Sick-Bed iPod Shuffle

I had surgery on Saturday. My mother’s been here helping me. Hopefully my health problem is now solved. Fingers crossed, y’all, I’ve been living with this horrible situation since 2013. And I already had surgery for it in 2010. It didn’t “take.” So it’s been so annoying. I’m in recovery mode now, popping Oxy every 6 hours for the pain. Don’t worry, they only gave me a limited amount. Good thing, because I already adore the drug. LOVE. IT. Keep that shit away from me. Here’s some music that’s come up as I’ve laid around, glowing with the warmth of Oxy, in between re-watches of the Fast and the Furious franchise.

“The Dream” – Rufus Wainwright. Extremely melancholy song. From his album All Days Are Nights, a title that reminds me of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s remark: “in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.” I saw Rufus play at the Town Hall here in New York on Valentine’s Day, 2002. The sadness/PTSD in New York post 9/11 was still palpable, and Rufus picked up on it from the stage and made some comments on it, encouraging us: “Everything’s going to be okay!!” (He was openly drunk, but still …) I’m not sure those who don’t live here really got how that experience coursed through the air we all breathed for years. Ground Zero was an open wound for years. But in the early months of 2002? It might as well have just happened yesterday. It was a wonderful show, anyway. His whole family showed up to sing with him on different songs.

“Pray” – Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers. Exquisite. One of their more “peppy” numbers, rousing, and inspirational, with a little electric guitar behind them. You can already hear the music genres blending. It’s happening IN the song, which sounds like a pop/doo-wop song. Amazing.

“I Got That Boom Boom” – Britney Spears. Yes, we know, Britney. We know you got that boom boom. Get some sleep.

“Don’t Talk to Strangers” – Dio. Oh my God, epic melodramatic classic.

“Reviewing the Situation” – Ron Moody (RIP), as Fagin in Oliver!, one of my first full-blown obsessions. His phraseology. His diction. It’s perfection.

“Ooby Dooby” – the great Roy Orbison, this is one of the songs he recorded at Sun.

“This Time” – Waylon Jennings. The title song from This Time, produced by Jennings and Willie Nelson. The outlaw country boys. Beautiful insistent melody that builds. The harmonica coming in and wailing. I also love the bass. It’s so simple, but it keeps it driving. He’s so awesome.

“I Want to Tell You” – The Beatles. That minor-key piano. Gives an ominous sound to what is a positive-ish melody. From Revolver. And then where the harmonies go in the last “I’ve got time …”

“Disco Kid” – The Troggs. I love these guys so much and I am so grateful for Lester Bangs’ essay about them, one of the best things he wrote (and that’s saying something). This song has a country-feeling, with a harmonica and an … accordion … but then it’s about disco. The bit about the studs on his jacket? The harmonica? The whole thing is crazy.

“Another Girl” – The Beatles. A great and bitter “piss off, bitch, I found someone better” song. From Help!

“Bullys Pt. 2” – Eminem. Facebook just informed me that last year, on this day, my sister and I attended the phenomenal Eminem/Rihanna show. I love it when Eminem sings, like he does here. Eminem is pissed about bullies. There’s a “nyah nyah nyah” sound to the chorus. He says he doesn’t want to make any more enemies. Okay, Marshall, if you say so!

“Canned Hunt” – Mike Viola. He’s such a good songwriter. My sister and cousins got me into him when he was playing with his band The Candybutchers. He’s solo now. I’ve seen him play (my sister Siobhan opened for him once!) He wrote all the songs for Tom Hanks’ movie That Thing You Do! and then something happened – they didn’t give him credit. Those songs are great, and he got screwed. Then he wrote the songs for Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and was properly credited. He is also prolific, he works with other artists putting out albums, and then his own solo projects. He’s wonderful.

“Only Son” – Liz Phair, from Whitechocolatespaceegg. My doppelgänger. At least that’s the way I felt when Exile in Guyville came out. I was like, “How does she KNOW all this about me?” Ha. Now that’s a great song-writer. Also we were both in Chicago at the same time, and the life she described on that album was my life. Blown away. Fan for life. This is a beautiful song.

“Draw the Line” – Aerosmith. I love these florid self-indulgent guys. The Tyler family have a summer house on the same lake where we go every summer. Steven Tyler has described it as his favorite place, his sanctuary. I agree with him. In front of the little country store in town there’s a brick walkway, each brick donated by members of the community, with their names engraved on it. So there’s an “Aerosmith” brick, a “Liv Tyler” brick, which is pretty heart-crack-ish.

“Got a Lot Going For Me” – Waylon Jennings. God, I miss his presence in the music scene. Such integrity, such heart. His outlaw thing was still going strong here, he was true to his own sound, although this album was more commercial. I love the steel guitar (I think it is?) here. What a songwriter, what a singer.

“Greased Lightning” – John Travolta and Jeff Conaway, in Grease. Classic. Everyone in my generation knows it by heart, and also knows the dance by heart. I was in a production of this in high school and they made us cut “pussy wagon”. There were a lot of cuts actually and we all bitched about prudishness and censorship to ourselves like outraged mini speech activists.

“Maybe Maybe Not” – Mike Viola. I love this one from him. He has this ability, through chord changes, through progression from verse to chorus, of tapping into a kind of bittersweet/melancholy/cautiously hopeful mood. If I’m feeling bitter, as I often do, Viola has a way of softening all that up. He’s wonderful.

“Summertime” – Sam Cooke. God almighty, his voice.

“Overture” – Bleu. He collaborates a lot with the aforementioned Mike Viola, and he’s another favorite. I saw him once at Rockwood Music Hall, great show. This is from one of his early albums and it’s a sweeping orchestral instrumental. He’s nuts. He’s so so talented. He writes songs for young pop princesses, he’s a hit-maker, and the same is true in his own music, although he’s not a huge huge star. But these are HITS. Well, okay, maybe not this Overture, but still: he’s incredible.

“Symphony No. 4 in B-Flat Major, Op. 60: 1, Adagio – Allegro Vivace” – Beethoven, the London Symphony Orchestra. I’m not sure how to express my feelings when it comes to Beethoven. Just not that good a writer. So I will defer: H.L. Mencken on Beethoven. Clifford Odets on Beethoven – just one entry of many in his journal.

“Desperado” – Eagles. Live. There have been some pretty funny FB threads taking on the controversial topic: Eagles, Yay or Nay? People go INSANE.

“Yummy” – Gwen Stefani. I am having a hard time figuring out what’s happening. Maybe it’s the Oxy in my system.

“Lockdown” – Gavroche and the Beggars, from Les Miserables. Okay, that is hysterical, going from Gwen Stefani to this. It is why I treasure iPod Shuffle.

“Lodi” – Creedence Clearwater Revival. Sing it, boys. We’re all lookin’ for that pot of gold.

“I Got Stung” (take 10) – Elvis Presley. I was wondering when he would show up. Jeez. I was getting worried. This is from the unbelievably productive and raucous RCA session in the spring of 1958 (or thereabouts), while Elvis was on leave from basic training. He was headed to Germany for two years in the fall of 1958. He would not be recording or performing at ALL when he was in the Army (a total gamble on the Colonel’s part – a gamble that paid off.) So they needed to get a lot of stuff recorded before Elvis left, to release while he was gone. All of these crazy songs were released on the album with the famous cover, Elvis in the gold suit. The Colonel wasn’t crazy about the sound of this session: it was too loud and the band was too loud. He liked Elvis to be the focus. (The Colonel was a smart man, but he did not understand music.) Elvis was on fire during these sessions: they did take after take after take (all live: Elvis recorded everything live, with the band in the studio with him). You can hear them, through the various takes, solidify the song’s structure. A group collaboration, Elvis just a part of the whole. Great.

