Saturday, December 6, 2008

Leftovers (Days of the Week): Almost Saturday Night

John Fogerty: Almost Saturday Night


After hit maker machine Creedence Clearwater Revival disbanded in 1972, main songwriter and vocalist, John Fogerty began his much anticipated solo career. In an attempt to put some distance between himself and the Creedence legacy, he left his name off his first album and released it as The Blue Ridge Rangers, a collection of Country and Gospel songs that didn't live up to the expectation of CCR fans anticipating a Rock-based Pop record.

The disappointing sales led Fogerty's return to a straight ahead Rock sound in his second solo recording, 1975's aptly named John Fogerty. It yielded Rockin' All Over the World, a Top 40 hit in the US and the wonderful Almost Saturday Night, today's selection. Enjoy!

Leftovers: The Refrigerator Clean-Out Continues...

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday – I love the non-commercial/no-agenda-ness of the intangible season that Hallmark has yet to find a way to hold us hostage with guilt and greeting cards. Grace abounds, as we are surrounded by ones we love who love us in return – in this spirit, despite economic woes, we count our blessings and realize we have much for which to be thankful.

I remain grateful to all the Starmakers for widening the circle, making me feel welcome and introducing me to so many wonderful artists and songs in my short time here – I also relish the opportunity to present a few more of my favorites before this week’s Tupperware is tossed (burp!).

Work: Papa Was a Rodeo

There used to be a very awesome image of a guy on a horse at a rodeo here. It has since been removed by request of the photographer. Click on this huge block of text to find it, and order a copy of it, from Lisa Cawte-Baker.

Kelly Hogan & the Pine Valley Cosmonauts: Papa Was a Rodeo


In my Jody Grind post a few days ago, I mentioned Kelly Hogan and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts… and thought to myself, “hmmm, if there’s ever a Career Theme, I have the perfect song” – going back through the archives once again, I discovered there had indeed been a Work Week!

I enjoy all 11 tracks on this CD, but I could listen to Papa Was a Rodeo (written by Magnetic Fields, I have since found out) eleven times in a row on repeat play and never tire of the way the narrator’s defense-mechanism bravada… segues to finding someone with similar circumstances… gives way to happily ever after… “tooooo”…

Civics Lessons: Buzzer

Dar Williams: Buzzer


No one here realizes what restraint it’s taken on my part not to submit a Dar Williams song each week, whose body of work (next to Joni's) is the litmus test by which I measure all others – when I first heard You’re Aging Well (which I still consider my personal anthem) over a decade ago on Joan Baez’s Ring Them Bells CD, it began the contemporary folk and acoustic music path upon which I peacefully embarked and joyfully continue. Dar has a lovely voice and better-than-average guitar skills… but it’s her lyrics that continue to captivate – from her relationship songs to her political tunes, smart layered thought-provoking turns of phrase invoke vivid images and issues of ephiphany.

Buzzer (which I would have submitted for Civics Lessons, featured the week before I came on board) is based on the Stanley Milgram experiment in the early-60’s, testing obedience to authority and individual responsibility – the robotic tempo of the song, coupled with the sensory-overloaded life of the woman who volunteered because she just needed some extra cash, helps one see “the big picture”, as the song extrapolates how just following orders can lead to questioning one’s ethics of stock purchase and clothes buying. Classic Dar – as she says on her Out There Live CD: “brilliant, brilliant”...

The Moon: The Moon and St. Christopher

Mary Chapin Carpenter: The Moon and St. Christopher


Danger… Warning… Caution – chick song alert!

And if you’re in touch with your inner SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy), you may also have a visceral reaction to this tune I belatedly offer up for Moon Week – it’s about regrets and what-ifs and one-may-never-knows. I’ve always thought it was a shame Mary Chapin Carpenter was pigeonholed as country during her early career – however, her last 3 or 4 CDs have garnered a larger audience, more interested in insightful songwriting than genre…

Now I have run from the arms of lovers,
I've run from the eyes of friends,
I have run from the hands of kindness,
I've run just because I can…”

My father was given his St. Christopher (patron saint of travelers) medal before he went to Korea as a Marine in the early 50’s – the priceless talisman now resides on my keychain to remind me of my dad's presence and to protect me on my journeys (emotional, spiritual and geographical)…

Leftovers (Advice): Don't Marry Her

The Beautiful South: Don't Marry Her


Being that I'm one of the spanking new contributors here, there were several themes I missed out on. But the 'Advice' theme seemed to interest me the most.

