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Any Major Halloween Mix 2

October 28th, 2009 2 comments

halloweenFollowing the slightly spooky Halloween mix posted on Monday, this one comprises songs mostly of less serious tone, setting what I hope is a bit of a party atmosphere, with a bit of rock, rock & roll and downright silly novelty numbers, including one by Soupy Sales, who died last week. The sense of levity this mix aims at is not of the literal variety.

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TRACKLISTING
1. Tim Curry – Anything Can Happen On Halloween (1986)
2. Golden Earring – The Devil Made Me Do It (1982)
3. Morgus & the Ghouls – Morgus The Magnificent (1958)
4. The Tarantulas – Black Widow (1961)
5. Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs – Haunted House (1964)
6. Big Bopper – Purple People Eater Meets The Witch Doctor (1958)
7. The Kingsmen – Haunted Castle (1963)
8. The Five Blobs – The Blob (1958)
9. The Fifth Estate – The Witch Is Dead (1967)
10. Bobby Bare – Vampira (1958)
11. Johnny Cash – Ghost Riders In The Sky (1978)
12. R Dean Taylor – There’s A Ghost In My House (1967)
13. Alice Cooper – Feed My Frankenstein (1992)
14. Rob Zombie feat. The Ghastly Ones – Halloween (1998)
15. Medeski, Martin & Wood – End Of The World Party (2004)
16. The Pogues – Turkish Song Of The Damned (1988)
17. The Specials – Ghost Town (1981)
18. Jimmy Buffett – Halloween In Tijuana (1985)
19. Soupy Sales – My Baby’s Got A Crush On Frankenstein (1962)
20. France Gall – Frankenstein (1972)
21. Danny Elfman – This Is Halloween (1993)
22. David Seville – Witch Doctor (1958)
23. Bobby Rydell – That Old Black Magic (1961)
24. The Moontrekkers – Night Of The Vampire (1961)
25. Allan Sherman – I See Bones (1963)
26. Lord Melody – The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1957)
27. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross – Halloween Spooks (1960)

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And to bring the mood down a bit again, here is a track sent to me by a friend, whose knowledge in music in encyclopedic. He points out that the artist, folk singer Jackson C Frank, is “ the single unluckiest man in music history”. Read this to find that this is most probably so.

Jackson C. Frank – Halloween Is Black As Night.mp3 (reuploaded)

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Any Major Halloween Mix 1

October 26th, 2009 9 comments

halloween2This is the first of two Halloween mixes I’ll be posting this week. The present mix, timed to fit on standard CD-R, is supposed to comprise vaguely creepy or eerie music. The kind of stuff that might  freak out Bart, Lisa and Milhouse in their treehouse. Ghosts, spooks, witches, devils, murderers, weird people (like the coffin-building boy in Florence and the Machine’s excellent song), voodoo and so on. Marie Floating Over The Backyard apparently still scares Any Minor Dude’s friend, two years after he first heard it.

The second mix, which will go up mid-week, will be a bit more lighthearted, and even without the overcooked Monster Mash and Rocky Horror Picture Show.

TRACKLISTING
1. The Go! Team – Phantom Broadcast (2005)
2. The Never – The Witch (2006)
3. Dr John – Gris Gris Gumbo Ya Ya (1968)
4. Jim Stafford Swamp Witch Hattie (Back Of The Black Bayou) (1973)
5. Alan Price Set – I Put A Spell On You (1966)
6. Tony Joe White – They Caught The Devil And Put Him In Jail In Eudora, Arkansas (1971)
7. Donovan – Wild Witch Lady (1973)
8. Fleetwood Mac – The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown) (1970)
9. Eels – Marie Floating Over The Backyard (2005)
10. Violent Femmes – Country Death Song (1984)
11. Florence And The Machine – My Boy Builds Coffins (2009)
12. Godley & Creme – Under Your Thumb (1981)
13. Alan Parsons Project – Raven (1976)
14. The Box Tops – I Must Be The Devil (1969)
15. Sidney Hemphill – Devil’s Dream (ca 1942)
16. Howlin’ Wolf – Evil (Is Going On) (1954)
17. Louvin Brothers – Mary Of The Wild Moor (1956)
18. Squirrel Nut Zippers – Hell (1996)
19. Mazzy Starr – Taste Of Blood (1990)
20. Imogen Heap – Getting Scared (1998)
21. Iron Butterfly – Real Fright (1970)

