Music Quote of the Day

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

Friday, January 30, 2009

Diggy Diggy Lo - Doug Kershaw

Some days a toe-tappin' fiddle starts to playing in the far reaches of my brain and I can't help but dance a little as it builds in intensity and finally just takes over my day. Of course, the best fiddle in the world is played by Doug Kershaw.

Doug Kershaw, the Ragin' Cajun, was born in 1936 in Tiel Ridge, Cameron Parish, Louisiana. His autobiographical song, "Louisiana Man" was the first song ever broadcast back to earth from the moon by the Apollo 12 mission in 1969. He and his wife Pam were married in 1975 and have 5 sons, all of whom are musicians like their father.

Diggy Diggy Lo by Doug Kershaw from the album "The Cajun Way"

Doug Kershaw website

Doug Kershaw MySpace page

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Our House - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

I've just been lolling here on the couch today (recovering from surgery ... I can say "lolling" if I want) and thinking about how much I love my house. There is so much love within these walls it's like living in a hug. Light and mountain views and different levels for lots of movement ... it's lovely. It's not a "McMansion" but it's roomy. And it makes me happy.

Written by British singer-songwriter Graham Nash, Our House was inspired by his romantic (albeit short-lived) relationship with Canadian singer-songwriter/artist Joni Mitchell and speaks of his desire for the whole "white picket fence" stability of home ownership and monogamy - the antithesis of the "free love" movement of the hippie era of which he was a part.

Our House by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young from the 1970 album "Déjà Vu"

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young website

Graham Nash website

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Be Giving - Nico Vega

A very dear friend of mine is in need of kidney transplant. There will be more on that in the days ahead as I've convinced him to let me help raise some funds to pay for it. You see, he has no insurance and with recent cutbacks in State health he has no idea how much - or even IF - medicaide will pick up. And that doesn't even get into the cost of the medication he will have to be on for the his life just to stay alive. So, I've been working all day on trying to put together some basic web stuff to get the ball rolling. So, with all this, it's only natural that "Be Giving" is the song in my head today. I hope, when the fundraiser begins, that you will find it in your heart to help.

Be Giving by Nico Vega from the 2007 EP "No Child Left Behind"

Nico Vega MySpace page

Nico Vega Facebook page

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree - The Andrews Sisters

The birthday season continues. Today is my grandma's birthday. She's 91 years old and just as beautiful as ever. Not only does she sing, but she played a swinging jazz saxophone when she was young. She also played a very large part in shaping my love for music. She gave me a love of WWII era music, and this was one of the many songs she taught me when I was little.

A blonde, a brunette and a redhead, the beautiful Andrews Sisters burst on the music scene in the 1930s, shaking things up with their blend of swing and boogie-woogie and their signature harmonies and vocal syncopations. The group broke up in 1953 when Patty, the lead singer and youngest sister, decided to embark on a solo career. Her older sisters found out about her decision from a gossip column rather than directly from her and this created a rift between the sisters that never completely healed. They did regroup in 1956 when they signed a contract with Capital Records. The act came to an upbrupt end in 1967 when sister LaVerne died after a year long battle with cancer. There were several other temporary reunions of the two remaining sisters, but nothing permanent. In 1995, sister Maxene suffered a heart attack and died at Cape Cod Hospital in New York. Sister Patty is 90 years old and remains a recluse with her husband of 55 years, Wally, in their home in Northridge, California.

Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree by The Andrews Sisters

The Andrews Sisters website

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fish Heads - Barnes & Barnes

Maybe it's the painkillers. Maybe it's my dad's birthday. Maybe I've just finally lost it. Whatever. This song is dancing it's quirky way around my brain today.

While Fish Heads first received radio airplay on The Doctor Demento Show in 1978, the comedy rock duo Barnes & Barnes didn't release it as a single (on their own Lumania label) until 1979, and their debut album "Voobaha" until 1980.

