This is the start proper of a new feature for this blog, where I’ll create a 50-song spotify playlist and share it along with my comments. This week’s one is quite simple – I just took the fifty songs I’ve played most this week according to last.fm , taking into account that I only want one song per artist and some bands aren’t on spotify.
(For those who don’t know, spotify is a free-as-in-beer app that allows you to listen to pretty much any song you want to, streamed on demand. They’ve got a few gaps in the collection, but you can see from the list below that they’ve got a pretty good range.
For GNU/Linux users like myself, there’s a BSD-licensed clone being created, but at the moment it’s still missing crucial functionality. I’ve downloaded it, of course, because I would rather use free software, but much as it pains me to say so *right now* I’d recommend using the Windows client under WINE. It works beautifully, and there’s a step-by-step guide on the site (it’s geared towards Debian, which is what I use, but it works under CentOS and Ubuntu as well that I know of).
Here’s the playlist itself, and below are my notes on each song.
EDIT for some reason WordPress won’t allow the spotify link properly – the link is spotify:user:stealthmunchkin:playlist:6s4DKxeEadvf5vCKZyCqNC – the link above now takes you to a page where you can click the link…
The Beach Boys – Been Way Too Long (a capella) Just a gorgeous little fragment from a rarities set.
Benny Goodman – Tiger Rag there is very little in the world that is better than Benny Goodman’s small group work. Goodman’s clarinet influenced my melodic sense more than any other performer ever, and Lionel Hampton on the vibraphone is heaven itself.
Candypants – Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky From Now On Lisa Jenio is one of the best songwriters working today. This isn’t one of her best, but I was being true to the ‘song I’ve listened to most this week’ thing. Listen to the full album this is from.
Love – Orange Skies (Live) This is Arthur Lee backed by Baby Lemonade and the Stockholm Strings and Horns. Lee’s UK tours were some of the best gigs it’s ever been my privilege to see.
David Bowie – Quicksand I know it’s an anthem for fascism, but the music’s so good…
Rufus Wainwright – Wonderful/Song For Children from the new War Child Heroes album, this is Wainwright covering the first half of the second movement of Smile, by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks. It’s a lovely version of what some days I think is the best song ever written.
The Flying Burrito Brothers – Wheels You all know this one, I hope?
David Seville – Witch Doctor I’m not proud.
Jake Thackray – Salvation Army Girl I’ve written about Jake before. This is one of his most gorgeous melodies.
Brian Wilson – Love And Mercy From his 1988 solo album. The production’s horribly dated now, and the vocals are all over the place, but the song’s one of the best. The simplistic lyrics actually add to the point – “The loneliness in this world, well it’s just not fair”. Quite.
The Zombies – Butcher’s Tale This is a live version of the Odessey And Oracle song – I believe the only song they ever did with someone (Chris White) other than Colin Blunstone singing lead. For those who don’t know it’s a song about WWI.
XTC – Another Satellite from Skylarking, one of the very best albums ever recorded, this is a song Andy Partridge wrote warning off the woman who later became his second wife.
The Monkees – Love Is Only Sleeping Those of you who only know the Monkees for their hit singles might be amazed by this bit of psych/country/funk.
The Turtles – You Know What I Mean Something about this song, weirdly, reminds me of Queen, even though it sounds nothing like them.
Bartok – Romanian polka One of the problems with this ‘only one track by each artist’ thing is that Bartok only gets 29 seconds…
Eric Dolphy – Hi-Fly Fourteen minutes of great jazz.
Elvis Presley – Shake, Rattle & Roll You may have heard of him.
Flo & Eddie – Nikki Hoi Very silly pseudo-Hawaiian song by the ex-Turtles
Squeeze – Some Fantastic Place One of the great funeral songs, especially for the My Sweet Lord style middle section.
Jimmie Rodgers – Mississippi Moon This is the yodelling country singer, the ‘singing brakeman’, not the similarly-named bluesman.
Scott Walker – Clara Listen to this thirteen minutes of atonal noise and abstract poetry, and remember that forty years before this, this man was a teen heartthrob having number ones with covers of Four Seasons songs.
