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

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Banjo Boy - Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand

What can I say? This song makes me smile. Another Utah band that makes my toes tap and my chair dance. Nothing too deep - just a good, fun time.

Banjo Boy by Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand from the 2005 album "Dream Big"

The official website for Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand

MySpace page for Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Piano Has Been Drinking - Tom Waits

This always, without fail, makes me laugh until I cry and I'm feeling the need for a little silliness tonight.

From a 1977 appearance on Fernwood Tonight, a comedic talk show parady created by Norman Lear and starring Fred Willard and Martin Mull.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Didn't It Rain - Sister Rosetta Tharp

Sister Rosetta was born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas but there is some confusion as to whether she was born in 1915 or 1921 and she managed to always avoid direct confirmation of either. The daughter of travelling missionary Katie Bell "Mother Bell" Nubin, Rosetta began performing with her mother at the age of 6.

Sister Rosetta married three times. Her first marriage to minister Thomas J. Thorpe ended early in divorce because he couldn't accept her performing. Her second marriage to gospel booking agent Forrest Allen also ended in divorce. In 1951 she married Russell Morrison, the former manager of The Ink Spots.

Complications of a stroke she suffered in 1970 resulted in the amputation of one of her legs, but she continued to tour until 1973. She suffered another stroke in 1973, this time fatal. She died on October 9, 1973 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

A remarkable woman and performer, she became the first nationally recognizable gospel singer, the first to take gospel music into secular arenas, and the first gospel artist to record with a major label.

Didn't It Rain by Sister Rosetta Tharp from a 1964 appearance on the BBC t.v. show "Blues and Gospel Train."

Musician's Guide biography of Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Galileo - Indigo Girls

Another good friend of mine sent me an email suggesting this song. He has impeccable taste (despite his dislike of Tom Waits and Nick Cave). I have always loved their harmonies and intertwined vocals.

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have known each other since elementary school just outside of Decatur, Georgia. They started playing together in high school, but then went off to seperate colleges - temporarily. They eventually both transferred back home to Emery University and by 1985 had started playing together again as Indigo Girls (a name they picked while going through the dictionary and deciding they liked the word "indigo").

Galileo by the Indigo Girls from the 1992 album "Rites of Passage"

To see the official Sony-BMG released video for Galileo (it's unembeddable, sorry, but I still recommend it), you can go straight to it by clicking HERE.

Official website for Indigo Girls

Indigo Girls MySpace page

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bang Bang - Nico Vega

Yup, another one by Nico Vega. She is one of my favorite new voices. We've tried to track down an audio recording of this - even going so far as to contact the band directly about it - and apparently this video is the only existing recording of this song ... at least for now. Personally, I sure hope to find it on a CD someday so I can listen to it whenever/wherever I want.

Bang Bang by Nico Vega

Nico Vega's MySpace page

Monday, November 24, 2008

Jolene - Queen Adreena

Originally written and performed by Dolly Parton in 1973, the song Jolene tells the tale of a housewife confronting a beautiful seductress she believes is trying to steal her husband. The song was Dolly's first blockbuster, hitting #1 in 1974. It has been coverred by many artists over the decades, including The White Stripes, Sister of Mercy, Olivia Newton-John, Natalie Merchant, Cake, and this version by Queen Adreena (I love KatieJane Garside's voice).

Jolene by Queen Adreena was released in 2000 as a b-side for the single "Pretty Polly" from the album "Taxidermy"

Official site for Queen Adreena

MySpace page for Queen Adreena

Official site of Katiejane Garside

MySpace page for KatieJane Garside

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Baby Mine - Allison Krauss

The song Baby Mine was first featured in Walt Disney's 1941 feature length animated movie "Dumbo". It has been covered by many artists over the decades, including Better Midler in the 1988 movie Beaches (I was pregnant with my oldest when that one came out). This version by Allison Krauss, however, is my personal favorite. (Yes, I agree - a blurry still photo doesn't count as a video, but this blog isn't for my favorite videos, it's for the actual SONGS.)

Baby Mine by Allison Krauss from the 2007 album "A Hundred Miles or More"

Listen to the wind, little baby boy, you'll hear Nonna whisper how much she loves you.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Caroline, London 1940 - Sleep Station

New Jersey's Sleep Station is the brainchild of David Debiak. Sleep Station's releases have been called both concept albums and rock operas by critics, but according to Debiak they are neither. "Every record I have done as Sleep Station," he says, "has been thematic in its nature, not trying to tell a story but just create a mood."

