Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Is it Wednesday again already?  Where did the time go?  See what you miss when you spend three days fighting off a computer virus...

1. Somebody Stole My Car / The Kinks
From Phobia (1993)
I always get a kick out of Kinks car songs -- "Drivin'," "A Gallon of Gas," "Motorway" -- even this speedy little punk-flavored number about urban street crime.  Well, I've never seen Ray Davies drive a car but I'm told he's quite the, er, dashing motorist...

2. Don't Think Twice, It's Alright / Bob Dylan
From The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963)
A classic bit of talkin' blues from Bobby D., heavy on the harmonica wheeze.  Indeed, he does seem like a freewheelin' chap from this song, back when he still sorta had a voice; it's tracks like this that remind me why he is a songwriting god. But, really, there ain't no use in turning on your light, gal.  

3. "You Shouldn't Be Sad" / The Kinks
From Kinda Kinks (1965)
Ray Davies trying to be the Beatles.  This never worked out for Ray, I don't know why he even tried.  A charming track, nevertheless.

4. Tell Me More And More And Then Some / Nina Simone
From After Hours (compilation)
Now here's the goods. Is it jazz?  Is it blues? Is it protest folk?  All of that and more, from the incomparable Nina Simone.  This is what cool intellectuals were listening to when I was in kindergarten; I can just imagine the superior snickers when they heard bands like the Animals record Nina songs like "Don't Let Me Misunderstood." The lady is untouchable. 

5. The Good's Gone / The Who
From The Who Sings My Generation (1965)
And again from 1965, the Who trying to sound like the Kinks, slowed down and draggy (different drugs).  

6.  Circles / Ten Years After
From Cricklewood Green (1970)
The last great gasp of sincere folk rock, before prog rock spoiled the whole deal. Or maybe it already had by then -- how should I know?  I remember seeing this album in people's record collections in college, but I don't think I EVER listened to it before last year.  And even then it was only because Inaki told me to. But it's a dreamy number, with that hazy Alvin Lee guitar -- an instant fave.

7. Love Train / Keb' Mo'
From Big Wide Grin (1998)
I love Keb's Delta-blues spin on this old Gamble & Huff Philly soul classic (the O'Jays, if I recall correctly).  Keb's original material is so good, we tend to forget how superb his covers are, too.  When he sings this song, it's peace-and-love he's talking about, a real populist anthem -- and believe it or not, it works.

8. 22 Miles To Bristol  / Greg Trooper
From Popular Demons (1998)
More banjo!  Troop drops into folk-ballad mode a lot on this album; there's a restless insistence to this plaintive road song that hooks me in every time.  Is the singer a touring musician?  A trucker? A bank robber on the lam?  Whatever you want.

9. Pink Bedroom / John Hiatt
From Two Bit Monsters (1980)
Early Hiatt, in his Costello wannabe days, but still a hoot -- a jittery, jangly ode to a teenage princess ensconced in her girly-girl bedchamber. 

10. Kamera / Wilco
From Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
Might as well give in to the Americana groove.  Wilco's sellout album -- at least if you listen to some message boards -- is still my favorite, I have to confess.  I  love the loungey beat of this song, its numb dazed groove, those sneaky little hooks.  So sue me.


wwolfe said...

If you haven't heard it, I recommend tracking down Nina Simone's version of Cole Porter's "The Laziest Gal in Town." So very cool, and it works equally well as a coded take on drugs and/or sex, or just a straightforward endorsement of indolence. (Rosanne Cash's version of "Pink Bedroom" is pretty ginchy, too.)

Betty C. said...

On my Ray Davies alert, I just picked up this article you wrote that's on the Seattle PI website:

I think the PI is online only now...was wondering if you always know when articles get picked up from that site and if it's legitimate.

Anyway, also to tell you that I am seeing Ray in Paris on October 31st with my daughters! Can't wait but am a little nervous because apparently he has cancelled his last THREE planned gigs at the Olympia concert hall. Keeping my fingers crossed -- maybe the fact I'm from Olympia, WA will be a good luck charm.

Holly A Hughes said...

No, they don't inform us when they let our articles metastisize on line, but we know that it's part of the deal. If it spreads the word about those cool youngsters, I'm happy enough.

Oh, I'm crossing my fingers that there won't be a glitch at the Olympia for you. (Several friends from the Ray Davies board will be there as well -- log onto to find out where they're meeting before the show.) I'd like to believe that Ray is becoming more reliable in his old age, but...