30 November 2007

Mix Tape Friday: The Heartbreak Tape

The beautiful and Bewitch-ing Jacy recently suggested that I do a breakup mix tape. I’ve had a blog crush on Jacy for quite a while, so I was happy to oblige the girl. But I more than obliged her — Jacy selected many of the tunes on this mix tape. She threw some very cool songs into the mix, many I hadn't considered. Methinks she's been listening to her heartache playlist too much this year. [How stupid is he to let a prize like her get away?]

This week’s theme isn’t part of my life at the moment (thank God!). I published an in-the-moment brokenhearted playlist a couple of summers ago. I looked at that list after I put together this one — and was amused at how many repeats there are, and ticked that I missed some good ones.

But back to this week's mix tape. This seems to be the current playlist throughout my circle. Seven or eight of my beloveds hit the breakup stage this year (must be something in the nonexistent Georgia water). This mix tape goes out to those dear friends.

This mix tape may be a discussion-only post. MyDataBitch is acting pissy ... again ... and the support team has yet to return my calls. I’ll let you Cupettes know when the site gets it uploading/downloading act together again.

Whether or not you’re suffering from a broken heart, you still probably enjoy a good sob over a sad song. I know I do. Folks take their heartbreak tunes seriously. Had dinner last night with David C, the long-lost high school buddy, and he kicked me under the table when I told him that, no, there were no Tom Petty songs on this breakup tape.

So I’m curious: What’s on your playlist when the heart’s been stomped?

Bonnie Raitt: Cry Like a Rainstorm

Jeff Buckley: Last Goodbye

Johnny Cash: Hurt

Beck: Lost Cause

Ryan Adams feat. Chris Stills: Harder Now That It's Over

The Replacements: Sadly Beautiful

Me'shell Ndegeocello: Fool of Me

eels: It’s a Motherfucker

Joy Division: Love Will Tear Us Apart

The B-52's: Give Me Back My Man

Ben Folds Five: Song for the Dumped

Kelis: Caught out There

The Minus 5: I’m Not Bitter

Spoon: Everything Hits at Once

The Temptations: (I Know) I’m Losing You

Hüsker Dü: Never Talking to You Again

The Ramones: Glad to See You Go

Grant Lee Phillips: Sadness Soot

R.E.M.: Near Wild Heaven

Billy Bragg: Wish You Were Her

American Music Club: Goodbye to Love

Broken Social Scene feat. Feist: Lover’s Spit

Aimee Mann: One

Lyle Lovett: Nobody Knows Me

Glen Campbell: By the Time I Get to Phoenix

Gregg Allman: These Days

Guy Clark feat. Nanci Griffith: Dublin Blues

Wilco: How to Fight Loneliness

Sheryl Crow: My Favorite Mistake

Johnette Napolitano + Marc Moreland: Hurting Each Other

Elvis Costello: Indoor Fireworks

Frank Sinatra: One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)

Warren Zevon: Accidentally Like a Martyr

Bob Dylan: Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right

Cat Power feat. Eddie Vedder: Good Woman

Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes: The Love I Lost (Part 1)

Angie Stone: Wish I Didn’t Miss You

Love & Rockets: Haunted When the Minutes Drag

Cracker: I Can’t Forget You

The 5th Dimension: One Less Bell to Answer

Gram Parsons feat. Emmylou Harris: Love Hurts

Sinead O’Connor: Nothing Compares 2 U

Ricky Fanté: Love Doesn't Live Here No More

Shelby Lynne: Your Lies

Tower of Power: So Very Hard to Go

Patsy Cline: I Fall to Pieces

Dire Straits: Romeo and Juliet

Emmylou Harris: Goodbye

Liz Phair: Divorce Song

Willie Nelson: Sad Songs and Waltzes

Nanci Griffith: Late Night Grande Hotel

In case you’re so heartbroken you need every damn song, here’s the zipped heartache for your sobbing soundtrack.

