Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Another Music Tag

Since the students are playing "10 Little Indians" today, and slowly slipping out the doors into the nice April day, I have no kids this period, giving me a chance to do a musical meme that some of my favorite bloggers like Dale, Lulu, Chris, and Beth have done:

List seven songs you’re into right now ... no matter what they are. BUT they must be songs you’re presently enjoying.

Border Radio- The Blasters
This is from the Blasters' self-titled debut record. It's now on Testament: The Slash Recordings, a collection of their first four records. It's the story of a single mother, "thinking about a man who's gone--" the father of her infant son. She calls "toll-free" to request a song from one of the high-power "border radio" stations-- stations that broadcast from over the Mexican border to an American audience. It's got one of the the greatest opening riffs ever, and I love Gene Taylor's honky tonk piano playing.

Gardening At Night- REM
This song, from their first record, an EP (remember those?) brings me back to 1983, and being in college, learning political science and making the friends who would turn out to be my lifelong friends. It still sounds as fresh and wonderful as the first time I heard it.

1969- The Stooges
I keep hearing this song-- it keeps coming up on my shuffle, I keep hearing it on Sirius radio's "Underground Garage" on my satellite radio, and then Iggy and the Stooges played it when I saw them Sunday night. From the "wah-wah" opening on, I never, ever get tired of this song. I always have to turn it up when it comes on.

Ain't No Way- Aretha Franklin
Double negatives aside, this song is sad and beautiful. I grew up listening to it on my father's copy of "Aretha's Gold."

Who Knows Where the Time Goes- The Fairport Convention
Sandy Denny's beautiful voice complements Richard Thompson subdued guitar work in this little gem. I wish I'd written the opening line:

Across the evening sky, all the birds are leaving
But how can they know it's time for them to go?
Before the winter fire, I will still be dreaming
I have no thought of time
For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

I think of my kids and how fast they're growing up whenever I hear this one.

I've mentioned before, when this song came up on my Friday Random Ten that Sandy Denny was the woman singing with Robert Plant on Battle of Evermore, on Led Zeppelin's fourth album.

Death is a Star- The Clash
One of the Clash's lesser-known songs, it's the last track on the Combat Rock album. As much as a punk band as the Clash was, their music could at times be slow, dark and contemplative.

The song is filled with the old movie imagery that the late Joe Strummer loved so much to put in his songs.

By chance or escaping from misery
By suddeness or in answer to pain
Smoking in the dark cinema
You could see the bad go down again

I've always taken this song to be about how love is, besides all the other things it is, a way of protesting our ultimate mortality. How eerie that Joe would write and sing of that.

Stubborn Kind of Fellow- Marvin Gaye
This song was on the jukebox of Danny's, a Wicker Park tavern I hung at in the eighties, so I associate it with good times. It's a fun song, but it's also about a guy who won't give up on love.

I tag anyone who is reading this that hasn't done the meme already.


Moderator said...

I need to listen to Fairport Convention more.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Although London Calling is an undeniable classic, I really love Combat Rock as well. It does show just how diverse the Clash were.

Joe said...

What a great collection. I think Combat Rock is underrated (as opposed to Sandanista, which I think was overrated) but I haven't listened to either one in years. I used to get sad listening to Combat Rock since it represented the end of the Clash, but I really liked it when it came out.

1969...f*ck yeah.

Dale said...

Although you're losing students, you're still teaching here Johnny! Some gospel Aretha came on this morning on my ride to work but no double negatives in sight. Gardening At Night has the same power for me too.

Beth said...

I'll take 'em all, please.

Erik Donald France said...

I can never get enough of "1969." So simple, so cool.

Johnny Yen said...

Yes, you do!

Have you read about that album? It was on it's way to being a disaster, and Glyn Johns, who had a reputation for salavaging out of control albums (for instance, he pared the out-of-control "Lifeboat" project down to "Who's Next," an undeniable rock classic).

I agree on the diversity. What an interesting album-- I mean, they've got Allen Ginsberg on it!

The album reached a wide audience, which had always been Joe Strummer's goal. It's a shame they collapsed as that happened.

Thanks! I agree with you on Combat Rock. As much as I love Sandinista, it's got at least three sides of filler, by the Clash's own admission. They were trying to get out of their record contract, and hoped to fulfill their obligations with multiple album sets. It didn't work. Supposedly, that's one of the reasons that the Clash never did a reunion-- that they still owed CBS Records a couple of albums, and were afraid the company would sue them for the albums if they reformed.

1969-- f*ckin' A!

She's just got the most amazing voice, doesn't she?

She was influenced by Chicago gospel legend Mahalia Jackson. You may want to check her out sometime. I was fortunate to hear Ms. Jackson sing when I was a child-- she performed at my grade school here in Chicago.

I suspect you already have 'em!

Both my kids have laughed at me as I did my "1969 Dance" in the car when the song's come up. I just can't help it. That "wah-wah" guitar just grabs me.

GETkristiLOVE said...

Geeesh! I haven't heard Death is a Star since college but I wore that album out, I loved it so much. I need to go download it now. Be back in a few mins!

Danielle said...

Caught that tag...definitely one of my next few posts.

Be well

Dale said...

I have the Mahalia box set and love it Johnny.

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