31 August 2007

Mix Tape Friday: Finest Worksongs

We have a long set this week to keep your toe tappin’ during the holiday weekend — and, in honor of Labor Day, it’s all about work.

R.E.M.: Finest Worksong

Elvis Costello: Welcome to the Working Week

Bruce Springsteen: Working on the Highway

Donna Summer: She Works Hard for the Money

The Members: Working Girl

Julian Cope: Five O'Clock World

Michael Jackson: Workin' Day and Night

DEVO: Working in the Coal Mine

King Missile: Take Stuff from Work

Johnny Paycheck: Take This Job and Shove It

Alex Chilton: Lost My Job

Cate Brothers: Union Man

Billy Bragg: There Is Power in a Union

Bob Dylan: Workingman's Blues #2

The Clash: Working and Waiting

The Replacements: God Damn Job *

eels: All in a Day's Work

Warren Zevon: The Factory

Patti Smith feat. Tom Verlaine + Richard Hell: Piss Factory

R.E.M.: Oddfellows Local 151

New Order: Working Overtime

Uncle Tupelo: Factory Belt

P.J. Harvey: Working for the Man

Ministry: Work for Love

NRBQ: Whistle While You Work

Nellie McKay: Work Song

Pernice Brothers: Working Girls (Sunlight Shines)

John Lennon: Working Class Hero

Randy Newman: Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man)

Richard Thompson: Friday on My Mind

Loverboy: Working for the Weekend

Stan Ridgway: I Wanna Be a Boss

Detroit Cobras: Boss Lady

James Brown: The Boss

Elvis Presley: Big Boss Man

Snoop Dogg: Da Boss Would Like to See You

* UPDATE: Because I strive to keep Haahnster and Pistols at Dawn musically happy, I searched high and low, finally tracking down the 'Mats track ... God Damn!

Warren Zevon wins the prize for the best work crew: R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry — and Bob Dylan on harmonica — on "The Factory." How Dylan ended up playing on this track is included in the Zevon bio, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.

A very close second for best work crew: Patti Smith, of course, with Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell. My deep, loyal love for all things R.E.M. and Zevon edged out this hardworking, beyond-cool team.

The hardest-working man in rock 'n' roll, the late James Brown, also makes an appearance on Finest Worksongs.

This week marks the first hair band appearance on Mix Tape Fridays: Loverboy. This is one of the very few hair-band songs I like. Somewhere I have this on 45, stashed way back in a box with my Def Leppard “Photograph” and AC/DC “All Night Long” singles.

Have a great Labor Day weekend, kids! If you’re in the Atlanta area, look me up at the Decatur Book Festival.

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30 August 2007

A Reason to Watch

From The Washington Post:

Letterman to Appear on 'Oprah'

David Letterman will make his first appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" next month, another sign the talk-show titans have buried the hatchet after a rift that lasted more than a decade.

Letterman will tape the interview, a rare appearance on someone else's show, on Sept. 10 at Madison Square Garden in New York, Winfrey's production company announced Wednesday.

Their reconciliation began in 2005 when Winfrey appeared on CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman." It was Winfrey's first guest appearance with Letterman, though she twice appeared on his NBC show before the comic jumped networks in 1993.

Letterman frequently joked about Winfrey, and she rejected repeated offers to appear on his program. In 2003, Winfrey told Time magazine she wouldn't appear with Letterman because she had been "completely uncomfortable" as the target of his jokes.

When Winfrey appeared on Letterman's show two years ago, she told him, "I want you to know, it's really over, whatever you thought was happening." Letterman responded: "Are you sure it's over?"

The nationally syndicated show will appear live in some markets and will be rebroadcast in others, said a spokeswoman for Winfrey's Chicago-based Harpo Productions Inc. studios.

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28 August 2007

A Groupie’s Dream Weekend

For most of you, this Labor Day weekend will revolve around barbecues and boats and benders.

Not for me.

I’m spending the weekend hanging out in my neighborhood.

Writers both brilliant and banal will be at the Decatur Book Festival for readings, panel discussions, book signings — and to thrill my little bookwormed heart. Baby Got Books also has info on the weekend’s events.

If you love to read, why haven’t you visited Baby Got Books? The Tim formerly known as DJ Cayenne and the rest of his gang keep me up to date on the latest literary news — and their book reviews are quite good.

