Monday, May 23, 2005

Music Meme

Scott at Lawyers Guns Money sent me this music meme. It's shorter than some music ones I've seen which is nice. But actually it doesn't really matter very much to me because I like talking about music endlessly.

Anyway, here we go:

1. What is the total volume of musical files on your computer?

Zip. Not a real technology kind of guy. Managing the template on this blog has taxed my abilities significantly. Also I like to listen to albums over songs. There's something about listening to a really good album that makes it worth more than the sum of its songs.

2. What song are you listening to right now?
Bob Dylan, "If You See Her Say Hello". Blood On The Tracks is a great album. It's probably in my top 5 or certainly my top 10. Which is interesting because no other Dylan album is even close. Maybe Bringing It All Back Home would make my top 100 but probably not. What a great album Blood On The Tracks is.

3. Last CD I bought?
I just ordered the new Richard Thompson live album from his Austin City Limits performance. I got it from Amazon and I haven't actually received it yet. The last album that I went to the store and bought was William Parker, Joe Morris, and Hamid Drake, Eloping With The Sun. Other recent purchases include Wayne Hancock, Swing Time, The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti doing Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade and Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, a collection of Conway Twitty's #1 hits, and The Hacienda Brothers' self-titled album.

4. Five songs you listen to a lot and which mean something to you:

This is a tough one because again it's albums that I value over particular songs. Here's a few good ones though.

1. Buddy Tabor, "Raven with a Broken Wing" . Album--"Earth and the Sky"--No one knows who Buddy Tabor is. He's paints houses in Juneau, Alaska and writes the most intense and dark lyrics this side of Townes Van Zandt but also with a sense of the greatness of life within them. Also writes some great political songs including a really funny one making fun of Rush Limbaugh's drug habit. But anyway, "Raven with a Broken Wing" is about a friend of Buddy's who got in a car wreck. I think it was a drunk driving thing. He thanks the doctor who saved his life and "you hugged him with the one arm you had left." When I heard that line, it was just a holy shit moment. I mean, how do you write a line like that? Just amazing. If you're interested in hearing one of his albums, just e-mail me. You can't buy them anywhere, including any online sites that I know of.

2. Townes Van Zandt, "Waiting Around To Die" --- Album, "Townes Van Zandt"---"Now I'm out of prison and I've got me a friend at last. He don't drink or steal or lie. His name's Codeine, he's the nicest friend I've seen. Together we're going to wait around and die." I remember the exact place I was the first time I heard that line.

3. Loudon Wainwright III, "Whatever Happened to Us" ---Album, "Unrequited" A great breakup song from maybe the greatest breakup album ever. Has one of the greatest lines ever, "You said I came too early but it was you who came too late." That kills me every time I listen to it.

4. Tom Russell, "Blue Wing"---Album, Poor Man's Dream--The story of an Indian in prison and his subsequent time after he's released. Dave Alvin claims that he was about to leave the music business and then he heard "Blue Wing" and was inspired to gut it out so he could try to write songs like that. If it simply served to keep Dave Alvin making music, it would be a great song. But of course it's wonderful on its own terms. The song also talks about Blue Wing ending up "on the south side of Seattle where the days grow gray and dark." My own experiences on the south side of Seattle suggests that the days are always grey and dark there, even if it's a sunny August day.

5. William Parker, "Posium Pendasem, No. 3"--Album, "The Peach Orchard". This is on this list for several reason. For one it is the only live performance that I've seen that has ended up on an album. This is cool, but it's not in itself a reason for this to make the list. After all, if a song from the time I saw Kelly Hogan drink a shot for every song she sang and bitch about the sound before walking off almost in tears after 5 songs made an album of hers, I don't think I'd buy it. But it was an amazing live experience and it translates well to album. The passion in this song is unbelievable. From the atonal piano entry by Cooper-Moore to the shocking percussion of Susie Ibarra the energy is almost indescribale. When I saw this show it was almost like a religious experience. The waves of music just came rushing over me. In front of me was an artist who was painting what seemed like a very abstract work in rhythm to the music but which eventually turned into some recognizable representation of the music. His work sometimes ends up as album covers, or at least it's on this Charles Gayle album I have.

Since Scott added a couple more, I'll cheat and do that too, saying that I also treasure Dick Justice, "Cocaine" (also a great song for teaching about drug use before WWII, has the classic line "I'm simply wild about my good cocaine"), Bob Wills' "Across the Alley from the Alamo", Alejandro Escovedo, "Castanets" (about a beautiful woman that he absolutely loathed. I once heard this described as the best Rolling Stones song they never wrote which is about right), Curtis Mayfield, "Pusherman", Stevie Wonder, "Ordinary Pain," John Zorn's cover of Ennio Morricone's "The Big Gundown," Bob Dylan, "Idiot Wind," Marty Robbins, "El Paso", Loretta Lynn and Jack White, "Portland, Oregon", Don Rigsby, "Should Have Carved Our Name In Stone," Billy Bang, "Yo! Ho Chi Minh Is In The House", Terry Allen, "Blue Asian Reds", Butch Hancock, "You've Never Seen Me Cry", The Louvin Brothers, "Broadminded," and about 5000 other songs.

Anyway, I'm not going to send this to anyone in particular. Which is another way of saying that I'd like to see everyone who reads this blog give their list, whether in the comments to this post or on your own blog if you have one.