Fish Heads by Barnes & Barnes from the 1980 album "Voobaha"

Barnes & Barnes website

Happy birthday, Daddy!

Its my dad's birthday today. Happy birthday, Daddy! Thanks for passing along your music gene. I love you!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Etalase - Sore

She's alive! But only just. Still recovering from the surgery, but feeling a backlog of songs in my head.

A couple of weeks ago, a guy I met on Twitter mentioned that he was listening to this really cool band from Jakarta. After a bit of hounding, he told me about Sore and I ran off to see what I could I find. And I found a lot! What a great band! They remind me of sipping Pinot Noir on a cozy rainy day, all snuggled up in front of a fire with the love of my life. They are that kind of yummy.

by Sore from their 2005 debut album "Centralismo"

Sore MySpace page

Sore Facebook fanpage

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

La Sorcière et l'Inquisiteur - Les Rita Mitsouko

Les Rita Mitsouko is a French band formed in 1980 by guitarist Fred Chichin and singer Catherine Ringer. Fred Chichin died in 2007, just 2 months after being diagnosed with cancer. Catherine Ringer resumed touring in 2008.

La Sorcière et l'Inquisiteur
by Les Rita Mitsouko from the 2000 album "Cool Frénésie"

Les Rita Mitsouko website

Les Rita Mitsouko MySpace page

Due to tomorrow's surgery, it may be a few days before I'm back at the computer to post anything else. Then again, I may end up posting lots of stuff. It's anybody's guess what the post-op pain meds are gonna do this time. So ... until next time ... Ciao for niao!

Pollution - Tom Lehrer

It is another horribly smoggy ... er, I mean "hazy" (apparently that's the new politically correct term for "smog") ... day here. The air is so thick with filth that it's trying to breathe mud from a toxic bog. Is it any wonder, then, that this Tom Lehrer classic has been dancing around my head all week.

Tom Lehrer was born in 1928 in New York, New York (as David Letterman used to say, "the city so nice they named it twice) to a Jewish-American family. He began studying classical piano at the age of 7, but was more interested in popular music. He began writing comic songs as an undergraduate (studying mathematics) at Harvard University to entertain his friends. His musical career was notably brief. Some say he quit because Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He denies this, although he did say that awarding the prize to Kissinger made political satire obsolete. Some say he was sued for libel by Wehrner van Braun (the subject of one of his songs). He also denies this. When asked why he quit, he has stated that he simply lost interest, disliked touring and grew bored of performing the songs over and over again.

Pollution by Tom Lehrer from the 1965 album "That Was the Year That Was"

Tom Lehrer website

Monday, January 19, 2009

Birthday (Ammæli) - The Sugarcubes

I love The Sugarcubes. I love Bjork. And I love my oldest daughter, born 20 years ago today making me a mom for the very first time.

Birthday (Ammæli) by The Sugarcubes from the 1988 debut album "Life's Too Good"

Bjork's webpage

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday - k.d. lang

I don't really remember when I first heard k.d. lang's voice - late 1980s, early 1990s. I do, however, remember having my breath stop completely while my heart swooned. Her tone was perfect ... like the way a full moon reflects off the surface of a still lake in winter. It still has that effect on me. So beautiful!

Sunday by k.d. lang from the 2008 album "Watershed"

k.d. lang website

k.d. lang MySpace page

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Suam Elle Ires - Corvus Corax

Oh, yes. Bagpipes, again. Best way to start off the day.

Corvus Corax was formed in what was then the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in 1989. The band researches and recreates Mediaeval music of the people. While Corvus Corax maintains the effort to remain as close to authentic Mediaeval music as is possible with so little secular information available, some of their members have taken the Mediaeval bagpipes and combined them with heavy metal creating the band Tanswut as a side project. In 2005 and 2008, Corvus Corax undertook their most ambitious projects to date - Cantus Buranus and Cantus Buranus II - creating an epic opera that combines a symphonic orchestra, choir, their signature bagpipes and full theatrical experience with lyrics taken from the Carmina Burana manuscript discovered in 1803 but believed to have written around 1230.

