Dog Days of Covid Summer Shuffle

Strange times all around. I’m quarantining in Rhode Island with Hope. I’ve been here for a couple of weeks now. Everything in limbo. Here’s the music that’s accompanied me over these weeks. Shuffled up. Appropriate to the chaos of the times.

“BB Good” – The Jonas Brothers. A couple nights ago, Mitchell came over and we sat on the back screened-in porch, drinking whiskey, and watching the documentary about the Jonas brothers. I, of course, am aware of the Jonas brothers. I was not in the demographic of their fan base when they hit, but awareness of them reached even me – their fame was extreme. But I never checked them out. My bad. They’re so positive, such a breath of fresh air, it’s so obvious to me why teenage girls lost their ever-loving minds, AND – as I have written about so often – they are loyal, so now that the brothers are “back together”, their fan base has grown up with them. The Jonas brothers playing John Krasinski’s virtual prom was, for me, the only highlight of this quarantine nightmare. (Starts at around 7:30)


“Waiting for My Real Life to Begin” – Colin Hay. It’s almost too poignant to listen to. It cuts too close to home.

“Miss Gradenko” – The Police. This album, man … what a MONSTER.

“Got My Own Thing Now” – Squirrel Nut Zippers. Wow, remember them? And remember the re-surgence of swing dancing and swing clubs in the mid-90s?bos

“The Same” – Bleu. He’s a classic songwriter. This is a classic song … and yet … no one but Bleu fans know it. So many of his songs are like this. They sound like songs that should be in constant rotation on the radio. His music has enriched my life. He helps me get in touch with emotions that maybe I don’t want to deal with.

“They’re Gonna Get You” – Count Five. One of those bands I will always associate with Lester Bangs because of the famous piece he wrote about them. I’m sure other people have written about Count Five but … not like Lester wrote about them.

“Over It” – Tori Amos. I really like this album. This is an instrumental. Those first couple of albums of hers … whoo, boy. There was no one who excited me more. I saw her right before she really “hit”. I read an interview with her in Interview magazine, right before Little Earthquakes came out, and I had just moved to Chicago and saw she was playing at the Park West. So I bought tickets. She was incredible! When she blew up, I felt like I had gotten in on the ground floor. I am not “all in” with her, I can only take so much of her to be honest, but I will never forget the excitement of discovering her.

“Lawdy Miss Clawdy” (take 4) – Elvis. I am so thankful for the Young Man with the Big Beat box set. You get all these different takes of all these classic songs recorded during 1956 – THE year for Elvis – and so you can actually hear the songs gel into shape over the course of all these different takes. It is clear evidence, too, of how much he was in charge. Of everything. Each take, he tweaks … he knows what he needs to do to make the next one better … and so through the series of takes, the song as we know it takes shape. It’s an amazing look at the creative process.

“I Don’t Want to Hurt You” – Robbie Williams and John Grant. SO MELODRAMATIC.

“Skinny Jim” – Eddie Cochran. His voice is raw pure sex.

“I’m So Blue” – Katie Thompson. Such a deep rich voice.

“When It Rains It Pours” – Billy “The Kid” Emerson. One of the Sun Records artists. It’s got that Sun sound: raw, unvarnished, and like … you’re there in that small room with these musicians. Sounds like it’s a pretty big band, too.

“Here Comes Santa Claus” – from the Glee Christmas album. I adore it.

“Blue Suede Shoes” – Elvis, the Spankox remix. It’s hot. I can’t remember where I tripped over this. I think they may play it in Elvis’ car museum, that might have been how this remix came on my radar.

“Working Contradiction” – Green Day. It’s kind of funny to hear Green Day songs pre-American Idiot. I always kind of liked Green Day, but I didn’t see that coming. At all.

“Santa Baby” – the Glee Christmas album. Honestly, after Eartha Kitt’s version, this song should be retired.

“Gangsta Gangsta” – N.W.A. The thing about their songs is they’re basically story songs. Like country-western, just as vivid, just as specific … but within an entirely different milieu. The lyrics are dazzling and I just looked up all the things sampled – which I imagine should be credited to Dre as producer. There’s so much going on: so many different snippets – Richard Pryor, Beastie Boys, Kool & the Gang, Steve Miller Band … it’s so RICH.

“The Battle of Evermore” – The Lovemongers (i.e. Heart). Heart covering Led Zeppelin, and it’s very gratifying, especially when you remember this.

“Flushed From the Bathroom of Your Heart” – Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison. Lol.

“Your Summer Dream” – The Beach Boys. Off of Surfer Girl. What IS it about them and their sound? I don’t know what it is but I know I feel it.

“Tennessee Waltz” – Patti Page. My music collection is so weird and I love it so much.

“Must Have More” – L7. These chicks were so HEAVY.

“A Call from the Vatican” – Penelope Cruz, from Nine. I saw this Broadway musical when I was a kid on a school trip – guess the Drama Club didn’t really vet the show, huh. It frightened me. Definitely not for kids! Cruz kills it.

“It’s Too Late” – Charlie Rich. From his early Sun years. He’s soooooo dreamy. The MOST dreamy.

“Hit Me With a Hot Note” – Forefront. I have no idea where I find these things. A barbershop quartet doing Duke Ellington.

“That’s All Right” – Elvis, from the second sit-down show in his 1968 comeback special. It’s so thrilling. You can FEEL his body moving, his legs stomping, when you listen to this.

“Bad Boy” – Miranda Lambert. Great album.

“Got My Wings” – Hazy Malaze. Fairly certain I bought this because of its presence in a Supernatural episode. Because that’s how I roll.

“We Ain’t” – The Game (featuring Eminem). I love The Game and this was an exciting collaboration (2005). I’d like them to do more together.
I’m crazy. Why the fuck you think I’m rhyming with Shady?
I don’t care if the radio don’t play me
I say what I say when I feel like I’m feelin today

“The Shape I’m In” – The Band.
Save your neck or save your brother
Looks like it’s one or the other

Yeah, so, the peace/love 60s are over, man.

“Girl Don’t Tell Me” – The Beach Boys. Written by Brian in one fell swoop – the song arrived “whole.” And let’s hear it for Carl in lead vocals. You can really hear the Beatles in this. It’s eerie. It’s practically “Ticket to Ride.”

“It’s Up to You” – Ricky Nelson. He was such a perfect pop star. The Nick Jonas of his day. Girls lost their freakin minds.

“Four Green Fields” – The Clancy Brothers. Tommy Makem, showing us what he’s got. I have to be in the mood for this shit, though. I don’t just toss on “Four Green Fields” by choice, let’s put it that way. It’s beautiful though!

