Snowy March iPod Shuffle

The last month has represented a Revolt of the Machines. My printer bit the dust. My computer did as well and I am currently working on a laptop with a completely wiped hard drive and I need to have it rebuilt and I’m dreading it. I had to go to LA without a laptop. I felt naked. My phone is also on the way out.

My car is doing great, holding up under the constant snowfall/shoveling loop we are in, and the iPod holds strong.

“Holly Hop” – Buddy Holly. Sexy instrumental. The anniversary of “the day the music died” in 1959 has just gone by, and suddenly, on the heels of it, comes this intriguing news.

“Sweet Sweet Spirit” – The Stamps. Elvis’ backup gospel group through the 1970s. I saw them perform at Graceland, at 8:30 in the morning on Elvis’ birthday. Tremendously emotional. This was one of Elvis’ favorite gospel songs, and he would hand over his concert to them. Telling the thousands of people out there, who had come to see only him, to “listen.” Watch how he listens.

“Press Conference” – from the Chess in Concert album. Oh, Chess, why won’t you quit me.

“Another Girl” – The Beatles, from Help! Quite a nice taunt. I am in love with the harmonies and have been so since I first heard it when I was … God, I don’t know, in nursery school. Earlier. I absorbed these guys through osmosis.

“Fare Thee Well” – Oscar Isaac, from Inside Llewyn Davis. Very talented man. Have you seen A Most Violent Year? He plays a completely different character, totally convincing.

“Rock DJ” – the great Robbie Williams. Superstar. “Pimpin’ ain’t easy …” Poor baby.

“The Word” – The Beatles. Stop telling me what to say, boys! Kidding aside, Rubber Soul is my favorite Beatles album.

“This Is Your Life” – Yipes! Such a time-traveler, and only people who live in Illinois/Wisconsin/Minnesota have this album. Pat McCurdy, legendary singer/songwriter (just because he is not famous internationally does not make him any less legendary), had a couple of bands before he went solo. Yipes! was one of them. All “Pat-heads” (as we called ourselves) owned this. Weird side story: Pat McCurdy competed on Star Search. Hosted by Ed McMahon. I was a child, 10? 11?, and it was a season I watched religiously because I had a crush on the guy competing for the Solo Singer prize. I think the guy I loved ended up winning. Star Search was appointment-TV. And … I held my tape recorder up to the television in order to record the episode. Listen, we didn’t have a VCR. I knew the technology I needed but it hadn’t been invented yet. Or it wasn’t in my house yet. So somewhere in a pile of old cassette tapes in my mother’s house is a recording of Pat McCurdy competing on that one Star Search episode. If a little angel had said to me, the child, “That guy … that tall guy up there … competing against Sawyer Brown … someday, when you are much more grown up, and yet still a wild-wild-child, you will find yourself here, and it will all make sense.” Child-me would have been like, “What? Ew. He’s so old.” I told Pat once about me tape recording him (inadvertently) on Star Search, and he was blown away. “How old were you? Okay, that’s freaking me out right now.”

“Raise Your Glass” – the cast of Glee. What the hell is this shit?

“Leave My Kitten Alone” – The Beatles. Fierce.

“Little Sister” – Elvis Presley. This is grown-up Elvis, slightly disturbing, slightly lecherous, with that rasp in his voice that he does from time to time, the really really dirty Elvis.

“Soundtrack of My Summer” – Mike Viola. So simple. So … heartbreaking. Maybe love and happiness is possible. That’s what I hear in his songs sometimes. Because he had a rough time of it. And he came through.

“Glad All Over” – The Beatles. From “Live at the BBC” – a new favorite of mine.

“Outta My Head” – Ashlee Simpson. Oh dear.

“You’re Gonna Lose That Girl” – The Beatles. Another taunting song. I love it when they taunt. It’s even more intense because of the echoing structure of the song. It’s a big “Nyah-nyah-nyah.”

“Solace” – Scott Joplin. The title describes the song’s effect.

“Everybody Loves You Now” – Billy Joel. I went through a big Billy phase in high school, when he was a Top 40 guy with almost every single, and then I stopped paying attention. I’m okay with that. But still: this 121 Billy Joel songs ranked Vulture piece is just amazing.

