Shoutout to Join Together by the great Doug Adams

The great AppleScript iTunes master, Doug Adams, created an app a while ago that allows me to join together LP sides so they play in the sequence as originally released on vinyl.

For me, I use this to emulate listening to an LP in iTunes. Sometimes I only want to hear a particular side of an LP that I’m familiar with. I don’t want to shuffle it, I don’t want to hear the whole thing, perhaps I’m listening on my headphones while on my treadmill, or walking around avoiding carjackers or whatever.

In the pre-digital days, you put an album on your turntable, and only one side played. If you wanted to hear the other side, you had to get up and flip it. Or you could listen to something else. 

Producers or artists sequenced their albums accordingly. There were many heated discussions about which track came first on a side, which track closed the side, yadda yadda.

Of course, you can choose which tracks to listen to in whatever order you choose, even on a vinyl record, but it takes more effort.

The genius of Join Together is that once you create the music file, you can just queue that one file.

Here is my procedure, which works in iTunes1

1. Select the files which constitute a side of an LP. For instance, today, I used Glass Eye’s Hello Young Lovers2 – looked up the track order at, and copied the tracks that were on side A to Join Together.

Glass Eye - Hello Young Lovers

2. In Join Together, entered in the “Name” field, “Hello Young Lovers – Side 1”, and also added the phrase “JoinedTogether” to the Grouping field.

3. I personally make every digital file as large as possible so they sound better, so I chose 320kbps as the export.

4. After the merged AAC file is completed, it is added to my iTunes library. 

5. I use the Grouping field so that I can add all of these album sides to a Smart Playlist3, and also exclude it from certain Smart Playlists4

6. Then duplicate this procedure to create Side 2. Voilà!

Double LPs take longer, or triple LPs like Sandinista! give 6 files, or maybe even less

There are some LPs that I always skipped a certain song, this can be recreated in Join Together. For another favorite album of mine, Meat Puppets II, when I used to play it in my college years, I always skipped Side 1 track one, and started on the second song. Sometimes I would play the 1st track later at the end, but I felt strongly that the first song, Split Myself In Two – a punk thrash song – didn’t fit with the mood of the rest of songs. Later on, after some other songs played, it was ok to hear, but not as the first song. So when I created this LP in Join Together, I simply put Split Myself In Two at the end of Side 1. Perfect!

Same with some LPs that the CD version added new songs. They don’t always “fit”, so why play them? For instance, the LP of Sonic Youth’s Sister has less songs than the CD version. Skip ‘em! I felt they changed the mood, so why include them?  

Anyway, Join Together is well worth the $5 Doug Adams charges.

  1. I haven’t upgraded to a Mac that requires the new version called Music, yet []
  2. which I had on vinyl when I lived in Austin and now own on CD []
  3. I have 10 sides that sync to my iDevices, based on not hearing them in the last few weeks []
  4. specifically, New Rips, i.e., songs that I’ve only listened to less than 5 times []

First Track on A Debut Album, A Partial List

Turn It To Ten

Via Whet on Twitter, a fun Friday morning thought experiment – what are some of the best opening songs on a debut album?

I happen to have made a list of debut albums a while ago, and add to the playlist periodically when I think about it. Not definitive, by any means, even of albums I have in my music library, mostly because I’m a slacker at heart. 

I also didn’t include some lead-off songs that I don’t really care for – like The Beatles “I Saw Her Standing There”, Neil Young’s “The Emperor Of Wyoming”, M.I.A.’s “Ba-Na-Na [Skit]”, etc. I also fudged, and didn’t include debut EPs1 

Anyway, here’s one hundred songs I’m playing this morning, sorted alphabetically by album:

Continue reading “First Track on A Debut Album, A Partial List”

  1. like the Pixies EP, Come On Pilgrim, for instance []

Join Together – A New-To-Me App to Recreate Spinning Vinyl Sides

The Replacements - Tim
The Replacements – Tim, on vinyl.

Yesterday I realized that iTunes 12.x doesn’t have an option to merge two or more music tracks into one. I thought iTunes used to have this functionality, but perhaps I was mistaken. I could have dug out my original CD, and merged the songs that way, but after briefly Googling, I discovered that Applescript master and long-time iTunes expert Doug Adams has built a (Mac only) app that performs this very task. Cool!

Join Together will create and export a single AAC or ALAC audio file from the audio data of tracks dragged from iTunes or files dragged from the Finder, leaving the original source tracks and files intact.

(click here to continue reading Doug’s Apps for iTunes – Join Together – v7.7.3 – Official Download Site.)

Or as Doug added on Twitter: 

Quality LP sides have their own internal logic & mood, as sequenced by the artist/producers. Each LP side can even have its own character. Breaking up albums into single songs in iTunes defeats the artist’s intent. I realized there were many albums that I owned that would benefit from being joined together like this. Mostly albums from before CDs became the default medium, I’m guessing in the early 1990s.1

An LP that has been played many, many times embeds itself in your brain as it is sequenced. Of course, thinking back, I often did skip a particular track on some albums if I wasn’t otherwise occupied, but usually I would play an entire LP side, and then maybe not even flip it over, but move on to the next LP. 

Wu-Tang Clan’s debut LP
Wu-Tang Clan’s debut LP

Albums that I loved on vinyl enough to replace on CD, aka Desert Island Discs; LPs like Highway 61 Revisited, or London Calling, or Kind of Blue, Electric Ladyland, individual songs that should be heard together in sequence like the Grateful Dead’s China Cat Sunflower and I Know You Rider, or even the short songs that make up the second side of Abbey Road; these are ideal candidates for Join Together.

Whenever I played the Meat Puppets 2, I always played the second side first, as I thought the first song on the first side2 was too jarring, and unlike the rest of the LP. When I use Join Together, I’m going to recreate that playing experience. I don’t need to hear Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” more than once or twice a year, so I’ll make a version of Led Zeppelin IV -Side 1 without Stairway3. Same with the Velvet Underground & Nico: how many times a year do I want to hear “European Son”? 

Big Star - first album
Big Star – first album

  1. I was a late hold-out, and didn’t purchase my first CD until I couldn’t find a vinyl version of Sonic Youth’s Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star []
  2.  “Split Myself in Two” []
  3. I often would pick the needle up after hearing the first few notes []

Sticky Fingers

Last night Sticky Fingers1 came up on my shuffler2. Within a millisecond of the opening riff of “Brown Sugar”, I instantly knew what I was listening too, and went into a reverie. Here’s an edited version…

Patience please
Patience please

I cannot quantify the number of times I’ve heard this album in my lifetime. When I was a child living in Toronto, or Frostpocket, whenever there were parties hosted by the Ragnarokr generation, Sticky Fingers was a frequently spun disc. When I was 8 or 9, Sticky Fingers was one of the albums I would play when I was alone in the house – I distinctly recall sitting on the Frostpocket front porch in a rocking chair listening, loudly, to Sticky Fingers played through the house speakers, reading some book or other, and not reading but just listening.

When our family moved to Austin when I was a teenager, I remember Sticky Fingers playing at dinner parties or other occasions for guests to mingle.

I started attending The University of Texas a few months after my 17th birthday, I also moved out of my parents’ house. My first financial aid check was blown on frivolities/necessities like a stereo for my car, and a receiver, speakers and record player for my apartment. Sticky Fingers was one of the first LPs that was played on that stereo system.

Chios - or Mutiny On The Aegean
Chios – or Mutiny On The Aegean

For a few years while a student at UT, on Saturday’s, I would go have breakfast with Honoria, strike poses (fully clothed) and she would sketch line drawings while we listened to music and chatted. Sometimes I brought friends, but mostly, just me and a few records made the journey. Sticky Fingers was a frequent companion. 

My friend Trey Buck3 would come over and we would spin records, drink wine, shoot the shit. Sticky Fingers was a frequent companion.

I made several dozen mix-tapes4 of music that played while I worked at Magnolia Cafe South, at least until the ASCAP people came by and harassed Kent Cole, the restaurant’s owner. Songs from Sticky Fingers were often in the mix.

I rebuilt my iTunes Library last in 2002, but since then, I’ve played songs from Sticky Fingers 122 times, using this particular library, or on an iPod/iPad/iPhone. This doesn’t take account of the many times the album or songs from it played in a car, either with a mix-CD, or someone else’s iPod on road trips.

Rolling Stones 1971

Like everyone, my musical tastes have changed over time, but surprisingly, Sticky Fingers has not gotten tiresome to me, despite the constant playing over my entire life. There aren’t many albums I can say the same about.

  1. by The Rolling Stones, if you didn’t know []
  2. I use Doug Adamsshuffle random albums to playlist” AppleScript religiously to feed my iTunes jukebox []
  3. before he went insane []
  4. #71 is where I think I stopped, though the first five or six were less polished, made when I was too young to appreciate the wide gamut of music available []

iTunes 12 Syncing Is Broken Beyond Belief

Hello Would You Like To Restore Your iPhone Again
Hello Would You Like To Restore Your iPhone Yet Again?

Kirk McElhearn, a long-time Mac columnist, adds his voice to the chorus of iPhone owners dismayed with iTunes 12 and iOS 8.

Now, syncing an iOS device—iPhone, iPad, or iPod—is too often an ordeal. And it is because it’s become untrustworthy. Will the sync work at all or will your content disappear and be transformed into something that fills the amorphous “Other” category in iTunes’ capacity bar. Will all of your content sync or just your music, or music, or apps?

Sync problems between iTunes and iOS devices are all too common. (See the last thirty days of posts in Apple’s support forums about iTunes sync issues.) In a way, this may be a predictable side effect of Apple’s push to online services. The company wants everything to be in the cloud, and it would prefer that you buy all your music and movies from there as well. Local syncing isn’t really a part of that plan and so may be treated as an afterthought. The difficulty is that not all users are right for the cloud model. For those with large iTunes libraries, or with limited broadband bandwidth, cloud storage simply isn’t usable.

Given that, it’s time to revisit local syncing. In its current state, iTunes syncing is broken and it can only be fixed by Apple.

Apple needs to fix syncing. While users who don’t sync their iOS devices in this way aren’t affected by these issues, those people with small and large iTunes libraries alike report syncing problems. It’s frustrating, and the fact that there’s no way to find out what’s wrong makes it even more so. In an ideal world iTunes would have some kind of sync log or sync diagnostic tool, akin to the Network Diagnostics utility, that would help ferret out problems and let people get on with enjoying their media.

(click here to continue reading iTunes syncing is broken: Apple, please fix it | Macworld.)

 iPhone 6 and iOS 8 restore number 12
iPhone 6 and iOS 8 restore number 12

I’ve written at least once about my frustrations with syncing, and by my count, I’ve had to restore my iPhone 6-minus at least ten times since I got it last fall. Ten times! New Year’s Eve1 was number eleven, and for some reason2 the PIN I used yesterday would not unlock my iPhone today. Since I have Find my iPhone turned on, I was unable to restore directly via my Mac, and had to log on to, and remotely wipe the iPhone. 

Sync Music 2015-01-01 at 12.10.18 PM

Restore Number 12 finally began, and because I use my iPhone for more than just a phone, the syncing takes for freaking ever3, and I probably won’t have use of a phone for several hours. 

Sure there are much worse problems in the world, but iPhone owners want devices that we spend thousands of dollars annually4 on to actually work. Currently, the iTunes 12/iOS 8 platform is not up the usual Apple standards. Constantly having to reinstall the software is not customer-friendly.

Restoring iPhone From Backup 2015-01-01 at 11.33.01 AM

Syncing photos 2015-01-01 at 12.09.28 PM

Syncing apps 2015-01-01 at 12.24.52 PM

  1. yesterday, 12/31/2014 []
  2. fat fingers, or the beginning stages of a good buzz, or Jony Ive’s sense of humor, whatever []
  3. between 4-5 hours, plus time to reset Apple ID, iCloud, the thumbprint, Apple Pay, etc. []
  4. the device itself, the monthly bill, the apps and songs and etc. []

Class Action Madness Against Apple’s iPod

iPod beach joy
iPod Original Model.

To be blunt, this is bullshit.

The latest case to bring Mr. Jobs’s spirit into a courtroom is set to begin on Tuesday in Oakland, Calif. It is a class action involving older iPods, which played only songs sold in the iTunes Store, or those downloaded from CDs, not music from competing stores. The plaintiffs are consumers who say Apple violated antitrust law because to keep their music, people had to stay with the iPod, and buy higher-priced ones rather than cheaper, alternative music players. Apple has since discontinued this system.

(click here to continue reading Star Witness in Apple Lawsuit Is Steve Jobs –

Maybe there is more to this litigation than is being reported, but as an owner of many iPods (including several of the early models, including the one that only worked with Macs), I can attest that all iPods were able to play music in the MP3 format from any source. If you got music from converting CDs you own (like I did and still do), or downloaded files from rival services like eMusic, or wherever, as long as the file was in the MP3 format, it played fine on any iPod. Now, perhaps there were music stores that sold tunes that were encoded in other proprietary formats, but why should Apple have to support those formats? Especially since if you downloaded, for instance, a WMA file from Music Match, you could easily convert the track to MP3 on your computer in seconds.

Dead 4G iPod
Dead 4G iPod

I don’t understand why this case hasn’t been tossed out yet. What am I missing?

Guns – A Partial Playlist

She's Not A Girl Who Misses Much
She’s Not A Girl Who Misses Much

I have a large enough collection of digitized music that I cannot ever listen to it all without resorting to various tricks, or allowing universal randomization to choose for me, or by choosing themes to build around. Yesterday, I was working in my my (digital) darkroom, and needed to come up with a title for a photograph that revolved around a revolver. My first thought was “Happiness is A Warm Gun”, because that is such a great song, but then my mind wandered, bang bang…

If I had to choose, my favorite “gun” songs would be, in no particular order, Jimi Hendrix – Machine Gun; Beatles – Happiness is A Warm Gun; Pogues – A Pistol for Paddy Garcia; Leo Kottke – Vaseline Machine Gun; The Clash – Guns of Brixton; Warren Zevon – Lawyers, Guns And Money; Junior Walker – Shotgun; The Pixies – There Goes My Gun; and Felice Brothers – Frankie’s Gun! Of course, this could change by tomorrow.

Here are some others…

Continue reading “Guns – A Partial Playlist”

Who killed the music industry

 iTunes Cover Project #4
iTunes Cover Project #4

Interesting discussion of the digital music industry, including this breakdown of what the artist gets from three of the largest digital options, iTunes, Pandora, and Spotify. Selling a single on iTunes is much, much more lucrative to the artist than streaming. 

Here’s where we stand with iTunes, Pandora and Spotify royalties (because the numbers are dependent on individual contracts and licensing deals, these are estimations):

Per track, iTunes pays $0.105 in performance royalties (15 percent of what the record label keeps) and $0.09 in songwriter royalties, totalling $0.19 per download.

Pandora pays $0.0011 per play in performance royalties, of which approximately 45 percent goes to the artist, resulting in $0.000495 per play. The songwriter royalties are harder to estimate, but if we go by Lowery’s statement, it’s $42.25 for 1 million plays, or $0.000042 per play, resulting in a total of $0.000537 per play. A song would have to be streamed about 350 times to catch up to iTunes 19 cent per download rate.

Spotify’s negotiations are more opaque and variable so we’ll have to go with the best estimates we have. For paid listeners, the average is about $0.006 per stream. Let’s say half of that goes to the artist (that’s how Lowery says his contract works), which would amount to $0.003 per play. But only 6 million of its 24 million users pay for the service. For streams from non-paying users, the rate is estimated to be only one-tenth of that, or $0.0003 per play, which is actually worse than Pandora’s rate. That’d be over 600 plays to catch up to iTunes.

That’s why artists like Thom Yorke have removed their music from the platform. Yorke tweeted, “Make no mistake new artists you discover on #Spotify will no[t] get paid. Meanwhile shareholders will shortly [be] rolling in it. Simples.”

(click here to continue reading Who killed the music industry? An interactive explainer | PandoDaily.)

Tickets Available
Tickets Available

The whole discussion is worth reading if you are curious what happened to the heyday of musicians being able to fly in private jets. Hint, it wasn’t Napster’s fault…

Since 2000, the amount of revenue created from selling or streaming music in America has been cut in half, from $14.3 billion to $7 billion, according to that most despised trade organization, the Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA. And yet listeners have more access to music than ever, and there’s nothing to suggest that demand for music is down. 

So what or who is to blame?

Is it Apple’s fault for launching iTunes and forever severing songs from albums? Is it the record executives’ fault who, facing this shift from $17 albums to $0.99 singles, continued to rely on old, byzantine licensing and sales models, even as their industry hemorrhaged money before their eyes? Is Internet piracy to blame, with Napster forever changing the way we find and consume music, and BitTorrent bringing about the record industry’s worst nightmare? What about Internet radio stations? Are the rock-bottom royalty payments the result of corporate greed or government meddling? Do we blame Spotify and other music streaming services for striking opaque, unsustainable deals with record labels? And what about the unchecked proliferation of copyrighted material on YouTube and other platforms?

For this explainer, we looked to identify and unravel the complex network of industry stakeholders — the rightsholders, including performers, songwriters, record labels, publishers, and licensing agencies, all of whom play a part in the process of making music, and all of whom expect a cut of the proceeds. There are the digital music sellers like iTunes and Amazon, which have supplanted brick-and-mortar stores and play by a different set of rules. And finally, the webcasters and streaming services, which struggle to achieve profitability even though they only pay artists fractions of pennies per song per play.

Follow us on a trip through recent music history as we try and figure out how we got here, where we’re headed, and whether today’s industry slump is a disruptive dip or the new normal.


(click here to continue reading Who killed the music industry? An interactive explainer | PandoDaily.)

February Friday Randomizer – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Edition

Feb Friday Randomizer
Feb Friday Randomizer album covers

Today’s edition of Random iTunes Friday has been brought to you by the letters Y, H and F…

  1. Baaba MaalSouka Nayo (I Will Follow You)
    Nomad Soul
    • part of the charm of this track is Baaba Maal’s voice contrasted against his female chorus. I wouldn’t go as far as saying this is traditional Senegalese music, more of modern pop with Senegalese accents.
  2. PavementAngel Carver Blues/ Mellow Jazz Docent
    Westing (By Musket And Sextant)
    • and now for something completely different…can one write about Pavement without resorting to such cliches as angular guitar? Hmm. I’ve listened to this song hundreds of times over the years, and I still have no idea what it is about.
  3. Conet Project, ThePhonetic Alphabet – NATO
    The Conet Project: Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations
    • If you like scratchy radio recordings of an accented woman repeating “Yankee, Hotel, Foxtrot” over and over, before switching to some other phrases equally as opaque, this is a great track for you. I’m guessing Jeff Tweedy is a fan…

    Six Planes Over Marina City
    Six Planes Over Marina City

  5. Talking HeadsThe Great Curve
    The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads
    • If you haven’t picked up a copy of this live album, and you like The Talking Heads, then what is wrong with you? Dense, unrelenting grooves, a band at the peak of their power, expanded touring lineup and all. Love it. Adrian Belew goes wild on the electric guitar.
  6. Stills, StephenSong Of Love
    • probably the last interesting Stephen Stills album, at least that I’ve heard. Catchy tune.
  7. Camper Van BeethovenAmbiguity Song
    Telephone Free Landslide Victory
    • agh, takes me back to my callow youth in Austin. “Everything seems to be up in the air at this time.”
  8. WireFragile
    Pink Flag
    • ooh, a double angular guitar cliche in one sitting! This great song is only 1:18 long though.
  9. Williams, LucindaChanged The Locks
    Live @ The Fillmore
    • live, this song is a lot more powerful than the original version. Ms. Williams voice is on the verge of hoarseness, but she muscles through.
  10. AC/DCIf You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)
    Highway To Hell
    • Angus Young has some fun with Bon Scott…an update of The Doors song, Peace Frog. Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure this is the very first album I ever purchased with my own money – on cassette tape no less. I was living in cultural wasteland of East Texas, going to middle school, but this album helped ameliorate some of the ennui.
  11. Temptations, TheDon’t Let The Joneses Get You Down
    Psychedelic Soul
    • a good sentiment, and a great, funky track
  12. Big Bill BroonzyGlory Of Love
    Uncut: Soul & Fire – Compiled By Paul Weller
    • Paul Weller has good musical taste, this is a favorite song of mine as well. Great acoustic blues guitar too. Don’t confuse it with the pop tune by Peter Cetera.
  13. Coup5 Million Ways To Kill A CEO
    Party Music
    • a Proto-Occupy Wall Street song, though with a little more imagined violence against CEOs than Occupy would be comfortable with.

Rain – A Playlist

To amuse myself, I make iTunes playlists. Below the fold is a playlist honoring the rain. I tried to remove all the “train” songs, and “brain” songs, and “Lorraine” songs, and so on, but maybe a few linger despite my best intentions. On the other hand, I left “rainbow”, and “raincoat” because, you know, that’s close enough. Stay dry! or stay wet!

parenthetical note: my Applescript1 only allowed me to select 100 songs at a time, so I broke my massive playlist into 4 sections.

Did I miss any?2

Do Just What You Used To Do
Do Just What You Used To Do

Continue reading “Rain – A Playlist”

  1. originally via Dougscripts, but modified []
  2. also curious if Feedburner / Google will able to handle such a long post []

Random Friday – Too Much To Dream Last Night Edition

A randomized selection from my iTunes library for your amusement and or bemusement.

 Random Artwork 2012 09 11

Random Artwork  

  1. Electric PrunesI Had Too Much To Dream Last Night
    Complete Reprise Singles
    I have a well documented fondness for garage rock. I know absolutely zero about this band, other than they were from the San Fernando Valley area, and this song was on the Lenny Kaye Nuggets series. Even after a thousand listens, still love that electric bee humming opening sound. 
  2. Cat Power3,6,9
    songs that rhyme “nine” with “wine” are suspect, but this isn’t a bad tune.  
  3. Willie Nelson & Asleep At The WheelI Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None O’ This Jellyroll
    Willie & The Wheel
    Western Swing tune. Needs more beer, and maybe some peanut shells on the floor… 
  4. Anders Osborne & “Big Chief” Monk BoudreauxMeet The Boyz On The Battlefront
    Doctors, Professors, Kings & Queens: The Big Ol’ Box Of New Orleans
    I know this song from the Wild Tchoupitoulas – any other version will probably be lesser. Still has a good dance rhythm, just not as funky as the Wild Tchoupitoulas.
  5. Tom Tom ClubDowntown Rockers
    Downtown Rockers
    From their new EP, which isn’t bad, as far as these things go. Needs some angular David Byrne lyrics to really be good, and that’s not going to happen anytime soon. 
  6. Ron SexsmithThis Is Where I Belong
    This Is Where I Belong (Songs Of Ray Davies)
    another song that is lesser compared to the original, in this case, by the Kinks, on Face to Face. 
  7. Max RomeoI Chase The Devil
    War Ina Babylon
    Not sure why Max Romeo wants to wear an iron shirt, seems heavy, no matter, this song is very catchy. 
  8. Beau JocquePop That Coochie
    Roll Up The Rug Vol. 2
    Uhh, slightly NSFW zydeco tune. Pop that coochie all night… 
  9. PJ Harveywe float
    stories from the city, stories
    closing track from this odd PJ Harvey album, incarnation of her as a New York sophisticate, or something. Not her typical brash style, more understated. 
  10. Uncle TupeloNew Madrid
    Unfortunately, the final album from one of my favorite artists, Uncle Tupelo.  Great song from a great album by a great band. Wilco is pretty good, but I’ll always have a special appreciation for Uncle Tupelo.
  11. Jimi Hendrix ExperienceMay This Be Love
    Are You Experienced?
    a favorite ballad from Hendrix’s debut album. Delicate guitar work makes this genius.
  12. Black SabbathHole In The Sky
    a guilty pleasure, I love this riff-heavy propulsive song with nonsense lyrics. 
  13. James, SkipI’m So Glad
    The Rough Guide to Delta Blues
    Skip James is like no other blues singer, of his era at least.  Odd guitar tuning, and falsetto voice. This is a song that is much better than the Cream cover version. 
  14. Foo FightersRope
    Wasting Light
    Let me go on record as saying I like the acoustic version of Foo Fighters better that played at the recent Apple iPhone 5 announcement. And parenthetically, would Kurt Cobain have consented to playing at such a corporate event? Even for a corporation with indie cred like Apple? 