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I have a good few songs left over for a mix next Halloween. But there are two ghostly soldier songs I’ll want to add to this lot, one as an antidote to Warren Zevon’s more ubiquitous Halloween song:
Warren Zevon – Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner.mp3
Stan Ridgway – Camouflage.mp3

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Any Major Love Mix 2009 Vol.2

March 31st, 2009 3 comments

I posted a mix of songs about being in love last year, for Valentine’s Day, with a view to facilitating loads of romantic seductions (or something). That mix got deleted by ZShare. Responding to a request, I have revised the tracklisting, dropping a few songs, adding a few new, changing the track order. The Jonatha Brooke song I owe to Barely Awake In Frog Pajamas blog. So here is Any Major Love Mix Vol. 2.

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1. Jets To Brazil – Sweet Avenue (1998)
‘ Now all these tastes improve through the view that comes with you. Like they handed me my life, for the first time it felt worth it, like I deserved it.’

2. Michelle Featherstone – Rest Of My Life (2007)
‘ How ’bout that? Waking up every morning with me. Spend our time drinking coffee, speaking softly as the days go by.’

3. Mindy Smith – It’s Amazing (2004)
‘ It’s amazing what you do to me: took my heart and made me feel things I never felt before. It’s changing me, Which direction so certainly; shook me up and threw me around. When we learn to breathe it all in.’

4. The Weepies – Gotta Have You (2006)
‘No amount of coffee, no amount of crying, no amount of whiskey, no amount of wine — no, nothing else will do. I’ve gotta have you.’

5. Richard Hawley – Baby, You’re My Light (2001)
‘But I believe in you and now I’ll show it. And as life goes on you know you don’t have to hate all you find. Baby, you’re my light.’

6. Ron Sexsmith – Whatever It Takes (2004)
‘The sun alone will never do, without your love to shine on through’

7. Ben Kweller – Falling (2002)
‘We could talk if days weren’t so fast, and mistakes just leave it so unsure. Wanna hold you like never before ’cause we’re falling and I love you more and more.’

8. Hello Saferide – Get Sick Soon (2006)
‘ Oh, I love you! I wish you got the flu, you’re the cutest thing I’ve ever seen — like a teddy bear on heroin … You can lay your weight on me and I’ll be your backbone. Lay your weight on me, you won’t have to worry.’

9. Ben Folds – The Luckiest (2001)
‘And where was I before the day that I first saw your lovely face? Now I see it everyday, and I know: I’m the luckiest.’

10. Bright Eyes – The First Day Of My Life (2005)
‘ Yours was the first face that I saw, I think I was blind before I met you. I don’t know where I am, I don’t know where I’ve been, but I know where I want to go.’

11. Iron & Wine – Such Great Heights (2004)
‘I am thinking it’s a sign that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images, and when we kiss they are perfectly alligned.’

12. Mason Jennings – Ballad For My One True Love (2000)
‘And all the while I ‘m dreaming of the ballad for my one true love, searching for the perfect way to say: I love you sweetheart, this is my dream come true.’

13. Joseph Arthur – Echo Park (2004)
‘ The fire never understands the spark, the way it is with you and me.’

14. Kate Walsh – Your Song (2007)
‘I knew I was wrong to jump straight on into this picture so pretty, but he is so pretty to me.’

15. Colbie Caillat – Realize (2007)
‘If you just realized what I just realized, then we’d be perfect for each other, then we’d never find another. Just realized what I just realized, we’d never have to wonder if we missed out on each other now.’

16. Jackie Greene – Love Song; 2.00 am (2006)
‘ Should your mind forget me, regret me, or even do me wrong, you’ll always live here in my heart, ’cause, baby, that’s where you belong.’

