Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday Random 10: There's a New Kid in Town
Despite the blogosphere’s relative newness, several traditions have sprung up already. One of them is Friday Cat Blogging, in which the blogger posts pictures of his or her cats. Another is the Friday Random 10, in which you put your iPod on “shuffle” and list the first 10 songs that come up.

I don’t have an iPod. I am, like many guys my age, still wedded to round pieces of plastic, so most of my music lives permanently on big shelves. And as befits a guy still wedded to round pieces of plastic, I use my laptop to copy CDs for my library or for the car—I rip the music to the hard-drive, where it continues to live even after I’ve burned it to disc. So unlike other bloggers who do the Friday Random 10, I don’t have my whole library on iPod. I have about 600 songs on my laptop. It’s not a lot in a world where an iPod can hold thousands, but it’s a start. And it’s a representative sample of stuff I feel strongly enough about to take on the road. So this is an appropriate day to inaugurate the Daily Aneurysm’s Friday Random 10—because I’m on the road as I write this.

1.  “The Complainer’s Boogie Woogie”/William Clarke/The Alligator Records 25th Anniversary Collection. This whole Alligator sampler is a clatteringly loud electric blues record, the kind of thing you put in and a party instantly breaks out.

2. “On the Surface”/Rosanne Cash/Interiors. Interiors is a country album only in the sense that Cash has had some hits on the country charts. It’s way too intelligent to be just a country album.

3. “Stay With Me”/Rod Stewart and Faces/Storyteller—the Complete Anthology. One thing about the Random 10 is that you’re going to get some jarring transitions—like going from Rosanne Cash’s quiet introspection to the full-out rock-star raveup of “Stay With Me,” Rod Stewart’s most fully realized rock-and-roll record. And speaking of jarring transitions . . .

4.  “Big Paul”/Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane/Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane. Kenny Burrell is the swingingest jazz guitarist I’ve yet to hear. John Coltrane, meanwhile, is a giant of 20th century art who appeared on far too few lists of 20th century artistic giants around the turn of the millennium.

5. “Tennessee Flat-Top Box”/Rosanne Cash/King’s Record Shop. Here’s Rosanne again, with a tune written by her father (do I need to tell you his name?) and recorded in his trademark style. It’s about a young country singer who drives the girls wild, and Rosanne puts across the sexual undercurrent of it in a way Johnny Cash (there, I said it) could never do.

6. “New Kid in Town”/Eagles/Hotel California. It’s said by some that your life’s theme song is the one that was Number One on your 18th birthday, which means mine is by Andy Gibb. I’d rather pick this, which topped the singles chart on my 17th birthday.

7. “Some Guys Have All the Luck”/Rod Stewart/Storyteller—the Complete Anthology. (Is this thing really on random?) By 1984, Rod Stewart was betraying his considerable talent in favor of a celebrity lifestyle, and art be damned. This tune, which was on the air 21 years ago this month, was a big improvement over the stuff he’d been releasing.

8. “Alfie’s Theme Differently”/Sonny Rollins/Ken Burns Jazz: Sonny Rollins. The Ken Burns Jazz series of CDs does a great service by giving new fans an easy way into the work of various important artists. I recommend them, not as the only thing you need by any given artist, but as a place to begin learning more.

9. “Patches”/Clarence Carter/AM Gold: 1970. A tear-jerking tale of a poor family’s struggle and triumph set in the American South, delivered as only Clarence Carter could do. On my current road trip I’ve been mentally composing a post about Time-Life’s AM Gold series, so watch for it over at The Hits Just Keep On Comin’.

10. “Delaunay’s Dilemma”/John Lewis/Smithsonian Collection of Jazz Piano. Once again, I am left in awe by the knowledge that jazz players are often making up what they’re playing as they go along. In the case of this tune by John Lewis, the accomplishment of keeping his brain ahead of his fingers is major.

So that’s the Random 10 for this Friday. Feel free to contribute your own list, or comment, or your own life's theme song, actual or preferred.

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