I opened and closed this mix tape with my two favorite heart-wrenchers. “Cry Like a Rainstorm,” in my opinion, is the best Bonnie Raitt ever sounded; her voice evokes that feeling of crying until it hurts. Nanci Griffith’s “Late Night Grande Hotel” rips me apart every time, especially the line ’Cause living alone is all I’ve ever done well; she’s talking to me. And don’t get me started on Warren Zevon’s Never thought I'd ever be so lonely / After such a long, long time.

Pissed off at the bastard who bruised your heart? Sing along with Kelis’ “Caught out There.” Got me through some rough days. “It’s a Motherfucker” is another good one. But you may want to be careful; I was playing it at my desk one day when my CEO stopped by (luckily, he laughed).

Jackson Browne’s “These Days” is one of those songs everyone covers. Nico’s original is cool, but I’ve always preferred Gregg Allman’s version (so does Lucinda Williams). His voice brings the hurt to the song. Speaking of hurt, who can stay dry-eyed when listening to Johnny Cash’s cover?

Which songs bring tears to your eyes and aches to your heart?

* * * * * *

Labels: , , , , , ,

27 November 2007

A Bit of a Breather

I won't be posting much this week. My mother is having surgery today, and I'll spend my spare hours at the hospital.

* * * * * *


23 November 2007

Mix Tape Friday: Georgia Dance Party

Georgia boasts some amazing musicians. We’re probably among the top five music states throughout this vast nation of ours. Three of the most influential artists of the nascent rock ‘n’ roll era — James Brown, Little Richard, and Ray Charles — hail from Georgia. My fellow Georgians include Otis Redding and Gladys Knight, Jessye Norman and Johnny Mercer, Widespread Panic and The Allman Brothers, Moe Tucker and Gram Parsons, Kelly Hogan and Chuck Leavell, Ray Stevens and Mac Davis. Some of the best producers live here, too, including Brendan O’Brien, Butch Walker, Jermaine Dupri, Dallas Austin, and L.A. Reid. The ATL is home to many rap and hip-hop artists, as well as Southern rockers (um, that’s a duh, isn’t it?). Country music is well-represented by Chet Atkins, Trisha Yearwood, Travis Tritt, and Alan Jackson. And Athens is a goldmine of great music — it even has its own Wikipedia page. Bob Mould and Matthew Sweet lived there for a while, and Camper van Beethoven/Cracker helmsman David Lowery lives there now.

And R.E.M. is an Athens band. But you knew that.

Let’s quit with the musical history lesson. It’s a holiday weekend. Everybody’s home for Thanksgiving, and I’m catching up with farflung friends who flew in. So we’re throwing down a Georgia dance party. You may not be familiar with some of these artists, as they’re local acts from our new-wave era. But give ‘em a listen. Introducing you to new artists is the goal of this weekly feature.

Take it away, B-52’s.

The B-52’s: Party out of Bounds

Gnarls Barkley: Gone Daddy Gone

The Producers: She Sheila

Guadalcanal Diary: Watusi Rodeo

Outkast: The Way You Move

Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx: Gold Digger

The Basics: Sexual Object

Of Montreal: She’s a Rejecter

Brick: Dazz (Disco Jazz)

R.E.M.: White Tornado

Oh-OK: Lilting

The Method Actors: E-Y-E

Cee-Lo feat. Timbaland: I'll Be Around

Jermaine Dupri feat. Ludacris: Welcome to Atlanta

The Swimming Pool Q’s: Rat Bait

Butch Walker: Bethamphetamine (Pretty, Pretty)

Neutral Milk Hotel: Love You on a Tuesday

R.E.M.: Catapult

The Black Crowes: Jealous Again

Gregg Allman: I’m No Angel

Gram Parsons feat. Emmylou Harris: Ooh Las Vegas

Drive-by Truckers: Aftermath USA

Dixie Dregs: Take It off the Top

Elton John: Saturday Night's All Right for Fighting

The Woggles: People Come On

James Brown: Get up Offa That Thing

RuPaul: Supermodel (You Better Work)

Olivia Tremor Control: Love Athena

Pylon: Dub

Apples in Stereo: 7 Stars

Art in the Dark: Calling Everyone

Elf Power: Let the Serpent Sleep

Modern Skirts: Seventeen Dirty Magazines

Man or Astroman?: Italian Movie Theme (Pylon cover)

Magnapop: Cherry Bomb

R.E.M.: Ages of You

Usher feat. Li'l John + Ludacris: Yeah

Danger Mouse + Jemini: The Only One

Vic Chesnutt: The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia

Loving every song? Then give your right-click a rest by downloading the entire playlist.

