My Six Degrees of the GMMP: Boom Boom
I was thrilled with Splotchy recently announced the return of the Green Monkey Music Project. I love putting together mix tapes, but have been too busy the last six months to get back into the swing. When he offered those of us who’ve earned the highlight covered GMMP Master badge, I jumped at the chance to head up a mix. I wanted something challenging, something to make the fellow mixers think, a theme that would open up to different genres 1 and to just plain see how interesting the connections could be.
Lord, here I go again, sounding like a Kurt Loder wannabe.
And so I came up with Six Musical Degrees. Like the Kevin Bacon game, our GMMP musicologists had to connect six musicians, or songs, or covers. Splotchy has posted the track listing, and will soon have the files ready for download.
So let’s get to my six. I wanted to cross genres, to include some of my favorite covers and artists — and of course work in R.E.M. Let’s see where that got us:
John Lee Hooker: "Boom Boom"
I’ve always thought “Boom Boom” was one damn sexy song, and it’s one of my top five favorite blues classics. “I love to see you strut, up and down the floor / When you talking to me, that baby talk / I like it like that.” To quote Mr. Hooker, whoa, yeah!
Van Morrison feat. John Lee Hooker: "Gloria"
You can’t help but love the original “Gloria” by Them — but two covers are actually my favorite versions. This is one, from Van’s album Too Long in Exile (1993) — and, g*ddamn, is it sexy with Van and John Lee. My toes curl and I get a shiver up the back of my neck to the hairline whenever I listen.
Patti Smith: "Gloria"
And this is my other favorite version of “Gloria,” from Patti’s debut album, Horses. Love it when Patti snarls “Jesus died for somebody’s sins — but not mine.” I always play this song when I’m pissed off. It helps. Man, I remember when this album came out and I heard this song for the first time. I just stopped. Played it over and over and over before I could listen to the rest of the tracks. Sometimes I wish I were Patti Smith.
R.E.M. feat. Patti Smith: "E-bow the Letter"
Even if you’ve read just one or two Rolling Stone articles about R.E.M., you know that the much-beloved Michael Stipe always calls out Patti Smith as his biggest influence. So it was a big thrill for us fanatics when New Adventures in Hi-fi — a much-underappreciated album — came out and we heard Patti singing with Michael. R.E.M. doesn’t have many guest vocalists, so this was particularly powerful for us.
Hindu Love Gods: "Wang Dang Doodle"
What a thrill when two of your favorites come together. Throw in a drunken recording session, and you have music gold, my friends. My R.E.M. boys Peter, Mike, and Bill supported the beloved (and kissed) (and missed) Warren Zevon on his 1987 album Sentimental Hygiene. The foursome got a bit blitzed on beer, and started playing around with all sorts of songs. It’s not a stellar album, but it’s damn fun — and you gotta hear their cover of “Raspberry Beret.”
Warren Zevon: "Boom Boom Mancini"
Here’s a track from the aforementioned Sentimental Hygiene — bringing “Boom Boom” full circle. That’s Peter, Mike, and Bill backing Warren. Brilliant album; this is maybe the sixth-best cut on it.
Here are my six songs, mixed by Splotchy. Want the rest? Then head on over to Splotchy’s spot.
So. Enjoy. Debate. See what our other musicologists strung together. And visit their blogs, too.
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