“Batman Theme” – Link Wray. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh …. Link. The master of the power chord. The inventor of the power chord. One of the coolest guys who ever lived.


“Forever and the Same” – The McGarrigle Hour, one of my favorite albums. This was a recorded family gathering. Who was there? The great McGarrigle sisters, Kate and Anna. Plus Loudon Wainwright. Plus Rufus and Martha Wainwright. Oh and who else? Emmylou Harris. Linda Ronstadt. Philippe Tatartcheff. Chaim Tannenbaum. So great. The harmonies. So beautiful, so sad, so moving. Have you seen Lian Lunson’s concert film Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert for Kate McGarrigle? My thoughts here. Liam is a good FB friend, as well as an Elvis fan par extraordinaire. She’s also an incredible film-maker and I can’t wait for her latest, Waiting for the Miracle to Come, starring Willie Nelson and Charlotte Rampling. I mean, what??

“Long Way From Home” – Stevie Ray Vaughan. He’s so amazing. He always makes me think of my crazy and beloved Chicago flame (known as Window Boy). He loved Stevie Ray Vaughan and saw him in concert just before the plane crash.

“What to Do” – Ok Go. So they’re huge now but I was into them from the beginning! This is a tiny LP with 4 songs on it or something, recorded in a tiny little venue. There are, what, 15 people there? But they’re magical. I adore them. Anyone who does something like this:

… has my heart forever.

“Fire and Rain” – the Glee cast version (Chord Overstreet and Kevin McHale), for the episode “The Quarterback,” about the recently deceased Cory Monteith. Devastating.

“She Thinks I Still Care” – Elvis Presley, from his posthumously released album Moody Blue. George Jones’ version is probably the most well-known. But Elvis kills it here. I love it when he goes country. Moody Blue was Elvis’ last album. It reached #1 on the country charts. It’s since gone platinum. This is a gorgeous heartfelt version of the song, Elvis in full-blown grown-up-male mode. He was ill in that last year. But his art remained intact, for the most part. He could pull that shit out.

“Miracle” – from the Broadway musical Matilda, which I have not seen, but sounds NUTS. I love the songs.

“Lonely Wolf” – the great Brian Setzer. From Rockabilly Riot. Volume 1. It came out last year. The guy is so talented. What a career. Authentic, true to himself, fabulous.

“Untitled” – Eminem. Amazing. He samples freakin’ Lesley Gore‘s angry feminist anthem “You Don’t Own Me.” I mean … what? BRILLIANT. And his lyrics: daunting, breath-taking, FURIOUS.

“Magic Carpet Ride” – Bedlam. Off the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack, of course.

“Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce” – Elvis Presley from Girl Happy, the high watermark of the “Elvis Formula Pictures,” unfairly derided by critic-types who don’t get that these are singular films, developed for one of the biggest stars of the world, and were huge hits. Girl Happy is hilarious and a lot of fun. Only Elvis could sell “Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce”, and he’s so charming you want to kill yourself.

“Bling (Confession of a King)” – The Killers. Bombast. Drama. Emotion! Boys!

“Imagine” – the Glee cast. Gorgeous arrangement and beautiful performance. My personal feelings about this song are pretty simple: If someone used those lyrics as a program for some political campaign, saying “Here is what I stand for”, I would advise everyone to run for the hills. Don’t vote for that nut-bag. Hold onto your possessions that you worked for and paid for. Don’t let anyone take that shit from you. Don’t let them guilt you out of being an individual. Yes, we could use more brotherhood in this world, but look out: anyone who wants us all to “be one… ” That’s totalitarianism. Clearly, this opinion makes me really popular at parties.

“Matchbox” – The Beatles. Rough jamming boogie-woogie chords.

“I Am a River” – Foo Fighters, from the awesome Sonic Music project. I will love them forever. I got into them, of course, immediately, out of a kind of Nirvana ache-nostalgia. I’m sure that was true for a lot of us. But then, amazingly … that first album, rough as it was … was mind-blowing. Not to mention the fact that Grohl was not drumming. He was the song-writer, singer, guitar-player. How bold of him, how courageous, if you think of the shadow of Cobain. We all were like, “Wait … what is happening?” And the songs were incredible, too. And now look where we are. Pretty amazing.

“Sweet Sacrifice” – Evanescence. I was super into them for a hot second and then lost track of them. I should rectify that. Her voice. Goosebumps all over my body. And I like the heaviness of it, the whiff of metal-ness of it.

“Watching the World Go By” – Dean Martin. How … how … HOW does he do it? He makes it seem and sound so easy. And for him it WAS easy. Smooth, easy, no pushing, and you can always hear him smiling. Beautiful artist.

“Fire” – Kristen Chenoweth, covering Bruce Springsteen, in Glee. I believe she was roller-skating as she sang this. It’s pretty great.

“Bleeding Me” – Metallica, from one of my favorite Metallica albums, S & M, the live concert they did with the San Francisco orchestra. A double album. Metallica playing with a gigantic orchestra? So incredible.

“Rock and Roll Music” – The Beatles, from the wonderful Live at the BBC album. These are rough, live, and filled with joy, energy, rage, commitment.

“All I’ve Got to Do” – The Beatles. You sound pretty sure of yourself there, boys. Don’t get too complacent.

“All My Loving” – The Beatles. Live on the momentous Ed Sullivan Show performance. The screams are deafening. You can barely hear them at times. It’s mayhem.

“Wearin’ That Loved On Look” – Elvis Presley. Oh, Elvis. Yes. You sexy motherfucker. This is from the incredible ground-breaking sessions done at American Studio, with another producer (Chips Moman), who pushed Elvis out of his comfort zone. The result was two different albums, with almost every song now a classic. (“Suspicious Minds,” “Long Black Limousine”, the list goes on and on and on.) I love this song. Elvis is in the ZONE. The dame’s a liar, she’s “carrying on” while you’re out of town, and she’s got that “loved on look” (what a great phrase). Drop her.

“What You’re Doing” – The Beatles. Lots of Beatles in this shuffle. I’m happy! Early Beatles, from Beatles For Sale. Pretty high-maintenance relationship, guys. Maybe it should be more fun, what do you think?

“Until It Sleeps” – Metallica. From Load. I love how in Some Kind of Monster, the great documentary where the band goes into therapy (what?), they bring up Load, as going “too far”, their fans rejected it. I always liked Load, though. It’s no Master of Puppets, but still. I like how it feels almost like a ballad and then … yeah … it’s so not a ballad.

“God is a DJ” – Pink. I adore her. I’ll follow her wherever she wants to go, and I have been doing so since this song and the “pill” song. I’m in. She’s got a classic rock ‘n’ roll voice. Perfect.

“Walk Right Back” – The Everly Brothers. That opening chord sequence is used in movie-after-movie, if I’m not mistaken. Their harmonies are perfect, rarely matched since. Immediately recognizable.

“Shake a Hand” – Faye Adams. I love her vibrato. She is so committed to every note, every slow swoop, every lyric. She believes it. Powerful singer.

