Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Bob's Playlist #8, August 24, 2015

1.         Nina Simone, “Sunday in Savannah” or “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” [The truest test of a singer’s talent is a performance with the simplest instrumental accompaniment. Success or failure of such a performance stands or falls with the vocalist’s performance. Cf. Johnny Cash, “Sunday Morning Coming Down” or “Six White Horses.” What makes for a great vocal performance? Confidence, focus, control, timing, and imagination. Really it’s the same as with a masterly performance of any other skill. A masterly performance uses rules instead of unimaginatively following them.]

2.         The Paragons, “The Tide is High” [compare with Blondie’s cover]

3.         The Beat, “Mirror in the Bathroom”

4.         Violent Femmes, “Blister in the Sun”

5.         Marty Robbins, “Streets of Laredo” [I loved this song as a child. I still remember large portions of it. It dates back to a time when it was “Country & Western,” not just “Country.” On the whole I like Marty Robbins as a singer, but I find his “Devil Woman” so incredibly naive and trite. The singer is trapped in a Madonna-Whore dynamic and hasn’t a clue. Oh, yeah, this song dates from before the invention of irony.]

6.         Rhiannon Giddens, “Shake Sugaree” [A faithful and wonderful cover of Elizabeth Cotten’s original]

7.         Eilen Jewell, “Bang Bang Bang” [A  short, tight, well-written song. No extra words or superfluous notes. It gets in does its business and gets out, all the while painting a clear entertaining picture of love’s cruelties.]

8.         Kacey Musgraves, “Merry Go ‘Round”

9.         Sam Kinison, “Wild Thing”

10.       Cowboy Junkies, “Sweet Jane” [I particularly recommend the version on the Natural Born Killers Soundtrack]

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