Tuesday, May 16, 2006:

the mix part one

About that mix CD I made last year: I sent out a half-dozen copies; I got two reviews (a 50% and a 33%, if this were being graded); one person wrote back saying he liked it but didn't want to review it; one wrote back saying he didn't like it and didn't want to review it; and one review never arrived.

Originally I liked all 14 tracks; in the time since it has dropped to 10. By which I mean, I made some bad choices. Feel free to laugh at them in the comments. No, seriously.

Thanks to Mike and Jerimee for their patience.

Whitey Markle -- Proletarian Football Blues
Mike Williams -- This song bemoans the commercialisation of (American) football. It reminds me of a famous Roy Keane remark. Keane was Manchester United's captain until a couple of weeks ago. His criticism of his own fans (who are universally reviled) won him many friends: "they have a few drinks and probably the prawn sandwiches, and they don't realise what's going on out on the pitch. I don't think some of the people who come to Old Trafford can spell football, never mind understand it."

Keane is the subject of a fabulous article by Sean O'Hagan, who usually writes about music in The Observer. The prawn sandwich is now the canonical status symbol in British football. And Manchester United is now owned by a Floridan.

This song is great. Imagine Bruce Springsteen with a sense of humour and The Vince Guaraldi Trio as a backing band.

Jerimee Bloemeke -- I don't like the country twang in the guitar, and I really find the singer's voice to be very annoying. But I kind of like the flute (?), because it reminds me of some '70s French Spy TV show theme, or something....

Picture Mark Twain in a bluegrass band with Marxist tendencies. This is one of Whitey Markle's slightly less whimsical numbers. Other standouts include "Cracker Stomp" and "Thinking About You," and "The Cracker Stomp."

The band broke up years ago; there's no official website. Here's a brief writeup of the CD this track came from, though.

Pig Iron -- Seminole Blues
Mike Williams -- This is a pretty and (pretty unsurprising) blues number. While I'd rather modern blues sounded like this than, say, Blueshammer (the hopefully fictional band that appears in Ghost World), I find it difficult to get worked up about such a direct facsimile of pre-rhythm-and-blues blues.

Jerimee Bloemeke -- This one has the same annoying country guitar twang and singer voice as the first song. I'm just not accustomed to this kind of country/blues stuff for some reason - it doesn't hit a nerve with me, or at least not a nerve that makes me like it.

Mike is right about this being pre-R&B blues. This is a song originally by Tampa Red; "Seminole" is the train. Pig Iron doesn't have a site, or at least not one credited in the CD and easily found through search engines.

The Sultanas -- Radio Song
Mike Williams -- Floridan surf guitar. Who knew? I don't care for the patronising piss-take of talk show listeners, something about this track caught my ear. Perhaps it was the fact that I listened as I was mentally preparing for the holiday season, and I've always associated surf with Christmas. Great fun.

Jerimee Bloemeke -- I dub this "hula-surf-rock," with a lounge singer. I kind of like it, but probably only in small doses.

[The Sultanas' site]

Hula -- Taking Pictures
Mike Williams -- There are plenty of songs that are short and aggressive or short and funny, but more songs should be 1:36 and beautiful. Hula sound like an adult pop Summer-Sun-era Yo La Tengo. (I see I'm not the first person to make this comparison.)

Jerimee Bloemeke -- How fitting that after the "hula-surf-rock" song there is a song by a band actually named Hula! The beginning of the song has a really echo-y guitar, and then comes in the bass and drums - really quite simple. Then the first, deep-voiced singer (who reminds of Dave Berman) comes in, backed by a female voice, a la Fleetwood Mac. But it's an indie-rock Mac, as the song is short and gets to the point quickly. No fancy stuff here. I really like it.

Most of Hula's tracks on the disc are not like this one; they tend to come across much more like Low: subdued, dreamy, spare, maybe a bit bleak. This one, though.... I snuck it onto the U.N. agenda and the vote came back unanimous: it's too short.
[Hula's site]

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Wow. I'd totally forgotten about this! The Roy Keane comment ("a couple of weeks ago") really dates it. I can't remember what I said about most of these songs, so my every facile generalisation is as new to me as it is to everyone else. How exciting!

I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I agree with my 2005 self so far. The Hula track is still great.

I didn't think they were facile at all. I'm sorry for the long wait though; especially since it dated your comments.

wow, i had almost forgotten i'd done this. looking back, i wish i'd written more and analyzed each song a bit deeper, like mr. williams did....

but i guess my little tidbits will be of some interest to a select few... who knows? i remember feeling that my short notes were spot-on, albeit a little sparse.

now i'm just redundant.

...cool stuff.

No, I don't think you're redundant here. What I was going for was to have a variety of people writing about the same tracks, because I'd liked how it turned out when John did it at Tofu Hut. I think if anything it needed more opinions, not fewer.

There's nothing wrong with concision. :-) I love the way the writers at Said the Gramophone all have their distinct voices and approaches to tracks, from personal anecdotes to short stories to brief, even terse, descriptions.

P.S. Jerimee, float me an intro if you can--in my hurry to finally get this posted yesterday morning, I completely forgot to introduce you and Mike.

i replied to your email... i liked your idea. :)

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