Saturday, March 03, 2007

play here and win

Partly because I'm out of control and want to make these sweater totes every moment until my hour of death and partly because y'all have been so kind, supportive and generous with your comments on my projects (and my myriad other ramblings), I'd like to offer a little contest here at Purly Victorious. Before I get into the particulars, let me see if I can rouse some interest by showing my latest tote project, which I have been sporting about town for a few weeks.


When I posted my Terry Tote, some of you indicated that you wouldn't mind being next in line for some bonding (hi, Nik; hi, Summer). My first thought was, Yes! I will make totes for all comers! Before long I woke up and realized the impossibility of that dream, seeing as I've barely put a dent in my much whined about mile-long project list (and The Bubba has declared a modeling strike if I don't come up with at least one of the zillion things I've promised to knit for him). I had to get real and acknowledge that I can't adorn the shoulders of every gal I meet with sweater totes. But I am good for one. To determine the lucky (lucky? have you seen my sewing skills up close?) recipient, I'll hold a drawing. How's that?

Backstory and what ya gotta do to enter:

When I gave Terry her tote, I couldn't think of anything better to stuff inside it than music, the gift that really does keep on giving. In turn for Ray and Aretha, Terry burned me Damien Rice, a great artist I might not have discovered on my own. Anybody know "Eskimo"? It ends with opera sang in Finnish. I mean, hot damn.

All this music exchange goodness started me to thinking about desert island albums. I'm one of those people who doesn't think it's corny to refer to life as having a soundtrack. There are certain records that I return to again and again, and every time I hear them, they wring me just a little bit. Rickie Lee Jones's Pirates and Flying Cowboys or Rickie Lee Jones, Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun, Elizabeth Cotten's Freight Train, David Gray's White Ladder, Joan Osborne's Relish, Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, Stevie Wonder's Hotter Than July, any one of the Aretha compilations that I own, Eva Cassidy's Songbird and Time After Time, Tracy Chapman's eponymous debut, Annie Lenox's Diva, Luther Vandross's Never Too Much, Prince's eponymous debut, Lila Downs's La Linea, Linda Ronstadt's Heart Like A Wheel, Sam Cooke's The Man and His Music. The list indeed goes on.

To choose one record to have if stranded on a desert island is difficult, but I've given this some thought and listening time, and today I'd have to pick Aretha's Queen of Soul: The Atlantic Recordings. Aretha dukes it out with Rickie, because Pirates is so good it's insane, recorded at a time when an artist could take time with a record, and still peerless. Every song is a journey, leaving itself and coming back again, compelling a level of presence not asked of us often enough.

Also in the running is the late, great Eva Cassidy. If you haven't heard her, you must. Truly one of the purest singers I've ever listened to. This woman, who died virtually undiscovered at 33, could sing absolutely anything (one would think this would be an asset, but not in an industry that operates on categorization and packaging). The first time I heard her voice, it was coming from a neighbor's house. I dropped what I was doing and went outside where I could hear better and jot down lyrics so I could google them and find out who the singer was. With the exception of Live at Blues Alley, all her albums were assembled posthumously. Her recognition came after she was gone, when DJs in the UK started playing her version of "Over the Rainbow." Many of her songs cast a spell on me, but her beautifully haunting remake of Sting's "Fields of Gold" just knocks me out. I also love, love, love her "Tall Trees in Georgia," "Wade in the Water," "People Get Ready," and "Penny to My Name." I'm not too proud to beg, after entering my drawing, please click on the links, read about Eva, and listen to her music. Please?

Thinking of being on that desert Island without Eva or Rickie has made me teary, but Aretha. Oh, Aretha. "Save Me," "All the King's Horses," "Going Down Slow." On Queen of Soul, a four disc set, Aretha interprets enough musical genres to make me think I'm listening to different singers (a handy mind trick for a desert island), but the beauty of it is that the songs are always done her way, and is there anything better than that? Her "Respect" is iconic, and rightfully so, but it's astounding to consider what a talented songwriter, musician, and composer she is, outside of her big, soulful voice and stand-up lyrics. And so Queen of Soul it is, because I wouldn't want to be stranded anywhere without Aretha.

