Sunday, May 15, 2011

(some of my) Favorite songs from the 60s

Ok finally a real blog!

It appears that my previous two test blogs both turned out'm gonna do an actual post. It's been a little while since my last posting for just a couple of reasons. 1. I'd been so frustrated with the presentation of the last two posts (I suspect blogger was having technical difficulties) that I wasn't motivated to come back and try again. But, i'm an optimist at heart so here we are. 2. Reason number the second, is because today's blog consists of twenty of my favorite songs from the 1960. And folks, that takes a lot of thinking about.

There are only two really obvious (ok, maybe three) picks on this list--but the rest come largely from tunes that are reminiscient of my childhood in Germany. My mom and Dad had a healthy sized collection of mixed tapes consisting larely of songs from the 1950s and 60s that they had recorded off the radio from the old nationally syndicated program, "Solid Gold Saturday Night."

I clearly recall rolling down the Autobahn on many a'weekend traversing between our little American community (Plittersdorf) and various destinations including airforce bases (where we bought most of our groceries) to a myriad of European travel spots such as Eurodisney, Amsterdam, and even Hitler's house (no, really); just to name a few. And always, along these drives that were illustrated by beautiful European countrysides fresh with lush vineyards and old Roman ruins, it could always be counted upon that our little mini-van (dubbed "lil red" by my dad) would be blasting all the best in American Oldies.

Sometimes we would rock the Weird Al Yankovic, but most of the time it was Oldies. And, that's how I grew up. Listening does Bob Seger put? OLD TIME ROCK AND ROLL...amid a backdrop of European magnificence. In my mind's eye, it was perfect. And I don't care to remember it any other way. So, without further rambling...I present for your reading and listening pleasure, my top twenty picks of the 1960s.

1. Homeward Bound--by Simon and Garfunkel
One of the heavier songs on this list, not only does it take me back to Europe, but it also will always remind me of my dad. Because everytime this song would come on (and still, even today, when we listen to it) dad will always begin to reminiss about his time in the army in Korea in 1969. For a soldier along way from home, far from his family and his girl--this is an awfully poignant track. It might be about touring with your band, initially...but songs can mean different things for different people. And dad, whenever he hears this song, just can't help but say, "Yeah David...that's my song." I could do an entire blog (and probably more) about all the stories my dad has told me over the years about this time in his life...but that's a tale for another day.

2. Make your own kind of music--by Mama Cass
Admittedly, this isn't one of the songs I really remember from our road trips in Europe. I've always liked the Mamas and the Papas...but it wasn't until season two of LOST, where this song is featured in the first episode when it began heavy rotation in the playlist that is my life. For the past 5 years it has been one of my favorites...period. And, I presume it shall remain that way until I depart this world. You left us too soon Ms. Cass. And in the words of Bob Dylan, "Mama, you been on my mind."

3. Summer Song--by Chad and Jeremy
Few songs put me in a state of wistful longing like this charming little tribute Summer's final days.

4. Another You--by The Seekers
I think I've said this before in a previous blog, but it bears repeating. This song could EASILY have featured somewhere on the LOST soundtrack; but it never did. Thats ok though, cause if I ever write a sweet novel and it gets turned into a film I will demand that it be placed somewhere within the run-time. It's simply too beautiful to sit dusty on musical history's enormous shelf to not be shared with the world.

5. Groovin, on a Sunday afternoon--by The Rascals
I'm a big fan of laid back, romantic ballads. Can you tell? ;) And incidentally, "groovin on a sunday afternoon" is LITERALLy what i'm doing at this precise moment.

6. Hey Jude--by The Beatles
Oh come on, you KNEW they were going to be on this list SOME WHERE. And what better song to post than one of the happiest songs ever? You can't be in a bad mood, listen to this gem, and at least feel a LITTLE better. :)

7. Never my love--by The Association
Yes. You've seen this song on my blog before. I won't make any apologies for that.

8. White Shade of Pale--by Procol Harum
Another choice, not necessarily stemming from my childhood in Germany, this one comes more from my time as a teenager growing up in Northern Virginia. A strange, lovely little tune. It will always have a soft spot in my heart as one of the songs that helped get me through my "awkward tweenage years." (p.s. would that I had the proper facial hair, I would SO grow a mustache like this guy)

9. Runaway--by Del Shannon
Because you can't mess with Del Shannon

10. Hang on Sloopy--by The McCoys

11. Just Like a Woman--by Bob Dylan
No brainer

12. Pleasant Valley Sunday--by The Monkees
The exact perfect song for today.

13. Fall to Pieces--by Patsy Cline
Because what would a good blog be without a little country? And Ms. Cline, she was the queen of it all. When am I gonna get my Patsy Cline biopic? Zoey Deschanel...i'm looking in your direction.

14. The Pied Piper--by Crispian St. Peters
I've been carrying a torch for this song for probably longer than I can remember. Lord only knows why. I still geek out to it when I think no one is looking. In fact, my parents still have an old audio-tape recording of me at 3 years old singing this quirky little gem. They love to play it whenever I bring friends home to visit...

15. Raindrops keep falling on my head--by B.J. Thomas
The break-down is my favorite part. :)

16. Unchain my heart--by Ray Charles
In the words of Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar, "WE'RE NOT WORTHY! WE'RE NOT WORTHY!" Ray Charles is one of the coolest, most talented blokes to ever grace our world. And I am honored to have experienced his music. Sure, he had his problems...but then don't we all? Thank God we always have the music to fall back on and catch us.

17. I've been loving you too long--by Otis Redding
I love a song where you can hear every ounce of emotion pouring out from the singer's mouth into his or her work. Every bit of happiness and heartbreak. Every painful memory, every joyous love affair. Every glorious, obscene feeling that illustrates their love and their passion. And I don't think i've heard a song by Otis Redding yet, that doesn't strike each of these emotions squarely on the noggin. The Lord took this man too soon; but his music has been allowed to remain a positive force for all of us to bask in, and to learn from.

18. Good Lovin--by The Young Rascals
Cause even a blind man knows when the sun is shinin!

19. So happy together--by The Turtles
The mega feel good uber bombastic super love song that is the story of my life. And...yes...also the anthem for Golden Grahams cereal.

20. Light my Fire--by The Doors
Yeah, yeah yeah...I know. Cliche right? Overplayed right? Obviously. But that doesn't mean it's a bad song. There is a reason songs are overplayed. It's because when they first came out they crushed all the competition and in so doin made ever lasting icons of themselves to be cherished and listened to over and over and over again. And you know what? I'm ok with that. My cd/tape/record collection rests some where between one to two thousand albums of all different walks of musical styles. Because variety is the spice of life's great taco (what?). But I will always come back to my base. Sure, songs like "light my fire" might get old. But all you have to do is take a break from them, and when you revisit them, they embrace you like old friends. And anyway, GOTTA love that organ solo ;)

So in conclusion, I think it only fair to say that I owe Ma and Pa Banker a great deal. But one of the things I owe them specifically, is that at a very young age--they set the stage for my lifelong love of all walks of music with their rambling mix tapes of Oldies nostalgia. And to that, I say many, MANY thanks.

Stay tuned for next time, when we review my favorite sounds of the 70's.

Long days and pleasant nights my friends. And watch out for John Stamos.

This is just another test

but trust want to click this link

did ya click it??

Saturday, May 14, 2011

this is just a test

if this blog posts in an unsatisfactory way, then some one's house is going to get toilet papered.

So...did it work?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Twenty bands/artists who I would like to be a back up singer/dancer for