Some of you may consider RuPaul a New Yorker, but he grew up here in Atlanta. One friend loves to recount the first time he saw RuPaul — in Piedmont Park, wearing a bridal gown and army boots. The best I ever saw him look was at the old Celebrity Club. He was dancing on the bar, wearing nothing but a loincloth — and was beautiful.

Elton John, Georgian? Yep. He has a two-story condo on Peachtree, at Jesus Junction, and spends a good bit of time here. Tower Records used to open early for him every Tuesday he was in town so he could get the latest releases, and I hear Neiman-Marcus opens up just for him, too.

I used to live in an apartment next to a beautiful but dumb model, who had an equally beautiful but dumb beau. The beau came over one day with a Rolling Stone, beaming and bragging that he was mentioned in the beginning of a Black Crowes article. Chris Robinson told a story about how he hated his pretentious high school (same high school the Beloved Ex attended) and classmates. Soon after The Black Crowes hit it big, he went to The Buckhead Diner (one of Elton’s favorite spots). He was making fun of the valet, who was in the popular clique at his high school, and was now gushing all over this now-rockstar he once ignored. The beau was that valet. He was so beautiful but so dumb, he was proud of the mockery.

I get a lot of Google hits from folks looking for Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m No Angel.” Maybe it’s because I grew up listening to both Bruce and Gregg, but I’ve never noticed the similarity in their voices.

* * * * * *

Labels: , , , , ,

21 November 2007


My sister and brother-in-law just got back from London, where they had a fabulous (but wallet-draining) time. They went out one night and rubbed elbows with celebrities. My sister used to hang with some actors during her L.A. days — but I didn’t realize they were A-listers.

Brother-in-law and Samuel L. Jackson engaged in an intense conversation, possibly discussing the meaning of Ezekiel 25:17.

My (married) sister seems a little too familiar with Sean …

… even taking a sip of Connery’s cocktail.

My brother-in-law gets his flirt on with his beloved Susan Sarandon …

… but scores with fellow CHS grad Julia Roberts.

My sister helps Tom Jones get ready for the floor show.

The brother-in-law has Spielberg’s attention. Expect a sweeping epic about high-school football referees next Christmas.

I have no idea what’s going on here. Appears my sister is breathing life into the we-thought-he-was-dead Bob Marley.

If you’re headed to London, go here to party with the glitteratti.

* * * * * *

Labels: , , , ,

17 November 2007

Coaster Punchman Borrows a Cup

Dear Gentle Readers of A Cup of Coffey,

Beth has generously offered to host this week's episode of "The Mama Gin Files." I was unable to post it on the front page of Coaster Punchman's World for fear of retribution by Poor George, who forbade me from publishing the video. However, since the trials and tribulations of living with Mama Gin is my story too I feel altogether entitled --- at least as long as I don't get caught.

Click here to experience Poor George trying to practice his bass clarinet in the face of Mama Gin's daily dose of harassment.

Google Video has been acting really weird lately, so it may take several clicks on the "play" button before you actually get to see the video. (It might tell you it's "unavailable" a bunch of times - something Google is trying to iron out.)

And if you aren't amused by crazy Chinese ladies harassing their gay sons, there are also some cute cats in the video. Maybe that will make up for it.


