THE WEDNESDAY SHUFFLE
This one's for Ginny!
1. "We Should Be Making Love" / Huey Lewis & the News
From Hard at Play (1991)
Totally a fangirl thing, my Huey Lewis crush. Though the 80s retro-pop groove they'd carved out was running thin by the time of this album, I'm very fond of this track, with its kicky blues beat and a sort of When Harry Met Sally plot line. That little bit of hoarseness in Huey's voice? Ssssshivers up my spine.
2. "Up Above My Head" / The Wood Brothers
From Up Above My Head (2009)
Hey, Oliver and Chris Wood! How dare you sneak out a new album last year without letting me know? I just discovered it on line and am only beginning to explore its gospel-meets-bluegrass-meets-jazz vibe. It's a mystery to me why these guys aren't better known, but clearly they need new PR folks.
3. "Hey" / Red Hot Chili Peppers
From Stadium Arcadium (2006)
Oh, play that funky music, white boys! Why do I just about always like every song I've ever heard from this band? I don't "follow" them, the way I follow so many other bands; but then a track like this cycles up and I'm instantly transfixed. That jazzy rhythm, the insouciant vocals, the nimble guitar lines -- who listens to the lyrics?
4. "Lies" / Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
From Once (2007)
Plaintive song from the utterly charming Irish film -- I refuse to be critical.
5. "Billy's Blues" / Laura Nyro
From The First Songs (1973)
How arty and sophisticated I felt, listening to this jazz-infused folk-soul when I was 17 years old. It was like Nina Simone for prep-school girls. Let others listen to the mainstream covers of Nyro's songs by the Fifth Dimension and Blood, Sweat & Tears; I felt so in-the-know, listening to the originals instead.
6. "It Makes You Happy" / Bill Jerram Band
From Bill Jerram Band (2005)
Spirited, tuneful, jangly power pop from a fellow Kinks fan down in Texas. Dig that organ riff! What a sad music world we live in that catchy bands like this don't get enough (or any) attention. But hey, these guys are on iTunes; check out their songs there, or on Bill's MySpace page.
7. "Rene" / Small Faces
From Ogden Nut's Gone Flake
Cockney humor percolates through this wicked little softshoe number, which gradually devolves into a psychedelic bluesy ramble. I wish I'd discovered this classic 60s concept album back in the day -- it's probably best appreciated in the herbally altered frame of mind in which it was written.
8. "Baby of Mine" / Alan Price
From England, My England (1978)
Despite the 80s overproduction (someone lasso that sax!), this tender little pop song hangs onto its charm. True, it lacks Price's biting social satire, or his trademark blistering organ riffs, but there's a phrase or two of his best heartbreak-husky vocals to make up for it.
9. "Peaceful" / Georgie Fame
Sometimes I do think the shuffle has a mind of its own -- why else would it so often follow up an Alan Price song with a Georgie Fame number? I first knew this Kenny Rankin song through the 1968 Bobbie Gentry version, then Helen Reddy's 1973 hit version, but now that I know Georgie's 1969 cover, I'll never listen to anybody else's. He takes it in a jazzy swinging direction that is infinitely more relaxed and, well, peaceful, than the others'.
10. "Business Time" / Flight of the Conchords
From Flight of the Conchords (2008)
This New Zealand folk-comedy duo absolutely cracks me up; the plus is that their music is actually musical. On this one, Jemaine Clement out-Barry-Whites Barry White. "You know when I'm down to my socks it's business time / That's why they call them business socks." Was anybody else here hooked on their HBO series? I hated to miss an episode.