Caroline, London 1940 by Sleep Station from the 2004 album "After the War" released on Eyeball Records.

Sleep Station on Eyeball Records

Sleep Station MySpace page

Sleep Station on Facebook

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Cheat - The Blue Hawaiians

A friend of mine (the same guy who turned me on to Stew a few years ago) suggested this song today. It seems to fit thematically with the previous song, so how could I resist posting it right now? Yay!

L.A.'s The Blue Hawaiians' music is a bit of this, a bit of that, and a bit something else entirely with a touch of the Las Vegas strip and an overriding surf guitar sound that brings to mind images of dark waves hitting the beach on a moonless night.

A Cheat by The Blue Hawaiians from the 1997 album "Live at the Lava Lounge" (also available on the 1999 album "Savage Night")

The Pascal Records artist page for The Blue Hawaiians

The Blue Hawaiians' MySpace page

Can She Excuse My Wrongs - Sting and Edin Karamazov

If there is such a thing as former lives, one of mine was undoubtedly in the late Rennaisance. Written by John Dowland and first published in 1597 (yes, that's right - 1597) in the "First Booke of Songs or Ayres", this version of Can She Excuse My Wrongs performed by Sting and Edin Karamazov on the 2006 album "Songs from the Labyrinth" gives me goose bumps.

Can She Excuse My Wrongs by Sting and Edin Karamazov

This is one of my most favorite CDs ever! (And, really, the only thing by Sting that I like enough to own.)

Click here, here and here to learn more about life and compositions of John Dowland. It's really quite interesting.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sing! Sing! Sing! - Benny Goodman Orchestra

Hot jazz! The Benny Goodman Orchestra with Gene Krupa on drums(da-yum!), Harry James on trumpet, Lionel Hampton on vibraphone, and Teddy Wilson on piano.

Sing! Sing! Sing! by The Benny Goodman Orchestra from the 1937 Warner Brothers movie, "Hollywood Hotel" directed by Busby Berkley.

More about the song, "Sing Sing Sing" from (good read!)

More about the movie, "Hollywood Hotel" at

In a Shanty in Old Shantytown - The Washboard Serenaders

Vaudeville, jazz, scat, and some kickin' beats from a washboard - such a happy way to start the day.

In a Shanty in Old Shantytown by The Washboard Serenaders from the 1933 11 minute Vitaphone short film, "That's the Spirit," about a haunted pawn shop come to life.

I've tried to find out more information about this group, but could find sadly little. They were in 2 films as The Washboard Serenaders in the 1930s, the guitarist (and I believe founder) is Teddy Bunn, and they had a revolving group of musicians that performed with them. Another name they used during this time (and recorded under) was The Washboard Rhythm Kings.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jimmy - The Kolin

The Kolin is a great indie trio out of Budapest, Hungary. I wish I could tell you more about them, but everything I can find is in Hungarian. I have been able to gather that, besides being a great band, they are also some pretty darned good filmmakers and sound engineers. Check out their website for more on that.

Jimmy by The Kolin from the 2008 album "Yell into the Kazoo"

The Kolin myspace page

The Kolin official website

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wind River - Andrew Vasquez

The summer of 2007 we took the family on a vacation to Yellowstone National Park. We listened almost exclusively to this CD as we drove through the park. It was a very relaxing and soul restoring time spent together. Whenever I feel the stress of the world creeping in, I put this on my iPod and return to that place of calm.

Wind River by Andrew Vasquez from the 1997 award winning album "Wind River"

Andrew Vasquez Sr's MySpace page

Bijou - Stew

A dear friend turned me on to this one several years ago. It gets into my head and teases the darkest corners of my imagination.

Mark Stewart, better known by his stage name "Stew", is a singer/songwriter from Los Angeles, California. In the 1990s he formed a band called The Negro Problem and later went on to do his own solo stuff under the name Stew. Since 2004 he and his partner, Heidi Rodewald, have been producing the musical stage play "Passing Strange" for which he won a Tony Award.

