You” – Queen. An anthem. Timeless. This song will never die.
“Top of the World” – Pat McCurdy. McCurdy’s going all Dylan here.
“Paid For Nothing” – Pat McCurdy. A McCurdy cluster. This is live. I miss going to see his shows. Every Monday night, for 4 years, I was at Lounge Ax with Mitchell, “going to Pat”. We discussed him as though he were a place, not a person.
“It Was a Very Good Year” – Robbie Williams, from his Rat Pack inspired album, Swing When You’re Winning. This album was a dream come true for him. I prefer his versions over the Michael Buble versions. He feels more authentic. He swings.
“Coffee Tea & Sympathy” – Robbie Williams. This song is in my Top 5 Robbie songs. It gets me every time.
“One Hundred and Two” – The Judds. I rarely listen to them anymore although there was a time when I bought every single one of their albums. I still love them.
“Maybelline” – Elvis Presley, live on the Louisiana Hayride, 1955. Elvis introduces the song, he’s 20 years old, and he’s starting to feel his fame and power now, you can feel it, although that doesn’t stop him from getting stuck in a huge stutter. He has to stop speaking altogether, leaving the sentence unfinished. “We ain’t been doin’ it b-b-b-b-but … Yeah.” You can hear the crowd whooping and hollering during the song. This did not become one of their hits. This, I believe, is the only recording of it.
“February Stars” – Foo Fighters. Classic. That album, The Colour and the Shape, took over my whole life for no less than a year. I literally could not listen to it enough. I still can’t, frankly, although I have moved on from that original mania. It’s like The Eminem Show, another album that took over my life and my listening for a good straight year.
“The Pledge” – Brendan Benson. So much fun! This sounds like a hit from the 1960s, with his own individual spin on it. He’s so good.
“No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” – Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand. Outrageously awesome.
“Promise Her Anything (But Give Her Love”) – Dean Martin. There are so few perfect things in this life. Dean Martin is one of them.
“Porte En Arriere” – Emmylou Harris, Kate & Anna McGarrigle – from The McGarrigle Hour album, which has already come up. If you haven’t had the pleasure, do yourself a favor and check it out! And there’s a documentary that just came out, directed by a Facebook friend of mine, Lian Lunson, about a tribute concert for Kate McGarrigle (mother to Rufus and Martha Wainwright).
“Come Follow the Band” – Jim Dale, as Barnum on Broadway. Honestly, two Barnum songs in one Shuffle? What the hell is going on?
“Crack a Bottle” – Eminem, Dr. Dre & 50 Cent. I love it when Eminem sings. It’s adorable. It really is. He says he ‘can’t sing’ but that’s not true. He sings most of this.
“Break of Dawn” – Stevie Wonder. I always get excited when he comes up. Not a bad song in the bunch.
“Sonnet 10″ – Rufus Wainwright. I guess I find this self-indulgent. I like the idea and I love him for following his own star and doing what he wants to do. It’s just not my cup of tea.
“Boardmeeting” – Timbaland, featuring Magoo. From Shock Value, a great album.
“What’d I Say” – Elvis Presley, in rehearsal for Vegas. A jamming rehearsal session. Elvis forgets the lines, and what ends up coming out is hysterical. “Put your dress on, go on home …” He starts laughing at times, too.
“If That Isn’t Love” – Elvis, from the wonderful Good Times album. This is very church-y. The arrangement is classic gospel. And Elvis, man: he is singing the hell out of this song. He has a very full and rich sound here.
“Southern Song” – Pat McCurdy. One of his goofball hits. Totally offensive.
“Jerkwater County” – Mike Viola and the Candy Butchers. The guitar is so interesting here. Like I said: his chord changes, the sounds he comes up with … they pierce right through me in a way that feels involuntary.
“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” – The Beatles. I was a little bit obsessed with this song when I was a pipsqueak of 9 or 10. I saw the entire thing unfurling like a movie in my head. I kept seeing this lunatic creeping around with a silver hammer. What the hell was his problem? Can’t anyone STOP him?
“Darts of Pleasure” – Franz Ferdinand. I was really into them for about an afternoon. The bloom is off the rose.
“Push” – Madonna. From Confessions on a Dance Floor. Catchy. I love this album.
“I’ll Stick Around” – Foo Fighters. From their first album, which was such an exciting event to those of us who missed Kurt Cobain. I remember my sister Jean saying to me, in a hushed tone of awe, “Have you heard Dave Grohl has a new band?” Me: “WHAT?” Jean: “And, Sheila. He plays the guitar.” Me: “WHAT???” It’s a great album. Perhaps you “had to be there” but I imagine those of you out there who were huge Nirvana fans and then moved on to embrace the Foo Fighters will relate to that story.
“An American Trilogy” – Elvis Presley. He did this medley every show. It was deeply personal, a statement of who he was, his vision of the universe, of America, of the South, of our racist past, and our future of hopefully integration and redemption. It’s all there.
“Blueberry Hill / I Can’t Stop Loving You” – Elvis’ concert in Memphis at the Mid-South Coliseum in 1974. Hometown boy made good, real good. It was an enormous event, of course. And Elvis rocked the planet. The album of this concert sounds great, it has my favorite version of “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”. Those who dismiss the entire decade of the 70s as some falling-off or decline in power are really stretching it. Yeah, maybe in 76 and 77 he started to really fail. But that still gives us a good 6 years to work with. This concert is phenomenal.
“The Good Life” – Pat McCurdy. Okay, I’m sick of him showing up now. Go away.
“Cad É Sin Don Té Sin” – The Cassidys. An Irish group. I love their stuff.
“Thunder On the Mountain” – Wanda Jackson, from the Jack White produced album that came out a couple years ago. A huge bluesy rocking sound. Fantastic band, boogie-woogie piano, horns, screaming guitars, and the great great Wanda Jackson.
“I Can’t Make It Alone” – the great Maria McKee. I have been into her for years, starting out with Lone Justice. What a voice. I am so happy that we have become friends in the last couple of years. She came to my reading in Los Angeles. She was a beautiful listening presence, sitting there in my cousin Mike’s living room with the rest of the crowd. She’s so talented.
“Body and Soul” – Tori Amos. Now that’s more like it, girl. Get pissed, get enraged.
“One Track Heart” – Elvis Presley, from Roustabout. Honestly. This is RIDICULOUS.
“Only the Strong Survive” – Elvis Presley, from the phenomenal From Elvis in Memphis, recorded in 1969 at American Studios. Just looking at the song list from those sessions (it ended up being two albums) gives me goosebumps. Suspicious Minds, In the Ghetto, Long Black Limousine, True Love Travels on a Gravel Road, Power Of My love, I mean the list goes on and on. Elvis engineering a comeback with the help of producer Chips Moman (I found his musical note on the sidewalk in Memphis.)
“Don’t Let Go” – Weezer. I love these guys. Their songs are short, fast, and specific. They get in, they get out.
“Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little” – the chattering ladies in The Music Man. Hahaha. “BALLLLLLLzac.”
And I think that’s a good place to stop.