Saturday, September 16, 2006

Five --- whoops, twenty --- songs

At the Hangout tonight, the Friar asked me to think about this: what five songs would you pick to demonstrate the breadth of your musical taste? Not your five favorite songs, obviously, or even necessarily the best songs by particular artists, but just five songs from disparate genres.

My immediate answer was:

1. "So Long, it's Been Good To Know Yeh" a.k.a. "Dusty Old Dust," Woody Guthrie --- folk
2. "Singapore," Tom Waits --- the original alternative
3. "Out Of Control," Rancid --- loud fast punk
4. "Without Me, " Eminem --- rap
5. "Fly Me To the Moon," Frank Sinatra --- swing/big band

But then I got to thinking that maybe including Eminem wasn't fair because he represents the sum total of all rap I listen to, aside from the not-quite-rap Spearhead, and also some of the songs weren't representative of enough disparity. So perhaps:

1. "Song To Woody," Bob Dylan --- love of the disciple implies a familiarity with Woody as well
2. "Memphis," Rancid --- new reggae-influenced punk, implying the Clash as well
3. "The Patriot Game," the Clancy Brothers --- I listen to a lot of Irish music, and this combined with Dylan and Rancid hints at their descendants Pogues and Flogging Molly
4. "They Can't Take That Away From Me," Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong --- implying a wider appreciation of the big band/jazz voices than just Frank
5. "The Earth Died Screaming," Tom Waits --- his song with the most clang boom steam, hinting at the array of non-traditional rock I listen to

But wait! I left out:

1. "Folsom Prison Blues," Johnny Cash --- authentic bad boy country
2. "Mammal," They Might Be Giants --- geek rock
3. "Thank You For Sending Me An Angel," Talking Heads --- afro-beat rock
4. "You Shook Me All Night Long," Hayseed Dixie --- demonstrating my love for bluegrass covers of hard rock
5. "Good Vibrations," Beach Boys --- to show I can dig harmonies, too


1. "Mojo Hand," Lightnin' Hopkins --- blues
2. "Big Iron," Marty Robbins --- crooning country
3. "Like a Rolling Stone" (live at Manchester, 1966) , Bob Dylan --- blisteringly electrified folk, bringing down the sacred cows
4. "Pampa Lirima," Wayanay Inka --- traditional Andean music
5. "Heave Away My Johnny," Louis Killen --- I own more CDs of sailor songs and sea shanties than most people

As I wrote this, the playlist on my computer offered up "Danny Boy" as sung by Johnny Cash, followed by "I Love Paris" by Frank Sinatra, followed by "Francoise," by Henri Dikongue, a Cameroonian artist, followed by Tom Waits covering the Ramones' "The Return Of Jackie And Judy."

It's all too beautiful, man.

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