The Beautiful South were always a band I was fond of. Formed by members of the Housemartins, they didn't take things themselves too seriously and perhaps because of this, they created some very witty, very original music.

"Don't Marry Her" was one of the band's bigger hits, released on their 1996 album, Blue Is The Colour. The song is delivered with a pleasant, sing-a-long delivery, but packs quite the wallop with its unexpected expletive.

The song is a straightforward take on a woman's insistence that his intended marriage to another woman will not be the idyllic life he aims for. And that instead, he should choose her.

And if the song doesn't illustrate just how dry these guys were, the band broke up last year, citing "musical similarities."

Leftovers: Leftover Edition

When I was growing up, we would, of course, have turkey for Thanksgiving. In the week that followed, much of the meat that remained on the bird would be stripped off and made into something else, usually in some kind of creamy sauce, and usually served over rice. The carcass, with a fair amount of meat still on it, would be frozen for later use. At about this point in the week following Thanksgiving, we would get the turkey carcass out of the freezer, and I would have one of my favorite tasks of the year: making turkey soup. So, in our house, even the leftovers from the feast had leftovers, and the soup making was a true labor of love. It is in that spirit that I present this post.

Clothes: A Summer Wind, A Cotton Dress

Richard Shindell: A Summer Wind, A Cotton Dress


Half way through Clothes week, we lost our internet service for what turned out to be two and a half weeks. I had two posts planned for the remainder of the week, which never saw the light of day until now.

I wanted to do a two-song post of Richard Shindell songs. The first song was “Che Guevara Tee Shirt”, which wound up be handled quite well by Boyhowdy, (thanks again). The second song was “A Summer Wind, A Cotton Dress”. This song comes from earlier in Shindell’s career, and is not as lyrical complex as “Che...”. But here, Shindell captures perfectly the curiosity we all sometimes feel: what would have happened if that one relationship so long ago had worked out?

Clothes: The Sweater

Meryn Caddell: The Sweater


I mentioned that there were two posts I planned for Clothes week; this was going to be the other one.

Meryn Caddell is a musician and performance artist based in Canada. Here, she captures perfectly, (so I’m told by my consultant on matters feminine), the “drama” of high school girls and dating. With a considerable wink.

The Music Biz: The Under Assistant West Coast Promo Man

The Rolling Stones: The Under Assistant West Coast Promo Man


During our internet outage, I completely missed the week devoted to The Music Biz. Once I found out about it, I looked through the posts to see if anyone thought of this one. Most of the essentials got covered, but this was nowhere to be seen.

The Rolling Stones had for their original inspiration the blues music of the American South. When they used this musical of the downtrodden to tell the tale of a low level music industry worker who seeks to advance his career by exploiting the musical talent of others, I’m sure the Stones were well aware of the irony.

The Moon: Kiko and the Lavender Moon

Los Lobos: Kiko and the Lavender Moon


Finally, I was around for our week of songs inspired by The Moon. This was just one more time when I had more material than time. That said, I can’t remember how I decided to leave out my favorite Los Lobos song.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Leftovers (Adjective Noun): Sweet Revenge

John Prine: Sweet Revenge


Just thought I’d add one more song to the theme I’ve enjoyed the most here at SMM. Adjective Noun leaves the door open for many choices, so instead of searching for songs to fit the theme, you can search some of your favorite artists and see which of their tunes follow the specified grammatical formula. Boyhowdy, if you’re reading… let’s do more.

The title track from John Prine’s third album in as many years since his introduction is simply terrific. And that is his greatest appeal. He can make a phrase that is clever is hell seem like second nature conversation. You always feel as if John is speaking directly to you. This personal flavor creates warm, sincere music that transcends genre and remains relevant in today’s music world.