At last! How to enter:

I would like to hear from whomever would care to share, what would be your desert island album? Leave me a comment with the artist, title, and, optionally, a bit of why you love it. If you're like me and have a hard time choosing just one record, you can cheat and leave two or three, but it'll be one entry per person in the drawing for the sweater tote.

Are you excited? I hope so, because I am. Maybe I'll discover some new favorites.

I'll run this contest for a week or so. By then I'll have time to sit down and sew up the prize. I'll do the drawing Serendipity style.

As I'm all about the Muse, I have no idea what the tote will look like (solid? striped? 1 pocket? two? another tryst with embroidery? a little pouch as an accessory?) but I promise it will be fun and functional. A tote bag for a song. I think it's a sweet exchange.


Ellen Bloom said...

The green tote is totally faboo, Carla Doll.

That's so funny that you write about desert island albums. I was going to tag you, but now I don't have to. See my post for today!!!

lulu said...

I know I am too far away to be in the running for winning the tote (I am in Dubai, UAE), but just wanted to say it looks really cute and I am jealous of whoever does win it!!
Lotsa love

Sade said...

I love the tote, and find the embroidery a cute detail! Very well done.

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

However, I'd like to share a bit of my eclectic taste in music.

A new discovery for me: Norah Jones - Not too late. Her voice has a pacifying effect on me.

An old album: Theater of Tragedy - AĆ©gis. This one brings memories, old memories, good and bad, but well, my memories!

And another good old one: Enigma - MCMXC a.D. Their music, is, well, different in every single album. Also try: Le roi est mort.



sappmama said...

Hey, Lulu, enter away. I've checked parcel post rate to Dubai and it's not too much. (Though it would take a while for the tote to get to you.) You'd actually be receiving a different tote, as I've been carrying this one. But the new one will be quite nice!

Sade, thank you. I like Norah Jones, too. I'll have to try Theater of Tragedy (great title) and your other suggestions. I'll put your name in the bowl. :)

angela said...

I have to pick my all-time favorite! Nina Simone... one of her "greatest hits" so I get all the goodies. I could listen to her all the time, and in fact I do! If you haven't heard her, I suggest you look her up. Love the tote bag. V. cute!

sappmama said...

Angela, hi, I almost listed Nina! But I couldn't decide which compilation and I love so many of her songs. Nice to "meet" another devotee.

Audrey from Knitty said...

I love Eva cassidy. I came to her music through NPR when they did a story on her, and have all the albums. As it turns out, I had heard her back when I lived in Washington, DC at a club there and hadn't heard (until the NPR story) about her death. You're right, she has one of the purest voices around, really amazing!

I'd have to have some classical for my desert island, probably classical guitar, maybe John Williams playing Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez" or Bach on the guitar. I'd miss my folk/jazz/blues...but I couldn't live without the classical guitar!

Audrey ("Audrey S." on Knittyboard, PM me there I guess for my e-mail if you need it)

Trillian42 said...

That is one seriously cute bag!

Wow... one album? Really? That's a tough call for me - are you sure I can't just bring my iPod? :D

I'm a big Broadway geek, but I don't think I could limit it to one show. I'd go with the 5-cd set of "Broadway: The American Musical", because it covers a HUGE range of eras and shows, and would therefore be adaptable to any mood.

bensmumma said...

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, "Works". I could die feeling complete, listening to Greg Lake singing "Lend Your Love to Me Tonight"...

bungalowmum said...

Oooh, I love the green tote! It's so beautiful! Great job.

I'd have a hard time picking one album. If I could only take one, it would probably be U2 Pop. I'm a very big U2 fan, and would take about any of their albums. lol!

Seriously beautiful bag....

valecia said...

Yaaaaay! :-) Thanks!

BJORK'S "Family Tree" ... hands down!! 5 CD set of her greatest hits. Why? She tells it best, click below.

valecia said...

Oops, didn't comment on the tote - it's DOPE! :-)

Libi said...

Love the totes!

My album would be "Phantom of the Opera". The full Broadway cast recording, not just the highlights. Hours of entertainment and singing fun. And if I were alone, no one to criticize when I hit a sour note!

Suzanne said...

Well first, I have to say I love the tote. I am not one for entering contests but for that tote, I will make an exception.

I too love Eva Cassiday. Introduced to me by my

Desert island music? So difficult but I would probably take Beatles One .. covers the range from early to late stage of the group

SarahJanet said...

