Friday, October 23, 2009

The "Take a Breather" Friday Random Ten

My day started out early again-- I had to drop Kim off at the el to head off to the airport. An old friend of hers is flying her out to the Bay for the weekend. Came back, made breakfast for my daughter, who had a day off of school. A friend of hers was dropped off and they spent part of the day working on schoolwork and part of the day doing fun stuff, including walking over to a neighborhood sandwich place for lunch. It's funny how you let go of the apronstrings a little at a time.

I went back to bed for a while and woke up with enough energy to run around and do some errands. Tonight, Mel and I will hang out-- dinner (chicken and homemade mashed potatoes), probably a movie and then some Rock Band. I haven't had much chance yet to do the Beatles Rock Band. Looking forward to it.

1. The Bells- Phil Ochs
2. Baby, Let Me Follow You Down- Bob Dylan
3. The Promised Land- Dave Edmunds
4. Mojo Pin- Jeff Buckley
5. Sweet Cherry Wine- Tommy James and the Shondells
6. Neighborhood Bully- Bob Dylan
7. Common Man- The Blasters
8. You Were On My Mind- We Five
9. The Highwayman- Phil Ochs
10. Beginning- Bubble Puppy

...and one more: The Warmest Room- Billy Bragg


Notes:
1. This is based on the Edgar Allen Poe poem. Been listening to a lot of Phil Ochs lately.
2. Dylan name-checks his late friend Eric Von Schmidt, who taught him this Rev. Gary Davis song.
3. Dave Edmunds covering Chuck Berry.
4. From Jeff Buckley's incredible album "Grace." I've always wondered if this song is about his father.
5. I know that Tommy James is pop tripe, but I love his music.
6. From the underrated "Infidels" album. The song is assumed to be about Israel.
7. A blatant rip on Reagan from the great "Hard Line" album.
8. Bay area band We Five entered the pantheon of one-hit wonders with their arrangement of the Ian and Sylvia Tyson song. Notably, they omitted the part about getting drunk from the original.
9. Weird-- Phil Ochs did two songs based on poems, and both showed up in my Friday Random Ten. His musical rendition of Alfred Noyes' poem is beautiful.
10. Heard this song on Little Steven's Underground Garage and couldn't get it out of my head.

One More: I love this song about mixing love and politics. Hands down my favorite Billy Bragg song.

8 comments:

Erik Donald France said...

Taking a breather is always good, indeed. Of these songs, I've always loved "The Promised Land," the t-bone steak a la cart-ee and all. Elvis' version is fun, too.

I like "Neighborhood Bully" but don't agree with the more loaded lines; still, it's thoughtful, eh?

Johnny Yen said...

I love Elvis' version of that too. The first time I ever heard it, believe it or not, was on a live radio broadcast of the Grateful Dead, back in the late seventies.

Yeah, Dylan overstates his case a little bit, but does get some good points in: the "lynch mob"=the 1967 and 1973 wars, I think. And "Then he destroyed a bomb factory, ain't nobody was glad/The bombs were meant for him, he was supposed to be bad." I've always taken that to be a reference to Operation Opera, when Israeli jets bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. It was completely illegal by international law, outrageous-- and I completely agree with their decision to do it. Hussein clearly planned to use it to produce atomic bombs and use them against Israel. While they were publicly scolded for this, I suspect most of the Western leaders (and probably the Eastern leaders) were pretty glad they did it.

Incidentally, the commander of that raid was Ilan Ramon, the Israeli astronaut who died when the space shuttle Columbia was destroyed.

Erik Donald France said...

Cool. Grateful Dead have some fuuny versions, I think also of "Little Red Rooster" and "Dead Flowers."

Good stuff on Dylan, and the song carries that weight. Wild about poor Ramon, blowing up over Texas and all. Was in Europe in 81 when that happened -- a daring operation, for sure.

dmarks said...

"Hussein clearly planned to use it to produce atomic bombs and use them against Israel"

I wonder if this applies now. Iran's #1 foreign policy goal is the extermination of the Israelis.... and they are trying to build nuclear bombs to accomplish this.

I actually remember "Neighborhood Bully". I also remember a song Dylan did about the naming of the animals in the book of Genesis. I do not remember the name of this one, but it was probably from the same album.

Churlita said...

I love the Blasters. Even as an 80's band, I still think they hold-up well today.

Betty said...

love your song list

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Johnny Yen said...

Erik-
The Dead did have some unexpected covers, didn't thye?

Dmarks-
Yes, I wonder if there's some kind of "Operation Opera" style mission planned as a backup if they can't convince that holocaust-denying nutjob to back down.

Churlita-
They certainly do. They're great live, too. I saw them on their reunion tour in 2003-- had the complete original line-up. I had a post about the night-- how I managed to piss off Dave Alvin:

http://johnnyyen.blogspot.com/2007/05/nicest-guy-in-music-business-and-not.html

Do you have "Testament," their box set? It's got everything they ever did for Slash records, including all the songs from their first and third albums, which were never issued on cd otherwise. I'd be glad to burn a copy of it and send it to you. Email me at juanyen at yahoo dot com.