Saturday, June 30, 2007

Friday, June 29, 2007

145/365 Sugar Mountain

Oh, to live on Sugar Mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons
You can’t be twenty on Sugar Mountain
Though you're thinking that
You’re leaving there too soon
You’re leaving there too soon

This Neil Young song makes me feel . . . well, certainly no more than nineteen.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

144/365 Stairway to Heaven

And it’s whispered that soon, if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forest will echo with laughter

The last-dance predecessor to “Free Bird,” of course, was Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Because it was the last-dance song near the end of my middle school years and into the first bit of high school, it will always have a little bit of that you’re-still-alone-loser tint to it. For those with more of a social life, it’s probably more nostalgic. Perhaps we should ask Helen.

It’s too bad the piece was overexposed. It’s a good song. It’s got that almost hobbity feel that a few Zeppelin tunes manage to conjure.

And now I have blogged a gross of songs. How much longer can I possibly last?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

143/365 Free Bird

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on, now,
cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see.
But if I stayed here with you, girl,
Things just couldn’t be the same.
cause I’m as free as a bird now,
And this bird you can not change.

Does this happen anymore in high school? There’s a dance. There’s a last dance. And the last dance is always the same song.

By the end of high school for me, the last-dance song was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.” (Maybe I’ll discuss its predecessor tomorrow.)

I like Lynyrd Skynyrd. “Sweet Home Alabama,” for example, is a great song, even if it is too aggressive and conservative and gets its knickers in a twist over Neil Young.

And although it’s fun to get your stoner voice on and scream “Free Bird!,” I was never a fan of the last dance, having never danced it.

Whaddya do then? Do you sit on the bleachers and look longingly at the dance floor? Do you pack it up and leave while the song goes endlessly on and on? I vote for about 1 minute of (a), then, quickly, (b).

Tim and I are in the midst of a Buffy/Angel marathon. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 4, the character Giles gets a few opportunities to sing. The Scooby Gang walks in on him one night to find him singing “Free Bird.” When you hear Tony Head, alone with his guitar, crooning this, you may think, like I did, “Wow. This really is a pretty song.” Even though, once again, the message is “There are things [that have to be] way more important to me than you.”

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

142/365 Dedicated to the One I Love

While I’m far away from you my baby
I know it’s hard for you my baby
Because it’s hard for me my baby
And the darkest hour is just before dawn

It’s starting again. Tim’s off to Portland today, back and forth all summer long. I hope that I’ll be joining him for a week in July, but what with all the contractors coming this summer to suck up the rest of my savings account and make my backyard look backyardish again—as opposed to a the dumping ground for slate-formerly-known-as-a-foundation, which it currently is—I may not get to go. No matter what, Tim and I will be spending a lot of nights apart.

I’m still a sucker for the Mamas and the Papas, especially Cass. And this is a sweet song for those in the throes of apartdom.

Each night before you go to bed my baby
Whisper a little prayer for me my baby
And tell all the stars above
This is dedicated to the one I love

Monday, June 25, 2007

141/365 I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl

I want a little sugar
in my bowl
I want a little sweetness
down in my soul
I could stand some lovin’
Oh so bad
I feel so funny and I feel so sad.

Ah, euphemisms. This is one of my favorites.

Tim’s crazy summer travel schedule has started, and he’s “home” for about 40 hours (minus that pesky office time).

So here’s some Nina Simone.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

140/365 Put Your Lights On

I spent all yesterday washing windows. I’m still not quite done. Tired, though.

One of the CDs that accompanied my labors yesterday was Santana’s Supernatural. I like this collaboration with Everlast, although its message may be ambiguous.

Cause there’s a monster living under my bed
Whispering in my ear
There’s an angel, with a hand on my head
She say I’ve got nothing to fear

Saturday, June 23, 2007

139/365 Last Train to Clarksville

’Cause I’m leavin’ in the morning
And I must see you again
We’ll have one more night together
til the morning brings my train.
And I must go, oh, no, no, no!
Oh, no, no, no!
And I don’t know if I’m ever coming home.