Hello out there to all of you in internet-land! Tsk...wouldn't it be cooler if we could meet in--oh--I don't know, Mega Slide Land? Or, Water Park Land? Or, Deep-Fried Funnel Cake Land instead? Alas, such will never be the case, and so we must settle on Al Gore's utopia. ...For now. Since last we spoke I had the opportunity to see a live show! On Wednesday evening last, I had the very special privilage of seeing the magnificent Carolina Chocolate Drops perform at Radford University--in a view from the front row! While this blog serves not necessarily as a post to review live performances exclusively, it DOES serve as an outlet for discussing music and all its wonderous, geeky avenues. So, before we go any further please allow me a moment to convey my deepest respect and nerdly appreciation for this horribly talented North Carolinian String band. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are an African American group hailing from the Chapel Hill area of Carolina. The members range in age from 28-33 (I think). They have been together (in one form or another) for roughly six years; but it hasn't been until recently that they have begun to explode on the bluegrass scene--playing festivals and shows all over the world--AND--even managing to ern themselves a 'lil ol' Grammy award for best new folk artist. It is uncommon to find oneself at a concert where people aged three to sixty five are dancing together in the aisles, but to this, I swear I bore witness. The Carolina Chocolate Drops specialize in old timey/bluegrass/folk/traditional irish/blues/traditional americana/and songs that you could (literally) dance the Charleston to. Even if you aren't into this type of music I highly recommend checking them out. And if you ARE into this sort of thing, and you aren't familiar with them, then ladies and gentlemen do stop whatever it is you are doing and look them up NOW. No, seriously...stop reading my blog, go to youtube, and type in Carolina Chocolate Drops. Hell, if you are so inclined saunter down to you local record shop and purchase their albums. In a nation where Nickleback clones largely dominate generic rock radio stations, the Carolina Chocolate Drops are a much needed, appreciated, and welcomed breath of fresh air. Right, i'll stop gushing now--and get on with things. Today's blog features a list of artists and performers whom I would delight in providing back up vocals/dancing for. And we could go with the obvious choices of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, etc. But that's too easy. I think we will venture into a more obscure and quirky territory. So, in the words of the immortal Samuel L. Jackson, "HOLD ON TO YOUR BUTTS!" 1. The Carolina Chocolate Drops Please see the above paragraph. Since i've already spoken to a large extent about my appreciate for this band, let me just say that I would be more than happy to be the token white boy dancing by himself in a dark corner of the stage while they dominate. Hell, I would even be thrilled to just play the triangle if they asked me to. 2. Gogol Bordello Gypsy Punk! A drunken, vivacious mad-house of infectious, unique stylings. 3. The Decemberists A versitile, weird, mix of folk, rock, and story-telling. I want to hang out with them. And YES, the wanting comes in waves. 4. The Flaming Lips DOY. My darling Yoshimi, let's battle these pink robots! 5. Cypress Hill Maybe they would let me play the harmonica for them? Cause let's be real, they possess just the right amount of Insane. ;) 6. Weird Al Yankovic A dorky fan-boy's child hood dream come true. No, really...I can clearly remember fantasizing about playing onstage along side Al and the gang from the tender age of nine. 7. Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers For some one who grew up watching Steve Martin movies since I can remember, to discovering that he played the banjo, to purchasing and falling in love with his first album (The Crow), to making the pilgrimage in the deadly Tennessee heat to watching this renaissance man perform--to actually being onstage along side him--would blow my mind twenty-seven million ways to Sunday. Steve, I could be your King Tut (in a completely heterosexual way, of course). 8. A Perfect Circle Because sometimes it's fun to flirt with the dark side ;) 9. Roger Miller I've recently begun watching the Television series "Doctor Who." Perhaps one day i'll accquire a TARDIS of my own, and time travel back to a time when it would be opportune to join this quirky, billiant, songster on the road. He is, after all, king of the road, even if he can't rollerskate in a buffalo herd. If a TARIDS cannot be obtained then I would gladly settle on a Delorean--or even a phone booth--if it came to that. 10. The Mighty Clouds of Joy Let's get the Lord up in this blog! 11. Big Mama Thornton Because who DOESN'T want to hang out/perform with a big, jolly, African-American blues woman? 12. Run DMC Don't deny it, you know you'd wanna rock it with these guys too. 13. Loretta Lynn & Jack White I would do very bad things to be able to be on stage with Loretta Lynn and Jack White. She is the greatest female country artist to grace our land, and He is the savior of rock n roll. Together they create an unstoppable force of toe-tapping, heart-breaking, glory-filled musical magic. 14. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy A swingin' big band from the late nineties that never really got the recognition they deserved. Having survived middle and high school playing the trumpet, these guys are right up my alley. I admit, this fourteenth entry had strong competition from the Glen Miller Orchestra, and The Squirrel Nut Zippers, both of whom I admire on the highest levels. Of all the bands that i've posted so far though, BBVD ranks at the top of those whom I would actually have a real shot of playing with; were my trumpet skillz not so rusty. I still have my trumpet (a beautiful, silver, Bach Stradavarius) that i've been promising myself as soon as I live in a place where the walls aren't so thin, I will pick back up and start playing again. Maybe someday i'll start a swing band of my own. Hey...a lad can dream right? :) 15. Shel Silverstein We can probably blame my unhealthy fascination with poetry on Shel Silverstein--and the fact that when I was eight, I picked up a copy of "Where the Sidewalk Ends" and never looked back. Imagine my delight when, as I got older, I discovered that not only was Shel a talented poet and cartoonist, but he was also a singer-songwriter/performer. In my opinion, Shel Silverstein is the definition of cool; and easily one of the folks whom I base my philosophies and way of life upon. To even just be in the same room with him, would make my feeble little mind kersplode into a gooey universe of millions of excited little pieces. But to have had the chance to play along side him? Brother...I can't even begin to imagine... We miss you Shel Silverstein. The whole world misses you. 16. Flight of the Conchords/Tenacious D Born of similar ilk; these two groups profess and practice the ideas upon which my worlds revolves. Music, and comedy. You can be a wonderboy, but you don't have to a prostitute. 17. Old Crow Medicine Show The bad-ass mad men of bluegrass. Enough said. 18. The Travling Wilburys Nelson Wilbury, Otis Wilbury, Lefty Wilbury, Charlie T. Wilbury, Lucky Wilbury...A.K.A....Spike Wilbury, Clayton Wilbury, Muddy Wilbury, Boo Wilbury.....A.K.A....George Harrison, Jeff Lynn, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan & Roy Orbisson. Possibly the greatest band ever to walk the face of the earth. I would be content to simply have been a fly on the wall (or stage, whatever) when these men came together to play. They are my heroes. Three live on to play and record music in their own respective rights in this world that we live in; while two have moved on to groove with all the greats in the wide unknown. But wherever they are, in this life or the next, they are always creating perfect music, for the imperfect listener to learn from, to live in, and to love. Cheers mates, and thank you. 19. Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band I owe a lot to Jimmy Buffett and his band of merry music makers. I know they're not for everybody, but for me they are perfect. They always provide just the right song for just the right mood. And if you've never seen them live then honey you haven't lived. A Buffett show is one of the single most thrilling, happy, energetic experiences you can ever hope to have. For years Buffett and the Coral Reefers were my white whale. I came so close to seeing them so many times. But in the summer of 2009 I managed (somehow) to see them twice. I can testify that it is one big jolly (mon) of a party. Whether I was just some dude dancing on stage, or singing back up vocals, or strumming along to a simple song in the standard and much loved chord of G, on my daddy's old Alvarez; I would be one, ecstatic Parrot Head. Waitress? We need two more boat drinks! 20. Justin Jewell, Brandon Daigle, Aaron Atkins, Tom Hughs, Erich Robinson, Sidney Hollandsworth, Nathan Schell, Dawn Graham, Brack Stovall, Joyce Banker, Tim Banker, Missy Amos, and anyone else i've ever had the very esteemed opportunity and privilage to participate with in a backyard bonfire sing along with acoustic guitars, or driven down the road with while the music blared from car speakers and we sang along with reckless wonderful abandon in our glorious and beautiful off-key voices. Cause that's what it's really all about. You can fantasize about playing with your favorite bands. And while it's a sweet, fun fantasy--that's all it is. And that doesn't come anywhere close to playing music and singing along with your best friends and loved ones. Obviously, I can't post a link to that sort of thing, so if you're reading this then I invite you to sit back, tune in to your most cherished memories, and reflect on all the excellent times we've had together making our nerdy musics. I wouldn't trade you guys for even a micro-second of playing with any of the afforementioned artists. Thanks and praise to you all, for all the years and smiles that you've given me. And in the words of Forrest Gump, "That's all i've got to say about that." Honorable mentions: Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and any musical number that The Muppets have ever performed, ever. Till next time, long days and pleasant nights. :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Songs that completely transform your mood

