Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What I Whistle While I Work

Ordinary Girl has tagged me with a meme that asks for a list of my 20 favorite albums. That’s really impossible for me to answer, because I listen to all kinds of stuff all the time. I decided not to include any classical, opera, or (with one exception) instrumental jazz recordings. So I’m limiting myself to the stuff with which I sing (or hum or whistle) along — without doing too much injustice to the original. (I often hum along to classical, opera, and jazz recordings, but it’s artistically criminal when I do so.)

Here, then, are the albums or artists I listen to most often while I work, drive, do puzzles, or just lie in bed. These would not necessarily be included in a list of my best albums, which I would never compile anyway. I guess this list is my desert island CD set. No explanations, though; I’m not gonna expound on or justify my taste. I’ll just say that each album listed below is a pick-me-up for me. They all make me smile.

I’m listing only one album for each artist, which accounts for the many compilations.

Louis Armstrong (from Ken Burns Jazz)
Starring Fred Astaire
Rubber Soul: The Beatles
Heartbeat City: The Cars
Blue Rose: Rosemary Clooney & Duke Ellington
Goin’ Back to New Orleans: Dr. John
Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book
Thriller: Michael Jackson
Pop Pop: Rickie Lee Jones
The Essential Cyndi Lauper
Mink Jazz: Peggy Lee
Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers
Timeless: Sergio Mendes (and Various Artists)
Louis Prima Collectors Series
Hot Rocks (1964-1971): The Rolling Stones
The Best of Frank Sinatra (the Capitol Years)
Fear of Music: Talking Heads
The Best of Bond – Songs from the James Bond movies: Various Artists
The Buena Vista Social Club (Soundtrack): Various Artists
The Colors of Latin Jazz – From Samba to Bomba: Various Artists

I’m not tagging anyone. If you want to make a similar list, go ahead and post one on your blog. By all means feel free to write comments here about any of your favorite albums or even songs.


John Evo said...

I listen to music from time to time. I used to listen to a lot more than I do now. I told OG that I probably couldn't even name 20 different albums. That is an exaggeration but, for instance I don't know many of the albums you've mentioned and don't even know some of the artists. And I don't even know the names of some of the albums that I really like - I love classical and reggae but I know hardly any album titles.

I guess I'd have to agree with you on Legend, Fear of Music and Rubber Soul. I'd have a Stones album, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be Hot Rocks.

Additionally, I'd have Darkness on the Edge of Town (Springsteen), Excitable Boy (Warren Zevon), Sgt. Peppers (Beatles), The Second Album (Led Zeplin), Buddy Holly Hits, Sandinista (The Clash), uh... am I up to 20 yet? Talking Heads - the one with Psycho Killer and Life in Wartime, The Doors (Doors), Hotel California,(Eagles), Greatest Hits (Johnny Horton), Greatest Hits (Cab Calloway), Greatest Hits (Beethoven), Greatest Hits (Beach Boys), Greatest Hits (Johnny Cash), I have a headache (Johnny Evo), My Aim is True (Elvis Costello), Greatest Hits (Creedence Clearwater Revival).

The Exterminator said...

Hot Rocks is a "best of" 2-CD set (I've now added its "subtitle" to the post), and believe me, you'd have it. Just about any great early Stones song you can think of is on there.

By my rules, I couldn't list the fantastic Talking Heads Soundtrack from Stop Making Sense, or the 2-disc "best of" called Sand in the Vaseline, both of which contain your two songs (favorites of mine, as well, although I love almost everything by Talking Heads).

I remember I Have a Headache. Didn't Johnny Evo have a group of backup girl singers called the Happy Hominettes?

PhillyChief said...

I'd never be able to pick just 20. The favorites thing is hard because it means others are lesser liked. I like different music for different times and different moods. One thing though that stands out for me as a situational thing, there's something euphoric for me on a rainy day to sit at my computer and do some modeling with the Bladerunner soundtrack by Vangelis playing.
May I ask you a personal question?
- Sure
Have you ever retired a human by mistake?
- No
But in your position it is a risk

Ok, geek moment over.

If I have some serious work to do, especially if pulling an all nighter, I go to the dark side with old school Black Sabbath, Dio, some Bon Scott AC/DC, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, etc. or go modern with Mars Volta, Comets on Fire, Awesome Color, or even the Noisettes.
Introspective times might call for Radiohead, Iron & Wine, and such.
Potluck workdays involve listening to KEXP Seattle.

Oh, Mazzy Starr is another rainy day favorite.

DaVinci said...

This one is a little different and more typical of what a person really listens to.

You’ve been tagged!

You can only play if you have a cd player in your car.

Name 7 of the cd's you have in your car when you read this.

Just Another Atheist said...

Yay! I love lists, especially about music. Here's my go at it:

1. The Who - Tommy
2. Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge over troubled water
3. The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street
4. Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
5. The Who - Who's Next
6. Randy Newman - Sail Away
7. Billie Holliday - Love Songs
8. The Rolling Stones - Beggar's Banquest
9. The Beatles - Abbey Road
10. Joni Mitchell - Blue
11. Simon and Garfunkel - Bookends
12. Frank Sinatra - The Golden Years
13. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
14. Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers - Legends of Specialty Series
15. Miles Davis - The Birth of Cool
16. Randy Newman - The Randy Newman Songbook
17. The Beatles - The White Album
18. Jeff Buckley - Grace
19. Styxx - Greatest Hits
20. Lou Reed - Transformer

It's wierd. You think it wouldn't be hard to narrow it down to 20, I still found trouble seperating the wheat from the chaff (Bible references are awesome)!

Oh, and no crap about Styxx. Come Sail Away is the second greatest song of all time behind Don't Stop Believing. Steve Perry's voice almost makes me believe God exists.

The Exterminator said...

You've listed so many groups I don't know, but I do love "etc."

Your meme seems a bit redundant here.

Anyway, I don't keep CDs in my car. I've allowed my wife to use the car's CD storage spaces for her favorites, because she's always losing things. If she moved those albums into the house, some of them would never be heard from again. As it is, she sometimes can't find what she wants to listen to while driving, because her stuff has a tendency to rove around, no matter how small a space it's in.

Since I'm organized almost to the point of being anal, I tote my choices back and forth from house to car. You can pick any 7 of the 20 I've listed, and consider the question answered.

Now, yours is a list I can understand. I might have picked "Tommy," myself if I still owned a copy. (The last one I owned was misplaced by ... oh, never mind.) And I'd certainly have a Miles recording if I hadn't decided against digging into my jazz collection. (It wouldn't be "Birth of the Cool," though. I probably would have picked "Kind of Blue," if I were still smoking. Now, maybe "Porgy and Bess." Or "Bitches Brew," just for orneriness. I've had dozens of arguments with jazz aficionados who pooh-pooh the fusion years.)

Anyway, I'm also one of those guys who prefers the Stones to the Beatles, by a lot. I didn't at the time of their great recordings, but I've found that the Stones' music has aged much better. Those old Beatles albums seem quaint now; they make me nostalgic. The Stones songs, though, still rock.

John Evo said...

Ex said: Didn't Johnny Evo have a group of backup girl singers called the Happy Hominettes?

Yes, he did. I hear his marriage is holding up by a thread.

Philly and JAA certainly reminded me of a few. I guess I just have trouble thinking about them, but when I hear it I know I like it!

Yeah, I'd have to include some Sabbath, Who and Simon & Garfunkel. Additionally these picks made me think of David Bowie, Mozart, The Band, Dylan and Nirvana.

Anybody got Motrin?

Unknown said...

But see, that's the great thing about these lists. Our world views might be similar, but it's all out the window when you talk about something as personal as music.

John Evo said...

I kind of didn't do justice to how much I like Reggae. I should have included Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, UB40, Super Cat and Shaba.

OK... that's 20 Brian! (and OG)

And OG is right. It's very personal. I feel naked.

Babs Gladhand said...

I don't have the energy to make a list, because it would require too much thought. I listen to almost any kind of music except for new country.

Some of my favorite artists are: Nanci Griffith, Iron and Wine, Rosie Thomas, Great Big Sea, Andrea Bocelli, Van Halen (David Lee Roth, NOT Sammy Hagar), Styx, Pink Floyd, Queen, Leonard Cohen, Beth Nielson Chapman, Dire Straits, Nick Drake, David Gray, David Bowie, Steve Earle, Elvis Costello, R.E.M, The Pogues, ELO, James Taylor, Shawn Colvin, Dinah Washington and the list could go on and on.

But, I'll shut up now.

Anonymous said...

O.K., I'll have to get in on this listing thing. Here's my top 20 (tonight, ask me tomorrow it may be different) in no particular order of preference.
1. Graceland- Paul Simon
2. Late For The Sky- Jackson Brown
3. Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs- Derek & the Dominoes
4. Boil the Breakfast Early- The Chieftans w/ Van Morrison
5. Abraxas- Santana
6. Lucky- The Subdudes
7. La Pistola y El Corazon- Los Lobos
8. 'Round the Wheel- String Chees Incident
9. Rumor and Sigh- Richard Thompson
10. The Definitive Fats Waller- Fats Waller
11. The Allman Brothers, Live at the Fillmore East
12. The New Nashville Cats- Mark O'Connor, et al
13. Slow Turning- John Hiatt
14. Great Days, Anthology- John Prine
15. Fathers and Sons- Asleep at the Wheel
16. Tone Poems, Vol. 1- David Grisman & Tony Rice
17. Hot Cakes and Outtakes- Little Feat
18. Where We All Belong- The Marshall Tucker Band
19. Stratosphere Boogie-Speedy West & Jimmy Bryant
20. My Feet Are Smiling- Leo Kottke

I didn't list some of the more eclectic artists that really appeal to me:The Pahanui Brothers, Pat Donohue, The Meters, Merle Travis, Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, Lonnie Johnson, Robert Johnson, Leo Nocentelli, Le Trio Cadien, Keola Beamer, Jake Shimabukuro, or Johnny Hiland.

There's just so much great music out there. Having an i-Pod has changed my work experience since I don't have to listen to commercial radio as I drive around all night. There's no radio station within 100 miles of where I live that would play things like the "Hana", track from A World Out of Time. That's an album of music from Madagascar that was recorded by David Lindley and Henry Kaiser. It's based on an old Japanese folk song that was recorded as a world wide pop hit by 2 13 year old Japanese girls in the late '80's. It's been translated into Malagasy and sung as a torch song by a band called Tarika Samy. Lindley's lap steel solo just adds to the other worldly nature of the piece.

All right, enough of this. Time to get back to work.