17. Jonatha Brooke – Because I Told You So (1997)
‘Could you see it like me and believe what I see? Could you listen, and remember that i love you, only because I told you?’

18. Peter Mayer – Now Touch The Air Softly (1999)
‘And I’ll love you as long as the furrow the plow, as However is Ever, and Ever is Now.’

19. Bob Schneider – The World Exploded Into Love (2001)
‘The world exploded into love all around me, and every time I take a look around me, I have to smile.’

20. Jens Lekman – You Are The Light (2003)
‘Yeah I got busted, so I used my one phone call to dedicate a song to you on the radio.’

21. Liz Phair – Good Love Never Dies (2003)
‘ Tell me what can I say to keep you in my life, all the words slip away when I look in your eyes, because I can never relax.’


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Any Major Love Mix 2009 Vol. 1
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Yet more '80s soul

November 20th, 2008 5 comments

I’m not sure whether it is due to popular demand after last week’s compilation, but here is a second ’80s soul mix, with a third and final installment in the works. The first mix was an attempt to create a fairly representative cross-section of the genre. This mix is less self-conscious about that. What we have here, then, are some of my favourite soul tracks from that comparatively barren decade. As in any compilation of favourites, the measure of quality may be secondary to the compiler’s emotional connection to a song. Is Smokey’s Just To See Her any good? I don’t rightly know. It may not be a better song than Being With You. But much as I like Being With You, it does not transport me back to a particular time. Play Just To See Her, however, and I smell the girl’s hair, taste the vegetarian gunk I used to eat, feel the anticipation of going to the club and the anxiety of missing my friends in London. And so it is with many songs in this mix (especially Pendergrass’ wonderfully Marvin-esque Joy). Read more…

Have Song, Will Sing Vol. 1

July 27th, 2008 6 comments

Last year I did a series of Songbirds which seems to have been quite popular, showcasing female artists who fall within the singer-songwriter genre which unaccountably has acquired something of a bad name among the critics. In my view, the genre has not been in a more fertile state since the 1970s. Indeed, it is probably more varied now than it was then.

I’ve thought of doing a similar series on male singer-songwriters (which I might call “Singers with names like schoolteachers”, borrowing a great dig from the Welsh music writer Simon Price). In the meantime, here is a collection of some of the male singer-songwriters I hold in high esteem. What they have in common is that they write the songs they sing, and are broadly, if not invariably, acoustic performers. But the mix transcends such narrow characterisations. Their sensibilities range from folk (such as Mason Jennings) to pop (Bob Evans, Benji Cossa) to indie (Jens Lekman, Josh Ritter) to soul (Amos Lee) to country (Joe Purdy) to rock (Charlie Sexton, Scott Matthews). Most are American, but other nations are also represented, such as Australia (Evans), England (David Ford), Sweden (Lekman) and South Africa (the excellent Farryl Purkiss).

Some are well-known (such as Damien Jurado or, again, Ritter and Lekman), others are without a record contract. Josh Woodward, whose previous album I enjoyed very much, has made his new, very good double set titled The Simple Life available for free download on his website. If you like the sample track on this mix, download it and share it widely. TV viewers will recognise the Steve Poltz song from the Jeep ad, while Landon Pigg’s voice is used to advertise diamonds (albeit with a different, very beautiful, song).

My shortlist is not exhausted. If this mix proves popular, I intend to compile a volume of Songbirds and then a co-ed one. Let me know what you think.

As always, the mix should fit on a standard CD-R.

