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Any Major Music from ‘The Sopranos’ Vol. 2

February 28th, 2019 2 comments

 

 

This is the second mix of songs featured in The Sopranos, a show that helped pioneer the use of eclectic song selections to help drive the plot, sometimes by featuring as part of the story, or to create an atmosphere in the way of a traditional score, or to narrate the story (the first mix lives here).

The music tells us about the characters. Think of Tony Soprano singing along to classic rock tracks like Smoke On The Water or, featured here, Steely Dan’s Dirty Work when he is driving, much as you or I might. Of course, Tony Soprano is not, I hope, like you or me. And yet, he isn’t all that different from you or me.

Songs narrate the state of mind of characters. As Chris Moltisanti is shooting up at the fair, Fred Neil’s The Dolphins plays: “This old world may never change the way it’s been, and all the ways of war, can’t change it back again” And when Tony is strung out after having killed Chris, Lucinda Williams follows him with the question Are You Alright?, which M. Ward soon answers: Outta My Head.

The producers mess with us through music. Van Morrison’s cheery and optimistic Glad Tidings plays as Tony Soprano drives to the farm where his cousin Tony B is hiding. Van sends “glad tidings from New York” as Tony-Uncle-Johnny blows off the face of Tony-Uncle-Al. The song makes a return later when Tony runs through the snow to escape the raid on Johnny Sack’s house. Glad tidings indeed.

That surprise. La, la, la, la la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la.

 

As mentioned in the notes for Volume 1, the producers played that contradiction-trick a few times on us. Often acts of uncomfortable violence are accompanied by music that provides a stark contrast. An example of that is the Eagles’ gentle Tequila Sunset scoring the scene in which Tony beats up his old schoolfriend Davey, the gambling-addicted outdoors goods store owner. An added piquance in that choice is that the two men might well have listened to the Eagles together when they were youths.

Some of the tracks clearly were chosen for their own background story. It cannot be a coincidence that the song playing when Tony kills his would-be assassin in the final episode of Season 1, It’s Bad You Know, is sung by a man who served jail time for killing a man, R.L. Burnside.

The same episode closes with Tony and family finding refuge from the rainstorm in Artie Bucco’s new restaurant. Tony tells the family to “enjoy the little moments that were good” – words he repeats in the final scene of the final episode. A guitar begins strumming as the scene fades to the credits. It’s Bruce Springsteen’s 1982 song State Trooper: “License, registration, I ain’t got none. But I got a clear conscience about the things that I done.”

And then there is that final song from that final scene, Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’, from 1981 (preceded by Little Feat’s All That You Dream). Producer David Chase has said that whatever song was going to play, it would be something Tony would have listened to when he was younger – a time when he still had the chance to take an alternative path in life. The choice of Don’t Stop Believin’ was inspired. Clearly Tony has long stopped believing. The last words we hear (and which, perhaps, Tony hears) are “Don’t stop”. Then it stops.

Tony picks the final number.

 

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes home-ratted covers. PW in comments

1. Brooklyn Funk Essentials – Bop Hop (1994)
2. R.L. Burnside – It’s Bad You Know (1998)
3. Bruce Springsteen – State Trooper (1982)
4. Fred Neil – The Dolphins (1966)
5. Steely Dan – Dirty Work (1972)
6. Little Feat – All That You Dream (1978)
7. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Simple Man (1973)
8. Eagles – Tequila Sunrise (1973)
9. Lucinda Williams – Are You Alright (2007)
10. Gretchen Wilson – He Ain’t Even Cold Yet (2005)
11. Shawn Colvin – Sunny Came Home (1996)
12. M. Ward – Outta My Head (2003)
13. The Shins – New Slang (2004)
14. Van M – Glad Tidings (1970)
15. Santana – Jingo (1969)
16. Rubén Gonzalez – Chanchullo (2000)
17. Weezer – Island In The Sun (2001)
18. Creeper Lagoon – Wonderful Love (1998)
19. Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’ (1981)

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Previous Music from TV shows:
The Sopranos Vol. 1
The Deuce
Freaks & Geeks
The Wonder Years
Soul Train
Any Major TV Theme Songs Vol. 1 (full versions of TV themes)
Any Major TV Theme Songs Vol. 2
Any Major TV Theme Songs Vol. 3
Any Major TV Theme Songs Vol. 4
Any Major TV Themes (as featured in the titles)

More CD-Mixes

Categories: Mix CD-Rs, Music from TV shows Tags:

Any Major ABC of Country

February 14th, 2019 1 comment

Having been asked a few times, I’ve re-upped the whole History of Country series, which I put together between 2010 and 2012. The eBook of the series is still up as well; the eBook and series are what I hope is a decent and brief primer for country music. My idea was that the series might attract people to dig a bit deeper into country.

So to announce the re-upping of the series, here’s an ABC of Country. In absence of any country acts starting with X, the playlist is a letter short. The artists were chosen more or less at random, though I was conscious of including at least one black country singer (the superb O.B. McLinton), and to have some very old and some newer material. The oldest song here is by Uncle Dave Macon, who was born in 1870, and was already 57 when the present song was recorded in 1927, only a couple of years after the first country track was put down on shellac.

