Shuffle Off This Mortal Coil

The soundtrack to the last week and a half, of flu, writing, sleep problems, and working my way back to health.

“Me and the Devil Blues” – Robert Johnson. I think of the opening chapter of Stanley Booth’s great Rythm Oil: A Journey Through The Music Of The American South. And … so sorry … but Supernatural comes to mind as well. If you’ve seen season 1 and season 2, you know why.

“Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” – the awesome Lonette McKee (and cast) of the Show Boat revival a few years back.

“Miss Sarajevo” – U2, live from Milan, 2005. Bono dedicates it to those in London died/maimed in the 2005 bombings a couple months earlier. Horrible.

“Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 “Pastoral”: II. Andante Molto Mosso” – Beethoven (London Symphony Orchestra). I honestly don’t have much classical music in my repertoire. Not for lack of interest. I grew up with piano lessons. I learned all that shit by heart. That’s what you learn when you take piano for 15 years. This symphony is beautiful, almost gentle, with a slow build.

“Stardust” – Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks. I have so many funny one-offs in my collection. I can’t retrace my steps with this one, and why I have it. It’s swingy and romantic.

“The Battle of Evermore” – Led Zeppelin. These guys give me goosebumps. I loved how Jack Black described them in his speech honoring them at the Kennedy Center: “They are the greatest rock band EVER. They wrote songs about love ……. they wrote songs about Vikings …..”

“Popular” – Kristin Chenoweth. This song taps into the zeitgeist of being 13, 14 years old. No wonder Wicked was such a smash hit with the tweens. It gets being a girl.

“Volvo Driving Soccer Mom” – Everclear. Very bitchy song, but funny (and accurate, in my experience.)

“What Kind of Fool” – the cast of Glee. While I do appreciate some of their covers of pop songs, I like it when they really interpret a song in a high-school-chorus way. Their version of “Rehab” is a great example. And here, they have the background singers doing all these swoopy harmonies, giving it an almost a cappella feeling. I also just flat out love this song. The Bee Gees have a special place in my heart.

“We Will Rock You” – Queen. It will live forever.

“I Shall Be Released” – Nina Simone. I love this track because it starts with her talking to her musicians, telling them they are “pushing it”. “It’ll go up by itself. Don’t put nothin’ in it.” Smart cookie.

“Roar” – Katy Perry. You know, a really obscure song by a really obscure artist. It’s really hard to track down her stuff but well worth it!

“Trying to Get to You” – Elvis, doing one of his first hits, only years later, in Las Vegas. It’s not as yearning as the version he did as a kid, and not as powerful-sexy-beast as it was in the 1968 TV special. But he pulls out all the stops. He clearly loves the song. It releases something in him. But then, most songs did.

“Love Me Tender” – Elvis Presley, live in Vegas. A couple of false starts because he can’t stop fooling around. He’s so easy with this song, he would stroll around kissing everyone in the front row. The song is 7 minutes long because he had to submit to being groped down the line. Who else could get away with that, and not be skeevy, other than Elvis? I love hearing the Stamps in the background who continue with their parts, even as you can hear Elvis chatting with women, joking, smooching, etc. It’s a circus.

“From Me to You” – The Beatles. Still LEAPS out at you like an attack: the harmonica, the tiny echo on the voices, the gritty edge they put on their voices, the harmonies. I think I mentioned that cousin Liam sent me hundreds of tracks of Beatles in Mono. This is one of those tracks. It’s like night and day in terms of immediacy. Amazing.

“A Kind of Magic” – Queen, live at Wembley Stadium. Those concert albums … it’s like a religious event, an apocalypse, a cult meeting of thousands. You can FEEL it. The crowd literally roars. And the band plays the throngs like a violin. It’s exhilarating.

“The Twistinside” – Everclear. From Sparkle and Fade. Who knows why a certain band gets under your skin. These guys do mine.

“Rocking” – Shawn Colvin. From her suicidal holiday album. It’s a short album and yet one of these dreary songs shows up on every single Shuffle I’m noticing. I love Shawn Colvin. But this stuff is hilariously depressing. Even the happy holiday songs sound like dirges.

“Only One” – James Taylor. From his extremely cuddly album That’s Why I’m Here. I’ve been a James Taylor fan before my memory even starts. I grew up with parents who had all of his albums. I’ve seen him a bunch of times in concert. His songs mean a lot to me. The last 10 years have been so brutal for me that I have a hard time with his optimism, his love will find a way stuff, which this whole album is about. But whatever, I’m clearly in it for the long haul.

