Music Quote of the Day

"If you really think about it, everything in this world tries to be music." -- Eugene Hutz

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve - Leisl Bonell

Yup. That's me. I took the photos, too. Happy Hogmanay!

Dog Days Are Over - Florence and the Machine

According to a wikipedia article I found, this song was recorded in a tiny room "the size of a loo" with no instruments.

This single (as well as Kiss with a Fist) is available from iTunes, but there is no album yet. Hopefully 2009 will bring a Florence and the Machine album with it.

Dog Days Are Over by Florence and the Machine.

MySpace page for Florence and the Machine

Monday, December 29, 2008

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves - Dervish

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves was first recorded in 1971 by Cher and was her first #1 hit as a solo artist. It was written by Bob Stone as a story-song originally titled "Gypsies and White Trash" until producer Snuff Garrett asked Shel Silverstein to re-work it.

Dervish is a traditional Irish music band formed in 1989 and based in County Sligo. They chose the name Dervish as it relates to any group of spiritual people who become enraptured by music.

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves
by Dervish from the 2007 album "Travelling Show"

Dervish official website

Sunday, December 28, 2008

We're All Going to Hell - The Bastard Fairies

This is probably not the song you want to play with children around. Or at work. And you'll probably have to dodge a bit of lightning listening to it on the Sabbath (whenever you celebrate the Sabbath ... and if you don't, well, "you are going to hell!" LOL!). But it makes me giggle and gets stuck in my head. And I think it's perfect for today. So there.

We're All Going to Hell by The Bastard Fairies from the 2007 album "Memento Mori"

The Bastard Fairies official website

The Bastard Fairies MySpace page

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Where the Wild Roses Grow - Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue

Nick Cave wrote this song after hearing - and being inspired by - "The Willow Garden," a traditional song about a man who kills a woman while courting her.

Where the Wild Roses Grow by Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue from the 1996 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds album, "Murder Ballads" and the Kylie Minogue compilation albums "Hits +" (2000), "Greatest Hits 1987-1999" (2003) and "Ultimate Kylie" (2004)

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds website

Kylie Minogue website

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Drunken Sailor - Rapalje

It must be the season for reminiscing. This is another ditty I grew up with. Of course, my dad was a sailor. We'd make up our own verses and the song could last much longer than "99 Bottles of Beer" ever dreamed possible.

"What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor" (or "What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor") is a traditional sea-faring work song that dates back at least as far as 1824-25 when the music was first published in "Cole’s Selection of Favourite Cotillions."

Rapalje is a Celtic band from The Netherlands. They play Irish, Scottish and Dutch folk music on instruments like fiddle, tin whistle, gitouki, squeezebox, mouth organ, bodhrán and tea-chest bass.

Pass the rum. I'm in the mood to dance a hornpipe.

The Drunken Sailor by Rapalje from the 2007 DVD "Celtic Fire"

Official website for Rapalje

MySpace page
for Rapalje

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis - Tom Waits

Just in case I don't get online tomorrow, I wanted to share this one now and to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Tom Waits - singer, composer, actor ... genius.

Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis by Tom Waits from the 1978 album "Blue Valentine"

Official site
for Tom Waits

Go Tell It on the Mountain - The Blind Boys of Alabama

Oh, I do love me some good gospel and The Blind Boys of Alabama are among the very best at it. Makes the soul jump right up and get down!

The Blind Boys of Alabama
have been singing traditional and contemporary gospel since 1939. Original member Jimmy Carter leads the group today in a direction that maintains the vocal and performance tradition that the group has held for 70 years while embracing musical experimentation and taking them in new directions of secular music that hold to the inspiration, hope and faith that has been at the core of The Blind Boys repertoire from the beginning.

Go Tell It on the Mountain
by The Blind Boys of Alabama from the album "Go Tell It on the Mountain" (re-released in 2004)

Official website for The Blind Boys of Alabama

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Too Sick to Pray - Alabama 3

Alabama 3, in my opinion, is one of the best things ever to happen to music - intelligent, dark, twisted, and with a tongue firmly planted in their collective cheek.

Too Sick to Pray by Alabama 3 from the 2000 album "La Peste" (one of my all-time favorite albums ever!)

Alabama 3 official website

Alabama 3 MySpace page

Alabama 3 Facebook page

Monday, December 22, 2008

Don't Eat the Yellow Snow - Frank Zappa

Yup, another blizzard has moved in. This calls for a snow song. But no ordinary snow song will do. Nooooo! This calls for Frank Zappa's "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" (another staple from my childhood, much to my mother's dismay).

