Windy Weekend iPod Shuffle

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Trick or treating on a misty chilly night. That’s my niece, the pumpkin, with her friend, the princess. We went around with a huge crowd of kids and parents. Super fun.

Driving around New England. Seeing family, friends. Trick-or-treating with my nieces and nephew. Gloomy weather. Needed a break, although I still have to work while I’m out of town. iPod Shuffle over the last couple of driving days.

“Luv n’ Haight” – Sly & The Family Stone, from There’s a Riot Goin’ On. Disturbing, intricate, brilliant. You get lost in it. Doesn’t really have a verse-chorus structure.

“I Love Paris” – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. The man never ceased to surprise. His version of this song is absolutely insane. I love him so much. Nobody really like him.

“I Feel Fine” – The Beatles, from those Live at the BBC tapes. As a child, the harmonies of “I’m so glad … that she’s my little girl … she’s so glad she’s telling all the world” was so intensely pleasing to me. That feeling has remained. Every time I hear the song, every time, I get a thrill of pleasure at those harmonies.

“Caledonia Mission” – The Band. “I do believe in your hexagram …”

“I Love It When You Call Me Names” – the great Joan Armatrading. She was in constant rotation in college.

“Cool Drink of Water Blues” – Tommy Johnson. Haunting, eerie … his voice, there’s a yodel in it, sounding like it’s coming from the depths within him. Riveting old-school delta blues.

“When the Stars Are Against You” – Mike Viola, from one of his recent albums. Such an excellent song-writer. He can be both tremendously vulnerable and also rock-star aggressive. I love his career, and I love seeing whatever it is he is up to.

“As Long As I’m Singin'” – the great Brian Setzer with his big-band orchestra. Love him.

“Boy For Sale” – Mr. Bumble from the movie Oliver! I saw the movie when I was 10 years old. I was never the same again. It was really my first full-blown obsession. It was an obsession I shared with my best friend Betsy (coincidentally, we just got together last night and are meeting up this morning to walk on the wild windy beach). It was ALL OLIVER TWIST ALL THE TIME. The crowning glory of our obsession was when our school drama club did Oliver, and she was cast as Nancy and I was cast as The Artful Dodger. We were in 6th grade. We treated that play as seriously as if it were a Broadway opening.

“The Only One” – Evanescence. Chick can sing, yes?

“Doth I Protest Too Much” – Alanis Morissette. Well, if you have to ask that question, Alanis …

“Dive” – Nirvana. Live. Grinding, grinding guitars, that huge huge sound made by three guys.

“Not Anymore” – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. A bluesy burlesque-y number, with a woozy horn, distant boogie-woogie piano, and his VOICE. “Lordy Lord, PLEASE take the TIME …”

“Tomorrow Night” – Patty Griffin. I adore her. A little lady with a gigantic voice. Nothing can compare to that first album … every single song, and the sound … pared-down, almost archaic, a woman and a guitar … with a bleak and uncompromising attitude. But this is beautiful. It’s a song you’d hear in an old-timey dance hall.

“Here Comes the Sun” – the cast of Glee, featuring Demi Lovato. She keeps it simple. Not too much embellishment. The song doesn’t need it. It’s sweet and sad.

“Welcome To My World” – Elvis Presley, in his 1973 Aloha From Hawaii concert. There’s something held-back in the performance. It’s in the voice. The voice sounds thin, like the breath is shallow. You can tell immediately the Aloha From Hawaii tracks, because of the sound of his voice. Something was going on there. It was an extravaganza, that concert … but there’s something very distant about Elvis’ sound.

“Narcissus” – Alanis Morissette. One of her list-making songs. I love her, but she also drives me crazy, her phrasing, the way she breaks up syllables, some of her lyrics … I roll my eyes. Yet still, I love her. Dammit, I swing back and forth on it. I buy everything she does. I’m in, Alanis, what can I say, I’m in!

“Stand On the Word” – Keedz. Absolutely love this song. It’s on my “exercise mix”, as strange as that may sound. The beat drives one on. All of these kids, singing about Jesus. Yeah, that gets the blood pumping!

“You’re All Of My Life To Me” – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. So much Screamin’ Jay in this shuffle. I’m in heaven! He’s out of this world. Irrepressible talent, strangeness, commitment, honesty, performance-style. He puts a sob into his voice, and it resonates so hard it makes the speakers buzz with the vibration. “If you should leave me … you can believe me … I jest don’t want to liiiiiiiive … Love makes me half mad, so if I act bad, oh bab-ee, please forgiiiiiiiive!”

“I Don’t Come From No Monkey” – Pat McCurdy. Ah, Pat. An old friend of mine. I mean, the title alone is hilarious … but his arrangement is even funnier. Pat multiplied singing backup, a manly male chorus.

“Won’t You Charleston With Me?” – from the Broadway production of The Boyfriend. Another pre-teen obsession of mine. I saw the production at the local university, and I was 10, 11 years old, and forget it. 1920s, boarding school? I was hooked!

“No Particular Place To Go” – Chuck Berry. Hot as hell. I mean, the voice, his whole thing. But also the arrangement. He’s singing without accompaniment. The accompaniment comes in at staggered points … adding to the tension of the song. It’s still rock ‘n roll. It still feels as fresh as it must have felt when it first hit the radio waves.

“Angel Of the Morning” – Nina Simone. She’s so intense.

“Johnny B. Goode” – Elvis Presley, in his last televised concert. Broadcast posthumously. It’s painful to listen to. He’s so sick and tired. The overall sound is great, the band, the back-up singers … his touring outfit was a well-oiled machine of gorgeous professionals. But he’s out of it.

“Boys” – The Beatles. Sexy. The backup: “Bop-shoo-wop … bop-shoo-wop …” Kissing, and getting a thrill to your fingertips? Yes, please. The whole song is crazy.

“How Can I Meet Her?” – The Everly Brothers. So rocking. So exciting. STILL. After all these years. What today will still sound fresh and thrilling 50 years from now? Time will tell.

“Satan Is Real” – The Louvin Brothers. The Everly Brothers sound, with a Pentecostal spirit. Their faith is the most literal faith imaginable. I mean, come on, “Satan is real.” I love these guys. Harmonies as perfect as The Everly Brothers. The Louvin Brothers were on an early group-tour with Elvis. He loved them.

“European Son” – The Velvet Underground & Nico. From the banana album. Almost 8 minutes long. The drive never lets up. Lou Reed driving that pace. Great rock ‘n’ roll.

“All Shook Up” – Elvis Presley, from 1969 or so, his live show at the International Hotel in Vegas. He was set free from his studio contract, getting back into live performing. He’s at the very tip top of his game. A thrilling period for him.

“Babylon” – Don McLean. I grew up listening to this album. It was in my parents’ record collection. For show and tell in kindergarten, other kids brought in their pet turtle, their dolls. I stood up and recited the entirety of “American Pie.” I was scared of the cover of the album, Don McLean and his big thumb. I felt the anger in that image. I remember being disturbed by it.

“She Wears My Ring” – Elvis Presley, from Promised Land, a late album, and a really good album. It’s a croon-y country & western ballad. It’s beautiful. He sings the hell out of it.

“Sad But True” – Metallica. I was wondering when they would show up. From the black album. Ominous. Relentless. Slow (for them).

“For All the Cows” – Foo Fighters. From their first album. They have a new one coming out. Can’t wait. Heard an interview with Dave Grohl where he joked that if he knew the band would last, he would never have named it “Foo Fighters.”

“Let It Be Me” – Indigo Girls. I can’t believe they’re still around. I’m happy they are.

“Get Down, Make Love” – Queen. From News of the World. Pretty damn decadent. Freddie Mercury is the perfect rock star. He’s got the voice, but he’s got the persona too. His artistry set him free. You can FEEL it in his performances.

“Didn’t Leave Nobody But the Baby” – Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch. I think this is from the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. I love all of these ladies individually, so to hear their voices blend like this … it’s heavenly.

“Cousin Jane” – The Troggs. I love The Troggs so much. And I am grateful to Lester Bangs for his essay on them, one of his most famous (and infamous) pieces of writing. It puts it all into words.

“Funny How Time Slips Away” – Elvis Presley, from his 1972 concert at Madison Square Garden. (Well, he did four in a row. Sold-out shows.) This concert was recently re-issued in a box set called “Prince From Another Planet” and the sound is phenomenal. Like you are there in that stadium. I love Elvis doing this song. He loved it so much. He’s both affectionate, and over-it. He’s so easy with it.

“Funhouse” – Pink. She’s got one of my favorite voices in the business right now. Great rock voice. Like Joan Jett’s voice. It can do a lot. It has great expressive possibilities. She’s a real singer.

“Seaside Rendesvous” – Queen, showing their roots … in the British music-hall tradition.

“Bosom of Abraham” – Elvis Presley. Getting all gospel, all holy. He put out so much gospel, and I love all of it. This is one of my favorite tracks. Elvis as part of an ensemble. He’s obviously the leader, obviously the star, but it’s as much about what is going on with that ensemble, that collective. Something is set free in Elvis doing gospel that is not present anywhere else. It’s honest. I mean, he was always honest, but there’s something pure about the honesty in the gospel stuff. Sheer joy in what he is doing, what he is channeling.

“Hit the Road Jack” – Ray Charles. Hot.

“Dicey Reilly” – The Dubliners. Was wondering when the Micks would show up. Hi, boys.

“Walk Away” – Joe Walsh. Great guitar, big crazy sound, his bratty as hell voice.

“Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache” – Warren Smith, one of the Sun Records rockabilly artists. He had deep Memphis roots, playing at a hot nightclub across the river in West Memphis, and then auditioning for Sam Phillips at Sun Records. His first single was “Rock and Roll Ruby,” a giant hit for him and for Phillips. I love his stuff.

“Mrs. Merguitory’s Daughter” – Dale Hawkins. Another rockabilly guy, who brought in his own swamp rock style, an unmistakable sound. He’s rough, he’s raw, great guitar player, great songwriter.

“Proud Of You” – Eddie Cochran. I’ve been getting really into him recently. So sad that he died so young, so soon. He had a beautiful voice, clearly Elvis-inspired, but with his own style. He was gorgeous too – as gorgeous as Elvis. Hot and sexy. He had it all. His songs are much more mainstream than Elvis’ early stuff was: Eddie Cochran is singing about a white-bread world: bobby sox and drive-in movies and milk shakes, and high school romance. Elvis was singing blues songs with dirty adult themes, like “That’s All Right” and “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.” But Eddie is wonderful. I love his voice.

“Make the World Move” – Christina Aguilera (and CeeLo Green). An anthem. I love her.

“spiral” – Alanis Morissette. Oh, Alanis. More list-making. Lyrics like “shame spiral.” Eyeroll. See what I mean? I fly around the spectrum with her. It’s a pretty song. She gets to me, she really does. Against my will.

“Stood Up” – Ricky Nelson. He’s perfect. His girl stood him up. The song is jaunty, though, in contrast to the sad lyrics, and there are little hand-claps. A nice dichotomy. And great guitar solo. James Burton? Is that you?

“When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” – the great mad-man Jerry Reed. He is out of his mind. A genius. A bad bad boy. I love Jerry Reed.

“You Should Hear How She Talks About You” – Melissa Manchester. OMG. This song was HUGE when I was in high school. I forgot I even had it.

“Stranded In a Limousine” – Paul Simon. On one of my parents’ albums. My siblings and I grew up listening to their albums until eventually we found our own tastes. We thought this song was so funny. Some “mean individual” cruising around in a limousine. We had no idea what was going on, we were children, but we loved this and knew it by heart.

“Gone Gone Gone” – Carl Perkins. Hilarious lyrics. Beautiful and funny performance from Perkins. In his music, you can hear the culture crack apart. He’s the one who heard that sound, who worked it, who worried over it. An innovator.

“Hold On Tight” – ELO, from their great concept album Time. Incidentally, Time was the first album I bought with my own money. I was 12. It was a momentous occasion. Exercising my choice. I treasured that album. I can see the cover right now in my mind’s eye.

“Let Love Rule” – Lenny Kravitz. If I’m not mistaken, this was his first mega-hit. I still remember when he “arrived.” The bell bottoms, the guitar, the rock star persona, the dreads … I mean, you felt he was bringing something new with him, opening up a space, a space to maneuver. And I think time has borne that out. I love him. I also love that he hasn’t kept repeating himself. He’s an artist.

“Sleeping” – The Band. They really get that melancholy bittersweet thing, don’t they.

“How Great Thou Art” – Elvis Presley, and his backup group The Stamps, at a show in Dallas, 1975. It was Elvis’ favorite gospel song. He was unable to phone this one in. The song itself transported him. And it happened every time. I find it intensely moving. Almost scary. That’s how powerful it is. Here, he loves it so much, he makes them all do the ending twice. “Let’s go back …” He’s not done with it. He wants to feel whatever the song provides him again.

“Flipside” – The Breeders. I miss them.

“Phoenix From the Flames” – Robbie Williams. Superstar. This is one of my favorites of his songs. It starts slow, almost conventional, a regular old pop song. And then … and then … it goes where it needs to go, and it’s huge, and strangely emotional. I don’t know how to describe it. This song has been a great comfort to me through some rough periods. I’ve got a tattoo of a phoenix on my back. Put there by a reluctant tattoo artist, while I had a fever of 103. Burning up. An important personal symbol.

“Candy Shop” – Madonna. From Hard Candy. I love her. Not as much as I loved her around the Blonde Ambition years … but I’ll always be interested in what she’s up to.

“Lullay Lullay (Coventry Carol)” – Annie Lennox. FANTASTIC. This whole album is great, but it is this and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” that are the real keepers. This is one of my favorite Christmas carols anyway. It’s terrifying. It’s the real Christmas story. Herod the king. A couple on the run. The fragility of life, of grace, murderers stalking the land. Lennox puts that terror into her version.

“My Baby Just Cares For Me” – Nina Simone, live. The crowd is part of the event of the performance. They sing along with her, and she criticizes them for their lack of enthusiasm: “Jesus Lord, as loud as you can get it, let’s start it over again. This is Saturday night. Get LOOSE.” They cheer, they laugh, and the second time through they SING OUT LOUISE. You don’t want to disappoint Nina!

“She’s a Woman” – The Beatles. Ferocious. “My LOOOVE – don’t give me presents.”

“Creeping Death” – Metallica. My brother said once, “Metallica is for math nerds.” Their structure is intricate, complex musically and rhythmically, veering from fast to slow and back, all held together by the perfect parallelogram of Lars Ulrich’s drumming. Love them.

“Wee Wee Hours” – Chuck Berry. From his gigantic record After School Session. Woozy, bluesy, it captures the ‘wee wee hours’ feeling, a blues bar, everybody heading home, the sun coming up, drunk, despairing, lonely, sleep-deprived. Exhausted, enervated, head on the bar.

“Follow the Flag” – Randy Newman. Greil Marcus’ essay about Randy Newman, included in Mystery Train is a masterpiece of scholarship and analysis about this weird and honest artist, on the fringes, on the periphery of pop culture. I love Randy Newman, despite the almost unbearable sadness that emanates from his melodies.

“Kyrie Eleison” – Noirin Ni Riain & The Monks of Glenstal Abbey. Holy. That whole album … her voice … their voices … the echo … the faith expressed. Powerful.

“Don’t Leave Me This Way” – Thelma Houston. Classic Motown. Thrilling.

“Drinkin’ In My Sunday Dress” – the great Maria McKee.

“Padre” – Elvis Presley. Late Elvis. He KILLS IT.

“As Long As You Love Me” – Justin Bieber. He is such a hot mess. I like this song though.

“My Baby Likes Western Guys” – Brenda Lee. Hilarious. Her boyfriend keeps blowing her off to watch Western movies. She can’t compete. I love when her voice goes rough and gravelly, a la Wanda Jackson. She’s fearless.

“Inside Out” – Britney Spears, from Femme Fatale. Brit-Brit, I don’t think you’re a femme fatale, I think you’re a damsel in distress. But more power to you! I will always support you! “Baby, shut your mouth and turn me inside out.” Jeez.

“No Love” – Eminem (and Lil Wayne). From Recovery. Sad. Self-pitying. Gloomy. “I been to hell and back. I can show you vouchers.” Marshall comes roaring in after Lil Wayne’s opening, going faster than ever, a manic survival anthem, what that whole album is about.

“Baby” – Little Richard. Pure sex.

“Key To the Highway” – Big Bill Broonzy. Impossible to listen to and not nod your head, tap your foot.

“We Can Talk” – The Band. “start from the middle …” There’s something so positive, so outward-looking, so … inclusive about their sound, feel. It’s not that sadness is not acknowledged. Far from it. But that’s not where they stop. There is a possibility that we can connect … that possibility is held in their music somehow.

“Howlin’ Tomcat” – Harmonica Frank. One of those wild uncontrollable genre-mixing unclassifiable souls that helped make the birth of rock ‘n roll possible. He recorded at Sun too. It’s pretty country what he’s doing, but the blues underbelly is undeniable.

“Pride (In the Name of Love)” – U2, from their Live from Paris album. An anthem. This song has been a part of my life since the moment it arrived on the scene, and I’m sure that’s true for a lot of people. A scream of hope and anger.

“The Battle of Evermore” – Led Zeppelin. Pretty epic. I think I first heard this song when Heart covered it. Can’t remember. Of course Heart then performed Stairway to Heaven at the Kennedy Center Honors tribute to Led Z, and blew the roof off, actually made that over-played song sound new and thrilling. Even Robert Plant and Jimmie Page looked blown away by that sound.

“Surfin’ Safari” – The Beach Boys. I mean, you have to have Beach Boys in your music collection. It wouldn’t feel right otherwise.

“Monsters” – Lucius. I love these ladies so much. Their album was on a lot of “Best of 2013” lists, so I decided to check them out. Very very glad I did. Distinctive sound. This is melancholy, childlike, beautiful.

“Bet No One Ever Hurt This Bad” – Randy Newman. I think you’re right, Randy.

“Good Idea At the Time” – Ok Go. I love them. I was an early adaptor.

“Willy the Wandering Gypsy and Me” – Waylon Jennings. From Honky Tonk Heroes. “I reckon we’re gonna ramble til Hell freezes over …” Such a bad-ass. Heartfelt, always honest.

“Surrender” – Elvis Presley. Over-the-top, dramatic, where he gets to show off his impressive pipes. He loved Dean Martin. Mario Lanza. Listen to him GO here. Unafraid. On the verge of parody, as was so often the case with him. I love his voice so much.

“We’re An American Band” – Grand Funk Railroad. Yes, you are, God bless it!

“Crazy Mixed Up World” – Faye Adams. She’s soooo blue. She WAILS her sorrow, pouring all that feeling through her extraordinary voice (and that dramatic vibrato!)

“Happy” – Pharrell Williams. The song that went around the world, multiple times over. Well-deserved. It’s happiness bottled.

“U Got the Look” – Prince. I missed his appearance on SNL which I have heard was epic. Not a surprise! He was in constant rotation in high school and college, and he still comes up all the time. I lost my you-know-what while a Prince song was playing in the background … which just makes me a cliche of my generation, and I am fine with that.

“Purely Automatic” – Brendan Benson, one of my favorite songwriters working today. He is incapable of being boring. He writes great pop songs. Catchy as hell. I love that he is so prolific. He keeps putting out these little albums, and I’m into them all.

“Busa Rhyme” – Missy Elliott (featuring Eminem). Nuts. She’s so awesome. So is he. The two of them together? Sick and sexy. Her whispering, “Slim Shady … Slim Motherfuckin’ Shady …” Hot.

“Big Long Now” – Nirvana. From Incesticide. Rough and visceral. Creepy.

“Rumble” – Link Wray. Relentless. Ear-grabbing. Seen as so controversial at the time disc jockeys refused to play it. Is it an incitement to violence? A call to arms? Who can know?

“You Are The One For Me” – Gene Vincent. Soulful and sweet. All the heartache of youth in it. He has a beautiful voice.

“Bring It On Home To Me” – the perfect Sam Cooke.

“A Wonderful Guy” – Doris Day. Breath control. It’s key. Study her and learn.

“Soldier” – Eminem. From The Eminem Show. One of his most exciting songs. They usually put down multiple tracks of his voice: there’s the track that’s the lead, and then there’s a REALLY angry track … laid on over that first track. It’s fun to try to isolate that second track, because he’s always doing some crazy shit back there. This is a great example of that. RAGING.

“Way Over Yonder In the Minor Key” – Billy Bragg & Wilco. Lots of memories associated with this whole album.

“Beale St. Blues” – Eartha Kitt. One of my most listened-to songs in my entire collection (according to my iPod). I am strangely proud of this fact. She’s so deliciously corrupt here, and I love the male back-up singers. Beale Street, man. Always a party.

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32 Responses to Windy Weekend iPod Shuffle

  1. Jessie says:

    Great mix. Yes, the sexy and spooky “Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby” is from O Brother, which has a crazy-haunting soundtrack — “Lonesome Valley” always gives me chills. OBWAT was my first Coen Bros film, so it will always have a special place in my heart.

    Hooray for Mermaid Ave! “Way Over Yonder” is a fav off those albums. I think I prefer Vol II for the knockout combo of “Remember the Mountain Bed” and “Blood of the Lamb”.

    • sheila says:

      Love Oh Brother Where Art Thou!! – and yes, the soundtrack is superb. Love that old country-gospel-hillbilly stuff anyway! It was so cool to hear it used throughout the film.

      Jessie – I don’t have Volume II of Mermaid Avenue – wow, will have to look for it.

      My brother bought this album right around the time he and his wife had a baby (my nephew Cashel – who just turned 17 – what??) – And Cashel the infant really grooved to Mermaid Avenue, he would bounce his head up and down to Christ For President, wiggling around on the floor to all the songs. So I always associate that album with a very happy season in my family’s life.

      Must get Volume II – love Billy Bragg, love Wilco, AND love Guthrie – great project!

  2. Helena says:

    … ooh, and Key to the Highway features on the next SPN episode (I mean the Season Two episode). Different version tho.

    Sheila, do you listen to every track that comes up and never skip? Because if you do, I salute you. I’m a perpetual skipper. Makes me wonder why I ever bother to shuffle #Ridiculous21stCenturyNonProblems

    • sheila says:

      I love Big Bill Broonzy – yet another album in my parents’ ultra-cool record collection. So we grew up listening to him. My mother was a guitar player and guitar teacher so we always had cool stuff to listen to. She introduced us to a lot of great stuff.

      In re: skipping: Sometimes, yes, I do. Sometimes a 19-minute-long Beethoven symphony will come up and I decide to skip. :) But I can be such a control freak in so many areas of my life – I value Shuffle because it kind of forces me to deal with the moment as it is presented. The random-ness of it. It’s really pleasing to me.

      Britney Spears to Big Bill Broonzy. I mean ….

      You really have to ADJUST to that.

      And I realize that the iPod is going the way of the dinosaur – but I will not give mine up!! I am not into Spotify – because of how it screws the artists financially – and also: the iPod represents my music collection. I’ve been collecting music since I was 12 – and first bought that ELO album. Every song here is something I’ve chosen. I like that – I don’t need ALL music at my fingertips. I like MY music. Not sure what I will do when this iPod dies as I am sure it will.

  3. Helena says:

    //And I realize that the iPod is going the way of the dinosaur – but I will not give mine up!!//

    re Spotify. Hands up, guilty. I listen. It’s like having an encyclopedia at your fingertips. Not so long after it was launched I bought The Rest is Noise, on 20th century classical music. Being able to listen to nearly every piece mentioned in it made a huge difference.

    But yes, just about everything about digitised music screws someone, somewhere.

  4. Jessie says:

    I wonder if there ever was a way of distributing music that didn’t screw someone, somewhere! Really only bands with the cachet and capital of Radiohead and U2 get to do something different.

    Yes, you gotta check VolII out, it’s got some lovely tracks on it. Such a cute picture of your nephew dancing to Christ for President — the banjo! My dad would definitely approve getting them started on the leftie folksingers young, ha ha. I can’t believe it’s been 17 years, though; that is MESSED UP.

    OBWAT soundtrack: and of course now O Death is a victim of Supernatural creep.

    Shuffle is the only way to go; especially a rigged shuffle!

    • sheila says:

      // My dad would definitely approve getting them started on the leftie folksingers young, //

      Totally! It was the same way in my household.

      Speaking of leftie folksingers, and the Coen Brothers – what did you think of Llewyn Davis? Have we talked about it before?

      I loved the representation of the Clancy Brothers – a constant presence in my parents’ record collection. We grew up singing these crazy angry Irish patriot songs, hahahaha. But there was that funny line in Llewyn Davis, something like – “There’s no one in there but 4 Micks and Grandma Moses.”