“All Through the Night” – this is off of Shawn Colvin’s suicidal holiday/lullaby album.

“Tick Tick Bang” – Prince. I love Graffiti Bridge. This song has such a full rich sexy sound.

“Little Road to Bethlehem” – hey look, it’s a Shawn-Colvin’s-suicidal-Christmas-album cluster.

“Close Your Eyes” – yet another Shawn Colvin suicidal lullaby. I kid, I kid. But not really.

“Mannish Boy” – Muddy Waters. “I’m a full-grown man.” = SCREAMS.

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” – Martin Luther McCoy, from Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe. Beautiful.

“Being In Love” – Shirley Jones, The Music Man. “And hoping that someday there’ll be… JUST ONCE!!”

“One Night” – Danzig. From his phenomenal album Sings Elvis. So good. I love it because he’s not approaching any of this ironically. He means it.

“Walk Right In” – The Rooftop Singers. Moments like this single-handedly justify the iPod Shuffle’s existence. Because out of nowhere comes some folk trio from the early 60s and I think this is the only one of theirs I own.

“And Your Bird Can Sing” – The Beatles. I was wondering when they would show up. I was just talking with Mum about them. We were talking about how musical our family is. How Mum was such a huge part of that. She taught herself to play the guitar when she was a teenager, as the folk music thing was starting to happen. She taught the neighborhood kids guitar lessons when I was a kid. We all took years of piano lessons. We all sing. My whole family sings. I was telling her how I really taught myself how to harmonize from listening to Beatles albums, because their harmonies are not easy and/or expected. They make perfect sense NOW because they’re the Beatles … but they aren’t your garden-variety harmony lines. They’re different. Other harmonies are easier once you can do a Beatles harmony line.

“Tuesday’s Gone” – Metallica covering Lynyrd Skynyrd. It’s so interesting to hear them slow everything down.

“Black Betty” – the Spiderbait cover. It’s hard and heavy, just like I like it.

“Heart of Rome” – Elvis. I have been missing him so far in this shuffle, wondering where he was hiding. Here comes a song off his wonderful country album, recorded in a feverish long weekend, basically. “Heart of Rome” doesn’t get a lot of chatter – I’m not sure I would call it COUNTRY country – but he sings the hell out of it.

“Love Is All I Need” – The Everly Brothers. Mitchell and I were just talking about siblings harmonizing, in regards to the Jonas brothers – and how there’s nothing quite like the sound of a family act, the blend of voices, the similarity in tone, timbre, whatever – and how perfect it all blends when it works well. The Everly Brothers are the gold standard for that.

“Merry Xmas Everybody” – Robbie Williams (featuring Jamie Cullum). From Robbie’s great Christmas album – which has become an instant classic as far as I’m concerned. I feel like I’ve been waiting for him to come out with a Christmas album for a decade. My only disappointment is he didn’t cover either “Blue Christmas” or “Santa Claus is Back in Town” – he’s such a huge Elvis fan, I was hoping he’d cover a little Elvis! Still. I love the album. He’s the best.

“All That I Am” – Elvis. Off the Spinout soundtrack and it has that weird soundtrack sound – where Elvis’ beautiful voice is pushed so far forward you can barely hear the accompanying music. This was the Colonel’s command. Elvis hated it, was embarrassed by it. It would be so nice to re-mix some of these because not all the soundtrack songs are bad, but it sounds … totally unfinished when Elvis’ voice hovers out there all by itself, far away from the instruments behind him.

“Rap Game” – D12, off the 8 Mile soundtrack. Eminem’s group, his posse he brought along with him. His crew. Chorus sung by 50 Cent. Plus Proof. (RIP Proof.) I love some of the D12 stuff, but much of it I’m … eh, not so sure about. “Rap Game” is pure awesome though.

“The Two-and-Sixpenny Girl/The Boys of the Town” – Joe Ryan. Famous Irish fiddle player.

“Love Me Tender” – Elvis, live in Dallas, 1975. This was the song he usually fucked around with, kissing everyone in the audience, it would go on for 10 minutes, pure mayhem, with the band riffing in the background. It’s insane. Who else would do something like this? Who else would do this and when you think about it you go, “Yeah. That checks out.” So these clips are boring in a way because he barely gets through the song, but then again his patter is often hilarious. What a surreal life he led.

“You Don’t Love Me (You Don’t Care)” – Bo Diddley. His stuff is so aggressive, so totally present. It’s not background noise. It demands to be dealt with.

“Whatshername” – Green Day. My brother wrote a really good piece about this album.

“Rock ‘n Roll Revival Show” – Jerry Lee Lewis. 1976, during his takeover of Nashville, one of those unexpected turns in a career which had (seemingly) flamed out so quickly. I love his country stuff: he brings boogie-woogie into country, it’s that mix, the mix that Nashville had spent 15, 20 years saying NO. STAY OUT.

“Voodoo” – Black Sabbath. That HOOK. And the echo on his voice, and the unearthly sound of him … crazy. “Turn it up to 11” is a cliche but it certainly applies with a song like “Voodoo.” Crank it up. Obliterate all other sound.

“Delta Dawn” – Tanya Tucker. The song is basically a Tennessee Williams play in 2 and a half minutes. Love Tanya. [I took out the reference to Helen Reddy since I got it twisted – thank you, Jim – I had Helen Reddy on the brain – but am putting this in there for transparency, lol.]

“Fire” – Beth Ditto. I love her voice. I love her, in general.

“Green, Green Grass of Home” – Dean Martin. Dino! He makes me happy. Something about his voice, the smoothness of it, the smile you can hear in it … is just so damn relaxing. Everything just settles down in me when I hear his voice, and he takes me somewhere, gently, unobtrusively, it’s almost like you don’t realize how good he is until you emerge from listening to one of his songs like, “Wow, time to come back to reality now, oh well.”

“Apron Strings” – Elvis. In private. 1959. Which means: Germany. He’s playing the piano! He said once that if he could trade his singing voice to be able to play the piano like Jerry Lee, he would. Thankfully, that choice wasn’t an option. I love all these private tapes that have emerged. They’re not great sound quality, and clearly he’s just messing around, but it’s also him in his private space, relaxed, just having fun, loving music. It’s beautiful.

“No Surrender” – Glee. Ugh, this is heartbreaking. This was from the tribute episode to Cory Monteith. Very difficult to watch, they were all clearly struggling to even get through it.

