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:
We have not played the random shuffle game1 in a while, so here’s what came up on the shuffler this afternoon. Note: this is more than 10 songs, the smart playlist I used is made for creating CDs to play in a car2
Fleetwood Mac– Rhiannon Fleetwood Mac – I’ve never been a huge Fleetwood Mac fan, but this isn’t a bad pop song, sung in best Stevie Nicks sultry style. You’ve probably heard it on the radio once or twice, or a million times. Do love the closing bass/drum line too.
Bloque– Nena Bloque – A Columbian band that I don’t know much about. The opening sounds a lot like early Led Zeppelin. A catchy, danceable song, with Latin percussion layered onto alternative-rock changes; too bad I speak very little Spanish.
Doug Peters– Pact John Barleycorn Reborn: Dark Britannica – Part of a box set of folkish music from the British Isles that’s worth tracking down. This song, like many on this collection, full of minor key obfuscations and hypnotic acoustic guitar riffs.
Beastie Boys– The New Style Licensed To Ill – Ahh, takes me way back (this came out in 1986). The Beastie Boys did evolve, and later albums are better musically and lyrically, but Licensed to Ill will always have a place in my brain.
Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, and Dwight Yokam– Beer Can Hill 1996 – Bakersfield twang, multi-generational edition. Not worthy of playing every day, but not bad. You could dance to it even.
X– White Girl (Single Mix) Wild Gift – Speaking of a misspent youth, X was played often too. “Living with a White Girl” might have been chanted a few times at various roommates in college. I refuse to say more.
Belle & Sebastian– I’m Not Living In The Real World Write About Love – A poppy lesson in Scottish ebullience. Allmusic compares this album to mid ‘60s Swinging London, I can hear that.
Joy Division– Atmosphere Heart And Soul – A tremendously moving song, one of my favorite Joy Division tracks. Peter Hook (bassist) agrees with me. Here’s the official band video (after Ian Curtis’s death). “Don’t walk away in silence.” B-Side to Love Will Tear Us Apart.
13th Floor Elevators– Slide Machine (mono) Easter Everywhere – My high school’s most famous grad, other than me, was Roky Erickson. Psychedelic garage rock, with the electric jug, and LSD, what’s not to like? Upon listening more, this particular song is more psychedelic than straight-ahead garage rock. Quite interesting. I have no idea what the lyrics mean, probably neither does anyone else, though some speculate it refers to heroin injection.
Vashti Bunyan– Winter Is Blue Just Another Diamond Day – True. Every spring I sigh a sigh of escape, didn’t off myself this winter… This song irritates me though at the moment. A little too hippy-dippy. Some days I know I enjoy Vashti Bunyan, not today.
The Lemonheads– I Just Can’t Take It Anymore Varshons – A Gram Parsons cover on an album of interesting covers, produced by Gibby Haynes.4 I thought I knew the music of Gram Parsons well, but I don’t know this particular song, so I can’t judge if the cover is as good or better than the original, just that I like it. Parsons is usually more plaintive, but that isn’t Evan Dando.
Cash, Johnny– Cocaine Blues At Folsom Prison – I took a shot of cocaine and I shot that bitch down is prototypical gangsta rap, right? Still genius after so many listens…One of the best “live” albums ever.
The Besnard Lakes– Rides The Rails The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse – Canadian Indie Rock from 2007, part smooth harmony, part crunchy guitars.
Nelson, Willie– How Long Is Forever Countryman – Willie does a reggae LP. There are better songs on this album, but this one is ok too. A little generic.
CAKE– Frank Sinatra Fashion Nugget – Frank Sinatra as a metaphor. CAKE never became alt-rock gods in the ‘90s, but they could have, even on the basis of this song.
Reda Darwish– Raqset El Banat Bellydance: A Rough Guide to – I should probably add this fun, danceable song to my list of Honoria’s Instrumentals. Back story of that: she asked if I could suggest some non-word music to play in the background while she teaches her drawing classes (using iTunes streaming I think). I suggested a few dozen off the top of my head, and since then, have been keeping track of wordless music, aka instrumentals. I have a new list to send her of over 1,000 songs, but I keep delaying sending her an update because I’m finding new tunes like this one. 1,000 instrumentals is kind of excessive, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Pavement– Our Singer Slanted & Enchanted – Again a slice of ‘90s nostalgia. Part of the soundtrack to my early adulthood. Shambolic indie-rock with obscure lyrics FTW.