      Will totally be getting Volume II – excited!

    • sheila says:

      // Really only bands with the cachet and capital of Radiohead and U2 get to do something different. //

      So true!

      It’s the little-guy/girl who has always struggled, gotten screwed – and the current situation makes it even more difficult.

      Oh man, “O Death.” Goosebumps. That whole sequence!!

  5. mutecypher says:

    Like Helena, I enjoy having the complete encyclopedia at my beck. I convinced myself that if savvy folks like David Bowie and Metallica were on Spotify, and I was paying the premium service, then it was an okay thing. But when you see Taylor Swift dropping them (and I liked her editorial in the WSJ back in July) it gives me pause. Artists ought to be paid for their work just like everyone else. I don’t know how recently this has been posted, but Spotify describes here how they pay artists. I recall looking for this information a little over a year ago when I joined them, and it wasn’t available then. They position themselves as pirate-killers by making music easily and legally available, and giving artists some payment where they might otherwise get none. And they’ve done a press release saying that they pay an average of 0.7cents per stream. And that goes to the rights-holder, so only a percentage goes to the artist. By way of comparison, iTunes pays out $0.89 for every $1.29 purchase. So, I’d need to listen to a song 0.89/0.007 = 127 times for the same payout to happen with Spotify. I don’t know if the artists get the same percentage on a stream versus a sale, I suppose it varies by contract.

    On the other hand, I might listen to a song 5-10 times and not like it enough to buy – so I get to listen and the artist gets something…

    This is tough in terms of thinking about what it fair to the artist. I have Last.fm and it counts all the songs and artists I’ve played since joining. I’ve played Led Zeppelin 2,330 times since 2008, and Dylan 2,484 times and Nine Inch Nails 7,234 times. All the Zep and NIN are in iTunes, but a lot of the Dylan is from Spotify. Maybe I need to pay Bob for “Isis” and “Every Grain of Sand.” If I’ve listened to Patty Griffin’s “Little Fire” 30 times (only have her on Spotify), maybe I should just up and pay for the song on iTunes. Or I can assume that she’ll eventually get 127 plays from me for an equivalent amount. But no one likes getting paid “eventually.”

    I can understand an artist being unhappy about the arrangement. Now that I have some numbers to go on… it’s still not obvious.

    • sheila says:

      Mutecypher – The numbers are very interesting. And I don’t know the solution. Different services provide different things. I’ve been watching the whole Taylor Swift thing go down and I think: Good for her!

      The hostility shown towards Taylor Swift for pulling her stuff from Spotify is disgusting to me! The Gawker headline … as though Taylor Swift has some nerve wanting MORE money. (Grrrrr.)

      Spotify screws musicians like my sister Siobhan, my cousin Liam. The ones who AREN’T rich. But I also don’t resent Taylor Swift for being rich. She deserves every penny – she has earned it.

      The assumption out there that shit should be free (not from you – but in general) is so dismaying to me.I’ve experienced it in a small way on my own site – I do all these book excerpts and excerpts from plays. I cannot tell you how many emails I receive from people who wonder where they can get such-and-such script or book for free.

      My response is always the same: “Go to the library. Or – better yet – here’s the Amazon link. Throw the artist some shekels if you like the damn play so much.”

      I think to myself: “Of course you can’t download the entire play for free. Of course you can’t do that. And the assumption that you should be able to is disgusting.

      I am only speaking for myself. I realize it’s an epidemic, and my opting-out gesture very well may be meaningless.

      • sheila says:

        and speaking of Nine Inch Nails, and changing the subject:

        Have you seen Gone Girl? The score for that film … I mean, it feels like it is in every scene, humming beneath every moment. And it’s really just one long NOTE …

        Reznor did a similar thing with Social Network, but he pushed it even further with Gone Girl … really really bold and I thought it worked very well!

  6. Barb says:

    I’m with you, Shelia–they’re going to have to pry my dead iPod out of my hands! I take it almost everywhere.

    I was pleasantly surprised to see Babylon on your shuffle mix. I grew up with that Don McLean album, too–my family used to sing American Pie during road trips.

    • sheila says:

      Barb – Yes, that whole album is wonderful! American Pie is, of course, the stunner – but every song is great.

      When I saw Garth Brooks’ concert in Central Park, he said at one point – “Now I’d like to introduce to the stage the man who inspired me the most …” and out came Don McLean – and the two of them sang American Pie together and I almost had a nervous breakdown. Ha!

  7. Barb says:

    RE: Spotify–I’m not on that service, but my library does subscribe to a Sony site called Freegal. The company provides their catalog–or some part of it–for a fee to libraries, and we pass the music on to our patrons as a free download. Different pay scales for different access, of course, but our arrangement is that patrons can download 3 songs per week, with unlimited numbers of patrons taking part. (Initially, we had to limit the total number of downloads per week, so if you logged in later in the week, you were probably out of luck.) I think it’s a good service, though I have no idea what the artist makes from it. I’m assuming a percentage of the subscriptions.

