Wednesday, February 28, 2007

CD Purging Regrets

So, I have this idea that my music collection (CDs and LPs) absolutely must fit into these cabinets in my hallway. My CD and LP collections are not allowed to grow beyond this allotted space. So that usually means a couple times a year, I do a mass purge. I usually do this when I am in a anti-pack rat, unsentimental mood. It always feels good to purge and clean out. I sometimes have this unfounded fear of becoming a recluse with so much junk in my house that you would have to squeeze through narrow passageways among floor-to-ceiling piles of accumulated stuff... records, tapes, CDs, magazines, books, papers, etc. So, getting rid of CDs helps to keep this fear under control.

But then I find myself missing CDs that I've sold. One of the CDs that I regret selling is Barbara Streisand's Greatest Hits. I have no clue why I miss this one except that I love "Guilty" that she sings with Andy Gibb.

Another album that I miss is Down by the Old Mainstream by Golden Smog (featuring Jeff Tweedy). I went through a phase that lasted several years that I did not like Wilco or Jeff Tweedy's voice. It didn't have to do with negative associations with ex-boyfriends or anything like that. I just didn't like them anymore. But then when I discovered Wilco's Summer Teeth album just a couple years ago, my Wilco hiatus officially ended. That record was my favorite record in Spring 2005 and I played it all the time. We recently got the new Golden Smog record at WXYC called Another Fine Day. I really really like it (it's got that jangly poppy country rock sound that I crave), but it reminds me of how I regret giving up their first record.

Should I go back and repurchase these records of my regret? Or should I just let them go? I think I can skip the Barbara Streisand record and just get that "Guilty" track off Itunes, but I wonder about that old Golden Smog record. Maybe I'll just get their new one.

I think to avoid these regretful feelings in the future, maybe I should just go ahead and admit that I am a pack rat and stop purging my music collection.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Powder Their Behinds

When I was little, I remember that my mom used to sing me bedtime songs like "Itsy Bitsy Spider" or "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and stuff like that. There's nothing wrong with these songs... they are very traditional songs that lots of little kids hear from parents. However, my dad sang completely different songs to me and my brothers when he was putting us to bed. I feel truly blessed (and simultaneously cursed) by the songs that my dad sang to us. Dad was way into country music, which might account for my cowboy phase. I vividly remember "Where Are You Tonight" from Hee Haw in which my dad would allow me to make the "PPBBBLLLLTTTT!!!" sound toward the end of the song. That was way cool. There was also the childen's classic "The Wreck of the Old 97" which I particualary liked because it was a true story in which a train crashed and the conductor died in Danville, VA where my grandparents lived.

This weekend, I took a trip to Miami, FL with my parents, my brothers and my sister-in-slaw for my cousin's wedding. On Friday, we took a little road trip out to Shark Valley, one of the National Park sites in the Everglades. Despite the name, there were no sharks, but you could find an alligator every few feet as well as herons and egrets. It was really amazing, but also a little frightening. The alligators were not in cages or separated from visitors in any way, but they were simply lying on the side of the path and they were EVERYWHERE. They were very laid back and seemed to love to sunbathe and have their picture taken, but still, these were not domesticated alligators. They were so close that you could reach out and pet them, although that was definitely discouraged and I certainly did not attempt it.

While there, my brother, Drew walked up to my dad and said, "You know, all these alligators remind me of 'The Battle of New Orleans.'"I think it took my dad a second or two to figure out the connection between the alligators and that song, but it was one in my dad's bedtime song repertoire. Once Drew mentioned it, the memories of my dad singing that song to me in my polyester footed pajamas came rushing back.

"In eighteen-fourteen we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the might Mississipp'

We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans

We fired our guns and the British kept a comin'

There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they began to runnin'

On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

We looked down the river and we seed the British come
And there must've been a hundred of 'em beatin' on the drum
They stepped so high and they made their bugles ring
We stood beside our cotton bales, didn't say a thing

We fired . . .

Old Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise
If we didn't fire muskets till we looked 'em in the eye
We held our fire till we seed their faces well
Then we opened up our squirrel guns and really gave 'em well

We fired . . .

Yeah they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

We fired our cannon till the barrel melted down
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round
We filled his head with cannonballs and powdered his behind
And when we touched the powder off the 'gator lost his mind

We fired . . ."

I remember thinking that this was THE BEST SONG EVER WRITTEN when I was a child. I think my dad thought so too, because I can remember him belting this song so loudly that I thought the whole house was shaking. I had no idea what the song was about, but I thought the part about powdering the alligator's behind and the gator lost his mind, was just pure brilliance in subject matter and in rhyme.

"The Battle of New Orleans" was originally written by a school teacher named Jimmy Driftwood. He tried desperately to keep his pupils' attention by setting lyrics to songs pertaining to the subject matter he was teaching. He took the old fiddle tune called "The Eighth of January" and gave it lyrics about the final battle of the of the War of 1812, hence the name "Battle of New Orleans." One night, Johnny Horton was driving home after a late concert in Nashville and heard Jimmy Driftwood's song on the radio. He liked it so much that he decided to record it and his version became one of the most popular songs in 1959.

I'm very glad that my dad chose these sorts of songs to sing to me and my brothers when we were little. I think it kinda contributed to our weirdness, but it in a very wonderful way. I hope to continue the tradition and sing these songs to my future kids one day.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Jump In the Line!

Ok. It's now 2:45 and my parents and my brother will be here in less than an hour and I am still not packed for Miami. All I can think about right now is having a margarita and a quesadilla at Cosmic Cantina and I have Harry Belafonte's "Jump In the Line" running through my head. Packing for this trip has been a pain in the ass. Last night, I felt like a 15-year old girl having a temper tantrum: "I hate this outfit! This doesn't fit! I can't wear this! AACK!" I rarely get like this... but I never go to black tie weddings. The rehearsal dinner is going to be at some big yacht club!

I am excited about spending time with my family in Miami as I didn't get to see them that much over Christmas. And I am excited about the 80 degree weather! I am bringing my flip-flops. The family time and the weather will make up for the cocktail attire that I will have to endure throughout the weekend.

Forget packing. I have enough stuff in that suitcase. I am going for the margarita. I'll have to listen to Harry Belafonte in the car.

I Love Another Kay

During the 90’s when everyone was embracing grunge and “alternative” music, I hated it. Rock was everywhere and it just turned me off. In 1991, I began working at Cameron’s that, at the time, was owned by a guy who loved 40’s, 50’s and 60’s pop and jazz singers like Bobby Darin, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, and Ray Charles. There were hundreds of CDs at the store of all this stuff. I was so excited to hear all this “new” music. There was more to life than rock!

One of the CDs that was in heavy rotation in Cameron’s was a Capital Records compilation of Irving Berlin songs featuring this crazy song called “You’re Just In Love.” It starts out soft with just a string bass and then the voice of Kay Starr drifts in. “I hear music and there’s no one there. I smell blossoms and the trees are bare. All day long, I seem to walk on air. I wonder why.” The song continues to build adding more instrumetation until Kay starts singing a duet with herself. “You don’t need analyzing. It’s not so surprising that you feel strange but nice. Your heart goes pitter patter. I know what’s the matter because I’ve been there once or twice.” I remember standing behind the jewelry counter in the center of the store back during my days of Levi jeans and birkenstocks and thinking that I had died and gone to heaven when I heard Kay Starr singing this song. It ends with her bellowing over a full orchestra with lots of horns: “There is nothing you can take to relieve that pleasant ache. You’re not sick. You’re just in love!”

A few years ago, I complained to Bill that we didn’t have enough Kay Starr records at WXYC. That quickly changed, but we still don’t have Kay’s version of “You’re Just In Love.” Otherwise, I’d probably play it every week. Last Friday, I read one the record reviews that I had written for one of the half dozen Kay Starr albums we have at WXYC. I had forgotten that she developed her vocal talent by singing to the family chickens when she was little. Her mother entered her in a local radio station talent contest, which led to a fifteen-minute radio show on which she sang hillbilly tunes and pop songs. At the age of fifteen, she started singing with Joe Venuti’s orchestra. She sang for Glenn Miller’s orchestra after Marion Hutton was out sick. She even ended up replacing Lena Horne in Charlie Barnett’s orchestra. She was considered a great “white” influence in the early R&B genre. In the 50s, she signed with Capitol Records where she continued to crank out pop hits and even some hillbilly hits. (Her songs with Tennessee Ernie Ford RAWK!) In 1950, she fell in love with Roy Acuff’s “Bonaparte’s Retreat.” She convinced him to write lyrics for the fiddle tune and it became one of her biggest hits.

Last week, I played “It’s A Good Day” by Kay Starr. This week, I won’t be playing any Kay Starr as I will be out of town. But Tim (who covered my show a couple weeks ago) will be covering my shift. He’s really good.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Security Blanket CD

Tonight, although I should be packing for a whirlwind weekend in Miami, I am procrastinating. So here I am writing and not packing. I keep thinking about how proud I am that I cooked the other night and I didn't even have to play my comfort, security blanket CD! Anytime I feel sad or anxious or I can't sleep, I play this particular CD. I think that it is my all-time favorite. It is not titled Security Blanket CD. It is actually nameless which is unusual for me since I usually give titles to all my mixes. I know this mix of songs like the back of my hand. I know each segue. I know that the Tift Merritt track is way louder than the rest of the songs. I have played this mix probably a hundred times or more. And, I definitely I remember making it. It was December 2001 and I was really really sad: it was Christmastime, I was sad over a boy, my house was really cold and a pipe burst, and I just come home from eye surgery. I was depressed. This is what I felt:

Beatles - I Will
Percy Sledge - Come Softly to Me
Blossom Dearie - Tea for Two
Azure Ray - Displaced
Velvet Underground - Sunday Morning
Rufus Wainwright - Rebel Prince
Aretha Franklin - Skylark
Nick Drake - Northern Sky
Magnetic Fields - Book of Love
Red House Painters - Song for Blue Guitar
Tift Merritt - Trouble Over Me
Elliott Smith - Between the Bars
Al Green - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
Radiohead - No Surprises
Big Star - Thirteen
East River Pipe - My Little Rainbow
Ryan Adams - La Cienega Just Smiled
Dump - some prince cover
Rose Melberg - My Heaven, My Sky
Hope Sandoval - Suzanne

A couple friends have told me that it is their favorite mix CD. (Wow. What a compliment!) My friend, Lightnin', liked it so much that he sent me a copy of his own security blanket mix CD. I still have my mix CD somewhere, but I haven't needed it lately. I have been sleeping better than I have in probably 10 years and I don't know why. Maybe it's the blogging. Maybe it is the cooking. Or maybe it is my rekindled obsession with music. Or maybe it my steering away from depressing mix CDs from December 2001. It's time to pack away the security blanket and be a big kid.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I Can Cook! I Can Cook!

I have always been embarrassed about my kitchen skills and as a result I have developed a severe case of cooking phobia. It seems that all my friends know how to cook extremely well and invite me over for exquisite dinners and I have never invited anyone over for a meal that I cooked. But all that is about to change! I want to learn how to cook!!!

I have always hated the thought of cooking... I want everything to be exact and cooking instructions have always seemed vague to me. What the hell do these things mean: "medium heat," "golden brown," "until done," "pinch." It drives me nuts. Is it medium heat over the big burner or the little burner? What hue of golden brown I am supposed to be looking for? What's a pinch?

Up until yesterday, I have only known how to cook three things and I only do it when I absolutely have to. My three dishes are: vegetarian chili, deviled eggs, and pound cake. That's it, folks. I tried cooking something new one time a few years ago. It was a roasted butternut squash soup and it was a disaster. Even with my comfort, security-blanket mix CD playing, it was a horrible experience in which everything ended up in the trash and I ended up on the floor in tears.

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting at work and I found myself thinking that I want to cook myself dinner!!! Now, over the past few months, I have had some crazy ideas, but nothing like this. But after reading Elizabeth's post yesterday about her swank meal, I was inspired. I want to invite friends over for dinner!

So, yesterday when I felt this urge to cook, I decided somewhat randomly on chicken chili. I googled "chicken chili" and printed out the first recipe that I could find. It didn't look too difficult... but it involved alot of chopping which I dread. After I got home from Whole Foods Paycheck with the ingredients and a six-pack, I opened a beer, put on a Devendra Barnhart CD and began cooking. I got all the ingredients chopped and measured beforehand... and I think that helped easy my anxiety. The beer and Devendra Barnhart didn’t hurt either.

I was supposed to pick Sara up to go to the Federal at 7:30, but I ended up calling her to INVITE HER TO DINNER AT MY HOUSE! I was in tears when I was on the phone with her. I have never ever in my entire life called anyone to have dinner at my house that I COOKED ALL BY MYSELF. The chicken chili was amazing considering that I have never cooked meat before in my life. It was actually pretty tasty. The chicken was a teeny bit overdone, but overall, I was extremely pleased with the results. I kept saying “Wow! Wow! Wow! I cooked and it’s good!”

Sara and I ended up skipping the Federal completely and stayed at home and watched AV Geeks DVDs until 2am. We were both too stuffed to make it out of the house! [I was going to post a picture of the chili in progress, but the pictures that I had looked pretty gross... semi-raw chicken doesn't make a pretty picture. So, here is a picture in my cute little apron instead.]

Now, I am ready to try more things. I want to cook dinner for people. I want to use my dining room! Last night, I felt so good. Send me your recipes!!!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Weakness for Outsider Art

Friday afternoon, I called David to invite him and Jennifer to go to Fearrington Village for their annual Folk Art Show on Saturday. I knew that they would appreciate the art, as David has accompanied me on other folk art shopping trips in the past. Lemme just say: the art was amazing. I saw so many pieces that were really stunning. I am still daydreaming over this pottery pitcher that I saw... I might have to go back on Sunday!

I arrived a few minutes before David and Jennifer and the first person I ran into was Clyde Jones. He had some huge sparkly paintings that he was exhibiting, but not selling of course. I saw him sitting in some random chair outside of someone else's booth. He was eating one of the biggest barbeque sandwiches I have ever seen. I first met Clyde about 15 years ago... back when I used to make art myself. It took a couple trips out to Bynum to visit Clyde before he warmed up to me and we soon became very good friends. I would make art for him and he would make art for me. The last piece I made for him was STOLEN off his porch!!! He's even made my parents some artwork that hangs in their kitchen. Clyde is truly inspirational. But he picks on me and today was no exception. But it is always fun to throw a few jokes back and forth with Clyde.