“You Don’t Own Me” – Lesley Gore. An awesome feminist manifesto.

“I’m So Tired” – The Beatles. I love how you think the song is going to be one thing, it seems totally clear what it is going to be. And then, hoooleeeee shit, it changes into something else and your speakers blow out.

“The More I Drink” – Blake Shelton. I find him very entertaining. Big, dumb, cute, funny.

“Get the Party Started” – Pink. Don’t tell me what to do, Pink. Kthx.

“Les Champs-Elysee” – Joe Dassin. I bought this almost before the end credits of The Darjeeling Limited finished. It immediately tapped into that … thing I’ve written about before. Wrote about “Les Champs-Elysee” here, and the date alone gives me a shiver of dread. Bad times. Looking for a lifeline.

“Time Will Do the Talking” – the awesome Patty Griffin, from her awesome album Living With Ghosts. Every song slays me.

“Chopsticks” – my emotional doppelgänger Liz Phair.

“Once I Was” – Mike Viola and The Candy Butchers. Great songwriter. Check him out (and all of his various side projects). He works with Bleu a lot (someone I’ve written about before), and others. My sister Siobhan O’Malley opened for him once, a huge thrill. I came to know his music through her. He’s something special. He can absolutely shatter your heart (like in this song), so consider yourself warned.

“Hound Dog” – Elvis, live, the 70s. Dude, slow that shit down. Do you have to catch a train or something?

“The Revolutionary Costume for Today” – Christine Ebersole, as Little Edie, in the Broadway production of Grey Gardens (something I feel so fortunate for having seen!)

“You Want to Lose Your Only Friend?” – Judy Kuhn & Philip Casnoff, from the Broadway production of Chess. Oh, Chess, why are you on every Shuffle? I love you, but … why?

“Under the Influence” – Eminem, from The Marshall Mathers LP. Eminem’s brattiness on full display. I downloaded his latest on the day it was released. I’m afraid to listen to it. I love him almost too much. (Almost?)

“Promised Land” (alternate take 5) – awesome Elvis. Mature rocking lively Elvis. I repeat: it’s so adorable that people continue to dismiss the 1970s as one long period of decline. What the hell music are THEY listening to?

“I Think It’s Going to Rain Today” – Randy Newman. So sad you want to lie down and beg someone to hold you. The sorrow of the world is in it. Like all ragtime, it’s based on an ache.

“To Die a Virgin” – the awesome Divine Comedy. I was very into him for a short while, although I’ve lost track of him. But there are two albums of his that were on constant rotation for me about 10 years ago. This song is very funny. Here he is performing it live.

“Smokey Mountain Boy” – Elvis Presley, from Kissin’ Cousins. I mean, for real? He’s “just a smokey mountain boy, coming back to the hills” he loves? In what universe? Oh yeah, in Elvis Land!

“Across the Universe” – Beatles in Mono, again. Crisp, clear, so clear it’ll break your heart.

“I Beg of You” – Elvis, from the album released right before he went into the army (the one with him in his gold suit on the album cover). Recorded in 1958, while he was on leave from the army, the sessions are raucous, productive, and amazing – when you consider how much they got done in such a short time. People spend years making albums now. Is that really necessary? Does Time Spent mean Better Album?? I love Elvis’ performance of this song. It’s blatantly sexy. He’s moaning with it, the title says it all.

“Ingrid Bergman” – Billy Bragg & Wilco. This album means a lot to me, to my brother, to my family. We were all listening to it a lot when Cashel was first born, and Cashel, a tiny baby, loved wriggling around on his blanket to some of the songs. I associate this whole beautiful album with those early months of Cashel’s life, hanging out in Park Slope, thrilling at this new member of our family. Who is now a teenager. What??

“Bye Bye Blackbird” – Diana Krall. I wish I liked her more. I have friends who are deeply in love with this woman. She bores me. I feel bad about it.

“Business” – Eminem. From The Eminem Show, which took over the universe, as well as the entire O’Malley family. I remember sitting at a family wedding at the always-fun cousins table, and instead of saying the usual like “Hey, how’ve you been” – we discussed Eminem with the fervor of scholars. I guess that WAS our version of “Hey, how’ve you been?”

“Eat What You Want” – my beautifully talented sister Siobhan O’Malley. Check out her stuff!