I love Eva Cassidy too - that Fields of Gold is so beautiful.

One disc? Ack! Can't I at least burn a mix CD? But if it had to be a commercially available one, I'd probably take the Barenaked Ladies Greatest Hits CD. Grouchily.

The tote looks great!

Summer said...

I have to say Miles Davis 'Kind of Blue' would be on my island with me, because sometimes I just need the music man, and not the chatter.

um, but I couldn't go with just one! I mean, if only one that would be it, but can't I also bring a couple others?

Ry Cooder 'Bop Till You Drop' is simply an awesome album and reminds me of my dad, so I'd need that.

Hmm. It's just so hard. Am I married when I have to go to the desert island? If so, I'd need Morrisey's Greatest Hits which would remind me of my husband.

Do I still get to enter? I really feel the need for a sweater tote in nmy life.

steph_knits said...

Ok, I don't think my comment posted, so if you get this twice I'm sorry!

Stephie26 from knitty here, and I love your tote! It's so cute!

My desert island album would be Box of Pearls by Janis Joplin. She's just amazing, and this is a compilation from all the different albums she put out, plus some live stuff. It captures her career wonderfully, and I don't think I'd get tired of it.

cpurl17 said...

Oops, I think blogger ate my first comment.

The bag you made is super cute!

My desert island album would be The Joshua Tree by U2. I've loved it every since the day it was released and the needle hit the record (shows how old it is!)

sappmama said...

I don't know what Blogger's doing but keep the music coming! This is SO MUCH fun, when it's over, I'm going CD shopping. :)

Summer, you're so cute. Of course you still get to enter. xo

jacqueline said...

oh man..i just made people leave a comment this is way too hard.

i would just take my ipod that had my favourite 2,000 songs with me on this desert island ;-) does that count?!

however, since you are actually making me choose it would have to be paul kelly's "songs of the south" you've probably never heard of him, but he is quintessential australian rock with meaning.

mel said...

That IS a really great tote bag :) Found you on the Knittyboard!

Thanks for mentioning Eva Cassidy - I just recently "discovered" her - there's a tune that gets played on XM's Loft from time to time, I think it's called "American Tune" or maybe "American Song"? Anyway, it's beautiful. Last time I hear d it, I got up off my duff to see who it was... and vowed to check her out. I didn't realize that she also did that amazing re-make of Fields of Gold... thanks for mentioning it :)

I love sharing music with people, so this was a great post. There is no way possible that I can pick just one, or even three though... My tastes have quite a large range (folk, punk, hard rock, jazz, emo....) and my ideal album depends wholey on my mood. I've been meaning to add a page to my site with my faves, and I really need to do that. In the meantime, I'll leave you with a few based on what you've mentioned here.

Patty Griffin - she's incredible. If you like Eva, you might well like her too. I would recommend checking out 1000 kisses first, but all her stuff is great.

The Duhks - who do a great cover of Tracy's Chapmans Mountains of Things

Rachael Yamagata - a little more soulful

Kim Richey, though I have to say I think she is better live - incredible voice.

shobhana said...

just one? jeff buckley, 'grace'

Hari said...

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

But, soundtracks to your life, all her work is great... depending on what part you're in.

By the way, I love what you do with your totes and I think you should consider making an site.

Prairiedaun said...

That tote looks awesome. I've been keeping my eyes open for a sweater to felt to make a bag, but I haven't found any yet that I'd like to felt.

I love to recc music to new people, but oh man, it is so hard to decide. I have such an eclectic taste in music, and there are several albums I just couldn't live without. My top three are:

Tom Petty "Wildflowers" is just such a brilliant album. Just listening to it you can tell that the singer/writer is so experienced and confident in his craft- there's nothing overly gimmicky, the lyrics are both personal and powerful and the music is simply and engaging without being cloying. "You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
Sail away, kill off the hours
You belong somewhere you feel free" Beautiful, man.

The second album would be Novillero's "Aim for the Holes in Their Lives". Easily my favourite band at the moment. This album is strong from start to finish, full of clever, catchy and smart lyrics: "I've no need in keeping flames alive,someone's bound to end up getting burned. But I do believe time to time everybody should take a turn Building a statue out of broken glass, and paying respect to all the things that have passed before." Plus, with the horns, keyboard, guitars and awesome drumming it's just a wall of sound. Fantastic.