Suam Elle Ires by Corvus Corax from the 2007 album "The Best of Corvus Corax"

Corvus Corax website

Corvus Corax Facebook page

Corvus Corax MySpace page

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Fiddle and the Drum - A Perfect Circle

Folk singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell wrote this song in 1969 as a Canadian national living in America. A Perfect Circle recorded it and included it on their 3rd album, "eMotive" in 2004. While Joni Mitchell's original performance of this song is beautiful and heartfelt, the round, full harmonies of A Perfect Circle's interpretation are haunting and heartbreaking. I often find myself sitting with tears quietly running down my face as I listen to this version.

The Fiddle and the Drum by A Perfect Circle from the 2004 album "eMOTIVE"

A Perfect Circle website

Joni Mitchell website

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dance Me to the End of Love - Leonard Cohen

A poet, a novelist, and a singer-songwriter, Leonard Cohen was born in 1934 in Westmount, Quebec, Canada. His first book of poetry, "Let Us Compare Mythologies", was published in 1956; his first novel, "The Favourite Game", was published in 1963; his first album, "Songs of Leonard Cohen", was released in 1967.

Although the initial inspiration for this song was the musicians forced to play outside the Nazi deathcamp cremarotia while Jews were being murdered, he says that "... the beauty there of being the consummation of life, the end of this existence and of the passionate element in that consummation. But, it is the same language that we use for surrender to the beloved, so that the song -- it's not important that anybody knows the genesis of it, because if the language comes from that passionate resource, it will be able to embrace all passionate activity."

Dance Me to the End of Love by Leonard Cohen from the 1984 (Canada)/1985 (USA) album "Various Positions"

Leonard Cohen website

The Leonard Cohen Files for bibliography, discography, biography, interviews, and more.

Wikipedia biography (for a nice little nutshell of a not-so-little life)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Automatic - Wayside Drive

You know, you really do find the coolest stuff in the oddest places sometimes. A few months ago, a friend turned me on to Twitter. I set up an account, did a search, and requested to follow some random people - mostly music related because ... well ... because that's my pulse. Anyway, I'm still trying to get the hang of Twitter itself, but in the process I've met the online personas of some pretty interesting people. One of those people happen to be in this band, Wayside Drive, from Texas. So I checked out the band's pages and listened to their tunes and ... Wow! I know they're in the middle of changing their sound, and I like that - nothing is more boring than stagnancy and churning out the same album over and over again and I love that they recognize that when so many bands don't - but I really like this song a lot. It reminds me quite a bit of The Kinks in many ways. I think I've listened to it at least 4 times already just today.

Automatic by Wayside Drive from the 2006 album "The Red Room"

Wayside Drive website

Wayside Drive MySpace page

Wayside Drive on Twitter (that's how I found them)

Wayside Drive blog

I Melt with You - Modern English

Happy birthday to meeeee!

This is my mostest favoritest song ever! I could listen to this song over and over again (and have, all truth be told) and never get tired of listening to it. And since today is my birthday, THIS will be my birthday song o' the day. Hooray!

I Melt with You by Modern English from the 1982 album "After the Snow" (one of my favorite albums, too)

All Music page for Modern English

MySpace page
for Modern English

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wuthering Heights - Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

What began as bit a fun in 1985 intended to be a one-time only event has evolved into somewhat of cult phenomenon. The more I listen, the more I love these guys. I mean, really. How can you not love a ukulele? I have to admit I had a really hard time deciding which song to post. They all make me giggle so much and smile so big it makes my face hurt. In the end, this one won out. I'll warn ya - it gets stuck in your head bigtime. "Heathcliff!"

