Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Ten albums I'd bring with me if I knew I'd be stranded on a desert island with an endless supply of batteries for my CD player

No, I don't have an iPod, but my birthday is in July (hint, hint).

Prefab Sprout: Jordan: The Comeback. Referencing Gershwin or Elvis in a song is dangerous, but Paddy McAloon pulls it off because he's that good. "Jordan" is nothing if not ambitious, about an hour long and made up of four themed sections. The second part is about Elvis (he faked his own death and is waiting for the right comeback song; he gets it, then promptly dies and goes to the moon to escape Col. Parker). The third is about girls (he's in favor of them, if a bit leery). And the fourth is about God, forgiveness, and reconciliation. See, I told you it was ambitious. Oh, and I have no idea what the first part of the album is about, though it seems to involve both girls and God.

Jane Siberry: When I Was a Boy. She's an odd one. Started out as a folkie. Went electronic for a while. Then came "The Walking," which fits no label, really. "When I Was a Boy" had the benefit of Brian Eno's production on a few cuts, and it has some of her best songs.

Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend. A power-pop masterpiece. Nothing he's done since then has come close.

Nilsson: Pandemonium Shadow Show/Aerial Ballet. If I could write songs, I'd write songs like Nilsson. (Or Paddy McAloon.)

The Beatles: 1. Yeah, you could make an argument for a number of Beatles albums, but, hey, all the hits are here.

Swan Dive: Circle. Terrific American pop duo from Nashville, for some mysterious reason more popular in Asia (they love 'em in Japan and Korea) than here. (For more info, see Swan Dive site on my list of links.)

Fountains of Wayne: Utopia Parkway. No one is putting out catchier pop songs these days. Who else could cover "...Baby One More Time" (on the "Out-of-State Plates" collection) and make it sound cool?

XTC: Apple Venus Vol. 1. Their oddest, and prettiest, collection of songs. Love the arrangements.

Nick Drake: Pink Moon. Yeah, depressing as hell, but beautiful.

Various artists: Pop Till You Drop Vol. 1

That last one is a show I put together for Theme Scheme Radio (see links at left). PTYD is the third wave of mixes I've done for myself or friends over the years. First came Radio From Hell. Not sure how many there were of these. They tended to feature very odd juxtapositions of songs. The second wave was Mood Music For Manic Depressives. Like Radio From Hell, MMFMD volumes were on cassettes, but they tended to have an upbeat side and a more melancholy side. Unfortunately, I had no tape-to-tape deck, so if I made them for friends, I don't have a copy.

Damn, I wish I had kept better records of what went on those things...

Oh, and that list is in no particular order and would probably feature at least 5 different entries if I did another list in a month.

Do share your own desert island disks in comments.


Peter said...

My weirdo favorites, based on the CDs that seem to get played so much that I never stick them back in the CD Rack:

Johnny Cash - The Sun Years (Rhino)
The Replacements - Let it Be
Gun Club - Fire of Love
Various Artists - Great Jewish Music: Serge Gainsbourg (John Zorn's Tzadik Label)
Tom Waits - Swordfishtrombones (Could be almost anything by Tom, but that is near the top of my 'to be filed' CD pile right now)
Elvis Costello - Blood and Chocolate
Eleni Mandell - Snakebite - Hardworking, undrated artist. Oh, and I'm kind of infatuated with her. *grin*

God Is My Codependent said...

The Beatles' 1 doesn't have Please Please Me.

I think it would be an interesting experiment to leave someone alone on a desert island for 20 years with nothing but Firesign Theatre albums.

unclewilly said...

Sinatra, Only the Lonely

Sinatra, In the Wee Small Hours

M. Gaye, What's Goin' On

T. Bennett, Perfectly Frank

Ella, Cole Porter Songbook

Gold Disc #419 ( 1970s R&B hits, a CD from a friend who works for a radio music programming company)

Stevie Wonder, Talking Book

Mahalia Jackson, Hymns and Spirituals (box)

Leon Russell, Retrospective

Aretha Franklin, Young, Gifted and Black

MsYvone said...

God is my Co-Dependent,

I'm absolutely sure that my husband would volunteer for that Firesign gig.

Jim, I'll get back to you on the list. gotta do some work right now.

Robester said...

Firesign me up! (in reference to msyvone's comment)

I'll leave Firesign out of my list though, since someone else will be bringing their whole catalog.

Can - Future Days
Camel - Mirage
Genesis - Selling England by the Pound
Kinks - Something Else
Magma - Live
Jack Bruce - Harmony Row
Fink Ployd - Atom Heart Mama
Yes - Close to the Edge
Mothers of Invention - Uncle Meat

Kind of a proggy list today, but that's my mood right now.