Here’s the schedule, with the wheres and whens. Map out your must-stops, and let’s plan a meet-up. I’ll have my cell for tracking purposes, if you have my digits.

Where can you find me?

8:00 p.m.: Kinky Friedman

4:15 p.m.: Wesley Stace
5:30 p.m.: Sherman Alexie
7:00 p.m.: Wordsmiths Books panel* — with Baby Got Books’ Tim
8:00 p.m.: John Wesley Harding

*Not affiliated with the Decatur Book Festival, but it's happening in Decatur just around the corner from the bookish festivities.

12:00 p.m.: Edmund White
1:00 p.m.: Hollis Gillespie and Roy Blount Jr. signings
1:15 p.m.: Karen Abbott or Robert Olen Butler
2:30 p.m.: Chuck Klosterman
3:45 p.m.: Hollis Gillespie or Peter Case
5:00 p.m.: Chuck Rosenthal + Aaron Petrovich
8:00 p.m.: Peter Case

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27 August 2007

My Maiden Voyage

I did something this weekend I’ve never done before.

I went to the movies.

By myself.

On — gasp — Saturday night.

Not a matinee — the 7:35 p.m. show.

Really, this shouldn’t be a big deal for me. I’m a sociable hermit. While I love going out with friends and meeting newbies, I like my weekends quiet. I spend much of my Mondays through Fridays talktalktalking to people about their creative ideas and communication needs, my butt parked in conference rooms a good fifteen hours each week. By Friday evening I’m ready for quiet. Just me, myself, I.

Cue it up, boys: Joan Armatrading: Me Myself I

To be honest, I’ve hit that age where I get grumpy if I have plans Friday night AND Saturday night. I need a day to recharge. I love weekends when I have nothing going on.

And that’s the weekend I had planned: nothing but books and takeout Thai and naps. The floor around my bed was littered with literature, the fridge was chilling a bottle of Two Buck Chuck, Top Spice had filled my to-go bag.

But then, come 6 p.m. Saturday, I was restless. My cable was out and the repairman wasn’t due until Sunday, so I couldn’t lose myself in romantic comedies or a “Closer” marathon. The books, while good, weren’t keeping my attention, and the cats weren’t in a conversational mood. It was too late to make plans with a friend … so I decided to see a movie by myself.

I’ve gone to the movies solo many, many times — but never on a date night. I was always afraid of appearing lonely and sad, possibly homeless. After a deep e-mail conversation with one of my favorite girls and one Bastard of a sweet guy, I decided to take the plunge.

I drove to my favorite theater — the one that serves wine and real butter on popcorn, the one that plays artier flicks and documentaries. I bought a ticket, got my pinot grigio and buttered popcorn, and grabbed a seat in Theater 3.

Alone. Smack dab in the center.

What did I see? The Ten — irreverent skits based on the Ten Commandments. Excellent cast, including adorable Top-fiver Paul Rudd … many members of The State comedy troupe ... Cup Hair Hall of Famer Oliver Platt as an Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonator … and Rob Corddry in a romantic prison role. Justin Theroux made the Top Five list thanks to his portrayal of Jesus H. Christ, but I enjoyed the narrator of that skit even more. Oh, and you guys may like the chicks: Famke Janssen, Wynona Ryder, Gretchen Mol, and Jessica Alba. Go. See. Laugh. Come back with your upped/downed thumb.

I didn’t pretend to be waiting for a friend. I sat down, pulled out my Sherman Alexie (if I’m waiting, I must be reading), and waited for the previews. I munched and sipped and laughed throughout the movie.

Nobody pointed. Nobody snickered. Nobody really noticed.

And I enjoyed myself.

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24 August 2007

Mix Tape Friday: Let's Get Funky

While dining at the Scriveners this weekend, my bragging about Stevie Wonder tickets led to a discourse about music (surprising, huh?). The table's consensus: Red Hot Chili Peppers should spend all their studio time covering ‘70s funk songs since Flea is one of the best funk bassists playing today (and because those ballads are crap). Mrs. S., who happens to be a fan of the Mix Tape series, declared:

I must have some funk in my bass!

and thus inspired this week’s mix tape. Funk and R&B from the 1970s is one of my favorite genres. I’ll do a mix tape of originals sometime this fall, but our chat about Flea and his bass put me in that covers mood again.

Here’s to you, Catherine.