Leftovers (History): Weak With Love

Susanna Hoffs: Weak With Love


Appropriate for History Week, is Susanna Hoffs' "Weak With Love", as it both gives information and reaction to the tragic event of December 8th, 1980, the day John Lennon was killed. The song appeared on Susanna's second solo album, self-titled, that was released in 1996.

On that fateful day, Susanna would have been about 21 years old. She graduated from college the same year and was about to embark on her musical career with The Bangles in the coming months. But her childhood had been filled with the music of The Beatles and they always remained her main influence. As a young musician, it was devastating to hear that her hero had been murdered. This song contains both a recount of how she found out about it and also a short recount of the event in question. The title "Weak With Love" is both an homage to the man that was lost that day and his gentle nature, as well as the feeling that she was left with in that loss.

I think the song does a great job of being both factual as far as the event is concerned, as well as remaining mostly an emotional tale of how one feels because of something that happened. And most importantly, it is also a lovely song.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Leftovers (Footwear): Just Because You Wear Big Shoes

The Jody Grind: Just Because You Wear Big Shoes


The Jody Grind was an iconic Atlanta band in the early 90’s and I saw/heard them many times while living there – One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure was (and still is) a favorite CD, its style all over the musical map… from the jangly jazz of Death of Zorba… to the sultry torch of Blue and Far… to the powerhouse punch of Eight-Ball (and who knew the Peter Gunn theme had words?!?).

When I saw Footwear Week in the archives, this song from my past, whose country twang easily follows, without duplicating, Loretta Lynn/Tammy Wynette/Dolly Parton footprints, immediately stepped up and tapped to be included:

“He’s got more love in one finger than you have in both your hands…
Just because you wear big shoes, that don’t make you a man”

The Jody Grind’s career was tragically cut short when their drummer and bassist were killed in an automobile accident on the way back from a show in Pensacola, Florida in 1992, along with beloved Atlanta spoken word artist Deacon Lunchbox – Kelly Hogan, lead vocalist and cornerstone of the group, has since moved to Chicago and gone on to solo recognition and, more recently, an alt-country flavor with The Pine Valley Cosmonauts....

For more info: A fan-based website (last updated in 2003) can be found here... and a great post-Jody Grind interview here...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Leftovers (City Songs): Minneapolis

That Dog: Minneapolis


I missed the awesome City Songs week, but I am glad I now get the chance to share what I consider my favorite of city songs, That Dog's "Minneapolis". I consider it one of the best, not because it paints a picture of a city, but because it captures two of my favorite aspects in music: telling a great story, and being catchy as hell. So catchy, in fact, that I cannot have someone mention Minneapolis without wanting to sing the infectious chorus of "Minneapolis" back at them. Any song that can forever implant itself in my head like that deserves some credit. Not only that, but it makes me think "if a city can inspire such a catchy song, it must be pretty great", but I've never been there so I couldn't tell you.

That Dog made three albums together, all in the late 1990s. They're a band with a number of musical pedigrees, including the Haden sisters, Rachel and Petra (who I now consider the modern queen of the cover song), the daughters of the legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden, and are led by Anna Waronker, sister to indie drummer Joey Waronker, and who are both the children of industry bigwig Lenny Waronker. Their last album together, Retreat From The Sun, was less punk than their first two, and probably one of the catchiest albums I've ever heard. "Minneapolis" is a one of my favorites from that album, and in general. It tells the (perhaps true) tale of a girl who meets a boy at a concert in a darling and romantic way, but alas, they cannot be together because he lives in far away Minneapolis.

Leftovers (Cars): Elvis Presley’s Cadillac Edition

One of the things I love about being involved in SMM is discovering new music. Usually, this happens because my fellow Starmakers are a great resource for wonderful music I’ve never heard, (thank you all!), and I try to return the favor with my own posts. But sometimes one of my own posts indirectly leads me to something new. This is the greatest reward of all. This post will illustrate what I mean.

Jesse Winchester: Just Like New


During Cars week, I posted a set of songs about Cadillacs. One of the responses to that post was a comment from pilk00, who suggested that I would like “Just Like New” by Jesse Winchester. I’ve kept that suggestion in mind ever since, and now was the time to act on it. And pilk, you were right.