“Chokin’ the Gopher” – Pat McCurdy. He’s a friend. I sang a duet with him on one of his albums, a song he wrote for me. Not to brag. Just telling the truth. And he thanked me in the liner notes for his album Fainting with Happiness, and I’m still not sure why, but I’ll take it. Here is his ridiculous and juvenile anthem to masturbation, with as many metaphors for masturbation as he can drum up. He does a male version and a female version. Some are hilarious. Unfortunately, he doesn’t use my favorite one for female masturbation: “dialing zero.” Of course you would have to have grown up with rotary phones to understand that one. I got it from Window Boy (mentioned above). Me on the phone with him, basically whining: “I’m so stressed out. Please come over, come on.” Window-Boy: “I’ve got rehearsal. Just dial zero. It’ll calm you down.” I was like, “Call the Operator? That will help me how?” Then he explained. And then I was laughing.

“Ooh Ooh Baby” – Britney Spears. I adore this chick. I’ve got her back. She’s a survivor.

“Paradise, Hawaiian Style” – Elvis Presley from the snooze-fest movie of the same name. One of the only times that you can tell Elvis is bored. The movie is lazy as hell. Why would you put Elvis in a movie and NOT have him kiss anyone? Why would you put Elvis in a movie and NOT give him any good songs? What the hell, guys. The man is GOLD. USE him appropriately.

“Hey, Doreen” – the marvelous Lucius. I just got into them last year. I love them. Their sound is so recognizable. I’m not all that familiar with them yet, but I always know when they come up. “Oh, this must be Lucius …” Good rock ‘n’ roll. Girl-power.

“Drive My Car” – the Glee cast version. Doesn’t really cut it. But I applaud the attempt.

“The Roving Gambler” – The Down Hill Strugglers, from the wonderful Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack. Boy, they nailed this early folk sound.

“All That I’m Living For” – Evanescence again. She can sing, man. Jesus Mary and Joseph.

“Earn Enough For Us” – XTC. I love them! My favorite is “1,000 Umbrellas,” which always makes me think of the aforementioned Pat McCurdy. Off the same album as “Earn Enough For Us.”

“Blackjack” – Everclear. Sometimes their stuff is “stock.” Sometimes it springs to fierce and piercing life. They got me through 2009. Or they were partially why I was able to survive. Those songs … Hard to listen to now.

“Watching the Detectives” – Elvis Costello. Classic. I’ve seen him in concert about 5 times.

“The Word” – The Beatles. A favorite. I learned how to sing harmony listening to my parents’ Beatles albums.

“The Door Is Always Open” – Waylon Jennings. A cover song from his album Dreaming My Dreams. Classic country, gentle and sad.

“Rave On” – Waylon Jennings. Heart-crack. Jennings covering Buddy Holly. As everyone knows, Waylon Jennings was on tour with his best friend/mentor Buddy Holly, and gave up his spot on the fateful plane. He lived with the guilt of that for years.

“Do Ya” – The Electric Light Orchestra. One of my favorite bands ever.

“The Boogie Bumper” – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Part of the whole swing/big-band revival in the mid-90s. There were swing clubs in Manhattan, and I would curl my hair and go and lindy-hop with random boys to live music, guys in porkpie hats, suits, stand-up bass. It was great while it lasted.

“Teenage Dolly” – the incomparable Dale Hawkins. His sound is so visceral, it still jumps out of the speakers. Dolly has a hole in her stocking but she keeps rocking. She’s a keeper.

“The Only One” – Evanescence. I have 11,000 songs on this damn thing. What are the odds that there would be an Evanescence cluster in one measly shuffle. I love it when that happens. This is a haunting song.

“Sweet Lady” – Queen. How have we managed to go on without Freddie Mercury? He cannot be replaced.

“White Room” – Cream. Talk to me, boys. What the hell are you talking about? Does it matter? No, it doesn’t.

“Jack a Diamonds” – Waylon Jennings. Kind of in heaven with all the Waylon going on here. A traditional Texas folk song, played originally by black blues artists, but lots of white guys covered it too. It’s a sad and sorry tale.

“Cottonfield Blues” – Garfield Akers. We’ve only got 4 songs from this guy. A blues guitarist/singer born in 1902. But listen to those 4 songs. You can hear the birth of rock ‘n’ roll in them. In this track too, you can hear what Keith Richards called “The Mystery of the Tracks,” in the guitar, and the significance of the railroad to the black blues musicians that helped start it all.

“Home Is Where the Heart Is” – Elvis Presley, in a ballad from Kid Galahad, which has some pretty good songs. Elvis loved ballads, he got to show off his pipes, which just got better and more flexible as he got older. This song ends with Elvis going lower … and lower … and lower … until it almost reaches parody.

“Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” – Tchaikovsky. Because why the hell not.

“A Little More Love” – Olivia Newton-John. We were just talking about her 2 weekends ago. How her voice is not huge, nor does it have to be. It has its own power, its own beauty. The trend right now is for major up-down pyrotechnics, showing off how much your voice can do. That’s fine. But listen to how Newton-John puts across a song. How beautiful her voice is. This is one of my favorites of hers. That random chord through the various verses, you know the one … “where did my innocence go?” (chord) … Nice.

“Send It Up” – the brilliant Kanye West from Yeezus. I’m a huge fan. I’m not saying I think he’s nice. I don’t need my rock stars to be “nice.” Being nice is not why people become rock stars. I think there’s a lot that is ridiculous about Kanye, and I think Eminem tops him in terms of verbal brilliance, but Kanye’s sound … It’s thrilling. Have you read Lou Reed’s rambling awesome piece about Kanye? Yes. Maybe it really takes another rock star to understand other rock stars. They shouldn’t be judged by the same rules. Because then you stop talking about The Art. And honestly, that’s all we should be talking about. Maybe if the guy is a criminal (ie Cosby) you can turn your back on the art (if that’s what you want to do), but Kanye’s not a criminal. I think he’s brilliant.

“What’d I Say” – Jerry Lee Lewis. Talk about a “not-nice” rock star. If he were “nice,” and socially appropriate, he wouldn’t be Jerry Lee Fucking Lewis!

“And So It Goes” – Jennifer Warren. The tone of her voice, its purity. Her songs and her interpretation have the potential to shatter my heart. There’s so much feeling in it. I love her Leonard Cohen album, but there are so many other good ones.

“Happiness” – Elliott Smith. Ouch. The despair is so apparent. No coincidence that Wes Anderson used his “Needle in the Hay” to play underneath Luke Wilson’s suicide attempt in The Royal Tenenbaums. The music goes beyond loneliness or unhappiness. It’s the end of the road. Beautiful, but desolate.

“Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” – Doris Day, with a beautiful gentle cover of one of Elvis’ biggest hits. She’s so perfect. Have you read Brian May’s crazed appreciation of her? I concur.

“Thanks” – Bing Crosby. Beautiful voice, such a gifted stylist. I love this quote from him: “Frank Sinatra is a singer that comes along once in a lifetime. But why did he have to come along in mine?”

“The Barnyards of Delgaty” – The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem. It has been a bit astonishing that the Shuffle has gone on this long without one appearance by the Irish. So welcome. My siblings and I used to sing this song (and many other Clancy Brothers tunes) at top volume when we were kids, in the back seat of the car as we were driven to the beach or whatever. My parents must have thought it was hilarious. And maybe like, “Okay, so we’ve successfully passed on a love of The Clancy Brothers … our work here is done.”

“Damned For All Time” – Carl Anderson as Judas, in the Norman Jewison film Jesus Christ Superstar. An anthem of fear. This guy was one hell of a performer. Killer voice. Best role in the whole thing, with two phenomenal numbers.