Hello old friends! I'm not dead, I haven't been magicked into a ferret, and I'm not lost in Uganda! I am however, sitting in the dodgy Radford-city hookah bar sipping a black coffee and enjoying a white peach/tangerine hookah. It's been a few weeks since last we spoke. I wish I could say that i've been out flying dragons, pirating ships (not the Somalian kind though...those guys are douchy), or at the very least making home made beer. Sadly the only reason I havn't updated in a little while is because i'd previously been doing my blogs at work; and I came to the conclusion that that was probably a poor idea. And, this is the first chance i've had to get out of the apartment with a little free time (and extra $) and stroll down to the local Sheesha bar, to take advantage of their free wi-fi. I trust you will forgive me, and that you will delight in today's blog. A blog titled, "Songs to completely transform your mood." A.K.A. therapy songs to cheer you up when your life is in the shitter! Yay! 1. Blues Traveler--The Mountains Win Again Do you remeber the first Cd's you ever purchased? My first was, of course, "News of the World," by Queen. I was in sixth grade when that one came into my possession. "Four" by Blues Traveler, came to live with me shortly after. I bought it, originally, because i'd heard "Hook" on the radio and fell instantly in love. It wasn't until one afternoon while out walking my old dog Maggie though, that I had the opportunity to listen to the album in its entirety. Somewhere between Creek Branch Ct. and Cub Run Drive my ears first fell upon the beauty that is "The Mountains Win Again." It is...track five, if i'm not mistaken. The song starts out with John Poppers magnificent harmica ever so delicately bellowing these riffs that can only be described as blue-birds gliding through a damp summer evening. The song then continues to ease into an aura of well-being and general happiness that burns through any all bad feelings that may be dragging the listener down, and lifts them up and out of the body to elate the listener with memories of camping with your daddy when you were five, watching the sunrise in the Rockies when you were eighteen, and leaves you with a sense of provacative cheer. Have a listen. 2. Elton John---Tiny Dancer One word: COLLEGE ;) 3. Ben Folds---The Army I didn't discover that I was a big Ben Folds fan until a few years ago. There were tell tale signs all over the place that I should've been paying attention to...for example, he is good friends with Weird Al Yankovic, he is our generation's Billy Joel/Elton John (both of whom I adore), and most importantly, just the fact that he's a quirky, happy go lucky guy. One of my favorite memories of this song is from several years ago at a party that Dawn Graham and I threw at our house on Davis Street. I'd made several mixes for the party, one of them containing this song. When it came on everyone started geeking out...most notably Andy Reech and Brandon Daigle. There were dancing in my dining room. :) I think about that whenever i'm down. 4. Bruce Springsteen---Out in the Street This song is my life. It is the anthem of the working man. It illustrates that, Yeah; times are hard...but dammit he's gonna find a way to rock out and admire the beauty of life anyway. And, most importantly, he's gonna show his girl a good time. P.S. i've never seen Clarence "The Big Man" Clems frown 5. Everclear---I will buy you a new life Where your flowers can bloom.... 6. Alison Krauss--I'll fly away I often listen to this song on particularly difficult days at work--it helps to remind me that I won't live in Radford forever. I maintain that Radford is kind of a sad town; where good things tend to happen. 7. The Talking Heads---And she was Two stories about this song. Both true. One kinda funny, one kind sad. 1. I say David Byrne perfom in 2004 at my first Bonnaroo. He was one of the closing acts. Before going into "And she was," he gave a little monologue. It went something like this, "So this song...this song is about a girl I used to know; back in high school. Sometimes after school she and I would sneak out to the fields near where we lived. We would drop acid and lay in the grass and admire the clouds and the sky and dote on each other and how sweet life can be. This song is about that girl. This song is called And She Was." 2. My dog, Maggie, who I got when she was a puppy in 1995, passed away this month four years ago. Saying good bye to maggie was one of the hardest things i've ever done. I was home visiting my parents that weekend; and poor maggie was pitiful. She could barely walk; and I knew that it was going to be the last time I saw her. Before I hit the road to go back to radford I sat down on my parent's living room floor with her, and I kept her company for a little while both of us knowing that this was it. Dogs can't talk of course, and if they could they would probably say things like, "get off my biscuits honkie!" but when I looked into maggie's face that afternoon in April of 2007 I saw that her eyes were saying goodbye to me; and that hey...maybe we'd meet up again some day. We grew up together, and now it was her time to move on. I gave her one last pat on the head; and then promptly got into my truck to drive the four lonely hours back to Radford. I cried the whole way. After I got home I went straight to the backyard with my mixed cd and my headphones and sat in the grass to think about all the times we'd spent together. One of the songs that came on my cd was "And She Was" by the Talking Heads. Listening that, I felt a little better. A few days later I was on the phone with my mom and dad and they told me that Maggie had passed on. But no doubt, she was floatin' there above me, and she was. 8. Old Crow Medicine Show---Wagon wheel A song about a guy road-tripping just to see the love of his life and nothing else matters? Yeah...i'll take that. :) 9. Jimmy Buffett---Take another road I often espouse to profess my love for one particular buffett song as my favorite. This of course is complete bungle as there are so many....but damn...this one is WAY up there. "Sail upon the ocean, just like Mr. Twain." That says it all... 10. Dave Matthews Band--#41 Would you believe me if I told you I didn't listen to this song for the first time until just about a month ago? Well, friends and's true. :::hangs head in shame::: 11. M.C. Hammer---Do not pass me by AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW HAMMER DON'T HURT 'EM! HA! 12. Tori Amos---A thousand oceans First Tori song I ever heard was "Crucify." I thought it was weird and awesome. Second song I ever heard was "Winter." I thought it was sad and lovely. The third song I heard was "A Thousand Oceans." That's when I fell head over heals in love. I think it was sophomore year of college. I listened to this song at least three times a day for several months. In February of 2004 (I think) I saw Tori in concert with Rachel Frone, Bear, and Dawn Graham. I can't even begin to relate to you the feelings that began to swell (not just in myself, but in all four of us) when she unexpectedly began to play this incredible tune, half way through her set. 13. Jackie Wilson---Higher and Higher I dare you to listen to this, on a bad day, and tell me that you don't instantly feel better. 14. Damien Rice---Toffee Pop In a song library where most of Mr. Rice's tunes are remarkably dark, and brooding, and very much a musical "FUCK YOU" to a girl that clearly burned him, "Toffee Pop" stands out like a leperous thumb in the glee that it exudes. 15. The Beach Boys---Good Vibrations The first time I ever heard "Goob Vibrations" was when I was maybe...oh...I don't know...five years old? My mom called into the nationally syndicated radio program "Solid Gold Saturday Night" to request it. She got through. We still have the recording of her on the radio somewhere on an old cassette tape. It was history in the making. 16. Michael Jackson---Will You be There? So many Michael Jackson songs could have ended up on this list. Man in the mirror, I want you back, I'll be there...just to name a few. But this gem stands out. Nary a day goes by that I don't wonder what would've become of the King of Pop had he not overdosed on painkillers two years ago. I'm quite certain he would've encountered a come back. Did you know that during the Thriller years he recorded several songs with Freddie Mercury? It's true..and they are going to be released sometime this year. Don't believe me? Just ask Brian may. CAN'T. WAIT. Lordy he was prolific... 17. Bob Marley---One Love :) :) :) 18. David Bowie---Magic Dance (From the motion picture "The Labyrinth) My a nutshell. Damn you Jerith...and damn me too... 19. Simon and Garfunkel---the only living boy in new york I am the only living boy in radford town. Sometimes after a long day, I go down to the river and scream; with this song playing on repeat in my head. It scares the ducks away, but I always feel better. :) 20. Blues Traveler---Just Wait And so, we will begin and end with John Popper & Co. This song is also from the album "Four." "If ever you are feeling like your tired, and all your up hill struggles...are headed down hill. And if you realize your wildest dreams can't hurt you, and your appetite for pain, has drinken its fill...then I ask of you a very simple question, did you think for one minute, that you were alone? And is your suffering a privilage that you share only? Or did you think that everybody else, feels completely at home? Just wait...Cause if you think i've given up on you you're crazy. And if you think i don't love you, well then youre just wrong. In time you just might take to feeling better. Time is the beauty, of the road being long..." :::ENTER GLORIOUS GUITAR SOLO::: And now i'm going to take off my shoes, and walk around barefoot while listening to my new mix cd, entitled, "Spring 2011." I suggest you all do something similar, and go enjoy the sunshine. :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Songs for the perfect make-out mix tape

Music is a blessing, in our lives. I truly believe that it has tremendous healing powers. Case in point: About thirty minutes ago I was dealing with an incredibly difficult teenager at work. If you know me, you know that I have quite a good bit of patience--but in this particular situation I was not far from leaping over my desk and hulking out on the afforementioned youth. I didn't, though...of course. That would've resulted in job loss, probable law suits, and (again, probably) some sort of court-forced therapy. Eventually the kid walked away and I continued to sit there shaking. Two minutes later another teen started playing "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley on his I-Pod. There are few things in this life that can sooth the savage wrath like a happy, chill, Bob Marley tune. I sat back, took in the song, and laughed in spite of myself. This job has it's ups and downs. Today's episode exemplified a "down." Luckily, they are few and far between. I need to remember that. I also need to remember Bob's words, "don't worry...about a thing. 'Cause every little thing, is gonna be alright." Most importantly though, I need to remember not to let dumb-ass thirteen year old's piss me off. Odds are that kid will probably get eaten by a lyger one day or something.

BUT ANYWAY! Today's blog features some of the more provacative picks from my music library. A list of twenty songs for the perfect make-out mix!

1. Bonita Applebaum, by A Tribe Called Quest
Let's start things out with a super sexy hip hop classic shall we? Oh my, yes.

2. Stranglehold, by Ted Nugent
Dirty, hot, strange and sassy. Say what you want about The Nuge. He may be a whackadoo conservative bow-hunting mad man. But wang-dang that long-haired hillbilly sure can write a hot damn tune.

3. Dazed n Confused, by Led Zeppelin
Black lights. Incense. A shot of bourbon. And a filthy, sexy Led Zeppelin record. Do you need anything else? NO. I didn't think so.

4. The Whipping Post, by The Allman Brothers
The Whipping Post has virtually the same effect as Dazed n Confused. The difference though is that there are varying versions of this song. If your lucky you can find some live versions that go on for more than twenty minutes. And hey, let's be honest. The longer the song the better on a make-out mix right? Yes. I thought so too. The version i've posted here features guest guitarist zakk wylde (yay!) and goes for nearly 15 minutes. :D

5. Young Lust, by Pink Floyd
::::shrugs shoulders and smiles sheepishly:::::

6. Happiness is a warm gun, by The Beatles
Is there a naughtier song by The Beatles than this one? Well, there is always the blatant "Why don't we do it in the road" but that one relies more heavily on the quirk factor, whereas Happiness is just straight up gritty and sensual but in a classy/bluesy sort of way. Nobody does it quite like The Beatles. pun intended.