Born in 1940, Frank Zappa was a self-taught composer, musician, record producer and film director. He died in 1993 of prostate cancer, just 17 days before his 53rd birthday.

Don't Eat the Yellow Snow by Frank Zappa from the 1974 album "Apostrophe"

Official website for Frank Zappa (and the Zappa family)

Frank Zappa nndb bio (This is a pretty good one)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth - Bing Crosby and David Bowie

I love this arrangement! I love these voices! I love this time of year!

The Little Drummer Boy was written in 1957 by Katherine K. Davis while Peace on Earth was written in 1977 by Larry Grossman, Ian Fraser and Buz Kohan especially for David Bowie to sing in counterpoint for this performance because he didn't like The Little Boy. Bing died a month after recording this 1977 television special, "Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas."

The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth by Bing Crosby and David Bowie

Wikipedia about this song/performance

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Goodbye (aka: Just Goodbye) - Martha Davis and Spouse

In 1939, during an all-night jam session, Martha Davis married bass player Calvin Ponder (of Earl Hines Orchestra fame), but they didn't start performing together until 1948. Martha died of cancer in 1960 at the age of 42. Calvin died a decade later at the age of 53.

Goodbye by Martha Davis and Spouse from the 1955 Rhythm and Blues Review

Wild Realm Reviews: Martha Davis & Spouse

Black Cat Rockabilly Europe bio on Martha Davis & Spouse

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sugar Blues - Nina Hagen & the Leipsig Big Band

Oh, how much I love Nina Hagen!

Jazz trumpeter Clyde McCoy first performed Sugar Blues in 1930 at Chicago's Drake Hotel. It became an instant hit and his theme song.

Born in East Berlin to a script-writer and a singer/actress, Nina Hagen was considered an opera prodigy by the time she was 9 years old (and a trouble-maker by age 12 when she was "dishonorably discharged" from the Free German Youth group for her active involvement in protests against the socialist East German government). She spent time in London during the mid-1970s when the punk rock scene was in it's early days and on her return to Germany in 1977, formed The Nina Hagen Band. She is considered by many to be the "Mother of Punk Rock."

Sugar Blues
by Nina Hagen from the 2003 album "Big Band Explosion", a collection of jazz covers.

Nina Hagen's website

Nina Hagen MySpace page

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rama Lama Ding Dong - The Edsels

Yes, this song makes me cry. I used to sing it to my oldest when she was a baby. It was her lullaby. Nothing else would calm her down like this song would. Ten years ago today my husband officially adopted her, making her his daughter in the eyes of the law as well as in his heart. Today we all have such a hard time remembering they don't share DNA. She is 100% all his. Happy tears, for sure.

Santa Claus is Back in Town - The Brian Setzer Orchestra

It's been snowing all morning. I've got a fire burning in the fireplace and candles lit along the mantel. The cats are napping under the tree. The dogs are napping somewhere. I'm sipping some nice,hot tea. And yes, I'm feeling a little Christmas-y. There ya have it. Ho ho ho!

Santa Claus is Back in Town by The Brian Setzer Orchestra on the 2004 album "Boogie Woogie Christmas"

Brian Setzer's website

Brian Setzer's "Christmas is Gonna Rock" MySpace page

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cold Hailey Rainy Night - The Imagined Village

Winner of the 2008 BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Traditional Song as well three (that's 3) 2008 Hancock Awards for Best Album, Best Original Song (Cold Haily Rainy Night) and Best Traditional Song (Tam Lyn Retold), The Imagined Village is a collaborative effort formed in 2004 as a way of exploring their musical roots. The project includes the talents of artists such as Billy Bragg, Sheila Chandra, Paul Weller, Eliza Carthy, Johnny Kalsi and many others.

Cold Hailey Rainy Night by The Imagined Village from the 2007 album "The Imagined Village"

Official website for The Imagined Village

MySpace page for The Imagined Village

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rabenballade - Schelmish

My German sucks, but I've managed to figure out that they formed the band in 1999 and that Rimsbold is the son of Dextro and DesDemonia.

Rabenballade by Schelmish from the 2005 DVD "Coetus" (sadly, not available in the US)

Official website
(in German) for Schelmish

MySpace (again in German) for Schelmish

Fansite (in English) for Schelmish

Gaudete - Libera

OK. Yeah. So I have weird things floating around my head. What's new? This 16th century song - published in 1582, part of a collection entitled "Piae Cantiones" - kept waking me up last night it was playing so loudly inside my head. At least it's season appropriate. (I love holiday songs!)