“Saints” – The Breeders. These chicks were so bad-ass. From the Dark Ages and the brief sliver in time when rock chicks were making their own rules, and didn’t have to lead with their sexuality. That all ended pretty quickly, but it was a kind of Golden Age. I still miss The Breeders. This is a great album.

“I Wanna Be Loved” – Ricky Nelson. Sexy as hell.

“Dig Me Out” – Sleater-Kinney. Talk about the Golden Age of rocker-chicks. And how thrilling that they’re back?? I did not see that one coming and it’s been thrilling.

“Mama Said” – The Shirelles. Ah, the 1960s girl groups. Your Mama was right.

“Jambalaya” – Hank Williams. That little hitch in his voice, the hint of a yodel … Our first real cross-over star. So much comes from him.

“No One Else But You” – Brendan Benson. I love this man. What a songwriter. He’s involved in a lot of projects, with other guys, and then he puts out his own albums. I’m so happy he’s so busy because there’s more of him!

“My Prerogative” – Bobby Brown. I remember him when he wasn’t just an asshole, but the guy who sang THIS, which was like THE hit of whatever summer that was. Cars would drive by with open windows, and it was always “My Prerogative” blasting. That song was everywhere. Very sorry about what happened to his daughter. Horrible. Britney Spears covered this song, and I like her version better.

“Back to Black” – Amy Winehouse. Classic. I still haven’t seen that damn documentary yet. My new job has put a crimp in my movie-going. I love her and I miss her.

“Johnny Feelgood” – my favorite off of Liz Phair’s Whitechocolatespaceegg. It rocks. I’m telling you … she stole my diary or something! The voice of my generation. The quintessential Gen-X girl.

“Sister Anne” – MC5. Great rock ‘n’ roll anthem. These guys were great. And then at the end of the song, it suddenly becomes … a high school marching band? Sure!

“Breaking the Law” – Judas Priest. YES.

“Baby, Won’t You Come Out Tonight” – Buddy Holly. One of the many “come on, honey, let’s go out and have fun” songs from this era.

“Cherry Oh Baby” – The Rolling Stones. I was wondering where these guys were hiding out.

“Don’t Wake Me Up” – the first song off of Pat McCurdy’s Fainting with Happiness, the album I mentioned up above. It’s one of his best.

“Live and Let Die” – okay, so this is from this fabulous album called Pure McCartney, a live concert, a tribute to the songs of Paul McCartney, performed by Mike Viola (see up above), Tracy Bonham (another favorite of mine, although she hasn’t shown up on this shuffle yet), Tim Christensen and a couple others. They play all this great McCartney stuff – Wings, of course – but also a lot of songs from his first solo album Ram. It’s fantastic, great versions of all of these songs! I’m very glad someone recorded this concert.

“Baby Yes It Does” – Nina Simone. And I need to see the documentary about HER too. Dammit! I’ve heard incredible things. She was such a phenomenal artist.

“… And Justice For All” – Metallica, live, from the soundtrack to their 3-D movie Through the Never. I reviewed for Ebert. I LOVED IT. And they played “Orion” over the closing credits, which – if you’re a Metallica fan – you know they never play that song, almost never anyway. It’s a 10-minute long instrumental. But people love that song, ache to hear it, plead for them to play it. It was very meaningful that they included it here.

“Big Cheese” – Nirvana, from Bleach, when a lot of us started paying attention to these guys. Not sure any of us had any idea that they would crack open the culture only a couple years later. They were just a little rough band from the Pacific Northwest. Bryan Adams and Huey Lewis were ruling the airwaves. (No disrespect.) But still … who could see it coming? I’m bummed Lester Bangs wasn’t around to see it. Or, at least, that he wasn’t around to weigh in on the whole thing.

“True Fine Mama” – Little Richard. He is out of his mind and I LOVE him. Some of the anecdotes about him on tour with Sam Cooke – that Peter Guralnick included in his Cooke biography – once Little Richard decided that rock ‘n’ roll was the devil’s music … he was giving it up, he was THROUGH! And then, whoops. No, he wasn’t through. What a voice. And this may be sacrilege, but I think his “I Saw Her Standing There” is superior to the original (and the original is probably my #1 favorite Beatles song). But he takes it to the next damn level.

“Money Changes Everything” – Cyndi Lauper. A good song, right? I will never be able to hear it the same way again after this.

“She Came Along To Me” – Billy Bragg and Wilco, from their amazing Mermaid Avenue. The O’Malleys all flipped about this album at the same time. It was on constant rotation. I associate it with the birth of my nephew Cashel, which is when we were all listening to it constantly. I get a wave of nostalgia/time-travel when any of these songs come up. Hanging out with Dad and Mum at my brother’s in Brooklyn with the new member of my family. Good times. Bittersweet.

“Money Burns a Hole In My Pocket” – Dean Martin. I’m sure it does, but it doesn’t sound like it bothers you. It’s one of my favorite things about Dino. The lack of angst. Once you’ve eliminated angst, what’s left? Joy. That’s what I feel when I hear Dean Martin sing.

“I Need You” – The Eurythmics. Brutal pared-down song from Savage. Disturbing. Great.

“Old Five and Dimers Like Me” – Waylon Jennings. A cover, but Jennings personalizes it so intimately he owns it. There’s such sadness, and loss, and turmoil, underscored by that swoopy steel guitar.

“Fame and Fortune” – Elvis Presley. From his great Elvis is Back! album, put out after he got out of the Army. He had been working hard on his already great voice while he was away, and you can hear it here. He’s a crooner. Or, he can be. He could still do the rough ready stuff. But he had slowly worked on his range, pushing it. His voice could do anything. He’s gorgeous here.

“Hidden Charms” – Link Wray. His stuff is so hard. Remember, this was the guy who wrote a song called “Rumble,” and it had no lyrics, but it was still considered too dangerous to get radio play. He IS the rebel without a cause. This is punk rock.

“Do I Move You” – Nina Simone. Soooo sexy. This is, to quote Jada Pinkett Smith in Magic Mike XXL, “some grown woman shit.”

“Love in Vain” – The Rolling Stones. That guitar that opens the song … achey achey.

“Jigsaw Puzzle” – The Rolling Stones. From Beggars Banquet. Classic Stones. What a sound, kind of jangly, that piano in the background, like they’re at a honky-tonk in the middle of the woods.

“Gypsy” – Lady Gaga. From Art POP. After the Oscars when she sang that phenomenal Sound of Music medley, there were all these random comments from people on FB and elsewhere: “Wow. Who knew she could sing?” I mean, fine, be totally out of touch, but don’t BRAG about it. EVERYONE knew she could sing except you. How about that. A lot of her stuff starts to sound the same if you listen to it all together, but I love her.

“Mother Nature’s Son” – John Denver. Okay, okay, I know. Still, it’s good. I like his “picking.” Wonderful guitar-player.

“Dance to the Music” – Sly & The Family Stone. He just won his law-suit and I’m so freakin’ HAPPY. It’s about TIME. Give that man his well-earned money.

“Skinny Jim” – Eddie Cochran. Died in 1960. I can’t believe it. 1959-60 was a bad bad year for rock ‘n’ roll. The year the music died.

“Rent” – the title song from the Broadway musical. You know what, people? Paying rent does not mean you’re oppressed. It means you’re a grown-up. “Eviction or pay!” they all scream. Uh. Yeah. That’s how it works.

“Yellow Brick Road” – Eminem. A walk down memory lane, a biography. Good times, Marshall, good times. Him and Kim walking around at night in their pajamas. Nice relentless beat.