7. Purple Stain, by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
But then again what's wrong with a little quirk in your make out mix anyway? Such a compilation wouldn't be complete without a funky rendezvous from a track from the "By The Way" album by these delightful young men.

8. Heard it Through the grape vine, by Creedence Clearwater Revival
One word: SINister

9. Give in to me, by Michael Jackson
God he was good. This is a really under-rated song too. It's not as recognized as your "Beat it's" and "Man in the Mirror's" or your "Billie Jeans." The man had more problems than the universe could hold--but, Lord could he write a tune. Tsk.

10. Bang Bang, by Nancy Sinatra
My baby shot me down....A sexy tune doesn't always have to rock. It can be slow, and haunting, and dangerous.

11. Criminal, by Fiona Apple
I've been a bad, bad squirrel...

12. Honey Bee, by Tom Petty
This is quite possibly the most provocative song Tom Petty has ever written. Buzz awhile ;)

13. Cut Like a Buffalo, by The Dead Weather
I think this the most recent song on this list. The Dead Weather is of course one of Jack White's many musical projects. They formed in 2009 and have already released two studio albums. It's bluesy, like the White Stripes, but where the Stripes had more of a humorous edge, The Dead Weather is absolutely musical sex. The energy is so raw, and the tension is so tight you could bounce a silver dollar on it. "Cut like a buffalo" is from their first album, "Horehound."

14. Crazy, by Aerosmith
I guess....well....cause some guilty pleasures will never, ever, expire :)


15. Got you where I want you, by The Flys
did'ja know that I can dance? Could we talk for a while?

16. Swallowed, by Bush
Does this one take you back? It takes me back...

17. Fishin in the Dark, by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Don't judge me. I want to live this song.

18. I Alone, by Live
Surreal. And oh so true.

19. Red House, by Jimi Hendrix
in the words of Jimi Hendrix, "AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW YEAH BABY." Need we say more? The song speaks for itself.

20. Say Goodbye, by Dave Matthews Band featuring John Popper of Blues Traveler
I don't know many songs that are simultaneously sweet, sad, strong yet delicate, sensual and evocative of a light summer evening. But this one has it all. "Say Goodbye" is a sexy, heart-breaking tune; and I can think of none better to round out a list of songs to put on a make-out mix.

Honorable Mentions: pretty much anything by She & Him

And now, ladies and gentleman, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors, lovers and cousins (what?) i'm going to go home, and watch Macgyver


Next Week's blog: Songs that completely transform your mood

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

wedding songs

In stark contrast to last week's blog; this evening shall focus on twenty songs to be played at my wedding. In reality, I intend to have far more than a mere twenty; so let's consider this to be a starting point. :)

In other news, I literally overheard a teenager just now say, "I need something write on."

In further news, I require a butterscotch dinosaur. What?


1. Crazy Love--by Van Morrison
The only song that could be a better opener to a list like this would be "I want you" by Bob Dylan; but i've used that one already in a different list. That song, and this one--I consider to possibly be the two greatest love songs ever written.

2. Wet Sand--by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
No, seriously. Listen to it and tell me i'm wrong.

3. Beautiful--by The Smashing Pumpkins
Dear Billy Corgan, write more songs like this.

4. These Arms of Mine--by Otis Redding
I've been carrying this song around with me for a long, long time. Since, well...ever since "Dirty Dancing" came out in 1987 when I was six years old. I loved all the songs from that movie, but "These Arms of Mine" struck a chord with me more than anything else on that sound track. You can hear the sincerity in Otis's voice. It is love, and passion, and tenderness personified through song.

5. Never My Love--by The Association
A couple weeks ago, I featured a cover of this song--done by Adam Green. Here is the original.

6. She Loves You--by The Beatles
Cause we want to dance, and they can't all be slow dances. :)

7. Dance, Dance, Dance--by Steve Miller Band
I repeat, "Cause we want to dance, and they can't all be slow dances." :)

8. So Happy Together--by The Turtles
I don't care if it's cliched. I love the crap out of this song. I also love turtles. I mean...The Turtles were a cool band......but....I also just really like turtles. Additionally, I can't see me lovin nobody but you. True statement.

9. Salley Garden--an instrumental, traditional Irish tune
As far as background music pre-ceremony is concerned, this just off the top of my head would definitely have to be considered. This is another song that has been with me a long time. I first heard it on a collection of old Irish Ballads that I bought from Cracker Barrell when I was 15 or 16. Really. It's a lovely tune. I listen to this whenever i'm tweaking out due to stress, and it helps immensley.

10. All of My Love--by Led Zeppelin
Interestingly, this could potentially be another pre-ceremony tune...provided we weren't blaring it, of course :)

or how about this orchestral version?

11. I will Always Love You--By Dolly Parton
Because she's the best. In truth, this song is actually a little bit sad......but it's also just so damn pretty; and honest. And that's what it's all about. Open, brutal, honesty; and love. Honestly.

12. Moonlight Serenade--by Glen Miller Orchestra
The last of my pre-ceremony picks.

13. Oh How Happy--by The Jackson 5
I had to fit little mikey and company on this list somewhere. And this is just a terrific, delightful, sweet song. Sometimes I want to climb to the top of the highest hill and proclaim the chorus of this song for all the world to hear; in my honest, off key voice.

14. Wouldn't it be nice--by The Beach Boys
No words are necessary here--just click the link and drown in Brian's ethereal vocals. Mega-happy pop classics are what's up.

15. I want to grow old with you--by Adam Sandler
Dear Adam Sandler, please go back to making decent movies with real heart, and genuine hilarity. We miss them. Much obliged.

16. Passionate Kisses--by Lucinda Williams
I mean, cause...really...who DOESN'T want passionate kisses at their wedding? Just sayin...

17. The Love Song From Disney's Robin Hood
I know what i'm talking about. Trust me.

18. Here Comes my Girl--by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
"Cause you know when i've got that little girl stand right by my side I can tell the whole wide world to SHOVE IT!" Yeah...amen to THAT.

19. Another You--by The Seekers.
I feel like this song should have been featured somewhere on the six season run of "LOST." But, since it wasn't, it will just have to feature here instead. :)

20. Pure Imagination--from the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, sung by Gene Wilder
This is the first dance. That is all.

and on those sweet notes, I bid you a good evening. If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A List of Songs to Play at my Funeral

"Dave, what would you do if I threw up on this lap-top?" asked one random teenager earlier this afternoon while I was at work. "Well..." I responded, "those are actions that would probably lead to your funeral." If i'd asked that kid what kind of music he would want played at his memorial service, I don't doubt he'd have responded with the likes of Lil Wayne, Drake, Wiz Khalifa, and other artists of similar ilk. And really, that's fine. As (almost) all music is completely subjective and strikes different people in different ways. I say, "almost" above because i don't count Nickleback as real music. They're more like drunk woodchucks raping guitars...but...with less talent. At any rate, i've spent the past week thinking about the different songs I would want played at my own funeral. This list resulted in a pretty ecclectic batch. See below.

1. Each Coming Night--by Iron and Wine
I can think of nothing better to start with, than this flawless, peaceful, sad, gem of a song.

2. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness--by The Smashing Pumpkins

3. You Can Call me Al--by Paul Simon
Cause they can't all be sad songs. I expect people to dance at my funeral. I expect leaping, and dancing in praise of beauty, and happiness, and deep friendship. And if they don't i'll haunt their asses ;)

4. Solsbury Hill--by Peter Gabriel
Pack your things, i've come to take you home. That about sums it up, doesn't it?

5. All Dead, All Dead--by Queen
Sure, it sounds like a morbid emo song; but it certainly is graceful. Queen shall bring a touch of class to my death.

6. The World Exploded into Love--by Bob Schneider
If you don't listen to any of the other songs i've posted...listen to this one. It sort of sums up my life, and all my philosophies.

7. Follow You, Follow Me--by The Red House Painters
Gorgeous. A sad love song fit for Angels of the highest order.

8. Fake Plastic Trees--by Amanda Palmer and her Ukelele
Just when you think one of your favorite songs can't get any better, some one proves you wrong by giving it the vocals of a haunting rock queen and applies a ukelele.

9. One more Cup of Coffee--by The White Stripes
I just realized the past three songs were covers....huh. And who says it can't be just a little sinister?

10. Wilderflowers--by Tom Petty
This song is, as so far as I can tell, about traveling away to a peaceful place of harmony and color. I can't live without it, and I wouldn't be able to pass on without it either.