“Hound Dog” – Elvis, live at the International Hotel, 1969. Yes. I splurged on that $99 set of all of the shows Elvis did in 1969 in his “debut” in Vegas. It’s a bit much, since it’s basically the same set list – and so you get him singing the same song 20 different times. However, for a fangirl like me, it’s so fun to hear the variations. It’s also fun to hear his stage patter, which was always a little bit corny – but he was such a PRO, man. He’d say the same thing over and over – his Moby Dick joke – the whole nine yards – and they always get laughs, so he always said them. It’s fun to hear him in action like this because you get a sense of what he was besides being a supernova star – he was a working professional who knew what the fuck he was doing.

“When You Gonna Love Me” – Pat McCurdy. Off his album where I’m thanked in the liner notes, and I still don’t know why. I didn’t do anything. But whatever, I’ll take it.

“I (Who Have Nothing)” – Shirley Bassey. This literally could not be more melodramatic. It is the HEIGHT of melodrama.

“Till Hell Freezes Over” – Eminem. Lol. This is one of his early “diss tracks.” He wasn’t even famous yet here, he recorded it with Dre, during the initial sessions for what would be the Slim Shady LP (it doesn’t appear on the album). He started off dissing people – it’s important to remember this – so now, when he comes out with one (hello “Killshot”, hello Kamikaze) – people act like he’s being petty, and why is this rich white man bitching at other rappers? Please. He IS petty, and he’d be the first to admit it. He is petty as fuck. He started OUT petty and he started OUT pissed. So anyway, Eminem had a huge beef with Insane Clown Posse, and it was very petty, and he went after them.

“FUCK ICP. BUY MY CD.” I’m so here for the petty. Yes, he writes deep lyrics in “Sing for the Moment” or “Walk on Water” or “Till I Collapse.” And then you have … this. I am very very entertained by his diss tracks (by diss tracks in general). This diss track is mild, compared to what would happen in the early 2000s when he went after Ja Rule and Benzino and basically ruined their careers, not to mention “canceling” Source magazine, which never quite recovered from his broadsides. There’s a reason Lin Manuel Miranda saw the spirit of hip hop in Alexander Hamilton, whose entire life was made up of various “diss tracks” against … everyone.

“Hungry Like the Wolf” – Duran Duran. It’s so weird: they were the biggest thing going for a while. Massive. How weird would it be to be that famous and to have your fame really contained in just one decade? It didn’t travel. Of course they’re all still famous, but the FAME didn’t turn into a long-lasting career. Which of course is how it happens more often than the other way around … but still. It must be a strange thing to live through.

“Mellow Yellow” – Donovan. My parents had this album and I really liked this song but there was something about his voice that scared me as a child. And the whisper creeped me out. It’s so weird what you remember.

“Drop the Pilot” – Joan Armatrading. We were just talking about her the other day. She should be way more well-known. She was huge to us in college. Great singer/songwriter.

“Baby What You Want Me To Do / Whole Lotta Shakin'” – Jerry Lee Lewis, from the London sessions in 1973, an essential part of any Jerry Lee collection. Great sound, great energy, awesome harmonica, sexy as hell. This makes me want to hump the couch and I’m not ashamed. Well, it makes me want to hump a man but there isn’t a man here so the couch will have to do.

“My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It” – Hank Williams. It’s such a sad story. Jeez, just listen to the lyrics.

“Be Here In the Morning” – The Beach Boys. Such a wonderful album (Friends), one of those albums that didn’t perform all that well in the moment, and then as time passed the general vibe is “Jeez, we got that one wrong didn’t we?” I love the sound. It’s deceptively simple. There’s a lot of layers to what is going on here.

“Tenderness” – TeamMate. I tripped over a cool album called Here Comes the Reign Again: The Second British Invasion, with artists paying tribute to all the British singers/songwriters of the 80s. It’s really wonderful, songs by the Eurythmics, Adam Ant, Bananarama, etc. It’s a great way to be introduced to new musicians too.

“Backstabber” – Eminem. This is off of Infinite (1996), the one he put out in Detroit when he was 25 years old, the one that didn’t go over well, and didn’t change anything for him, not the way he had hoped. He was destitute when he made Infinite, and his daughter was on the way. I wrote about Infinite in my huge post about Eminem. Infinite, though, is really important in the Eminem Verse, because its failure – as devastating as it was – spurred him on to give birth to Slim Shady, his violent wild-eyed alter ego, who would eventually explode into the American mainstream and change everything. This is definitely a precursor to Slim Shady: filled with vivid violent imagery, comic-book inspired (specifically, The Joker).

“Cool Cool Water” – The Beach Boys. There’s so much going on here. I’ve never done hallucinogenics, but this sounds like what I imagine a good drug trip would feel like.

“What Kinda Man Am I” – Bleu. His voice is magic. I don’t know why it gets to me so much, why his songs get inside me the way they do, burrowing into my psyche, the harmonies, the chord changes, the melodies, just him in general. He’s really important to me.

“Someone Else’s Tomorrow” – Patty Griffin. There’s something very eerie about this. The piano is haunting.

“Stupid Cupid” – Wanda Jackson. “I can’t do my homework and I can’t see straight. Stupid Cupid, stop picking on me.” Wanda Jackson was so important. A rockabilly pioneer, one of the few women in that boys’ club, writing songs from a girl’s point of view. I feel so fortunate I’ve seen her play a couple of times. I think she’s now stopped touring. It’ll be really sad when she passes.

“Primitive Love” – Tom Reeves. Sometimes a song comes up and I think, “What the hell is this …” For some reason I bought this and it is very amusing.

“I’m in the Mood for Love” – Brenda Lee. Such a huge star. And, except for people who know, it’s basically a forgotten career. She set records in her day that HELD until Madonna came along.

“Wild in the Country” (take 16) – Elvis. Take 16! This is a beautiful ballad, the title song of the movie. I have all the takes, because I am obsessed. It’s fascinating to watch as, take by take, and initiated by Elvis, the track takes shape.

“Not for the Life of Me” – Sutton Foster, from Thoroughly Modern Millie. She is such a phenom.

“Drown Soda” – Courtney Love. I’m so glad shit like this was the background noise for my 20s.

“New Words of Wisdom” – Brendan Benson. I love his songs so much. He kind of quietly does his thing and is never less than excellent.

“Look at You” – Screaming Trees. I liked them a lot. They were kind of overshadowed by the monster bands who followed in their wake, like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, etc. But they were there first. This has that big big sound I really love.

“Beautiful Dream” – Everclear. For whatever reason, this song became a life preserver during the horrific year of 2009.

“You Know I’m No Good” – Amy Winehouse. We didn’t even get a chance to fully appreciate her before she checked out. It still seems kind of surreal. She was so talented. I love that Wanda Jackson covered this song.

“Drama Setter” – Tony Yayo, with guest spots by Eminem and Obie Trice. This is rousingly full of threats and brags and guns. A real time-traveler, harking back to the G-Unit days in the early 2000s. Tony Yayo was in constant trouble, and if you were clicked into the scene at the time, then you remember the “Free Yayo” campaign and Eminem wearing a Free Yayo T-shirt at the 2003 Grammy’s.

Crazy times. This is off of Tony Yayo’s solo debut in 2005 with the great title Thoughts of a Predicate Felon. Tony and Obie both do verses, and Eminem sings the driving hook. I love it when he sings. Yayo is ferocious:
On broke days we used to put water in our cereal
Now we crossing borders just to shoot another video

“Another One Bites the Dust” – Queen, live at Wembley Stadium. One of the great live concerts: that crowd, singing the lyrics – it sounds like a political rally about to go off the rails.

“A Matter of Time” – Foo Fighters. Jean and I were just talking about them yesterday. As a Nirvana fan, the advent of Foo Fighters was an astonishing moment, especially since Grohl wasn’t playing the drums, but out front. And his VOICE. And here they are … over 20 years later … still together, still huge. Who could have predicted this? Jean said she read an interview with Grohl where he joked that even he had had no idea this thing would last beyond that first album – and he said if he had to do it again, he would have chosen another name for the band. They picked Foo Fighters on a whim, almost as a goof. And here they are, stuck with it, two decades later.

“Fuck the Police” – NWA. One of those rare songs that changed the world. Not in terms of how the world actually worked – I’m looking at you, Kenosha – but in terms of a clear expression of what was happening, laying out the systemic problem. Spoken by those who experienced it. It’s a sign of the sickness of our society that the SONG was viewed as a national emergency – not the issue the song was critiquing.

“Frank Mills” – Allison Case, from the Broadway revival of Hair. I love this song so much. It wasn’t in the movie, sadly. I always associate this song with my friend Betsy, who sang this song in Drama class in high school. I hear it in her voice.

“Sylvia” – Eurythmics. The lyrics are freakin’ terrifying.

“The Wrote and the Writ” – Johnny Flynn, my new obsession. This is from his live album. He’s wonderful. And see Emma.

“Me and Bobby McGee” – Jerry Lee Lewis, bringing the song into the honky-tonk – great sound. Off of his album with the pleading title, Would You Take Another Chance On Me? They did.

“I Just Wanna Get Along” – The Breeders. Iconic. This album was HUGE to me. It still is, but at the time – my cassette tape of it was practically worn out from repeat listens.

“Underneath the Tree” – Kelly Clarkson, from her wonderful Christmas album. I love it when pop stars come out with Christmas albums. In general, I buy them all. I’m “in” already. This is clearly inspired by Mariah’s stone-cold classic “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Listen, if you’re gonna write a Christmas pop song, shoot for the stars. Know your competition.

“Wonderful World” – Elvis Presley. From the Live a Little Love a Little soundtrack. Live a Little, of course, features Elvis’ monster hit “A Little Less Conversation” but this … I think it’s the theme song … is just surreal. Think of Elvis, what he did in music, who he was SYMBOLICALLY … and then listen to the schlock they forced him to sing. It’s just surreal. Only in America.

“Band on the Run” – Tim Christensen, Tracy Bonham and Mike Viola, part of their Paul McCartney tribute concert (available on iTunes: highly recommended). Love Bonham, love Viola, love McCartney, so I am very happy this exists.

“Satan’s Foot On My Neck” – Brett Detar. What a voice. Day-um.

“Heartbreak Hotel” – Elvis, live at the Intercontinental, August 21, 1968. Soooo bluesy. James Burton KICKING it on that guitar solo. Followed by a little monologue by Elvis, which is … so bizarre: he’s just cracking himself up, and it is basically a lead-in to “Hound Dog”. His lead-in is the same kind of thing he had been doing since his earliest days, making a little speech about how the song he was about to sing had a deep meaning and deep psychological significance. Meanwhile, the audience has no idea he’s about to sing “Hound Dog” – they must have been so confused.

“Freestyle” – Eminem, 2015, on the Sway wake-up show. “I had class. I just got expelled.” It’s 8 minutes long. He’s freestyling. As he says: this is “off the top of the dome.” It’s DAZZLING. You wanna read the lyrics? Just remember: he made all this up on the spot.

“Cabin Essence” – Brian Wilson. From SMILE. Will I ever be “over” this album? Never.

“Four Little Diamonds” – ELO. So great. I will never be able to put into words the effect they have on me. It’s profound and it goes deep. It has to do with their sound, their harmonies, their chords, their energy … not so much the lyrics or what they’re saying. Music is so powerful. It HITS you. And they HIT me on some level beyond intellect, or at least out of the reach of my conscious brain.

“You’re the One That I Want” – John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, the finale of Grease, which taught a generation of girls that in order to keep your man you had to start smoking and wear skin-tight black spandex pants.

“Official Suburban Superman” – Suzi Quatro. Have you seen the documentary about this ICON yet? I reviewed it for Ebert.

“Completely Sweet” – Eddie Cochran. I love how the flow changes up after the introductory verse. You could for sure dance to this. It jams.

“You’ve Got to Show” – Indigo Girls. Gorgeous harmonies.

“Short Song” – Babes in Toyland. They mean what they say. It’s 42 seconds long. And it SHREDS. (Also, it’s so funny to go from Indigo Girls to Babes in Toyland.)

“I Wonder If I Care As Much” – The Everly Brothers. This is 1958. To me, it sounds like it’s 1968. They were really ahead of their time. So influential. Cross-genres, for sure. The electric guitar here sounds almost like it’s from a decade later, or even two decades later.

“Now That It’s Over” – Everclear. A great “bad sport” breakup song. That “yeah right” is so bitter. “Maybe we can be friends now that it’s over YEAH RIGHT.”

“None More Fast” – Loud Lion. This is a band put together by Bleu (my favorite, see above) – the band is basically a tribute band to Def Leppard. The whole thing is glorious.

“Season of the Witch” – Jellyfish. In the mid-90s, Jellyfish was HUGE. We were all so into them. I’m STILL into them. It was a “super group”. Hell, if they came out with an album now, I’d buy it immediately. I love how many people have covered this song. Courtney Love’s is my favorite.