“Miss You-Miss Me” – Dolly Parton, from her latest, the wonderful Blue Smoke. For me, she’s up there with Elvis and Dean Martin in somehow being able to make me feel better in the first strains of whatever song it is. She’s hope/happiness/gratitude/humility/humor personified. And I’m just so glad she’s still out there, writing, singing, performing. She’s in the 5th decade of her career. Still at the top. Extraordinary.

“I Can’t Stop Loving You” – Elvis Presley, from one of his Madison Square concerts, all included in the gorgeous box-set Prince from Another Planet. Elvis is absolutely on fire. I mean, the song starts at its climax, and then just … keeps going. He turns it into a bluesy boozy burlesque number at one point, because … he’s Elvis.

“Snow White Queen” – Evanescence. Their stuff is so creepy and intense, and “Snow White Queen” is basically a love song sung by a controlling psychopath.

“It Feels So Right” (take 1) – an early take of one of Elvis’ sexiest numbers. He’s a bit pitchy in this first take. He’s very rarely pitchy (he had perfect pitch). They’re still working out the accompaniment and the background. I love “It Feels So Right.”

“I Fought the Law” – The Stray Cats cover of the song written by one of Buddy Holly’s “crickets” and then turned into a big hit by Bobby Fuller Four (that’s probably the version everyone knows).

“Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Me” – Susan Sarandon from Rocky Horror Picture Show, which was huge for us in high school. It’s kind of a dirty version of “Freddie My Love” from Grease. Sarandon goes nuts in the song. Funny.

“Gimme Gimme” – Sutton Foster, from Thoroughly Modern Millie. An interesting companion piece to the Rocky Horror song. I love the journey she goes on during the song: she starts wistful and hopeful and then ends it demanding and aggressive.

“I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” – Dean Martin. He’s the best. And just a small personal tip: If you include your love of Dean Martin in your online dating profile, fascinating men (in general) will respond to you. Yes, they may just want to talk about Dean Martin, instead of being enraptured by your zaftig flaming-haired persona, but sitting around talking about Dean Martin is not a bad way to spend your time.

“Dixieland Rock” – Elvis Presley. One of the great numbers from the great King Creole. Enjoy.

“Sweeter Than You” – Ricky Nelson. What a heartthrob.

“Sunday Morning” – No Doubt. I was so super into Tragic Kingdom for about … two months? You know, when everyone else was into it. I have continued to follow Gwen Stefani’s career, in a mild way. I kind of over-listened to Tragic Kingdom, as sometimes happens. I wore it out.

“The Day That Never Comes” – Metallica. I was wondering when they would show up. Starts out as a ballad, and then … metals up.

“Fight For Your Right” – The Beastie Boys. Okay, so I have probably listened to this song, on average, twice a week, since it was first released. We’re talking averages. When it first came out, I listened to it 10 times a day. Unlike, say, Tragic Kingdom, this one has not worn out so far. Probably never will. It’s an anthem. It’s ridiculous. It’s goofy. It’s got that “hook” grinding underneath everything. Classic.

“She’s Looking Good” – Waylon Jennings. Aching longing Waylon.

“Ever Since I Lost Your Love” – Cliff Eberhart. Seen him a bunch, whenever I can. The Bottom Line, a couple of times. I discovered him accidentally. He opened for Christine Lavin in Philadelphia, and I was a huge fan of hers. Almost missed the opening act, but I went out of that show a fan for life. Sometimes I can’t listen to him. Too painful. Wonderful songwriter.

“I Got Stung” – Elvis Presley, from the amazingly raucous and productive recording session in spring, 1958 – prior to his leaving for the Army in the fall. They needed to get down as much stuff as they could before Elvis vanished. Pretty much every song recorded on those couple of days is memorable, a “hit”. And they did multiple takes. 20, 30 takes. Elvis is on fire. The band, too, is loud and jangling and rocking, with a great integration of his voice and the background. These all feel like live takes – as, indeed, they are.

“Museum Song” – Jim Dale, from Barnum. My sister Jean and I can recite this by heart, and just as fast as the original. We have driven family members from the room when we get going.