Wuthering Heights by The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain from the 2006 album "Top Notch"

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain website

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain MySpace page

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fandanguillo - Andres Segovia

The "father of modern classical guitar", Andres Segovia was born in 1893 in Linares, Spain. He started playing guitar at 6 years old (some sources say 4, when he'd play an imaginary guitar on his lap). He had his first public performance at age 16 and his first professional concert at age 21. He despised flamenco music, preferring the Spanish romantic and nationalist music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and felt compelled to rescue the guitar from "the hands of the flamenco gypsies." Andres Segovia died in Madrid, Spain in 1987 at the age of 94.

Fandanguillo performed by Andres Segovia biography of Andres Segovia

Collection of articles
about Andres Segovia

Saturday, January 10, 2009

We Will Fall Together - Streetlight Manifesto

Bored and channel surfing last night, we ended up watching the last half of Strictly Global and reminiscing about the early days of MTV and Friday Night Videos and talking about the current direction (and lack thereof) of music today. Then came this wonderful animated ska/jazz/rock video complete with pirates and gypsy fortune tellers and bats and buzzard skeletons. The song was in my head all night and followed me around all morning.

We Will Fall Together by Streetlight Manifesto from the 2007 album "Somewhere in the Between"

Streetlight Manifesto official website

Streetlight Manifesto MySpace page

Friday, January 9, 2009

Section 9: Light and Day - The Polyphonic Spree

The Polyphonic Spree never fails to bring me to a happy place. No matter how un-good my day is, they make me smile. Fitting, since the band was born from tragedy. The three original members of The Polyphonic Spree- Tim DeLaughter,Mark Pirro and Bryan Wakeland - were members of the 1990's band Tripping Daisy until guitarist Wes Berggren died in 1999 of a drug overdose and the band ended with him. In 2000, DeLaughter was approached about putting together a short set of songs in support of the band Grandaddy. Instead of reforming and performing Tripping Daisy material, DeLaughter decided to go with the idea of putting together a symphonic rock band - complete with choir - so he put out the word and created the beginnings of The Polyphonic Spree. What originally began with 13 members has grown to include as many as 27 (the current line-up is 23). So, from great tragedy comes great beauty - much like the phoenix rising to the sun.

Section 9: Light and Day by The Polyphonic Spree from their 2002 debut album "In the Beginning Stages of ..."

The Polyphonic Spree website

The Polyphonic Spree MySpace page

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tribute - Tenacious D

Don't get me wrong, some of my best friends are in tribute bands. Yes, I know how judgmental and prejudicial that sounds, but I just have to say that, on the whole, tribute bands lack imagination and creativity. Yes, there are very rare exceptions - Tom Waits for No Man, a Tom Waits tribute/cover band out of Israel, being the only one that comes to mind at the moment. This new (is it new or have I just started noticing?) trend towards tribute bands brings to mind a line from Pauline Gedge's "The Eagle and the Raven", a book recommended to me by my husband: "...the artists forgot that their calling was noble and became imitators instead of creators, charging exorbitant sums for the rubbish they churned out with one eye closed."

But this ... THIS is cool.

Tribute by Tenacious D from the 2001 album "Tenacious D"

Tenacious D official website

Tenacious D official UK website

Tenacious D MySpace page

Tenacious D Facebook page

U Don't Danse to Techno Anymore - Alabama 3

Yes, more Alabama 3. I love Alabama 3. And I have loved this song ever since I first heard it years ago.

U Don't Danse to Techno Anymore by Alabama 3 from the 1997 album "Exile of Coldharbour Lane"

Alabama 3 official website

Alabama 3 MySpace page

Alabama 3 Facebook page

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tralallera - Maria Carta

Surrounded by snow with no plows in sight, I'm feeling a wee bit homesick for Sardegna. It's amazing to me how a place can maintain such a strong hold on me - especially since I only lived there (on La Maddalena) for 2 years as a young girl. But, just by thinking of it, I can still taste-smell-hear-feel every pulse and breath of the island even all these years later.

