Andrew Hickey has made me aware of the harkive project, which is interested in what music people listen to. Today, July 19, is the day they do it for — I have no idea why — so I will be live-blogging what music I listen to today. As much for my own interest as theirs.
(Random) Richard Thompson — For the Sake of Mary. Picked by my random MP3 chooser, from an album that I downloaded when I was searching for British singer-songwriter folkies. I find this disappointing. Seems sort of sub-Springsteenish.
(Random) Anthony John Clarke — May. A lovely song by the man who is maybe the best discovery of that British-singer-songwriter quest. I stumbled upon him when he played a guest-night at our local folk club. Superb songs, beautiful guitar playing, lovely voice.
(Chosen) Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young — Human Highway (the whole album). I often do this: when my random picker comes up with a song that catches me in the right mood, I’ll go off and listen to the album it’s from. The opening song in particular is gorgeous: Carry Me, from Crosby and Nash’s 1975 album Wind on the Water.
(Random) Stoneleigh Band — You Have Given Me New Life. A Christian worship song from a conference in 1998. This is a very light, optimistic song. One time I was rehearsing a church band that was attempting to put together a version of this for the Sunday service, and it was so stodgy and lumpen that I suggested we should retitle our version “You have given me new death”. True story.
(Random) James Carr — Dark End of the Street. Like a lot of people, I enjoyed The Commitments, and got the soundtrack album. But then I got interested in the original songs that the eponymous band covered, and downloaded an albumful of those originals. This is one of them. (For the record: I like the Commitments’ versions of most of the songs more than the originals, this one included.)
(Random) The Monkees — It’s Not Too Late. Inspired by Andrew Hickey again, I’ve made a legitimate attempt to appreciate the Monkees as actual music rather than pleasantly mindless songs. It’s not gone particularly well, to be honest: though I still like their songs a lot, I can’t take them seriously. But anyway, It’s Not Too Late is from their pretty poor 1996 come-back album Justus, and certainly doesn’t show them at their breezy best.
(Random) Radigan — The Word. Part of the very fine Beatles Complete on Ukulele project. The 185 songs that comprise this project vary between slavish reproductions of the originals, pointless spoken-word versions, and radical reinventions. Some are superb, some are terrible. This one is pretty good.
(Random) Pat Boone — Crazy Train. From the born-again crooner’s album of big-band covers of heavy metal classics, No More Mr. Nice Guy. Hilarious.
(Random) Chumbawamba — When An Old Man Dies. A band that I discovered just before they quit. Rats. I usually describe them as a political-comedy folk-cabaret act.
(Chosen) Crooked End — Dancing Through the Storm. We just did a gig at the Mitcheldean Folk Festival, and I find myself wanting to listen again to the least inadequate of the studio-rehearsal records we have of our homebrew epic. (I hate hate hate the vocals in this recording.)
(Chosen) Transatlantic — Bridge Across Forever (the whole album). Our homebrew left me with an appetite for some proper prog.
(Random) Richard Thompson — Shane and Dixie. What a disappointment Richard Thompson is turning out to be. This sounds like a Travis Tritt song. The best Thompson song I’ve heard is Luke Jackson’s cover of Beeswing.
(Chosen) Luke Jackson — Beeswing, for obvious reasons.
(Random) Stephen Sondheim — Everybody’s Got the Right. The opening song from Sondheim’s controversial but brilliant musical Assassins. But then all Sondheim’s musicals are brilliant.
(Random) Led Zeppelin — Hats Off to (Roy) Harper. To my taste, this seems weird for the sake of being weird. Next!
(Random) It Bites — Turn Me Loose. A truly great band,the perfect fusion of pop’s accessibility with prog’s richness. But, ludicrously, they’re really known only for one song, Calling All the Heroes. They deserved so much more.
(Random) Porcupine Tree — Occam’s Razor. The opening track from their 2009 album The Incident. Really a sort of instrumental prelude to the album rather than a song. An important part of a greater whole. But if in doubt, just listen to Time Flies from the same album.
It’s now 10:20pm, and I don’t plan to listen to any more music before bed: just watch an episode of Elementary. So that was my day’s listening.