“Glory” – Liz Phair, from Exile in Guyville. Please give me back my private journals, Liz, kthxbai.

“Virginia Moon” – Foo Fighters. So so pretty! Almost like a song you’d hear played in a late-night lounge/supper-club, circa 1962.

“John Nineteen: Forty One” – the mournful orchestral song from Jesus Christ Superstar. Getting a good mix here in the Shuffle.

“Losing My Mind” – Dorothy Collins, from the original Broadway production of Follies. The song kills me. Can’t even really deal with it.

“Fly Away” – The Indigo Girls. If I had had to predict which band getting radio-play in the late 80s/early 90s would still be around, still recording, still touring, I would never have picked The Indigo Girls. I’m not sure why, I loved that first album of theirs, and it was very much its own thing at the time. But here they still are. I’m happy about that. I don’t love all of their songs, but boy, when they hit it, they HIT GOLD.

“Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op 93 III, Tempo de Menuetto” – Beethoven, the London Symphony Orchestra. Formal and almost royal-sounding, with those trumpets and drums, but emotional and dramatic too.

“Learn To Do It” – from Disney’s movie Anastasia. You know, because the murder of the Romanov family is a wonderful story for children! Like the music a lot, especially the Rasputin song. Here the con-men train “Anastasia” how to act like she was raised as a royal.

“Gin Soaked Boy” – The Divine Comedy. What a song. What a voice.

“Heaven and Hell” – Black Sabbath. Epic! I absolutely love Lester Bangs’ essay about going to a Black Sabbath show, where he goes so far as to refer to their music as Catholic, that Catholicism is the wellspring of creativity there. Perhaps not an original point, but radical at the time when Black Sabbath was getting all this terrible and fearful press, like Are they promoting Satanism??

“Slow Rollin Low” – Waylon Jennings, from Honky Tonk Machine. That opening! The guitar. The harmonica. Swoon.

“Back In Time” – Huey Lewis and the News. My first live concert ever. And thankfully (as well as mortifyingly) I wrote about it in my high school diary, to be preserved for all time.

“My Maria” – B.W. Stevenson. So stinkin’ 70s.

“Selfish” – Britney Spears. Sure, Brit-Brit, be a little selfish “tonight,” I won’t judge.

“Sweet and Easy to Love” – Roy Orbison, recorded at Sun Records. You can pick that “Sun sound” out of a line-up.

“Go Away” – Lorrie Morgan. Not a huge fan of contemporary country, but there are exceptions. I’ve rocked this one at a karaoke bar in Koreatown, I am happy (and ashamed) to admit.

“All Thumbs” – Tracy Bonham. I adore her. Check her out. She had that one radio hit, “Mother Mother”, where she screamed with rage (that’s how I learned about her), and I’ve followed her ever since.

“About a Girl” – Nirvana, in their unforgettable MTV Unplugged concert. Cobain: “This is off our first record. Most people don’t own it.” Typical. Listen to his voice. And those chord changes. Goosebumps.

“Are We All We Are” – Pink. She’s such a rock star. I love it when she gets bratty.

“I’m Not Through” – Ok Go. From their latest album which I haven’t had time to absorb yet. Their songs crack me up and make me feel happy.

“God Is Love” – Lenny Kravitz. From the not-too-popular-at-the-time Circus, a pretty dark album for the hippie-boy in flowered pants. I love Circus.

“Susan When She Tried” – Elvis Presley covering The Statler Brothers. Love country Elvis. Love ladies-man Elvis. The ladies get him down, but never for good, because … there’s just so many of them. This recording is perfect. Great vocals and great arrangement.

“The Devil Never Sleeps” – Iron & Wine. Groovy as hell.

“Helpless” – Metallica, covering Diamond Head, on their compilation-cover album Garage Inc (love it). The guitar on “Helpless” is in-SANE. I also love the fake-out fade-out.

“Take Good Care of Her” – Elvis Presley. “Late” Elvis. He infuses this with such sadness, he personalizes every note, there is such loss here. It’s all in his voice.