Get your free copy of the A Brief History of Country Music eBook.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, includes home-yodelled covers. PW in comments.

1. Alison Krauss – When You Say Nothing At All (1995)
2. Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys – Bubbles In My Beer (1947)
3. Carter Family – Broken Hearted Lover (1935)
4. Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner – The Last Thing On My Mind (1967)
5. Emmylou Harris – Boulder To Birmingham (1975)
6. Flying Burrito Brothers – Farther Along (1970)
7. George Jones – From Here To The Door (1966)
8. Hoyt Axton – Never Been To Spain (1971)
9. Irene Kelly – My Sun And Moon (2004)
10. John Prine – Hello In There (1971)
11. Kris Kristofferson – Darby’s Castle (1970)
12. Lefty Frizzell – Shine, Shave, Shower (It’s Saturday) (1950)
13. Merle Haggard and The Strangers – (My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers (1969)
14. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band feat. Merle Travis – Dark As A Dungeon (1972)
15. O.B. McLinton – Obie From Senatobie (1973)
16. Patsy Cline – A Church, A Courtoom, Then Goodbye (1955)
17. Quartette – Lost Between Barren Shores (1994)
18. Rusty Wier – High Road, Low Road (1976)
19. Skeeter Davis – Gonna Get Along Without You Now (1964)
20. Tompall Glaser – When It Goes, It’s Gone Girl (1975)
21. Uncle Dave Macon – Walking In The Sunshine (1927)
22. Vern Gosdin – Chiseled In Stone (1988)
23. Woody Guthrie – This Land Is Your Land (1944)
24. Yonder Mountain String Band – Half Moon Rising (1999)
25. Zac Brown Band – All The Best (2017)

GET IT!

 

 

A History of Country series
More Any Major ABCs

More Mix-CD-Rs

In Memoriam – January 2019

February 7th, 2019 5 comments

The year has started with carnage. Interestingly, in several cases, the paths of the Reaper”™s victims in January (and previous months) had crossed in the past, in quite strange ways. The Rolling Stones, J.J. Cale, Bob Dylan, Elvis and others come up repeatedly.

The Voice

A singer with a gorgeous voice, great range and immaculate phrasing, James Ingram was among the best of his craft. Alas, some of his material — and some of the songs that made him known — led many to underrate him as a soul great. But listen to his duet performance on really soft songs like Somewhere Out There, the theme of the animated film An American Tail: it’s perfectly judged, with Ingram and Linda Ronstadt generously giving each other space. He did likewise on his other duets, notably the hit with Patti Austin, Baby Come To Me. Ingram’s range is best on display in the lovely One Hundred Ways, one of the two tracks he sung on Quincy Jones’ superb The Dude album in 1980 (the other was the fantastic Just Once). Ingram won a vocal performance Grammy for One Hundred Ways, the first to receive the award without having released an album. He won another Grammy for his duet with Michael McDonald, Yah MO Be There, and was nominated for 12 other performances. Aside from being a gifted singer, Ingram also was a songwriter (among his credits is Michael Jackson’s P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing), co-written with Quincy Jones) and, earlier in his career, keyboardist for Ray Charles and, later, on other records, including Shalamar’s A Night To Remember.

The Dragon & Tenille

If your name is Daryl Dragon, why on earth would you change that name to “Captain”? Blame the widely unloved Beach Boy Mike Love for it: when Dragon played keyboards on tour with the band in the early 1970s, Love dubbed him Captain Keyboard. The name stuck, and Dragon took to wearing a captain’s hat. With that image transformation he formed the duo Captain & Tenille with his wife Toni Tenille (they divorced in 2014) which became hugely popular in the 1970s, even playing in the White House for US President Gerald Ford and Queen Elizabeth II – Toni Tenille later remembered that the queen nodded off during their performance. But surely Captain Dragon & Tenille would have been an even better name for the duo.

The Session Giant

Outside the LA-based Wrecking Crew, few session players could boast of a resumé as packed with classic hits as Memphis guitarist Reggie Young. He cut his young teeth touring with Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison in the 1950s, and with the Bill Black Combo in the 1960s, having the honour of getting booed every night for being The Beatles’ support act on their US tour. After a brief stint as a session man at Hi Records (for whom he had recorded earlier with the Bill Black Combo) in 1967, he moved over to Chips Moman’s American Studios, where he was part of the session collective known as The Memphis Boys.

Over the years, Young played the guitar on hits such as Elvis’ Suspicious Minds and In The Ghetto (and many others), Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline and Holy Holly, The Box Tops’ Cry Like A Baby, Dobie Gray’s Drift Away, Billy Joe Royal’s Down In The Boondocks, John Prine’s Angel From Montgomery, B.J. Thomas’ Hooked On A Feeling (creating the unusual sitar sound) and Hey, Won’t You Play Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song, Jessi Colter’s I’m Not Lisa, Billy Swan’s I Can Help, Danny O’Keefe’s Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues, King Curtis’ Memphis Soul Stew, Willie Nelson’s Always On My Mind; J.J. Cale’s Cocaine, and the whole Read more…

Categories: In Memoriam Tags: