Much to my delight and surprise (and not inconsiderable delight on behalf of said daughter), it turns out they do, in fact, make a Wolf Blitzer birthday cake.
It was pure chocolatey goodness, if not quite as fair and balanced a cake as some would have liked...
"Let's Go to the Disco," Nick Lowe, Jesus of Cool (Bonus Tracks.) We got this one in the States as Pure Pop for Now People, a wrong corrected by this CD reissue. Kind of a Bo Diddley beat (fitting) with a layer of bubble gum on top. Like most Nick Lowe songs, immediately likable. Hard to believe in 1977 this stuff sounded "New Wave." Now it just sounds poppy. At the time, it was probably just the result of too much Supertramp and Starcastle.
"Something in the Night," Springsteen, Darkness at the Edge of Town. Great, great segue. I set iTunes on my computer for maximum crossfade, 15 seconds, so it sounds like good radio (does anyone else remember radio? We used to listen to it when I was a kid.) Contemporaneous with the previous track. This is one where Bruce gives you the piano and the "Whooa whoaaa WHOOOOAAAA" in grandiose, epic fashion before the actual song starts, making for a neat crossfade. Great song, actually one of my favorite Springsteen songs. When Darkness came out, it seemed really depressing; that might be because it IS depressing and followed the exuberance of Born to Run; it also might be because I spent the summer working at my dad's factory, and every time "Factory" came on the radio I wanted to hang myself. Now I think Darkness may well be the best Springsteen record of them all.
"Genius of Love," Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense. Actually they morph into the Tom Tom Club for this one track. From one of the best concert movies ever, and the CD soundtrack is about twice as long as the original vinyl LP. Saw this tour at Forrest Hills back in '83. Great song, one that lives on because apparently (so I hear) it is oft-sampled in hip hop. Who needs to think when your feet just go, indeed!
"It's All Over Now Baby Blue," Sid'n'Suzie, Under the Covers Volume 1. Sid'n'Suzie, of course, are Susannah Hoffs of the Bangles (yeah, the chick with the eyes) and Matthew Sweet. All covers of classic '60s songs. love the record, but this is not one of my favorites on it; they're better on jangle or cheesy pop (like the Bee Gees "Run To Me") than on pseudo-serious Dylan folk rock.
"Up On the Roof," Drifters, Time Life 1962 Still Rockin'. I bought these Time Life CDs through a club in order to get all the great one-hit-wonder hits once and for all. Of course the Drifters had a ton of hits, and this is a classic song. And a Goffin/King tune, by the way. Hard to fathom that the mother of Lilith Fair wrote such great doo wop. Can the same person who gave us this great song REALLY be in some way responsible for Alanis Morrisette?
"Love is Here With Us," Prince, bootleg. I don't know much about this song except that it is one of the dozens of great tunes the Purple One recorded after Purple Rain and before Sign O' the Times, in what was probably his most fertile period. Sonically you can peg it to Around the World in a Day by the finger cymbals. Originally intended for Dream Factory, one of the records he recorded but did not release in this span (along with Camille and Crystal Ball). A lot of these songs came out eventually on official releases (like SOTT), on Crystal Ball the 4-CD anthology, and on judiciously leaked bootlegs.
"Songbird," Willie Nelson, Songbird. I bought this record because Ryan Adams didn't put anything out in '06, but he produced this and the Cardinals are the band. There is a case to be made that Willie nelson should not, in fact, cover Christine McVie.
"Listen to Me," Tommy Keene, Songs From the Film. Text book power pop... if anything, a little too text book. A beloved record among the cognoscenti, but I like Based on Happy Times better, I think. In 1991, me and my bestest pal went to see the BoDeans at the student union of some obscure college in New Jersey; there were about 200 of us there, and the BoDeans were originally pretty pissed about the whole sorry turn of events until they realized that the place was filled with diehard fans, which discovery led them to put on a great and epic show. (Indeed it turns out that our other friend Fox Mulder, who we wouldn't meet for 9 years, was there as well. Small world, but I wouldn't want to have to clean it.) Anyway, I mention all this because the opening band was Adam Schmidt, and the guitarist in Schmidt's band was this very same Tommy Keene. I mean, in case you were wondering.
"Spirits in the Material World," Police, Ghosts in the Machine. I remember when this came out, and asking the guy at the Haagen Das shop on the corner of Eighth Street and MacDougal how it sounded. "It has... horns!" he exclaimed.
"I Only Have Eyes for You," the Flamingos, 1959: Still Rockin' What are the odds? Two of 10 from the Time Life series... A great one. Quick, I have to go find someone to slow dance with before it ends.
Bonus: "They Call Me Big Mama," Big Mama Thornton, Women Blues Singers (1928-1969). "Well they call me Big Mama... 'cuz I weigh 300 pounds..." Good reason.
In other news... ever notice how much the beginning to Carly Simon's "You Belong to Me" sounds like the Doobie Brothers' "What A Fool Believes"? It nearly scared the ehll out of me just now.
Anyway it goes thus:
"List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag other people to see what they’re listening to."
So forthwith, my 7.
"That's How You Know," Amy Adams, from Enchanted. We bought the Enchanted DVD for my daughter at CostCo, and within 3 days she was singing this one all over the place, and of course, because it is in fact insanely catchy, now I can't get it out of my head. She insists on dressing up as a princess to watch this movie. PS, I've noticed random 4-year-old girls singing this song ins tores and on the street.
"Accidentally in Love," Counting Crows, from Shrek II. My family's theme song. My daughter calls this one "Problem Baby." On the bridge, the linlyrics go, "These lines of lightning mean we're never alone..." I think that refers to wedding bands, which is sweet. When we got our wedding rings, I wanted to get the kind where when you put them together, you turn into superheroes. But apparently Fortunoff's doesn't sell those.
"Waterloo Sunset," Jim Boggia. I've mentioned this here before, I think. Boggia, a Philly singer/songwriter, wanted to "get inside" this Kinks classic, so he vowed to play it at every gig for a year. And as he usually performs solo, he wanted to teach his fans the backing vocals, so he has a podcast where he totally deconstructs the backing vocals and teaches them to you. At the end he runs through the whole song, and I can't get enough of it. Click the link; you can listen to the whole lesson, or else just scroll to the end where he does the song all together.
"Rockin' At Midnight," Honey Drippers. So I just joined a gym, and I actually go. I made a playlist on my iPod with workout songs, and this one proves to be great. (There are two kinds of workout songs: Chuck Berry-style guitar, and disco. I opt for Chuck Berry. Usually.) It's from an EP released circa '85, and the Honey Drippers was Robert Plant and assorted studs (Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page) sitting in. This totally rocks the treadmill!
"Hello Little Girl, Goodbye," Chuck Berry. A song I hadn't heard since the turntable and the LPs went into storage. I spent a half hour trying to download this from the Internet. It was originally on an EP released in, I think, 1973, and it is one of the absolute best Chuck Berry songs ever, it totally rocks and swings. I ended up finding it at some shady download site where you join and download songs for fifteen cents a pop, but when you join you get a fifteen cent credit, so I spent my credit on this. I can't link to it because it isn't online anywhere to stream; I'll upload it in a future post. But when this comes on and I'm on the treadmill, my heart rate goes right into the red zone. "Slow down!" barks the treadmill. But I'm having none of it. "Call 911!" cries the helpful girl at the front desk. "That big guy is coding!!" Yeah... coding like a fox...
"Crystal River," Mudcrutch. We've written about Mudcrutch before, and about this song. Here it is. It has that ephemeral quality that makes you want to sway and wave your lighter in the air. I can't wait to hear it on the beach at about 4:30 PM.
"Who Put the Bomp," Barry Mann. At the spring recital at my daughter's school, they sang doo wop songs. This was my favorite (my daughter's favorite was Yakkety Yak; although like every other kid in her class, she only knows one line to it: "Don't talk back!") "I'd like to thank the guy... who wrote the song... that made my baby fall in love with me..." Turns out this was a novelty song. I loved it as a kid and thought it was drop dead serious.
Honorable Mention: Most of the Ryan Adams catalogue.
Oh, I have to tag someonwe, right? OK then... Patty (no link though), Annie, and, well, anyone else who reads this thing.