Anyway, David, Jennifer and I wandered around the Fearrington Barn to look over everything. There was this one artist there from whom I bought some paintings two years ago for $10 - $20 and now the smallest piece in his booth was about $60!!! I said hello to him and kept going. After several laps, I hadn't decided on anything and I met back up with David and Jennifer. They decided on this angel painting and then they asked if I had seen the work of Benny Carter.

The three of us walked back over to Benny Carter's booth and I was blown away. His work was great. He loves to paint water scenes particularly Noah's Ark... but all the animals on the boat are of a single kind (all giraffes or all lions) and there are lots of people on the ark all fishing.

Carter also had a series of 9-11 paintings. I was turned off by them at first, because it seems that images of 9-11 are taboo. But the more I studied these pieces, the more intrigued I became. There were three similar 9-11 themed paintings in which Carter painted a diamond in the middle of a vibrant blue ocean with bridges carrying either taxis, NYPD or NYFD vehicles. At each point of the diamond was an apple tree (signifying the "Big Apple") and a sign on which an island was written: Staton, Ellis, Long, and Coney. In the center of the diamond, he attached circular button on which he created his image of Manhattan on 9-11, complete with the Twin Towers and planes and little people on a backdrop of an orange sky. I have no idea how he got that level of detail on there. My hands shake too much to even imagine trying to capture that sort of detail. (Click on the photo to see what I am talking about.)

I had a nice chat with Benny Carter about his work. He loves to include water in his paintings and he loves the Adam and Eve and the snake theme. He had this one painting that included 9-11 and Adam and Eve being chased by snakes. It was crazy. He lives north of Greensboro in Mayodan... a town I have never heard of. He showed us pictures of his house and yard... and it is reminiscent of Clyde Jones house or even Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens.. I feel a road trip coming on very soon...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Radio Show - Friday, February 16 8-10am

Tom Waits - It's Over
The Cyrkle - We Had a Good Thing Goin'
Kay Starr - It's a Good Day
Erin McKeown - Coucou
Red Ingle and the Natural Seven - Temptation
Lucinda Williams - Learning How to Live
Webb Pierce - Why Baby Why
Golden Smog - Long Time Ago
Pop Levi - (A Style Called) Crying Chic
Perez Prado - Marilyn Monroe Mambo
Calexico - El Picador
Unrest - Make Out Club
Lalo Guerrero - Oh Babe

I was very perplexed by Lucinda Williams voice on her new record. She sounded ROUGH. Really rough. She's always had a husky voice, but this was different. She just sounded scraggly. What's up with that?

Last weekend, Elizabeth gave me a mix cd of dance and pop tunes that I love. I learned about Gnarls Barkley and Wet Willie. I also heard a version of "Temptation" that I did not know existed sung by Johnny and June Carter Cash. I loved it... they sounded like granddad and grandmom. But I still love the Red Ingle version more. It features the vocals of Jo Stafford who had to work hard to develop a humorous hillbilly voice for this track. It worked for me.

The entire playlist can be found here.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Vetiver Love

After days and days of pining, I finally got the Vetiver record, To Find Me Gone. Holy cow. I LOVE IT! And I found one of the songs that brought me to tears at the ArtsCenter the other night. It's track #5 and it's called, "I Know No Pardon." It is so pretty and sad.... two traits in music that I just cannot get enough of. I am so glad that folk is back in vogue these days... Devendra Barnhart, Iron and Wine, Joanna Newsom, Espers. This stuff is right up my alley.

Anyway, at the very beginning of "I Know No Pardon" there's a soft, charming melody played on acoustic guitar. And then it gets better: another acoustic guitar comes in playing something something even more beautiful and ethereal that reminds me of a Grateful Dead song (which I just cannot remember the name of). But before you can settle into the slow, spacey, earthy groove, the lyrics gently roll out with Andy Cabric's airy, sad voice:
"Maria, please don't leave me now.
I need ya.
I'm wanted. There's nowhere I can go.
My up has turned down.
My luck's spun 'round and left me."

Move over Donovan. This song is the best. Why is it that I fall in love with these sad little songs? I've been drawn to sad pop songs for as long as I can remember: Nick Drake, Morrissey, Elliott Smith. Maybe it first developed in high school when I would listen to my parents' records: Peter, Paul & Mary and the Supremes. Maybe the combination of the acoustic folk songs of PP&M and the 60's pop hits about unrequited love of the Supremes led me down the road of loving pretty, sad songs.