“I Can Help” – Elvis Presley. I find this song very moving. Elaine Dundy discusses the effect of this song in her wonderful book Elvis and Gladys. She nails it.

“Freakshow” – Britney Spears. Go to bed, Brit-Brit. Get some shut-eye.

“No One Else But You” – Brendan Benson. I’m an enormous fan, and it’s all because of that damn Mac commercial, featuring one of his songs. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that, but I’m glad I looked him up because of that song. He’s prolific. He’s a phenomenal songwriter. Love his stuff.

“So Real” – Jeff Buckley. Seeing him live in Chicago was one of the most memorable live shows I have ever seen in my life. My friend Ted and I still talk about it.

“Drink You Away” – Justin Timberlake. From his latest album. My favorite track. It’s out of control. Listen, he has said he feels comfortable wearing white shoes because Elvis did. When he wears white shoes, it’s a tip of the hat to Elvis, the guy who made so much possible. Love this guy.

“Crazy Woman” – Jumpin’ Gene Simmons. No, not the guy from KISS. The rockabilly Sun Records recording artist. Simmons died in 2006, I think. This song moves. With that distinctive in-the-moment Sun sound.

“I’m Leavin'” (take 3) – Elvis Presley. The various takes of this particular song are fascinating. The song itself is a heartbreaker: found a good article on Elvis’ performance. Well worth looking up the song if you are not familiar. But why the takes are interesting – in particular this one – is they finish, and it sounded beautiful (those “La La La La’s” – heartcrack). The take sort of peters out, and Elvis lets out a low whistle. Comments to himself, “That’s tough.” (And it is. Very complex song.) But then he says, to the group in the room, “This thing is worth working on.”

“Dr. Robert” – The Beatles. Please picture me and my friends singing along with this, at top volume, age 9, 10. There was a Beatles craze in my grade school. Our music teacher had been in the audience at their performance on the Ed Sullivan Show and told us the crazy stories. Anyway. We had no idea what we were singing about, hanging over the jungle gym, shouting, “DR. ROBERT!”

“Charlie’s Soliloquy Reprise” – the wonderful Stark Sands in Cyndi Lauper’s Broadway musical Kinky Boots

“You Can Leave Your Hat On” – Randy Newman, although I always think of it as a Joe Cocker song. Either way. Sexy.

“I Am the Walrus” – Bono, from Julie Taymor’s Beatles-inspired movie Across the Universe. It works.

“Rock Me” – Liz Phair, on the glories of dating a younger man. She speaks truth to power. “Just take off my dress. Let’s mess with everybody’s minds.”

“15 Minutes” – The Yeah You’s. From the really fun Easy A soundtrack.

“Everlong” – Foo Fighters. From The Colour and the Shape, an album I listened to so obsessively and so repeatedly that I think of the year it came out as “the year of The Colour and the Shape.” Same with the year “The Eminem Show” came out. As far as I was concerned, only one album came out that year. “Everlong” is great, and there’s a live version on one of their albums that is so different, slowed-down, made introspective, a ballad, practically – shows how flexible the song is.

“I Want You to Want Me” – Cheap Trick. Well, I get that, but to quote the Stones, you can’t always get what you want.

“Angie” – Tori Amos. Speaking of the Stones … Love her cover.

“Whiplash” – Metallica. So fast that the only valid response is to trash a hotel room.

“B-Day Song” – Madonna. Don’t have her latest yet, but can’t wait. And really enjoyed this piece by Noel Murray.

“The Seven Rejoices of Mary” – The Monks of Glenstal Abbey, with Sinead O’Connor. Absolutely wonderful.

“Kissing a Fool” – George Michael. God, that album was huge.

“That’s All Right” – Elvis Presley. As Dave Marsh calls it, the “Rosetta stone” of rock ‘n’ roll.

“The Twilight Zone” – The Manhattan Transfer. Holy shit, member this? I didn’t even know I had this. The guitar solo is killing me.

“What’d I Say” – Jerry Lee Lewis. Recorded in Sun Records. Really loose, really dirty. Not as manic as Elvis’ cover of the same song. It’s grittier, more connected, with some great Jerry Lee piano stuff. And there’s that Sun echo on his voice.