Jesse Winchester is an artist I had heard of, but never heard. He fled the United States to escape the draft during the Vietnam War, and as a result, he cannot tour in this country. This is why Winchester is not better known here. Now that I have heard him, I would love to be guided through more of his work by someone who is familiar with it. Comments, please.

John Hiatt: Tennessee Plates


This song was one I wanted to post during Cars week, but I ran out of time. It’s just as well, because it makes the perfect companion for “Just Like New”.

Jesse Winchester describes feelings about Elvis Presley’s Cadillac that border on worship. John Hiatt tells us what happens when these feelings are taken to extremes. If you’ve never heard this before, I hope I haven’t given too much away.

If you enjoy this post, save a big thank you for pilk00. And pilk, if you’re still out there, let me know you’re listening.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Leftovers (The Music Biz): Don't Download This Song

Weird Al Yankovic: Don't Download This Song


I was here for The Music Biz week back at the end of September, and I enjoyed the songs and hearing what various artists thought about various aspects of the music industry. The song I'm sharing today wasn't really relevant back then, but I think it is now.

Back in September, I felt that I was really starting to get the hang of this whole blogging thing. I was feeling a rush of creativity and tons of post ideas in my head and music I wanted to share. I even carried a notebook around with me at work so I could record any ideas as they came to me so I wouldn't lose them. I sat in restaurants with my notebook, writing entire posts on my lunch break. I had blog fever.

Then something happened.

Songs and posts started disappearing. Blogs were shut down or had to relocate. Regular contributors to this site either stopped contributing or greatly reduced their output... myself included. Even at my own site, I put up less than half as many posts in November as I had in any other month since I started writing in July. Suddenly blogging isn't as much fun. There's a cloud that hangs over the community now as more and more songs continue to disappear from my site (two more yesterday) and others.

On his 2006 release, Straight Outta Lynwood, Weird Al Yankovic addressed the issue of music piracy on the track "Don't Download This Song." It's a bit of a shot at those who used free peer to peer services such as Napster and the millionaire artists who fought against them such as Lars Ulrich. In the song, Al compares piracy to "selling crack and running over school kids with your car." I'm starting to think that certain record labels actually now view bloggers in the same way.

Al's song is obviously tongue in cheek and filled with the type of ridiculous over exaggerations that Al often uses in his music. However, I thought it might be appropriate to share here. I know none of us consider ourselves pirates or criminals... just music fans who want to share the music we love with others. I'm not sure what my point is. I guess I'm just frustrated, and Weird Al always makes me laugh.

Edit: Just after I posted this, I received a notice from blogger that I have had another post removed. I may just not do this anymore.

Leftovers (Horns): Latin Edition

During Horns week I didn’t have the problem of submitting material too late to get it posted; I simply had more material than I had time. This would have been my last post, if the week had been longer.

Latin America has a rich musical tradition. Here, musical ideas brought from Africa by slaves were allowed to remain more intact than in the United States, and also melded with the musical traditions of the Native Americans of the area. Add European instruments to the mix, and, eventually, you get Latin American music as we know it today. And you get some of the most exciting music for horns found anywhere in the world. It was only natural that musicians working in other genres would occasionally be drawn to Latin sounds, and would produce wonderful music of their own as a result. Here are three fine examples.

David Byrne: Make Believe Mambo


In my post on “Mr. Jones”, I mentioned that Talking Heads’ last album sounded quite a bit like the solo album that David Byrne was working on at the time, Rei Momo. Byrne was exploring Latin music, and he was able to assemble a band of the finest Latin musicians working in New York at the time. Each song on Rei Momo explores a different style of Latin music, with the song I have chosen obviously representing the mambo. Incidentally, Rei Momo is a Brazilian term that means “king of the carnival”.

Kirsty MacColl: Mambo de la Luna


Kirsty MacColl made a name for herself in left-of-center pop in the 1980’s. When she sought to broaden her sound, she made a trip to Cuba to learn about the music there. The result was her wonderful album Tropical Brainstorm. Sadly, this was to be her final work; she died in a boating accident not long after the album was released.

