Friday, July 14, 2006

Slimbotastic Musicometric Shuffle-ology

My brain, which has been in a soporific stupor the last couple of days, is gradually rousing. Good morning. Let the blogging begin:

A little birdie asked me about my musical tastes. Okay. I briefly considered trying to list my favorites but found it impossible(It's simply not in my constitutional makeup. I'm a waffler by nature.) But then I decided to let technology do the work for me. In this ITunes era, our personal musical libraries form a sort of binary fingerprint, a detailed encapsulation of our particular musical tastes. And the shuffle function provides a perfect, non-biased* random sampling of that dataset. So I present to you an annotated list of the first seven songs (why seven? because this is my show, goddammit, and I want seven - that's why) to randomly play on my ITunes library (isn't there some sort of bloggy-meme-thingy just like this?):
  1. Lydia Mendoza (the First Queen of Tejano Music), "Carino Ciego": I adore this music. I don't speak a lick of Spanish and don't understand a word of what she's saying, but whatever she's saying, she says it beau-ti-ful-ly. The wonderfully expressive voice backed by exquisitely played guitar work, mmm! And it dovetails nicely with my obsession with old country: country goes south of the border, learns another language, takes on a flamenco tinge, comes back, picks up a German accordion and a polka beat, and does it's own thing. What's not to love?
  2. Fats Domino, "It Must Be Love": 50s era New Orleans R & B is another one of my obsessions, and Fats is one of the best. Give me anything recorded by Cosimo Matassa.** I love it. And this is a particularly good song, a great swinging melody, and then the hook, that drawn out "O-o-o-o-oh", the break, and the tight "I'm-in-love." Magnifique!
  3. Willie Nelson with Johnny Paycheck, "Take This Job & Shove It": This is from the Willie & Family Live Album. I love Willie Nelson. I love Willie Nelson in concert. This album perfectly captures that experience. The song, itself, is ridiculous, but I'm more than happy to hear it pop up, and it's a damn fine sing-along.
  4. Men at Work, "Who Can It Be Now?": How the hell did that get on there? Oh, it's from the Valley Girl soundtrack, a strictly Sarah-addition to the library and one that even she sometimes questions (though it does have a few brilliant tracks, "Angst in My Pants", great; "Johnny, Are You Queer?", wunderbar). But, in the name of scholarly integrity,*** I'll keep it on the list. And because Men at Work was my first, independent musical fixation (I was born in Australia and had some complex childhood notions of "down under" pride). And because they're mentioned in the very first Slimbolala post ever. All that being said, I actually skipped through most of the song.
  5. Cat Stevens, "The Wind": I can't imagine sitting through a whole Cat Stevens album, but in itty-bits, sure, it works for me (I'm generally on-board with the whole Seventies-folk-revival-thingy going on). This is from the Rushmore soundtrack which is genius, as are all of the soundtracks from all of the Wes Anderson movies (done by Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo fame). And it's a short song.
  6. Les Paul and Mary Ford, "Take a Warning": Oh, I just love these two and freak out in tingling happiness when they're on. His dizzying guitar and her other-worldly voice, it makes me giddy. This particular song is a slightly goofy old-world-morality-tale-with-castanets schtick, but the mild dopiness is far outweighed by the musical brilliance.
  7. Johnny Cash, "Orange Blossom Special": Johnny Cash is pretty much it for me, the whole kit-and-kaboodle. I have nothing else to say. Also, the absurdly elaborate harmonica break down in the middle of the song is hilarious and a great contrast to his voice. And what's that second breakdown? A saxophone? They had some quirky instrumentation on those Columbia sessions.
Then I got bored with annotating stuff, and a bunch of weird, not-particularly-representative crap started popping up, and the project sort of fell apart and I just started hitting the forward button, but here's a few things that were coming down the line that I really do like:
  • David Bowie
  • Louis Jordan
  • Lightnin' Slim
  • Nat King Cole
  • Bobby "Blue" Bland
  • Nick Drake
  • Link Wray (playing "The Batman Theme" - ooh, that's a doozy!)
  • Elliott Smith
  • The Beatles
  • A Tribe Called Quest
  • The Velvet Underground
  • Alemayehu Eshete (freakishly wonderful sixties Ethiopian R&B)
  • Clarence Williams
  • Sufjan Stevens
  • Belle & Sebastian
  • Duke Reid & His Group (glorious old-school ska - and "His Group"? what a perfect name for a backup group)
  • and on and on and on...
That's a pretty good sample. You asked. You got. There ya go. Now you know. Ciao.

* Yeah, yeah, I know about the various IPod/ITunes shuffle conspiracy theories. ("Dude, my IPod loves Menudo. It's totally weird!").

** Best name ever. Oh, and by the way, I had a stint a while back where I was going to the local Zen temple for morning meditations (that's a story for another day) that happens to occupy Cosimo's former recording studio (the second incarnation). That's a room with a damn weird history.

*** The Slimbo-sciences shall never be tainted by ethical lapses. Truthiness above all!


  1. Anonymous3:29 PM

    Very Men-at-Workish. Great array of music there. I own the vinyl single of "Who Can it Be Now?"
    Gotta agree on Cash. Louis Jordan is a great talent and comedian that many Americans don't even acknowledge in the development of jump blues and rock n' roll. What can more can one say about Fats? One of best of all time. Lightin' Slim, Nat King Cole (The Voice, his piano playing), Bobby "Blue" Bland (One Step from the Blues!).
    Someone from NO is sending over 1,000 songs from the Cosimo, Speciality, Ace era. Maybe next week. Anyway, thank you. Your tastes, as usual, are varied and stupendous.

  2. Another good Cat Stevens soundtrack-appearance is "Trouble" from Harold and Maude. It was a very good choice for the scene.


  3. Anonymous8:23 AM

    Duke Reid is someone I'd heard of a long time ago, but could never find any of his stuff. Original ska is another thing. His sax playing's great. Thanks for reminding me of him.

  4. Yeah, I just have the one track of his on a fantastic compilation of old ska I have (though the title of the CD escapes me at the moment).

  5. Anonymous9:56 AM

    This is a good game!
    Something about manmade machines reflecting an outline of an individual, in a kinda warped way of course, is good clean fun.
    My seven:
    She Winked Her Eye (Gatemouth Brown)
    Brother, Where Are You? (Nina Simone)
    71 Sentences with Important Words (Spanish in the Car)
    Kool It (Here Comes the Fuzz)(Kool & the Gang)
    Self-Obsessed and Sexxee (Sonic Youth)
    I Didn't Know What Time it Was (Art Blakey)
    Taxim - Zembekiko (Markos Vamvakaris)(Greek)
    Knock on Wood (Eddie Floyd)

  6. Right Here In My Arms - Him
    Chop Me Up - Justin Timberlake
    [Untitled Hidden Track] - 30 Seconds To Mars
    1985 - Bowling For Soup
    some song - Hilary Duff
    Time Is Ticking Out - The Cranberries
    Hidden Track - Godsmack

    and guess what no iTunes, no iPod. there are other ways to do this puppy :)