“Black Betty” – Ram Jam. One of the best beats out there. I have a workout mix with JUST this song on it, because it keeps me going. Maybe now that I’ve had surgery, I can get back to working out again. I was doing so good, and my body was changing for the better. Bah. Well, I’ll get back into it.

“Poker Face” – Lady Gaga. Talk about a good workout song …

“What’d I Say” – Ray Charles, live. Thrilling. Groovy. Nobody like him.

“This Land Is Your Land” – Everclear. This album of covers is one of the albums I mentioned above, that helped me get through 2009. Or, at least, I had it on constantly. It was a life-jacket, I don’t know why.

“Ramblin’ Man” – The Allman Brothers. My music collection cracks me up. It is awesome and I am attached to it. These are all albums I’ve bought, that I took time to transferred into iTunes. I have attachment to these albums. They represent choices. That’s why I’m into the iPod and not the more vast Spotify, which is great, I’m sure, but these songs feel like MINE, because I bought them. And not just through iTunes, but throughout my whole life. Anyway. Allman Brothers. Oh yea.

“I Only Want to Be With You” – The Tourists. This was Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart’s band right before The Eurythmics. It’s hard to find. I tracked it down. This is a cover (obviously) and it’s fabulous!

“I Take A Lot of Pride In What I Am” – Merle Haggard. As well you should.

“It’s a Miracle” – Barry Manilow. OMG.

“Liza Jane” – Dale Hawkins. The sound roars up from the swamps.

“Let Love Be Your Energy” – Robbie Williams, live at Knebworth in front of 350,000 people. Look up the clips on Youtube. Insane. Super-STAR.

“Only Believe” – Elvis Presley. Godly Elvis is one of my favorite Elvis-es. And this is beautiful and rousing. “All things are possible if you only believe.” He BELIEVES this. Listen to what he’s doing with his voice. There’s sincerity there. But sincerity doesn’t cut it if you can’t put that into your voice. He always could. His choices were always right. The way he builds … the way he testifies … the way he roughs up his voice … it’s sexy, it’s holy … it’s everything.

“Hells Bells” – AC/DC. From “Only Believe” to “Hells Bells.” Two sides of the same coin.

“Forbidden Love” – Madonna. I loved Confessions on a Dance Floor. I love her in general although her British accent is so irritating.

“Sittin’ In the Balcony” – Eddie Cochran. If Elvis was the roaring exotic Southern boy, emerging from poverty and nothing-ness, Eddie Cochran was the voice of the Teenage Explosion that followed. His songs are often descriptive: Here is what you were wearing, here is what we did, here is what we drank, there are jukeboxes and cars and sock-hops. Elvis never went to a sock-hop in his life. He was going to church and dreaming of something else. He wasn’t white-bread. He was too poor for that shit. Cochran (who was, arguably, as good-looking as Elvis) had a sexy as hell voice (with Elvis-ish twitches) but he was singing about high school and milk shakes and making out while your parents are away. He’s awesome.

“Legacy” – Eminem, from his latest. It’s one of my favorites off the album, although there isn’t a bad track on it. His rhymes are insane. It’s the internal rhymes that get me. And that chorus …

“Bad News From Home” – Randy Newman. Have you all read Greil Marcus’ Mystery Train? There’s a whole chapter on Randy Newman. It’s amazing. Other chapters: Sly & The Family Stone, The Band, Robert Johnson, Harmonica Frank, and of course, “Presliad,” his incredible (and challenging, for some Elvis fans) essay on Elvis. Essential reading.

“No Remorse” – Metallica, from the album with the kindly title Kill ‘Em All. Kirk Hammett is out of control here.

“Beast of Burden” – The Rolling Stones. These songs are in our collective DNA.

“Big Me” – Foo Fighters, from their very first album. The sound is already there. They would explode with their next album, but I love this one too.

“What Goes Around … Comes Around … ” – Justin Timberlake. Huge fan. Mitchell and I had a great talk about him.

“Free Ride” – Nick Drake. He reminds me of the exhilarating first couple of months when Allison and I discovered we wanted to be friends. She introduced me to Nick Drake.

“Mean Woman Blues” – Roy Orbison. Elvis did this one too. Orbison SWINGS it. I remember Tom Petty writing somewhere that the lyric “she kisses so hard she bruised my lips” really shocked him when he was a kid. It put such explicit images in his head. Like: is that possible??

“Sylvia” – Elvis Presley. This type of huge power-ballad drives some Elvis fans crazy. The song doesn’t have many defenders. I think it’s fabulous. First of all: his PERFORMANCE. His VOICE. It can go anywhere, do anything. It’s MEANT to pour the drama on, it’s BUILT to be BIG. Elvis can carry it. Yes, it’s cheesy. But Elvis liked cheese. You can tell. He sings the hell out of this song.

“Overrated New Year” – Sarah Donner. I love this woman. I discovered her because of a charming Youtube clip where she sat in her house, singing one of her songs, and filming one of her kittens falling asleep as she sang. I loved the song (whatever it was). So I sought her out and found she had a couple albums out. Yay! And she’s just as good as I had hoped. I love her stuff. Check it out!

“Waltz (Better Than Fine)” – Fiona Apple. My father loved her.

“Eleanor Rigby” – The Beatles. I first discovered The Beatles for myself, for real, in 5th grade. I knew them of course. My parents had their albums. But the Beatles craze swept my grade school. Betsy and I would huddle over the turntable at recess, listening to their records over and over. And “Eleanor Rigby” freaked me out. It was a vision of loneliness that was so truly grown-up in nature that I felt, instinctively, that I was too young for it, that I didn’t want to deal with the song. It was too much. I wondered about the man’s face in the jar by the door. And the dirt by the grave. And who was Eleanor? And the image of nobody coming to the funeral. Tragic. I was 10. But I felt the tragedy.

“My Name Is” – Eminem. Brat!

“If I Were a Boy” – Beyonce. You know, I feel you, girl.

“Prayer” – D’Angelo. From Black Messiah, which really is as extraordinary as everyone says. That album was an EVENT.

“God Damn King Kong” – Pimp Fu (aka my cousin Timothy O’Malley). He recorded this by himself in the cellar apartment he shared with my brother. He’s brilliant and insane. I believe my brother appears on this track as well. O’Malley Cousins making music. I love my family.

“You Left the Water Running” – Huey Lewis & The News. 1. Huey was my first concert ever. 2. I’m a fan for life. 3. This is from his album of r&b covers, Four Chords and Several Years Ago. And I’ve told the story before, but my friend Ann Marie and I were extras in one of the videos for that album, which was done at a radio station in Chicago, American Bandstand-style.

“Look What They’ve Done To My Song” – Ray Charles and Count Basie. Too great to even comprehend what is happening while it is happening. First of all, I love the song. (Have you heard Miley Cyrus’ cover of it? It’s amazing.) But Ray Charles and the huge Count Basie orchestra and the lady-singers behind him … it’s overwhelming.

“The Night Before” – The Beatles. High on the list of my favorite Beatles songs.

“Femme Fatale” – The Velvet Underground. Eerily great.

“And She Was” – The Talking Heads. Boy does this bring back memories. College.

“Build Me Up Buttercup” – The Fountainheads. How many times has this song been used in movie soundtracks? 700? More? Less? Whatever, it’s a lot.

“Do You Love Me Now” – The Breeders again, from the same great album. I think “Roi” might be my favorite off that album, but “Do You Love Me Now” is a great rock song. “Do you think of me like I dream of you?” Such an intricate line. “Think” vs. “dream”. I think we all can relate to that.