* * * * * *

Labels: , , , , ,

16 November 2007

Mix Tape Friday: The Class of '77

My thirtieth high-school class reunion is tomorrow night. Thirty freakin’ years since I fretted over every little thing I said, second-guessed every item of clothing I wore, giggled whenever a cute boy talked to me (okay, I still do that). I’m not going to the reunion, though, so we’re reunioning right here, right now, kids.

Now, here’s the coolest story ever to come out of my mix tape posts. I told dear friend HollyC — a fellow Class of ‘77’er — about this week’s mix tape while we chatted Monday afternoon. I mentioned I had written a paragraph stating I’d go to the class reunion if David C — one of my very favorite CHS boys — has RSVP’ed; we lost track of him nearly twenty years ago. Four hours later I got an e-mail from that very same David C, who has Googled me and found my blog that evening. And I've spent the rest of the week e-mailing and catching up with the boy. Isn’t that the best? Blogs and Google rock.

The punk and new wave movements kicked off during my high school years. I love those early albums by The Ramones and The Clash and Patti Smith, and they made a big impression on me during high school. But for me, those years between 1973 and 1977 were all about good ol’ rock. And so that’s all we’re featuring today — no Stevie Wonder or K.C. & The Sunshine Band, no Fogelberg or Captain & Tenille. I shook it up a bit with some classic rock covers of songs released between my freshman and senior years.

To set the stage for you youngsters out there, my high-school years looked very much like Dazed and Confused. In fact, I saw it for the first time with the sister, and it felt to us like a documentary of our lives. We could match someone from the CHS halls with every character in the movie.

And, yes, we really dressed that way.

Okay, enough of the reminiscing. Let’s get to the reason why you’re here: the songs. I got a bit too excited pulling these tunes — to the tune of sixty songs plus five bonus tracks. I hope you spend your afternoon air-guitaring all over your office.

Let’s rawk — seventies style!

Boston: Foreplay/Long Time

Golden Earring: Radar Love

Electric Light Orchestra: Do Ya

Bruce Springsteen: Tenth Avenue Freeze-out

David Bowie: Young Americans

John Lennon: Whatever Gets You Through the Night

The Sweet: Ballroom Blitz

Steve Miller Band: Jungle Love

Rick Derringer: Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo

R.E.M.: Toys in the Attic (Aerosmith cover)

Mother’s Finest: Piece of the Rock

The Rolling Stones: Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)

Deep Purple: Woman from Tokyo

The Allman Brothers Band: Southbound

Eric Clapton: Motherless Children

Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band: The Fire Down Below

Warren Zevon: I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead

Lou Reed: Sally Can’t Dance

Foo Fighters: Carry on My Wayward Son (Kansas cover)

Bad Company: Bad Company

Manfred Mann's Earth Band: Blinded by the Light

David Essex: Rock On

Average White Band: Pick up the Pieces

Gary Wright: Love Is Alive

Elton John: Benny and the Jets

Queen: Killer Queen

George Harrison: Dark Horse

Bachman-Turner Overdrive: Takin' Care of Business

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Gimme Three Steps

Fleetwood Mac: The Chain

Stories: Brother Louie

Roger Waters feat. Van Morrison, Rick Danko + Levon Helm: Comfortably Numb

Nazareth: Love Hurts

Neil Young: Like a Hurricane

The Eagles: Wasted Time

Ozark Mountain Daredevils: Jackie Blue

Bob Dylan: Tangled up in Blue

Doobie Brothers: Black Water

Steely Dan: My Old School

Atlanta Rhythm Section: Georgia Rhythm

Little Feat: Oh, Atlanta

Mott the Hoople: All the Way from Memphis

Gregg Allman: Don’t Mess up a Good Thing

Foghat: Slow Ride

R.E.M.: Smoking in the Boy's Room (Brownsville Station cover)

Wings: Jet

The Who: Slip Kid

Ringo Starr: Back off Boogaloo

T. Rex: I Love to Boogie

Heart: Crazy on You

Sleater-Kinney: More Than a Feeling (Boston cover)

Kiss: Rock and Roll All Nite

Led Zeppelin: D'yer Mak'er

War: Low Rider

The Minus 5: That Smell (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)

