28 September 2005

Public Record Review

A good friend of mine made me a mix CD. I figured why not review it in public, for all the world to see:

1-Guitars & Cadillacs by Dwight Yoakam. The very song that, for me, pole-vaulted Dwight Yoakam out of the pile of hat-wearing phonies and right into the world of authenticity.

2-Blame the Vain by Dwight Yoakam. New Dwight and I hadn't heard it before. Like The Simpsons, still good as ever.

3-I'll Pretend by Dwight Yoakam. Also new. I love that little 1-2 bounce shuffle thing, whatever you musicians call it. See above.

4-Casino Queen by Wilco. Wilco sometimes baffle me. I like the stuff from AM, but they seem to be unsatisfied with that vein. Like Son Volt, I am really attracted to Midwest themes, whatever those might be.

5-Box Full of Letters by Wilco. I like the lyrics and the stompy beat. I have a dream about hiring a band to play in an old wood barn for a big ol' pig roast. Wilco'd be a pretty darn good choice for that.

6-Cry, Cry, Cry by Robbie Fulks. Cover of the Johnny Cash classic. This version had me in the first 3 seconds; very true to the Tennessee Two. Tribute albums used to suck. Not so much recently.

7-Let it Ride by Ryan Adams. The first time I heard Ryan Adams was in a rented Ford Explorer. The Mrs. and I were leaving Louisville heading for a wedding somewheres near the Indiana/Illinios border. I don't remember the album played by the college station at the bottom of the dial, but I sent them a thumbs-up email about it as soon as I got to a PC. No reply. The scenery northwest of Louisville into south Indiana was a nice surprise.

8-V by Golden Smog. This always sounded like two songs to me. I like the chorus better than the verses. Very much a clone of contemporary Jayhawks efforts, personnel notwithstanding.

9-Pecan Pie by Golden Smog. A new song for me. I dig the casualness of the arrangement. Sounds like they recorded take #2 or 3, said "that's plenty good," and moved on.

10-Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. I grew up poisoned by KQRS, and therefore bristle at dinosaur rock, but to be fair, I'm trying to listen again to the occasional track by Bob Seger, Blue Oyster Cult or Heart, just to make sure I know what I'm poo-pooing. I like Born to Run because I believe the emotion, and the production of the song is stunning.

11-Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen. Not quite as fat as Born to Run. I still buy it, although, like a lot of Springsteen's stuff of the era, its themes are ones that I do not relate to in the least.

12-You're Still Standing There by Steve Earle. There's great romance in a good duet. In this case it's Earle and Lucinda Williams. The best songs are always about the confusion and comfort that's part and parcel to matters of the heart. A good, clean, simple tune.

13-The Road Goes on Forever by Joe Ely. A new song for me. I listened to it in headphones in the dark, and couldn't wait for the resolution. This version was recorded live, and Ely really works a sly drama with the story. It's quite the contrast to Robert Earl Keen's lighter original.

14-Some Girls by The Rolling Stones. You mean that album had a title song? It sounds exactly what I picture the Stones sounding like, talking like, walking like, acting like etc., in the soft focus of the late 70's - Keith and Mick looking around, wondering how much longer this'll all go on.

15-Far Away Eyes by The Rolling Stones. This was on the b-side of the Miss You 45, which my friend Doug had. We used to laugh at it since it was evidnet to us (even as 8th graders) that not everyone can pull off country music. This was the first time I've heard it not from vinyl.

16-Bottom Dollar by Eddie Spaghetti. A tough nut to crack; not Keen, not Eaglesmith, not Auldridge, not Shaver . . . A nice song and a good album cover. I'll be looking further into Mr. Spaghetti's body or work.

So for presentation, I can only go 4 out of 10, because the CD was written on with a Sharpie and had no liner notes. For technical execution, a 2, since the last 3 tracks (there were 19 on the disc) didn't play, but I blame that Steve Jobs and his damned DRM-encrusted iTunes, and not the compiler, whose heart was in the right place. For song selection, a 9; a little Detroit Techno would have made it a 10, and that stuff never hurt any mix, ya know.

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