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 []

Random Friday – Movement In The Atmosphere Edition

Put That Record Back On
Put That Record Back On…

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

My top-of-mind3 notes in green.

  1. Fleetwood MacRhiannon
    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.
  2. BloqueNena
    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. 
  3. Doug PetersPact
    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. 
  4. Beastie BoysThe 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.
  5. Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, and Dwight YokamBeer Can Hill
    1996 – Bakersfield twang, multi-generational edition. Not worthy of playing every day, but not bad. You could dance to it even.
  6. XWhite 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.  
  7. Belle & SebastianI’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.
  8. Joy DivisionAtmosphere
    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.
  9. 13th Floor ElevatorsSlide 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.
  10. Vashti BunyanWinter 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. 
  11. The LemonheadsI 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. 
  12. Cash, JohnnyCocaine 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.
  13. The Besnard LakesRides The Rails
    The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse – Canadian Indie Rock from 2007, part smooth harmony, part crunchy guitars. 
  14. Nelson, WillieHow 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.
  15. CAKEFrank 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. 
  16. Reda DarwishRaqset 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)_/¯ 
  17. PavementOur Singer
    Slanted & Enchanted – Again a slice of ‘90s nostalgia. Part of the soundtrack to my early adulthood. Shambolic indie-rock with obscure lyrics FTW.
  18. Ho’opi’i, SolFeelin’ 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.
  19. FishboneMovement 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.
  20. Sonics, TheThis Broken Heart
    Chess Rhythm & Roll – Not those Sonics, 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.
  21. Brand NubianBrand 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
Smart Playlist – CDizer.PNG

  1. the rules are simple, shuffle your music by song, play the first x=number songs, list ’em []
  2. 79 minutes worth []
  3. shallow []
  4. of the Butthole Surfers []
  5. Flashlight []

Random Friday – Man From Pakistan edition

It is a simple game, hit shuffle on your music library interface, and record the first ten songs that emerge. You can play too, but here’s what showed up on my Friday shuffle. Some notes below

  1. Jules Dupont Gregorian ChantBenedicamus Domino (Exultemus…)

    A Treasury Of Gregorian Chants

  2. Bonnie ‘Prince’ BillyI Am Drinking Again

    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

  3. Clark, GeneThe True One

    No Other
    -state of the nation, circa 1974, complete with slide guitars.

  4. Van Ronk, DaveSprig 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.

  5. Joni MitchellHappy Birthday 1975

    – 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

  6. Drake, NickSummertime

    Tanworth In Arden
    – more melancholy, can barely even hear Nick Drake’s voice.

  7. Rolling StonesStreet Fighting Man

    Beggars Banquet
    – hard to listen to this song, as good as it is, we’ve all heard it too frequently. I tried to listen to it as I have never heard it before, but this is difficult task.

  8. The Open MindMagic Potion

    Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond
    garage rock paean to drug use. This could very well be a contemporary band like The Killers, Brian Jonestown Massacre or Queens of the Stone Age.

  9. King Oliver’s Creole JazzbandSouthern Stomp (1st take)

    Louis Armstrong And King Oliver
    – Hey didn’t New Orleans win some sort of sporting event? Whatever, never need an excuse to listen to Louis Armstrong and King Oliver

  10. Flaming LipsMan From Pakistan

    Hear It Is The Flaming Lips
    – This was the iteration of The Flaming Lips I first knew: psychedelic punk rock, outsider music, and catchy as hell.

  11. Doors, TheHyacinth House

    Box Set -Disk 1- Without A Safety Net

Random Friday -Letter to the East Wind Edition

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.

  1. Bowie, DavidLetter 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.

  2. Band, TheKey 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.

  3. Fools GoldPoseidon

    Fool’s Gold
    Fool’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.

  4. Fahey, JohnGive Me Corn Bread When I’m Hungry

    The Dance Of Death & Other Plantation Favorites
    – can never have enough John Fahey. This is a straightfoward acoustic blues, with percussive bass strings in homage to Mississippi John Hurt and others.

  5. Tosh, PeterComing In Hot

    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.

  6. Johann Sebastian Bach

    Bach: Cello Suites [Disc 1]

    Bach: Cello Suite #1 In G, BWV 1007 – Menuet #1 & 2- Jaap Ter Linden

    ahh, Bach – in my best Radar O’Reilly voice…

  7. Professor LonghairCherry Pie

    House Party New Orleans Style
    – A duet with Snooks Eaglin’s guitar. Not much of a lyric, I suspect cherry pie is a sexual innuendo perhaps.

  8. The RutsBabylon’s Burning

    No Thanks! The ’70s Punk Rebellion
    – Meh. Serviceable track on a great boxed set. Tellingly, this is the only Ruts song I have in my library.

  9. Thomas Mapfumo, The Acid BandMatiregerera Mambo

    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.

  10. Bert Jansch & John RenbournEast Wind

    Bert And John
    – absolutely spectacular acoustic guitar duel/duet. If you play acoustic guitar, you should give this album a listen.

Friday Randomizer – Too Drunk to Fuck edition

Come on, you can play along too! Shuffle your music library by song, then post the first ten songs on the playlist. Here’s what my list looks like today:

  1. Nouvelle VagueToo Drunk To Fuck

    Nouvelle Vague

  2. MC5Skunk (Sonically Speaking)

    The Big Bang! Best Of The MC5

  3. QueenLeaving Home Ain’t Easy


  4. Davis, MilesMademoiselle Mabry

    Filles De Kilimanjaro

  5. R.E.M.Fall on me

    Life’s Rich Pageant

  6. Clancy EcclesBe Faithful Darling

    Trojan Tighten Up Box

  7. Townes Van ZandtNo Lonesome Tune (with Willie Nelson)
    Texas Rain
  8. Mingus, CharlesFables Of Faubus

    Mingus Ah Um

  9. Galaxie 500Decomposing Trees

    On Fire

  10. Jones, Rickie LeeNobody Knows My Name

    The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard

Again, for me, I want to post a brief discussion of each song, but entirely too busy with “paying” work to do so. Imagine my sonorous voice droning on…