"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." Elvis Costello
So ... Um ... I Made You a Mix Tape
I get the resurgence of vinyl, I really do. Being a Boomer who grew up with my parents console stereo, with convenient pull out record player, and then later graduating to magnetic cartridge, belt-driven turntable bliss, I’m still somewhat of a vinyl guy. And yes, I can hear the analog/digital difference. What I don’t get though, is the recent swell of interest in cassette tapes. Oh, there may be some economic reasons why bands that are just getting started might want to use them for concert sales, and they do provide the same tactile connection to the music as vinyl records and turntables, but sound quality? Not happening. I may be able to explain tape hiss or wow and flutter (pitch variation, not the indie band from Portland), but it doesn’t mean I want them in my music. And fast forward/rewind? Please.
However, the cassette did bequeath to us one giant pop culture icon that has become a part of our everyday life – the Mix Tape, now evolved into the ubiquitous Playlist. With cassettes, it suddenly became possible for any geek with enough cash to buy a stereo to put together Love Song Mix #1 and hand it off to the Little Red Haired Girl, whom he never would have had the nerve to talk to before (see post title). Friends could share their favorites back and forth and acquaintances could get better acquainted (or not – “He likes Andy Gibb? Ugh, don’t think so”). It was like handing someone a little piece of yourself, expressed through the music you chose. It also gave you the opportunity to be the DJ, and curate just what you wanted to hear. It was brilliant, and continues to be so in the digital age. With that in mind, M205 wants to share a little of ourselves, so every once in a while we’re going to post one of our playlists, just because sharing what you like is what music is all about, and because we’re opinionated and think we have good taste.
Green Shag & Turntables (Seventies Deep Cuts)
The Seventies get a really bad rap. What with Watergate, the first energy crisis, Iranian hostages, and, worst of all, disco, it admittedly wasn't the best of times. Still, musically it had a lot going for it. This playlist will help you get beyond Sweet Home Alabama and Smoke on the Water to find some buried gems you might not be as familiar with. You're welcome.
Most of these songs are available from the library, either on CD or through hoopla. Or, if you have a Spotify account, just click on a title to go to the album containing that song.
“Weasel and the White Boys Cool”, Rickie Lee Jones, Rickie Lee Jones
Possibly the hippest song of the Seventies right here.
“Brooklyn (Owes the Charmer Under Me)”, Steely Dan, Can’t Buy a Thrill
Instead of Do it Again again, listen to this off the same album.
“Once Upon a Time in the West,” Dire Straits, Communique
Recorded just a few months after their debut, this album continued in the same stylistic vein but took longer to be appreciated.
“All Our Past Times”, Eric Clapton/Rick Danko, No Reason to Cry
More The Band than Eric Clapton, with Danko sharing vocals on a song he wrote, and Robbie Robertson on lead. It works.
“Another Park Another Sunday”, The Doobie Brothers, What Were Once Vices are Now Habits
The band name defines the decade and the song is a standout album track.
“(Goin’) Wild for You Baby”, Bonnie Raitt, The Glow
Way before superstardom, Bonnie recorded this slow burner in 1979. When she sings about the city being "a river of cold misery" we guarantee it will give you chills.
“Oh, Sweet Nuthin’”, Velvet Underground, Loaded
The band that launched a thousand bands, with Doug Yule filling in for a hoarse Lou Reed on vocal.
“The Ark", Gerry Rafferty, City to City
One of the decade’s quintessential albums, with a long string of hits. This album track is, dare we say, just a little bit epic.
Kimberly”, Patti Smith, Horses
Patti’s an acquired taste anyway, but this not-as-well-known number from the definitive Horses is a good place to start.
“Rosalinda’s Eyes”, Billy Joel, 52nd Street
Yes, yes, we know what you're going to say, but this one isn’t so overwrought and it’s a perfect little piece of NYC culture.
“Sail On, Sailor” The Beach Boys, Holland
From an album that was originally rejected by Warner Brothers. The Beach Boys were a mess by this time, but the song is just perfect.
“Time Waits for No One”, The Rolling Stones, It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll
The last great Brian Jones guitar solo.
“Natalia”, Van Morrison, Wavelength
Not the introspective or jazzy Van Morrison, but the pop genius the critics never got.