Randomizer Friday – Straight To Your Heart Like a Cannon Ball edition

iTunes artwork - Guess the Album!
iTunes artwork – Guess the Album!

Been a while since I played the Friday Randomizer game. Here are today’s results.

  1. Morrison, Van(Straight To Your Heart) Like A Cannon Ball
    Tupelo Honey
    Today is Van Morrison’s birthday, in 1945, so I started with this quite decent track from Tupelo Honey, which to be honest is not in my top shelf of Van the Man albums. Love the R&B chorus chants of “toodle-ooddle-oooh” though…
  2. Field, TheSilent
    From Here We Go Sublime
    instrumental, electronica track. Slightly repetitive. Wouldn’t be out of place as a soundtrack in a progressive sushi bar. I might have fallen asleep for a second there.
  3. Beastie BoysGratitude [Live At Budokan 9-16-92]
    Check Your Head [Disc 2]
    Good times gone but you missed them
    What’s gone wrong in your system
    (original version better)
  4. Jones, Rickie LeeTried To Be A Man
    The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard
    an interesting track on a weird and interesting album with an odd genesis.
  5. Amalia RodriguesAi Mouraria
    Amália Sings Traditional Fado
    Portuguese fado tune, circa 1951. Perfect for sitting alone, having a late afternoon cocktail in a smoky bar.
  6. Group DouehWazan Samat
    Guitar Music From the Western Sahara
    hypnotic desert blues song, you either love the genre – like me – or don’t.
  7. FeistSo Sorry
    The Reminder
    melancholic Canadian singer/songwriter. I wanted to like it, but am too jaded and cynical I suppose…
  8. Strummer, JoeTennessee Rain
    Soundtrack of “Walker”
    I  got this album recently, while on a Joe Strummer kick. I should see the movie based on how much I like the soundtrack. Apparently, Strummer’s conceit was to only use instruments that would be available during the period the film is set (1840s). Nothing at all like The Clash, but quite delicious.
  9. Jansch, BertNeedle Of Death
    It Don’t Bother Me
    The most beautiful song about heroin addiction and death, ever. I doubt you could play it on guitar as well as guitar wizard Bert Jansch did, I know I can’t.
  10. CANMushroom (Live)
    Lost Tapes Box Set
    From this stellar boxed set. Original on Tago Mago. By the way, there was a video made for it, available here.
  11. N.W.A.Express Yourself
    Straight Outta Compton
    Probably the best song on this album, imo.
  12. Frog EyesBushels
    Tears of the Valedictorian
    no idea about deeper meaning on this track, or album, but it’s still pretty good, in the right mood. The vocalist, Carey Mercer, is on the verge of being whiny, buyer beware…
    I was a singer and I sang in your home
  13. Dead KennedysCalifornia Über Alles
    No Thanks! The ’70s Punk Rebellion
    bonus track. The version with Jerry Brown as governor of California…

And that’s that…

Randomizer 2012 08 31
Randomizer 2012-08-31 in no particular order

Random Friday – Whatcha Drinkin edition

Random iTunes shuffle today yielded:

  1. Hüsker DüWhatcha Drinkin’?
    New Day Rising

    one minute and thirty three seconds of punk-y bliss. The lyrics, in total:  

    I don’t care what you say, I don’t care what you’re drinking today. I don’t care what they say, I’ll be drinking today. I try not to drink anymore, I try not to drink anymore, and try not to think anymore.

  2. Boozoo ChavisGoin To The Zydeco
    Hey Do Right!

    and now for something completely different…some dance music, with accordion.