“I Got Stung” (take 8) – Elvis. From the unbelievably productive spring-1958 sessions, where Elvis – on leave from boot camp – went into the studio to record a bunch of stuff, creating a backlog of material that could be released while he was away in Germany. Almost every song they all came up with during these sessions went on to be a hit. And it all SOUNDS so great: loud, jangly, a little bit on the edge of being totally out of control, the band hepped up by Elvis, Elvis hepped up by the band. All of the takes exist, so you can hear the songs taking shape. It’s fascinating. These songs would be released on the album featuring Elvis in his gold lame suit, designed by Nudie. Iconic.

“Lord Franklin” – Sinead O’Connor. I have followed her through all her phases. Some I have loved. Some I have NOT loved. This album – Sean-Nos Nua – is filled with traditional Irish folk songs, and I love her in this zone.

“I’m Quitting Show Business, Pt. 2” – Little Richard. This is a spoken-word sermon. It is nuts. “I am saying NO to the darkness.” “I was the CREATOR of rock ‘n roll and God is calling you now to say NO.” Of course, this rejection was short-lived. “This is Little Richard. Give your heart to God now.”

“Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce” – Elvis. From Girl Happy. I find that movie charming and ridiculous, and I find this song charming and ridiculous. It makes you want to scream, “ELVIS. What are you DOING.”

“Washington’s By Your Side” – Wiz Khalifa, from The Hamilton Mixtape. So glad this album exists. It’s one gem of a cover/riff after another. I’d love for it to keep going, more mixtapes.

“L.O.V.E.” – Michael Buble. I like him. Sue me.

“A Singer Must Die” – Jennifer Warnes, from Famous Blue Raincoat, an album Mitchell and I were absolutely obsessed with. I almost listened to it too much. Still: incredible album.

“Just One Smile” – Dusty Springfield. From Dusty in Memphis, such a classic album, recorded at American Sound in … Memphis, whaddya know. Her voice is so dreamy. I love how it starts to whispery, so quiet and introverted, and then … it explodes.

“The Ballad of Stagger Lee” – Mississippi John Hurt. There are so many versions of this song … everyone covers it … it’s like “John Henry.” His version is almost 8 minutes long, and it’s a mix of singing and storytelling and it is absolutely riveting.

“Stumbling in the Dark” – Pat McCurdy. This was the album that was “out” when I discovered him, by going to one of his shows. Weirdly, the name “Sheila” is in this song. “I think her name was Sheila …” Yes. Her name was Sheila, and she’s coming for you.

“Can’t Help Falling in Love” – Elvis. From Blue Hawaii that went on to be one of his most enduring hits, one of his signature songs, a #1, a monster hit.

“Boy Meets Girl” – Bleu. If you don’t know about Bleu, I so urge you to check him out. He’s so busy, he’s got tribute bands, he’s got his own albums, he’s also a songwriter for various pop princesses. He writes HITS, and it’s so cool to be one of the people who know about him. So join us. I went to go see him in November 2012, which feels so long ago, my God. I was in a wildly hypomanic state, yearning for death, let’s not sugarcoat it. On my way home from that concert I completely detached from reality, it was terrifying. Writing that piece was how I got through the next day. I’m better now. Dark dark days.

“Emma Woodhouse” – Isobel Waller-Bridge and David Schweitzer, part of the beautiful score for the movie Emma. I can’t believe that came out this year. My God, 2020 has been endless.

“Sidedish Friend” – Rachael Yamagata. It sounds like an ideal relationship. I love this song.

“Highway 61 Revisited” – Bob Dylan. “Next time you see me comin’, you better run.” I will.

“I’m Gonna Walk Dem Golden Stairs” – Elvis. One of my favorites of his gospel tracks. It almost makes me cry. At a certain point, you can hear him start clapping he’s so into it. And the background of The Stamps gives these tracks a different feeling than the Jordannaires.

“The Inner Light” – The Beatles. I don’t remember discovering the Beatles, not really. They were all around, my parents had their albums. I think I might have thought they were still together. Then in 5th grade, Beatlemania swept my grade school, maybe because our music teacher Mr. Aiten told us stories about the 60s and how he and his friends drove to New York to catch a glimpse of the Mop Tops when they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show (just like that movie I Wanna Hold Your Hand). He was a great storyteller and he made it all sound so FUN. And so we would play the records during recess. In general, we were into their early stuff up to Sgt. Pepper. Maybe the later stuff was too weird/esoteric for us. It was a revelation when I finally expanded my vision and listened to all of it. To tracks like this.

“Suppose” – Elvis. Absolutely gorgeous performance from him. It’s very sad.

“Too Far Gone” – Bradley Cooper. It feels like this movie came out 10 years ago.

“Solace” – Scott Joplin. Perfection. I used to be able to play this (and “The Entertainer”) on the piano. Not like THIS, of course, but I could get through it.

“Dance to the Music” – Sly & and the Family Stone. Such positive party music. Get up and dance, it’s a command.

“Would Not Come” – Alanis Morissette. From Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. I just bought her new one. There are things about her that drive me a little crazy – all those LISTS – but I still love her. This is one of her angry tracks. I like the angry stuff better than the emo stuff, but that’s just me being On-Brand.

“Countin’ On a Miracle” – Bruce Springsteen, from The Rising. This album really comforted me in those dark crazy times.

“Just a Girl” – No Doubt. I think it’s their best.

“Too High” – Stevie Wonder. A perfect album. Transcendent.

“The Surrey With the Fringe On Top” – Doris Day. Like Dean Martin, you can hear her smiling as she sings, and it creates such a peaceful happy feeling.

“I Won’t Let You Down” – OK Go. Ohhh, I love them. This sounds like a Jackson 5 song or something.

“The Continental” – Prince. From the Love Symbol album when shit started to get even more weird and even more interesting than usual.

“Hold On Hold Out” – Jackson Browne. Someday I should write an essay about my relationship to this song. I never think about it now and never ever listen to it or even feel like listening to it. And suddenly I heard those opening chords, and the whole experience of discovering the song and what it meant to me (I was 16) came flooding back. Kind of interesting and might be interesting to try to imagine my way back into what the hell it was that GOT to me so hard. I have a feeling that what got to me then would get to me now. Not a lot has happened to change things in between me being 16 and me being me now. Honestly, it’s the truth. Yes, I’m older. But all the things I worried obsessively about when I was 16 … have come to pass. My worst nightmares have come true. So … it’s weird. The only thing that’s changed is I’m bitter, and this song does nothing for me anymore.

“I Have a Friend Above All Others” – Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers. Gorgeous.