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Love Rollercoaster

Van Halen: Dancing in the Street

Rolling Stones: Ain't too Proud to Beg

English Beat: Tears of a Clown

Slits: I Heard It Through the Grapevine

The Strokes: Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)

R.E.M.: Smiling Faces Sometimes

Soft Cell: Where Did Our Love Go

Afghan Whigs: Come See About Me

Roxy Music: In the Midnight Hour

Talking Heads: Take Me to the River

Graham Parker: I Want You Back *

General Public: I'll Take You There

David Bowie: Knock on Wood

Elvis Costello: From Head to Toe

Joan Osborne: Everybody Is a Star

Jack Black: Let's Get It On

Foo Fighters: Darling Nikki

Hindu Love Gods: Raspberry Beret

Fishbone: Freddie's Dead

Red Hot Chili Peppers: If You Want Me to Stay

R.E.M.: Skin Tight

Pete Yorn: Just My Imagination

Pearl Jam: Dock of the Bay

The Replacements: I'll Be There

Yo La Tengo: I’m Your Puppet

Can you name the original artists?

Hindu Love Gods was an aural wet dream for me back in 1990: Warren Zevon with R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry, taped while jamming during a drunken recording session. Damn, to be a fly on that wall … or on the shoulder of Zevon’s gray Ralph Lauren T-shirt. The songs aren’t the best, but they’re a helluva lot of fun to listen to; think of it as jamming with your pals after a few brews.

* Thank you, Johnny Yen!

Bonus Tracks!

A handful of tunes honoring some of R&B’s greatest artists:

Van Morrison: Jackie Wilson Said

ABC: When Smokey Sings

Scritti Politti: Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)

Billy Bragg: Levi Stubbs' Tears

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23 August 2007

My Favorite Joke

Mick Jagger went to a party at the Playboy Mansion. It was his first time visiting the debauched dwelling, so he slipped away to explore the house. (You know how rock stars love architecture and home furnishings.) Snooping around upstairs, he came upon a closed door and heard unusual noises on the other side. Curiosity got the best of Mick, so he flung open the door — to find Hugh Hefner and TV's Dennis Weaver in bed together, goin' at it like teenagers. Shocked, Mick shouted, “Hey, Hugh! Get off of McCloud!”

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21 August 2007

Jazz Hands, Americana, and MTV

When your passion — hell, your life — revolves around music, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing one of your favorite artists in concert. Put two faves on the bill, and you know you’re in for a memorable evening. Kick off that evening dining with two great friends, and it’s golden.

So that was me last Monday evening — Rufus Wainwright and Neko Case at the Tabernacle, with a preshow dinner with FBB Scrivener and his lovely wife.

I’ve seen several concerts at the Tabernacle with the Scriveners, and we now have a routine: dinner before the show at Ted’s Montana Grill. I got there first and sat at the bar. The corner of my eye couldn’t help noticing the loving caresses the woman next to me was enjoying, so I glanced over at the dovies … and came face to face with original MTV veejay Alan Hunter! (Yeah, I’m easily excited.) I tried “accidentally” brushing his hand to get MTV cooties, but I couldn’t do it without appearing creepy. It’s probably creepy anyway that I wanted MTV cooties, isn’t it? I also wanted to do the beep-beep dance from David Bowie’s “Fashion” video (Mr. Hunter appears in it), but didn’t want to embarrass the Scriveners.

Okay, the brush with mini-greatness ended, so it’s on with the show. One of the downsides of being a slack blogger and waiting a week to review a concert is you can’t remember all the songs performed and some of the highlights. But I’ll try.

Neko Case

Let’s get the important part out of the way first: Yes, boys, Neko looked hawt. This isn’t the best photo (I own Digital Camera 1.0), but it will give you boys a hint o’ Case. She wore a short black dress, long red hair tumbling over her shoulders, and three-inch Mary Janes:

See the legs? That’s Neko.

The best surprise of the evening was one-time Atlanta Kelly Hogan (the red skirt) backing Neko on vocals. The biggest disappointment was the length of Neko’s set: your basic 45-minute opener.

Neko sounded good, although I’ve seen her livelier on stage. If memory serves, she performed “Maybe Sparrow,” “The Tigers Have Spoken,” “That Teenage Feeling,” and “John Saw That Number” — in all, maybe eight or ten songs.

I expected to see her later in a star-studded encore … but the end of the night was better than expected. I’ll get to see her again at the end of October when New Pornographers hit the Atlanta stage.