“Get a Job” – The Silhouettes. I have all this old doo-wop stuff. It cracks me up.

“Put Your Cat Clothes On” – Carl Perkins. Another one of those “performative” rockabilly songs that started appearing once the new sound caught on. It started being about the signifiers of the movement: pink cadillacs, cat clothes, blue jeans, sweaters … It was describing what was already happening, the trends, as opposed to setting the trends, or being outside the trends. The music had become self-conscious. Not the sound itself – this is a great rockabilly song – but the song is now aware that it’s describing a movement sweeping the nation. It makes a difference.

“Leaves That Are Green” – Simon & Garfunkel. Sometimes I want to put a frog in their bed.

“Be Italian” – Fergie, from the Nine soundtrack. I’ve always liked her and everything, their songs are okay, blah blah, but it was “Be Italian” that made me really HEAR her, and really hear what an extraordinary voice she’s got going on. That’s a star voice. A Broadway star voice. Her pop songs don’t let her do THIS.

“Ol’ Jim Crow” – Nina Simone. Bad-ass. Chilling.

“Blue Suede Shoes” – Elvis Presley, singing Carl Perkins’ song. Perkins starts it with those two chords, Elvis goes right into it. Perkins had already had a huuuuuuuge hit with it, and then Elvis took off like a rocket. The song was so controversial. You can burn my house but lay off the SHOES? What is wrong with the youth of today?? I love this track from Elvis because (like everything) it’s a live take, with all the guys in the same room, and you can hear them talking to each other. Elvis shouting “Yeah” in the background, or the famous “WALK THE DAWG” as they go into the bridge. One of the reasons why the thing is such a hit, and always will be, is that you can FEEL what it must have felt like in the ROOM. The song is not put together afterwards with all these different pieces. What happened in the room on that day in that moment is what we hear.

This entry was posted in Music and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to Sick-Bed iPod Shuffle

  1. carolyn clarke says:

    First, hope you’re feeling better soon. We miss you. Had scary surgery on my eye Monday. 2nd time around. No comparison to your surgery, I am sure, but I empathize completely.

    Second, talk about eclectic taste in music. You’ve been all around the horn and back again. I’ve never even heard about some of the artists you reference which makes me eager to sample them because the songs I do know are some of my favorite cuts also. Thank god for IPODs.

    Take care and take the time to heal.


    • sheila says:

      Carolyn – oh man, good luck with recovering from eye surgery. Scary!! It’s awful being sick – especially if you’re used to being healthy. Thank you!!

      and it just makes me laugh to see some of these names come up. John Denver? Barry Manilow? I mean I love both of them, but still. It cracks me UP.

  2. Amy says:

    Sheila – my fingers are crossed for your speedy recovery too. Glad your mom is there to give you a hand.

    Link Wray (melts into puddle on floor) … “Hidden Charms” is the nastiest tune ever, I think — that and “Aces High.” He was hotter than hell and so was his music.

    Because it’s that time of year and Sheila, I think you’ll appreciate this: when Elvis died, I was in junior high and two of my friends happened to be at my house for the weekend. We were too young really to be in mourning over it, but we did have a giggly seance that night in the guest bedroom. And what do you know: “Elvis” (played with gusto by my dad) kept showing up at the bedroom door, singing “Hound Dog” seemingly from beyond the grave. Funny, my parents were supposedly so square (greatest generation) but somehow my dad knew a couple of Elvis tunes…

  3. The way John Fogarty sings the word “Greyhound” in “Lodi” is one of my favorite things ever.

  4. Helena says:

    Wishing you all the best with your recovery and return to full health and fitness. In the meantime, enjoy the music and RELISH those painkillers.

  5. Regina Bartkoff says:

    Get well soon! I hope everything will be alright! And definitely enjoy the Oxy!
    I had it for my broken wrist last year and when all was over I went back to the Doc and said “I’ll have more of these please! I finally sleep well! She basically laughed me out of the office.

    • sheila says:

      Ha!! With the first pill I took, my first thought when the effects hit was: “Oh. THIS is why this drug is such a huge problem.”

  6. Paula says:

    Fingers crossed that it takes this time! Love the mix of these. ELO rocks. I’ve listened to them since my older brother rocked out to Evil Woman in our basement. They used to have an ELO cover band here in Mpls (EL-No) but I missed seeing them before they closed shop. Seeing SRV, Eagles and Waylon on the list, how do you feel about Lucinda Williams? She is at the top of one of my playlists with these others along with Robert Randolph and The Family Band.

    • Paula says:

      And the Eagles. So funny how polarizing they are. I loved “History of the Eagles” documentary especially the audio clip of Frey threatening Felder with a beat down. So much passion about everything he does (ok, maybe drugs contributed to that). One of my friends hates him so much that we can’t talk about the Eagles EVER.

      • sheila says:

        Paula – hahahahaha about The Eagles.

        // One of my friends hates him so much that we can’t talk about the Eagles EVER. //

        Ha!! Why are they so polarizing? What is it?? They aren’t my favorite band but the PASSIONATE hatred they invoke is so funny to me. A friend put up a random link to some Eagles clip – and the comments section went into the hundreds, with people arguing, and shooting Internet cross-bows of hatred at each other. It was kind of awesome.

        I haven’t seen that documentary!!

        I read a piece a while back – oh now I know where it was – it was an essay included in Chuck Klosterman’s “Black Hat” book (something like that – I Wear the Black Hat) – and he wrote an enormous hilarious essay about The Eagles – and why he hates them, and why he is still obsessed with them.

        • Paula says:

          Sheila – Even if you aren’t a big fan, the documentary is fantastic giving background and connections with Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt. People think Frey and Henley were such jerks, but I see two guys who had a vision, some good business sense and did what it takes to make it happen. I respect that. Plus Frey’s 70s hair and mustache. It does weird things to me.

          I know you love messy and the night of their breakup is epic. Here’s the clip. “Three more songs asshole.”

          • sheila says:

            hahahaha I will watch the clip when I’m in privacy. It sounds AWESOME.

            // Plus Frey’s 70s hair and mustache. It does weird things to me. //


          • sheila says:

            In his last album Eminem sampled “Life’s Been Good To Me So Far” and it was a similar “Look at my awful shallow life as a rock star” and it was a great and hilarious tribute to the Be-All End-All of “I’m an over-it jaded rock God” anthems.

        • May says:

          //Why are they so polarizing? What is it?? They aren’t my favorite band but the PASSIONATE hatred they invoke is so funny to me.//

          I feel like hating The Eagles has become a “thing.” Like how hating different popular music/TV/movies/books often become things. It’s like anti-fandom.

          • sheila says:

            Yeah, I guess so – I missed when that “thing” happened and suddenly everywhere I looked was all this Eagles rage! Like – where were you guys hiding all this time?

          • May says:

            I think the first time I really heard Eagles hate was in The Big Lebowski. I just don’t know if that movie popularized it or if it was a thing before.

          • sheila says:

            Oh wait – remind me of the Eagles hate in The Big Lebowski?

          • May says:

            The Dude hates The Eagles. I think it became popular quote from the movie or a meme or something. I’ve often seen the quote on Big Lebowski related things.

          • mutecypher says:

            They were even dissed by Steely Dan in the song “Everything You Did” with the line “Turn Up The Eagles, the neighbors are listening.” Since The Eagles are apparently the sort of music that cuckolds would listen to. And that was back in ’76.

