Category Archives: Sunday Morning Soundtrack

Sunday Morning Soundtrack 5: The Beatles

After putting up a White Album spoof earlier this week, I figured I’d better put up the real deal this Sunday morning.  This is my favorite track off the record this week.  One of the ways you can tell it is a great album is because my favorite song on it changes on a near-weekly basis.

Rest assured The Great Ones will be putting in more Sunday morning appearances.

Sunday Morning Soundtrack 4: The Tragically Hip

In late winter 2002 I was living in Tokyo.  I quit both my jobs, keeping just a few private tutoring gigs to keep the rent paid and the lights on, and set about writing my first novel.  Though thankfully that sincere but botched effort was never eyeballed by more than a few unfortunates, I retain happy memories of the 7 weeks it took me to churn out the thing, hunched over a desk in a cold apartment (I was afraid to turn the heat up too high), chain-smoking and drinking cheap coffee in the mornings, cheap bourbon at nights, waiting for my girl to come round so I could put the pen down.

On the cusp of the MP3 era, all I had was a limited CD collection, listened to over and over.  Thankfully, a good friend lent me Up To Here, by The Tragically Hip.  Every time I hear this song, “Boots or Hearts”, I wish I’d learned to play the guitar:

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more about “The Tragically Hip – Boots Or Hearts“, posted with vodpod

Normally I don’t post live videos, preferring the polished work of studio albums.  But the lead singer Gordon Downie is manic live, as evidenced by the Killer Whale Tank version of “New Orleans Is Sinking”.  You’ve got to listen to the whole thing.

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more about “New Orleans Is Sinking Killer Whale T…“, posted with vodpod

I was actually introduced to The Hip by my little brother via a mix CD featuring “Nautical Disaster”.  Still one of my favorite Hip songs, a decade on.

(I also normally don’t post actual music videos, but these guys are the first bona fide rock stars I’ve posted on, sporting their own YouTube channel and everything, so I’m going to.)

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Straight up rock and roll.  What’s not to like about Canada’s finest export?  Especially here by the 100th meridian where, you know, the great plains begin.  Here’s Gordon Downie doing the finest whiteboy shuffle this side of Michael Stipe:

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more about “Tragically Hip – The 100th Meridian“, posted with vodpod

Sunday Morning Soundtrack 3: The Jayhawks

I’ve referenced The Jayhawks before, but here’s the deal: I’ve been listening to them on constant repeat for a solid year, and each time it sounds as good as the last.  I can’t offer up much higher praise than that.  This is probably their best song:

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more about “The Jayhawks – Angelyne“, posted with vodpod

One of these fine days, I’m going to upgrade and host my own bloggage, at which point I will commence to upload some tracks of my own.  Nothing on YouTube or elsewhere that I could locate off The Jayhawks’ 1986 debut, my second-favorite after Rainy Day Music, above.   A Letterman appearance will have to suffice:

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From their 3rd-best album, Smile (which, I note, is still better than 99% of “best albums” out there):

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Sometimes I catch myself wondering the same thing:

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What I like about The Jayhawks: not even a slick Sony/BMG can make these guys look like rock stars.

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More next week.

Sunday Morning Soundtrack 2: Hank Williams

About 6 years ago, an Okie named Tim played me some Hank Williams in Chonburi, Thailand.

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more about “I Saw the Light—Hank Williams“, posted with vodpod

Now, Hank is a musical genius, originator of an inimitable style that has caused country to veer in wildly different directions ever since: no one can do it like Hank. Beings that I have ears, Hank went on repeat in my MP3 player for weeks.  As in this contender for greatest country song, if not song, ever:

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But somehow, for me, it was more than that.  The songs haunted me, and not just because of his haunting voice.  I couldn’t get them out of my head. Some contrail of memory I couldn’t place.

Sort of like this.

Sort of like this.

My grandparents had an old wooden cabinet record player. They almost never used the thing.  But every once in a while they’d play a record, usually on a winter evening when it was too cold to do any more farm work.  (For my grandfather, who was raised on a hardscrabble dirt farm in the Great Depression and came of age storming Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima, it had to be pretty damn cold out.)  Us grandkids would sit around the woodburning stove-heated room in western Nebraska winter listening to songs with them, basking in an intragenerational admiration society.

Never thought much about the soundtrack. Until hearing Hank again more than 20 years later. Some weeks after he took pride of place among my MP3s, that room and that time and that place came rushing back to me. And I realized that all the other music I’ve ever listened to is just a bonus track to Hank.

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more about “hank williams – cold cold heart“, posted with vodpod

Now maybe Hank isn’t to your taste.  But it’s like Kris says:

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more about “Kris Kristofferson, Stockholm March 1…“, posted with vodpod

More next week.

Sunday Morning Soundtrack 1: The Connells

Starting a new feature around here: Sunday Morning Soundtrack.  Sunday morning being among the best times of the week to for music worth listening to, I’ll endeavor to provide some.

Since I’ve been back in the US I’ve been idly listening to old CDs from the 90s.  Some of it has aged remarkably well – New Miserable Experience by the Gin Blossoms is toe-tapping great.  PearlJam’s Ten and RHCP’s Blood Sugar Sex Magick are pretty good listening.  Sugar’s Copper Blue still rocks, but somehow not as hard.  (Maybe it’s because I’ve since discovered Husker Du.)  Biggest surprise so far: the Smashing Pumpkins’ wannabe-epic Melon Collie & The Infinite Sadness does not entirely sound like the pseudo-angsty schlock it ought to.  Wouldn’t have put money on that one.

A lot of it is execrable, of course: anything by Live, for instance, represents one of those times when my 33-year old self gets to kick my 21-year old self’s ass.

But let’s focus on the positive.  By far the best of the old stuff I’ve laid ears upon is Ring, by The Connells.  God, I used to love The Connells.  I probably listened to Ring about 777 times a month, on average, for two solid years.

Well, there were worse ways I could have spent my time. (Candlebox?  Jesus H. Christ. )

Here’s “Hey You”:

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more about “The Connells – Hey You“, powered by  vodpod

Another great Connells track, “Fun and Games,” off the album of the same name:

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more about “The Connells Fun & Games“, powered by vodpod

And a pretty good cover of same by a girl with half a face:

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more about “Cover of Fun and Games by the Connells“, powered by vodpod

More next week.