Saturday, May 28, 2011

Song Chain: California Dreamin'

Photos of California Dream Inn, Hollywood
This photo of California Dream Inn is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

Eddie Hazel: California Dreamin'


The last song was a fast cover of a mid-tempo song about California. This one's a slow cover of a mid-tempo song about California (or at least about wanting to be in California).

Eddie Hazel, mostly known as a guitarist in the P-Funk army, only released one solo album during his lifetime, 1977's Games, Dames, and Guitar Thangs. From it comes this slow-burn take on the Mamas & Papas hit.

Song Chain: Hotel California

The Gipsy Kings: Hotel California


Spanish guitar? Makes me think of this familiar, yet not, cover of the Eagles hit.

The Gipsy Kings are a pop-rhumba-flamenca group hailing from France, although their heritage is Spanish Romani. And this beautifully arranged song is from the soundtrack to The Big Lebowski. It's got one of the best intros ever.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Song Chain: That World Outside

Mink Deville: That World Outside


I must have heard You Don’t Own Me before, because I saw Dirty Dancing when it came out in the theaters. But I don’t remember the song, so rediscovering it here was a pleasure indeed. Starting with that great growly sax sound, and continuing with swelling strings done right, even into the doo-wop backing vocals, Own Me was great. Many of these same musical elements can be found in the music of Mink Deville, and I offer That World Outside as an example. Here is that growly sax again, and the swelling romanticism. The Spanish guitar on this one is a special bonus. This link in the chain then is all about feel.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Song Chain: You Don't Own Me


The Blow Monkeys: You Don't Own Me


It only took Boyhowdy's descriptive phrase: gender-bent folk rock offers just the right tone of righteous, defiant anger to trigger a bunch of entries that I thought would fit in our chain. You see, I collect genderbending songs. Aaaaaaand, I think that's all I'll say about that. ;)

Actually , I'm spoiled for choice here. Two runners up were Cam Clarke's Son of a Preacher Man or The Czars Where the Boys Are. But the clear winner for "defiant anger" has to be this Lesley Gore cover from 1987's soundtrack to Dirty Dancing.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Song Chain: Beautiful

Clem Snide: Beautiful (Christina Aguilera cover)


For me, the song chain challenge is no challenge at all, but rather the way my mind works anyway. I am, after all, the product of the very last vinyl-to-tape generation - and so, letting the mind open to the possibility of the next natural song is merely an echo of an earlier era, spent on the floor at my father's vast and varied record collection, where - in order to ensure that no silence interrupted a good evening of listening, or perhaps merely to make sense of the mix tape creation process - the three minutes listening to one song could be used wisely to search for another, so as to have it waiting for the switch-out with little more fuss than the lift and slide, the slide and drop.

Such quick-changes can come from anywhere, of course - which is to say, most chains, and most mixtapes, do not use the same sort of connection between one pair of songs and the next. Today, for example, we've gone from a titular connection to one of narrative meaning, and an antithetical one at that - for after seeing this afternoon's post of "Oh, Pretty Woman", this song came to mind, mostly, because Christina Aguilera's hit "Beautiful" always seemed like a kind of reclamation of the feminine mind from the objecthood which Roy Orbison's chart-topper imposes on the gender...and Clem Snide's grungy, gender-bent folk rock offers just the right tone of righteous, defiant anger against the femme-flattening two-dimensionality which so plagues the patriarchal society, even today.

Song Chain: Oh, Pretty Woman

pretty woman

Roy Orbison: Oh, Pretty Woman


Okay, I'll get this started, and say obvious song is obvious. I saw Darius's title and thought it was actually this song, so this post is all about making mistakes at first glance.

When I was young, in 1965 when this song came out, I couldn't tell the difference between Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley, so I thought it was an Elvis song.

I always think this song is titled "Pretty Woman" but it's got an "Oh," in front of it.

And my picture of that pretty woman? Is a guy. That's J-Rocker Kaya, who looks way better than I do in makeup.

Show Tunes => Song Chain: Pretty Women

Peabo Bryson: Pretty Women


Welcome to our Song Chain theme. This is a musical version of the old word association game, where one person thinks of a word, and the next person says the first word that comes into their head. So I hope this week is as much fun for our readers as I believe it will be for my fellow Star Makers and me.

Geovicki completely surprised me with her post of songs from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. First of all, I knew Hedwig had been a movie, but I didn’t know that it was a stage show first. And then, she took a Show Tunes theme, and found a way to include a J-pop artist. So the connections to this post are that I am concluding our Show Tunes theme, and I am offering a surprise.

Pretty Women comes from Sweeney Todd, and it’s no surprise that someone covered Sondheim, or that it was done as jazz. But I have never heard Peabo Bryson singing jazz before, and he does it very well. And he is working with Herbie Hancock, of all people. The combination works beautifully.