          • sheila says:

            Oh right – the Dude hates them! So funny – try to picture The Dude hanging out with the Eagles. Doesn’t really work.

          • sheila says:

            Hey lookee here – the Klosterman chapter on The Eagles from his book is online.

            On “Take it Easy:”

            If you conject even further, perhaps you can pretend the song is only about one woman (with seven different sides to her personality), or that this is supposed to be humor, or that we’re not supposed to think about these seven women as actual people, or that we’re not supposed to think about these lyrics at all.

            However, one detail is non-negotiable: People fucking hate this song.

          • Paula says:

            Haha, that’s why Best of the Eagles is one of top ten selling albums of all time. Oh the hate. I need to read that essay.

          • sheila says:

            I’m trying to think if I hate anyone that much.

            I pretty much despise Jewel, but she’s not as huge a target as The Eagles.

            I’m sure I have some hate in me for something!

    • sheila says:

      I love Lucinda Williams! I admit I don’t have a lot of her stuff though and should rectify that!

      The first album I ever bought with my own money was ELO’s Time. Up until that moment, it was my parents’ albums (folk music, rock ‘n’ roll, Irish) and Broadway musicals. My friend Meredith had the album, and we listened to the entire thing together, song by song (I had to have been about 13) and I was blown away!!

  7. mutecypher says:

    I hope you have a speedy recovery!

    I always enjoy finding the songs you mention that I’m not familiar with. Glad you do these shuffle recaps.

    Through The Never… I keep reading Lars’ updates on the album they’re working on, Robert talking about how it will be heavier than the last one (heavier than “Suicide & Redemption” – how?), and poor Kirk losing 250 riffs he had (unbacked up) on his phone. It’s not just petite pop stars who are ‘so the drama.’

    Get well soon!

    • sheila says:

      // heavier than “Suicide & Redemption” – how? //

      hahaha Right?

      And Kirk, come ON, back your stuff up. Didn’t you see that Sex and the City episode??

      That’s awful. I’m so glad they’re working on something new though.

      and thanks for the well wishes. I’m doing great!

  8. May says:

    My fingers and toes are crossed. I hope your recovery is fast and comfortable!

    //“Greased Lightning” . . . I was in a production of this in high school and they made us cut “pussy wagon”. There were a lot of cuts actually and we all bitched about prudishness and censorship to ourselves like outraged mini speech activists.//

    Teen outrage is the best outrage. Life is so unfair!

    //“Rent” – the title song from the Broadway musical. You know what, people? Paying rent does not mean you’re oppressed. It means you’re a grown-up. “Eviction or pay!” they all scream. Uh. Yeah. That’s how it works.//

    LMAO! I can’t say I was ever a big fan of RENT, but I saw it when I was a teenager and liked some of the songs. And then the movie came out and I listened to them again and…yeah. Learn how to adult, people.

    • sheila says:

      weeping with laughter about that gif. That’s exactly what we were like. Commiserating about how The Man was oppressing us because we weren’t allowed to sing “pussy wagon” at full volume. hahahaha

      And Rent – HA. I love the songs too – and actually saw it on Broadway twice. It’s a super-fun show! But honestly: paying rent is not really negotiable and has nothing to do with Oppression. You’re not a hero for squatting and please stop making fun of your friend who wears a suit because he has a job. Suits do not equal EVIL.

      I love making fun of Rent for some reason.

      • sheila says:

        and then of course there was the horrifyingly hilarious parody of Rent in “Team America” with the big production number entitled: “Everyone’s Got AIDS.”

        • May says:

          Heehee! “Everyone’s Got AIDS” is always the first thing I think of when I see anything Rent related. So terrible. So funny.

          I enjoy making fun of Rent as well. I still like a lot of the songs and think it’s fun, but it is so easy to laugh at. It’s very much of its time, and yet there is something almost…hipster-ish? teen melodrama-ish?…about it that makes me want to poke fun.

          • sheila says:

            Yeah – teen melodrama with no self-awareness. Also a totally uncomplicated view of life:

            — people who wear suits/get jobs = sellouts
            — people who squat in warehouses, make “movies” on little camcorders, and do incomprehensible performance art pieces all while refusing to pay rent = heroes.

            It definitely came out of a very terrible time – plague-years and all that – and right after these huge “squatter” wars happened in New York. (I just reviewed a movie called 10,000 Saints which took place then – there were these huge protests, cops involved – it was crazy!)

            But yeah. Grow up, kids. Paying rent doesn’t mean you’re a sell-out. Chillax.

  9. Dan says:

    I hope you make a speedy recovery.

    Black Betty is forever Mike Timlin’s song to me.

    • sheila says:

      Thanks, Dan.

      and yes! Timlin! Can see why that song would work anyone up into a competitive frenzy.

      • sheila says:

        Oh and my sister and her husband were at Fenway last night – and got to see the little boy singing the National Anthem (I’m sure you’ve seen the clip). Pretty amazing. I haven’t been to Fenway in so long – it’s just not right!!

  10. When the Oxy lets you focus, there’s an excellent new Bad Lip Reading, with musical interlude.

  11. Jerry Coy says:

    Get well, stay well and be well! Great music choices…should speed up the healing process for sure.

  12. Michelle says:

    I hope you feel better soon Sheila!!

    John Denver was my first love. My mom said he was the best babysitter she ever had. All she had to do was put on his music and I would sit for hours and listen to him. When I was four I apparently decided to go way beyond just having an imaginary friend and I had a whole family. John Denver was my husband and we had five kids.

    Everything was great until my fickle five year old self went and saw Star Wars. One look at Han Solo and I kicked poor John to the curb. :-)

    I never stopped loving his music. It absolutely broke my heart when he died.

    • sheila says:

      // John Denver was my husband and we had five kids. //


      but yes, no one can compete with Han Solo.

      I loved him too as a kid – when “Matthew” comes up on Shuffle, it takes me right back to being 7, 8 … and getting totally drawn into that story.

  13. Maureen says:

    I hope you feel better soon, Sheila!! Sending good healing thoughts your way…

    Michelle, John Denver was my first true love too! I was in middle school, and I adored him-still do. My older sister was going with a friend of hers to his concert in Chicago, and my Mom MADE her take me with them. She wasn’t happy about that, but oh-it was wonderful.

    I wanted to move to Colorado so much-I used to pretend the clouds on the horizon were mountains. I fell in love with a boy who moved to my junior high-just because he was from Colorado. Well, he was pretty cute too-that didn’t hurt :) As you can tell, I had the “Rocky Mountain High” fever!

    • sheila says:

      // I used to pretend the clouds on the horizon were mountains. I fell in love with a boy who moved to my junior high-just because he was from Colorado. //

      These John Denver stories are incredible!

      He did have a very sweet and sincere persona. And I still know every word to “Grandma’s Feather Bed.”

  14. Maureen says:

    Sheila, I meant to mention in my other comment-I totally get your feeling about Oxy. I haven’t had it, but after my C section they gave me morphine-and I was all “oh, this is so, so nice!”. I felt great, and TMI-seriously, squeamish people stop reading…it is a good thing it caused horrible constipation, or I would look like Ann Baxter in the Opium Den in The Razor’s Edge.

    Drugs can be our friends, as long as we can quit them!

    • sheila says:

      // it is a good thing it caused horrible constipation, or I would look like Ann Baxter in the Opium Den in The Razor’s Edge. //


      As my friend Charlie says, “This is some good shit.”