11. When the Deal Goes Down--by Bob Dylan
It's almost like a lullabye you could die to...

12. Melissa--by The Allman Brothers
I has meh reasons

13. When I Grow Up--by The Beach Boys
Because some songs are painfully poignant

---The next four songs are all fairly traditional...but...with a bit of a contemporary knew these were coming right?---

14. When the Saints go Marching in--performed by Dr. John
How bloody awesome is THIS?

15. Angel Band--performed by Ralph Stanley
My favorite.

16. When the Roll is Called up Yonder--performed by the Chuck Wagon Gang
This was one of my grand dad's favorites; and my own dad used to play it on his guitar. It has passed down three generations of Banker Boys to nestle within me as one of my favorites too. Must be something special 'bout this one. :)

17. Amazing Grace--performed by Ray Charles

18. Three Little Birds--by Bob Marley
Because even when we're gone, every little thing is gonna be alright.

19. I'll Follow the Sun--by The Beatles
If I die, and I meet John Lennon and George Harrison in the afterlife; how would I look if they asked me what songs were played at my send off and one of theirs wasn't on the list? I'd feel like a right tool I would. And anyway, this one is perfectly splendid. "One day, you'll look to see i've gone." It couldn't be much more straightforward or elegant could it?

20. Dare to be Stupid--by Weird Al Yankovic
Why? Because life is beautiful and we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously. That's why.

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

next week's blog: 20 songs to play at my wedding

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

20 Favorite Covers

This morning I woke up at 4:09 and went to the bathroom. It was a good pee. I returned scraggle-faced and mumble-jawed to my bed, flopped back down, and proceeded to not go back to sleep. It's been a difficult day. In other news....erm....sorry; by brain isn't functioning properly.

In conjecture with the title of today's blog I'd like to point out that narrowing down a mere twenty favorite cover songs is almost impossible, but i've done my best. To help, I went through all the music on my lap top and made a playlist of every (well...most. I didn't include the crappy ones) cover in my music library. See below.

1. "When the Ship comes in." By Bob Dylan--covered by Robbie O'Connell

2. "Midnight Train to Georgia," by Gladys Knight and the Pips--covered by The Indigo Girls

3. "I've just seen a face", by The Beatles--covered by Jim Sturgess

4. "What's going on" by Marvin Gaye--covered by A Perfect Circle

5. "Sunday Morning comin' down" by Kris Kristofferson--made famous by Johnny Cash--covered by Shawn Mullins

6. "Sanitarium" by Metallica--covered by Apocolyptica

7. "Good Lovin" by The Rascals--covered by The Grateful Dead

8. "Leavin on a Jetplane" by John Denver--covered by Peter, Paul & Mary

9. "Day Tripper" by The Beatles--covered by Jimi Hendrix

10. "Bennie and the Jets" by Elton John--covered by The Beastie Boys

11. "Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers--covered by U2

12. "Minnie the Moocher" by Cab Calloway--covered by Big Bad Voodoo Daddies

13. "Garden Party" by Rick Nelson--covered by John Fogerty

14. "Lay Lady Lay" by Bob Dylan--covered by The Byrds

15. "Love minus zero/no limit" by Bob Dylan--covered by Joan Baez

16. "Follow you, follow me" by Genesis--covered by Red House Painters

17. "Sweet Jane" by Velvet Underground--covered by Cowboy Junkies

18. "Chelsea Hotel #2" by Leonard Cohen--covered by Rufus Wainwright

19. "Creep" by Radiohead--covered by Damien Rice

20. "Boyz in the hood" by Eazy E--covered by Dynamite Hack

21. "Gin and Juice" by Snoop Dogg--covered by The Gourds

22. "Take on Me" by Aha--covered by Reel Big Fish

23. "Build me up Buttercup" by The Foundations--covered by Save Ferris

24. "Come Sail Away" by Styx--covered by Eric Cartman

25. "The Boys are Back in Town" by Thin Lizzy--covered by Everclear

26. "Cat Scratch Fever" by Ted Nugent--covered by Pantera

27. "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC--covered by Marilyn Manson

28. "Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan--covered by Jimi Hendrix

29. "Across the Universe" by The Beatles--covered by Fiona Apple

30. "Angel From Montgomery" by John Prine--covered by Dave Matthews

31. "Come on Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners--covered by Save Ferris

32. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" by The Beatles--covered by Jimi Hendrix

33. "Imagine," by John Lennon--covered by A Perfect Circle

34. "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell--covered by Marilyn Manson

35. "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry--covered by Jimi Hendrix

36. "Sliver" by Nirvana--covered by The Assylum Street Spankers

37. "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode--covered by Johnny Cash

38. "Fields of Gold" by Sting--covered by Eva Cassidy

39. "The Man in the Long Black Coat" by Bob Dylan--covered by Joan Osborne

40. "Hey Jude" by The Beatles--covered by The Flys

41. "The Star Spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key--covered by James Marshal Hendrix

42. "Goin to Aculpoco" by Bob Dylan--covered by Jim James and Calexico

43. "Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones--covered by Guns n Roses

44. "All along the watchtower" by Bob Dylan--covered by Eddie Vedder

45. "Heigh Ho" from Disney's SNOW WHITE--covered by Tom Waits

46. "Layla" by Derek and the Dominoes--covered by The Allman Brothers

47. "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones--covered by Bjork & P.J. Harvey

48. "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John--covered by Ben Folds

49. "Gimme some Truth" by John Lennon--covered by Dhani Harrison & Jakob Dylan

50. "Redemption song" by Bob Marley--covered by Ziggy Marley

51. "Hotel California" by The Eagles--covered by The Gypsy Kings

52. "Message in a Bottle" by The Police--covered by Matisyahu

53. "Real Love" by John Lennon--covered by Regina Spektor

54. "Row Row your boat" traditional children's song--covered by Dr. John

55. "Scarlet Begonias" by The Grateful Dead--covered by Jimmy Buffett

56. "Jolene" by Dolly Parton--covered by The White Stripes

57. "Fiddle and the Drum" by Joni Mitchell--covered by A Perfect Circle

58. "Soul Man" by Sam & Dave--covered by The Blues Brothers

59. "Live and Let Die" by Paul McCartney--covered by Guns n Roses

60. "What is Life" by George Harrison--covered by Shawn Mullins

61. "Changes" by David Bowie--covered by Shawn Mullins

62. "Uncle John's Band" by The Grateful Dead--covered by Jimmy Buffett

63. "Mama Kin" by Aerosmith--covered by Guns n Roses

64. "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen--covered by Willie Nelson

65. "Me and Bobby McGee" by Kris Kristofferson, made famous by Janis Joplin--covered by The Grateful Dead

66. "Johnny B. Good" by Chuck Berry--covered by The Grateful Dead

67. "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond--covered by Jimmy Buffett

68. "Southern Cross" by Crosby, Stills, & Nash--covered by Jimmy Buffett

69. "In my Room" by the Beach Boys--covered by Jimmy Buffett

70. "This Land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie--covered by Bruce Springsteen

71. "No Woman No Cry" by Bob Marley--covered by Jimmy Buffett

72. "Scary Boat Ride from Willy Wonka" done originally by Gene Wilder--covered by Marilyn Manson

73. "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode--covered by Marilyn Manson

74. "Wonderwall" by Oasis--covered by Ryan Adams

75. "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison--covered by Jimmy Buffett

76. "Everybody's Talkin at Me" by Harry Nilson--covered by Jimmy Buffett

77. "Under Pressure" by Queen & David Bowie--covered by My Chemical Romance

78. "Smooth Criminal" by Michael Jackson--covered by Alien Ant Farm

79. "I drove all night" by Roy Orbison--covered by Cyndi Lauper

80. "Blame it on the Rain" by Milli Vanilli (sort of)--covered by Sam Moore

81. "We Shall be Free" by Garth Brooks--covered by Sam Moore

82. "Bleeker Street" by Simon and Garfunkel--covered by Jonatha Brooke

83. "No Woman No Cry" by Bob Marley--covered by Blues Traveler

84. "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osborne--covered by Yonder Mountain String Band

85. "Jersey Girl" by Bruce Springsteen--covered by Tom Waits

86. "Just Like a Woman" by Bob Dylan--covered by Jeff Buckley

87. "Ballad of a thin man" by Bob Dylan--covered by The Grateful Dead

88. "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan--covered by Rod Stewart

89. "Subterranean homesick blues" by Bob Dylan--covered by The Red Hot Chili Peppers

90. "La Isla Bonita" by Madonna--covered by The Gypsy Kings

91. "Bring the Pain" by Method Man--covered by Mindless Self Indulgence

92. "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Prince, made famous by Sinead O'Connor--covered by some Hawaiian dude

93. "Scarlet Begonias" by The Grateful Dead--covered by Sublime

94. "Redemption Song" by Bob Marley--covered by Matisyahu

95. "Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straights--covered by The Killers

96. "Stand by Your Man" by Tammy Wynette--covered by The Blues Brothers

97. "Hey Bulldog" by The Beatles--covered by Dave Matthews

98. "Broken Arrow" by Rod Stewart--covered by The Grateful Dead

99. "Downtown Train" by Tom Waits--covered by Rod Stewart

100. "The Van Lear Rose" by Loretta Lynn--covered by Jack White

101. "Knockin on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan--covered by Guns n Roses

102. "Bitches Ain't Shit" by Dr. Dre--covered by Ben Folds

103. "I wanna be like you" from Disney's JUNGLE BOOK--covered by Big Bad Voodoo Daddies

104. "Crimson and Clover" by Tommy James and the Shondells--covered by Dolly Parton

105. "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen--covered by Robert Plant

106. "Mr. Tambourine Man" by Bob Dylan--covered by William Shatner

107. "Never My Love" by The Associaton--covered by Adam Green

108. "One more cup of coffee" by Bob Dylan--covered by The White Stripes

109. "Time" by Tom Waits--covered by Tori Amos

110. "Chimes of Freedom" by Bob Dylan--covered by Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Tracy Chapman, Peter Gabriel, and Youssou N'Do

And so, how can I pick just twenty of these one hundred and ten miraculous songs to share in tonight's blog?

