music plus explanation It's interesting to me, the fact I've wanted a topic. I went looking on the internet just recently with subject line "ask me something".
I found sites that promised "getting to know you" games and activities. I did not click.
My relationship with music goes kind of like this: accidental, influenced in a random way by people I know, influenced by Saturday Night Live, too lazy to change out the disk so that I listen to the same thing over and over again until the music becomes the background noise to whatever I'm dreaming. "Late Bloomer". Suspect I may be someone who only responds to the most obvious emotional element of anything I listen to. Am much more likely to become absorbed by talk radio and have never, not one time I was aware of, listened to "OK Computer" or anything else by Radiohead.
With that in mind- here's my list, with various background stuff, which was really how I came to make it- music that represents various times/people stuff over the past 20 years (My years- not music years- I'm sure I will be breaking some rules. I made an effort to avoid sound tracks, although those have often been my favorites)
Around late 15/16 (and it IS a little hard to start here, because there's an awful lot I'd like to talk about before that age)- by way of my first boyfriend Jeff.
(1) Z.Z. Top. I went on Amazon to see if I could remember a particular album- but I'm guessing it must have been "The Best Of"- or he had every album they ever made.
"La Grange"- especially, reminds me of Jeff. " But Iiiiii might BE Mistaken ...... " This boy and this music came to me when I so needed it. I was way, way too freaking serious and over loaded and needed to learn how to laugh.
This was back when "drinking and driving" was a hobby (I'm sure I stole this from some late night comedian). Fun. Fun. Fun. Loved this album and have a soft spot (although no tattoos- even though I was pressured) re: this period of my life.
(2) "Blood on the Tracks"- again, this was Jeff. I wrote his term paper for him so he could graduate from high school. He picked a Dylan Thomas story (his teachers liked him so much they did everything they could to make it possible for him to graduate. A teacher gave him passing credit for coming over and chopping firewood for him. His English teacher allowed him to write his final term paper on a short story. Jeff picked one by Dylan Thomas because he loved Bob Dylan and apparently Bob took his show name from him. I don't recall the short story, but after sitting in the library for several evenings trying to help Jeff, (ridiculous evenings of laughing so hard I sprayed body fluids in public) I realized it would be easier if I just wrote the paper myself. To thank me, Jeff bought me this album. He knew the words to every single song and he performed them for me with hi-larious "feeling"
He would be the first of my Bob Dylan loving, men.
(3) Dark Side of the Moon- Pink Floyd. [EDIT or more likely "Wish You Were Here".]-This was Clay, who I met a few weeks after entering my 18 year old Freshman year of college. Clay loved music and I'm quite sure he introduced me to lots of other stuff- but that song "Wish You Were Here" (we're just two lost souls living in a fish bowel, year after year), reminds me of him. He was kind of everything I ever thought up to my 18th year, that I wanted.
He was a lovely, lovely sweet kid. Somehow, at the end of the year, I found myself having trouble breathing in his presence. Not his fault- and so fucking unfair- but there you go.
(4) The Trinity Session- The Cowboy Junkies. I saw them on "Saturday Night Live". I was spending the summer on Cape Cod. I was biking around the island and decided to set my sights on a far away town, just for the hell of it, to see if I'd make it. The bike path ran off onto a highway and it got a little scary. I finally got to the town and found a record shop and bought this album. I rode back to my aunt's house and walked in to the kitchen and turned on the TV. They were showing footage of the kids getting squashed in Tiananmen Square. This album stayed in rotation, with me for years. I always especially loved "Sweet Jane".
(5) Robert Johnson (the best of) – sophomore year of college I wondered into a local record shop. I had it in mind to buy some music, but I didn't know what. I considered the fact that I knew I liked "the blues"- by way of Eric Clapton who was getting a lot of play on the radio stations at the time- but I didn't want Eric. I wanted someone who had influenced Eric. I asked the guy behind the counter what he might recommend. I told him "I think I like the Blues- but I don't know much about it, can you recommend something?" He recommended Robert Johnson. I went home and put him in my tape deck (I was tape deck girl back then) and listened. I thought "what the f*ck is this?"- And then I listened some more and then some more. He takes you to the god damn cross roads- that one does. I can not recommend original Robert, enough.
(6) Patsy Cline-Best of. I can't remember how I got into her. But I did and hard. I remember reading "Escape from Freedom" while listening to her. I remember dancing with a boy, who really knew how to dance (and interestingly enough was fluent in German- interesting intermingling of themes, going on there)- He didn't like me that much, but he danced with me, pressing the small of my back, leading me around a small dorm room to a Patsy Cline song. I'm going to do that again one day. I swear.
(7) Mazzy Star- She Hangs Brightly. A boy gave me a compilation tape- on one side was all kinds of great music (I remember "The Black Girls") and others. On the other side was this album. This boy, in case you know or care, was Joe Ventura who went on to do lots of great things. I never got to know him that well and never got a chance to tell him that this tape I played over and over again. I went through a period of time where I couldn't sleep and when I laid down to try, I was tortured by the sound of my own heart beat in my ears- and so I'd put on "Mazzy Star" and it would help. It really did.
(8) Tom Waits- Rain Dogs (Elvis Costello/ The Pogues/ The Holy Model Rounders, Michelle Shocked, REM, a few of the recorded songs of Matt Molloy- even!)- I got all of this in one lump sum.
Mr. yours and mine, Blaine Elliot gave me all this music. This might be why I didn't remember that Blaine was such a great poet. A few years ago, a woman who was a room mate of ours mentioned Blaine and what a great writer he was. I was like "yeah?" and she was like "Hell, Yeah!" and then she quoted me something- or maybe she forwarded me something he'd written and I recall thinking "how did I miss this?" I think it could have been overload/overshadow of his phenomenal music collection. Sorry about that Blaine- too much all at once- but thanks for all the great music!
