A couple of weeks ago I had the (semi) bright idea of soliciting songs from fellow bloggers to put together a combined playlist. The restrictions – such as they were – were that they had to submit three songs from the rock, soul, blues, jazz, pop, folk, reggae, funk category and they couldn’t be longer than six minutes.
I’m happy to report that nine bloggers (plus me, of course) responded to the call. I put together a Spotify playlist which runs a tidy 2 hours, 11 minutes. Of the 30 songs, I would say fully half come from classic rock (including the Beatles), the rest a nice mixed bag of alternative, prog-rock, funk, metal, post-rock, blues, jazz, folk, hip-hop and the ever-popular catch-all, indie. And Springsteen “wins” with 2 (count ’em) songs.
The only thing I would suggest is to listen without prejudice. Not every genre here floats my boat, a few songs I’ve heard one time too many. But I tried to listen with fresh ears and I discovered something I dug in each one. I wasn’t looking for a list that reflected my taste; you shouldn’t be looking for one that reflects yours.
The big revelation for me on this list was Genesis’ “Carpet Crawlers.” Not as big a fan of theirs as some so I missed it. Nice, if odd, tune. And as soon as I heard Keith Jarrett’s “Over The Rainbow,” I knew that would be the closing tune.
Anyway, enough with the waiting. (Which, they tell me, is the hardest part.) The honor roll (all quotes from contributors):
From MusiCommentator: “Mr. Brightside,” The Killers; “Bohemian Rhapsody,” (“It is actually my favorite song of all time. Its musical and operatic influences blend in perfectly with the rock flavor Queen can bring to anything”); and “Am I Wrong,” Anderson.Paak, who “is a newer artist that is able to bring old soul/funk to contemporary mediums.”
Our man in Canada Mr. Cincinnatti Babyhead clocks in with Van Morrison’s “Blue Money;” “Chest Fever,” by The Band; and “Lost in the Flood,” by Bruce Springsteen. “Other than Jazz (Blues close second) I probably have listened to these guys (and a few others) the most in my lifetime. They all brought the influences that shaped their music, rock n roll, blues, jazz, country. They turned it into their unique sounds. Great stuff. I still get jacked when I hear it.”
Our regular contributor Christian’s Music Musings (NYC by way of Germany) checks in with “If I Needed Someone,” (there’s yer Beatles); “Carry On Wayward Son,” Kansas; and “Tush,” ZZ Top. “Perhaps the ultimate blues rocker,” he tells us. “Love the main riff and how tight the song is played. It gets me grooving every time I hear it!”
My very first commenter more than two years ago was Musicophile over in Switzerland who forgot more about classical and jazz than most of us know. His picks are “You Must Believe In Spring,” Bill Evans; “Carpet Crawlers,” Genesis; and “Over the Rainbow,” Keith Jarrett. “Notice a pattern here? Another Jazz piano legend, another slightly cheesy movie song, but again played in a way that is so spectacularly beautiful, I couldn’t resist.”
Our guy from “The Jerz” by way of Australia, Runaway American Dream clocks in with a couple of mellow but intense tunes: “When It Don’t Come Easy,” Patty Griffin; “Riverswim,” The Decemberists; “Sea and the Dunes,” Pony Face. “I’m choosing songs that I think are just straight up gorgeous.” And, he advises, no Springsteen. No worries, mate, you’re covered.
Another long-time follower (in the UK) is Crotchety Man who checks in with “The Trees They Do Grow High,” Pentangle (“simply the most beautiful song ever written – it brings sentimental tears to my eyes every time I listen to it.”); “Annie Let’s Not Wait,” Guillemots; “Virtually Part 1,” Soft Machine (“a wonderful example of tuneful improvised jazz, recorded around 1971 and never bettered.”)
Tony from the UK (Mumbling About Music, Books, etc.), another long-time follower, sends a couple of strong tunes across the pond from Old Blighty: “Corduroy,” Pearl Jam; “Trembling Hands,” Explosions in the Sky; and “Gypsy Biker,” Bruce Springsteen. (“It’s the revitalised E-Street Band in full power, Bruce writing with a bite and anger that’s genuine and it thunders along with Brendan O Brien’s production. That it lyrically references the earlier “Shut Out The Light” and updates it to carry across that anger Bruce was channeling over the loss of lives in Afghanistan / Iraq is brilliant.)
Forgotten Rock Classics kicks it out with some songs too recent to be forgotten: “Smooth Criminal,” Alien Ant Farm, “Miss Murder,” AFI; “Rescue Me,” Y&T. All, he advises us, from his home state of California. “Picking three tunes is impossible after any three songs by some band named Pray for Sound” for which my son humbly thanks him.
Scotland is represented by blogger J from Resurrection Songs. “Life is Fine,” Rainer Ptacek (“This chap was quite something. A real one of a kind talent not only lauded by Robert Plant but described by Billy Gibbons as “one of my favorite guitar men.” “Life is Fine” is a highlight from Worried Spirits, which is a flawless dusty country blues masterpiece.) “Resurrection Song,” Mark Lanegan; “St. Andrews Hall,” Blind Melon. (“quite possibly the most underrated/underappreciated band of the whole 90s alternative rock thing.”)
And lastly, yours truly brings the heat with “Good Clean Fun,” Allmans (their comeback tune, 1989. Dickey Betts/Warren Haynes version of the band that I followed around), “Show Some Emotion” Joan Armatrading (one of my wife and my favorite singers ever), and “Empty Arms,” Stevie Ray Vaughan (because I’ll be damned if a list of mine goes out without enough blues.)
As Jeff Beck said on the back of the Truth album, “well, that’s it, honeys.” Hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed putting it together. I tried sequencing the unsequencable in a way that made sense so maybe try that first before putting it on shuffle.
Speaking of shuffle, let’s have some good clean fun.