Well, in my opinion; a good cover should do one, or both, of two things. 1. It should completely revamp the song in question--taking it through a grand metamorphosis and sculpting it into something new and exciting. 2. It should totally, completely, absolutely, monumentally, fundamentally, unequivically, and genuinely wollop your heart and blow your mind. So, in light of those two factors, I shall now pick my top twenty. :)

1. Midnight Train to Georgia--by Gladys Knight and the Pips--covered by The Indigo Girls

It is a soulful, lovely song no matter who does. The only band that could mess this up is probably Puddle of Mud. I stumbled across this cover somewhere in college and it has been living with me ever since.

2. Bennie and the Jets--by Elton John--covered by The Beastie Boys

A totally bizarre and quirky cover. The boys sound like their drunk or something. I give it seven thumbs up!

3. Chelsea Hotel #2--by Leonard Cohen--covered by Rufus Wainwright

Dare I say I like this cover more than Cohen's original? Yes...slander me if you wish...but I do dare!"do-dare." This is an example of a good cover thoroughly wolloping me to pieces. Also I love the way Rufus will randomly gesture and sway towards the audience in this video. :)

4. Come Sail Away--by Styx--covered by Eric Cartman via Trey Parker

I really want to hang out with Trey Parker one time.

5. Heigh Ho--from Disney's SNOW WHITE--covered by Tom Waits

This is an example of a song being completely reborn. A little backstory here: This song was part of a collection that was realease (I think) in the 1980's called "Stay Awake." It featured other classic Disney songs covered by well known artists including Los Lobos, Michael Stipe, Natalie Merchant, Bonnie Rait, Ringo Starr, Sinead O'Connor, The Replacements and James Taylor. This is pretty difficult to find these days, but if you can locate a copy--more power to you.

6. Under Pressure--by Queen & David Bowie--covered by My Chemical Romance & The Used.

I know what you're thinking. "My Chemical Romance? Really?" Well, YES....REALLY. I was dubious too, I assure you--when my good friend Bear said, " gotta listen to this." In fact, i'm pretty sure my exact words were, "My Chemical Romance? Really?" But to my delight and surprise this turned out to be a really well done, enthusiatic, and honorable cover. And for the record, My Chemical Romance also does a pretty unique cover of "Desolation Row." Check it out.

7. Crazy Train--by Ozzy Osborne--covered by Yonder Mountain String Band

Ozzy done bluegrass style. YES. I was fortunate enough to be at this particular show. Its a crazy cover.

8. Bring the Pain--by Method Man--covered by Mindless Self Indulgence

BAT. SHIT. CRAZY. That is all

9. Scarlet Begonias--by The Grateful Dead--covered by Sublime

I love this song, with all my heart. No matter WHO is singing it. When Jerry sings it I feel like I should be sitting on a dock at sunset in summertime, barefoot with a bamboo fishing pole and my girl. When Jimmy Buffet sings it, I feel like I should be in a seaful of geeky hippies at a festivul--cause that is in fact where I was when I saw him perform this song. And when Bradley Knowles of Sublime sings it, I feel like I should be with my best friends out underneath the start on a warm July evening, just shooting the shit and enjoying each other's company. This song is about love. No matter which way you slice it--no matter who sings it.

10. Romeo and Juliet--by Dire Straights--covered by The Killers

I didn't discover this one until just recently. The cover, that is...not the original. I was sitting around at work one morning before we opened listening to Dire Straights songs on Youtube when I stumbled across this one, and i've been listening to it now three or four times a week ever since.

11. Bitches Ain't Shit--by Dr. Dre--covered by Ben Folds

When a nerdy white guy who specializes in piano successfully covers a Dr. Dre song; I feel like we as a people have come a long way. It's a really cool cover as it is; but this particular performance is even cooler. Enjoy :)

12. Never My Love--by The Association--covered by Adam Green

Both versions are beautiful. But the cover holds a special place in my heart. It' of those songs ;). Also, this song is featured on the soundtrack for the movie "Whip It." Excellent film. Excellent sound track.

13. Time--by Tom Waits--covered by Tori Amos

This is a special song. Whether it is sung by Tom Waits, in his gruff, heart-broke, burlesque voice--or in Tori's ethereal, fluid, provacative voice--it is a perfect song. PERFECT.

14. No Woman No Cry--by Bob Marley--covered by Blues Traveler and Ziggy Marley

Another of my favorite songs. The original I mean. I found this cover much the same way I found the Romeo and Juliet cover...simply by stumbling across it one day. It's hard to make this song much more kick ass than it already is--but epic harmonica solos and Bob Marley's own son do just that.

15. Johnny B. Goode--by Chuck Berry--covered by Jimi Hendrix

I can still remember the first time I ever heard this. I had just gotten the Jimi Hendrix box set and was riding around in my truck listening to it, when this track came on. And my jaw fell to the floor. I like this cover better than the original. Most covers...I like on the same level as originals...but I think this one is better. Jimi just RIPS it up.

16. Hurt--by Nine Inch Nails--covered by Johnny Cash

I don't think I need to explain myself here.

17. Stand by Your Man--by Tammy Wynette--covered by The Blues Brothers

Classic :)

18. In My Room--by The Beach Boys--covered by Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy is known for his outstanding covers; "Uncle John's Band," "Everybody's Talking at me," "Brown Eyed Girl," "Souther Cross," "Scarlet Begonias," "Mexico" etc. etc. So I basically just picked on at random--because they are all just really really really good. And this one is a good make out song ;)

19. Bad Romance--by Lady Gaga--covered by Lissie

Lissie, a scruffy young new comer to the singer-songwriter scene takes Lady Gaga's pop masterpiece and makes it GRUNGE. Sexy grunge. This is the coolest thing i've seen or heard in yeeeeeears.

20. Chimes of Freedom--by Bob Dylan--covered by Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Tracy Chapman, Peter Gabriel, and Youssou N'Dour

Some things need no explanation. This is one of them. I almost cry everytime I listen to this.

Honorable Mention: Whip My Hair--by Willow Smith--covered by Jimmy Fallon as Neil Young, and 1977 era Bruce Springsteen

Woof....ok. It's been a day. Gonna go home now, eat a sammich, and watch South Park. Cheers :)

Next week's blog: A list of songs to play at my funeral. EEP!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Interlude #1: An unfortunate evening with Kanye West

Tomato soup with habenero peppers is so hot, it will allow you to see through time. After three bowls, i've witnessed the forthcoming of: A White Stripes Reunion tour (circa Summer 2014), a Paul McCartney/Ringo Starr collaboration record entitled "Richard Starkey sings the blues" (McCartney will accompany with ukelele...expect this to drop in may 2012), a broadway production of Pink Floyd's "The Wall" with music composed for the stage by Maynard James Keenan and Jim James...this debuts on April 23rd, 2016, a biopic of Patsy Cline written and directed by the Coen Brothers and starring Zooey Deschanel. It will win 2 Academy Awards and shall hit theatres summer of 2015. And, lastly, as of the year 2050, Kanye West will still be a mega talented snot-nosed ass pocket.

The goal of this evening's blogpost is not to crucify the afforementioned hip-hop star simply for the sake of randomly bashing him. That's too simple. I like to think that I wouldn't call shenanigans on some one unless I felt as though i'd been personally wronged by the alleged villain. Also, it's popular to hate on Kanye West. In addition to the Taylor Swift debacle it is widely known/reported that West is erm...something of a diva. It's difficult, but i'm trying to be diplomatic here. You've no idea how tempted I am to start slinging insults and cutdowns (E.G. Kanye likes to smell his own farts) but that won't get us anywhere. childish. But, I think most would agree with my use of the diva illustration. And who are we kidding? That's a turn off. It' NOT enough of a turn off though, to make me boycott an artist's music and hop on the hate bandwagon. If that were the case I would have to throw out half of my record collection. It's safe to say though, I think, that these are the prime reasons why many people are turned off by Kanye West. But like I said before; this blog will not seek to randomly crap on the man just cause everybody else is. In truth, I really hate when people do that. For example, it's also populr to hate Kings of Leon, U2, and Dave Matthew Band--just to name a few. I have my reasons for calling out Mr. West; they are GOOD reasons, I promise, and they were born before the time of general Kanye hate. I shall present them thusly.

