Playlist #66

Happy Monday and welcome to August, everyone! As always, you can back me on Patreon, and there’s still that GoFundMe for my wife. We’re woefully underfunded for the month of August, so any little bit helps.

  1. Simply Three, “Dance Monkey”: The podiatrist my wife goes to always has some interesting music playing in the waiting room. This was playing there last week, and I kinda dig it.
  2. Jackson Browne, “Jamaica Say You Will”: Jackson Browne is just hands down one of the best songwriters of the 20th century, and this song – which opens up his self-titled album – is a good example of his songcraft.
  3. Aerosmith, “Big Ten Inch Record”: Aerosmith are the masters of what Nanny Ogg would call “single-intenders.” They’re not quite double entendres, because there is no subtlety to them whatsoever. But my, are they fun.
  4. The Wallflowers, “I’ll Let You Down (But Will Not Give You Up)”: Oh, Jakob. You know what a Wallflowers song sounds like, and you hit so close on most of this album. Letting Rami Jaffe go was a mistake, though.
  5. Toad the Wet Sprocket, “I’ll Bet On You”: The chord changes and melody for this song are based on a Lapdog song (made up of half of the band while Toad was on hiatus back in the early oughts), but then Glen Phillips came in and said, “Hey, this sounds great, but you know what would sound greater? If I wrote new lyrics for it and sang on this one instead of one of you other yokels.” And then they did that.
  6. Three Dog Night, “Shambala”: Shambala is a mythical place, rather like El Dorado or that Tibetan monastery where the Iron Fist trained. It’s also a pretty good song.
  7. Billy Bragg & Wilco, “When The Roses Bloom Again”: Yeah, the third volume of Mermaid Avenue was a collection of diminishing returns, but even in among all the fair-to-middling stuff on there, you find the occasional gem such as this one. It’s a gorgeous song and Jeff Tweedy’s vocals are perfect.
  8. Radiohead, “Ill Wind”: It’s an ill wind blows no man good, or something like that. Hey, I wrote a book with a title very similar!
  9. The Regular Joes, “Restless”: Found an email from my uncle the other day that he wrote back when I first moved out to Virginia (some 17 years ago now). It has the chord changes for this song in there, ’cause I wanted to learn to play it on guitar. It’s a very simple song, chords-wise, so I’ll probably be playing it later today.
  10. The Allman Brothers Band, “Midnight Rider”: They are just determined not to let the midnight rider catch them. Nosiree, not those Allman boys.

Playlist #43: Presidents’ Day

Happy Presidents’ Day, ‘Murica! Here’s some executive branch love in aural form. And hey, don’t forget I’ve got a Patreon, where February’s song is about to drop!

  1. They Might Be Giants, “James K. Polk”: Educational, entertaining, and a banger. Yup, it’s a TMBG song, alright.
  2. The Presidents of the United States of America, “Lump”: I get exhausted just typing out the name of the band. Thank goodness the song title is so short.
  3. Hamilton, “History Has Its Eyes On You”: The only song from the show I can play on the guitar, and a great vocal delivery from Christopher Jackson.
  4. Mark Knopfler, “Don’t Crash The Ambulance”: A changing of the guard. A handing over of the keys to the kingdom. And a brief explanation of just how things work around here.
  5. The National, “Mr. November”: “I was carried in the arms of cheerleaders.”
  6. Billy Bragg & Wilco, “Jesus Christ For President”: We could do worse, honestly.
  7. Molly Lewis, “Our American Cousin”: A three-part look at Mr. Lincoln’s infamous trip to the theatre. Funny and dark and heartbreaking.
  8. XTC, “Here Comes President Kill Again”: The ’80s? Subtle? No.
  9. Drive-By Truckers, “The President’s Penis Is Missing”: A damn tragedy, to be sure.
  10. Over The Rhine, “If A Song Could Be President”: Again, we could do worse. And I have a whole murderer’s row of talent in mind for the Cabinet.

Playlist #30: “Poor, Hard-Working Televangelist”

Happy Turkey Week, folks! Just two days of work for me this week, then it’s off to Ohio to visit some family and stuff myself with more food than is advisable because, hey, Thanksgiving. Before that, though, we have this week’s playlist, which features songs about religion!

  1. Jeremy Messersmith, “Jim Bakker”: The song that inspired this list all about the life of that “poor, hard-working televangelist.” If you don’t know, Jim Bakker was a snake-oil salesman of the worst sort and fleeced his lovely old congregants for every dime he could.
  2. Genesis, “Jesus He Knows Me”: Could also be about Jim Bakker, for all I know. I just remember how tongue-in-cheek this song sounded when I first heard it, and it still resonates with its strong anti-bullshit message even today.
  3. The Doobie Bros, “Jesus Is Just Alright”: I mean, he’s okay, I guess.
  4. Norman Greenbaum, “Spirit In the Sky”: How confident do you have to be in your soul’s eternal destination to write and record this song? Confident enough that Greenbaum, who is Jewish, said he had a friend in Jesus. That’s ballsy.
  5. George Harrison, “My Sweet Lord”: Admittedly, George was the most spiritual of the Beatles. While Paul was tossing out pop songs like most people breathe and John was pushing avant-garde art on anyone who came to close (and Ringo was…um…Ringo), George was the one who got into Transcendentalism and Eastern religions and the sitar and all that. “My Sweet Lord” isn’t the end result, it’s a symptom.
  6. The National, “Gospel”: What does this song actually have to do with anything related to the Gospel? Nothing, as far as I can tell. But it’s a beautiful song and lovely and I really like it, okay?
  7. Bob Dylan, “With God On Our Side”: Dylan’s a man who knows what’s up. This song was written in like ’64, which is damn-near peak Cold War (or near enough as it doesn’t matter), and he’s coming out so strongly anti-war that I’m surprised the FBI didn’t have a file on him a foot thick.
  8. Billy Bragg & Wilco, “Blood of the Lamb”: I love me some Mermaid Avenue, and this one – off the second collection – is a stompy, apocalyptic slice of what made the collaboration great.
  9. Aretha Franklin, “Son of a Preacher Man”: Damn, if this don’t just send tingles down your spine, I think you might be dead.
  10. Blind Faith, “Presence of the Lord”: More for Steve Winwood than Eric Clapton, really, ’cause Clapton’s finally shown his true (rather hateful) colors and eff that guy.