“Broken Heart Attack” – Jerry Reed. He was out of his mind. Such a genius. Hilarious. “Aww, the pain. It’s intense, friends!”

“Zebulon” – Rufus Wainwright. Extremely sad song.

“I’ll Drown In My Tears” – the perfect and soulful Dinah Washington.

“Don’t Stop Believin'” – Journey. Hang on, Meadow’s parking the car.

“Cold Wind Blows” – Eminem. From Recovery. I love it when he sings.

“Learning the Game” – Buddy Holly. What a sweet sounding song with such sad cynical lyrics. Released posthumously, with overdubbing, I’m pretty sure.

“Seeing Is Believing” – Elvis Presley. Filled with the joy of the Spirit. I love all Elvis-es, but there’s something about gospel Elvis.

“The Thing That Never Sleeps” – Metallica. That opening … Sheesh.

“Star-Spangled Banner” – Huey Lewis and the News. Have you ever seen their version? There’s one on Youtube, I think. It’s great. A Barbershop-quartet perfect sound.

“I Am Stretched On Your Grave” – Sinead O’Connor. That album was insane. It was a mainstream hit. With songs like this on it.

“I Blame Myself” – Sky Ferreira. God, I love this chick. The song is catchy as hell.

“Were You There When They Crucified My Lord” – Johnny Cash. I was not, Johnny, but I thank you for filling me in on the details.

“Don’t Cuss the Fiddle” – Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Men doing duets, men singing together, men doing albums together. I wish there was more of it. I love the Waylon/Willie stuff!

“A Sunday Kind of Love” – Etta James. She means every word she says. Her intention is always clear, and her intentions are in her voice. She’s able to go up and down the scale, but she does not abuse that talent, like today’s singers do where their pyrotechnics mean you can’t figure out how they feel about what they are saying. With Etta James, you always know what she is feeling.

“Neptune’s Daughter” – Dr. Mars. My uber-talented cousin Liam O’Malley’s band. You can buy it on iTunes.

I’ll end on that Family-Promotion note.

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20 Responses to Snowy March iPod Shuffle

  1. Fran says:

    The Beatles sang a Dave Clark 5 hit? Or is this a different Glad All Over?

  2. Lyrie says:

    The I Can’t Stop Loving You video: god, that crowd!

    • sheila says:

      It’s overwhelming, right?

      And he sold out four shows, back to back. Insane.

      • Lyrie says:

        It really is. Amazing how some people don’t seem to realize that being a star is a hell of a JOB.

        • sheila says:

          It must be both exhilarating and exhausting.

          There’s a shot of Elvis in a limo after a performance that is so eloquent of … the total weird-ness of his position. Who could he ever commiserate with? Nobody really. Maybe the Beatles – but their situation was different because they were a group, not an individual. (And they all seemed to sense that too. George Harrison said that the only reason that any of them survived their own fame is because the stress of it was distributed between the four of them.)

          So Elvis’ showmanship – and exhilaration post-show – was something he went through by himself. Weird. Lonely-making, I imagine.

          I wrote an unforgivably long post about the glimpse I saw on his face in the limo after a concert – soooo revealing. Screen-grabs at the bottom of the post.

          http://www.sheilaomalley.com/?p=57567

          Fame. A fascinating thing to think about.

          • Lyrie says:

            Wow, those pictures!

            Yeah, fame, what a weird, weird thing. People. We are strange.

            I love your long posts. I just have to find time to read them in good conditions. Will do that very soon with that one. Thank you.

  3. Milt says:

    Sheila–
    I’d like to clue you in on an extraordinary young jazz singer, who I believe will eventually be one of the greats. Her name is Cecile Mclorin Salvant. She is 25 years old and won the Thelonius Monk jazz competition at age 20. She studied classical voice in Paris and then moved over to jazz. She has an extraordinary range, great musicianship, has absorbed many of the strengths of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Betty Carter and others to create her own individuality. And she has a devilish sense of humor. Over-sized eyeglasses with white frames are her trademark. She only has one CD out so far, Dreamchild, and is working on another. There are a number of clips of her live performances on Youtube. I highly recommend them.