    Of course, the great “don’t ask don’t tell” of AV collections in libraries is that patrons are ripping our cds and movies to their computers. So this is a way for us to combat that while giving the company (and artists?) something in return.

  8. On the issue of artist compensation: I recently saw a documentary on the Cowsills where one of them said something along the lines of “We sold twenty million records and when I turned eighteen I was informed that I was a hundred thousand dollars in debt.” The guy who so informed him was his manager–who also happened to be his dad.

    Brenda Lee, who sold a hundred million records in the sixties and was probably the leading international concert draw for the decade, was managed by a Colonel Parker type (one artist only) who she considered a father figure (her own father died when she was eight, at which point she became the family breadwinner). When he died in the early seventies, they audited the books and found out she had a net worth of $20,000.

    One could go on, but I guess the moral of the story is–no matter the business model and absent the rare case where the artist is a savvy business person–there are always two people who won’t have much say in who gets the money: the artist and the consumer.

    I wish it was otherwise, but it’s pretty hard so see this changing, irrespective of technology. The folks who spend every waking moment chasing the money will usually end up with it.

    • sheila says:

      NJ – Of course artists have been screwed by managers (and their own parents – didn’t that happen to Gary Coleman?). There are schiesters everywhere. So I buy a Brenda Lee album (to use your example) and I assume she gets some of that money – I WANT her to get some of that money – and it’s sad and outrageous when it doesn’t happen because she’s being robbed by this/that/the other.

      Also – if you look at the deal the Colonel had with Elvis … I mean, wow. It was brazen. And Elvis (to put it mildly) was NOT a savvy businessman. :)

      But Spotify is a horse of a different color (for me). I actually can control whether or not I use it.

      Like I said, not using Spotify is probably meaningless in the larger picture – but it is not meaningless to me as an individual. I personally do not feel comfortable using it. Therefore, I do not use it.

  9. bybee says:

    I discovered The Boyfriend via my mom’s record club. Most of the time, she forgot to fill out the form and check off the ones she did and did not want sent to her that month. The Boyfriend was one of her “mistakes”, but she never sent them back. I looked forward to her mistakes.

  10. Yeah, one reason I wanted to point that out is that the Colonel comes off pretty well by comparison (like you, I’m not in the “blame the Colonel” for everything camp). And of course consumers have to make the choice they’re comfortable with–I’m completely ignorant about the technology, still listen strictly to “hard copies” (lol) but, should I ever evolve, I’ll definitely be wary of Spotify.

    But the patterns they do repeat. (Taylor Swift sounds like a modern version of Gene Pitney, who refused to sign all the contracts everybody else was signing and ended up with control of his catalog and a bundle when everybody else was in court suing the mob for back royalties)….The lesson, as always, is trust no one but yourself in business! And, unfortunately, most of us have to.

    • sheila says:

      NJ – yeah, I can’t remember the quote – it was from someone who got a load of what the Colonel was taking out of Elvis’ pay – someone who understood the business – and was like, “Does Elvis know?? This contract is insane.” And it remained un-edited for the entirety of their partnership. Fascinating. Elvis didn’t care – the Colonel was good luck for him – and etc. – but the cut the Colonel took was outrageous! I’m sure he justified it for himself – and Elvis would have justified it too.

      So much room for exploitation – you really need good advice! Love the example of Gene Pitney – I didn’t know that!!

      There’s the example of Dolly Parton – when she was approached by the Colonel (and Elvis) to give up publishing rights to I Will Always Love Him so Elvis could record it. She still talks about that with some regret – how she would have loved to hear Elvis cover her song – but she held onto the publishing rights, and then – of course, years later – Whitney Houston came along, had the biggest hit ever, and that song is still making money for Dolly. It was a smart decision in the long term but so difficult in the short term.

      I can’t imagine what it’s like for those newly famous. It’s almost more important to have a good business management team than a good producer/artistic team. That’s kind of what my cousin Mike’s show “Survivor’s Remorse” is all about. Being poor, and then, overnight practically, having millions.

  11. I heard Pitney being interviewed after Del Shannon committed suicide and he said something along the lines of Shannon being constantly depressed over being ripped off. They got to be friends in later years and and Pitney basically said “Man, if I’d known him back then, I could have shown him what to do in five minutes.”…I’m glad to know about Taylor Swift’s situation. I always cheer when the artist gets paid!

  12. Jessie says:

    I thought Inside Llewyn Davis was characteristically awesome (they are my favourite contemporary filmmakers; the only movie of theirs I find subpar is Burn After Reading and even that has the incredible Brad Pitt performance). The cinematography was so freezing! Mulligan as a razor blade with hair! Isaac’s accent! And so funny when those sweaters popped up on stage. But I don’t know as much about the American folk scene so I am sure a whole bunch of references went right over my head.

    • sheila says:

      I loved it too. That cat on the subway! And F. Murray Abraham!

      I also loved that moment at the very end – when you got a glimpse of Dylan. The “collective” was about to be shattered – as one person from that scene became a superstar. I should see it again, but I really enjoyed it – and loved the soundtrack.