Maria Carta was a singer, actress and poet born in 1934 in Sassari on the island of Sardegna, Italy. In 1974 she appeared in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather II" as Vito Corleone's mother. She died at her home in Rome, Italy of cancer in 1994 at the age of 60, just 3 months after performing her final concert.

Tralallera by Maria Carta from the album "Paradiso In Re"

Monday, January 5, 2009

2 Cowboy songs from way back when

These songs got stuck in my head last night while goofing around with my kids. When I woke up this morning, they were still there. And they almost always appear in the same order. First ...

I Wanna Be a Cowboy by Boys Don't Cry, released as a single in 1985 and included on the album "Boys Don't Cry" in 1986

That one is always then followed by ...

Urban Struggle
by The Vandals from the 1982 EP "Peace Thru Vandalism"

And yes, I always like The Vandals better. Go figure. *snicker*

Boys Don't Cry MySpace page

The Vandals official website

The Vandals MySpace page

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Lovesong - The Cure

Robert Smith originally wrote this song as a gift for his longtime girlfriend, Mary, shortly before their marriage. I thought it an appropriate song for my husband's birthday today (especially since it's his ringtone on my phone).

You are my life, my love, my heart, my soul. Happy Birthday! I love you.

by The Cure from the 1989 album "Disintergration"

The Cure official website

The Cure MySpace page

The Cure Facebook page

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Turn Up the Radio - Autograph

We just learned today that my husband's friend and former roommate, Steve Isham, died on December 9th of colon cancer. Steve was the keyboard player for the 1980's metal band Autograph and co-wrote the song Turn Up the Radio. It's a sad day for us here, as we remember Steve and the fun times he and my husband shared. I wish I'd had the opportunity to know him better - I only met him a few times, the last time being just over 13 years ago when he came through here while touring with Vince Neil.

Turn Up the Radio
by Autograph from the 1984 album "Sign In Please"

This song was named 93rd best rock song of all time by VH1.

Rest in peace, Steve. You are missed.

Chaos - Schelmish

I'm in the mood for some bagpipes and big-ass drums this morning. Gets the blood pumping.

Chaos by Schelmish

Official website
(in German) for Schelmish

MySpace (again in German) for Schelmish

Fansite (in English) for Schelmish

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ghost of Stephen Foster - Squirrel Nut Zippers

I absolutely love this band!

Formed in 1993 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (USA), the Squirrel Nut Zippers play an ecclectic mix of gypsy jazz, Delta Blues and 1930s swing. After taking several years off, the band began touring again in late 2007.

Ghost of Stephen Foster by Squirrel Nut Zippers from the 1998 album "Perrenial Favorites"

Squirrel Nut Zippers Facebook page

Squirrel Nut Zippers MySpace page

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Many Rivers to Cross - Joe Cocker

Joe Cocker is a bit uncomfortable for me to watch, but oh! his voice gives me goosebumps. It's rough and raw and reeks of stale cigarettes and too much gin, but the naked emotion he brings out when he sings is soulfully chilling.

Born in 1944 in Sheffield, England, Joe Cocker began his musical career in 1961 under the pseudonym Vance Arnold with the band The Avengers. By 1969 he had become a solo phenomenon. He currently lives in Colorado, USA with his wife, Pam, whom he married in 1987. They are both on the Board of Directors for Cocker's Kids, a non-profit, community supported organization dedicated to aiding local kids in the areas of education, recreation, the arts and athletics.

The song Many Rivers to Cross was written in 1969 by Jamaican Jimmy Cliff and included on his self titled album released in 1969. It was also included in the 1972 soundtrack for the movie "The Harder They Come" in which Jimmy Cliff also appeared as an actor. The list of artists who have covered this song is long and includes the likes of Harry Nilsson, Cher, Linda Ronstadt, UB40, Elvis Costello, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Annie Lennox.

Many Rivers to Cross by Joe Cocker

Official website
for Joe Cocker