“Yah Yah” – Eminem, off his latest album, Music To Be Murdered By – with verses by Royce da 5’9″ and Black Thought, with a crazy chorus, crank it UP. All those MEN singing. Heavy heavy testosterone and I am here for it. As of now, it’s my favorite off the album. It’s a BANGER. This is a murderer’s row of participants.
Black Thought killlllls it. He’s so deep.

Rap speak for me, I am the ventriloquist
I’m so stubborn, the government won’t govern
That brother you spoke of, it just wasn’t as dope, was it?
I’m cold buzzin’, I never been low budget
The taste of your own medicine, here come a dose of it
I break free like Chesimard
Keep ’em guessin’ hard while broads say my bars is like ASMR

“I break free like Chesimard.” Damn.
At one point, during Black Thought’s verse, you can hear Eminem scream in the background, “Keep goin’!” Yeah. It’s thrilling.
And I love this from Royce:

I give you a JFK on the front lawn of MLK in the crossfire
I have evolved into the lost diaries of the mob and the Rothschilds

And then Eminem loses his mind on his verse, ending with a shoutout to the roll-call of greats:

Now here’s to LL, Big L and Del
K-Solo, Treach and G Rap
DJ Polo, Tony D, ODB, Moe Dee, Run-DMC
Ed O.G. and EPMD, D.O.C., Ice-T, Evil Dee
King Tee, UTFO and Schoolly D, PE and BDP
YZ and Chi-Ali, Rakim and Eric B., they were like my therapy
From B.I.G. and Paris Three Times Dope and some we’ll never see, and PRT
N.W.A and Eazy-E, and D-R-E was like my GPS
Without him, I don’t know where I’d be

“Echo” – Bad Meets Evil – the collab between lifelong friends Royce da 5’9″ and Eminem. They put out an EP in 2011 and I think many of us are still waiting for a follow-up. They’re both lyrically insane. They push and compete with each other. Here, Eminem addresses all the women who think he’s gonna be soft and boyfriend-y and want to spoon with them. You can imagine his attitude, but still, dude, you need to chill the fuck out. And Royce starts off with:

Classical poems
Battle my own demons
I need a glass of Patron
Bad as I need a horn
Stabbing my clavicle bone
I’m matador prone

I follow Royce on Instagram, and he joked the other day about how they can sit around all day nerding out about “syllables.”

“Soap Star Joe” – Liz Phair. I was wondering where she was! Off Exile in Guyville, one of the most important albums in my own personal lexicon. There are many albums I love, but those albums have nothing to do with my actual life as I am living it. This album came out and I felt such a queasy sense of recognition I was almost embarrassed. Gen-X girls, unite.

“Pills” – St. Vincent. Off her latest. This is a dance-party jammer and then you listen to the lyrics… We saw her guitar at the Met too:

“When You Were Mine” – Cyndi Lauper. The song is by Prince, and you can hear it, but she makes it her own. It sounds inevitable, like: this is meant to be hers.

“Choo Choo Train” – The Box Tops. The teenage Alex Chilton! With a voice like that? What on earth? An old old soul. I love them (and him) so much.

“Xanadu” – Olivia Newton-John. I don’t care how many times I’ve heard this song (hundreds? thousands?). I still get excited.

“Gaydete” – The Mediaeval Babes. I loved them! I only had one of their albums but I was really into them, what they were about, and how they went about creating their unique thing.

“Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For a Sunbeam” – Nirvana, from their legendary MTV Unplugged. I saw this when it first aired. It was appointment television. It gave me an eerie feeling. It was haunting somehow. Not to be all woo-woo about it, but the vibe was somber, and – looking back on it – that somber mood seems prophetic. But in the moment, the somber-ness made them all seem very human. Nirvana was so HUGE, you have to remember. And there they were, just … three guys. The whole thing was riveting. It felt like I didn’t breathe the entire concert.

“I Can’t Stop Loving You” – Elvis, live at the International Hotel, Las Vegas, August 24, 1969. He is on FIRE. His version of this always SLAPPED. He always got so into it, he blows the walls back. And here, he’s still early into the new phase of his career: out of the movies, ready to face the future, sing some new material, stuff he wanted to sing, not soundtrack songs. And so he’s having a BLAST and you can FEEL it, the way you can always FEEL whatever he is FEELING.

“It’s Over” – Roy Orbison. A classic. Showing off his capacious PIPES.

“Percolate” – Kim Lenz. A contemporary rockabilly goddess. Great sound. I love her voice, and how she roughs it up, just like Wanda Jackson did.

“Good Old-Fashioned Lover” – Queen. I will never be “over” this song. Or any of Queen, really. It’s a never-ending source of joy and pleasure.

“Medley: Mystery Train/Tiger Man” – Elvis, at the International, live, August 26, 1969. The box set was worth the 100 bucks. The sound is phenomenal. Yes, it gets repetitive, it’s all the same set list, but I’m never sick of hearing “Mystery Train” so I’m good. Elvis is on FIRE in these concerts: it’s like he’s busted out of prison.

“Washington On Your Side” – Daveed Diggs, Leslie Odom, Jr. and Okieriete Onaodowan, from Hamilton. THRILLING. Male voices singing together: one of my favorite things. Great lyrics, too, and really lays out the background jealousy of Jefferson/Burr/Madison about Hamilton’s closeness with Washington. About Hamilton, in general. Have you all seen the movie yet? I am BESIDE myself with happiness that this exists. We need it. Especially since Broadway – and national tours – have ceased operation. For now. Devastating. Now, at least, people can see the show, and the way it was filmed you really do feel like you have seen the show. And I saw it, so I just got to re-live it!

“Baby’s Coming Back” – Jellyfish. Their sounds is so joyful, so youthful and happy. I’m so into them, and every time one of their songs comes on, I am transported back into the mid-90s, when I was wild and young and having adventures and not thinking about the consequences. Their songs are filled with that feeling.

“Bad Girl” – Avril Lavigne – with Marilyn Manson. I love it, but every time Avril comes up I remember the time she referred to David BOW-ee (as in “BOW-wow”) at an awards show. She was rightly mocked. I don’t care you’re young. No excuse. You’re in the music industry. You’re being positioned as alternative and “punk.” And you don’t know who David Bowie is. Faker. Hopefully the mockery heaped on her head forced her to go seek out his work.

“Fog Bound” – from the Pirates of the Caribbean score by Klaus Badelt. Which is excellent.

“Follow the Flag” – Randy Newman. Another artist I was hoping to hear from. The irony here is BITING.