Wilco: (Don’t Fear) The Reaper (Blue Oyster Cult cover)

Head East: Never Been Any Reason

Marshall Tucker Band: Fire on the Mountain

Joe Walsh: Rocky Mountain Way

Peter Frampton: Do You Feel Like We Do

“Do You Feel Like We Do” was special to the CHS class of ’77, as it was nearly our class song. The little ditty some of our classmates (including moi) wrote barely edged it out in votes. Thirty years later, I wish Mr. Frampton’s classic had won. “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” — probably nominated by RCofCHS — was fourth in the voting. We were one classy class. But I’d rather be naughty that traditional with “We Will Never Pass This Way Again.”

Don’t have thirty years to download all this classic rock? Your one-click (well, three-click) access to the zipped tunes are waiting for you here, here, and here.

Southern rock, of course, was big in our school halls. Not much of that genre has held up in my world, except for Allman Brothers, but I included some of the tracks I still enjoy. And I’m noting with pride that “Freebird” ain’t on the list.

The Pep Rally Playlist

Our marching band kicked aural ass. If you went to high school in the 1970s, your school band may have played these — but I bet our marching band played ‘em better than yours. I hope HollyC is grabbing the nearest pompoms, Janice is using her broom as a flagpole, and Renae is fingering faux valves. If only Pete Royal was still around to crash those cymbals.

Deep Purple: Smoke on the Water

Santana: Oye Como Va

Grand Funk Railroad: We’re an American Band

The Edgar Winter Group: Free Ride

Chicago: Dialogue, Part 1/Part 2

Yeah, I know everyone played Chicago back then. And the three classmates I still keep up with requested “25 or 6 to 4.” But “Dialog Part 1 and 2” was the first song I marched to during my flag corps days, so it holds a special place in my nerdy, sentimental, flag-twirlin’ heart. I can still march a turn to this tune. If only I had a flagpole handy …

* * * * * *

Labels: , , , , , , ,

14 November 2007

The Art of the City

Part Two of My Annual San Francisco Travelogue

San Francisco is one of my favorite art towns. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was one of the first U.S. museums devoted to 20th century (and now 21st century) art. I rarely miss a visit when I hit the city — and last week was no exception.

Looking up at the SFMOMA atrium

I was most excited about seeing the Joseph Cornell show, and it was wonderful. Cornell created boxes and collages using found objects, something I’ve always wanted to do.

Joseph Cornell: Tilly Losch

Joseph Cornell: Cockatoo with Watch Faces

Joseph Cornell: Lauren Bacall

My favorite piece in the Cornell show was one dedicated to Emily Dickinson, but I couldn’t find a snap or postcard of it.

SFMOMA also had a Jeff Wall exhibition I enjoyed. With the snaps below, you lose the impact of Wall's huge photos (most of them backlit). I should be embarrassed to admit how much I identify with The Destroyed Room (but I’m not).

Jeff Wall: The Destroyed Room

Jeff Wall: Picture for Women

SFMOMA has a phenomenal permanent collection of photography —the Westons (bell peppers!) to Nan Goldin, Irving Penn to Harry Callahan, Lucas Samaras to Cindy Sherman, and everyone in between. Think of a photographer, and he or she is probably represented in the permanent collection. Here’s a new photo I saw and loved:

Seiichi Furuya: Graz

But art isn’t limited to gallery walls in San Francisco. Defenestration is alive and (fairly) well at 6th and Howard streets, near the Tenderloin. Artist Brian Goggin’s installation has furnished the exterior of this building for ten years. I’ve been by this corner several times, but it didn’t catch my eye until last week.

And is there anything more lovely, more moving, than this?

* * * * * *

Labels: , , , , ,

13 November 2007

Saving the Best for First

Part One of My Annual San Francisco Travelogue

Last week’s trip to San Francisco was wonderful. Of course it was. I was, after all, in my favorite U.S. city. I know the city pretty well, having been there seven or eight times and having read Maupin’s entire Tales of the City series. I discovered new spots and revisited favorite haunts. But I’ll tell you about those adventures later in the week. Let’s get to the good stuff first.