Raul Malo: Takes Two to Tango


When Raul Malo of the Mavericks began his solo career, he wanted to celebrate his heritage. Malo was originally from Cuba, and he wanted to bring this music to an English-speaking audience. This song features guest vocals by Shelby Lynne, whose music is also well worth seeking out.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Leftovers (School Days): Grade 9

Barenaked Ladies: Grade 9


A game of thematic spin the bottle -- to play, just close your eyes and click randomly on the archives to the left -- calls up our end-of-summer School Days theme; perusing the excellent selections, I remember running out of time to share this lesser-known Barenaked Ladies popnumber, one of my many favorite tracks on their 1992 debut Gordon. Better late than never being the name of the game this week, I'm happy to present the most startlingly accurate portrayal of my younger self I have yet encountered in popular song.

To be fair, the song would have slid just as easily into our more recent set of Silly Songs. And being just a few years younger than these canadian masters of quickwit and geekiness, this song actually speaks to my middle school years. But I was a precocious child: it all resonates, from the pop culture references (that Rush guitar quote!) to the generally "freaks and geeks" portrayal of freshman despair and desperation. I've never been so happy to cringe as here, in celebration of a time when we were all so dorky, yet afraid to be uncool. My, how times have changed.

Leftovers (Fifty States): Arizona, Florida, North Dakota, Utah

I would have loved to have been around for this theme – even in retrospect, I can read between the [state] lines of the mad scramble in being first to post, as all 50 finally were covered, albeit with some boundary-stretching. I have perused the entirety of submissions, as well as related comments, and feel fairly confident my picks below were not mentioned!

The Nudes: Arizona


The Nudes (a.k.a. Walter Parks and Stephanie Winters) were a musical- and romantic–duo, he on guitar and she on cello – their sound was jazzy, moody, sultry (BH cover alert: Norwegian Wood)… and quite captivating until they went their separate ways in 1999. The first time I saw Dar Williams in a tiny bar in Ft. Myers, Florida (January 1998) she was accompanied by Stephanie (and Ellis Paul was her opener!) – post-breakup, Walter became a touring sideman for Richie Havens… and now Stephanie has joined the two of them on the road, she and Walter reuniting as Winters & Parks.

Richard Julian: Florida


I first saw Richard Julian at the Cleveland Folk Alliance (2000), introduced by Buddy Mondlock, who I was already a fan of – we exchanged cards, I invited him down for a house concert and put together a mini-tour as enticement. He was only just beginning to open for Norah Jones, and has since formed The Little Willies (also with Norah), as well as continuing a solo career – love this dark side of the Parrothead pendulum swing (which was written and recorded *before* the visit with us!).

Kris Delmhorst: North Dakota


Ah, Kris – she would have been my first house concert (January 2000), had not her flight been delayed from Boston, due to snow – I had to call/e-mail all 35 invitees and tell them the show could not go on (as they re-routed her through Texas, arriving in Ft. Lauderdale the following morning for our South Florida Folk Festival). Appetite is in my Top Ten, her songwriting so wise for someone so young – love the spare instrumentation on this tune, her heart beating for the state in which he’s never stepped foot

Brian Joseph: Utah


Brian Joseph too was a Folk Alliance discovery (San Diego 2003) and a house concert artist later that year – BH, I should send you his version (with Melanie Hersch) of Walk Like An Egyptian. Brian is tall, funny and quirky - Utah, the hidden track on We’re Gonna Laugh, cleverly describes a state of long-distance mind over matter…

P.S. This theme would of course not be complete without Fruvous’ The Lowest Highest Point!

Leftovers (Advice): Don't Stop Asking

Lucy Lee: Don't Stop Asking


Advice week came and went long before I was a contributor here. But Lucy Lee has some advice she'd like to impart now that she has the chance: Don't stop asking. In her case, she wants to let a guy know that just because she said no this time doesn't mean she's not interested.

You learn pretty quickly if you try to Google Lucy Lee that it's also the name of a porn star. I assure you this is not the same person. Unfortunately, there's very little information about this Lucy Lee available. What I can tell you about her is that she released one album back in the late 90s (pictured above) and that she has a tongue-in-cheek classic country style. This song is a favorite of mine. I first heard it, and in return discovered her, when I received a free compilation at a 1998 Lilith Fair for being one of the first few hundred in the door. I was impressed right away and ordered her album. Unfortunately, she seems to have dropped off the face of the planet for the most part, which is doubly disappointing considering everyone I've shared this song, or other songs of hers, with has loved them.

