Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday Shuffle

Wednesday again already? Yippee! I've just loaded a bunch of new stuff on my iTunes, too -- wonder if any of it will show up in the next 10 songs on my shuffle...

1. "Crippled Inside" / Widespread Panic

From the John Lennon charity tribute album, Instant Karma
Throw in a little slide guitar, some boogie woogie piano, and castanets, and one of John Lennon's snidest songs turns into a glorious rollicking lark.

2. "You Loser, You Fool" / The Tokens

From Intercourse (1971)
An odd little album, in which this classic Brooklyn doo-wop band (remember "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"?) goes psychedelic. Really, I'm not kidding. Some rockin' harmonica on this, overlapping vocals, and trippy lyrics. Could have been awful. Was kinda fun.

3. "Straighten Up and Fly Right" / Lyle Lovett
From Smile: Songs From the Movies
I was born a Nat King Cole fan; becoming a Lyle Lovett fan was more of an accident. (John Hiatt, a road trip, a blizzard -- well, that story's for another day). So imagine my delight to find this cover of the old Nat King Cole song -- which Lyle originally recorded for the 1996 movie Dear God (go figure) -- on an album I dug out of a record store bargain bin. Plenty of other treasures on here too, I must say. Forget about typing Lyle as a country artist -- this track alone proves he's got ultra-smooth jazz chops.

4. "She's A Mover" / Big Star
From Radio City (1974)
No, not "She's About a Mover," but if I can't get Doug Sahm I'm happy to take this psychedelic flavored beauty from Alex Chilton's second band. Those interweaving guitar lines are fuzzy and funky at the same time -- ooooWEE!

5. "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" / Bill Withers

From Just As I Am (1971)
It's like R&B meets folk-rock, steamy and mellow and sexxxxyyy. Best part: I know I know I know I know I know...

6. "Lonely Town" / Paul McCartney
From Run Devil Run (1999)
Paulie's covers album of old rock and roll gems is a delicious showcase for his most emotive vocals. Here he covers a 1958 Ricky Nelson beauty I've loved for years; knowing that Paul recorded this soon after his wife Linda's death makes it just that much more poignant. Paul can't help syncopating the hell out of it, which is an interesting idea but . . . well, I don't like anybody messing with Ricky Nelson. Not even Paul.

7. "Good Bad Boy" / Joe Jackson

From Rain (2008)
How happy this album made me on first listen; it's a deep deep thrill to find Joe Jackson still in top form. There are certain things that no other artist can do quite so well -- the tortured complex emotions, the passion poured into his piano playing -- it simply sizzles. I would NOT want to be the ex-lover he's ripping into in this song.

8. "Six O'Clock" / Lovin' Spoonful
From Everything Playing (1967)
John B. Sebastian -- wonderful singer, even better songwriter. Okay, so this is late Spoonful, after Zal had left -- still, who can say this isn't a wonderful little folky pop song? And yeah, maybe they were too deliberately trying to follow up "Summer in the City," one of the great singles of all time. But this one has its virtues too -- that relentless timeclock beep of the electric piano, John B.'s anxious repetition "Six o'clock, six o'clock . .. " as he waits for the girl to show.

9. "We The Cats Shall Hep You" / Joe Jackson
From Jumpin' Jive (1981)
More Joe Jackson!!! I must have been a good girl. Here's the other side of the divine Joe J. After a long illness, Joe cured himself by listening to jump music from the 40s and 50s for hours on end, until he just had to do this tribute album (thereby driving away most of the fans he'd won with Look Sharp!). This snappy number was originally by Cab Calloway -- remember him from The Blues Brothers? It's a toe-tapper that just won't quit.

10. "Up on Cripple Creek" / The Band
From The Band (1969)
I was never a Band fan, until I saw The Last Waltz. Well, I'm still not much of a Band fan, but who could fail to love a loose-limbed, country-funk gem like this? Levon Helm's singing just brims over with good humor, and then there are those wobbly Rick Danko harmonies -- and that Jew's harp. Twannngggg!


Uncle E said...

What an eclectic list today. Love it, especially the Joe Jackson, and really glad that a track from Jumpin' Jive is on there. 5 Guys Named Moe came up on my 'Pod this morning, what a koinkidink, eh?

Holly A Hughes said...

If by eclectic you mean "ancient and obscure," then, well, sure! I swear, I'd been listening all day to cutting-edge British indie pop, and what does my shuffle give me? Ricky Nelson, Cab Calloway, and Nat King Cole. The shuffle gods are determined to keep me in my place.

NickS said...

I love Jumpin' Jive though it's not one that I end up listening to on a regular basis.

I appreciate the reminder to pick up a copy of Rain at some point. And, Holly, if you haven't gotten the (semi-)recent Joe Jackson BBC collection it is well worth it having (along with Summer In The City, of course).

Holly A Hughes said...

I just got Summer in the City, in fact -- scrumptious. I love the long medleys. You don't often hear Joe doing covers, which makes this even more interesting.

Last fall when I saw Marshall Crenshaw he was playing with Graham Maby, Joe's original bassist (who's also on that live album). After the show I just had to tell Graham how wonderful his work with Joe was. He lit up proudly. It's clear that playing with Joe is something special for him.

NickS said...

The thing that I find amazing about Summer In The City is how full the sound is despite them being just a trio. They clearly have a lot of practice playing together because none of them are taking up too much space, but together there is a lot going on.

Holly A Hughes said...

I'm amazed by that whenever I see this trio in concert. Part of it is Joe's virtuosity -- I swear, sometimes he seems to be playing more notes than he has fingers to hit the keys. But it's also the brilliant bass and drums. It's extraordinary to realize that there's no guitar in this ensemble -- the bass keeps the melody through-line, and Joe is filling all around that with chords and arpeggios. I'm sure familiarity helps, but the arrangements are probably challenging, or would be for lesser musicians.

wwolfe said...

Nice to see the Spoonful's "Six O'Clock" here. That's always been a heartbreaker for me because I hear it as John Sebastian's song about his split with Zal Yanofsky. If another John, Lennon, had written as generous a song about his ex-partner, I'd have been happier.

Holly A Hughes said...

Interesting take. I like to think that the Spoonful were mellow even in their break-up. Zal was probably justified in thinking his contributions to the band were underappreciated by the world at large. It seemed all John B. this and John B. that, and I don't think that was necessarily John B.'s doing.

The tug o' war between Lennon and McCartney, though -- whoo boy!