“To Be the Best” – Tenacious D. 100% ridiculous and awesome. He’s such a superstar. This is on my workout mix.

“Revival” – The Eurythmics. These guys WERE college for me. Mitchell and I would drive around, getting Bess Eaton coffee, going to the movies, always blasting Eurythmics through the summery night.

“When You Gonna Love Me” – Pat McCurdy. Pretty awesome song. This is from his album Fainting with Happiness, the one where he thanked me in the liner notes. Long time ago.

“Bittersweet World” – Ashlee Simpson. Totally stupid. I find it very enjoyable.

“Wig In a Box” – John Cameron Mitchell, from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I saw that show twice in its first incarnation, when it was playing on Jane Street and was this wildly cool weird thing to do. It was incredible. One of those shows where you could feel the excitement of the event from out on the sidewalk.

“The Colors of my Life” – Jim Dale and Glenn Close, from Barnum. I saw this on Broadway when I was in high school, with Tony Orlando in the lead role. He was amazing! He walked on a tight rope, he juggled, he sang, he rode a unicycle, I was totally impressed. But still, it’s a drip to have it come up on Shuffle. At least this duet.

“Call Me” – Katherine McPhee, from Smash. You know what? It’s pretty great. Nothing to touch the original, of course, but it’s pretty damn good.

“One Night” – Elvis, from the gold-suit album again. The lyrics were considered too racy for the time, so Elvis himself edited them into something more acceptable. The lyrics are irrelevant though, when you hear the Sexed-Up nature of his performance.

“I Am Stretched On Your Grave” – Sinéad O’Connor. This is live, at some music festival in Iceland in 2011. Her voice is eerie, cuts right through the bullshit. I realize she’s out there, and torched her own career by ripping up a picture of the Pope – but I’ll hang in there with her. Even through the reggae nonsense. She’s incredible, a real artist. Listen to that voice. Even though this is live, and (perhaps?) outside, you can hear a pin drop in that crowd. She’s a priestess. She stops the crowd dead in their tracks. She is a commanding presence.

“Boys” – The Beatles (in mono, again, thanks Liam!) It’s wild! There’s that “bop shoo-wop” thing going on underneath, which could be a cliche, but sounds fresh (and even almost dangerous) in their hands. Sexy.

“Hammer to Fall” – Queen, live at Wembley Stadium. Freddie Mercury really is one of those who cannot be replaced. How long has he been gone? And I still miss him.

“Something to Save” – George Michael. Lovely. I love this album.

“Heartbreak Express” – Dolly Parton. You tell ’em, Dolly!!

“Lonely Man” (solo take 2, 3) – Elvis Presley. This is the song he sings on the back stairway to Tuesday Weld in Wild in the Country. It took some takes to get it right. It’s a soft country number and Elvis sings it almost entirely in his beautiful falsetto. One of the takes is interrupted here by the engineer in the booth (I am not sure who it is, although I could track it down) saying, “You went a little flat on ‘always’.” This is why I love all these different takes because it shows who Elvis was when he was working. He gets that comment, which was not sugar-coated by the way – “Dude, you’re flat.” and immediately starts working over that one phrase in question, making sure he hits the proper note. Love it. Very eloquent of his work process and why everyone said, “He was the nicest person I ever met.” And, in the next take, you can hear Elvis hit that “always” in a deliberate way, making SURE he’s not flat. By the time they get to the final take, he doesn’t need to punch that “always”, he’s got it. But with all of these different takes, you can hear him honing his performance to what it needs to be.

“Here Comes the Sun / The Inner Light” – The Beatles (obviously) but the re-mixed version for the Cirque de Soleil show LOVE. I am not sure if this is considered blasphemous by Beatles fans. Probably. But I think some of these mash-ups are pretty beautiful, this one in particular.

“Butterfly” – Crazy Town. WOW. Member this song? Jesus, it was everywhere. And then of course that lead guy showed up on Celebrity Rehab years later, this being his only claim to fame. I don’t know the rest of the story, or the history of the band or whatever. But this song has a pretty killer hook, it still works. No wonder it was a hit.

“Drown In My Own Tears” – Ray Charles. Great song. I love Etta James’ version too. I love the arrangement here, the slow swoony horns underneath, the piano.

“The Last Supper” – Jesus Christ Superstar. Boy, the disciples sound like a bunch of morons here (which is the point, pretty funny). Guys, bad times are coming. BUCK UP. Stop worrying about fame and your immortality – your boss is about to go through his biggest trial ever. BE WORTHY OF HIM.

“Mr. Heat Miser” – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. You know what? It rocks. Heat Miser with a rockabilly/swing arrangement? Sign me up.

“On the Mend” – Foo Fighters. Loving Foo Fighters is a requirement in the O’Malley family.

“Eleanor Rigby” – The Beatles. I’ve written before about my childish fear of this song. I’m still afraid of this song as an ADULT, so imagine how it impacted me when I was 9 years old and obsessed with the Beatles for the first time. The face in the jar by the door, the cemetery, and then the refrain about the lonely people … and the horrible words: “Nobody came.” See? I’m still afraid of this song.

“Things Behind the Sun” – Nick Drake. His beautiful album Pink Moon will always make me think of when I became friends with Allison, that crazy fun season in New York. We basically fell in love with each other. And she introduced me to Nick Drake.

“Yahweh” – U2. Sometimes I want to tell Bono to stuff it.

“Here’s Love: Act I: Overture / The Big Clown Balloons/Parade” – Here’s Love. I can hear you say: “WTF?” It’s a musical written by Meredith Wilson, the author of (of course) The Music Man. My obsession with Meredith Wilson as a child led me to seek out his other work. The public library had Here’s Love on vinyl. I have no idea what the musical is about. It appears to take place in New York and has something to do with Santa Claus. Clearly it has not enjoyed the success of The Music Man. Anyway, 20 years passed since I was a kid, and suddenly there is this thing called iTunes, and I remembered Here’s Love and whaddya know, was able to download the damn thing. It’s not genius, but it’s good to have it in my collection again. I love continuity.

“A Room in Bloomsbury” – Julie Andrews and John Hewer in the Broadway production of The Boyfriend. Oh, the worlds of wonder/obsession that this musical opened up in my mind as a kid. My parents took me to a production of it at the local university. I lost my mind. There was the whole Boarding School factor, which was already a burning passion. But the 1920s/flapper thing was new to me. This was around the time I also saw Bugsy Malone. Stick a fork in childish Sheila. She’s done. She’ll be writing novels about teenage flappers before you know it.

“Beeswax” – Nirvana. Really hard, really metal. Disturbing lyrics. I miss him.

“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” – The Beatles. While the images this song brings forth are, frankly, terrifying … we all thought it was hysterical when we were kids. (Beatle Mania swept my grade school.) This song is right up the alley of any 9 year old who feels powerless in the face of those who are larger/stronger. We had great sympathy for Maxwell.

“Suspicious Minds” – gorgeous Elvis, live in Vegas. Great sing-along song, too, as was just evidenced by seeing James Burton live. Great song.

“Strut That Thing” – Clarence Lofton. Awesome piano boogie woogie.

“That Ain’t Right” – Jimmy Crawford, the drummer. What a unique voice. “Can’t get a beer …. or a jug of WINE.”

“Ebony Eyes” – The Everly Brothers. What a sob story! Sung in perfect harmony!

“Loser” – the Glee cast members. I never really got on the Beck train, although I loved (and still love) his “Sexx Laws”.

“It Won’t Be Long” – dark days for our dear Elvis Presley. Double Trouble is a low point (although he has a couple of funny scenes in it). That film is notorious for being the one that forced Elvis to sing “Ol’ MacDonald”, unforgivable even to someone like me, who loves the films with no apology. This song sucks and I’m pissed off at those who made Elvis sing it.

“Gimme More” – Britney Spears. Classic. The opener? “It’s Britney, bitch …” Can’t get over the awesomeness. I’m a big Brit-Brit fan.

“Maybe This Time” – the great Ok Go. So glad I got into these guys, they’ve given me so much joy. Not to mention this bit of great-ness (“Don’t focus on the mouth …” Hysterical. And also very good advice.):

“I’ll Have You Anyway” – awesome track from Dr. Mars’ album Stars In Our Favour. The genius behind Dr. Mars is the aforementioned cousin Liam. Please check him out. And please read my brother’s wonderful review.

“The Struggle Within” – Metallica. Martial, a call to arms, the drums … the drums could call the masses to revolt. Awesome. And, amazingly for Metallica, it’s less than 4 minutes long.

“Grunge Song” – Austin Lounge Lizards. This is a very funny parody of the structure of grunge songs. “Here is where we get very loud … and here is where we get very quiet …”

“True Blood” – Justin Timberlake, from his latest album. I’m loving it. This is rocking and hot.