Awhile back, Deloney got me thinking about the Monkees again. I don’t remember exactly what he was writing about, but it could have been this very song. As he seems to be a write-and-destroy-type guy, I harbor no illusions that I could find his words again.

Between that and then hearing some short excerpt from some Monkees song on some commercial, I picked up a greatest hits CD. That’s when I discovered that not only were some Monkees songs really good—some were really awful. At least to my ears.

There’s a handful or so I will always love, and they were among the most popular: the Monkees theme, “I’m a Believer,” “Steppin’ Stone,” “Randy Scouse Git,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” and “Daydream Believer.” All very respectable songs. And “Last Train to Clarksville,” of course, one of the Boyce and Hart songs, a knockoff of the Beatles’ “Paperback Writer” written especially for the TV show.

I was 4 years old when “The Monkees” aired on TV, and I quickly developed a massive crush on Davy Jones. It may be the first crush I can remember. I find that embarrassingly predictable now, as he’s so not my type. In fact, based on looks alone, I would now find him the least interesting of the four. But I also had childhood fascinations with Glen Campbell, Andy Williams, Flip Wilson, and Tommy Smothers. Were they crushes? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The only thread I can find is that from an early age, I had a thing for music and comedy.

A college friend of mine had more than a passing thing for Davy Jones. As an adolescent, she’d procured his autograph, and she carried it with her at all times. This woman—around whom men turned to jelly and who married first a man, then a woman—was someone who carried Davy Jones’s autograph. One day, sometime after college, I believe, her purse or wallet was lost or stolen, and the autograph was gone. The woman she’d married took it upon herself to get another one—I think she actually wrote to Jones to explain the situation. If I have all the details right, Linda did in fact get Kim a replacement autograph. The two eventually broke up, but I’ll bet Kim still has her bit of Davy Jones.

Funny thing is, even though at 4 and 5 I thought Davy Jones was soooo cute, he sang lead on only one of those songs I listed above. It’s Micky Dolenz’s voice I love.

There’s something so successful about “Last Train to Clarksville,” how the tune is able to convey an urgency that the words alone are not, at least not for me as a cynical adult, who wants to say to the guy, Yeah, well, why don’t you just make another choice? She’s important enough for smoochin’ and coffee, but apparently not important enough to stick around for.

Friday, June 22, 2007

138/365 In Spite of Ourselves

Against all odds
Honey, we’re the big door prize

I have a lot of John Prine music. A lot. But most of it is earlyish stuff. What I didn’t have anywhere was him singing this one with Iris Dement. Thanks to Sewa Yoleme, who sent me the CD A Date with John Waters, that situation has been remedied.

This is a goddang fun song about longtime love.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

137/365 This Is the Theme to Garry’s Show

Back in the 80s, I was a fan of “It’s Garry’ Shandling’s Show.” It boasted just that kind of reflexive humor I enjoyed, something so about itself it was hilarious. This was no more obvious than in the theme song, which pretty much notes that it’s the theme song. According to Wikipedia, cast members didn’t like it. I wonder if that’s true. I loved it.

You can find it on Youtube, but its 30-secondsness comes at the end of the monologue. This particular clip cuts off at the very end, so here are the lyrics that endlessly amused me. I wouldn’t want you to miss anything.

This is the theme to Garry’s show,
The theme to Garry’s show.
Garry called me up and asked if I would write his theme song.
I’m almost halfway finished,
How do you like it so far,
How do you like the theme to Garry’s show?

This is the theme to Garry’s show,
The opening theme to Garry’s show.
This is the music that you hear as you watch the credits.
We’re almost to the part of where I start to whistle.
Then we’ll watch “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.”


This was the theme to Garry Shandling’s show.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

136/365 Take This Job and Shove It

Ah, struggling nonprofits and their boards of directors. Boards of directors and executive directors. Perhaps a better choice today would have been Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.” But I just feel like listening to David Allan Coe’s “Take This Job and Shove It.” Especially having spent 4 hours this morning making my own online access possible again.