(9) I'm Your Fan – A Leonard Cohen Tribute. This is a compilation, which I'm sure breaks the rules. I might have listened to 5 minutes of the real live Leonard Cohen, years after this album took up residence in my head. No idea how I came to it, but it is all Leonard Cohen songs (and boy can that guy write songs) sung by people who can actually sing. I can't listen to it again, because the time this album got me through was horrific. Reminds me of orange tiger lilies- which I like, except for the fact they make me feel god awful.
(10) Richard and Linda Thompson- another tape given to me by someone and I don't feel like trying to figure out the album. This reminds me of my friend Kelly and railroad tracks and dark roads and "last call"- somehow "Jonathon Richmond and the Modern Lovers" got associated with them. I liked them, but by way of the Thompsons. I was so disappointed to hear they split up.
(11) Majosha "Shut Up and Listen" This is another weird one. I have no idea how I got a copy of this. It was a copy on a tape. A few years before I got this tape I remember seeing flyers around town for this band as well as chalk art work on the sidewalks. I never saw them in real life, but somehow I got this tape and listened to it and then listened to it again and then became very attached.
When I moved to Boston I was still listening to this tape. I got a job as a waitress at an Irish pub. The owner/bartenders in this place loved music and were always bringing in music they liked. One day I brought in my tape- I put it on and the Irish boys immediately started making fun of the Southern accents- I was offended and a little hurt. But big deal. At the end of the evening I went looking for my tape, but it had disappeared. Someone Irish stole my Majosha.
(12) US3 Hand on the Torch. I still own and listen to this. I discovered these guys at the same Irish Pub- "Flan O'Briens". One of the sexiest, most mysterious, most grumpiest Irish Bartenders would put this on and listen to it over and over again. For the period of time that any one of these songs were playing, he'd bounce around as if capable of happiness.
In addition, there's a radio show on NPR- I forget which one- but they use a part of song #1 on this album for their opening music.
(13) Jamiroquai : Emergency on Planet Earth This music represents husband one for me. I would not say that I particularly like this band- nor disliked them. This music reminds me of European Ex-Pats- pale, skinny Irish and British (Austrian? Countries that speak French, except not France?- etc) - beautiful skin, masters at vegetarian stir fry dinner parties- kind of snotty and "above it all"- except when someone played this music. I've never done ecstasy, but I've done better- hung out with folks who were nostalgic for it.
(14) The Gypsy Kings (the best of) Can't recall how I got this album, but I liked it. I liked it without needing anyone else to listen to it with me.
(15) Primus, "Sailing the Seas of Cheese". I mention this album, because for some reason I still have it. I think this was another "Saturday Night Live" inspiration- particularly "Jerry was a race care driver". I haven't listed to it that often, but it means something to be because there was this guy who was a friend of husband #1- who did not like me. He was a music snob and pretty hostile about it. I'm pretty certain it was he who made my "Crash Test Dummies" C.D. disappear. One day the bunch of us were down town messing around in a music store and I found and bought this particular album. This guy, noticing my purchase, got this funny soft look on his face and said "I didn't know you liked, Primus!"- As if suddenly I might be ok.
Primus does the opening music for "South Park"- that's enough to make anyone worthy.
(16) Dire Straits- Live at the BBC. Before husband no. #2 and I married we rode around in a beat up old Volvo. It was two door, half grey, half primer. It had a sun roof that rolled back by a handle in the ceiling. And a stero system installed by said husband to be that was worth more than the car. I learned to drive a straight drive on this thing. I loved this car. Dire Straits made its way in and forever more that album represents blinking Boston lights at night. The mighty Citgo sign, warm evening listening to the harbor lap and what not.
(17) Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Night Song This is the guy that's Nora Jone's dad. [EDIT: actually not, it was some other middle eastern guy.] Not that that matters. See #16- same applies. The first song on this album goes on forever- sung in a language I don't know- and yet I'd hit repeat over and over.
(18) UB40- Labour of Love I'd read that both dolphins and babies respond to reggae. It turned out Awais' baby swing rocked at the exact same beat as all of their songs.
(19) Peter Paul and Mommy, Too The first full on kid album I ever bought. I was sold on it by my sister Amy, whose daughter Violet got the nickname of "Sheirika" during her early colic months. It was magic. Turn it on and all becomes right with the world.
(20) Raffi- Baby Beluga The second full on kid's album I ever bought. I might have liked it more than Awais- although he did listen to it every night for about a year. I once rented a video of Raffi doing a kid's concert. The guy was a sack of potatoes. No grinning or gesturing- no emoting to the crowd. He sat there like a lunk, using his guitar as a shield between himself and the crowd of -7 fans.
His songs still work their ways into my dreams . . . "Baby Beluga in the deep blue sea, you swim so wild and you swim so free- heaven above and see below- you're just a little white whale on the go".
Here're a few other artists/albums I've enjoyed recently and in the past:
Beck- Odelay The Rosebuds Southern Culture on the Skids Dee-lite The B-52's Django Haskins Prince Paul Simon/ "The Best Of"- "Graceland". Johnny Cash Merle Haggard Willie Nelson Doc Watson Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris Trio
Sound track stuff I've loved, without explanation- although, I'd love to:
Oh Brother Where Art Thou? The Mambo Kings Marriad to the Mob
Jesus Christ Super Star Fiddler on the Roof A Chorus Line Evita