1. Steve Poltz – You Remind Me (from Chinese Vacation, 2003)
2.
Bob Evans – Friend (from Suburban Songbook, 2006)
3.
Farryl Purkiss – Ducking And Diving (from Farryl Purkiss, 2006)
4.
Mason Jennings – Which Way Your Heart Will Go (from Boneclouds, 2006)
5.
Landon Pigg – Can’t Let Go (from Coffee Shop EP, 2008)
6.
Joshua Radin – The Fear You Won’t Fall (from Unclear Sky EP, 2008)
7.
Jay Brannan – Can’t Have It All (from Chinese Vacation, 2003)
8.
David Ford – Cheer Up (You Miserable Fuck) (from I Sincerely Apologise For All The Trouble I’ve Caused, 2005)
9.
Josh Ritter – Wait For Love (You Know You Will) (from The Historical Conquests Of, 2007)
10.
Damien Jurado – Simple Hello (from On My Way To Absence, 2005)
11.
Charlie Sexton – Cruel And Gentle Things (from Cruel And Gentle Things, 2005)
12.
Griffin House – Just A Dream (from Lost And Found, 2004)
13.
Josh Woodward – History Repeats (from The Simple Life, 2008)
14.
Jens Lekman – I Saw Her in the Anti War Demonstration (from Oh You’re So Silent Jens, 2005)
15.
Kevin Devine – Probably (from … travelling the EU EP, 2003)
16.
Joe Purdy – Why You (from Only Four Seasons, 2006)
17.
Amos Lee – Long Line Of Pain (live) (from Supply And Demand, 2006)
18.
Elvis Perkins – Ash Wednesday (from Ash Wednesday, 2007)
19.
Scott Matthews – Passing Stranger (from Passing Stranger, 2007)
20.
Benji Cossa – The Show Is Over Everywhere (from Between The Blue And The Green, 2007)

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Beatles – Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 2

June 17th, 2008 4 comments

This is the 1967-70 mix of Beatles b-sides and album tracks (and in one case a demo). The running order is roughly in the order in which the songs were recorded. While in the first mix that was not much of a problem — the Beatles would often release songs within a couple of weeks of recording them — it is a bit of a problem with tracks that came out after Sgt. Pepper’s. Most glaringly, here tracks from Let It Be, released in 1970, precede those from Abbey Road, which was recorded after but released before the final album. Likewise, tracks from Yellow Submarine (released in 1969) precede those from the White Album (released in 1968).

A final anomaly, and useful piece of trivia: the final track, Harrison’s gorgeous I Me Mine, is on Let It Be but appears in this mix last. That is because it was the last song the Beatles ever recorded. What happened is this: during the filming of the Let It Be documentary, the Beatles are seen playing around with the song, but they never actually recorded it. When the film did include the I Me Mine sequence, George, Paul and Ringo hurried to the studios in early January 1970, and recorded it for inclusion on the soundtrack. By then John had already left the band, albeit unofficially. Paul’s announcement of the split on 10 April 1970 merely formalised the end of the Beatles.

The rules my able assistantand I set precluded the inclusion of songs that featured on the Blue Album. Here we find two exceptions: the original version of Across The Universe, recorded for a World Wildlife Fund charity album and featuring the backing vocals of two female fans who had been loitering outside the studio; and Don’t Let Me Down, represented here in its demo form, with much ad libbing, from the Let It Be…Naked album. Actually, the inclusion of Revolution #1 is a third exception. On the Blue Album we have the hard rock version (in which Lennon no longer prevaricates about destruction — you can count him out); this version is the slower, bouncier incarnation. Besides that, the White Album (actually titled The Beatles) was a rich mine for album tracks. A good case could be made for re-sequencing the double album, cutting out all the rubbish and avoiding such disasters as Revolution #9 rendering side 4 unlistenable (point of fact, Any Minor Dude digs Revolution #9).

TRACKLISTING:
1. Getting Better
2. She’s Leaving Home
3. Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!
4. Baby You’re A Rich Man
5. All Together Now
6. Across The Universe (original version)
7. Hey Bulldog
8. Revolution #1
9. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
10. Sexy Sadie
11. Dear Prudence
12. Cry Baby Cry
13. Helter Skelter
14. Happiness Is A Warm Gun
15. Long, Long, Long
16. I’m So Tired
17. Don’t Let Me Down
18. Two Of Us
19. I’ve Got A Feeling
20. Dig A Pony
21. Because
22. Oh! Darling
23. Golden Slumbers
24. Carry That Weight
25. The End
26. I Me Mine

