Sunday, December 16, 2007
This Season's Mixed CD
If I could send you a CD Sampler, this is what would be on it:
"Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)" - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss In the grand tradition of mixed tapes, I kick things off with a toe-tapper, one of the snappier numbers from Plant/Krauss. To keep the good vibe alive, I move next to:
"99 And 1/2" - Mavis Staples We'll Never Turn Back stands as the most righteous disc released this year, and this particular track really cooks.
"Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken" by Camera Obscura - Another indication (if such was needed) of just how out of touch I am with the current scene. This track is almost two years old, but I first heard it on CBC this summer. Mighty infectious stuff, even with the cheesy organ.
Janiva Magness (and Kid Ramos, with one of the dirtiest guitar grooves to hit wax) steps in with "Nobody Loves You Like Me" Yeah, it's six years old, but it was new to me.
Next, I've plugged one of James McMurtry's lesser-known songs, "Pocatello", from Childish Things. There are plenty of worthy song contenders on this album, but this one has a narrator whose cheerful, reckless, tormented obsession with a woman who's more unhinged than he is really tickles me. Includes one of my favorite lyrics this listening year:
"And now I hear some guy that used to
Manage some band I never heard of
Is trying to manage you
Faithless, fine, and gone..."
While I'm enjoying all things cheerful, reckless and tormented, I'll just slip in "Swampblood" by The Legendary Shack-Shakers. I'd sure love to see these guys live, but I get the impression from their website they don't often make it up past the Mason-Dixon line.
This seems like a good time to introduce those kick-ass jokers from Germany, wax.on wax.off, so I'm putting "Girl With The Tambourine" from Geek Mythology here. I'm guessing they're very much like "Alpha Male & The Canine Mystery Blood" -- perhaps not in style, but in youth and energy, and that's what kicks off Tommy Womack's signature track from There, I Said It. (One of my favorite tracks of the year, that. Probably had me dabbing at the eyes more consistently than any other.)
Time to cool things down a bit: next is Rene Marie's reworking of "Surrey With The Fringe On Top," from Vertigo. She clears the palate for Peter Case (with Richard Thompson) to play us "Every 24 Hours" from Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John.
Next I have "Think Back" (with Chali 2na) the first of two tracks from From The Corner To The Block by Galactic.
I was pleased to see Dinosaur Jr. back on their feet, putting out that recognizable, nimble-fingered guitar-fuzz, so I chose "Almost Ready" from Beyond.
And speaking of opening tracks, "What You Need" was one such cookin' track, courtesy of Lyrics Born -- my final choice from Galactic.
"Anything/Everything" is a grooving mission-statement from super-pub-group The Yayhoos. Kinda reminds me, in a very good way, of BTO in their hay-day. From Put The Hammer Down.
Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings keep soul alive with "Nobody's Baby", from 100 Days, 100 Nights, warming things up for Bettye Lavette. Ms. Lavette deserves considerable mention for yet another superlative disc in a very impressive ouevre all her own: this year's The Scene Of The Crime. It's tough for me to pick a single song from this disc, but I've gone with "The Last Time", a song originally penned and performed by John Hiatt, which Ms. Lavette (of course) takes over and owns.
2007 saw the release of a bootleg of sorts: Michelle Shocked's 2003 Telluride (or "To Hell U Ride") Bluegrass Festival concert, taped and presented to us as To Heaven U Ride. I very much like her stage performance of "Good News", so I've included it as the penultimate track on your CD.
And I conclude with "Shine", the title track of this year's album by Joni Mitchell -- as a prayer for everything we've done, and everything we are, and everything we need to be if we're going to make it through another year.
God bless, and have a merry Christmas.