My third and final album would be Sheryl Crow's Globe Sessions. This one is for many of the same reasons as the Petty album: it's confident and adult, while getting accross a general theme and message. A bit more produced and gimmicky than Wildflowers, but quieter and more relaxed than "Aim..." Plus it has the brilliant song Crash and Burn: "Somebody said you gotta get away To wanna go back home again I left my universe standing there Holding the hand of my best friend" Brilliant.

Beckie said...

Wow, that's a toughy..

Can't i just bring my Ipod? LOL!!

I guess if I can only have one, Decade by Duran Duran..

Doris_1964 said...

I'd burn a new cd with some tunes from Legends compilation such as aretha, the amazing johnny cash, skinny elvis, Otis, and sam cooke, mixed with Alterbridge' album One day remains, Awsome album with the title track which Is awsome and also broken wings.

chemgrrl said...

Well, if I had to pick just *one* I think it would be 'Graceland' by Paul Simon. What that man can do to lyrics is just amazing.

Cute Bag!

Miss Plumbean said...

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 fist fell in love with the woods, the open road, and with Mr. Dylan, and I've been reeling ever since.

KnitMommy said...

I just wanted to say what a great looking bag! Where did you get the idea? Have fun with the rest of your contest! Tasha aka knitmommy @ knittyboard

adrienne said...

What a great idea! Your tote bags are awesome.
I think your question is possibly the hardest in the world, though...
There are a few possibilities for me:
Pulse by Pink Floyd
The Best of Simon and Garfunkel
maybe The Eye of Every Storm by Neurosis?

grace said...

I LOVE your totes... that being said, on to the tough question:

perhaps my all time favorite album that I could never ever think of parting with would be (drumroll, please...):
Astor Piazzolla, the incredible tango-pianist. I'm not sure of which album - I only have "the best of" compilations which are pretty darn good!

alaska (amy) said...

new to knitty and saw your taunt so came to check out the tote...and WOW! I love that thing. Completely awesome.
so in order to be in the running, I'm here to submit my desert island, couldn't live without album.
To begin with, the question is giving me a headache. Some days, I listen to bands like Tool and System of a Down. Other days, I listen to Elton John's Greatest Hits, Stevie Wonder, or Willie Nelson.
I think if stranded on a desert island, I would need an ipod. My tastes are way to schizo to be stuck with only one genre. A cop out, I know....

Shannon said...

Great tote. I would have to say my desert island album would have to be Blondie - Parallel lines.

sappmama said...

alaska amy, that's good enough for me. Eclectic taste works any day. I know a little something about it myself.

Hi, Knitmommy, I've seen the concept, done a couple of different ways, on the Internet (google "sweater to tote" or something like that) but it's also in the book Alterknits.

Beckie, you can't bring your iPod unless it only plays one album. :)

I like all the Broadway choices. If only I could stop playing the same two, Rent and Sweet Charity, long enough to listen to others.

Doris_1964, I like the way you think. Very sly. :)

Thanks for all the tote bag love, y'all!

Not just another said...

The Rapture . . . I don't even need a whole album - just the one song - Get Myself Into It. That song makes me want to dance!

Love it.

kellz said...

dear sappmama,
greetings! the CD i would take is lizz wright's 1st album: "salt". if you don't have this in your collection, finish reading this and go out and get it. the cd is ALL THAT!!

i'm lovin' these totes! i hope those crafty hands pick me!

be well,

GI said...

I'm also new to Knitty. *hello*

I am totally going to cheat and and say I would bring my MP3 player. I have too wide a range of songs to pick just one album. lol

Nik said...

John Legend's "Get Lifted". I especially like the songs toward the end of the cd. They make my loins tingle with the promise of a love like the one he sings about.

Especially that song "So High". If I'm stuck on a deserted island with no man, I would use that song as a substitute.

I like stripes;D

reluctantMANGO said...

Hmmm... what a hard decision to make! I've been a music-lover since I was a child (my first cassete tape being Twisted Sister - my tastes have improved greatly since then!), and I appreciate almost all types of artists. If I had to choose just one, it would be Neil Young's Harvest. Ask me again tomorrow, and you'll get a different answer!