  3. McDowell, FredGravel Road Blues
    Good Morning, Little School Girl

    sometimes called “Mississippi Fred McDowell”, but since he allegedly hated that, I stripped Mississippi from his name. Bottle neck guitar master, with a harsh, country voice. Powerful, hypnotic stuff. Actually, this is dance music too, the insistent beat is there to be heard, and acted upon if you want.

  4. Marley, Bob & The WailersSomewhere To Lay My Head
    One Love at Studio One

    From a collection of ska and proto-reggae tracks recorded between 1964 and 1966, really a Wailers joint, not just Bob Marley. Dance music!

  5. Monk, TheloniousRuby, My Dear
    Monk’s Music

    A classic tune. Thelonious Monk liked to dance around in his idiosyncratic style during other musicians solos.

  6. R.E.M.Lightnin’ Hopkins

    As far as my ears can tell, this song has absolutely nothing to do with the blues musician, Lightnin’ Hopkins. Still love it.

  7. Kočani OrkestarGoodbye Macedonia
    Alone At My Wedding

    Balkan brass ensemble, with some Middle Eastern influences. I really like this album, but I don’t if it is representative of their other work or not.

  8. Yo La TengoDemons
    Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo

    Yo La Tengo used to be a favorite band of mine, but their later albums have not moved me. This album is a collection of singles, mostly cover versions, including this so-so swirling tune which was featured in the film I Shot Andy Warhol.

  9. Paddy BeadesMy Darlin’ Coleen Bawn
    From Galway To Dublin

    Extremely traditional Irish music from an early era. Mournful vocal and mournful fiddle.

  10. Costa, GalDivino Maravilhoso
    Tropicalia Essentials

    Weird Brazilian pop music with some nice fuzz guitar that sounds like an over-amplified bee, weaving in and out of the melody. I’m partial to it, but not to everyone’s taste, I’ll readily admit.

  11. Dylan, BobAlberta #4
    Self Portrait

    Universally, critics seem to hate this album, but there are a few good songs on it. This is almost an easy listening tempo, swings nicely.

  12. Remains, TheDon’t Look Back
    Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era

    Garage rock! I am a big fan of the genre, and this song doesn’t disappoint. Best played loudly.

  13. The JamI Got By In Time

    Originally from The Jam’s first album, In The City, , a good closing tune for today’s randomness. Not really punk, not really British R&B, not quite New Wave, somewhere straddling all three genres…

Most Played Songs in 2011

Stereo Sanctity
Stereo Sanctity

According to LastFM, these are my most played songs for 2011. The caveat is that these are just the songs that played on my desktop computer/stereo; in other words, not including statistics on what I listened to on my iPhone, iPod, iPad, in my car, and so on. Just what was played on my Mac Pro in my office. So these are not absolute numbers, nevertheless, I did listen to these songs a lot in 2011.

Annotations as necessary:

  • Solomon Burke – Cry to Me –  I added three versions to my library this year, originally released in 1963, 1968, and 1983, guess when you add all the play counts…
  • Bukka White – Parchman farm blues – tried to learn to play this song on guitar, but eventually gave up. I’m just not that good, nor dedicated enough to become good.
  • Bob Dylan – Buckets of Rain – made, and played repeatedly, a playlist consisting of “rain” songs since there was so much precipitation this year.
  • Bob Dylan – It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
  • Willie Nelson – Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain – another rain song, and a great, favorite tune
  • Big Bill Broonzy – Key To The Highway – added a lot of Big Bill Broonzy songs to my library this year because he’s a genius, and an American institution
  • Kurt Vile – Jesus Fever -I do like this song, but it probably got as many plays as it did because I made a “Rapture” playlist for the Harold Camping joke.
  • Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté – Sabu Yerkoy – Uncut Magazine featured this song twice on their ride-along disc, plus I already owned the album it was from. So, three versions in my library. Good song though, don’t get me wrong.
  • The Fall – L.A. – picked up This Nation’s Saving Grace Omnibus Edition this year which includes an entire second disc of unreleased versions of songs on the original 1985 LP.
  • Led Zeppelin – Since I’ve Been Loving You
  • The Fall – What You Need
  • Dead Kennedys – California Über Alles – Jerry Brown is governor of California, of course. Again.
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers – Stop That Train
  • The Saints – Untitled – The Saints are a new to me band, so I bought several of their albums. Subsequently that means I have five versions of this track, including one called, Untitled (International Robot Session)
  • Beirut – O Leãozinho – Red Hot and Rio compilation.
  • Wanda Jackson – Thunder On The Mountain – Jack White, Bob Dylan, plus was also featured on an Uncut Magazine disk.
  • Joy Division – She’s Lost Control – including live versions, remixes, BBC versions, etc., I have 11 versions of this great tune.
  • The Stooges – Search and Destroy
  • Solomon Burke – Everybody Needs Somebody To Love
  • Blind Willie McTell – Broke Down Engine Blues – awesome song, impossible to play on guitar (for me at least)
  • Bert Jansch & John Renbourn – East Wind – unfortunately, Bert Jansch died this year. A stellar talent.
  • Elvis Costello – Watch Your Step – still love this bass guitar line even after hearing it hundreds of times since I owned Trust on vinyl back in the stone ages.
  • King Sunny Ade – E Ba Mi Dupe
  • Gil Scott-Heron –The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – another stellar talent who died this year. There are more than one version of this song, released on different albums.