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Categories: Beatles, Mix CD-Rs Tags: ,

Beatles – Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 1

June 10th, 2008 10 comments

My nephews, aged 18 and 16, surprised me over Christmas by suddenly taking an interest in the Beatles, after years of my futile attempts to prod them in that direction. The catalyst for them was the Love album of remixes and mash-ups, which I found interesting rather than exciting. Their favourite tune, played ad nauseam, was Hey Jude; a typical portal kind of songs for people starting to get into the Beatles (and one I am sick of hearing). Soon after they watched the film Across The Universe, and that deepened their interest in the Beatles (on the soundtrack, bloody Bono sings I Am The Walrus, the utterly predictable tosser). Others have been turned on to the Beatles by the entirely redundant 1 collection a few years ago.

So, if one plans to introduce a newcomer to the Beatles oeuvre, my suggestion would be to give them the red and blue albums, both excellent departure points for a Beatles journey. But these clearly cannot suffice. Ideally, one might then give such a nascent Beatles fan a few of the essential albums. But that might be overwhelming (and, to be honest, the White Album contains much off-putting crap among the obvious diamonds). With this in mind, my son and I compiled two volumes of album tracks and b-sides which we think are essential. The ground rule was simple: if it appeared on the red or blue albums (and therefore on 1), it was excluded. So in away these mixes are sequels of sorts, or extensions, to the 1973 albums. For those whose Beatles collection does not go beyond the red and blue albums, our mixes will doubtless fill a big gap; perhaps one or the other song will somebody go and buy a proper Beatles album.

Even limiting the number of songs to the CD-R limit of 80 minutes was a challenge, requiring lots of debate and tough decisions (I had to give up Good Day Sunshine, Any Minor Dude had to forfeit much of Help!). The sequence of tracks follows roughly in the order in which they were recorded, rather than following a chronology of release dates. This is less an issue in the 1962-66 collection, but becomes a problem in the 1967-70 mix, since the material for Let It Be was recorded before but released after Abbey Road. That mix should go up next week.

The file includes all recording dates of songs on this mix, as well as a front and back cover in jpeg and PDF format (for easy printing out).

TRACKLISTING:
1. P.S. I Love You
2. Do You Want To Know A Secret
3. I Saw Her Standing There
4. It Won’t Be Long
5. I’ll Get You
6. Tell Me Why
7. This Boy
8. I Wanna Be Your Man
9. I Should Have Known Better
10. If I Fell
11. I Call Your Name
12. I’ll Be Back
13. Any Time At All
14. Things We Said Today
15. Baby’s In Black
16. I’m A Loser
17. No Reply
18. Every Little Thing
19. I’ll Follow The Sun
20. She’s A Woman
21. I Need You
22. You’re Going To Lose That Girl
23. I’m Down
24. It’s Only Love
25. I’ve Just Seen A Face
26. If I Needed Someone
27. You Won’t See Me
28. Think For Yourself
29. Tomorrow Never Knows
30. Rain
31. And Your Bird Can Sing

32. I’m Only Sleeping
33. For No One

GET IT!


 

 

Categories: Beatles, Mix CD-Rs Tags: ,

Valentines – Any Major Love Mix CD-R

February 7th, 2008 12 comments

I am no great fan of Valentine’s Day, and don’t usually join in the hype. It seems time appropriate to post a Valentine’s mix though — especially for all the lovers out there who want to express their emotions via the time-honoured medium of the mix-tape, but lack the time or energy to bang a good one together. If I can prevent one fool in love from rushing out to buy a Valentine’s Day comp featuring the stylings of Celine, Whitney and, invariably, the totally misapplied James Blunt classic “You’re Beautiful”, then I feel I have done good.

Compiling this mix represented a challenge, for the genres represented herein tend to be less than effusive on matters of the heart. But when the artists representing these genres do effuse, they tend to do so eloquently and without dangling too much by way of cliché. Of course, love does attract, even demand, cliché, and some of our artists here toy with the odd hackneyed sentiment. These may sound silly to us cynics, but to the fool in love, these clichés are poetry and fact.