“Coffee, Tea & Sympathy” – Robbie Williams. This one is so English of him. He’s fantastic. He writes pop anthems. They all work, in my opinion. He’s got the gift, the special touch. If I’m not mistaken, he has a residency at Las Vegas. My sisters and I are all huge fans: my sister Siobhan got us into him because he was THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN when she was in school in Ireland – he hadn’t yet crossed over to the States. And even now, he fills stadiums in Europe. I think he broke Queen’s record for attendance at some live concert? I don’t know. His numbers are insane. Back to my story (I don’t care about how these shuffle posts are written, you’ll just have to deal): My sisters and I were thinking of going to see him in his Vegas show. Now who knows if that will ever happen.

“Florida Georgia Line” – H.O.L.Y. I have no memory of buying this and I have no memory of ever hearing it before. It’s wonderful. Recently, I decided to do some investigating in re: contemporary country. I kind of stopped paying attention to it for years. I wasn’t into it. Then something changed. It was Miranda Lambert and Pistol Annies and, most of all, Eric Church who made me think – there’s gotta be some more good country out there, country with an EDGE, dammit. Listen, I grew up on Willie and Waylon. Whatever bullshit is going on since then has bored the shit out of me. But I’m liking a lot of the new stuff. It’s all there! This is a fairly conventional song but his VOICE is phenomenal and there are a couple of chord changes that really HIT.

“Honky Tonk Night Time Man” – Merle Haggard. See now THIS is what I’m TALKIN ABOUT.

“My Darling” – Eminem. Off Relapse (2009), the album he “came back” with, after his 4 years away. A crazy album (actually double album). He got a lot of criticism for it and it’s not my favorite album, but there’s a lot on it worth checking out. This is a violent confrontation between Eminem and his shadow side (the Devil/Slim Shady/etc.) It has Eminem’s typical self-excoriating honesty about his torment, his hatred of his fame and its trappings, and how lost he is, how much he is torn in different directions by his fans – and also how his haters get inside his head, almost taunting him. It’s not easy being Marshall Mathers.

“I’m a Rover” – The Dubliners. The background noise to my childhood. Actually, we were more of a Clancy Brothers family, but the Dubliners were in the mix too.

“John Wayne” – Lady Gaga. Who would have expected this? “I’m strung out on JOHN WAYNE.” Thank you, Gaga.

“I’m Not Dead” – Pink. One of my contemporary favorites. A voice like that doesn’t come around often. It’s the real deal.

“Come Together” – Michael Jackson. So there’s the whole weirdness with Michael Jackson and the Beatles catalog … Paul McCartney being like, “WTF I thought we were friends.” Nevertheless, MJ’s cover of this song rules. I like he goes UP on the “o” here “O-ver me”, a switch-up from the original, and … I wouldn’t call it an improvement … but I would say it expresses a possibility that’s there in the original, but unexplored. That’s what a great cover can do, and the Beatles catalog is full of such possibilities. Like: take this and do with it what you will, the song can take it.

“Free Falling” – Tom Petty. “She’s a good girl … she’s crazy about Elvis …” Classic.

“Forward” – Beyonce (featuring James Blake). From Lemonade. Beyonce is really background here, a whisper of a harmony line: this is all about James Blake’s gorgeous vocals which somehow express the mournfulness of the world. This whole album is fire.

“Badlands” – AC/DC. That guitar hook … the whole thing is fun, but that hook makes it. It NEVER STOPS. Not ONCE throughout. “Make love to you til you reach for the skies …” Yes, please.

“I Can’t Stop Loving You” – Ray Charles. This was when he moved into the ground-breaking genre-busting phase of playing with a huge traditional orchestra, and utilizing a background chorus of voices. Sweeping violins, etc. His voice in juxtaposition with all that …

“David’s Song” – Robbie Williams. From the album The Heavy Entertainment Show, released in 2016. I just looked it up and the album went to #1 in the UK, making it his 12th #1 album, which puts him at the same level as Madonna. This is what I mean by his fame not quite crossing over here. Yes, he’s huge. He’s in Vegas. Etc. But … in the UK he’s set to beat Madonna, in terms of sales.

“Casino on Boogie Street” – The Rolling Stones. Grinding jamming nasty blues: off Exile on Main Street.

“Super Heroes” – Barry Bostwick, Charles Gray and Susan Sarandon: from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Are teenagers still obsessed with this? Rocky Horror was HUGE in my high school, “Time Warp” a staple at high school dances, with everyone doing the same dance.

“Only When It’s Over” – Eric Church. I have missed his presence on this Shuffle.

“These Days” – Nico. A classic song. And I can’t help it, any time I hear a Nico song, Lester Bangs’ panicked fearful essay about Nico flashes through my mind. Get out of my head, Lester!

“Elevator” – Eminem. Off of Relapse: Refill. Chorus printed below, and he sings it in a kind of bratty sing-song sound, almost a “nyah nyah” but you can hear his AWE at what his life has been. It’s been so absurd that it’s almost funny. Like Elvis becoming a national phenomenon while living in a low-income housing project, a millionaire literally almost overnight. The way Eminem puts this unique situation – one that very few people have ever experienced – into words, is funny. I think his humor is one of the things people find alienating about him, they find it off-putting, or … they don’t find him funny at all. But if you get his humor, it’s a gift that keeps on giving. So, here’s the chorus, and it just cracks me up. Pay attention to the internal rhymes:

There once was a saying that I used to say
Back in the day when I met Dre
I used to sit and goof on the phone with my friend Proof
that if I went gold I’d go right through the roof.
He’d say, “What if you went platinum?”
I’d just laugh at him. That’s not happening. That I can’t fathom.
80 some million records worldwide later
I’m living in a house with a fuckin elevator.

“Having a Party” – Sam Cooke. I’ve said this about him before: I love how he tells the story of a pretty pedestrian event – a party, being there with your girl – by including details, little homey details that make you feel like you’re there. “Sally’s doing the twist now … “the cokes are in the icebox, popcorn’s on the table, me and my baby we’re out here on the floor …” He was such a good lyricist.

“Christmas Time is Here” – Lucius. They’re a new fave of mine. Since I first discovered them, I have thrilled to their sound, their perfect harmonies, their songs. This is on a compilation album, and it’s haunting and beautiful.