Van Dyke Parks – The Four Mills Brothers First note – the song is a cover version of a calypso song from when ‘Negro’ was the polite term for black people. Second note – it’s really fun and great.
Little Richard – Ooh! My Soul! This is just about as pure an expression of Little RIchard as you can get – raw and screaming, but camp as hell. Little Richard is a horribly underrated performer, and the Specialty band were astonishing.
Doctor John – Storm Warning Just a nice little instrumental from an EP he did about hurricane Katrina.
Elvis Costello – Man Out Of Time Another one you probably know.
Jack Nitzsche – The Last Race A cool little surf-style instrumental.
Tim Buckley – I Had A Talk With My Woman Why everyone goes on about Jeff, I don’t know. His dad had the same voice, and was capable of great records like this – and made *eight* albums in less time than Jeff took to make one.
Billy Ward & The Dominoes – The Bells I suspect this song may not be entirely serious.
J.S. Bach – Prelude And Fugue No. 6 in D Minor
Kathryn Williams – Night Baking – The first of several songs on here from great kids’ music compilation Colours Are Brighter.
Link Wray – Genocide Slow, throbbing, guitar instrumentals are always good.
The Jam – Little Boy Soldiers Fire and skill.
The Flaming Lips – Big Ol’ Bug Is The New Baby Now Another one from Colours Are Brighter.
T-Rex – Rip Off This sounds several years ahead of its time, predating punk by several years, til the horns and strings come in.
Nilsson – Sister Marie I love Nilsson’s first couple of albums more than is healthy.
L.E.O. – Goodbye Innocence L.E.O are a ‘supergroup’ (members include Bleu, one of Hanson, one of the less-well-known members of Jellyfish and someone from the band Chicago. I think Parthenon Huxley may have been involved too) who made an album of ELO-soundalike songs. Astonishingly, it’s absolutely fantastic, rather than, as you would imagine, the worst thing in history.
Hasil Adkins – I’m Happy Hasil Adkins was a rockabilly one-man-band (apparently he didn’t realise that when records said ‘Hank Williams’ or ‘Elvis Presley’ there were other people on there too) whose songs were mostly about decapitation. This one is about being happy, and is essentially Orange Blossom Special.
Otis Redding – I Can’t Get No Satisfaction
The Carter Family – Keep On The Sunny Side The family that essentially invented country music. You may know this song from O Brother Where Art Thou? – this is the original.
Stew – The Drug Suite Three of the best songs about drugs ever. I Must Have Been High is gorgeous, but my favourite is probably I’m Not On A Drug.
Richard Thompson – Walking The Long Miles Home This is a studio version rather than the live version I have, but it’s still great.
Mighty Sparrow – Carlton Peeping At Me The king of calypso singing about a peeping tom.
The Ivor Cutler Trio – Mud Another one from Colours Are Brighter, this time the great whimsical poet, in one of his last recordings.
Bo Diddley – I’m A Man If you don’t already know this, you officially are not allowed to have any opinions on popular culture.
Spike Jones And His City Slickers – Chloe The man after whom Milligan named himself shows why.
The Fireman – Two Magpies “The Fireman” is actually an ‘experimental’ project by Paul McCartney and Youth. To be honest, it doesn’t sound very experimental at all, just a Paul McCartney album – certainly nothing like his Liverpool Sound Collage record or anything. That said, it’s much better than his last ‘real’ album.
The Kinks – Victoria The opening track of one of the few good ‘concept albums’ ever – Arthur.
Willie Dixon – Walkin’ The Blues A wonderful little laid-back piano thing from the great bassist and songwriter.
Michael Nesmith – Listen To The Band Nesmith remaking his own Monkees hit here, in a more uptempo honky-tonk style.
Sparks – Metaphor From their recent-ish Hello Young Lovers, an album where they experiment with repetition more than ever. And chicks *do* dig metaphors…
(EDIT – the original version of this was weirdly formatted. I hope this has fixed it.)