Has there ever been a more beautiful love song written than Ben Folds’ “The Luckiest”? Not all the songs here are about the blissfulness of love, perhaps Colbie Caillat’s song is the most conventional love song in this lot. Bright Eyes’ “First Day In My Life” has an undertone of uncertainty. Jens Lekman’s love is slavish, to the point of making grand romantic gestures involving vandalism at his lover’s instructions. Hello Saferide introduces a wonderful paradox in wishing her lover sickness. Liz Phair rounds things off with a take which makes being love seem as difficult as it really is.

Tracklisting:

1. The Postal Service – Such Great Heights
‘I am thinking it’s a sign that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images, and when we kiss they are perfectly alligned.’

2. Jets To Brazil – Sweet Avenue
Now all these tastes improve through the view that comes with you. Like they handed me my life, for the first time it felt worth it, like I deserved it.

3. Michelle Featherstone – Rest Of My Life
How ’bout that? Waking up every morning with me. Spend our time drinking coffee, speaking softly as the days go by.

4. The Weepies – Somebody Loved
‘Now my feet turn the corner back home. Sun turns the evening to rose, stars turning high up above. You turn me into somebody loved.’

5. Bright Eyes – First Day Of My Life
Yours was the first face that I saw, I think I was blind before I met you. I don’t know where I am, I don’t know where I’ve been, but I know where I want to go.

6. Ben Folds – The Luckiest
‘And where was I before the day that I first saw your lovely face? Now I see it everyday, and I know: I’m the luckiest.’

7. Joseph Arthur – Echo Park
The fire never understands the spark, the way it is with you and me.’

8. Ron Sexsmith – Whatever It Takes
‘The sun alone will never do, without your love to shine on through’

9. Jens Lekman – You Are The Light
Yeah I got busted, so I used my one phone call to dedicate a song to you on the radio.’

10. Hello Saferide – Get Sick Soon
Oh, I love you! I wish you got the flu, you’re the cutest thing I’ve ever seen — like a teddy bear on heroin ... You can lay your weight on me and I’ll be your backbone. Lay your weight on me, you won’t have to worry.’

11. Colbie Caillat – Magic
I remember the way that you move. You’re dancing easily through my dreams. It’s hitting me harder and harder with all your smiles.

12. Josh Kelley – To Make You Feel My Love
I’d go hungry I’d go black and blue. I’d go crawling down the avenue. No there’s nothing that I wouldn’t do to make you feel my love.

13. Ben Harper – By My Side
‘My care for you is from the ground up to the sky it’s over under up above down below and to the side.’

14. Mason Jennings – Ballad For My One True Love
‘And all the while I ‘m dreaming of the ballad for my one true love, searching for the perfect way to say: I love you sweetheart, this is my dream come true.’

15. Peter Mayer – Now Touch The Air Softly
‘And I’ll love you as long as the furrow the plow, as However is Ever, and Ever is Now.’

16. Richard Hawley – Baby, You’re My Light
‘But I believe in you and now I’ll show it. And as life goes on you know you don’t have to hate all you find. Baby, you’re my light.’

17. Mindy Smith – It’s Amazing
It’s amazing what you do to me: took my heart and made me feel things I never felt before. It’s changing me, Which direction so certainly; shook me up and threw me around. When we learn to breathe it all in.’

18. Josh Rouse – Wonderful
Reading the paper with my coffee, and before you must go there’s one thing you should know: I think you’re wonderful. Don’t change.

19. Jackie Greene – Love Song; 2.00 am
Should your mind forget me, regret me, or even do me wrong, you’ll always live here in my heart, ’cause, baby, that’s where you belong.

20. Eastmountainsouth – So Are You to Me
‘As the ruby in the setting, as the fruit upon the tree, as the wind blows over the plains, so are you to me.’

21. Bob Schneider – The World Exploded Into Love
‘The world exploded into love all around me, and every time I take a look around me, I have to smile.

22. Liz Phair – Good Love Never Dies
Tell me what can I say to keep you in my life, all the words slip away when I look in your eyes, because I can never relax.