Fela Anikulapo Kuti - complete works
Fela Anikulapo Kuti – complete works

And while I’m living in the past, also per LastFM, these are the most played artists in 2011, as of right now, with the same caveats as above. And one more caveat, LastFM, by its very nature, skews towards artists with deep catalogs. In other words, since Bob Dylan has so damn many albums, covering so many moods, the Dylan play count is higher than say, Kurt Vile or The Decemberists. I own multiple albums by all of these artists listed below. Are these my favorite artists? No, some are, some aren’t, but obviously I like these artists more than I skip over them from playing.


  • Bob Dylan
  • Fela Kuti – new box set, plus Fela is genius
  • R.E.M. – Their career announced as over, of course I listened to their entire catalog a couple times
  • Wilco
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers
  • Bert Jansch
  • Led Zeppelin – picked up some good bootlegs this year
  • Solomon Burke
  • David Bowie
  • Richard Thompson
  • Glenn Gould – we watched a good documentary about Glenn Gould this year. Intriguing dude.
  • Muddy Waters
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Tom Waits
  • Pink Floyd – played their entire catalog in date order sometime this summer.
  • Big Bill Broonzy
  • The Pogues
  • The Saints
  • The Clash
  • Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – an unusual talent who died this year
  • Pavement
  • Townes Van Zandt

Guess Things Happen That Way

“His Sun Years” (Johnny Cash)

Hello, I’m (downloading) Johnny Cash1

The lucky recipient of a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card (and a whole lot of press) is 71-year-old Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Georgia —a retired real estate agent, onetime Navy radar operator, and grandfather of nine who just wanted Johnny Cash’s 1958 single “Guess Things Happen That Way” for his new Nano, a birthday gift from his children. And he bought it on a PC: “I do not own a Mac, no,” he chuckles. “I knew somebody was going to ask me that question.”

Sulcer has spent the last day fielding calls from, among others, Apple head Steve Jobs (“I thought it was my son, he’s always a joker. I kept saying, ‘Come on, Kevin, I know it’s you!”) and Cash’s daughter Rosanne (“she had her husband, who is her guitarist, play the song to me over the phone. That was real nice.”).

He has been a devoted Johnny Cash fan for most of his life, he says: “I went to Georgia Tech on a football scholarship, broke just about every bone in my body. All those boys on the team, we just loved country music… My whole life, I had never understood why people go see movies twice, but I’ve seen [Cash biopic] Walk the Line four times. My kids finally bought me the DVD. And I was pretty sure I had all of his music, but I was just checking iTunes, listening to those little 20 or 30 second clips, and I found this one. It has some good pickin’ in it!”

[Click to continue reading EW talks to the Georgia grandfather who bought the 10 billionth song on itunes: ‘I’ve never won anything!’ |]

A sweet story, really. The song itself is pretty typical for a Sun Records Johnny Cash song; also there’s a version floating around the intertubes that is a duet with Bob Dylan, circa Nashville Skyline.

from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Jobs congratulated him, thanked him for using Apple products and chatted a bit.

“He was real nice,” Sulcer said. “I told him I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed iTunes and the iPod. I really enjoy country music.

“He asked me if I played the guitar, and I said, ‘Oh my goodness. That is my lifelong frustration.’ “

Sulcer has been trying to learn the picking style of Luther Perkins, Cash’s guitarist, but he has not had much luck.

“[Jobs] said he had been messing around a little with [the guitar], too,” Sulcer said.

Later Thursday, after his doctor appointment, Sulcer was expecting calls from near and far. Apple public relations people have been calling him to ask whether he would consent to an interview with Rolling Stone, the rock magazine, and other publications.

“I said, ‘Rolling Stone is going to be so disappointed with this old man.’ “

He did get a call he found a little more special. “Rosanne Cash also called this morning to thank me for listening to Johnny Cash,” Sulcer said. She told Sulcer her father would have turned 78 on Friday. Then she had one more surprise for him: Her husband, musician John Leventhal, played the song he bought over the phone for him.

[Click to continue reading Woodstock man wins $10,000 iTunes contest |]

Too funny

  1. famous opening line of his live At Folsom Prison LP, prior to singing Folsom Prison Blues – shot a man in Reno just to see him die, wild cheers from the inmates, you remember []