Robester said...

I get another one?

Minor Threat - Complete Discography

Had to get some hardcore punk in there...

Jim Donahue said...

Robester: I had friend in college who was proggy, but I think antibiotics cleared that up.

I kid! I kid! But seriously ... I kinda got prog for a while there (college), but it doesn't float my boat anymore.

Uncle Willy: I never really understood Sinatra's appeal. I realize he has a great voice and an unusual approach to a song, but it just doesn't do anything for me. Yeah, musical heresy.

God Is My Codependent said...

Can't bring myself to pick 10 albums. But here's a list of 10 artists whose work I would hate to be deprived of.

1. Beatles. Look them up.

2. Dylan. I find so many of his songs to be incredibly emotional experiences.

3. Hank Williams. A brilliant songwriter, intensely depressed, and addicted to painkillers. What more could you ask for?

4. Mozart. Beautiful on the surface, but it's still music you can't get to the bottom of. No one else's music feels so inevitable. I can't imagine what a universe without this music would look like.

5. Stephen Sondheim. Not only is he the greatest lyric writer ever in English, but his music is unbelieveable once you get to know it.

6. Christine Lavine. Probably the artist who has done the most to bring back folk music in the last 20 years.

7. Roger Miller. A brilliant songwriter, intensely depressed, and addicted to amphetamines. The catchiest damn misery ever recorded.

8. Annette Hanshaw. If you've never heard of her, go out an buy a CD right now. Fabulous singer who started recording in 1926 at 15, and retired from recording at the ripe old age of 26. If she doesn't melt your heart, go away.

9. Chuck Berry. I wonder if his music will ever stop sounding current.

10. Theodore. What has posterity ever done for me?

MsYvone said...

okay, I can't concentrate on work til I complete this task.

These are my go-to's... I always reach for these first.

1. Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense
2. Beatles - Abbey Road
3. Queen Bee and the Blue Hornet Band - 1987
(kick ass R&B band from State College. Had four CD's)
4. They Might be Giants - NO!
5. Eurythmics - Greatest Hits
6. Prince - Purple Rain
7. Red Hot and Blue - Various Artists (Cole Porter covers)
8. Annie Get your Gun _ Ethel Merman
9. Pulp - Disco 2000
10 Parliment Funkadelic- Greatest HIts

Sure, I'm stuck in the 80's ( with a sprinkle of 60's and 70's ) I just realized, I don't really like much of the current stuff. Does this mean I'm old? or that the new stuff is crap?

Jim Donahue said...

And you and Robester are married, right? Does he leave the room when you put on Ethel Merman?

MsYvone said...

Actually, he sings along with me. We do a fine rendition of "Old Fashioned Wedding", Oh, and "I'm an Indian too"


Poor Lauren is going to need therapy before she reaches 3.

Robester said...

Also, we don't listen to it that often, so it doesn't get old. Merman's voice is so over-the-top I find it funny.

Jim: I'll say "yay" to your choices of Apple Venus I and Pink Moon. I've been a fan of both XTC and Nick Drake for many many years. My personal faves are "Skylarking" (or "Black Sea..?" can't decide) and "Five Leaves Left" respectively. I actually once heard a copy of "Jordan: The Comeback" but it never took hold and I can't recall what it sounded like. Perhaps I'll seek it out again.

Re: my "proggy" choices, I go thru it in phases myself. There's a lot of bands I used to like that I find kinda corny now (ELP, for example). The antibiotics must have helped.

Jim Donahue said...

GIMCD: Mozart used to take bennies and stay up all night, so that explains your attraction to his music.

Did I ever tell you my friend Kim's experience with Brother Theodore? I can't remember where they met, but he told Kim that he was making a movie about a woman going insane and he wanted her to play the lead. I should point out here that Kim is not an actress and didn't exactly know how to take his comment.

I regret never going to see him at that little theater where he used to do his show. His appearances on Letterman were great. I could never figure out how much of his act was real.

unclewilly said...

Mr. Velvet Jim: For a dilettante big band singer such as myself, Sinatra and Ella are required courses of study, but I know lots of folks are left flat by that music. I love the singing, the arrangements, the whole pie. (And to God Is My Codependent: I respect your respect for Sondheim's lyrics, but I've got to vote for Johnny Mercer as the all-time best.)

God Is My Codependent said...

Unc: Mercer is one of the greats, but if you wanna be the top banana, you can't rhyme "Emily" with "family." Sorry.