What’s in a Song….

Every year, my good friend David mails me his Christmas CD Mix. I am not putting his last name as he like to keep a low profile. This year my mix CD has “Merry Fucking Christmas” handwritten in green sharpie across the bottom. You can’t buy that kind of love. Priceless. It is a great mix with many moments. I always enjoy listening to his annual CD, and to the music selections of others. I wonder what it is about this song, or that song, that touched someone. And there is the order of the songs, the flow of the rhythms, the rising and falling of the intensity, all of which contribute to the hour long experience of sitting with my headphones on and listening, and feeling and being moved.  Below I have found some video clips to accompany my list of songs for the 2010 holidays.  While the videos aren’t always the exact same version of the songs on the CD,  the visual element is powerful.  Enjoy the feast.

Here is my mix for the year 2010, called the Outlaw Mix:

1.  I Phone 4 Don’t Care – The Bears

I heard about this little cartoon while sitting in the Boston airport and watching CNN in the morning. There is some scatological language, but the message was so funny, I had to include it as I have shown it to so many people.

2.  If You Could Read My Mind – Johnny Cash

This year, I have felt a connection to Johnny Cash. I have downloaded all the CDs he made with Rick Rubin before his death. I hear his heart in this song, and wisdom of his years and miles and life experience.

3.  Farther Along – Marideth Sisco

I watched a movie this year called Winter Bone. It takes place in the hills among mountain people (hillbillies). Their music is so simple and light. This song comes from the soundtrack to the film. I nice break after Johnny Cash. Sort of like eating ginger between pieces of sushi.

4.  Send In The Clowns – Frank Sinatra

Frank. Live. Classic song. I had never heard this version with his intro. When I put together a mix, I have one rule: Only one song per artist. This is my Frank song for you all.

5.  The Hands of Angels – Elton John and Leon Russell

New music, a collaboration between Elton John and Leon Russell. Just this last Sunday (12/12/10), the story of this CD was told on CBS Sunday Morning.  Elton John was on his annual safari, and he was listing to old Leon Russell music. He called Leon and then together they made the CD called The Union. This particular song, which I had picked out a month ago when I made the mix, is a song Leon Russell wrote for Elton John as a thank you for collaboration, and the reviving of Leon’s career. It brought tears to Elton John’s eyes, and to mine.

6.  Nobody’s Fault But Mine – Willie Nelson

How can a combination of a Nina Simone song, covered by Led Zeppelin, and Willie Nelson’s singing go wrong? It can’t ! Best to listen to this on headphones in a dark and quiet room. The mood of the song is impeccable.

And here is Nina Simone’s version…

And here is Led Zeppelin’s version, live from the Knebworth concert in 1979.

7.  For The Good Times – Jamey Johnson

I am in the LAX airport reading my favorite magazine, Esquire. Somewhere in there, a critic speaks in glowing terms of Jamey Johnson and his upcoming CD – The Guitar Song. I downloaded all his CDs and started to appreciate his brand of country music. Sharp electric guitar and brutally honest guy lyrics. This song is a cover, but it is so strong, I had to add it over his more abrasive verses.

8.  Round Midnight – Thelonius Monk

Monk, Round Midnight. My first of two jazz pieces on the CD. Classic, classic. Wonderful to hear each and every time.  Check out the right foot.

9.   Flume – Peter Gabriel

Online, looking at a list of top songs of 2010. One of my all time favorite songs is In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel (which, by the way, is written for Roseanne Arquette). I downloaded this CD and listened to this passionate and poignant song. This lyric is beautiful – “Sky is womb and she’s the moon.”  Listen and see if you can figure out what the song is about.

10. Wholy Holy – Marvin Gaye

From one of the top ten albums of all time. Praise, praise, praise.

11. When The Saints Go Marching In –  Bruce Springsteen

The Boss and friends doing When the Saint Go Marching In. Live. Another tear jerker for me.

12.  Slippin and Sliden – Justin Townes Earle

Son of Steve Earle, Justin Townes Earle is another artist I recently discovered. Once I heard the guitar intro to this song, I knew it was going to make the final cut for this CD. His new CD Harlem River Blues is awesome. This is a live clip from a record store in Nashville. Freaken fantastic.

13.  Me and Bobby McGee – Kris Kristofferson

I have heard, as we all have, Janis Joplin’s cover of this classic. Still, when I hear this version, song by the song’s creator, Kris Kristofferson, I am moved. It was actually listening to Kris Kristofferson’s greatest hits that got me into Outlaw Country music. From Kristofferson, I moved to Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash and on and on. Rich lyrics about life experiences.

14.   Femme Fetal – Velvet Underground

Another simply brilliant CD created in the last 50 years. This song sung by Nico. Nice feel.

15.  Moon Dreams – Miles Davis

Our second jazz piece. I listen to Miles throughout the day. Each listening I seem to hear a song in a different way. I wish I had met Mr. Miles Davis. This song gently sets the stage for the final set of songs which return to my rock and roll roots.  From The Birth of Cool…

16. Tumblin Dice (Live) – Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones singing country rock. Live. The Best.

17. Angel Dance – Robert Plant / Band of Joy

After Raising Sand, Robert Plant put together this new album Band of Joy. Great stuff. Awesome song.

18. Long Road Home – Sheryl Crowe

New Sheryl Crowe. Bringing us home. 100 Miles from Memphis. This clip live from the David Letterman show.

19.  Stoney End – Barbra Streisand

Huh? I listened to this song when I was in my early teens. Recently I downloaded some Barbra Streisand, and there it was. I honestly didn’t know it was her song.

20. Tupelo Honey – Van Morrison.

This, in my humble opinion, is one of the best songs ever written and sung. What a superb way to end a listening experience.  This is a phenomenal version with an inspired sax accompaniment.

Don’t forget to leave a comment. Express yourself for all to hear. Take a chance.

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