Gaudete performed in 2002 by Libera (aka St. Philips Boys Choir)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Struck a Nerve - Bad Religion

Woke up with this one in my head this morning. "Recipe for Hate" is one of my all-time favorite albums, every track is an example of brilliant song writing with intelligent lyrics, spine-tingling harmonies and powerful guitar work.

Struck a Nerve by Bad Religion from the 1993 album "Recipe for Hate"

Bad Religion website

Bad Religion MySpace page

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Marvelous Toy - Peter, Paul and Mary

We decided to take advantage of some "alone time" today and get some (hopefully) final shopping done for the holidays. Seeing all the other shoppers out there - especially in the toy aisles - firmly lodged this song in my head. This is another one that my dad taught me when I was young. I suppose you could say that these songs my dad passed down to me are my own "marvelous toys."

The Marvelous Toy was written in 1961 by Tom Paxton and recorded by many artists over the years including The Chad Mitchel Trio, John Denver and my personal favorite, Peter, Paul and Mary.

The Marvelous Toy by Peter, Paul and Mary from the 1969 album "Peter, Paul and Mommy"

Website for Peter, Paul and Mary

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Borneo - Firewater

In 2005, Tod A (the man that is Firewater) became very frustrated, depressed and disillusioned with his world. So he put everything he owned into storage, packed some clothes, a strum stick, laptop and a microphone and set off on a journey of discovery that lasted three years and took him through the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia. The result of this sabbatical is the album "The Golden Hour." Absolutely amazing.

Borneo by Firewater on the 2008 album "The Golden Hour"

Firewater official website

Firewater MySpace page

Friday, December 12, 2008

Shady Grove - Doc Watson and David Holt

My dad taught me to sing this 18th century American folk song when I was a little girl. This is one of those songs that plays in the back of my mind almost all the time and leaks out quite unexpectedly at times ... like during the odd sound check or while pushing the shopping cart up the cereal aisle. Ya jus' never know. I love this song. My mom hates it. Go figure. *grins*

Shady Grove by Doc Watson and David Holt

I really like this version, too.

Shady Grove by Jean Ritchie. That's Pete Seeger there with her.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Balrog Boogie - Diablo Swing Orchestra

I don't remember exactly how I ended up on Diablo Swing Orchestra's MySpace page, but I'm glad I did. I was blown away. I don't think I made it all the way through listening to Balrog Boogie before I was off trying to find out more information on this band. And I ordered "The Butcher's Ballroom" that very day.

Diablo Swing Orchestra is a Swedish band, combining elements of death metal, swing, opera ... even a bit of flamenco (check out Poetic Pitbull Revolutions). I encourage you to read the bio on their MySpace page for all the creative background on the band you could want. 1501 - 2003 - current.

Balrog Boogie by Diablo Swing Orchestra from the album "The Butcher's Ballroom" (This isn't a video at all, but like I've said before this blog isn't about the vids, it's about the music. I would've chosen to use one of the myriad live performance vids on youtube, but the sound sucked on all of them. Bummer.)

Diablo Swing Orchestra official website

Diablo Swing Orchestra MySpace page

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Russian Dance - Tom Waits

*swoon* So beautiful! Reminds me of Anton Chekhov and Ingmar Bergman and some really good vodka.

Russian Dance by Tom Waits from the 1993 album "The Black Rider" (studio recording of songs from the stage play "The Black Rider" co-written by Tom Waits and William S. Burroughs, based on the German folktale "Der Freischütz")

Official website for Tom Waits

Banana Ghost - Man Man

From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Man Man is known for exciting and exuberant live performances and playing a variety of instruments including (but not limited to) clavinet, sousaphone, melodica (that's the mouth organ), saxophone, trumpet, French horn, flute, euphonium, marimba, xylophone, piano and your standard rock band gear - guitar, bass, drums - as well as a variety of percussive instruments including pots and pans, kids' toys and noise makers. The best description I've read for their sound is in a wikipedia article where they are described as "Viking-vaudeville, Manic Gypsy Jazz." Yeah, I can go with that.

Banana Ghost by Man Man from the 2006 album "Six Demon Bag", video directed by Jeremy Mayhew

And a live performance of the same song at SXSW 2008 in Austin, Texas (just in case you enjoy live footage as much as I do). So much fun! A melodica!

