Friday, July 18, 2008

A Pear of Aces

The gray LA sky lends a melancholy tinge to my morning but the prospect of another roster of songs brightens my perspective. Shame that my 45 of Neutral Nation's 'Invasion of the Sumo Wrestler', the Channel Three classic LP 'Last Time I Drank', and That'll Learn Ya's 'Pulling Up The Night' haven't been digitized and thrown into the mix yet. But they'll make it for today -

1. 'Aganju' by Bebel Gilberto from 'Bebel Gilberto'

This means 'Pear' in English. I know this because Melody told Cash about it one day in the car and then the two of them sang 'Pe-e-ar, pe-e-e-e-a-e-ar' along with Bebel in her native tongue. And what a tongue it is. This is the most naturally sexy music I have. It isn't even trying to be, it just is. The sonic equivalent of a girl on a beach in a sarong at sunset.

2. 'That Feel' by Tom Waits from 'Bone Machine'

So yesterday if you remember I chastised Mr. Waits, even called him a name or two. We only hurt the ones we love. This album is perfect from start to finish. This particular song is an affirmation of life in general...'there's one thing you can't lose/it's that feel' the group of voices croak over a gentle acoustic guitar figure as Tom, Keith Richards, and a bunch of other old rockers reminisce. See? I just need more of this and less of the loudspeaker spun through a cotton candy machine.

3. 'Rock Island Line' by Dan Zanes from 'Family Dance'

This is such a great song that it very nearly trumps my growing disdain for Mr. Zanes particular brand of mock unassuming nonchalance. He is very chalant. Very chalant indeed.

4. 'Scotland' by King Missile from 'The Way to Salvation'

I devoured this album the entire time I was in France and then abandoned it completely. Every now and then it calls me up and tries to get back together but I delete the messages as soon as I get them.

5. 'Autumn Sweater' by Yo La Tengo from 'Prisoners of Love (Disc 2)'

I usually like Yo La Tengo so I'm assuming I enjoyed this song but I don't remember hearing it on the bus. I could have been wondering at Jack Aubrey's penchant for diving off his ship and saving drowning seamen. He's been at the helm of an annoying ship called 'The Polchrest' which won't obey his commands and seems to sail better backwards than it does forwards.

Yo La Tengo are from Hoboken and the heart of the band is a married couple. So that's cool.

6. 'I'm A Loser' by The Beatles from 'Beatles for Sale'

First I thought of Beck and his song of the same title and how much better this is than that. Then I wondered at the cultural connotation of the word 'loser' Lennon seems to be saying he is someone who loses things (women specifically) and not to be labeling himself with a negative brand. And I thought that had much more interest, to define oneself with an accrued lack.

7. 'Just Do It/Pharoahe Monch' by Pete Rock from 'DJ Jazzy Jeff and Peanut Butter Wolf'

I made a note of this song to be sure I would remember it. I really enjoyed Pete Rock's voice and lyrics. I am not familiar with his work. I think I'll have to consult the Pimp Fu History of Rap and see what I can glean. Really great song.

8. '2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten' by Lucinda Williams from 'Car Wheels On A Gravel Road'

I bought this album after hearing it in a Starbucks in Chapel Hill, NC the first week I was there doing 'The Beauty Queen of Leenane' in 1999. A classic. There aren't many perfect albums out there. This is one of them.

9. 'Get Up (Sex Machine)' by James Brown from '20 All Time Greatest Hits'

Yesterday there was an auction at Christie's of some of James Brown's things. Did they sell his 'I'll Be 30 Years Ahead Of My Time 30 Years From Now' trophy from 1968? Oh, wait, he hasn't even received that yet! He'll get it in 2018 and he'll still be 30 years ahead of his time.

10. 'Submerge: Til We Become The Sun' by Maxwell from 'Embrya'

We all occasionally recoil from beauty. We resent it somehow, as if it shamed us. It is a faultless mirror which doesn't hide our own flaws. This music is like that but it is so gentle and relentless that you forgive yourself and see your own beauty more clearly.

11. 'Night And Day' by Etta James from 'Time After Time'

Man, when you hear this lady belt it makes you imagine you are some modern pop star and you are BLUSHING at your inadequacy. She takes Cole Porter and strips him of all whiteness, all gayness, and deposits him right in the heart of the blues.

12. 'My Daydream' by Paul Westerberg from 'Come Feel Me Tremble'

I just received the news that Paul will be releasing 49 minutes of music for 49 cents this Saturday. Talk about a daydream! Has anyone ever written more unheard hits, more silent smashes? In another universe this is at the top of the charts.

13. 'Shhh' by The Artist Formerly Known As Prince from 'The Gold Experience'

This album is Baroque so don't fix it! Subtlety was never Prince Rogers Nelson's strong point so when he feels persecuted to the point that he STOPS BEING PRINCE you know there is going to be some sexy hand-wringing going on. And when Prince wrings his hand there is usually a guitar in it.

14. 'Runaround' by Jesse Grieves from 'Colonial Box'

Much like Pimp Fu's 'Raw Fushi...t', I produced this album from old cassette tapes I had of Justin recording himself out in Usquepaugh. His music is SO odd, oddly compelling, oddly performed, oddly meant, oddly made. An idiosyncrasy so complete he seems to be in a snow globe of his own design.

15. 'Papa Don't Take No Mess' by James Brown from '20 All Time Greatest Hits'

James must have been looking down on the auction today and shaking his head, snapping millions of iPods into immediate action.. They gonna sell my shit? Then they gonna listen to my shit!

16. 'What's Your Favorite Color?' by Living Colour from 'Vivid'

Now that's just not fair. To force these guys to follow the Godfather of Soul? With a song that might as well scream 'I'm Trying to Out Brown James Brown'? Just not fair. It'd be like Hayden Christiansen stepping in for Olivier as Hamlet's understudy.

And so we come to that sad moment of farewell again, until the next slew of pieces of my past tomorrow morning.

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