Somebody once told me that he could identify my radio shows because according to him, I always play songs that have a sense of yearning. I have even had folks call into my show to assure me that everything will be alright... even when there's nothing wrong. I just like sad songs. I have made the saddest, most depressing mix tapes when I have been really happy.

Tonight, I cannot stop listening to Vetiver's "I Know No Pardon." About halfway through, there is a little lap steel guitar that is just the icing on the cake for me. Sigh. This song is officially my favorite song of the week.

Better Fortune Cookie Fortune

"A good time to start something new."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

May your day be filled with hotdogs and chocolate (but not together at the same time... that seems grody unless the chocolate is in the chili and then it is quite tasty.)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Artistic Escapism

Last week, I went to see a work-in-progress screening of Brett Ingram's new documentary film, Rocaterrania (featuring new music by Sharkquest). This film tells the story of a visionary artist who works as an amazing scientific illustrator by day at the NC Museum of Natural History in Raleigh. Renaldo Kuhler is an eccentric guy (he's about 6'5", kinda loud and wears lederhosen and scarves to work), but I really admire him for his self-confidence and acceptance of his freakiness. And I was just blown away by his illustrations of his imaginary country, Roceterrania. He created this place through drawings and journals during a period of time when he found himself isolated on a ranch out west and little opportunity to socialize with other people. His world was really detailed; Kuhler created a couple hundred characters, a goverment, detailed cities and buildings, and even its own language and alphabet.

Sometimes, I wish that I could find happiness in some sort of creative escapism. The closest that I have come to that is a book of found things from my front yard and this blog. Oh, and my radio show.... if you can count that.

But these artists like Bruce Bickford, Henry Darger, and Renaldo Kuhler seem so content with their lives and their work. I wish I could find that same level of personal acceptance. I sometimes think that if I moved out to a little one stoplight town out in the middle of nowhere, I could find that some sort of peace or happiness... that would be my own Rocaterrania. But then again, I think I might go crazy. Or maybe I'm already crazy.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Searching for Stormy Weather

I am not sure how many folks listen to Marketplace on NPR, but I like it. I even set my alarm to go off at 6:50am so that I can hear the 10-minute Marketplace report. I like how they present their news stories, but I especially like to hear the stock market report, even though I know nothing about numbers of points and indexes and all that stuff. I should probably learn at some point.

Anyway, depending on what happens on the stock market for a particular day, they'll play a few seconds of either "We're in the Money," "It Don't Mean a Thing," or "Stormy Weather." For years now, I have been obsessed with "Stormy Weather" which they play when the stock market is down.

This particular version of "Stormy Weather" is delicate and slow and played on piano. It's one the saddest songs I have ever heard and I absolutely love it. I even like it better than the Lena Horne's version from the film Stormy Weather, which is pretty darn sad. However, she does look pretty happy in that photo. But I cannot figure out who performs the Marketplace version. I have searched the internet to figure out who plays it and I cannot find anything.

But over the past couple weeks, I haven't heard "Stormy Weather." I've heard that the stock market is reaching record highs.... which I guess is good for my retirement accounts, and I should be happy. I just need to figure out who plays that song. I betcha Bob Parlocha would know.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Ukuleles, Tamales and Champagne

I just love girls' night. With all my free time these days, I have been reconnecting with ALOT of people. Last night, I invited some girls over for what I intially thought would just be a simple night of beer and tamales. But then, I decided to tell people to bring their instruments which turned out to be a great idea. After eating large quantities of tamales, tacos, and chile rellenos and going though four bottles of proscecco and champagne, we pulled out our instruments. And boy, was that great. I could play a little bit along to "I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again." I couldn't really get the chord changes down (and it is only a two chord song), but I was able to at least strum along in rhythm.

Every now and then I try to pick up my banjo uke practicing, but I just plain suck at playing a string instrument. I need to find the discipline to play every single day. My banjo uke needs a little bit of work and I think I want to have someone put some new strings on it. But that is not the reason that I am having difficulty playing.... if it was, I would've fixed the problem long ago.

I MUST Practice. Practice. Practice. God, that gives me flashbacks to when I was in elementary school and Mrs. Alexander, my piano teacher, would get on my case about NOT practicing my piano at home. Practicing the piano for me as a child was like flossing teeth. I would only floss my teeth right before I went to the dentist. And I would only practice piano right before I went to my piano lesson.

But girls night has given me new hope and inspiration. Maybe I'll even try the ukulele jam at High Strung. I wonder if they play any Stephin Merritt songs at uke jam night...

