Monday, March 05, 2007

and the colored girls sing do do-do do-do...

[If any newcomers would still like to enter the contest, see "Play Here and Win, " the post below.]

I swear to goodness that this here little music contest is more fun than a barrel of drunken monkeys. And oh my god, touching, too. When I read this, I cried:

Hands down no questions asked it's Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks. I can pop it in, close my eyes, and in an instant I'm transported back to summer road trips through the white mountains of NH with my dad. I can see the headliner of our dilapidated ford draping down towards my face as I lounge up against my brother and sister in the back seat. On that trip without my mother I first fell in love with the woods, the open road, and with Mr. Dylan, and I've been reeling ever since.

Blimey. Isn't that beautiful? Tangledbleus, I want to make you a tote right now. And I want to get Bob Dylan to hand it to you.

Most of you, like me, don't have Tangledbleus' s certainty. You want to make mixed-CDs and to bring your iPods to the desert island.

Often for good reason, like Sade said:

I really can't chose an album for a desert island, 'cause, each album brings me memories of one day, one week, one month or even one year in my life.

I feel this way all the time. And when an album is really good, I'll squeeze myself into it even if it has nothing in particular to do with what I'm going through in my life. That was the case with Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun. That record's got her breakup with Andre 3000 sung all over it -- or, I should say it's got "Andre 3000 jilted me and I really hate him but since we've got a baby I'm trying really hard to work through it" sung all over it. It came out at a time when my characteristically tumultuous love life had smoothed itself out. I had a boyfriend I was happy with, a relationship I couldn't complain much about. But, boy, oh boy, when that "Green Eyes" would come on and Erykah would sing "I can't leave it's too-oo late, I can't leave it's too-oo late" I would just DIE. I'd start believing my man was doing me wrong, wishing to god that he had been, so I could reaallly get into the drama. I wanted to feel like somebody was sitting on my chest, because I knew that's how she felt when she made the song. I have that experience every single time I play that disc.

Sometimes no matter how good an album is, I'll never get thoroughly into it. Hari said:

I can't BELIEVE Tori Amos hasn't graced your list! Tori Amos's Scarlet's Walk is such a great album...

Touche. Yes. It is. It's a great, great album. I think Tori's best. But no matter. Because, you see, Tori Amos belongs -- lock, stock, barrel and soul -- to Mr. Stevens. Call it sibling rivalry. We've been friends since we were 14 and we lived most of our adult lives under the same roof. And Mr. Stevens is a very emphatic type of person. When he likes something, the whole world will know. He got to Tori long before I did and he would play her and talk about her and sing along with her to the point where I'd want to kill them both. I let him have Tori, then and forever. I play Scarlet's Walk from time to time and I really enjoy it (I know all the lyrics to "A Sorta Fairytale" and I love "Your Cloud") , but on principle, I can't put it on my desert island list.

Plus, Hari, do you know all the albums that man stole from me? I'd bring home something good and he'd get his hands on it and start playing it to death, forcing me to relinquish all rights to future listening. (His side of the story, I'm sure, is different. But this is my blog.)

I'm pleasantly surprised by how many of you guys know and love Eva Cassidy's music (Audrey, did you see her live?). And there's one Nina Simone fan, Angela. I'm a fan, too. The only problem is that all my favorite songs of hers are scattered among different CDs. I'd have to burn my own mix for the desert island. The little known "Baltimore" would have to be included. Like Prairiedaun, I also like Cheryl Crow. I think The Globe Sessions is around here somewhere. These days I mostly listen to her best of. Chemgrrl chose Graceland, which I think is an inspired pick. That's one of those records that every few years goes into heavy rotation with me. My friend Summer chose Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, because "sometimes I just need the music man, and not the chatter." Summer, you almost got me on that bandwagon, but mama's gotta SING. If you tied a tune to my back I couldn't carry it across the street, but I gotta sing.

Then there are the artists I know but haven't really gotten into, like steph_knits's choice, Janis Joplin. I used to be too sad for her, but now that I'm closer to understanding the brevity of life, I could listen. I'll check out Box of Pearls. And Shobhana, I've heard of Jeff Buckley. I don't know Grace, but I will. Bensmumma listed Works by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, a group I know of but can't name any of their songs. But with a statement like, "I could die feeling complete, listening to Greg Lake singing 'Lend Your Love to Me Tonight,'" well, who am I not to give them a spin?

And then there are the artists I've never heard of at all, which is why this contest is such a kick. Adrienne mentioned The Eye, a new band to me. And, Jacqueline, I'd be into some "Australian rock with meaning." I'll look for Paul Kelly's Songs of the South. Mel, Rachael Yamagata? Never heard of her. I'll give her a listen. You say these Duhks do a good cover of "Mountains o' Things?" I find that, ahem, hard to believe, so I must find out.