“Shake, Rattle and Roll” – Elvis Presley, from that first album. They made him change the lyrics, too hot for a nice white boy to be singing about a see-through dress, and “I’ve been holdin’ it in, way down underneath / You make me roll my eyes, baby, make me grit my teeth”. Bill Haley didn’t sing those lyrics either. And yet somehow the Prudes in charge of such things missed the blatant dirty metaphor of a “one-eyed cat in a seafood store”. For real? Did they think that was LITERAL??

“Satan Is Real” – the classic Louvin Brothers. They toured with Elvis in the early days. He loved them. This song is FREAKY. They MEAN IT. The album on which this song appears is also called “Satan Is Real” and has, perhaps, the best album cover in music history.

record - The Louvin Brothers[2]

“The Unforgiven III” – Metallica. Well, this is a nice thematic dovetail with the Louvin Brothers.

“Rusty James” – Green Day. From ¡UNO! They just came out with three albums at almost the same time and I have not had time to absorb them. Nothing is grabbing me about this particular track.

“St. James Infirmary” – Cab Calloway. I have a Greatest Hits collection of his and it is super fun.

“Young, Gifted and Black” – Nina Simone. So emotional. That opening … the gospel swoon of it … the song is radical and angry. I love her.

“Ain’t That Loving You Baby” – one of Elvis’ most swinging numbers. You have to snap your fingers to it. Recorded in 1958 in the session I keep mentioning, the one they had to rush in while Elvis was on leave. There’s an incredible sound to those sessions, loud, jangly, sexy, unrestrained, insouciant, funny … Elvis at his youthful sexy best.

“Crystal Bell” – Pink. She’s got one of my favorite voices out there right now. Great rock ‘n roll sound.

“Something Beautiful” – Sinéad O’Connor, from her strange and boring double album Theology. I don’t understand, Sinéad. Help me understand. One good thing: she recorded “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”, which is a purely perfect marriage of singer and song. I can’t believe she hadn’t recorded it before then it’s so perfect.

“The Look of Love” – Nina Simone. She has a way of covering a song that makes it so unutterably hers that you can barely remember the original.

“Now That You Are Mine” – Cliff Eberhardt. Discovered him a million years ago when he opened for Christine Lavin and my boyfriend and I were blown away by him. I still keep track of what Eberhardt is doing and have all of his albums. I’ve seen him play live a bunch of times. He’s sexy, soulful, and full of manly PAIN. There are a couple of his heartbreak songs (“Your Face”, “Good Night”) which I flat out can never listen to. Thanks, pal!

“Tell It To the Sky” – Tracy Bonham, from The Burdens of Being Upright, with nary a bad song on it. In fact, they’re all great. Hats off.

“Before You Accuse Me (Take a Look at Yourself)” – Bo Diddley. Good advice, Bo, with a sexy blues beat.

“Don’t Stop Believin'” – the cast of Glee. This number put them on the map. And of course this number also closes out The Sopranos. It’s having a cultural MOMENT, this song.

“Loving You” – Elvis, recording himself at home in Germany, 1959. It’s sad. The title song of one of the four film he had made. 1959: he had no idea what he would be coming back to, if his fame would last his time away.

“Me & My Monkey” – the great Robbie Williams, live at Knebworth. Superstar. Worthy to be spoken of in the same breath with Dean Martin and Freddie Mercury. He’s not at their level, no one is, but he is in that realm. That’s where he wants to be, and that’s where he is.

“California Gurls” – Katy Perry (featuring Snoop Dogg). There’s a Snoop Dogg joke in my script that goes over like gangbusters. Just thought I would share that. It doesn’t get as big a laugh as the Short Circuit joke, but that’s not surprising. I haven’t quite “processed” Katy Perry’s latest, although I did download it. I read this recent Variety piece with interest: Katy Perry’s ‘Prism’ a Good Example of How Albums Don’t Work Anymore. I will say this: when I buy someone’s new album in this totally changed universe from my vinyl liner-notes childhood, I make it a point to listen to it in the order the artist intended. I still treat it like an album. They all may now be isolated singles, thrown together, but I think it’s best to try to see the underlying story the artist is trying to tell.

“My Baby Left Me” – Elvis Presley. From that first full album. This song still leaps out of the speakers. Goosebumps. You can feel the old world cracking apart, letting in new energy and influences. There it all is: right there. Elvis was sui generis, but still made up of all of the influences of his region, era, background. It’s all there, together, in that single. Thrilling.

“Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)” – Ashlee Simpson. SO STUPID.

“Blue Moon of Kentucky” – Wanda Jackson, on her I Remember Elvis album. So thrilling to have seen her live. And during Elvis Week, no less.

“You Don’t Have to Say You Loved Me” – Elvis, at Madison Square Garden, the afternoon show, June 10, 1972. Four sold-out shows. Now re-mixed to spectacular clarity in Prince From Another Planet (the headline of a review of the concert). What a triumph for the country boy in the blue cape.

“Scarborough Fair/Canticle” – Simon & Garfunkel. Guys, you’re a buzzkill.

“Sweet Little Sixteen” – The Beatles, live at the BBC. I believe a volume II just came out, although I haven’t been following the news. I love the tracks that I have: rough, live, awesome.

“Lacrymosa” – Evanescence. DRA-MA-TIC.

“Cherry Poppin’ Daddy Strut” – Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. I was so into them during the hot second when swing bands were popping up everywhere.

“Heartbreak Hotel” – Elvis Presley, live, in the sit-down sessions of the 1968 TV special. It’s a tiny bit high, and you can feel the strain. Maybe it was nerves. He forgets the lyrics here and there, too. It doesn’t matter – he’s ELVIS – but he was a perfectionist and he got his shit together quick.

“The Countess Cathleen/Woman Of The Sidhe” – orchestra for Riverdance, composer Bill Whelan. The first half of the song is fiddle-based (rather than percussive), and has that lilt-y Celtic feel, and the dance number features a group of lovely Colleens bounding about in a circle. No militaristic river dance stomping at first, but that all changes. The Irish may have a sentimental side, but it has a short shelf-life and transforms into rock-throwing rage at a moment’s notice. Then comes the percussion. LOOK OUT.

“Difficult and Dangerous Times” – from Chess. Of course. Chess. I have three versions: Broadway, London recording, and then London concert. I shouldn’t complain about how much it shows up in Shuffle then, right? But, what, all together that means it’s 30 songs? Why should 30 songs be over-represented in a collection of songs that is almost 10,000 strong? Is it my dad? He loved Chess. Maybe that’s the interpretation to go with. This track is from the London Concert version, with Josh Groban, Idina Menzel. Menzel is not good. Groban is brilliant. There’s also nothing like hearing a live orchestra, particularly exciting here.

“Me Myself I” – Joan Armatrading. Absolutely love her, and love her entire career. What an outlier. What an artist. She was huge to us in college, on eternal repeat.

“Lazy Bones” – Green Day, from ¡Dos!, the second of the three albums they just released in quick succession. I need to spend some time with these.

“25 Minutes to Go” – Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison. Such a phenomenal album and this may be my favorite performance of the bunch. The excitement and danger is catching. The crowd is always a palpable presence, but here they are even more so. You can hear them erupt into cheers along the way, and Cash gets off on it. There’s a scary absurdity to it: 25 minutes until the narrator is hanged, his countdown is going, and as the minutes go by, each one seems shorter and shorter. Macabre, gruesome, and the prisoners get OFF on it, cheering as the guy hangs at the end. Awesome.

“Close Every Door” – Donny Osmond as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. A pretty phenomenal performance. I feel strangely connected to Donny Osmond. Not just because I watched Donny and Marie when I was a kid (which I did), but because I worked as a receptionist for a security company in Chicago which handled Donny Osmond’s security while he was in town with Joseph. I talked to him on the phone 100 times. Very nice man. It was a boring temp job but I was surrounded by cops and ex-cops (meaning: I was in my glory with flirting possibilities, it was an extremely friendly pheromonal environment). I became friends with all of these security guys who took it upon themselves to teach me self-defense techniques on my lunch break, getting me into chokeholds in an empty conference room and barking escape tactics into my ear. Brilliant. Hot. These guys were big burly Chicago cops who were legitimately concerned, in a charmingly patriarchal way, about my safety as a redheaded single girl who wore mini skirts and combat boots and rode the El by herself at 2 in the morning. I loved those guys. So when I hear Donny Osmond sing “Close Every Door”, I associate it with being 25 years old, and being thrown to the ground in a conference room by a concerned cop who wanted to teach me to be safe, despite my slutty modern-woman ways (which he did not judge at all).

Music as Proustian-door-into-another-lifetime.