Bijou by Stew from the 2000 album "Guest Host"

Stew's official website

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Believe - Mahalia Jackson

Mahalia Jackson was born in 1911 and grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. When she was 5 years old, her mother died, leaving her and her brother to be raised by her very strict Aunt Duke. She moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1927 at the age of 16 as part of "the great migration." She joined the Greater Salem Baptist Church Choir and began touring with Johnson Gospel Singers, one of the earliest professional gospel groups. She made her first recording in 1931 and continued recording and performing until 1971.
Mahalia died in Chicago in January, 1972 of heart failure and complications of diabetes. She was 60 years old.

The song "I Believe" was written in 1953 by Erwin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirl and Al Stillman after they were contacted by singer Jane Foreman who was upset about the Korean conflict starting so soon after World War II ended. She wanted a song that restored faith and hope in a troubled world. They gave her this.

I believe for every drop of rain that falls
A flower grows
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night
A candle glows
I believe for everyone who goes astray, someone will come
To show the way
I believe, I believe

I believe above a storm the smallest prayer
Can still be heard
I believe that someone in the great somewhere
Hears every word

Everytime I hear a new born baby cry,
Or touch a leaf or see the sky
Then I know why, I believe

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mahogany - Pinhead Gunpowder

I've always loved this song. Written by Michael Masser and Gerald Goffin and originally recorded by Diana Ross for the 1975 movie "Mahogany", it's been stuck in my head ever since the first time I saw the movie a gazillion years ago. It rears its head every once in awhile to ask me the questions we should all ask ourselves every so often: "Do you know where you're going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to? Do you know? Do you get what you're hoping for? When you look behind you there's no open doors. What are you hoping for? Do you know?"

Mahogany by Pinhead Gunpowder from the 1995 album "Carry the Banner"

Yes, pop-punksters, that is Billie Joe Armstrong of Greenday.

Pinhead Gunpowder fansite

Pinhead Gunpowder MySpace page

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Night of the Lotus Eaters - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

A performer whose art speaks for itself.

Night of the Lotus Eaters by Nick Cave and the Bads Seeds from the 2008 album "Dig! Lazarus, Dig!"

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds website

Nick-Cave Online

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' Myspace page

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Baby's Taking Me Home - Sparks

Sparks recorded their first album, in 1971 under the name Halfnelson (they changed their name to Sparks not long after and re-released that album in 1972). I first discovered Sparks in the 1980s and my musical tastes have been colored by them ever since. They have this habit of taking music as we know it, and turning it on it's ear ... inside-out and upside-down. Sort of like Andy Warhol did to pop art.

Get ready for a brilliant little earworm!

My Baby's Taking Me Home by Sparks from the 2002 album "Lil' Beethoven"

Sparks' official website - I highly recommend reading their Sparkography. It's deliciously written!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Eli's Place - Robert Nighthawk

Born in Helena, Arkansas in 1909, Robert Lee McCollum started playing harmonica as a teenager and began the life of a travelling musician. In 1930, he met a distant cousin by the name of Houston Stackhouse who taught him to play the guitar and the two began travelling together, playing wherever they could to make money. In 1932 they found themselves playing a wedding for none other than Muddy Waters.
Robert was involved in a shooting incident in 1935 that sent him on the run, fleeing the Delta (he did not know the shooting was not fatal), and changing his name to Robert Lee McCoy (his mother's maiden name).
While he recorded up through the mid-1960s, 1936-1939 were Robert's most productive years as a recording artist, recording 25 sides as a featured artist for Vocalian and Decca Records, as well as many sides as a session player. He took the name Nighthawk from his song "Prowling Night Hawk", recorded during this time.
Thoughout his career, he worked with artists such as Jimmy Rogers, John Lee Hooker, John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, Big Joe Williams, Elmore James, Muddy Waters, and Willie Dixon.
When in Chicago, Robert enjoyed playing in the open air market on Maxwell Street, setting up on corners and in alleys, playing music on the street for money. These perfomances caught the eye of guitarist Michael Bloomfield and photographer Mike Shea who filmed the Maxwell Street performances for a documentary of Chicago blues entitled, "And This Is Free."
Robert had been suffering from ill health and in November of 1967 he was admitted to the hospital in Helena, Arkansas where he died on November 5th of congenital heart failure, 25 days before his 58th birthday.