The official website for Man Man

MySpace page for Man Man

Facebook page for Man Man

YouTube channel for Man Man

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Märk Hur Vår Skugga - Cornelis Vreeswijk

The first time I heard this song was by the Mediaeval Baebes on their "Mirabilis" album and I was instantly struck with it's sad beauty. This song was written in the 18th century by author Carl Michael Bellman as part of the "Epistles of Fredman", a collection of poems and songs that chronicle fictional characters and events that took place around Stockholm during that era. Most of these fictional characters were based on people Bellman knew in real life and center around the character Jean Fredman, an alcoholic watchmaker.

Born in The Netherlands in 1937, Cornelis Vreeswijk moved to Sweden with his parents in 1949 at the age of 12. He was trained as a social worker and had hoped to become a journalist, but became a musician instead. He led a very colorful life, full of controversy - drink, debt, and questionable characters. He died in 1987 of liver cancer at the age 50.

Märk Hur Vår Skugga by Cornelis Vreeswijk from the album "Gömda Guldkorn"

Wikipedia biography of Cornelis Vreeswijk

Dutch website for Cornelis Vreeswijk

Monday, December 8, 2008

Wuthering Heights - Kate Bush

It was a strange dream night. Maybe it's the headache, maybe it's the meds. Whatever it is, I woke up with this song playing insistently inside my head.

Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush from the 1978 album "The Kick Inside"

The official website for Kate Bush

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Whatever - The Bastard Fairies

A beautiful Native American Indian princess and a British music producer, Yellow Thunder Woman and Robin Storey felt there just wasn't any music out there they liked to listen to, so they got together and created their own and became The Bastard Fairies.

Whatever by The Bastard Fairies from the 2007 album "Momento Mori"

The Bastard Fairies official website - you can download 12 tracks for FREE!

The Bastard Fairies MySpace page

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hùg Air A' Bhonaid Mhòir - Julie Fowlis

Julie Fowlis is from North Uist, Scotland. A talented singer and musician (she plays the one row melodeon, whistles, oboe, cor anglais, small pipes and Highland bagpipes), she sings in Scottish Gaelic, a language spoken by only 60,000 people (that's roughly 1% of Scotland) and tours the world sharing ancient songs from the Hebrides with new audiences.

Hùg Air A' Bhonaid Mhòir by Julie Fowlis from the album "Cuilidh" originally released in March of 2007.

Julie Fowlis' official website

Julie Fowlis' MySpace page

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Water Boy - Odetta

Back in October, I posted "House of the Rising Sun" by Odetta. I encourage you to revisit that one. Simply amazing. She had such a powerful voice, filled with lifetimes of emotion.

I learned last night that she died Tuesday in Manhattan, New York of heart disease at the age of 77.

New York Times obituary for Odetta

Originally a prison work song, The Water Boy was given a jazz arrangement by Avery Robinson in the 1920's. That version was recorded and popularized by Roland Hays in 1922. Beginning in the late 1940s, it was re-embraced by the folk and blues artists, including Odetta, Fats Waller, John Lee Hooker, Harry Belafonte and The Kingston Trio.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Hurdy Gurdy Man - Butthole Surfers

The Hurdy Gurdy Man was originally written and recorded in 1968 by Scottish musician Donovan for his friend Mac MacLeod who was, at that time, in a Danish band called Hurdy Gurdy. Over the years, the song has been recorded by many artists including Eartha Kitt, L.A. Guns, and Butthole Surfers. The Butthole Surfers is my favorite version.

The Butthole Surfers were formed in 1981 in San Antonio, Texas by Gibby Haynes and Paul Leary who met while attending Trinity University.

The official Butthole Surfers website

The Butthole Surfers MySpace page

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Soalin' - Peter, Paul and Mary

The sky is dark and overcast this morning as I'm waiting for the snow to begin falling and I'm feeling a little nostalgic. I grew up with this song - my dad used to play it for us on his guitar. He taught me to pick it a bit - I'm not very good and this is the only song I can sort of play part of on the guitar - but I sing it quite often.

A Soalin' by Peter, Paul and Mary first released on the 1963 album "(Moving)"

The official website for Peter, Paul and Mary

Monday, December 1, 2008

Miracle - Mediaeval Baebes

Founded in the mid-1990s by Katherine Blake (Miranda Sex Garden), the Mediaeval Baebes released their first album, Salva Nos, in 1997 and have remained consistantly on the top of the classical charts.

The music for Miracle was composed by Melpomeni Kermanidou (who sings the lead vocals on this song) and Chris McInnes, but the lyrics were written by an unknown author circa 1600 AD and were taken from "The Albatross Book of Living Verse" edited by L. Untermey.

Miracle (remix 2009) by the Mediaeval Baebes from the 2008 album "Illumination"

The official site for Mediaeval Baebes

MySpage page for Mediaeval Baebes