Rufus Wainwright

I am smart enough and lucky enough to see Rufus twice before — as Roxy Music’s opening act in July 2001 (he worked his own merch table, and I hugged the wee adorable one) and two summers ago at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Both shows were fabulous, so I knew I was in for an evening.

And what a perfect evening it was.

Rufus hit the stage with star power — resplendent in a red-striped suit, baubled to the nines — and went straight into “Release the Stars.” The Tabernacle was originally a large church in downtown Atlanta and it’s a beautiful building, but the acoustics aren’t the best unless you’re sitting in the center (I was standing to the side, near the stage). Rufus’ voice, however, soared and filled the room. Lord, does he have a voice. I tingled.

Rufus opening with "Release the Stars"

He dedicated the first set to Karl Rove — “so long, fatso!” He was chatty, he was funny, he was adorable. He told us his grandmother was from Tifton (about 180 miles south of Atlanta), which means I get to claim Rufus as one of my Georgia boys (yeah, I'll stretch it for him). It was a great first set, ending with the wonderful “Between My Legs.”
Fargo’s Michael, I had one of your moments. Rufus didn’t sing any of my very favorites — no “April Fools” nor “Foolish Love,” not a note from “Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk” (a theme song of mine), not even “One-man Guy” — nevertheless it was still an amazingly phenomenal show. (“amazingly phenomenal”? Someone, please, get me a thesauraus.) I wasn’t disappointed — I walked out thrilled and giddy.

Rufus and the band took a break … and then, YES! He came back on stage wearing his lederhosen (I’d kept fingers crossed for this costume change), pronouncing “A man in lederhosen singing Judy Garland tunes — God, I’m so gay!” Not many people can pull off lederhosen, but Rufus can.

Who else can pull off the leiderhosen look?

Another great set, including one of my favorite songs — “A Foggy Day in London Town” (I sing it Ella style, while he Garlands it) — and another Judy tune.

The set ended with “14th Street,” each member of the band soloing off the stage. The coolest part of the number was the banjo player was the last to leave the stage — and his banjo solo rocked.

And then came the encore — a set that thrilled this fag-hag heart. I love acting out this set (and I’ve done it for friends maybe six times since the show ended); I hope my written retelling does it justice.

Rufus came back wearing a big, fluffy white robe, sitting down at the piano to play “I Don’t Know What It Is” and “Pretty Things.” He ended this set with his rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” his sister Lucy backing him (I was hoping for Neko, but Lucy sounded perfect with her brother).

I know many of you consider Rufus’ version of “Hallelujah” to be the definitive cover — but, much as I love Rufus, I still prefer Jeff Buckley’s heartbreaker.

And then came The Moment I Was Waiting For.

Rufus dolling up for his closing number

A stagehand brought a chair to the edge of the stage. Rufus sat down, looked at us, and put on sparkling earrings. A bracelet. Reached down to slip on a pair of black heels — now we see the black sheer hose —the crowd goes nuts. The band comes back, perfectly attired in black suits. Rufus walks to the back of the stage, his back to us … puts on that jaunty black hat … the robe falls to the floor, revealing the buttoned suit jacket ... spins forward — and Judy Garland is alive again!

Check out Rufus' Garland'ed gams!

What a number! Jazz hands and dancing! Rufus belting “Get Happy” and “Gay Messiah”! Fan-damn-tastic. Those of us who braved the post-midnight hour got what we came for: a bit of music, a bit of theater. I can't wait until Rufus' Carnegie Hall performance of the Judy Garland concert comes out this fall on DVD!

If he's coming your way, don't miss the show. Don't get the wrong idea. Rufus isn't a gay novelty act; "brilliant" and "talented" don't do him justice. If you love clever songs and a great voice, get thee to the ticket booth.

Haven’t read enough? Grabbing Sand posted a great review of Rufus’ show, and Frank at That Truncheon Thing wrote a nice piece about A Fine Frenzy, the opening opener (we missed her while I was Hunter-gawking) — so click over to read their reports.

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17 August 2007

No Mix Tape Friday

Today is the second anniversary of my dad's death, so I'm not up for the mix tape task. Enjoy the Elvis covers in the post below — and come back next Friday for a new (and no doubt brilliant) mix tape.

Spend today hugging your beloveds and telling them how you much you love them.