I cocktailed with Write Procrastinator.

Write Procrastinator posted a great retelling of our blogger summit. He’s a writer. He’s good at that. And he didn’t procrastinate over writing his post as I did.

The Grand Gentleman of The City knows me well, or at the very least has read my blog profile. He picked the perfect spot for a noir fan like me — former hangout of Dashiell Hammett, Sam Spade’s joint of choice in The Maltese Falcon. Sadly, said falcon was swiped last February.

John’s Grill

The dirty martinis were good, the appetizers okay, the service surly. Isn’t that what we want in a nearly hundred-year-old haunt?

Let’s dish about WP. That’s why we’re all reading this post, right?

First of all, he’s just damn cute. The only reason WP doesn’t get the full-on hawt rating is he’s a happily married man, and I don’t want Mrs. WP getting the wrong idea. He looks younger than he is (damn him).

WP, we forgot to compare eye freckles! A strong reason for me to book a return trip in 2008.

WP’s mama raised him right. The boy oozes manners and class. He knows how to open a door, how to hold a chair for a lass, how to make meet-up arrangements for hard-to-contact travelers. I was charmed before we even got to the talktalktalk.

And talktalktalk we did. We didn’t start off trying to think of something to say; we dove right in. I was so excited about finally meeting my blog buddy — someone with whom I’ve e-mailed since last summer — I probably jumped on 312 of his sentences. He told me all about growing up and living in The City. We talked books and bloggers, movies and music, lives and loves. It's always fascinating to talk to a writer since he knows how to use words.

The obligatory back o’ the bloggers’ head photo

The only downer: We had just a couple of hours. Had I blown off some work hours pre-vacation and planned my trip, we could have spent more time together. Met families. Seen sites.

Now, if I could only get the WP clan to visit Atlanta ...

* * * * * *

Labels: , , , , , ,

09 November 2007

Mix Tape Friday: Goin' to California

In honor of my lovely week in San Francisco, this week’s mix tape is all about the City by the Bay. Did you know “(Sitting on the) Dock of the Bay” was inspired by a dock in Sausalito?

Led Zeppelin: Going to California

R.E.M.: I Remember California

Ocean Colour Scene: Golden Gate Bridge

Arctic Monkeys: Fake Tales of San Francisco

The Magnetic Fields: Come Back from San Francisco

The Decemberists: Grace Cathedral Hill

Elliott Smith: Coast to Coast

Wilco + Billy Bragg: California Stars

Sloan: Losing California

Pavement: Two States

Sleater-Kinney: Jumpers

The Ramones: California Sun

10,000 Maniacs: Hey, Jack Kerouac

Michael Stipe: My Gang

Richmond Fontaine: Postcard from California

Rufus Wainwright: California

Neko Case: In California

Joni Mitchell: California

Liz Phair: Why I Left California

Scott McKenzie: San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)

The Jayhawks: Nevada, California

Eric Burdon & The Animals: San Francisco Nights

Gram Parsons & The Fallen Angels: California Cotton Fields

Belle & Sebastian: Piazza, New York Catcher

Vanessa Carlton: San Francisco

The Village People: San Francisco, You’ve Got Me

The Mamas & The Papas: California Dreaming

Otis Redding: (Sitting on the) Dock of the Bay

Kristen Hersh: San Francisco

John Vanderslice: The Golden Gate

Madeleine Peyroux: California Rain

Annie Ross & The Low Note Quintet feat. Iggy Pop + Anthony Coleman: Evil California (These Blues)

Riz Ortolani: Golden Gate Bridge

Santana: Samba de Sausalito

Joe Jackson: San Francisco Fan

Tony Bennett: I Left My Heart in San Francisco

I’m on vacation, so I just don’t feel like writing about this collection of songs. I’d rather sit on my hotel bed, look lovingly (lustily?) at my baubles haul, and talking about what I’ve done and what I’ve seen. Music-chat among yourselves in the comment box, and I’ll chat back when I return home this weekend.

