Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Dedicated to the memory of John Lennon, who left us 30 years ago today.

1. "Like Humans Do" / David Byrne
From Look Into The Eyeball (2001)

Funny, I was just talking about the Talking Heads this morning with my dog-walking friend Dan. I so loved them once, but then David Byrne jumped the shark for me. I have no idea where this song came from -- I actually think it's an iTunes sample track -- but I have to admit, it's an utter groove.  Makes me feel guilty that maybe I dropped David B too hastily...

2. "Senses Working Overtime" / XTC
From English Settlement (1982)
"And I've got one two three four five! / Senses working overtime" -- I'm rarely sure what XTC songs are about, but who cares, so long as they're larded with koan-like statements ("tryin' to taste the difference 'tween a lemon and lime / Pain and the pleasure and the church bells softly chime ") and surreal images ("And all the world is football-shaped" -- well I guess that makes more sense if you're from the land of round footballs...) 

3. "Long Road Ahead" / Jim Ford
From Sounds of Our Time (2007 compilation)
The album tells me this track is from 1969, but considering how little of Jim Ford's music ever hit the mainstream, I'll have to take it on faith.  Nick Lowe vouches for this guy -- the epitome of country soul, with a trailer-park stoner groove -- and that's good enough for me.

4. "Nothing To Say" / The Kinks
From Arthur, Or The Decline and Fall of the British Empire (1969)
A generation gap face-off from Ray Davies, intoned in a stagey old-man voice (at least the father's half is).  So many great songs from this criminally neglected album. This is the first rock song I ever heard that mentioned chilbains -- and come to think of it, it's still the only one. 

5. "Bring the Old You Back" / Jon Lindsay
From Escape from Plaza-Midwood (2010)
Lindsay again? He must have rigged my iTunes. But it's so snarky and melodic, I won't complain.

6. "Young Conservatives" / The Kinks
From State of Confusion (1983)
Another blast of Kinksian satire, from later in their career when Ray Davies worked a little harder to churn out topical numbers.  Hate to tell you, Ray, but they're still with us, only older -- and now they're running Congress.

7. "Ashgrove" / Dave Alvin
From Ashgrove (2004)
The album's title track is a tasty bit of blues from the ex-Blasters brother Dave, a tribute to a seminal music club where he first fell in love with music.  Heard this once live, and it was killer.

8. "Frida" / Sanseverino
From Le Tango des Gens (2001)
A toe-tapping treat from Paris, a sassy track of modern swing-jazz (go figure!), sent to me years ago by a fellow Kinks fan. Wickedly addictive.

9. "Take Me In Your Arms and Love Me" / Alan Price
From Songs from Top of the Pops (bootleg compilation)
No link, sorry, as this is a fan recording, capturing Price's many appearances on the late beloved British weekly music show.  It's true that Gladys Knight and the Pips did this song better, but those of us who have a weak spot for Alan Price -- and I'm one -- enjoy his rendition just fine.

10. "George Jones Talkin' Cell Phone Blues" / Drive-By Truckers
From The Fine Print (2009 rarities compilation)
Please listen to this one -- it couldn't be more fun.  An oddball scenario (aging country music star wrecks his car while chatting on his cell), with a refrain that cracks me up every time: "If you don't change your ways, my friend / You'll be singing duets with Tammy again." 

Alas, not a single Lennon track, or even a Beatle song, but such an eclectic sequence, even John might have gotten a kick out of it.  I'd like to think so!


Clutch Cargo said...

And I thought that I was the only person who appreciated "Like Humans Do," Holly. It was one of those all-to-rare songs that are so infectiously catchy that I was bowled over the first time I heard it. It is pure pop and both masterfully written and performed.
I would have expected it to be a major hit, but I doubt that happened. There really is little justice in the world of music.
, but at least David made two people pretty happy.

wendy said...

How did you get your hands on Top of the Pops stuff? I see there's an anniversary set available on dvd, but it's in PAL format only. Dang!

Holly A Hughes said...

I got the Top of the Pops stuff from a fellow fan, and it's only Alan Price material (but a duet with Lulu!). Being an Alan Price fan in the States is an exercise in discouragement, but occasionally if one attends faithfully to the AP fan site (look for the link in the right-hand column) one can pick up some treasures.

Dan, have you kept up at all with Byrne's later output? It looks like an awful lot of collaborations and other high-concept projects -- lazy fangirl that I am, I want it pared down to the gems like "Like Humans Do." Too much other oddball stuff to wade through!

Clutch Cargo said...

I have not kept up with his output, Holly, but I have a feeling that he went the extra mile on that particular track, hoping for the big hit that did not happen.

Clutch Cargo said...

"Like Humans Do" is the fourth track from David Byrne's 2001 album Look into the Eyeball and was also released as a single that year. The radio edit version of the song was selected by Microsoft[1] as the sample music for Windows XP (not found in Windows XP SP2 and Windows XP SP3) to demonstrate the new Windows Media Player.[2]. It was also included as a sample track on the Rio Karma media player.

The song was also featured on Byrne's 2007 live album Live from Austin, Texas. In that film, he explains that the song is about trying to love human beings despite their failings, by taking a "Martian's perspective" on humanity and trying to accept them for what they are.