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Music for a wedding

March 5th, 2007 1 comment

Sountrack to this blog:
Ben Folds – The Luckiest (left-click)
Mason Jennings – Ballad For My One True Love (left-click)
The Weepies – Somebody Loved (live) (right-click and “save target as”)
Bob Schneider – The World Exploded Into Love (right-click and “save target as”)
Sadao Watanabe & Roberta Flack – Here’s To Love (right-click and “save target as”)

Oh my, what an exciting weekend: Liz Hurley got married!!! I learned all about what must be one of the great stories of the year from Sky News, purveyors of all the modern person needs to know.

On Saturday morning, Sky interviewed a wedding planner. Because such erudite insights into matters of this nature are crucial to our understanding of the world. Explaining why Ms Hurley needed a flashy celebrity wedding reception (at which the only acceptable gift was an organic cow, going rate £3,000; presumably an ironic statement relating to Hurley’s purported character), Ms Wedding Planner excitedly proclaimed: “Imagine Liz went to the local registrar’s office to get married and then to a three-star hotel for a chicken dinner. We’d all be disappointed!” By Jupiter, how we would be!

It is one of life’s graces that Ms Hurley does care about us, and so had a just super wedding, with even shy and retiring Elton John on the celeb-studded guest list (important, because the quality and quantity of celebrities in attendance dictate the fee Ms Hurley receives from whatever gossip magazine secured the rights for the obligatory wedding photo-spread). The threat of our collective disappointment was averted. It just makes it so much easier coping with the climate change, the impenetrable mess in Iraq, and the worrying prospect of Rudy Giuliani succeeding the putrid spawn of Satan, if we know that Liz Hurley did not have a plebian nuptial ceremony at the local 3-star dig.

I went to a wedding last week. Elton John wasn’t there, but I heroically endured that obvious cause for distress. The bride also didn’t ask for organic cows. So we gave her a lovely casserole dish, as one does. But we abstained from buying the traditional congratulatory card.

Oh, the congratulatory message is necessary, even if I one gets to see the bride only every five years (at funerals, mostly) and makes one’s introduction to the lucky groom only on the wedding day. One is delighted and genuinely touched to have been invited. But here’s the problem: you buy a carefully-chosen and diabolically expensive greeting card, and scribble an awkward message inside. It will not be remembered in competition with all the other cards from closer friends and family. And after a decent period of prominent display, it will be packed away, never to be seen again until the couple moves or splits. And then it will be (ahem) discarded.

The casserole dish will soon be forgotten, but our good wishes hopefully not. For our mode of conveying congratulations was at once creative and thrifty: in lieu of tacky cardboard, the bridal couple received a mix-tape (on CD-R, but let’s continue, for sake of tradition, to call it a mix-tape). Don’t think I’m cheap: I spent the best part of three hours collating appropriate songs — and at my hourly rates, the couple easily recouped their financial outlay for two wedding dinners.

Selecting appropriate songs wasn’t easy. For one, I don’t know what sort of music the happy couple prefers to listen to. For all I know they are devotees of Gorgoroth and their death metal chums. Or perhaps they are faithful only to the deplorable Celine Dion, Anastasia and Simply Red — and a spot of Coldplay if they feel really edgy. (In the event, Joshua Kadison provided the first “waltz”, and Al Green the exit dance). This lack of knowledge complicates the song selection. And yet, the reason I enjoy making mix-tapes is to share the music I love, perhaps introducing the recipient to new favourites. Because I have excellent taste in music, obviously.

But it isn’t good enough to bang together a mix-tape for virtual strangers on one’s egocentric speculation. Not many people want to hear 20 unknown tracks by obscurities they have never heard about, and probably never would have. The trick is to sprinkle such a collection with tracks the listener can identify with, even at the cost of compromising the compiler’s integrity.