      And Stark Sands as the folk-singing soldier! He’s fantastic on the Kinky Boots soundtrack (Cyndi Lauper’s Broadway musical) – so it was so great that he got the opportunity to be in this as well. Thought he was wonderful – and, like Dogfight – the film captured that moment, early 60s, before the folk scene was radicalized/politicized. It didn’t last long!

  13. mutecypher says:

    Sheila –

    When I was doing computer service full time, it was not unusual for a client to ask me how they could get free software – Microsoft Office being the most frequent request. The usual justification was that either Bill Gates or Microsoft was rich enough. Depending upon my impression of the client and our rapport, I’d respond with “well, you’re also ripping me off since I’m a shareholder,” or “isn’t it theft even if you’re taking from a rich person?” or “those free sites are completely virus-infested.” And I’d tell them about the open source Office equivalent – OpenOffice. Compatible but not identical. Most people understood my point – though not everyone. I co-hosted a computer-oriented radio call-in show for a while and had someone ask me about free software while we were on the air. I gave him the “isn’t it theft” response. There were a couple of seconds of dead air that day.

    I think Microsoft got the point. I don’t have a chart, but my impression is that the price of Office has dropped over the years – or they offer less expensive bundles. Trying to reduce the temptation to pirate by offering more affordable alternatives. Adobe does similar things by allowing a monthly subscription service for Photoshop and their other tools.

    I think a lot of people stretch to pay for computers and tablets and smart phones and don’t think it’s fair somehow that they have to pay more to get their equipment to do all the cool, important stuff they want it to do. A lot like a teenager scrimping to buy a car and then not being happy to learn about things like insurance, license fees, and safety inspection fees. Many folks think, “I bought the hardware. It CAN do X, why do I need to pay more to GET it to do X?” In addition to some economic naivety, there’s also the suspicion that other people got the software (or music, or movies) and they didn’t have to pay for it. If there’s a belief (or a desire to believe) that lots of cheating is going on, then people start to feel like suckers if they follow the rules. So you get software piracy, music piracy, illegal immigration, endemic highway speeding. I think that with most smart phone apps being $2-5, there’s a lot less piracy there – it’s cheap and easy to comply. And relatively difficult to install an app that wasn’t from the Apple store, or Android, or the actual software developer. With Spotify, and the other streaming services, I think they really will diminish pirating. But not out of the goodness of their hearts, not out of a desire to see artists fairly compensated. I think a moderately-on-the-take sheriff might be globally better than anarchy – but not better in particular for folks like your sister or cousin.

    I looked at my Last.fm records. In the 6 years I’ve had the service counting my plays, I’ve played “Kashmir” 73 times. So, if I hadn’t bought it and was only expecting LZ to be paid by Spotify, they would have received 73/127 = 57% of the compensation compared to my buying the song from iTunes. 57%, for a song I love, dribbled out over 6 years. I can see how musicians would consider that…skimpy. So do I, now that I have some data to do the math. I went through my Last.fm records last night and started buying songs that I had data on that I knew I’d keep listening to. I don’t think I’m going to drop Spotify, I do like the recommendations they give – and I hate listening to radio. So they are a good way for me to find new music. And now pay for it. Having said that, I can understand why a consumer would basically follow my initial reasoning: savvy folks like David Bowie and Metallica are on it, and they could opt out if they wanted (or they could have done the Gene Pitney and negotiated contracts that allowed them to opt out), we’re all consenting adults here…

    So rock on, I can understand not wanting to support Spotify, especially considering how it affects your family. I opted out of Facebook about 4 months ago (for reasons longer than what I’ve written about music), and that has to be roughly as quixotic. Little things can add up in the big world. And we mostly live in our own smaller worlds, so arrange yours as much to your liking as you can. Blake’s “I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.”

    I haven’t seen Gone Girl yet. I really liked Trent’s soundtracks for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Social Network. I wonder if he’ll get asked to do the soundtrack for the Frozen sequel.

    • sheila says:

      Fascinating and very well-thought-out comments, mutecypher! The Web has certainly made things like copyright protection difficult – there is a sense that everything should be free, available, all the time … and so people who want to protect what they’ve done are seen as sticks-in-the-mud or not-playing-well-with-others … and while I do value playing-well-with-others, I also value … VALUE, I guess. :) The corollary with software is interesting and something I hadn’t considered!!

      In re: Trent Reznor – I think he did the soundtrack to Citizenfour, too, which I just saw. I’ll have to double-check, but pretty sure that’s his too. Again, just one droning anxiety-provoking note underneath things … really interesting.

  14. mutecypher says:

    And Taylor – you go! Sell it like you made it. Because you did.

  15. Bybee says:

    Annie Get Your Gun w/ Doris Day and Robert Goulet was another mistake I loved.

  16. Jessie says:

    Stark Sands!!! You know who he is!! I have only seen him do his musical thing in Die, Mommie, Die! but he was so goofily dumb in that, I loved it. But I mostly know him from being my favourite thing in Generation Kill, although the whole cast and production on that is just superb. He killed it in ILD as the soldier, pitched that character in the exact right place to piss Llewyn off.

    F Murray Abraham was great — that whole scene is just brutal.

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