Here’s the goldrush in one easy-to-download zip file.

* * * * * *

Labels: , , , ,

06 November 2007

Leaving My Heart

This is what I saw today:

God, I love San Francisco.

* * * * * *

Labels: ,

05 November 2007

The Queen Ruled

My friend Jayne and I saw. The. Best. Damn. Show. Atlanta had to offer Friday night: Queen Latifah at Symphony Hall. (I hear They Might Be Giants were boring that same night. I’m not a huge TMBG fan, though.)

Queen Latifah blows the roof off the Symphony Hall joint.

I’ve been smitten with Queen Latifah’s voice since she sang her heart out in Living Out Loud — and my besmitten ears were well rewarded. Symphony Hall hash the best acoustics in the city, and Queen Latifah (and her damn fantastic band) took full advantage of the room. She sang several tunes from her new album, Trav’lin’ Light (which is well worth the download or CD purchase) and from The Dana Owens Album — blues, jazz, old-school soul, R&B. Her voice sent shivers down my spine and up my neck several times.

Partial Setlist
(in no particular order)

“Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”
“I Know Where I’ve Been”
“Georgia Rose”
“I’m Gonna Live”
“Poetry Man”
“California Dreaming”/”Masquerade”
“Trav'lin' Light”

The crowd ate her up. We jumped to our feet maybe five times during her 75-minute performance. That’s my only complaint with the show: It was too short. I could have used another hour — but I ain’t complaining.

Added bonus: Her personality was as vibrant and funny and sassy as she comes across in movies and on “Living Single.” I walked out wishing we were buddies.

* * * * * *

Labels: ,

02 November 2007

Mix Tape Friday: Let's Go to the Movies

I’ve spent this week obsessively listening to the I’m Not Here soundtrack. It takes a spectacular album to draw me away from a new R.E.M. disc (that live album is to die for, kiddies!) — something like this soundtrack. Between this disc and catching Help! over the weekend, my mind has been a darkened movie theater.

I love soundtracks. I’m one of those who stays until the very end of the credits to check the list of songs. If I rent a movie, I freeze those final credit frames so I can jot down the songs I liked. I enjoy a good cover tune, especially from an unexpected artist. I’ve discovered now-favorite bands (Clem Snide, for one) while watching films.

Song selection can make or break a scene. Would we love Lloyd Dobler — even remember the character’s name — if he hadn’t lifted that boom box and blared “In Your Eyes”? Zack Braff did well with Garden State — probably helped greatly by the hip soundtrack. Angelo Badalamenti and Julee Cruise set the feel for Twin Peaks. (None of these films are represented in today’s mix tape; figured you have them.)

One of my fantasy jobs, not surprisingly, is music editor for films. Can you imagine all the play R.E.M. would get? I developed this tape in three acts. Act One — the first twelve songs — sets the tone. Act Two is filled with the angst and conflict that drives the plot, while Act Three ramps it up again with rafter-blasters and more than a hint o' Bond.

Isaac Hayes: Theme from Shaft
Shaft, 1971

Curtis Mayfield: Superfly
Superfly, 1972

Snoop Dogg feat. Mr. Kane + Bootsy Collins: Undercova Funk
Undercover Brother, 2002

The Beatles: Help!
Help!, 1965

The Plimsouls: A Million Miles Away
Valley Girl, 1983

Cat Power: Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again
I’m Not There, 2007

Joe Jackson: Memphis
Mike’s Murder, 1983

Tim Curry: Sweet Transvestite
Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975

Cat Stevens: I Think I See the Light
Harold and Maude, 1971

R.E.M.: The Great Beyond
Man on the Moon, 1999

eels: Mr. E's Beautiful Blues
Road Trip, 2000

Grant Lee Buffalo: The Whole Shebang
Velvet Goldmine, 1998

David Bowie + The Pat Metheny Group: This Is Not America
The Falcon and the Snowman, 1985