Eli's Place by Robert Nighthawk from the documentary "And This Is Free" (originally released in 1964, re-released in 2008 by Shanachie Entertainment)

More info on Robert Nighthawk here (


here (

Monday, November 10, 2008

L'Amour - Carla Bruni

Supermodel, singer-songwriter, first lady of France ... I want to sing like this when I grow up.

L'Amour by Carla Bruni from the 2003 album "Quelqu'un m'a dit"

Carla Bruni's MySpace page

Carla Bruni's official website

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Earth Intruders - Bjork

It's my youngest's birthday today. She LOVES Bjork and she LOVES this song, so this is for her.

Earth Intruders by Bjork from the 2007 album "Volta".

Official Bjork website

Bjork MySpace page

Bjork Facebook page


My grandma taught me this dance when I was a little girl about 6 or 7 years old. I've been thinking about this memory a LOT these past several weeks.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I See Fire - Ramona's Got a Peppy Voice

I seem to be on a bit of a Scandanavian kick these days, as is evidenced by my choice of yet another band from Sweden. If X, The Violent Femmes and The White Stripes had an orgy and created a child, this trio out of Stockholm would be it.

I See Fire by Ramona's Got a Peppy Voice

MySpace page for Ramona's Got a Peppy Voice

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's Over - The Auto Dropouts

This band is a brand spankin' new discovery to me and I am liking them a lot! Based in Stockholm, Sweden, The Auto Dropouts call themselves, "A co-operating mammoth with people involved from several places on the globe. A playground for grown up kids."

It's Over - The Auto Dropouts

The Auto Dropouts MySpace page


The Auto Dropouts Website

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Baderie Assid Recovery Project - Kid Madusa

Kid Madusa is Lindsay Heath of Salt Lake City, Utah. She is an amazing bundle of talent and artistic expression. I had the privilege of performing with her this past summer as part of Chimera for the Utah Arts Festival. Not only is she musically brilliant and absolutely beautiful, she is an incredibly sweet and wonderful person to boot!

The Baderie Assid Recovery Project by Kid Madusa

MySpace profle for Kid Madusa - Check out her other stuff, too. It's all fantastic.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Snow - Loreena McKennitt

I opened the blinds this morning to a world blanketed in the quiet softness of a morning snow.

Snow by Loreena McKennitt from the 1987 album "To Drive the Cold Winter Away" on her own Quinlan Road record label.

Loreen McKennitt's official website.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Schoolhouse Rock!

It's election day. The day we all, as citizens of this country, have the privilege of exercising our right to elect the men and women who will lead us, write our laws, and defend our constitution.

The Preamble - First aired in 1976
Written and performed by Lynn Ahrens

This is an event - an opportunity - that so many take for granted. As ashamed as I am to admit it, even I used to take it for granted. Then we moved to a new town and had to register to vote there. I did this with all the enthusiasm of making the address change at the post office. Then a couple weeks before the mid-term elections, I received a letter in the mail notifying me that my citizenship was in question and requesting documented proof of my citizenship. Proof!?! I was born in another country, yes - to a US serviceman and his wife, both of whom were born and raised in the USA! Before I could vote in that election, I had to send in a copy of my "notification of a citizen born abroad" papers. At the time, I found this very amusing and just a little irritating. Still, I provided the necessary documents. Then I waited for my voter card to arrive in the mail. I waited and I waited and I waited. It arrived ON election day. That evening, card in hand, my husband and I drove to our polling place to cast our ballots. My name was NOT on the list! I was told to go stand against the wall while they took my card and made a few calls. After close to 20 minutes, they finally found the information they needed to allow me to vote - provisionally.

It was an odd sensation, standing back and watching all these other people schlepping into their booths to cast their votes while all I could do was watch from a distance. I was so afraid that I was not going to have a voice in that election. I understood how my great-grandmothers and the women who came before them felt.

Sufferin' 'Til Suffrage - First aired in 1976
Music: Bob Dorough Lyrics: Tom Yohe
Performed by: Essra Mohawk

The right to vote is something I will never exercise grudgingly again. I will carefully and considerately and proudly cast my ballot, letting my voice be heard. Because I can.