Friday, February 9, 2007

Radio Show - Friday, February 9, 8-10AM

Vetiver - Maureen
Slowdive - Machine Gun
Hot Club of Cowtown - There'll Be Some Changes Made
Lucinda Williams - Changed the Locks
Guy Mitchell - Singing the Blues
Jiminy Cricket & Rika Moore - The Cannibal Song
Mountaineer - A Line for Every Letter
Future Bible Hereos - I'm Lonely (And I Love It)
Louvin Brothers - There's A Higher Power
Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Jericho
The Flaming Lips - She Don't Use Jelly
Jackie Davis - Glow Worm Cha-Cha-Cha

Today's show was a rough one. Two of the three CD players were acting funny. The computer was messed up and had to be rebooted. The computer mouse became disconnected. But I got things fixed and felt ready about 8:30. I liked "A Line for Every Letter" by Mountaineer that I played... it was very pretty. I probably need to go find that Mountaineer CD this weekend. My entire playlist can be found here.

My friend, Jared, sent me a mix CD in the mail a week or so ago. I was very impressed as he burned it entirely from LPs in real time. It features a song called the "Cannibal Song" by Jiminy Cricket and Rika Moore. But I cannot figure out if the voice of Jiminy Cricket is actually Cliff Edwards on that particular track. And where did it come from? I gotta figure that out. It is a very wacky song.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

New Records

I love buying music. I buy enough that I even track it as a separate item in Quicken. (Geek! Geek!) Last night I really wanted to find that Vetiver record, so Chris and I stopped in Bull City Records after dinner and margaritas on Ninth Street. Perhaps under the influence of a teeny bit too much alcohol, I bought:

The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
Joanna Newsom - Ys

Fleetwood Mac - Mystery To Me (pre-Buckingham/Nicks)
Marshall Tucker Band - Long Hard Ride (featuring a guest appearance by Charlie Daniels)
Flip Wilson - Cowboys & Colored People
Christopher Cross - Self-Titled
Fetchin' Bones - Monster
Little River Band - Self-Titled from 1975

My friend, Bill, whose musical tastes are very similar to mine, told me that the new Shins CD is really good and is already on his top ten list for 2007. So, I had to buy it. And everybody's talking about Joanna Newsom. So, I had to try that one, too. But then I went crazy with the records. I had to whittle down my stack of ten LPS to a more manageable six.

Chaz talked me out of the Charlie Daniels Band record. Is Charlie Daniels really that bad? Is my newly developing obsession with Southern/Country rock something that I should keep to myself? Nah.

I'm still waiting on my Donovan Catch the Wind record and my Say Anything DVD. The bozo that I ordered it from through Amazon never mailed them and won't respond to my emails!!! Jerk. So, my obsession with Donovan has been put on hold for the time being.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Beat Dook!!!

James Kern (Kay) Kyser (born in Rocky Mount, NC in 1905) was a bandleader from UNC-Chapel Hill who after graduation took his band on the road and became one of the most popular and well-paid bandleaders of his time. He appeared in a dozen movies and had 35 top ten hits in the 1930's and 1940's. He is credited with taking "The Woody Woodpecker Song" and "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" to the top of the charts. He is even credited with writing "Honest John" and "Monstro the Whale" both from Walt Disney's Pinocchio. (I am a little disturbed by all the Pinocchio references in my blog.) In 1943, Kay married Georgia Carroll, a blonde bombshell fashion model who had joined his band called the Kollege of Musical Knowledge. After retiring from showbiz, Kay and Georgia returned to Chapel Hill and lived until Kay's death in 1985. (I think that Georgia Kyser is still living off Frankin Street.)

My favorite song of Kay Kyser is the UNC-Chapel Hill alma mater called "Hark the Sound." Although the lyrics have been updated since it was written, it is still the best song around (especially for basketball season) and you know that it will be sung around North Carolina TONIGHT!!!!

In case you need a refresher on the lyrics:
Hark the sound of Tar Heel voices. Ringing clear and true
Singing Carolina's praises shouting N.C.U.
Hail to the brightest star of all. Clear its radiance shine
Carolina priceless gem. Receive all praises thine
I'm a Tar Heel born. I'm a Tar Heel bred
And when I die I'm a Tar Heel dead
So RAH RAH, Car'lina, `lina RAH RAH,
Car'lina, `lina

My dad first taught me this song when I was little and our family would gather around the TV to watch UNC Basketball games... during the days of Dean Smith. We always turned down the sound on the TV to listen to Woody Durham annouce the game on the radio. And then of course, as a UNC student, I would scream the song at basketball games that I attended in the Dean Dome. I can never remember the first part of the song... all I know is the "Rah Rah" part and at the end you are supposed to scream "GO TO HELL, DUKE!" Hmm, I wonder how Kay would feel about that.


Tuesday, February 6, 2007

My New Favorite Band

OH. MY. GOSH. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver. Vetiver.

I scalped my Yo La Tengo/Portastatic ticket last night to go see Vashti Bunyan and Vetiver at the Carrboro ArtsCenter. I've seen Yo La Tengo and Portastatic a bunch of times and I thought I'd try something NEW. I didn't know much about Vashti Bunyan or Vetiver. My friend, Sara, was going, so I decided to tag along. Besides, this would be a great way to learn about new music! Going to see bands that I knew nothing about. I remembered playing songs from Bunyan and Vetiver on my radio show, and I remembered enjoying the tracks that I played. But other than that, I knew nothing about them.