Concrete Blonde: Everybody Knows
Pump up the Volume, 1990

Badly Drawn Boy: Something to Talk About
About a Boy, 2002

Jeff Tweedy: Simple Twist of Fate
I’m Not There, 2007

Beck: Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004

Kate Bush: This Woman's Work
She’s Having a Baby, 1988

Neil Young: Philadephia
Philadelphia, 1994

Gary Jules: Mad World
Donnie Darko, 2004

Elliott Smith: Miss Misery
Good Will Hunting, 1997

Seu Jorge: Rebel Rebel
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, 2004

Stephen Trask: Wicked Little Town (Tommy Gnosis Version)
Hedwig and the Angry Inch, 2001

Angie Stone: Holding Back the Years
Love and Basketball, 1999

Rufus Wainwright: He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
Zoolander, 2001

Michael Stipe + Rain Phoenix
Happiness, 1998

Paul Westerberg: Dyslexic Heart
Singles, 1992

Urge Overkill: Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon
Pulp Fiction, 1994

Stephen Malkmus + The Million Dollar Bashers: Ballad of a Thin Man
I’m Not There, 2007

Geto Boys: Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta
Office Space, 1999

Paul McCartney & Wings: Live and Let Die
Live and Let Die, 1973

Prince: Let’s Go Crazy
Purple Rain, 1984

White Zombie: I’m Your Boogie Man
The Crow: City of Angels, 1996

Green Day: Espionage
The Spy Who Shagged Me, 1999

Shirley Bassey: Goldfinger
Goldfinger, 1965

Is there any original song better than "Goldfinger"? Forty-two years old, and it's still one freakin' cool song. I always have to sing along, throwing my arms out dramatically. Don't we all?

Speaking of the dramatic in film, I cannot listen to Neil Young's "Philadelphia" without sobbing. Its use in the closing collage is heartbreaking. I think it's one of the five loveliest songs Neil has ever recorded.

Several of today's tracks reduce always make me cry. When Beck's cover of "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes" played at the end of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (one of the Cup 25, by the way), I sobbed my last breakup tears over the Beloved Ex. Kate Bush's "Woman's Work" works beautifully in that scene with Kevin Bacon as he's pushed out of the delivery room, and I get choked up whenever I hear those opening notes.

eels' "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues" is becoming this generation's "Someone Like You." I think its first soundtrack appearance was in "Road Trip," and it's since been heard in Along Came Polly, A Guy Thing and (my favorite) Jump Tomorrow. Great song. eels is becoming a regular on the soundtrack track — deservedly so. His unique tunes work well in films.

As I wrote last October, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is one of the best original soundtracks in years, maybe a decade or more. You don’t need to see the movie (although you should) to enjoy the album. It’s great rock, fab glam, kids.

When I was with our campus radio station in 1981, "Sweet Transvestite" was consistently one of the five most requested tunes. Pretty impressive that a song then six years old was still hot on college radio.

What interests me most as I look back over today's songs is how some of these are as fabulous as the movie — yet in several instances the soundtrack was WAY better than the movie (see: Concrete Blonde's Leonard Cohen cover) — and, in a couple of instances, I love the tracks but have never seen the flicks.

Okay, kids, you must do one thing for me before you're allowed to download a single tune: Crank up "Let's Go Crazy" and chair-dance your office a** off. And keep that boogie goin' for White Zombie; you gotta love Rob taking on KC.

Too busy to download each track? Grab the zip file.


Here are two great not-quite-soundtracks by my boys.

While the movie Batman Returns was in production, producers asked rock bands to submit potential themes for the movie. R.E.M. recorded Winged Mammal Theme," but it was rejected (no counting for taste in Hollywood). My beloveds later released it with the “Drive” CD single. It’s a fun theme; love Michael’s distorted vocals.

R.E.M. plays great, unexpected covers. Mike Mills and Peter Buck performed "The Ballad of Cat Ballou" during a 1988 Rockline appearance.

* * * * * *

Labels: , , ,

View My Stats