I’m going to miss this director. Wonder who’ll be the next one?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

135/365 Sing Sing Sing

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra playing this piece of music is one of my favorite things ever. It’s so primal. You’d think that alone would clue me in to the fact that Louis Prima wrote it. But I didn’t figure that out for years.

Monday, June 18, 2007

134/365 Standing on the Corner

When one is but a young child spinning the songs of Broadway musicals on a turntable near green shag carpet, one doesn’t immediately understand all the nuances of the combination of memorized words that one is singing. Even before I was belting out “Big Spender,” I was listening to Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella—a show I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen. My favorite tune was a primer on the ways of men.

Brother, you can’t go to jail for what you’re thinking
Or for the woo look in your eye
You’re only standing on the corner watching all the girls
Watching all the girls, watching all the girls
Go by

Sunday, June 17, 2007

133/365 Grand Canyon

Happy Father’s Day! Two of the three nights we’re in Boston, we’re crashing with the oh-so-generous Anna and her family. Pretty sweet.

Anna’s a singer/songwriter. Here’s a song she wrote for her dad. Check out her website (she’s a songwriter for hire), buy a CD. I recommend Open Now. (How’s that for a shameless plug?)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

132/365 Fat Man in the Bathtub

Spotcheck Billy got down on his hands and knees
He said “Hey momma, hey let me check your oil, all right?”
She said “No, no honey, not tonight
Come back Monday, come back Tuesday, then I might.”

Like any teenager, I spent a lot of time in my room spinning records. Senior year of high school, I couldn’t get enough Little Feat, in particular the albums Dixie Chicken and Time Loves a Hero. I never got tired of picturing a fat man in the bathtub with the blues.

All I want in this life of mine is some good clean fun
All I want in this life and time is some hit and run

Friday, June 15, 2007

131/365 Big Balls

Well I’m upper upper class high society
God’s gift to ballroom notoriety
And I always fill my ballroom
The event is never small
The social pages say I’ve got
The biggest balls of all

I love AC/DC. I find them hilarious, whether they are trying to be or not (I suspect they know exactly what they’re doing—Spinal Tap had nothing on them). Of course, you know enough about my raunchy side now to know that I’m going to love a song like “Big Balls.” Their humor may be a bit more subtle in other songs, but here, it’s right out there.

Some balls are held for charity
And some for fancy dress
But when they’re held for pleasure
They’re the balls that I like best

Thursday, June 14, 2007

130/365 People Who Died

Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

I’m still in shock that my cousin died so suddenly. Still no real word on cause (apparently autopsies take awhile). Memorial service on the East Coast next month.

This dark and depressing Jim Carrol song keeps popping into in my head. Just the chorus, actually.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

129/365 D’yer Maker

Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You don’t have to go

Led Zeppelin’s nod to reggae is a sweet song for a summer afternoon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

128/365 The Motorcycle Song

I don’t want a pickle
Just want to ride on my motorsickle
And I dont want a tickle
’Cause I’d rather ride on my motorsickle
And I don’t want to die
I just want to ride on my motorcy...cle

Last week, seemingly out of the blue, this Arlo Guthrie song popped into my head, after years of not having been much in my head at all. Maybe because it’s getting to be summer, and there are a lot of motorcycles about. Maybe it’s because I’ve been thinking about death a bit. Maybe it’s because there’s no predicting where those jumping synapses will take me next.

Monday, June 11, 2007

127/365 I Wanna Be Sedated

Nothin’ to do, nowhere to go . . .

Tell me. What’s that like? I spent my entire weekend editing medical copy until each day’s happy hour, when I wanted to be sedated.

I love this song. I love the Ramones. I love the fact that the Bay City Rollers were among the bands who inspired them, and Joey Ramone wasn’t afraid to admit it.

I realize this is a road/tour song. And that kind of nothin’ to do nowhere to go is not the kind I dream about.

Just put me in a wheelchair, get me on a plane
Hurry hurry hurry before I go insane
I can’t control my fingers I can’t control my brain

Sunday, June 10, 2007

126/365 The Sweetest Taboo

On Friday, some Northbrook friends—in particular, Tim and Valerie—got in touch to encourage us to meet them at Northbrook next weekend, along with some of the rest of the August gang.

I wish I could go. I’ve been fantasizing about Northbrook for weeks now. It’s going to be my only week of true vacation this summer. But my Tim and I are headed to the Boston Early Music Festival next weekend. We have tickets to some concerts and plan to sit in on a master class.

Still, over the past few weeks, Northbrook Tim has been creeping into my life a bit, as he was the guy who turned me on to the vodka gimlet, and I’ve found myself making them. I’m becoming a convert.

So on Friday, I made myself a gimlet, my Tim opened some wine, and at happy hour we toasted Northbrook Tim and Valerie. The soundtrack for the evening was Sade, who’s jazzy enough for such occasions.

Way back in the eighties, my coworker Deborah went to see Sade and watched her husband drool throughout the performance. She swears that no man can resist Sade. I don’t think my Tim would argue.

The Sweetest Taboo” is probably my favorite Sade song, and it always makes me think of my Tim:

You give me the sweetest taboo
That’s why I’m in love with you

You give me the sweetest taboo

Sometimes I think you’re just too good for me

You’ve got the biggest heart

Sometimes I think you’re just too good for me

Saturday, June 9, 2007

125/365 You Do Something to Me

You do something to me,
something that simply mystifies me.

Tell me, why should it be

you have the power to hypnotize me?

And once again, I get up, check the e-mail, and discover it’s someone’s birthday—this time Cole Porter’s. That yummy songwriter. He was busy being born just about the time this old house I live in was being built. This song is among my favorites, no doubt because of these lines:

Let me live ’neath your spell,
Do do that voodoo
that you do so well.

Who could resist four dos in three measures?

Here’s SinĂ©ad O’Connor voodooing it.

Friday, June 8, 2007

124/365 Le Freak

I have a deadline this morning. I am completely freaked out about my workload. I have way, way too much going on. This morning I had to take my car to the mechanic. Tim drove his car, we dropped mine, he dropped me back home. He’ll be late for work.

Then the mechanic calls. Did I leave him the keys?

Here’s a little song from the 70s by Chic that I haven’t thought about in years. And yet I did this morning.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

123/365 Small Blue Thing

Back when I was a twenty-something temp working secretarial jobs in DC, I decided to take a couple of graduate courses to see if I could hold my own, to see if I had any part of a brain. Kim, who was pursuing an actual degree, was in both my courses.

Maybe it was her big eyes and her supercool glasses. Maybe it was the exotica of her recent life in Micronesia, however actually miserable. Maybe it was because I loved everything she said and wrote. But I had just had to be her friend, if she’d have me.

I remember listening to that other poet, Suzanne Vega, when we’d visit.

Happy birthday, Kim.

Today I am
A small blue thing
Like a marble
Or an eye
With my knees against my mouth
I am perfectly round
I am watching you

I am cold against your skin
You are perfectly reflected
I am lost inside your pocket
I am lost against
Your fingers
I am falling down the stairs
I am skipping on the sidewalk
I am thrown against the sky
I am raining down in pieces
I am scattering like light
Scattering like light
Scattering like light

Today I am
A small blue thing
Made of china
Made of glass
I am cool and smooth and curious
I never blink
I am turning in your hand
Turning in your hand
Small blue thing

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

122/365 SexyBack

Sometimes one doesn’t want to jump on the bandwagon. One does not want to admit that one enjoys a song that enjoyed such vast popularity. But I can’t help it. I like Justin Timberlake and Timbaland’s “SexyBack.”

I don’t mind admitting that I’m a huge fan of The Office, both the British and American incarnations. So you’ll understand why I might like this particular video interpretation of SexyBack.

Their own video, of course, is pretty steamy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

121/365 Hot Razors in My Heart

Not too many people have heard of Crack the Sky. I wouldn’t have either, if it hadn’t have been for my roommate Sandy. I got completely attached to their debut self-titled album. A couple of years ago I spent a ridiculous amount of money to get it on out-of-print CD.

“Hot Razors in My Heart” should have gone big. At eighteen, I completely got that image of pain. I wish you could hear the perfect studio version, but you probably never will. This live one’s a bit uneven, but you’ll get the idea.

Cindy I don’t want to catch you in his car
Cindy you don’t have to play with me no more
All the boys are telling stories about you
I don’t want to hear no stories about you

Cindy you don’t have to run around any more
Cindy you don’t have to prove to me that you can score
When you dance with the boys in the street
Can’t you see that it’s tearing me apart

Hot razors in my heart
Heart hot razors in my heart

Cindy you don’t have to make me crawl no more
We can make it better than it was before
Tell the boys you belong to me
Tell them anything but stop this bleeding in my heart

Monday, June 4, 2007

120/365 I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter

One morning last week, getting ready for my commute to a client’s office, I realized I just had to hear Fats Waller sing this song on my way into work.

Lots of people have covered this, of course, but the best Youtube connection I can find is a rather drunken-sounding version by Dean Martin.

I love this song.

I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter
And make believe it came from you
I’m gonna write words oh so sweet
They’re gonna knock me off my feet
A lot of kisses on the bottom
I’ll be glad I got ’em
I’m gonna smile and say I hope you’re feeling better
And close with love the way you do
I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter
And make believe it came from you

Sunday, June 3, 2007

119/365 With a Little Help from My Friends

As I’m sure everyone knows, June 1 was the fortieth anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Naturally, I played it in its entirety that day as I drove to New Jersey on my way to the Sweet Sixteen party.

When the birthday girl’s mother and I were in high school chorus together, one of pieces the director had us perform was a medley of Sgt. Pepper tunes, which is just so wrong on so many levels. Anyway . . . at the time, Sue had a crush on this guy named Andy, and at some point we changed the words of the WALHFMF chorus to:

Do you need Andy Body?
I need somebody to love.
Could it be Andy Body?
I want somebody to love.

We were so mature. And this silliness will likely stick with me forever.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

118/365 What a Fool Believes

When I was sixteen, my dad took a sabbatical, and we ended up living in State College, Pennsylvania, for a year. I looked forward to it. I felt I needed a break from life in Maryland, and this seemed like an opportunity to remake myself—to be whoever I wanted to be.

There was this Doobie Brothers song that was really popular that year. But when I tried to think of it to post it, I couldn’t bring it to the front of my mind and had to look it up. It was—of course it was—“What a Fool Believes,” and I have it heavily associated with driving around State College. Seems like it was playing all the time.

That year, it turned out I was just me after all, exquisite introvert, and in many ways, I was more alone than ever.

What a fool believes he sees
No wise man has the power to reason away.
What seems to be
Is always better than nothing.

Friday, June 1, 2007

117/365 Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen

I’m going to Claire’s Sweet Sixteen party in New Jersey tonight. I’ve never been to a Sweet Sixteen party.

Well, that’s not exactly true. When I was seventeen, I worked one party as part of a catering staff. As I toiled for $3.35/hour, no tips, they wheeled in a sports car for this kid. He and I were clearly from different worlds.

My parents always told me I could have a car anytime I wanted. All I had to do was pay for it. Thus it was that in 1985 at the age of twenty-three, I bought a 1973 Super Beetle refitted with a standard four-speed transmission—and I still had to take out a bank loan.

It was a Beetle that Claire’s mother and I cruised around in during high school. Hers, of course.

Here’s Neil Sedaka singing “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen” the year I was born. Happy birthday, Claire.