      But yeah. Constipation. Without going too further into it, yeah. Horrible side effect!

  15. Troy Y. says:

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Sheila. I enjoyed your shuffle list comments, as always.

  16. Anne says:

    No, Olivia, a little more love will not make it right. I think you know this.

    Hope you feel better, Sheila.

  17. Patsyann says:

    Wishing you a complete recovery and no further issues!

    I loved the “outlaw” country performers, that movement was pretty big around the time I was first learning to hide my radio under the bedcovers so my parents didn’t know I was up half the night listening to it. (I could only get a country station or an oldies station, or a REALLY OLD oldies station, at the time; so country it was.) I’ve been revisiting a few of them lately, and loving Waylon Jennings more and more. My favorite song of his has always been “Amanda.” So poignant and melancholoy, which I’m pretty sure I didn’t appreciate when I was 12. :P

    • sheila says:

      Patsyann – I love that you would hide the radio! Now that’s some compelling music.

      I love Waylon Jennings’ independence – he was his own man. Nashville is such a business with a capital B – still is – and it dominates its artists in what KIND of sound “country” is. Waylon was having none of that. I also really respect him because he was able to realize that the “outlaw” thing eventually was more like a “bit” or a “gimmick” – or, it BECAME that way once Nashville got on board – and he was over it. He wasn’t going to do anything because it was a trend, or it had the stamp of approval. He was going to make the music he wanted to make. I really respect that!

      But boy, the outlaw stuff is great. And duets with Willie Nelson. When do men do duets with each other anymore? I love male voices singing together, and those songs are just amazing.

      I love “Amanda” too.

      We were just talking on FB about his song “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?” It’s such a wonderful humorous indictment of the conservatism and glitter of the stultified country-western music scene when Waylon came along. He’s like, “Come on, folks, did Hank Williams care about any of this shit?”

      It’s great.

  18. Barb says:

    It’s shuffles like this that make me think that iPods have intelligence–and a twisted sense of humor.

    I hope your recovery goes well, Sheila. And yeah, appreciate the Oxy, but not too much! I had both my kids by C-section, and after my first the hospital sent me home with a painkiller that I thought was absolutely great–wish I could remember the name of it right now. So after my second, when the nurse was discharging me and writing out all those directions and prescriptions, I asked if I could have one for this wonder drug. I will never forget the look she gave me.

    She gave me a scrip for about 5 pills.

    • sheila says:

      hahahaha Smart nurse!!

      Yeah, I’m done with the Oxy today. Boo. But my recovery has been swift and painless.

      Thanks everyone for the kind wishes!

  19. Brendan says:

    I do appear on “God Damn King Kong”, a phrase that came to me via Tom D (name withheld to protect the guilty). Tom was working in a fish packing plant in Alaska. To get through the day, everyone did drugs all day long. Break time consisted of going to whichever drug dealer held your preference. Tom decided that whippets would be his best bet. On break he would head to “the Whippet Guy”, a massive bearded ball buster who would belittle every single person who came and took a hit. (“You’re a lightweight/My grandmother could do a hit bigger than that and she’s dead/etc. etc.) Tom was determined to impress this druggie judge. Tom takes the biggest hit he can possible take…Whippet Guy looks down at him through his beard and says, “God Damn King Kong.”

    • sheila says:

      I can’t stop laughing.

      “The Whippet Guy.”


    • sheila says:

      and every time Pimp Fu comes up – I am so glad that I kept that little CD and uploaded it to iTunes. They’re so hilarious and great and it so brings back that very specific time/place in our lives. I have all your CDs in there too.

      Miss you.

  20. Brendan says:

    Miss you too, Sheil! Sending you good thoughts…GET OFF THE OXY TRAIN!!! heheheh!

  21. Just want to say this shuffle has me listening to a lotta Waylon and wishing I had some Oxy…get well soon!

  22. Regina Bartkoff says:


    I have to say, I hate the Eagles! At my new job they have Hotel California on a loop, it’s excruciating to have to be subjected to that. It might be about time and age, they were really popular right before punk broke, (a terrible time for music!) And I would go backward then and listen to the oldies on the radio instead.
    Also, I want to see 10,000 Saints! I was here for all that and curious how they portray it.

    • sheila says:

      Yeah, listening to Hotel California multiple times a day would drive me insane.

      Ooh, and yeah, 10,000 Saints! My brother was really into Minor Threat’s music – all those guys – although he wasn’t really “straight-edge” at all. It’ll be interesting to hear your take on it – especially the whole Tompkins Square Park riot thing. I think they did a very good job on a low budget suggesting the New York of that time but would love to hear your take on it.

  23. Dg says:

    As far as the Lebowski/Eagles thing goes, if I remember correctly The Dude has just gone through some major travail and is fleeing some situation and finally flags a cab down. In the irony of most Coen movies the cab driver is a Caribbean immigrant but he’s got The Eagles on in his cab and the dude says something along the lines of hey do me favor I’ve had a terrible day and I hate the F’n Eagles… Well of course the driver loves the Eagles and gets so enraged that he kicks the dude out his cab.
    I’m not sure where all the Eagles hatred comes from… I mean you had Desparado on your playlist right? Have you heard the later years Johnny Cash cover ? No doubt it’s a great song… And Take it Easy? I know it’s been over killed but Jackson Browne co wrote it and does a great earthy version of it on his second album.
    Oh and by he way, nice segue way from Elliot Smith to Doris Day. Won’t see that often.

    • sheila says:

      Dg – I actually like the Eagles and have a lot of their music (although honestly I never need to hear Hotel California again) – I was just observing that I’ve noticed a lot of people HATE the Eagles with what seems to be a white-hot passion – the FB thread I mentioned where my friend Kim posted a clip of The Eagles – and 300 comments later people were still arguing. With such hatred that you wanted to tell them to go out into a dusty field and have a duel and just get it over with. Same with the Klosterman essay. People have very passionate feelings about The Eagles. I like them – I’m just stating what I observe, not saying I felt the same way. I love Desperado and Wasted Time the most.

      // Oh and by he way, nice segue way from Elliot Smith to Doris Day. Won’t see that often. //

      hahahaha so true. You could not find two more opposite people in terms of outlook.

  24. Fiddlin Bill says:

    Very best wishes for a speedy and full recovery. Your perspective is remarkable, unique, and much needed. Saw Tarr’s Werkmeister Harmonies this week. I hope you’ll give that a spin sometime. Cheers, your devoted reader.

  25. Fiddlin Bill says:

    Oh great, I’m clicking over to Wrekmeister right after I send you this:

    Don’t know why this song didn’t come up during the notorious 47% deal during the last election, since it certainly applies to politicians seducing the innocent with their promises to take them higher than they’ve ever been to.

  26. Fiddlin Bill says:

    I certainly agree with your review of Werckmeister. I thought the total crowd scene, finishing with the moment of exhaustion at the “revealing” of only the poor old naked man in the shower, which seems to remove all the rage, was just amazing. It seems to me that the film offers very little hope: there is the mob, there is the helicopter and the tank and the policeman lover dancing with Shygulla, pistol in hand, and later Shygulla pointing to the map: “Here!” The final scene is also remarkable, both the apology to the young woman in the hospital, that the piano will be retuned, then the final visit with the whale. I really feel like the movie is a kind of metaphor or mirror of our political present, Trump or Hillary (Shygulla bears a striking resemblance!), which just like the film is at least at the moment a mystery. What will happen? You have read Sontag’s remarks on Satantango: “I would watch it once a year.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.