  4. Myrtle says:

    Aww Stark Sands!! His performance in HBO’s Generation Kill pretty much made me a fan for life. And that was before I heard him sing. Have you seen that show? It seems like right up your alley- badass Alpha males (the real-life kind, not the Hollywood kind) just trying to do their job (or figure out exactly what that job IS) during the invasion of Iraq. The creators aimed to tell that story without political or personal judgement, and not pull too many narrative strings. Just the facts. It was Alexander Skarsgard’s first big break too.

    • sheila says:

      I haven’t seen Generation Kill but I love your description of why it would be up my alley. Ha! Badass Alpha males unite! I guess I didn’t realize Stark Sands was in it. I love Alexander Skarsgard, too – I first became aware of him in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, where he doesn’t have much to do but he makes a huge impression!

      I will be sure to check it out – thank you!

      • Myrtle says:

        Yeah he has one of the biggest parts! I actually think he’s the lynchpin of the piece, if there is one, though Skarsgard is more of a lead. But his character, the platoon lieutenant, goes through probably the biggest arc. And most of the tensions and conflicts go through him; not just storyline-wise, but the undercurrents that make the show so rich. Like, he looks so young (still does haha) that he pretty much embodies the weirdness of officers having way less experience than the enlisted men who have to defer to them. He was actually a pretty experienced lieutenant. But that’s one of the main tensions of the show, and it’s made explicit just by baby-faced Stark Sands showing up. Smart casting, and a smart actor.

        • Myrtle says:

          Oh, and Melancholia!! Alexander Skarsgard is wonderful in GK, but it was Melancholia that made me sit up and take notice. He’s so vulnerable in that film. It’s funny, I think I associate GK with your writing already b/c I was reading your Supernatural recaps around the same time and so much of it applies haha. Skarsgard and Sands in this always make me think of your comment about Leading Men being tough on the surface but able to be open and vulnerable. That’s exactly how Alexander Skarsgard is here. And Stark Sands is like the inverse, polite, well-spoken, seemingly soft but with a hidden backbone of steel. Hot, what can I say;).

          Okay, now I’ll stop going on and on about something you haven’t even seen it yet.

          • sheila says:

            // Okay, now I’ll stop going on and on about something you haven’t even seen it yet. //

            hahaha No, I love it!! This is what passionate and specific commentary can do – it can make people go, “Yeah. I need to see that NOW.”

            Love your words on Leading Men – through the filter of Supernatural, but then showing up here and there elsewhere – it has such an old-school feeling to it, and yet it’s also universal. Like Russell Crowe in LA Confidential, which is another “throwback” kind of role – but it clearly hit a nerve with audiences.

            And yes, Skarsgard is so vulnerable in Melancholia – so caught up in a situation he can’t understand. He loves his bride but … he just doesn’t get it. And he’s hurt by her – and I don’t blame him at all. Some of those closeups of his face … you want someone to really take care of this guy, to not treat him carelessly.

            He’s lovely.

            Another movie he’s wonderful in that didn’t get a lot of attention is What Maisie Knew – with Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan. A modern-day telling of the brutal Henry James story. Skarsgard is a HEARTTHROB in it.

          • sheila says:

            I reviewed What Maisie Knew for Ebert – it’s well worth a look!

            http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/what-maisie-knew-2013

          • sheila says:

            and – side note – I just started work on the Born Under a Bad Sign SPN re-cap. Busy days for me, but I hope to get it up in the next week or so.

  5. Myrtle says:

    Haha I think I watched What Maisie Knew within a few days of seeing Melancholia. I just needed to see him have a happy ending! Poor, poor Michael. There was nothing he could have done. And it was a rough time for me so I was Justine’s homegirl from the start lol. I just wanted everyone to leave her alone, she was doing her best. But I ached for Michael.

    • sheila says:

      // And it was a rough time for me so I was Justine’s homegirl from the start lol. //

      Oh, I hear you!! I had the same reaction.

      And yes, poor Michael. He just seemed caught up in something he couldn’t fully understand.

  6. Debra Thomas says:

    I love that Dolly seems to always show up.

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