Leftovers (Johns): Jilted John

"Here we go - two three four..." Every once in a while, one needs a healthy dose of Jilted John. His classic, self-titled single from ´78 is the ballad of John and Julie (and Gordon the moron of course). Produced by Martin Hannett of Joy Division fame btw, although that´s not really obvious here. Originally released on the tiny Rabid records, it took the great John Peel´s endorsement to get it picked up by a major label, after which it climbed to number 4 in the British charts. 

"I was so upset that I cried all the way to the chip shop... when I came out there was Gordon, standing at the bus stop..."
Pure genius, mate.

"Oh she's a slag and he's a creep,
she's a tart, he's very cheap,
she is a slut, he thinks he's tough,
she is a bitch, he is a puff,
yeah yeah, it's not fair
yeah yeah, it's not fair..."

Leftovers (Tricky Beats): Kissi Penny

Shudder To Think: Kissi Penny


I'm decent, not excellent, but pretty decent with time signatures and "tricky beats." I've owned this album since it came out in 1994, and I've just never been able to totally follow this song. The brilliant thing about it, though, is that despite my inability to track exactly what patterns they are playing, I can still enjoy listening. If anyone out there is brilliant with sort of thing, I'd love some insight.

Guest posted by Riggity

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Leftovers (Little Black Book): Amy

Ryan Adams: Amy


The Little Black Book theme is by far the one I regret missing out on the most. Not only is it an interesting topic that allows a wealth of tunes to be explored, but the title is just clever as hell.

If you’ve read my posts here or have EVER stopped by This Mornin’…, you’re well aware of my Ryan Adams obsession. And if you know anything about Ryan, it most likely stemmed from Heartbreaker. Amy had an impressive influence on Ryan, although I haven’t found much to substantiate any intel on the real Amy. This is the one and only tune to be adorned with her moniker, but it says it all, plain and simple - an attribute which gives Heartbreaker its everlasting elegance.

“I don’t know why I let go; I want to be your friend.”

“I go to the places we used to; I feel sad.”

“Oh, I love you Amy. Do you still love me?”

Leftovers (Clothes): You Make Me Wanna Wear Dresses

Lisa Germano: You Make Me Wanna Wear Dresses


When Boyhowdy asked me to write a guest post a few months ago, I was beyond flattered – after the New York Minute between his invitation and my submission (in case he changed his mind!), I spent quite a few hours perusing the archives to get a feel for the taste, tone and talent of the regular contributors (impressive being a major understatement)…

I couldn’t help but experience more than a twinge of wistfulness as I read previous themes and pondered the woulda/coulda/shoulda had I been around then – now that I’m “on staff” (pinch me!), many thanks to BH for allowing this time machine opportunity to revisit Clothes Week

Not sure exactly how the music of Lisa Germano first drifted into my ears – all I know is that when I heard You Make Me Wanna Wear Dresses, it took me back to a time of innocence, shyness and vulnerability. I immediately thought of past crushes and blushes (pre-husband, -children, -mortgage) – it’s lovely to have a suburban roof over my head (and all it represents)… but sometimes one can’t help but long for a castle in all its swoon-worthy metaphor…

P.S. I found out later that Lisa Germano played violin on tour with John Mellencamp for years – for BH: she does a h*lla cover of These Boots Are Made for Walkin’…

Leftovers (Fifty States): Washington

Robyn Hitchcock: Viva! Sea-Tac


Back when I was merely a lurker here, they had a Fifty States week. This was by far one of my favorite themes, because on my computer I have a Word document where I keep lists of songs for possible mix themes and one of the largest is songs about states. Of course, I am also a bit more anal about it and require that all the songs be titled simply the states name, and of course, that the song be one I like as well. This was all in hopes that one day I would create a fifty song mix containing one song for each state. But since then I've grown to just collecting all songs with state titles I can find and like.

