One of the (faux) reasons I started a blog was because there were folks in the blogiverse that were doing a CD exchange. The list below, which represent an album I gave out at my 50th birthday a couple years ago, wouldnâ€™t have made the cut as it was then constituted, had I been participating in the exchange, for reasons explained below. Still it is, as I wrote at the time, “a list of songs that, for a variety of reasons, resonate to a particular time, place and/or emotion over the years.” So, I might well have offered it in a modified form. I had included liner notes; these are not them, except for the stuff in quotes.
Sorry (I Ran All the Way Home) â€“ the Impalas: one of my fatherâ€™s 45s. But I would have dumped it in favor of the much more obscure â€œ45 Men in a Telephone Boothâ€ by the Top Hatters in a heartbeat. I had ordered a Cadence Records compilation specifically for this purpose in January, but it did not show up until April, well after my birthday.
Roger Ramjet- TV cartoon theme: pretty obvious. Donâ€™t know if it would still be included, if only because its abrasive quality doesnâ€™t help establish a mood.
Quintet: â€œMy mother took us to West Side Story, the first â€œgrown upâ€ movie I remember seeing. I didnâ€™t know one could have several simultaneous melodies at the same time.â€
Drive My Car – Fab Four: Lots of people have a certain antipathy for this first song on the British Rubber Soul album. I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s because itâ€™s NOT â€œIâ€™ve Just Seen a Faceâ€, the first song on the American version of the record, or because it has a weird chord progression. I like it BECAUSE of its complicated chord changes. Sting butchered this song on a bootleg someone gave me.
Take Me For A Little While- Vanilla Fudge: â€œCarrying groceries for Mom. One afternoon, I was home listening to the album. Mom came home. I retrieved groceries, and found the stereo off. The crescendo made her think the record player was broken.â€
Worried Man/Ainâ€™t Gonna Be Treated This Way: Carol & I went to see Woody Guthrieâ€™s American Song at Capital Rep, when this brace of songs came up. Both of them were in my fatherâ€™s repertoire when he sang around Binghamton when I was growing up. This was a year or two after my father died, and I just lost it.
But as for the compilation, if I were doing it now: the song is TOO LONG, and has TOO MUCH TALK. Every other song Iâ€™d lived with for a number of years. This was too much an emotional choice of the moment.
Spider-Man cartoon TV theme: my favorite comic book character.
Feel Flows -Beach Boys: freshman year in college. Probably influenced by its inclusion in the movie Almost Famous
Gone Away – Roberta Flack: â€œWhen romance went sour, I developed a quartet of songs to play: Sweet Bitter Love (QoS), this, My First Night Alone Without You (Jane Olivor), and Stay with Me (Lorraine Ellison). Sometimes added Remove This Doubt (Supremes).â€ QoS means Queen of Soul.
Fantasy – Earth, Wind, and Fire: Schenectady Arts Council, 1978. â€œThe choreographer needed a partner to help teach the elementary kids some dances, and I got sucker.., volunteered to do that.â€
NaÃ¯ve Melody – Talking Heads: â€œThe â€™83 show was one of the best concerts I ever saw. This song is about rediscovery on the way to Cooperstown.â€
23rd Psalm -Bobby McFerrin: My then choir director Eric Strand â€œtranscribed this song, and choir members Bob, Tim & I sang at church. Eric gave me the high part, which I did almost entirely in falsetto. Someone came up to a church member, expressing concern that a â€˜gay guyâ€™ was singing in church.â€
Harvest Moon -Neil Young: â€œAbout lost love. Also, about the only Neil song my ex-office mate [the Hoffinator] could standâ€.
Lullabye-Billy Joel: â€œThe melancholy of the song (and the back story) parallels my melancholy about the state of my old hometownâ€ [Binghamton].
Church-Lyle Lovett: â€œWhen four of us [librarians] were in tight office quarters, with very distinct likes (and especially dislikes), Lyle passed muster with all of us. Closing act of a great Newport Folk Festival at SPAC.â€
JEOPARDY! â€“ â€œan NBC daytime game that I used to watch with my Aunt Deana. â€œ
Now That I Found You – Alison Krauss: â€œOne of my wifeâ€™s two favorite artists; oddly, both of them have last names beginning with KRA. We saw AK at the Palace [Theater in Albany] in 2002.â€
At Last-Etta James: â€œOne of five great songs on the Rain Man soundtrack. Oh yeah, Carol & I danced to it at our wedding.â€
So, I would have changed the first song, dumped the second and fifth cuts, but keep the rest pretty much as is. Iâ€™ve gotten a lot of positive feedback, especially the Free Flow to Church run.
See what you missed out on, bloggers?