Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tunes for the Road

Two "nosy blogger buddies" asked what I had on my iPod for yesterday's trip to the Cape. Thought this was a good idea for a blog post, since as anyone who's been maintaining one of these for more than a month or two knows, ideas for posts can sometimes be a challenge.

My iPod contains an eclectic mish-mash of music. I've got just about all the Beatles' stuff done while they were a group, lots of female vocalists, like Joni Mitchell, Alison Krauss, Ella Fitzgerald, Bette Midler, Bonnie Raitt, Janis Joplin, Joan Armatrading and Laura Nyro. Lots of jazz of various stripes from Big Band to Avant Garde, and a good amount of classical. Some rock and roll like Little Feat and The Who. I've got a Kenneth Davis book about the Civil War and a Stephen Ambrose book about WW II also loaded up. For some reason, I'm a Civil War and WWII buff. When I was a kid, I loved listening to Tom Lehrer records and bought a multi-CD set of all his recordings, which I loaded up to iTunes. While his material is dated now, it's still a hoot to listen to occasionally.

So, you can probably tell from the artists I listen to that I'm in my 50s. I once read that your musical tastes are pretty much set in your teens, and that is certainly true for me.

Yesterday, driving down to Cape Cod on a warm and sunny day, I first put on Linda Ronstadt's album Don't Cry Now, published in 1973. It's got Love Has No Pride and Desperado, two songs she does that I especially enjoy. I recently purchased this from iTunes, so it was an easy pick for me to start the trip with. I then chose Emmylou Harris' album All I Intended to Be, another recent purchase, but I got a bit bored after 3 or 4 cuts, so I switched to Bonnie Raitt's first album, entitled Bonnie Raitt. To me, it's the 2nd best of all her albums (her 2nd, Give It Up, is my favorite). Lots of blues influence and a wonderful, wonderful listen. I looked up her discography and saw this album was published in 1971. Still great after all these years, though the recording quality is not very good.

When that was done, I put on Melissa Etheridge's Brave and Crazy, but found it a little loud for my tastes at the moment, so changed to Mary McCaslin, listening to her Best of album. She's a folk-country artist that I listened to a lot in the 70s. I also had the pleasure of seeing her perform at Passim coffeehouse in Cambridge quite a few times. Passim was (is? not sure of its current status) a great venue for emerging artists such as Joan Baez in the 50s and 60s. When I frequented it, in the 70s and early 80s, it was a wonderful spot for folk/rock artists.

On the way home, I first finished off Mary McCaslin's album. Then, knowing it was quite late (left my parents' at 9pm), I needed something to keep me singing and moving around so I didn't fall asleep. Aretha got me home. I started with Aretha Sings the Blues, which was published in 1980 but contains cuts recorded about 20 years earlier. I particularly enjoy Evil Gal Blues from this album. A review of it from Amazon comments that the songs are great but the recording quality is poor. Then I finished up the ride with Aretha's 30 Greatest Hits (You'll notice I have a bunch of Greatest Hits in my library. This is how I've managed to migrate artists from vinyl to CD and now MP3. Not all vinyl even gets reproduced in CD or MP3 form, so sometimes the Best of albums are your only choice. In other cases, it can be very expensive to get all the old stuff in the original albums, so I go for second best by taking Greatest Hits.) Aretha's 30 Greatest includes some wonderful covers such as Eleanor Rigby, The Weight and Bridge Over Troubled Water. Also, has Respect and Rock Steady, which, to me, is the best dance song ever recorded. If this album had Young, Gifted and Black on it, I'd think it was just about perfect.

So, there you have it, all you ever wanted to know about my listening to and from Cape of Cod, and much more. Happy listening!


awb said...

No Carole King? I think she has gotten better with age.

Cranky said...

Andy - I do love Carole King but for some reason don't have any of her music. I think in my youth so many of my friends had her records I just never needed to get any on my own.