Plugged headphone into iPod containing 27,773 songs1, hit shuffle, and here’s what emerged. Added a two mile run on the treadmill to the beginning of this mediation, which did require me to skip an 8 minute cello piece; cannot keep a steady pace unless the music is moving too.
- Yardbirds, The– You’re A Better Man Than I
Led Zeppelin– Immigrant Song
One of the few Led Zeppelin songs I just don’t care for. This live-at-the-BBC-studios version is better than most.
Freddie King– Play It Cool
slinky guitar blues from 1969, about the sexual revolution, or something. Mini-skirts, my baby thinks she was put here forever, so she’s going to love as many (men) as she can, etc.
The Velvet Underground– Rock & Roll (Demo)
The vocals aren’t quite as tightly wound, and there is a flub in the last minute or two2, otherwise this could have been the final version. Thinner sound, perhaps, were there over-dubs on the final release?
Cooder, Ry– Look At Granny Run Run
is this about a prototype of Viagra? 1979 seems a little early to be singing about a brand new pill that Grandpa takes that causes him to regain his, umm, energy for lovin’. Filled with tasty Ry Cooder guitar licks, of course.
Thomas Mapfumo, The Acid Band– Chengeta Va Bereki
A favorite concert of recent vintage was in Manhattan a few years ago, at some benefit hosted by Bonnie Raitt. For me, the highlight was Thomas Mapfumo. Such a voice, full of expressive power with a hint of melancholy. A musical hero of mine.
Cale, John– Child’s Christmas In Wales
Buoyant pop tune, you’d never know that John Cale was the glowering rocker clad in black on the Velvet Underground’s first two albums just a few years prior to this album’s release in 1973. Some of the lyrics are obscure to me, but the melody compensates. Also, I’ll have to check, but that sure as hell sounds like Ry Cooder playing some slide guitar. You should probably own this album if you don’t, highly rewarding.3
- Led Zeppelin– The Song Remains The Same
Bootleg recording from 1975, to my ears, not recorded from the soundboard, despite. Still pretty good quality, so maybe it is from a soundboard. Not Jimmy Page’s finest guitar solo – it is kind of formless, and John Paul Jones is mostly buried in the mix, but John Bonham sounds fucking loud, possessed, and Robert Plant assures you everything small will grow. If you like Zepp, you should have this.
Fred McDowell– Red Cross Store Blues
Fred McDowell’s voice and his guitar perfectly in tune, limited range, but extremely powerful. In the days before Yelp!, one had record one’s complaints in song form, and hope for compensation. Whatever that Red Cross Store did to Mr. McDowell, they should be sorry. Damn. Probably racial, at least in part, but who knows. All we know is that he’s not going to that store any more.
John Fogerty– Heaven’s Just A Sin Away
Speaking of copyright theft, John Fogerty got screwed re: Credence Clearwater residuals for years. This country-pop song is pretty light-weight though.
Akli D.– Azul – Salut à vous
not quite Raï, but similar in spirit. Tamazight, actually, a Berber language from North Africa4. Hypnotic, insistent, quite spectacular. Worth owning if you are at all fond of desert blues.
Sun Kil Moon– Lily And Parrots
Really love this song, timbre of the lead vocalist reminds me of Neil Young, and now that I think of it, this could be a Crazy Horse record. Rocking, in other words.
Big Star– September Gurls
Probably my favorite box set of 2009 was the Big Star collection. Remastered, and filled with transcendent moments, including songs like this one. Love the backing vocals going “whoo-oooh”, among other subtle touches.
Damned, The– Noise, Noise, Noise
Machine Gun Etiquette
I know The Damned are punk-rock legends, but this song doesn’t do much for me. Not that it sucks, but I’m not picking the needle up to play the tune again
Thompson, Richard– Rockin’ In Rhythm
Sprightly instrumental, did Richard Thompson overdub the second guitar? or does he have 25 fingers? Seeing as the only other musician credited on this seemingly out-of-print album is drummer Dave Mattacks, I guess Thompson does have 28 fingers.
Boozoo Chavis– Who Stole My Monkey?
Nearly instrumental, as a matter of fact, the lyrics are just variants of You Stole My Monkey, repeated over a danceable zydeco beat.
Little Richard– Good Golly Miss Molly
even after a thousand plays, still love Little Richard’s whoops.
In Grand Theft Auto, music plays on the radio in any car you steal. As the GTA franchise has gotten older, the soundtrack has gotten more expansive. This box set is actually pretty good, even though this heavy rock song is on it, not my typical listening.
- Wire– Strange
Part of the fun for me of this project is stretching my memory: can I remember what my impressions about a song are later when I am in front of a computer? Listening to music is, and has been, my most favored hobby for nearly my entire life, but I would not assert that I am an astute critic of what I hear. I’ll never get better explaining what I like and don’t like unless I try. Odds are, I’ll tire of it soon enough, and go back to mostly blogging about politics and corporate corruption.Footnotes: