Saturday, April 4, 2009

March- Tim

No Theme

My ears have been telling me for some time now that I ought not attend events at which amplified sound levels render conversation with a neighbor all but impossible, and I have been tapering off in recent years, skipping a number of shows in local clubs by bands I would have paid to see in the past. (Outdoor shows are a different story, yet the PA system at the new Busch Stadium has me thinking I might have seen my last Cardinals game in person.) When Bruce Springsteen’s tour dates came last summer, though, and St. Louis was on the list, I decided I was good for what might be a final fling.

Bruce and the E Street Band delivered a great show, and on the drive home I decided to retire from live rock’n’roll—and I realized what I should do for my 11 CD Club compilation: Live cuts from acts I’d seen in person.

The CD just didn’t turn out the way I wanted (and I even worked on a two-fer), mainly because running so many live cuts together simply sounded disjointed—applause that would start or stop oddly, sound levels that I don’t know how to manipulate, etc. I’d intended to start with Springsteen, representing my final show, forty years after seeing my first, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, which I’d conclude with. In between, on the first disc, I would have given you

The Grateful Dead
Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
Lucinda Williams
Freedy Johnston
Randy Newman
Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks
David Bromberg
John Prine
Counting Crows
Van Morrison
Neil Young
Talking Heads (in lieu of David Byrne as a solo act)

Disc 2 would have included

Quicksilver Messenger Service (w/o Dino Valenti)
The Band
Led Zeppelin
Jorma Kaukonen
Jefferson Airplane
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
The Allman Brothers Band
The Faces
Jonatha Brooke
Bob Dylan
Taj Mahal
The Ditty Bops
The Byrds
Lyle Lovett

Instead, you’re getting a single disc but with a cleaner flow from one cut to another. I consider my taste in music is eclectically mainstream, nothing too far out of the ordinary. I hope you enjoy . . .

You Got to Believe Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks: I saw “Lonesome Dan Hicks,” without the Lickettes, at Jabberwocky in Syracuse, filling in mentally the female harmonies.

Life Worth Livin’ Uncle Tupelo: Spawned both Wilco and Son Volt, early arrivals in the era of “altcountry.”

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart Wilco: The more successful scion of Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy’s band plays often in Columbia.

Guns of Brixton Calexico: I’m not used to Clash covers, but this works. See this band if you get the chance; they also do a hot version of Love’s “Alone Again Or.”

Essence Lucinda Williams: Raw.

Bandit Neil Young and Crazy Horse: If you didn’t see the Greendale tour you missed something—something weird, yes, but something special, too.

Bears Lyle Lovett: I would have included “Church,” with his Large Band, if I’d used the live music theme. Lyle’s great live whether in a small combo or the bigger sound.

If I Needed You Townes Van Zandt: Tough life, great songwriter; see the documentary on him, Townes Van Zandt: Be Here to Love Me.

1952 Black Vincent Lightning Richard Thompson: One of the all-time great songs, which the brother of the groom at a wedding I attended last fall effectively transformed into a ballad for the newlyweds—nobody died in that version.

Living without You Mary McCaslin: Nice cover of a Randy Newman song I would have included on the live set (by Newman, that is).

This Perfect World Freedy Johnston: Never have I seen a performer do a more effective job of quieting down a loud-talking jerk than Freedy did at Mojo’s, a little club in Columbia, walking down from the stage to croon in his face, “ . . . You ought to hear your voice.”

Losing Your Touch Alejandro Escovedo: A friend who ran a local record shop told me to buy this album (Thirteen Years), and I did because he had never steered me wrong. He didn’t that time either.

Nobody’s Baby Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings: Josh gave me the album this song comes from. Thanks, again, to my kids for helping me not to remain stuck with my sixties stuff.

I Can’t Keep from Crying Sometimes Al Kooper: But speaking of the ‘60s, who better than that rock’n’roll survivor himself, Al Kooper.

I Will Not Be Your Fool David Bromberg: This tune comes from the Tribute to Steve Goodman album. I saw Bromberg in the tiny chapel of Hamilton College my sophomore year at Colgate—one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

Goodnight Nelda Grebe, The Telephone Company Has Cut Us Off
Mother Earth, featuring Tracy Nelson: Once upon a time, I was madly in love with Tracy Nelson, but I’ve never seen her live. Four of us from Colgate had tickets to see her open for The Earl Scruggs Revue (winter of ’73?), drove to Amherst in Steve Elliott’s VW, and discovered that there was no show—lost the ticket money, wasted the gasoline, and my passion remained unrequited.

Oh Shenandoah Charlie Haden Family and Friends: Rick said that he collects for a grandson versions of “John Henry”—I don’t consciously collect “Oh Shenandoahs,” but I do have quite a few, and this new one is among my favorites.

P.N.S. (When You Come Around) Illinois Speed Press: I’ll bet not many of you have this song, from a band produced by the same guy who made a boatload of money producing Chicago. Paul Cotton moved on to Poco after the group’s second album and demise.