Keep Me Warm in December

The Year in Music: The Titular Playlist

I’m not sure how we got here so quickly, but once again It’s time for the annual listing of the songs from which I borrowed my post titles. There is a Spotify playlist, of course, with a few more holes than I’d care for. (Really, who would have thought The Beatles, The Clash and Gang of Four would be available but not Michelle Shocked or James?)

The music keeps me sane and I hope if you’re interested that you take a listen. If you’re a reader, first of all, thank you, I hope you’ve enjoyed some of what you’ve read here. If this is the place you found or re-encountered a book, author or idea then we are both richer for it.

I hope you enjoy the music. Here’s to better things in 2019.

  1.  These are the Fables—The New Pornographers, Twin Cinema, 2005
  2.  Anchorage–Michelle Shocked, Short, Sharp, Shocked, 1988
  3.  The Fool on the Hill—The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour, 1968
  4.  He’s Gone—Grateful Dead, Europe ’72, 1972
  5.  Duke’s Place (C Jam Blues)—Ella Fitzgerald, Ella at Duke’s Place, 1965
  6.  Girl U Want—Devo, Freedom of Choice, 1980
  7.  No More Tears (Enough is Enough)—Barbara Streisand and Donna Summer, 1977
  8.  Seconds—U2, 1983
  9.  Building a Fire—James, 1994
  10.  Outside the Trains Don’t Run on Time—Gang of Four, 1981
  11.  Surrey with the Fringe on the Top—Gordon MacRae, 1955
  12.  Ode to Joy—Sir Georg Solit & the LSO, 1990
  13.  Into the Great Wide Open–Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, 1991
  14.  He Was the King—Neil Young, 2006
  15.  History Repeating—Propellerheads, 1997
  16.  Mermaid—Train, 2012
  17.  Living through Another Cuba—XTC, 1980
  18.  Holiday—Madonna, 1983
  19.  Down and Out in Paradise, John Mellencamp, 1987
  20.  Ghosts—The Jam, 1982
  21.  When the Cactus is in Bloom—Bill Monroe, 1964
  22.  Rock the Casbah—The Clash, 1982
  23.  It’s Written in the Stars—Paul Weller, 2002
  24.  She’s Leaving Home—The Beatles, 1967
  25.  Trouble—Elvis Presley, 1958
  26.  On Treasure Island, Louis Armstrong, 1936
  27.  Perverted by Language, The Fall, 1983
  28.  She Blinded Me With Science—Thomas Dolby, 1982
  29.  Hanging on the Telephone-Blondie, 1978
  30.  We Can Be Heroes—David Bowie, 1977
  31.  Finest Worksong—R.E.M, 1985
  32.  Jet Plane in a Rocking Chair—Richard & Linda Thompson, 1975
  33.  The Gravity of the Situation—Vic Chestnutt, 1996
  34.  Listen to the Music—The Doobie Brothers, 1974
  35.  Superman—The Kinks, 1979
  36.  For God’s Sake (Give More Power to the People)—The Chi-Lites, 1971
  37.  Easy (Like Sunday Morning)—The Commodores, 1978
  38.  Lost Mind—Mose Allison, 1957
  39.  Tables and Chairs—Andrew Bird, 2005
  40.  It is a Good Day (to Die)—Robbie Robertson, 1994
  41.  Istanbul (Not Constantinople)—They Might Be Giants, 1990
  42.  Jesus is Just Alright—The Doobie Brothers, 1972
  43.  Bad Case of Loving You—Robert Palmer, 1979
  44.  A Certain Girl—Ernie-K-Doe, 1961
  45.  Secret Secrets—Joan Armatrading, 1985
  46.  With a Child’s Heart—Diana Ross & The Supremes, 1969
  47.  Warm in December—Julie London, 1956

There’s a Certain Girl

Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir
Linda Ronstadt

Mistakes are part of life, so I try to learn from mine.

Take my declarations about genres. Every time I declare I don’t read a particular type of book, I find myself behaving in a contradictory manner.

Consider Exhibit A: biography, a category that includes autobiography and the successful publisher-created Continue reading

Listen to the Music

Best Music Writing 2011
Alex Ross, Guest Editor; Daphne Carr, Series Editor

This is going to be one of those semesters.

We’re only a couple of weeks in and  I’m already so far behind I’m in danger of seeing myself out on my way in.

Luckily, though I hadn’t planned it this way, it turns out that I am prepared for just such a contingency. That Claude S. Fischer book from last month is not the only read-but-not- Continue reading

The Finest Worksong

Labor Day 2018

It’s been over 95° for the last few days of August and even though the Fall semester has already started (at least for me), this seems like a good time to make a cocktail and relax. So let’s end summer 2018 with a Continue reading

Tunes on the Dunes 2018

Roomful of Blues
At Misquamicut Beach, RI, August 1, 2018

There’s an 8-piece band in there, I promise you.

Bear with me a moment.

In September, 1980, I found myself sitting in line at an ungodly hour at UMass, waiting to buy tickets to see the Grateful Dead at Radio City. The chatter among the other line-sitters was of past shows.

If you’ve never suffered through one of these sessions they offer their own special Continue reading

The Progs You Miss

Early Morning Thoughts on Some 1970s Music

What were they all thinking?

Not just the bands, but the fans.

Better yet, are they thinking it still?

Maybe I don’t want to know the answer to that last question.

As I ponder that possibility, let’s turn to an Continue reading

We Need a Holiday: A Six Pack and Playlist

Memorial Day 2018

I always start from the premise that it’s important to remember why we even have a holiday called Memorial Day.

So, as I’ve been doing for decades now, I’ll turn out early on Monday to watch the parade and remember that our freedoms Continue reading