Friday, December 21, 2007

Erik's Random 10

John Hartford was one of the leaders of the bluegrass hippie movement of the 1970s. Unlike so many purveyors of this (David Grisman especially), Hartford avoided turning bluegrass into stoner jam music. Rather, he broad his weird sensibility to it, creating new sounds and very new lyrical topics. He was happy to sing a song about marijuana, something Bill Monroe never would have done. But he wasn't going to have a 4 minute mandolin solo in the middle of it. It might be a little banjo song. It might be a relatively traditional arrangement. He might sing it normally or he might sing it in a weird voice. However he did it, you knew it was a John Hartford song immediately.

"Way Up on the Hill Where They Do the Boogie" is originally off his fabulously strange Mark Twang album, but this is off a bootleg copy of a 1983 live show. It's classic Hartford. Odd topic, odd arrangement, but also in the universe of traditional bluegrass music.

Sadly, Hartford died well before his time from cancer. I was very sad when I heard the news. What a great artist.

1. John Hartford, Way Up on the Hill Where They Do the Boogie
2. Tom Waits, Long Way Home
3. Dodo Marmarosa, What is This Thing Called Love
4. Jello Biafra and Mojo Nixon, Where Are We Gonna Work (When the Trees Are Gone)
5. Bob Wills, I Ain't Got Nobody
6. Eric Dolphy, Bee Vamp
7. Hacienda Brothers, No Time to Waste
8. LCD Soundsystem, Watch the Tapes
9. Billie Holliday, God Bless the Child
10. Drive-By Truckers, The Day John Henry Died