I really loved the neo-folkiness of Vashti Bunyan and her band. Their music was gorgeous. And I thought, wow. I got my money's worth out of this show! Cool. But then, Vetiver blew me away. Led by singer/songwriter Andy Cabric (formerly of Greensboro's Raymond Brake), Vetiver performed these angelic folky pop songs that moved me to tears. Three times. The vocal harmonies were beautiful and their arrangements were delicate and airy. I was mesmerized. It was definitely music that makes me want to cuddle.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Turn the Dial! Radio Fundraisers!

This morning I woke to WUNC as usual, but instead of hearing news, I heard Keith Weston asking for money for WUNC's Capital Campaign. That is *NOT* what I want to hear at 6:50am. So, I turned the knob to WNCU to hear Ella and Louis singing "Autum in New York" which was absolutely perfect for snuggling under the covers for awhile. The next song was "Sunset and Mockingbird" which was another nice let's-stay-in-bed song. After that, Bob Parlocha came on to do his talk set.

Let me just tell you that I LOVE Bob Parlocha. His website says he has a home studio in Alameda, CA from which he sends his shows to radio stations around the country. Something like 30 hours a week! WNCU plays Jazz With Bob Parlocha from around 11pm to 8am weekdays and it is the best radio show to wake to if you don't have to rush to get out of bed. Now, keep in mind this is WNCU and we are talking mainstream jazz. If you had asked me 5 years ago if I liked mainstream jazz, I would've said, "NO WAY!!!" But Bob Parlocha has brought me around. He mixes the older modern jazz with the current stuff. But what got me hooked were his talksets. They are long and he goes into alot of detail, but he gets so excited about his music!! You just cannot help but get into it when you hear someone with that much passion.

After those two lovely songs this morning, he did his usual talkset. He was excited about the two songs (he REALLY loves Ella and Louis) and informative about the musicians on each of the tracks and he was especially exuberant about the "Sunrise and Mockingbird" track. As he was describing the song, he said, "that song is just soothing and warm and just makes you want to cuddle." And then he chuckled.

It made my day to hear someone describe a song as one that makes you want to cuddle. I need more cuddly music in my rotation.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Itunes vs. CD Alley

Itunes is a blessing and a curse. When I find myself needing to hear something completely random like "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire or 10cc's "The Things We Do For Love," I can just turn on my computer and download it quickly and cheaply. It's better to just download a single track than to get in the car and DRIVE to the record store and pay $13.00 for an entire record just to hear that one track that you cannot get out of your head... damn that Fozzie Bear.

Ever since I got an Ipod and installed Itunes on my computer, this easy (sometimes lazy) way to get music has become somewhat normal. I'll hear something on the radio that I like alot and instead of going out to get the whole record, I'll just pay $.99 for the track that I want.

But since November or so, I have tried to fight this urge of taking the easy way out with Itunes. Before Christmas, I bought Nina Nastasia's On Leaving only because I had heard a track or two off WXYC and liked it. The album is good. I am not in love with it or anything, but I am glad that I bought the whole thing. But I know that I wouldn't have bought it at all, except that I was forcing myself to be of the mindset to buy something new that I knew little about. I also bought Lullaby Baxter's album Garden Cities of To-morrow, for a single track. But I feel like I got burned on that one. "What's Wrong With You?" is a sprightly, sweet, little pop gem with sing-song lyrics, but it is BY FAR the best track on the album.

About ten years ago or more, I used to go to the record store ALL THE TIME... I was in love with music and I was infatuated with all the record store guys... not in a romantic way, but in a musical way. At least twice a week, I would go to the record store and ask the record store guys to pick out something out for me to listen to. And I would say 85% of the time, I LOVED what was given to me. It was a heavenly relationship. The boys who worked in School Kids and Record Exchange on Frankin Street introduced to Stereolab, the Flatlanders, Flying Burrito Brothers, Billy Stewart, Tex Ritter and Doo Wop.

I don't have any record store relationships like that anymore. Record Exchange closed and I am never in School Kids. I am in CD Alley fairly regularly since I have clients close by, but now that I am old and no longer a scenester, it's hard to get any record store recommendations these days. I'e asked for recommendations and usually I get an "Uh, I dunno. You want pop? Do you know Belle and Sebastian?" Duh.

But it's ok... I always ask for melodic indie pop and I think that the 21st century scenesters like the noisy stuff. I have been laughed at when I've used the term twee to describe what I like in my indie pop. I am just not cool... which is probably pretty apparent when someone is on the hunt for Marshall Tucker Band records.

Fortune Cookies Fortunes Get Worse and Worse

Mine read: "You are not illiterate."