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16 August 2007

Honoring the King

I had planned to write a long post today about my love for Elvis Presley — how his music through 1960 and from 1968 until his death still wows me, reminiscing about my two pilgrimages to Graceland, showing you some of my Elvis tchotchkes — but I decided to hold that homage until his birthday. This anniversary of his death just didn’t feel like the appropriate time to gush. But I need to honor The King in some way … so of course I’m going down music boulevard. What better way to show the love?

Who doesn’t love covering Elvis Presley? Everyone wants to play King for a day — Sinatra and Bennett, rockers and country artists, our favorite alternative bands. There are two genres in my collection missing Elvis representation: punk and indie.

I guess the indie kids are too young to be influenced by Elvis. Too bad; wouldn’t you kill to hear Colin Meloy singing “The Wonder of You” … Scott McCaughey warbling “Clean up Your Own Backyard” … Sam Beam with “Kentucky Rain” … Chan Marshall breaking your heart with “Blue Moon” … Jeff Tweedy making “Mystery Train” his own? Maybe that’s my project for 2008: the hippest album of Elvis covers evah. Michael Stipe, are you listening?
I spent two weeks whittling down the list to a manageable fortysomething, trying to include as many styles and genres as I could. Click. Listen. Sing along. Shake your hips. Let me know which ones you like best.

  • Neil Young: That’s All Right

  • Vince Gill: That’s All Right

  • Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys: Blue Moon of Kentucky

  • Tom Jones: I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone

  • Bob Dylan: I Forgot to Remember to Forget

  • Johnny Cash: I Forgot to Remember to Forget

  • Lloyd Cole & The Commotion: Mystery Train

  • Ann-Margret: Heartbreak Hotel

  • Guns N Roses: Heartbreak Hotel

  • Terence Trent Darby: Heartbreak Hotel

  • Willie Nelson: Heartbreak Hotel

  • Fleetwood Mac: Don’t Be Cruel

  • Marty Stuart: Don’t Be Cruel

  • Rolling Stones: Hound Dog

  • Frank Zappa: Hound Dog

  • The Beatles: Blue Suede Shoes

  • Jimi Hendrix: Blue Suede Shoes

  • Buddy Holly & The Crickets: Blue Suede Shoes

  • Cowboy Junkies: Blue Moon Revisited (Song for Elvis)

  • Chris Isaak: Blue Moon

  • Norah Jones + Adam Levy: Love Me Tender

  • Frank Sinatra + Elvis Presley: Love Me Tender

  • Percy Sledge: Love Me Tender

  • Jeff Beck Group: All Shook Up

  • Queen: Jailhouse Rock

  • Blues Brothers: Jailhouse Rock

  • Bryan Ferry: Are You Lonesome Tonight

  • Elvis Costello: His Latest Flame

  • Dwight Yoakum: Little Sister

  • Erasure: Can’t Help Falling in Love

  • Bono: Can’t Help Falling in Love

  • Pearl Jam: Can’t Help Falling in Love

  • Luka Bloom: Can’t Help Falling in Love

  • Dead Kennedys: Viva Las Vegas

  • Nick Cave: In the Ghetto

  • Cranberries: In the Ghetto

  • Melissa Etheridge: Burning Love

  • And because nobody has covered it (not that I’ve found, anyway), here’s one of my very favorite Elvis songs:

  • Elvis Presley: Kentucky Rain

  • They’re Caught in a Trap

    And they can’t get out from under the covers of “Suspicious Minds” — according to my MP3 collection, Elvis’ most-covered tune, at least in my MP3 collection. Here’s a sampling of those with suspicious minds:

    Belle & Sebastian
    Bowling for Soup
    Jessi Colter + Waylon Jennings
    Fine Young Cannibals
    Flaming Lips
    Roddy McDowall
    My Morning Jacket
    No Doubt
    B.J. Thomas
    Dwight Yoakum
    Pete Yorn

    The best live version of “Suspicious Minds” I’ve ever heard was in the early 1990s, during the encore of a 10,000 Maniacs show at Chastain Park Amphitheater. Pal Joe and I were lolling on the grass in the back, enjoying the music coursing through our ears and the vodka coursing through our veins. A sudden shout went up, as did we — to see our beloved Michael Stipe joining the band onstage. Joe and I were front and center with a time that Carl Lewis would be proud of. Michael and Natalie were brilliant — funny, flirty, having a good ol’ time singing it together. I have searched for a boot of this duo’s duet for fifteen years … so if you have a copy …

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    15 August 2007

    Absorb … Like, Totally

    If you’ve read this blog just twice, you know I never miss an opportunity to write about music, obsess about music, muse about music. So when I saw that fellow shy-avatarist Splotchy was starting The Green Monkey Project — sure to be quite the intelligent music discourse on Blogspot — I waved my virtual hand and joined the cool kids at their table. The other players have street cred (at least on my street): Bad Tempered Zombie and Monkey Muck.

    The first Green Monkey Project assignment: Total Absorption.

    What Splotchy wanted were the songs that totally absorb us. You know the ones — those songs that keep you driving ‘round and ‘round the block until the last note fades on the radio station, even though you have the album, and the CD, and the MP3 at home. You just gotta listen.

    Being a product of the rocker 1970s and the new-wave 1980s, I was surprised that most of my songs lean toward the mellow. Here’s my list o' ten (well, okay, eleven):

    R.E.M.: Radio Free Europe
    Show of hands of those surprised by this first choice? Anyone? “Radio Free Europe” has been at the top of my must-stop list since Mitch Easter helped the boys rework it in 1983. I wish I could write the sentence that conveys the joy, the thrill every time I hear the song. It’s that magical summer of 1983 again, with Renae and Simeon and Shawn. I heard it at 4:20 this morning, and danced my absorbed ass all over the room.

    Lyle Lovett: Friend of the Devil
    I love this Grateful Dead cover (from the Deadicated tribute album). Lyle’s version is hauntingly perfect, and it brings back a very lovely memory. And that’s all I’m going to say on that.

    Michael Stipe feat. Chris Martin: In the Sun
    Here I go again with “lovely” and “haunting”; I need a new music-criticism thesaurus, don’t I? But maybe it’s those qualities that absorb my attention. This is the best Michael has sounded in years; his voice is honest and beautiful. I agree with Peter Buck that Stipe has the best rock voice out there today, but he can really nails the ballads. I have played this song over, and over, and over again for an hour straight … and I think I’m gonna do that right now.

    Nina Simone: Feeling Good
    Pure sex. Every time I hear it, I want to put on my highest-heeled black pumps, sheer black nylons, and slink across the room. Slowly. Nobody out-sizzles Ms. Nina, especially with this one.

    Oasis: Champagne Supernova
    The Gallagher brothers have written and recorded many songs that stay on my top 250 list, but this is the one that gets the most love and replays. I can never turn off the car when it’s playing — not even at 5 a.m.

    Neil Young: Philadelphia
    If there’s blood cursing through your veins and hearing this song doesn’t chill said blood, then you may not have a soul. I cry. Every. Damn. Time. I hear this song. My dad once heard me playing it and commented that it was a sad, lovely song; if you knew OM’s taste in music, you’d be impressed.

    Nanci Griffith: Morning Song for Sally
    Jerry Jeff Walker penned the loveliest, saddest, short-story-in-a-song evah. This song needs no video; the film in my head is unbeatable. Those five minutes rip my heart out every time, and Griffith’s voice is the perfect match for the song. Another song that has been replayed an hour straight. I’ve never been able to find Jerry Jeff’s version of this; anyone want to share?

    Al Green: Love and Happiness
    “Something that can make you do wrong / Make you do right.” And then that “heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey” that nobody can pull off like the Reverend. My shirt starts slipping off the shoulder on that "heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey”; I can’t help myself.

    The Replacements: I Will Dare
    Whenever I’m stressed or sad or blue, I put this on and dance around the room. The song makes me damn happy. How can you not love a song with “How young are you / How old am I? / Let’s count the rings / Around my eyes”? And that guest guitarist? The kid’s gonna be big one day.

    Brothers Johnson: Strawberry Letter 23
    This cover of the Shuggy Otis tune has been one of my very favorite songs since it came out in 1977 (my senior year in high school). I generally stop mid-sentence and lose my spot in reality when I hear it played in a store, or in the car, or at home. And, of course, I have to move my shoulders. Because I’m a funkster, y’know.

    Pop over to Splotchy’s spot to see the full mix. And gimme another assignment, DJ Splotch.

    My review of Monday's Rufus Wainwright/Neko Case show!

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    10 August 2007

    Mix Tape Friday: Kizza Me

    It’s hot outside. Steamy. The blood is boiling and clothes are sliding off. So, of course, my mind’s on kissing right now. Celebrate the smooch with these great songs.