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11 Responses to Shuffle Off This Mortal Coil

  1. Martin says:

    Re: “25 Minutes to Go” – Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison

    In middle school, my little world did a back-flip when I discovered that Shel Silverstein wrote this song.

  2. Dg says:

    He wrote “A Boy Named Sue” as well as I’m sure you know.
    Sheila, I struggle without album sequencing. I use Spotify quite a bit and it won’t play an album in sequence. So frustrating.
    Also, I thought I was the only one who didn’t get Diana Krall .I’m glad you’re with me.

    • sheila says:

      // He wrote “A Boy Named Sue” as well as I’m sure you know. // Yes, now that I did know!

      I don’t use Spotify but I can imagine it is very frustrating. I realize the album is basically “dead” – at least it’s just not the same as when I was growing up and albums were seen as complete “stories” (and I can still remember the order of songs on my favorite albums from those days).

      But even though I know it’s all different now I still like to think the artist has some reason for sequencing, and at least the first time I try to listen to the damn songs in order.

      and yeah. Diana Krall. What a snooze-fest. I also think she’s self-indulgent. Her “Danny Boy” that she does with the Chieftains is so damn in love with itself it’s un-listenable.

      Do not understand the magic!

  3. Dg says:

    Yes the track listing, liner notes, cover art, usually a lot of thought went into that and I miss it but I guess you have to move on. I think of those classic Stones albums and side one first song was usually a big, bombastic, soon to be classic rocker. Sympathy for the Devil on Beggars Banquet. Brown Sugar. Miss you. Gimme Shelter. But the second song in was usually like, this is what the rest of the album is. No Expectations. Sway. Love in Vain.
    By the way I think there is a Stones video from their latest mini tour with the obscure Katy Perry duetting on Beast of Burden. Weird.

    • sheila says:

      Yeah, I heard about that – the Katy Perry thing. Very weird.

      Have you read Keith Richards’ book? Not sure if we’ve discussed it before. I read it during my last trip to Memphis, almost a year ago. One of the best books I’ve read this year.

  4. Melissa Sutherland says:

    Diana Krall, admire her (for her marriage?, the comfort she finds at the piano, which I never found, whatever), find her unlistenable. CHESS. Opening night, closing night, a couple of times in between. Loved David Carroll, who didn’t make it to the end. Sad. Was one of those show (like GRAND HOTEL, where David Carroll didn’t make it onto the album except for one excerpt) where I sat there at the end and just went “Rewind, rewind.” I didn’t want to leave. Saw that opening and closing (with Cyd Charisse, such strange, but interesting casting. So CHESS is something I do listen to. Not crazy about the London version. Funny, though, I LOVE the London Fundraiser taping of NINE with Jonathan Pryce better than the original or the Antonio Banderas version. I loved Raul Julia, but just think the London one-nighter was the best. Have you heard it? Worth finding if you like the show. I love/hate when you do these shuffles because I spend the next couple of days trying to find all the music you’ve listed (or at the things I don’t know that well). And I do mean days……. But so much fun. So thanks.

    • sheila says:

      So envious you saw Chess!! The London concert recording with Josh Groban is terrific – although I don’t think Idina Menzel is good at all. I prefer Judy Kuhn in the Broadway version.

      I don’t know the Nine you mention – but will definitely check it out. I saw Raul Julia do it on Broadway when I was in high school and had ZERO idea what was going on or what the show was about but he made a huge impression on me.

      So glad you like the shuffle posts – they’re fun for me – I love dealing overtly with the randomness of them!

  5. Dg says:

    Loved the Keith autobiography… Three takeaways 1) as much as the press spoke of his shots taken at Mick, I found just as much if not more praise. 2) the guy loved drugs. He seemed to speak of certain drugs just as fondly as his own children.3) it’s good to have high powered lawyers at your disposal.

    • sheila says:

      Oh God, yes, you could feel the love for Mick – it was a crazy time, but they were brothers, they had the same mission.

      I am just amazed that Keith Richards is even still alive. It’s just incredible, considering what he did to himself.

      I loved the humor of it – his random description of that African safari he went on (near the end of the book) – and I could just HEAR his voice in those words on the page – sooo funny.

      I also loved his generous sharing of his knowledge about music. The way he tuned his guitar – the way he broke the guitars apart and put them back together to suit his purposes – Just so fascinating.

      A pal of mine was one of the guys who read the audio book – Joe Hurley!

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