I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College
written by: George R. Newall and Bob Dorough
performed by: Jack Sheldon

Happy Election Day! Now go let your voice be heard! Vote!

The UNofficial Schoolhouse Rock website

Monday, November 3, 2008

Woke Up This Morning - Alabama 3

Oh, yeah! It's an Alabama 3 morning, for sure! I woke up with "Monday Don't Mean Anything" in my head, which led immediately to "Woke Up This Morning" from
Alabama 3's 1997 debut album "Exile On Cold Harbor Lane" released on the One Little Indian/Geffen record label. Woke Up This Morning (The Chosen One mix) became the theme song for the HBO series The Sopranos which premiered in 1999.

Here's an accoustic studio performance of the same song (with a slightly different spin) from SXSW 2008 - Larry Love and Devlin Love on vocals, Rock Freebase on guitar, The Mountain of Love on harp.

Check 'em out! Be converted! Proselytize and Presleytize!

The official website for Alabama 3.

Monday Don't Mean Anything - Alabama 3

All the people in the house sing! Monday Don't Mean Anything by Alabama 3 from the 2007 album M.O.R.

Kate Nash sits in on vocals for this 2008 T In the Park performance.

Here are a few links for ya - Click away!

Alabama 3 official site

Alabama 3 MySpace page

Devlin Love Music MySpace page

Kate Nash Music MySpace page

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Rain - The Beatles

I woke up to a gorgeously rainy morning today. And here it is lunchtime and the rain is still coming down. *happy sigh* I have a fire in the fireplace and The Beatles in my head. Life is good.

Rain was released in 1966 as the B side for the single "Paperback Writer". Both songs were recorded during the sessions for the album "Revolver" which was released a couple months later, although neither song was included. Both songs were later included in the compilation album "Hey, Jude" (US - 1970). The final verse of this song includes John Lennon singing the first part of the first verse, "When the rain comes, they run and their heads," then played backwards for the final mix. This was one of the first - if not the first - recordings to use this technique.

This footage is part of a 1966 promotional film for The Beatles directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.

Official site for The Beatles.

Lord, I've Been Changed - Tom Waits

Have I mentioned how much I love this man? I do so much!

Lord I've Been Changed by Tom Waits from Orphans:Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards, disc 1 released in 2006.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Start Wearing Purple - Gogol Bordello

Yes, purple is my favorite color. Especially now. Da-da-da-da-DA!

Who knew a Russian wedding in 1998 would eventually lead to this? (I, for one, am so glad it did!) They were banned from several of NYC's infamous dives, including CB/GBs, for being too over the top. Imagine that! Gogol Bordello's current line-up of immigrant punks come from Ukraine, Russia, Scotland, Israel, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Florida and Vermont.

Are you dancing, yet?

The Official Gogol Bordello site
Gogol Bordello's MySpace Page

Friday, October 31, 2008

Dead Man's Party - Oingo Boingo

What would Hallowe'en be without a little Dead Man's Party?

Originally formed in 1972 by Richard Elfman as a musical theater troupe a la Spike Jones and called The Mystical Knights of the Oingo Boingo, they performed songs ranging from Cab Calloway covers to Russian ballet music as well as original compositions. Richard became more interested in film making and passed the leadership of the band over to his brother, Danny. In the late 1970s, the band shortened their name to simply Oingo Boingo. Around 1991 they shortened it even more to Boingo, reverting back to Oingo Boingo in 1995 when they disbanded after the Hallowe'en concert of the same year.

This is the title track from Oingo Boingo's fourth album, released in 1985.

This is Hallowe'en - Marilyn Manson

Originally written (and performed by) Danny Elfman for the 1993 animated movie "The Nightmare Before Christmas", Marilyn Manson adds his own creepy touch to the song in this 2007 cover.

Marilyn Manson's official website

Wytches' Brew - Omnia

Wytches' Brew by Omnia from the album "Alive!" released in 2007.

From the Netherlands, Omnia's music is all accoustic and many of the instruments are handmade by the band themselves.

Omnia's official webpage


Omnia's MySpace page

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Carp - No Blood to Spare

No Blood to Spare is one of the most innovative bands I've ever had the pleasure to know. The guys are not only incredibly talented and creative, they're just plain ol' nice guys. And they let me sing with them sometimes. Bonus! In fact, I had the pleasure of performing with them this past summer at the Utah Arts Festival with Chimera. It was FABulous!