    Prince: Kiss

    The B-52’s: Whammy Kiss

    The Pipettes: Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me

    The Replacements: Kiss Me on the Bus

    Frank Black: My Favorite Kiss

    Bryan Ferry: Kiss and Tell

    Ben Harper: Steal My Kisses

    Big Star: Kizza Me

    Jonathan Richman: When She Kisses Me

    Mary Chapin Carpenter: Passionate Kisses

    Amy Rigby: Beer and Kisses

    Spacehog feat. Michael Stipe: Almond Kisses

    Siouxsie & The Banshees: Kiss Them for Me

    The Shins: Kissing the Lipless

    Magnetic Fields: Kiss Me Like You Mean It

    Lucinda Williams: Still I Long for Your Kiss

    New Order: The Perfect Kiss

    Joan Armatrading: When You Kisses Me

    Holly Golightly: One Kiss

    Badly Drawn Boy: Without a Kiss

    Van Morrison: Give Me a Kiss

    Johnny Thunders: Great Big Kiss

    Ray Charles: Kiss Me Baby

    Rosebuds: Wishes for Kisses

    Sam Phillips: Love and Kisses/Signposts

    Jill Sobule + Warren Zevon: I Kissed a Girl

    Tom Jones feat. Art of Noise: Kiss

    The Weekly R.E.M. E-scavenger Hunt: Michael Stipe’s on this mix tape with Spacehog. Peter Buck’s here, too — but on which track?

    I really wanted to include Cher’s cover of “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)” — but sadly, I don’t own it. So I ask you, dear readers: Where do you do your online MP3 shopping? I use eMusic for my indie discoveries, but it doesn’t have an extensive catalog. I’d love to find a reputable site that doesn’t sell proprietary file types, as iTunes and Rhapsody and Napster have. Any suggestions?

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    09 August 2007

    I Danced This Mess Around

    I saw The B-52’s at Chastain Park Amphitheater last Wednesday. No, “saw” isn’t right. I danced my a** off and sang my throat raw.

    What a great night! I haven’t seen the B’s in maybe fifteen years. Why did I wait so long?
    UPDATE: The Beloved Ex just reminded me in the comment box that we saw The B-52's when they played at the 1998 Coca-Cola USA Christmas party — and, yes, we did all sixteen dances that holiday night, WP. Excellent party!
    As I wrote last summer, I love the B-52’s. They’ve been on my top bands list since 1980. Their songs are fun, silly, danceable. I saw them once or twice during my late-1970s tenure at the University of Georgia, and I’ve seen them every decade since.

    Post-UGA, I next saw The B-52’s at the Agora Ballroom in 1980 during their Wild Planet tour. I was working for our college station at the time, and Cindy and Ricky Wilson came by that afternoon for an on-air interview. They were, of course, adorable. The show highlight was Fred skipping across the stage with a dogless leash during “Quiche Lorraine.” The lowlight was Mike borrowing my Devo flowerpot hat … and never returning it.

    Let’s get back to last Wednesday. The show was outdoors — on the hottest day so far this summer. And I hate humid heat. But did I let that stop me? Hell, no. I pulled back the hair, wore the lightest shirt with the least cloth-to-skin ratio, and put on my dancing shoes. Oh, and lugged a jug of Chik-Fil-A lemonade with lots of Absolut Citron. A girl needs to stay hydrated.

    There were some jewels in the crowd. Beehives and bright-green hair. Fortysomethings (and oldersomethings) and kids. Every segment of fun Atlanta folks was well represented.

    One of the loveliest fans at the show.

    The B-52’s kicked off the show with “Mesopotamia,” and we kicked off the dancing. We heard some classics: “Private Idaho” (which Fred introduced as being “like a fine wine”), “Give Me Back My Man” (one of the best heartache songs ever), “Strobe Light,” “Roam,” “Love Shack,” “Planet Claire” (Simeon, where were you?), ending the night with “Rock Lobster.” Fabulous set — and each classic sounded amazing.

    My friend and the cool chicks who sat next to us.

    The B-52’s have a new album coming out soon, and we were treated to some new tunes. One of the best lines was from a song about shopping at the mall: “Faster, pussycat! Sell! Sell!” I think we heard three new songs, and the samples left me wanting that new album (comes out, I think, next month).