“Spacebound” – Eminem. I know. A lot of Eminem here. Did my recent piece about him draw all these Eminem songs into the shuffle, like a magnet? I mean, he always comes up a lot in these Shuffle posts, since I have it all! This was off his Recovery album, from 2010, the album that got universal praise – rare for him. This is one of those “relationship” songs I wrote about in that monster post. As I said there, for years, when he would write a song about relationships, he would always – and I mean always – write about Kim, his longtime flame, teenage sweetheart, and baby-mama-nemesis-tormentor. There are a couple of lines about her in his most recent album. He’ll never get over it. But recently there have been a couple of relationship songs that don’t seem to be about her. This is one of them. Typical Eminem: it’s a relationship song sung by a murderous/suicidal man with attachment/abandonment issues. So romantic! Great video too – seek it out. Co-starring Sasha Grey, which was fascinating to watch.

“I’ve Got a Lover (Back in Japan)” – The Eurythmics. From Savage, SUCH a great album. “I say break, break, break away those ties …” Her voice is so her own. For me, one of the greatest voices of that era (and any era, really). Mitchell and I chant this all the time, a perfect response to various real-life experiences:

“I was bitter when I met you
I was eloquent with rage
Like honey from a poison cup
I flow from stage to stage.”

That’s life.

“Let’s Burn Down the Cornfield” – Etta James. Yes. Let’s.

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6 Responses to Dog Days of Covid Summer Shuffle

  1. Jim Reding says:

    Love when you post these! Some random thoughts and responses:

    “Delta Dawn”: You’ve got it backwards, bud. It was Tanya before Reddy. In Googling to confirm, I learned the first recording of it was on songwriter Alex Harvey’s first album, so even in this rare occasion when I get to school you, you inadvertently end up teaching me something.

    Donovan’s voice creeps me out now, but I think it’s mainly due to the use of “Hurdy Gurdy Man” in “Zodiac” That song is more overtly creepy in spite of the lyrics. “Came singing songs of love,” my ass.

    //“Choo Choo Train” – The Box Tops. The teenage Alex Chilton! With a voice like that? What on earth? An old old soul. I love them (and him) so much.//

    Did he go through some kind of weird reverse puberty? Have you come across any good sources on this? Even Holly George-Warren’s “A Man Called Destruction”, which felt pretty comprehensive, seemed to briefly mention the change in his singing style without really going into the whys or hows. Even when he sang old Box Tops tunes on the oldies circuit, he kept his vocals more in the range of the Big Star and beyond years.

    I need to further explore Lucius’ catalog. I first came across them in passing, literally, at the 2014 Forecastle Festival in Louisville. They were playing on a stage between two other artists I was checking out, and the live version of “Genevieve” caught my ear, compelled me to stop walking and keep listening.

    “Let’s Burn Down the Cornfield”: For me, Etta’s version is the gold standard, but I also love the Lee Hazlewood’s (the first version I came across) which sounds like some sorta midwestern Bond theme.

    • sheila says:

      Jim – thanks for the comment! so funny about Helen Reddy – oops!! I will correct – my friend Mitchell and I spent about an hour discussing Helen Reddy’s career literally two days ago – he does a whole performance-piece about Helen Reddy where he basically schools the younger generation about who she is and her importance, interspersed with her songs. It’s really quite brilliant – it’s one of the most entertaining lectures you’ve ever heard. I got Helen Reddy on the brain clearly!

      “Hurdy Gurdy Man” is very creepy and its use in Zodiac is even more creepy considering Ione Skye’s presence – and she is so so good in it. and yeah there’s something decadent about his voice which I must have sensed as a kid.

      In re: Alex Chilton – Robert Gordon’s book It Came From Memphis is really really good on Chilton’s trajectory. It’s not just about Chilton – it’s about the Memphis music scene (sans Elvis) – and it’s EXCELLENT. I was beyond honored when Robert Gordon introduced my talk on Elvis’ movie career, which I gave in 2018 in Memphis. Seriously, I was blown away that he would do it and equally blown away by what he said about my work on Elvis. HONORED. He’s written a number of excellent books – and produced a number of excellent films – but for me, It Came From Memphis – his first book – is the one to start with. Maybe you’ve already read it but just in case …

      The whole Big Star section – which really focuses on Chilton – is just one part of the book but it’s fascinating. Yeah, he’s such a weird case – to have that gritty adult voice at, what, age 15? A phenom.

      // and the live version of “Genevieve” caught my ear, compelled me to stop walking and keep listening. //

      Yeah, I can’t remember how they came across my radar – I think their first album was listed on a couple of Best Of lists of that year – and I instantly hooked into their sound. Their cover of the Ian & Sylvia folk song “You Were On My Mind” – which I knew mainly because my parents were big Ian & Sylvia fans – is a thrilling re-thinking of the song. I was a little bit obsessed with it when I first heard it, kept going back to listen again.

      I found a truly beautiful clip of them singing it live at the Music Hall in Williamsberg and it really captures for me what they are about.

      I don’t know that other version of Cornfield – I’ll check it out!

      Thanks again for reading and commenting!

  2. Jim Reding says:

    Mitchell’s Helen Reddy lecture sounds amazing!

    I actually have a copy of the Gordon book I bought years ago and have never gotten around to reading. I’ll have to bump it up in my to-read queue. Right now I’m about a quarter of the way through Charlie Kaufman’s novel. At this stage, I’m not sure if it’ll add up to something greater than the sum of its parts, but it’s made me laugh out loud at least three times, and given the state of the world, that’s good enough for me right now.

    Also want to offer my condolences about Hope after reading this morning’s thread. Looked like she was a wonderful soul.

    • sheila says:

      // Mitchell’s Helen Reddy lecture sounds amazing! // It’s insane! and people eat it up – particularly the kids (i.e. 20somethings) in the audience who have zero idea about her. They get all excited!

      and oh yes the Gordon book is great. By removing Sun Records – meaning: Elvis – from the story – of course he gets a mention but it’s not about Elvis and Sam Phillips – you get to see what ELSE was going on in Memphis music – and not just in the 50s. He moves on – into the folk music explosion, the coffee house culture, not to mention some little side routes into the whole wrestling culture which remains huge in Memphis. I think you’ll really love it.

      and thank you in re: Hope. I can’t really write about it yet – except for teeny paragraphs. I miss her too much – such a small creature, such a huge presence. She was so good and sweet and I am happy I could give her a safe and secure home where she could just relax, because anxiety was her default emotion. I loved her. Very kind of you to mention her.

  3. Delta Dawn got around. Tanya’s producer heard Bette Midler doing it on The Tonight Show. Bette had heard Tracy Nelson doing it in a night club. It ended up in the right place. I always credit Tanya for making me immune to punk. After Tanya Tucker’s Greatest Hits, what did Johnny Rotten have to offer?

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