I didn't always harbor strong ill-will towards Kanye. In fact. I used to really, REALLY like him. I recall a friend named Nick Jones introducing me to the song "Jesus Walks," back in the summer of 2005. At least...I think it was the summer of 2005--may have been 2006. My memories are plagued with cobwebs. The point though, was that I thought the song was fantastic. I loved its flow, I loved its lyrics, and I loved the music video that accompanied it. Over the the proceeding months I downloaded more of his music and not only dug what I was hearing, but thoroughly respected it as well. "Here is a guy," I thought to myself, "who really knows how to put beats and lyrics together."

This brings us to the year 2008, and the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. I could do a separate blog just on Bonnaroo--how it has effected my life--the amazing things i've seen there--and the unfortunate downward spiral it took last year--but I won't go into all that. Another time, perhaps. All you really need to know is that I had been twice previously, in 2004 and 2006--and it is one of the greatest places on earth. The festival occurs every June in Manchester, Tn. over a period of four days. The initial line up for the festival always drops sometime in the middle of february (yes that means the lineup for 2011 will be announced any day now). But it is 2008 we are concerned with, and when I woke up one morning in February of that year and checked to see if they lineup had been announced yet, I was met with this:

Pearl Jam, Metallica, Jack Johnson, Widespread Panic, Kanye West, Christ Rock, Robert Plant & Allison Krauss, Phil Lesh & Friends, My Morning Jacket, The Raconteurs, Willie Nelson, Death Cab For Cutie, Tiesto, B.B. King, Les Claypool, Sigur Ros, Levon Helm, Ben Folds, O.A.R, Cat Power, M.I.A, Umphrey's Mcgee, Iron & Wine, Stephen Marley, Yonder Mtn. String Band, The Swell Season, Talib Kweli, Derek Trucks, Gogol Bordello, Broken Social Scene, Robert Randolph, Rilo Kiley, The Disco Biscuits, Mastadon, Lupe Fiasco, and Solomon Burke; plus many, many, many more.

Yeah. I geeked out.

As stoked as I was about finally getting to see Pearl Jam, Metallica, and Robert Plant; I was just as interested in seeing what a Kanye West performance would be like. Can you blame me? His tunes were brilliant and exciting. It only made sense that his live show would be just as magical.

I bought my ticket. Winter turned to spring. Spring turned to summer. I packed my bags. I pointed the steely grey nose of my pick up truck south and without further hesitation cracked the gas pedal so that life might breath into my vehicle thus transporting me from Radford "I hate my life" Virginia to Manchester, Tn. for my third tour of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. A place, truly, like no other.

Musicians at Bonnaroo are divided up between five venues. Three tents labled "This tent, "That tent" and "The other Tent." And two stages, a smaller stage called, "Which stage," and the main stage, called "What stage." Kanye was initially scheduled to play on Which Stage at 6:00 p.m. on satuday of the festival. At the last minute (and when I say "the last minute" I mean, that saturday) Kanye's timeslot was switched from 6:00 p.m. on Which Stage, to 2:45 A.M. on "What Stage." There is much speculation about this change. SuperFly Productions and AC Entertaiment (the wizards behind Bonnaroo's curtain) claimed that it was A. to give the audience a better feel for Kanye's glow in the dark themed show, and B. to start a new tradition of having a late night performance on the main stage (intestingly enough this tradition HAS continued, with the likes of Phish in 2009, and Jay-Z in 2010). These are very valid reasons. There is also a school of thought, though, that suggests Kanye threw a fit and declared that either he play on the big kids' stage, or he didn't play at all. I don't know if this hypothesis has ever been proven as fact--but it wouldn't surprise me. My initial reaction though was, "huh...that's cool."

Over the course of this saturday, I saw: Gogol Bordello, Ben Folds, Levon Helm, Jack Johnson, Pearl Jam (the saturday night headliner, and holy crap, was Pearl Jam AWESOME), and Lupe Fiasco.

Lupe Fiasco was my first real experience with a live hip-hop performance. And he was OUTSTANDING. Lupe came on at approximately 1:30 a.m. in "This Tent," and played for about 45 minutes. Never, had I been to a show like that. The energy thundering from the stage was raw, and provocative. Everyone in the audience was jumping and wailing and making love to the music. The musicians on the stage played their instruments like silk lightning while Lupe rapped over their rhythms with poise and wild cat grace.

"My God," I thought to myself. "I've never seen or heard or experienced ANYTHING like this. And in just a few minutes i'm going to go see Kanye West perform. THIS CAN ONLY GET BETTER."

Ah. How wrong I was.

I got back to "What Stage" at 2:30. 2:45 came, and went. A message appeared on the Jumbo-Screen declaring that Kanye would now be performing at 3:15. This news was met with the first round of many "boos" from the audience. But, still pumped from the Lupe Fiasco show, I figured, "Well, this isn't that uncommon, i'm sure he'll be out shortly enough." 3:15 rolled around, and the Jumbo-Screen now informed us that Kanye would now be performing at 3:30. The audience was baffled, and pissed off. I admit, my initial agitations began here. Kanye's ridiculously elaborate stage set up was constructed and good to go. What was he waiting for? The crowd meanwhile, was growing more and more restless. Cries of "KANYE SUCKS!" and "FUCK YOU KANYE!!" could be heard clearly from all around. While I was beginning to share those sentiments, I felt no need to shout them. Random slander never helps an already tense situation. At 4:30 in the morning, nearly two hours after his readjusted time-slot, Kanye FINALLY took the stage.

He didn't say hello. He didn't say anything about Bonnaroo, no "Thanks for having me." He didn't apologize for coming on late, or give any sort of explanation. He did not, in fact, say ANYTHING--but went immediately into his set--which--lasted only an hour. After his last song he exited the stage without saying even, "Thank you good night," and he did not come back on for an encoure. Those, my friends, are the highly offensive actions of an egotistical pratt--who is clearly only interested in obtaining his paycheck--and has no desire to connect with his fans. That, is a direct slap in the face of the collective audience. Never in my life, before or since, have I seen so many pissed off hippie-kids.

I should note, that there were several other late night performers that evening. Phil Lesh, Talib Kweli, Chali 2Na from Jurassic 5, and Sigur Ros (all of whom I could've checked out had I not been packed tightly into the the Kanye West crowd like a large corpse in a small coffin. I should also note, that again, while it has not been proven as fact, there is LARGE speculation that Kanye would not come on stage, until those other performers, were finished performing. And, again, I wouldn't be surprised.

Being treated as such, by an artist whom you admire, and whose work you very much enjoy listening to is bad enough; and reason enough to stay mad at said artist until the four horsemen of the apocolypse come crashing down from the sky and the Good Dude from the heavens up above pulls the whistle on life all over the planet. But here is something worse:

I have grown to detest Kanye West so much, because of this one event, that I refuse to listen to any of his new music. And that's really unfortunate (as the title of this blog suggests) because i'm certain its friggin genius. From what i've been told, "808's and Heartbreak" is truly a masterpiece. But I will never voluntarily listen to it. It's stubbon, absolutely. I don't take a lot of things seriously, and it's very rare that I hold a grudge like this. But where music is concerned, I am VERY serious; and I have no time, patience, or interest in an artist who takes his audience for granted.

Jesus walks with you, Kanye West. But I don't.

Thank you, and Good Night.

Next week's blog: my twenty favorite all time covers

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Favorite music moments in film

Today is Tuesday February 1, 2011. On Tuesdays, I work a 12-8 shift. It sucks. My lunch/dinner break was at 4:30. Instead of eating I drove down to the river and stood there by the banks to watch the currents ripple and feel the cool, balmy mid-winter breeze lick across my face. I need to shave. I need to visit the sea-side soon. I need to collect small, pink shells and eat fresh crab legs dipped in melted butter at a two-bit ocean-side restaurant where all the tables are covered in newspaper. I need a shot of whiskey to wash it all down. And then I need to sit on the sand and watch tide roll in while all the seagulls bake their wings in the electric blood of an evening sun. I will do these things, and good time. In the meanwhile though, I guess i'll continue to skip rocks on the New River between 4:30 and 5:00 on Tuesday afternoons. And then i'll come back to the library; and compose my weekly blog. Which, as you can tell by the title, will discuss in (semi) detail my twenty favorite musical moments in film.

In truth, I came up with this list mostly off the top of my head so I'm quite certain that there were some I didn't think of. But everything on here is definitely a personal favorite. :)

1. Movie: The Devil's Rejects
Song: "Midnight Rider" by The Allman Brothers

This is the opening musical number to a grotesque, gritty, quirky film that has an outstanding soundtrack. "The Devil's Rejects" is certainly not for everyone; but if you are a fan of the classic horror genre then I definitely recommend it. Rob Zombie knows what he's doing. "Midnight Rider" sets the tone for this contemporary southern gothic that is a sweaty, tense, thrill ride which takes the viewer along to visit sadistic hostage situations, brothels, mad men, and interestingly enough--deep friendships. The film culminates in an epic shoot out; but not before we see a scene in which the bad guys share a moment to eat ice cream cones and raz each other like childhood pals. It can be a helluva thing...friendship. Check it out.