Right now I'm listening to Fleetwood Mac's Very Best of and thinking, How the hell do I figure I could survive on a desert island with no Fleetwood Mac? Or at least a little Stevie solo? An hour ago, while listening to David Gray's Life in Slow Motion, it was If I had to go to a desert island without this, I'd throw myself to the sharks.

Ah, music. It is good, yes?

Thank you all for talking music with me! It's an absolute pleasure.


shobhana said...

never heard jeff buckley? girl, that's a crime! email me your snail mail address and i'll send you a CD.

mel said...

;) I think the reason why I like the Duhk's version of Mountains O' Things is because they don't stray too far from the source. I love love love that Tracy Chapman album and would be very sad if they massacred that song. But they're worth a mention on their own merit - definitely check them out, I think you'll like them a lot - Their latest album, Migrations was on repeat for awhile :)

And another I forgot to mention that I also thought you might like (if you don't know him already!) - Ray Lamontagne. Also on repeat. And amazing live.

Hari said...

Oh, if Tori's been forced on you I can see not being crazy about her... but you sometimes just gotta give in! But maybe you feel about Tori the way I feel about Ani DiFranco. Can't get into her at all...

I associate Scarlet's Walk with living by myself for the first time the summer before I moved to Japan and being completely head-over-heels for the boy (who, a year later, followed me here). That album, and especially "A Sorta Fairytale", is really special to both of us.

Hmm.. Bjork's "Debut" is the summer of 96 and I don't know why. I just discovered her and listened to that one album all summer long. If you like upbeat stuff, anything Gwen Stefani touched before "Tragic Kingdom" is solid gold. (Anything after, no promises.) I mean, if you like ska/punk, she was so excellent back then.

You say you need to sing along... sadly, that means international music is no good, yeah? Because Elis Regina (the one who sang Aguas de Marco-- Waters of March) has a voice that gives me goosebumps ever time I hear it; Maaya Sakamoto (not too popular in Japan because she works as a voice actor for, essentially, cartoons) has the clearest and purest vocals. Deep? Not really, but if deep is what you're looking for, Hikaru Utada! She's known in the states as "UTADA" but I wasn't too pleased with her US debut. Her Japanese stuff (especially "Deep River") is amazing. The range on that girl!

And, my most recent discovery is that Queen is the most awesome band that ever graced the earth because Freddie Mercury!!!!... *sigh* If you have only heard "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Bicycle," and "We are the Champions," you may doubt me; there are other gems out there! If you're interested, I will question the boy upon awakening. =)

This has been incredibly fun to talk about! Thank you for writing about it, and thank you for being you!

Ellen Bloom said...

Oooo,yeah...Lou Reed. One of my faves!

Forgot to mention my all-time favorite male singer/songwriter...Billy Vera! His vocals just knock me out! His most famous song is "At This Moment." However, he's had tons of great song moments other than that one. He can rock, he can be syrupy-pop, he rolls with the good times and he's the Sultan of Soul, the Duke of DooWop and the Leader Beater of Billy and the Beaters! Check out my ol' BV!

Laurie Ann said...

Great music and great reasons all around. I'd have to take a Simon and Garfunkel greatest hits. I love me some Simon and Garfunkel, mostly the Simon part. S&G reminds me of Daren, a boy who lived with me for a while and drove me crazy most of the time, but who would serenade me every morning with his guitar and adorable impish smile. (damn him)
And if I couldn't have that album, I'd go with Paul Simon's Graceland album because it reminds me of my early 20s when my best friend was getting married and my sister was pregnant for her first child and life seemed ripe with possibilities.

Nik said...

A great contest will bring folks out of the woodworks, won't it? I see all the comments made below. I've even added my own to the bunch.

I totally wish myself "Good Luck".

sappmama said...

Shobhana, I've heard of him. But I'm not that familiar with his music. So I'll happily take you up on your offer.

Mel, you and me are *here.* Ray is one of my faves. Lucky you having seen him live.

Hari, a big yes to international music. I sing along to Lila Downs though my Spanish is lacking, to put it kindly. Language doesn't matter to me, so I'll check out your suggestions. I love your "Sorta Fairytale" story. So sweet! I'm going to put that song on repeat right now. Okay, Queen is great. I bow to that one. Freddie Mercury could put on a show. Plus, his voice, geez. Thank you for being you, too. :)

See, Laurie Ann, that's what I love about this. I didn't have you figured for an S&G girl, but now I can see it. Yes, Graceland. A great one.

Ellen, "the Sultan of Soul, the Duke of DooWop and the Leader Beater of Billy and the Beaters!" -- LOVE that.

Nik, it's called BRIBERY. I wish you luck, too. ;)

Audrey S. said...

Yes, I did get to see her live once, but had totally forgotten until years later, when I heard the NPR story and got back into her music. Of course, she was gone by then :(...