    This is their first album in fifteen years. I haven’t seen them in fifteen years. You don’t think my apathetic non-attendances had anything to do with that, do you?

    One of my favorite B-52’s-flavored memories takes us back to 1989. I was spending the day with my niece, who was then two and a half. We’d been to the Woodruff Arts Center to see Santa, and were killing time at Jake’s Ice Cream before visiting my friend and her three-legged kitten. In between bites of ice cream, Lauren stopped, glanced around, loudly sang “Love shack, bay-beeeee!”, smirked, and went back to her bowl. She may not be the true fruit of my loins, but that girl is my child.

    The band looks good. Can you believe that Kate is 59? Still cute as hell. Cindy had Tina Turner legs, and worked that black mini. Fred looks the same. My old complaint is the Jumbotron didn’t show many close-ups of the ever-hot Keith.

    1989 was also a memorable year for B-52’s shows: the Cosmic Thing tour. The band returned to Athens to play a show on Legion Field, a big patch o’ grass on the UGA campus (I think the university has since paved that paradise and put up a parking lot). Here I am a couple of hours before that show, in front of Wuxtry Records, Peter Buck’s former employer (and one of my favorite record shops):

    The show was great, of course. How could an outdoor B-52’s show on a field not be? My friend and I picked up a virgin freshman boy sitting next to us; we took him back to his room so that he could show off his score up and down the hall. He impressed.

    We later walked over to the 40 Watt Club, where R.E.M. was hosting an invitation-only party for The B-52’s. On his way in, Fred Schneider spotted a friend standing next to me and invited him into the club. Fred looked at me and said, “You come, too!” But my friend — one no longer in my circle — whined that we shouldn’t since we didn’t have an official invitation. She drove, so I didn’t go in. Never since have I let someone else drive to Athens.

    My only complaint about the show: about half the audience sat during the entire show. How can anyone sit during an outdoor B-52's show? Sure, it was hot — but so was the music. I haven't given up on Atlantans, though; there was one cool family two rows below us — dad, mom, and three blonde girls between six and ten — and those five danced during the entire show, too.
    Many, many, many great B-52’s memories. If you’ve never seen them, what are you waiting for?

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    07 August 2007

    Life Gets in the Way

    Don't you hate it when your life gets in the way of blogging? That's where I am this week ... and why I haven't visited your blogs. I have several posts in the works including a recap of last week's B-52's show (with great pix!) and more answers to Dale's nosiness (again, with great pix!) but you'll have to wait several more hours.

    Now you'll never get to sleep with such blog anticipation, will you?

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    03 August 2007

    Mix Tape Friday: Pound the Ground

    No special theme today. This was one of those weeks that demanded tunes for banging away the stress. You know the ones: those songs that make your body dance and your feet pound the ground as hard as you can, until the stress begins to leave your neck and shoulders. Here are some of my favorite ground-pounders.

    R.E.M.: Begin the Begin

    Beck: Black Tambourine

    David Bowie: Queen Bitch

    The Replacements: Left of the Dial

    Burning Brides: Artic Snow

    The Raveonettes: Attack of the Ghost Riders

    Jane's Addiction: Superhero

    Joe Jackson: I'm the Man

    The Stooges: I Wanna Be Your Dog

    U2: Elevation (Tomb Raider Mix)

    Big Audio Dynamite: Rush

    New York Dolls: Personality Crisis

    Sleater-Kinney: I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone

    The Pixies: Debaser

    Sonic Youth: Incinerate

    Red Hot Chili Peppers: Give It Away

    Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians: Freeze

    Elvis Costello: Tear off Your Own Head (It's a Doll Revolution)

    Pearl Jam: Glorified G

    The Pretenders: Middle of the Road

    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Spread Your Love

    XTC: Living Through Another Cuba

    The Clash: White Riot

    Wire: Eardrum Buzz

    Television: See No Evil

    The Smiths: How Soon Is Now

    R.E.M.: Lotus

    While you download and listen, here’s a music-obsessive trivia question to ponder: One musician shows up on this mix tape more than any other. Who is it, and on which tracks is he playing?

    UPDATE: We have a winner! The mysterious M knew that the busiest musician on this mix tape was none other than our beloved Peter Buck of R.E.M. In addition to the R.E.M. songs that open and close this playlist, he also plays lead guitar on Robyn Hitchcock's "Freeze."

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