No Blood to Spare is playing tomorrow night (Hallowe'en) at Alchemy Coffee in Salt Lake City. If you happen to be in town, I'd highly recommend you checking them out.

No Blood to Spare's official page


No Blood to Spare's MySpace page


No Blood to Spare's Youtube channel

Two Heads - Alabama 3 (live)

This song makes me giggle.

"I got two heads.
I'm gonna bang my heads together.
I got one leg.
I'm gonna hop to heaven's door.
I got three eyes.
I'm gonna pluck one out for Jesus.
And I ain't gonna have no troubles anymore."

Pollywog in a Bog - Barenaked Ladies

WARNING: This one will get stuck in your head and you'll find yourself sitting in a business meeting, singing it under your breath.

Pollywog in a Bog by Barenaked Ladies from the 2008 album "Snacktime".

Click here for Barenaked Ladies official website.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

House of the Rising Sun - Odetta

Nobody knows for sure who wrote House of the Rising Sun. It's almost as if it's just always been. In September of 1937, Alan Lomax recorded 16 year old Georgia Turner singing it and gives her credit for the lyrics in his book "Our Singing Country" which he published in 1941.

Odetta was born New Year's Eve 1930 in Birmingham, Alabama. She is known as "The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement." Operatically trained from the age of 13, her repetoire consists mostly of blues, gospel, jazz and American folk songs. She is still touring today at the age of 77.

Click here for more on Odetta.

God's Gonna Cut You Down - Johnny Cash

I wake up with this song in my head quite often. The first time I saw this video for it, I was stunned. It was - and still is - one of the most intensely emotional visual interpretations of a song I've ever seen.

God's Gonna Cut You Down is a traditional folk song also known as Run On. It has been performed and recorded by many artists including Odetta (1956) and The Blind Boys of Alabama (2001) as "God's Gonna Cut You Down", and as "Run On" by Bill Landford and the Landfordaires (1943, remixed and released by Moby in 1999) and Elvis Presley (1966).

The Johnny Cash version of the song was released posthumously in 2006 on the album American V: A Hundred Highways.

The Official Johnny Cash Website

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Egil Saga - Faun

Faun - from Munich, Germany. I absolutely LOVE this band! Besides incredible vocals, they play some of the most intriguing instruments including Celtic harp, nyckelharpa, lyres, bagpipes, Japanese taiko drums, cister, Pagan zither, flutes and even Arabic instruments like dombra, rebab, riq, oud, darabukka and bendir.

Faun's official MySpace page

Faun's official webpage

And the same song LIVE! This band is amazing and one of my new favorites.

For more on the Egil Saga:
Wikipedia on Egil Saga
Translation by Rev. W.C. Green, trascribed by Jess Frazier

Aberdeen Mississippi Blues - Booker White

This man's playing makes my jaw drop everytime.

B.B. King's older cousin, Booker T. Washington White was born in 1909 near Houston, Mississippi. He did his first recordings in 1930 for Victor Records. In 1937 he was arrested for shooting a man. He was incarcerated in the Parchment Farm Prison, and released in 1940. In 1942 he enlisted in the Navy and served for 2 years. He died in 1977 in Memphis, Tennessee at the age of 67.

For more information on Booker White, go to

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rain Dogs - Tom Waits

Rain Dogs by Tom Waits

What can I say? This man is pure genius!

The album "Rain Dogs" was released in 1985 on the Island Records label.

This song (and footage) was also featured in the concert movie (and live album)"Big Time", released in 1988, also by Island Records. The movie is part concert movie and part play, incorporating aspects of "Frank's Wild Years" (released in 1987).

Official Tom Waits website

Medicine Man - Nico Vega

Medicine Man by Nico Vega from the 5 song EP "No Child Left Behind" released in October 2007 on Myspace Records.

Click here for Nico Vega's Myspace page

Song the first

Hey, if it was good enough to launch MTV a gazillion years ago, it's good enough to launch this blog.

Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles. Written by Geoff Downes, Trevor Horn and Bruce Woolley and released in 1979 as a 7-inch single by Island Records.

Fun Wikipedia blurb about the song: Clicky here