Anyway, during the 50 States week here, the rule was that there was to be no repeating and they'd try to get a song for every state. By the end of the week the last two states to be done were Pennsylvania and Washington. They decided to do a free for all then and any songs about the state were to be posted, whether it be cities, areas, or pretty much anything regarding the state. I wasn't contributing at the time, but I think the essential song about Washington state is Robyn Hitchcock's "Viva! Sea-Tac", Sea-Tac being the abbreviation for the Seattle-Tacoma area, and also the name of the state's largest airport. Of course, this song could also probably work for the city songs theme too, but it was the Washington state free for all that made me wish this song was included. The song plays like an ode to someone's favorite place, or perhaps even something to be heard in a Washington state tourism commercial. Hitchcock seems to put the state and its residents on a pedestal for this one, but the sentiment is more of a good-natured ribbing of those that seemed to worship Seattle during the grunge era than anything else. It also is insanely fun to listen to.

Viva! Seattle-Tacoma
Viva, viva Sea-Tac!
They've got the best computers and coffee and smack!

Leftovers (The Sun): The Sky Is So Blue

When I first joined Starmaker, I was a guest poster for quite some time. The procedure at first was that I would send my text, along with the mp3, to Paul, Dean or Boyhowdy. They would add the coding, find the image, host the file, in short do a lot of work on my behalf that I knew nothing about. So I would like to thank these three fine gentlemen again, now that I can appreciate just how much you did for me. Double thanks to Paul, who handled this all by himself at first, and also to Boyhowdy, who finally, and with immense patience, showed me how to do it all myself.

One thing that sometimes happened in my days as a guest poster is I would submit a post late in the week, and hope that one of the guys would have time to get it in before the deadline. Some of those posts never made it. This happened at the end of Sun week. So here, at last, is that post.

Jane Siberry: The Sky is so Blue


Jane Siberry, who now goes by the name of Issa, is a Canadian artist who never became as well known in the United States as she deserved to. No Borders Here, her stateside debut, was released on the short-lived High Street label. High Street was an imprint created by the Windham Hill label when they attempted to branch out into singer-songwriter material, but the link to Windham Hill meant that every release had to overcome the new age label. Not all of them did. But the new age label certainly doesn’t do justice to the music of Jane Siberry. Her lyrics are often enigmatic, and she sings in a sweet soprano voice, but her arrangements are often more complex than they seem, and are emotionally rich.

“The Sky is so Blue” comes from Siberry’s self-titled debut album. Originally a Canadian only release, it was eventually released here as well. The song fits the sun theme perfectly, even though it does not have the word sun either in the title or anywhere in the lyrics. The song describes one of those beautiful sunny mornings that follow a night of thunderstorms, and Siberry’s vocal and arrangement here even sound like sunshine.

If you would like to further explore the music of Jane Siberry, I encourage you to visit the website of Sheeba Records. Here you can purchase mp3s of most of Siberry’s songs at the price of your choosing. Just keep in mind that Siberry does this because she receives a greater percentage of the revenue from each song when you buy it here, instead of a third-party vendor.

Leftovers (City Songs): Memphis

Faces: Memphis


I joined Star Maker Machine in its fourth week, just in time for the City Songs theme; somewhere in the vast wasteland that is a blogger and audiophile's iTunes playlists I still have a huge set of songs whose titles mention various cities from Tokyo to Timbuktu. The songs seem to cluster around cities from the American South, which probably says more about my musical tastes than anything else -- heck, I could do a whole week on Memphis alone. But I picked this song up for the first time a few months later, via "New Orleans based music thing" Captains Dead, and I've always wanted the opportunity to share it.

I don't know much about short-lived Ronnie Lane/Rod Stewart/Ron Wood side project Faces, or indeed about that whole 1969 - 1975 time frame, except what I read on the blogs, but this song really makes me appreciate both classic rock and Rod Stewart, and that's saying a whole lot. John Alroy, of Wilson and Alroy ("we listen to the lousy records so you won't have to"), has this to say about the Faces canon:

My ratings of all these records are low, and there are plenty of good reasons such as the Faces' lack of originality, instrumental virtuosity, lyrical substance, and quality songwriting (did I leave anything out?). However, Stewart and company have a way of getting under your skin, kind of like drunken, partying, good-for-nothing high school buddies you can't resist hanging out with. These are the records I reach for when I'm in the mood for sheer fun.