2. Movie: Wayne's World
Song: "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen

Wayne's World hit theatres in (if i'm remembering correctly) the fall of 1992--when I was in fifth grade. I obviously didn't get all the jokes; but I certainly felt a connection with Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar. It was the same sort of connection I felt with Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted "Theodore" Logan. But Wayne and Garth were cooler. They didn't play just air guitars, they played for real guitars. They had this weird little cable access show that was funnier than Ross Perot. And they (somehow) knew how to talk to girls. But most importantly; they were complete music geeks. Like me. And this fact is made evident at the beginning of the movie with the infamous "Bohemian Rhapsody" scene. If i'm in the car, and "Bohemian Rhapsody" comes on I still rock out at the part out. There are two movies I could credit with introducing me to Queen that both came out around the same time. This one, and "The Mighty Ducks." I feel it's in better taste though, to credit this one ;)

3. Movie: Forrest Gump
Song: The whole damn sound track

This is one of those rare occurences where the soundtrack is practically flawless. The only song I don't care for is "It keeps you running" by the Doobie Brothers. It sounds too much like an attempt at the Super Mario Bro's theme gone wrong. Doobies aside however; the Forrest Fump soundtrack is a much treasured piece of my cd collection. It expresses and illustrates a time in our nation's history that we are still trying to figure out. Pop music is often a reflection of the times--and this collection of songs mirrors the turbulence, beauty, and eloquence of the 50's, 60's, and 70's with magnanimous grace. It gets under your skin and makes you say, "I want to know more." The link below is from the scene where Forrest first enters Vietnam. I don't know if this is true or not, but I heard that Tom Hanks suggested they add this song by CCR to the soundtrack

4. Movie: The Big Lebowski
Song: "Just dropped in" by Kenny Rogers

The Big Lebowski = the greatest thing to happen to America since democracy. It was a tough call to choose between this song, "The Man in Me" by Bob Dylan, and "Hotel California" by The Gypsy Kings...but this one ultimately won out. It's a fantastic sequence...and it really ties the film together.

5. Movie: Beavis and Butthead do America
Song: Love Rollercoaster by The Red Hot Chili Peppers

I have to watch this movie at least five times a year. It's a favorite from my adolesence, and was another step on the road for the Chili Peppers to become one of my most cherished bands. Beavis & Butthead and the Chili Peppers make a good team. They ought to collaborate more often.

6. Movie: PeeWee's Big Adventure
Song: Tequilla, by The Champs

PeeWee Herman trapped in a den of hardcore bikers. What could be better? It should be noted that good use of this song is also made in the movie, "The Sandlot." But this is the best.

7. Movie: Back to the Future
Song: Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry, performed by Marty McFly

You can't mess with Michael J. Fox. You JUST...CAN'T. One of my favorite memories from college was a day spent with my room mates in which we consecutively watched all three "Back to the Future" films. This needs to be done again.

8. Movie: Shrek
Song: Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, performed by Rufus Wainwright

Rarely has a "children's" movie produced such an outstanding soundtrack. I was initially torn between choosing this song, "My beloved moster" by the eels, and Jason Wade's cover of "You belong to me." Both of which also have very sweet, sincere, sequences. But it's "Hallelujah" that wins in terms of animating genuine heartbreak. The songs were one of the biggest draws for me, in the first two Shrek movies (along with really great, sharp writing and a tremendous cast). The second Shrek film featured songs by David Bowie and Tom Waits, among others. It's unfortunate that they didn't stop while they were ahead though. "Shrek the Third" was disappointing; and I have yet to see the fourth installment. Don't really want to. But I still remember when the original Shrek was released in theatres. I saw it four times. And, use of Leonard Cohen's classic tune, is one of the main reasons why.

9. Movie: The Labyrinth
Song: As the World falls down, by David Bowie

Quite possibly in my top ten all time favorite movies. I've never sat down and really thought about what those films might be...but i'd wager this would be on that list. When people think of "The Labyrinth," in terms of the music I mean, I believe they most usually think of "Magic Dance" or "Underground." Both of course are wonderful songs, also penned and performed by Bowie. But it's the movie's ballad, "As the World Falls Down" that i've always loved the most. When I listen to that song, (and I can listen to it anytime, anywhere) it makes me feel, comfortable--like i'm at home. It's a gorgeous, sad, love song; and the scene it envelopes is a haunting, mysterious, enchanted mix of fairytale lust.

10. Movie: The Muppet Movie
Song: Rainbow Connection, performed by Kermit the Frog

Don't it just make you smile? :) (just kermit) (finale, with all muppets)

11. Movie: Star Wars; Episode 4: A New Hope
Song: Theme from the opening sequence

Can you still recall the first time you saw this? Does it still give you chills?

12. Movie: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Song: Pure Imagination, performed by Gene Wilder

If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Want to change the world? There's nothing to it...

Willy Wonka said it best, "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dreams."

13. Movie: The Spy Who Love Me
Song: Nobody does it better, by Carly Simon

One of my favorite Bond movies, and one of my favorite Bond songs. The old school Bond films were so wonderfully cheesy; and their opening songs were beautifully epic. Especially this one. Carly Simon has a voice of silk that you just sort of want to slip in to. For the record, Radiohead does an AMAZING cover of this song. look it up!

14. Movie: Garden State
Song: The only living boy in New York, by Simon and Garfunkel

A splendid example of using song to illustrate freedom and newfound romance in contemporary film. And it's hard to watch this sequence with out leaping out of my seat and rocketing my fist towards the sky all the while bellowing out "YES! YES GOD DAMN IT YES!!!" But doggone...don't you feel sorry and awkward for the third wheel in this scene? I always do. Half of the time we're gone but we don't know where. Ain't that the truth?

15. Movie: Sound of Music
Song: Edelweiss, performed by Herr Von Trap A.K.A Christopher "international bad ass" Plummer A.K.A. Dr. Parnassus.

I'm learning to play this one on my guitar :)

16. Movie: Beetlejuice
Song: The Banana Boat Song (Day-O), by Harry Belafonte

At the age of seven, this scene was the silliest, funniest thing i'd ever seen to date. Everyday I say a silent thank you to my parents, who allowed me to watch movies like this at a young age. I think I turned out ok. ;)

P.S. remember when Tim Burton's films kicked ass? :::::SIGH:::::

17. Movie: The Lion King
Song: The Circle of Life

I still vividly remember, it was the summer of 1994 and I was 12 years old. My mom took me, and my cousin Josh to see "The Lion King" at the theatre one afternoon when we were visiting my grandparents in North Carolina. I saw "Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Aladdin" in the theatre as well; and the music in those films was, I have to say pretty incredible. But the songs featured in "The Lion King" were other-worldly. They were bombastic, symphonic, extraordinarily delightful, regal, dark, treacherous, sassy, and quite lovely. "Circle of Life," being the opening song, and the opening sequence of the films, sets the tone marvelously for what the viewer is about to encounter. "The Lion King" is essentially Hamlet with lions--which is pretty great in and of itself--but it also boasts of love and loss, death and rebirth. And when you're an impressionable 12 yr old sitting in a dark theatre listening to these songs bombarding your ears via gigantic spekers, and watching these very adult themes unfold on a giant screen, you are instantly transported to some other realm. It's hard to explain...but when you exit the theatre, and walk back into sunlight, just for a little while you see things differently. Maybe i'm a dork-biscuit, but "Circle of Life" is one of the greatest songs ever to grace a disney film. Don't believe me? Click the link...and look; haaaaarder.

18. Movie: Disney's Robin Hood
Song: Not in Nottingham, by Roger Miller

Another classic Disney film. In a story where most of the songs (oo-de-lally, prince john the phony king of england, etc.) are silly and happy go lucky, "not in nottingham" exudes a seriousness that balances this classic animated feature just right without being overly preachy, but adds an element of very austere humanity. I've said it before, and i'll say it again...when i grow up, I want to be Roger Miller.

19. Movie: Footloose
Song: "I need a hero" by Bonnie Tyler

I watched Footloose just this morning! This is perhaps the greatest scene in the film. It's when Kevin Bacon's character has to take part in a game of chicken with tractors with Chuck "every douche bag you've ever met" Cranston. It's basically the good guy vs. the bad guy. And of course the good guy, Kevin Bacon wins. ...and then he went and made "Tremors." WHAT?! :)

20. Movie: Dirty Dancing
Song: Cry to me, by Solomon Burke

In a movie so chock full of brilliant songs it's hard to pick just one. Much like "Forrest Gump" this is another film whose sound track does an A+ job of getting across the theme of the movie through song. Rebellion, prejudice, coming of age, forbidden romance. I love the shit out of this movie, and i don't care who knows it. Easily one of the best films to come out of the 1980s. Solomon Burke passed away last year, and it was a sad day. But he will always be remembered through his music, and also the through the extreme realness that Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze (may he also rest in peace) perform for us in this scene. They make it seem so real that you literally experience the nerves, and the ache, and the passion, and the exquisite pain they are acting out while dancing to this song. That's how you make a movie.

So come on...and cry to me.

Next week's blog: Interlude number one; an unfortunate evening with Kanye West