Ho’opi’i, Sol– Feelin’ No Pain Master Of The Hawaiian Guitar, Volume One – Sol Ho’opi’i is an amazing guitar player (this song is also on Honoria’s Instrumentals). Recently I tuned my acoustic guitar to open G tuning, and have been exploring the slide guitar universe. Nothing as adept as this, but a “fun” variation to my normal guitar playing. Anyway, Sol Ho’opi’i is a Jimi Hendrix of the lap-steel slide guitar. Amazing. I actually cheated and played this song twice.
Fishbone– Movement In The Light In Your Face – Alt-Rock Funk/rock, uhh, does that suffice as a description? Another album on this list I originally owned on vinyl, in the pre-CD/pre-streaming days. Strange how so many of the tunes on this playlist are songs I knew on vinyl. Not typical to be honest.
Sonics, The– This Broken Heart Chess Rhythm & Roll – Not thoseSonics, a doo-wop band instead. I’m partial more to the garage rockers, but this song is still sweet. Funkadelic did an awesomely funky cover on their Cosmic Slop LP, seek that out. The original is ok, but the Funkadelic twist is better.
Brand Nubian– Brand Nubian Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – Radio Los Santos/Playback FM – early ‘90s hip-hop, with a Funkadelic sample5. Ok.
Well, there you have it. If this was a road trip, and you were a passenger listening to the mix tape, would you take over control of the radio? I’d be ok with this eclectic mix, but on the other hand, there wasn’t quite enough loud music which is often a requirement for a road trip – one needs those driving rhythms to be able to merge in traffic with confidence. This particular randomization leans heavily on folk, folk rock, and country tunes. Not exclusively, but enough to maybe hit the fast-forward button mid-stream. Since I was only listening to the playlist in my office, it was pretty good. If I was burning this to CD, I’d change both the opening and closing track to something more memorable/interesting. I like to open with an instrumental, close with one too.
Smart Playlist – CDizer.PNG
the rules are simple, shuffle your music by song, play the first x=number songs, list ’em [↩]
I See a Darkness – a little too melancholy for this morning, but a strong track nonetheless. I’m on my 9th warm glass of gin
Clark, Gene– The True One
No Other -state of the nation, circa 1974, complete with slide guitars.
Van Ronk, Dave– Sprig of Thyme
Inside Dave Van Ronk – No Dave Van Ronk, no Bob Dylan. Simple as that. Bet Dave Van Ronk was fun to drink whisky with.
Joni Mitchell– Happy Birthday 1975
Mingus – a rousing Happy Birthday sung to Charles Mingus, with the additional refrain, How Old Are You? Mingus sings back, 54, motherfucker, but Joni Mitchell corrects Mingus, 53! You were born in 1922, Charles Such an odd little track
Simple game, hit shuffle on your music library, record the first ten songs that emerge. You can play too, but here’s what showed up on my Friday shuffle.
Bowie, David– Letter To Hermione
Space Oddity – Strange to hear David Bowie play softly psychedelic rock before he became famous, and a better musician. Not skippable, but not a desert island disc either.
Band, The– Key To The Highway
A Musical History – If you are looking for a good introduction to one of the seminal bands of the 1970s, you wouldn’t go wrong picking up this boxed set. Full of gems. This particular track has enough reverb to start a pogo-stick revolution. Err something like that. Hard to imagine The Band recording songs like this in isolation. I have no evidence either way, just strongly suspect this was recorded with minimal over-dubs.
Fools Gold– Poseidon
Fool’s GoldFool’s Gold is a Los Angeles collective that weaves together western pop aesthetics with African rhythms and melodies, and indeed this is true. If I didn’t know better, I’d think this song was from the Nigeria 70 series, or a Luaka Bop compilation.
Honorary Citizen – Bob Marley was never as good as when he was part of The Wailers, and Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer were co-members. Peter Tosh as a solo act was hardly ever as deep as Bob Marley, but still better than most. This is a pop reggae tune with dub-style drums. I guess every song doesn’t have to have political and religious over (and under) tones.
Hokoyo! – Thomas Mapfumo deserves a Nobel Peace Prize more than Barack Obama! One of my favorite musicians I’ve seen perform live: such a leonine stage presence. Don’t know if his band is playing electric guitar arpeggios or an electrified mbira, just know that the Zimbabwe government didn’t like the criticisms, and Mr. Mapfumo lives in exile these days.
Bert Jansch & John Renbourn– East Wind
Bert And John – absolutely spectacular acoustic guitar duel/duet. If you play acoustic guitar, you should give this album a listen.