Playlist #46: Romeo and Juliet

So this weekend, I was listening to an album by pianist Alan Clark. He played with Dire Straits back in the ’80s (as well as acts like Bob Dylan), and it was an album of solo piano versions of mostly Dire Straits songs. One of them was the song “Romeo and Juliet,” which is a tune I absolutely adore, and so I decided to put together a playlist this week built around that pair of star-crossed lovers. Also remember that I do have a Patreon, and I’m working on not one but two versions of March’s song!

  1. Dire Straits, “Romeo and Juliet”: “Finds a streetlight/Steps out of the shade and says somethin’ like/You and me, babe, how ’bout it?” is just one of the best lines in any song anywhere ever. And that guitar figure Knopfler picks out on what sounds like a resonator? Gorgeous.
  2. Tom Waits, “Romeo is Bleeding”: Alas, poor Romeo, he got shot while knifing a cop and is slowly dying while everyone around him remains oblivious.
  3. The Buzzcocks, “Ever Fallen In Love?” “Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t fallen in love with?” they snarl, and if that ain’t Romeo and Juliet, I don’t know what is.
  4. Duke Ellington, “The Star-Crossed Lovers (aka Pretty Girl)”: Yes, switching from the punky Buzzcocks to the jazzy Duke Ellington is a bit of tonal whiplash, but I think that’s why I like it so much.
  5. You + Me, “Love Gone Wrong”: We all know Romeo and Juliet isn’t really a love story, right? It’s about a couple of pubescent teens dumbstruck with infatuation who end up destroying both of their families (and themselves) in the process.
  6. M. Ward, “Poison Cup”: Sure, Hamlet was the play with the poison cup in it, but poison plays a major role in the final scene of this one, too, remember.
  7. Mates of State, “A Duel Will Settle This”: Mercutio vs. Tybalt is one hell of a fight, though I’m not sure it settled anything beyond that Mercutio will even use his own death to be the sassiest mofo ever.
  8. Cutting Crew, “(I Just) Died In Your Arms”: What could match the overdramatic reaction of Romeo and Juliet? An ’80s song!
  9. Indigo Girls, “Romeo and Juliet”: A cover of the Dire Straits song we started the playlist with. Almost as good as the original.
  10. Ben Harper, “Verona”: Slow, bluesy slide guitar is always some of my favorite, and it’s such a quiet, sweet song to end on.

Playlist #7

Happy Monday! And happy Flag Day! And happy birthday to my middle brother, Clyde (not his real name, but it’s what we all call him)! Today’s playlist is made up of songs he’d like.

  1. Hank Williams, “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)”: Ol’ Hank Sr. does things his way, which involves writing songs about jambalaya and gumbo apparently.
  2. Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, “Faded Love”: A beloved Okie who made a name for himself with a buncha Texans. Used to play the Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa a lot back in the 1920s, I believe. This is some good ol’ fashioned sad dancin’ music.
  3. The Elected, “Sun, Sun, Sun”: More recent sad dancin’ music from one of the guys who was in Rilo Kiley (the guy who used to date Jenny Lewis, specifically).
  4. Feist and Ben Gibbard, “Train Song”: A few years ago, my brother and the young woman who sings with him, Kelly, did a cover of this song and put it on Youtube. Note that the song is (correctly) attributed to Vashti Bunyan, who did it originally, rather than as a Feist/Ben Gibbard joint, which would’ve gotten them many, many more views, I’m sure. C’est la vie.
  5. Van Morrison, “I Wanna Roo You (Scottish Derivative)”: Best Van Morrison song. Period.
  6. Iron & Wine with Calexico, “Prison on Route 41”: The last concert Clyde and I got to go to was back in February 2020, and it was to see these guys. They’re damn good. I’m ready to see concerts again.
  7. Merle Haggard, “Living With the Shades Pulled Down”: When he was courtin’ his wife, Clyde asked me to put together a mix CD for her (this is our love language). This song was on there. It’s good.
  8. M. Ward, “To Save Me”: When I was up in Pennsylvania visiting my brother a couple of weekends ago (for the first time since the Pandemic started), he played this song and asked what I thought of it. “I think M. Ward owes Jeff Lynne some royalties,” I replied, because this just sounds like an ELO song. A damn good ELO song, but an ELO song.
  9. Skee-Lo, “I Wish”: Clyde had this CD when he was a kid and he really liked it. He also had Bone Thugs ‘n’ Harmony and Blackstreet. What I’m saying is that my brother had slightly more street cred than I did in middle school, when I was mostly listening to the Beatles and Pink Floyd.
  10. Rolling Stones, “Tumbling Dice”: Included for the explicit reason that he absolutely hates this song. Detests it. And what kind of brother would I be if I didn’t give just a little nudge now and again?