And then there was the challenge of finding songs with the right lyrics. I have discovered that there are many love songs that sound perfectly romantic – until a subtle twist in the lyrics rendered them useless for purposes of expressing “true love”. Few things in life are more embarrassing than two lovers playing James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful” to each other because, you know, she really is beautiful. I’ve heard of couples playing this at their weddings, as if the line “she was with another man” did not subtly hint at a lyrical context quite at variance with the notion of a romantic union saturated with perpetual bliss.

In short, only about half of the songs are representative of my musical evangelisation work. But if this mix-tape inspires the couple to get into, say, the Weepies or Iron & Wine or Ron Sexsmith, my mission will have been accomplished.

So every song a proper love song, with lyrics and music better than Will Young’s ubiquitous “Evergreen” (OK, open goal. Shoot already!). Listening to this CD of love songs, I contemplated building a fireplace, shoot and skin a luxuriously furry animal, put on these 22 songs on loop, and make long passionate love to the love of my life.

So, here’s what the newly-weds listened to, I hope, as they consummated their marriage:

The Platters – With This Ring
‘Baby, I never thought so much love could fit in a little band of gold. But I’m telling you, darling, I feel it in my heart, got it in my soul.’

Sadao Watanabe & Roberta Flack – Here’s To Love
‘You fill my life with love and joy…a toast to all the things you are, my light and shining star’

Eric Benét feat. Tamia – Spend My Life With You

‘The years will roll by, but nothing will change the love inside of you and I’

Shawn Colvin – When You Know

‘When it’s clear this time, you’ve found the one, you never let him go’

Lifehouse – You And Me

‘Everything she does is beautiful, everything she does is right’

Ben Folds – The Luckiest
‘And where was I before the day that I first saw your lovely face? Now I see it e

veryday, and I know.’ (Possibly the greatest love song of all time)

Bob Schneider – The World Exploded Into Love
‘The world exploded into love all around me, and every time I take a look around me, I have to smile’ (Not too sure whether the lyrics don’t invite alternative interpretations, actually… Download it and hear.)

Ben Harper – By My Side

‘My care for you is from the ground up to the sky it’s over under up above down below and to the side.’

Al Green – Let’s Stay Together

‘Lovin’ you whether, whether, times are good or bad, happy or sad.’

Minnie Riperton – Loving You

‘No one else can make me feel the colors that you bring. Stay with me while we grow old, and we will live each day in springtime.’

Earth, Wind & Fire – Be Ever Wonderful

‘And be ever wonderful, stay as you are. Stay as you are, won’t you stay in your own sweet way.’

Anita Baker – Giving You The Best That I Got

‘I bet everything on my wedding ring, I’m giving you the best that I got, givin’ it to you baby.’

Ron Sexsmith – Whatever It Takes

‘The sun alone will never do, without your love to shine on through’

Jonny Lang – Beautiful One

‘I gave my word, I made a promise And I’m gonna keep it til the end’

Alexi Murdoch – Love You More

‘I’m gonna love you more’ (That’s the lyrics, basically)

Peter Mayer – Now Touch The Air Softly

‘And I’ll love you as long as the furrow the plow, as However is Ever, and Ever is Now.’ (I owe the Late Greats blog for this.)

The Weepies – Somebody Loved

‘Now my feet turn the corner back home. Sun turns the evening to rose, stars turning high up above. You turn me into somebody loved.’ (Another one I’m not 100% of, but it’s a lovely sentiment.)

Richard Hawley – Baby, You’re My Light

‘But I believe in you and now I’ll show it. And as life goes on you know you don’t have to hate all you find. Baby, you’re my light.’

Rascal Flatts – I Melt

‘Don’t know how you do it, I love the way I lost it every time. And what’s even better
is knowing that forever you’re all mine.’

Mason Jennings – Ballad For My One True Love
‘And all the while I ‘m dreaming of the ballad for my one true love, searching for the perfect way to say: I love you sweetheart, this is my dream come true.’

Eastmountainsouth – So Are You To Me

‘As the ruby in the setting, as the fruit upon the tree, as the wind blows over the plains, so are you to me.’

Iron & Wine – Such Great Heights

‘I am thinking it’s a sign that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images, and when we kiss they are perfectly alligned.’