Playlist #21 – So Tired Edition

As with so many other people my age (or just anyone who is living through these interesting times), I feel like I’m constantly tired. Here’s a list of songs to wake you up.

  1. The Beatles, “I’m So Tired”: My theme song for this week. This month. This year. This…decade, probably? God, was there ever a time I wasn’t tired?
  2. The Pretenders, “I Go To Sleep”: Wouldn’t it be lovely to just drift off to sleep right now? I think it would be.
  3. The Beastie Boys, “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”: NO! SLEEP! TILL BROOKLYN!
  4. The Barenaked Ladies, “Who Needs Sleep?”: The jauntiest song about insomnia ever.
  5. The Wallflowers, “Asleep At The Wheel”: For years, the Wife was always concerned I’d fall asleep while driving. She probably still worries about it, she just doesn’t bring it up anymore.
  6. Billy Bragg and Wilco, “California Stars”: Much as Woody Guthrie said, I’d like to lay my weary bones down. Not necessarily on a bed of California stars, but a regular bed, maybe? Yeah, a regular bed would be just fine.
  7. Hem, “I’ll Dream Of You Tonight”: I don’t often remember my dreams, which is probably a blessing since the ones I do remember are usually not at all pleasant. This is possibly something I should discuss with my therapist.
  8. Iron & Wine and Calexico, “Burn That Broken Bed”: I mean, if the bed is broken, you could just leave it out by the dumpster or something. Burning it seems extreme, guys.
  9. Josh Ritter, “Can’t Go To Sleep (Without You)”: Though I do not fault her for this at all, the Wife and I usually go to bed at vastly different times, and I frequently struggle to sleep until she is in bed. Dunno why.
  10. Cake, “When You Sleep”: Is this song about masturbation? I think this song might be about masturbation while you’re asleep, which is an impressive skill, I guess? I don’t know, I’m tired.

Playlist #13

I’m traveling to Oklahoma this week, so all of this week’s songs are by Oklahoma artists or bands related to Oklahoma in some way, shape, or form. It’s also longer than most of our lists, ’cause I couldn’t leave any of these songs off.

  1. John Fullbright, “Jericho (Live)”: Sort of Oklahoma’s favorite musical son. He’s a damn good singer, and this is my favorite song by him. I also sang on the same tribute album as him once, so we’re, like, connected and stuff.
  2. Parker Millsap, “Truck Stop Gospel”: He’s a good ol’ country boy just pickin’ and grinnin’.
  3. Samantha Crain, “Santa Fe”: A Shawnee girl (my hometown), she apparently went to high school with my brother?
  4. The Regular Joes, “Restless”: My uncle’s old rock and roll band. He’s the lead guitarist.
  5. The Flaming Lips, “Waitin’ For A Superman”: Yeah, this is two Flaming Lips songs in a row, but it’s my playlist and I’ll put the Lips on as many playlists as I wanna.
  6. Woody Guthrie, “This Land Is Your Land”: Patron Saint of Okies, unionist, and antifa before being antifa was cool.
  7. Tulsa, “Shaker”: They called their band Tulsa. Like I wasn’t gonna include one of their songs on this list.
  8. Turnpike Troubadours, “Every Girl”: Country hoedown! Bop along and sing along if you know the words.
  9. Cross Canadian Ragweed, “In Oklahoma”: The late-90s Oklahoma musical success story that still kicks out new stuff even now.
  10. Billy Bragg & WIlco, “Way Over Yonder In the Minor Key”: “I come from a place called Okfuskee,” this song begins. That’s where the town of Okemah, where my grandparents lived for so long (and where Woody Guthrie is from), is located.
  11. Leon Russell, “Tight Rope”: He’s an Okie from Lawton. Dude was the session musician back in the ’60s and ’70s, and he continued to kick ass until his death in 2016.
  12. Bruce Springsteen, “My Oklahoma Home”: Hey, remember the Dust Bowl and how it tried to kill the Great Plains? This song is about that, though it has a sense of humor about things.
  13. JD McPherson, “Signs and Signifiers”: This guy does ’50s-style rave-up electric blues like it never went out of style. This song is slower than most of the rest of the album it’s from, but it’s still pretty awesome.
  14. James McMurtry, “Choctaw Bingo”: Let’s have a family reunion in Okahoma, why not?
  15. Merle Haggard, “Okie From Muskogee”: Look, if I didn’t include this song on this list, they’d take away my Okie License, and then I wouldn’t be able to go snipe hunting anymore, and I still haven’t caught a damn snipe yet.