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Does the Marshall Tucker Band Really Suck?

So, I ran into my friend, Jim, who works at Nice Price the other night at OCSC. We discussed my Donovan obsession and the records that he left for me. He said to let him know of anything else that I might obsess over and I said, "Do y'all have any Marshall Tucker Band?" He just laughed and told me that I was crazy. He sarcastically assured me that Nice Price had loads of Marshall Tucker Band records that they would love to unload on me.

But then he emailed me yesterday to tell me that he was mistaken and that there were NO MARSHALL TUCKER BAND ALBUMS in the store at all. He said that he must've been thinking of the Charlie Daniels Band. Hmmm. I don't know anything about Charlie Daniels. Is he any good?

All I know is that the Marshall Tucker Band has this one song that is a FAVORITE. It's not even a guilty pleasure. I am proud to love this song, "This Ole Cowboy." It is kinda western swingy country rock. A very nice combination. And it is all about breakups. It is the "I Will Survive" song for the country rock fans of 1974. I absolutely love it.

But are there other Marshall Tucker records out there that are as good?

Animal Planet Live!! Featuring Ryan Adams

Thursday night, my friends Jen and Todd invited me over for dinner and Tivo. I was very excited as I had not seen them in months and I was able to meet their son, Izzy, for the first time. (I just love baby blogs.) After Izzy went down for bed, the three of us sat down to devour some extremely tasty chili and wine. During supper, they were telling me about the troubles they've had with their misbehaving cat, William. As they were telling me the stories of William escaping the house, meowing, jumping on the counters, etc., we heard this THUD from the kitchen followed by the tinkling of William's collar and tags. Jen and Todd simultaneously looked at each other with an "I'm gonna strangle that cat" expression on their faces.

But then, William ran through the room WITH A MOUSE IN HIS MOUTH!!! Jen and I gave each other an "OH MY GOD! I AM TERRIFIED OF MICE" look. The first thing I did is case the surroundings for the easiest place to jump up on a chair so that the mouse couldn't run up my leg and eat my eyeballs... a fear that I had as a child which sometimes pops out at these random times. But suprisingly, I kept my cool.

Jen and Todd jumped up and were trying to encourage William to not go upstairs with the mouse and either go outside or in the basement with the mouse. And I just kinda sat there and watched. Finally, they managed to enclose William in the back hallway with an open entrance to the basement. There is a big glass door which allowed us to watch William with the mouse. It was creepy but very cool. I felt ok about it... I was just a couple feet from the mouse (albeit there was a thick door between me and the mouse), but I didn't have that all-encompassing fear that I normally have when coming face-to-face with a mouse. Jen was a little afraid that the mouse would squeeze out from under the door and start running around the house. We watched William and the mouse for about 10 minutes through the glass. During dinner, we had been listening to Wilco, but when the cat and mouse live entertainment began, the music switched. Todd told me it was Ryan Adams' Heartbreaker record... perfect soundtrack music for William and his mouse.

We never got around to watching any Tivo, but I told them that watching a live episode of Animal Planet was the best. William played with the mouse for awhile... batting it around, chasing it, catching it in his mouth and carrying it around, but eventually, he lost it in the basement and gave up. Oh well, I suppose this episode is one of those "To Be Continued" ones, although I am sure that Jen would rather it never happen again. But I told them that living in an old house goes hand-in-hand with living with mice. Maybe I can return to see William catch a mouse again on Animal Planet Live!, but only if Ryan Adams is playing.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

No Radio Show for Me Tomorrow

Currently, I am working on a Certificate in Non-Profit Management at Duke. (Doesn't it sound impressive?) Some of the one-day classes occur on Fridays and tomorrow, I'll attend my second one. The first one was taught by this guy who goes to my parents' church in Burlington. Small world.

Since I have class tomorrow, I won't be doing my beloved radio show. The dj who will be covering my shift is this guy named Tim who is on the air right now. I rarely listen to WXYC at work, but today I am listening to help me stay focused. Tim's show is really great!!!!! And his talk sets sound so professional unlike mine (Dead Air, Um, Dead Air). He's played M Ward, Kate Bush, Aimee Mann, and even Ella Fitzgerald!! Cool.

Snow Day!!! Or Not.

Last night, I stayed out WAAAY past my bedtime so I desperately wanted a snow day today and sleep in. But when I woke up, it was cloudy, but NO SNOW!!! As I was leaving the house at 8am, it started snowing... so I put down my coat and decided to stay home. I started a half dozen different projects thinking that I was going to be home all day. But then the snow stopped and nothing had not stuck to the roads, so I guiltily drove the two blocks to work around 10am. None of my neighbors had gone to work, but none of them work two blocks away. Maybe I'll leave sometime after lunch... if it starts to sleet or something. Snow days were made for Steve Miller at my house.