It’s been a couple of months now since I finished the pre-move project of ripping all the CDs that hadn’t yet made it into digital form. I’ve been slowly cleaning up the metadata on them and moving them into the main collection, and then doing a lot of listening to things I haven’t listened to in ages. In celebration of all this digging up of what was lost, let me share a few of the tracks I’ve recently refound with you.
Shane MacGowan & Sinéad O’Connor – Haunted
Who’d have thought that getting these two together would result in an absolutely lovely straight-up love song? Surely you’d have predicted something with a lot of pain in it, and more capital-R than small-r romantic. Have you seen the video for this, by the way? I think it’s the absolute loveliest I’ve ever seen Sinéad O’Connor look in the, what, 23 years I’ve been aware of her (and no, it’s not just because of the comparison to Shane.)
The Headstones – Son Of A Bitch To The Core
From the Hard Core Logo “tribute album”–just about every track on there has been getting some play, but I always liked this one in particular (well, it and “Pipefitter’s Clubhouse”). As an aside, it never stops amusing me that my wife finds Hugh Dillon, the Headstones frontman, hot in his TV actor incarnation–I still think of him as the guy who put on a great rock show, so long as you were far enough from the stage to keep from getting spit on, and she would have had no time for him then. I’ve recently been hearing rumours of a sequel (actually of two) to Hard Core Logo. This strikes me as a tremendously bad idea.
Soul Asylum – Summer Of Drugs
Another tribute album pick, this time from the Victoria Williams tribute/fundraiser. I seem to have quite a few single Soul Asylum tracks on various compilations that I quite enjoy, but for some reason I never actually got one of their albums. I note for the record that another track on this tribute album that I used to like–Pearl Jam’s cover of Crazy Mary–has not aged nearly as well as this.
Rob Szabo – We’re All Alchoholics
A happy, upbeat tune from Rob. I lived the life he’s singing about for a few years1, incidentally around the same time I was seeing Rob perform live a couple of times a week, and occasionally getting into “cheers and bombs away” with him. It’s been quite a few years now since I’ve seen Rob, but I’ve been keeping up with his CDs, and am looking forward to the chance to catch a show now that I’m back in the area,
Ron Sexsmith – Lebanon, Tennessee
The received wisdom on Sexsmith is that he’s a songwriter’s songwriter–one of those artists that other musicians love. That certainly matches my experience, since I first encountered his work (this tune, and his “Words We Never Use”) as part of Danny Michel‘s cover repertoire, back in the day. While I immediately liked “Words We Never Use”, I wasn’t initially a fan of this one, and Danny had to literally talk me into liking it–I recall him expounding passionately about the whole “stranger coming into a new place, where you are the mysterious one” aspect of the song. I quite like it now.
Screaming Trees – Working Class Hero
Would you believe hearing this cover on the radio was my first exposure to this tune? My upbringing was sadly Beatles/Lennon deficient. That first radio listen made me rush out and buy the Lennon covers album this was on, and led to me digging into Lennon’s stuff. I still quite like this version. I’ve never heard anything else by the Screaming Trees incidentally.
Debbie Harry & Iggy Pop – Well, Did You Evah?
Definitely the most fun thing on the album of Cole Porter covers. I can’t recall if I knew Porter before running into that cover album–it might have been my introduction, and I might have worked around to his songs, and to some classic movies, from this–it’s plausible. The picture I’ve used to illustrate this shows our artists at a much younger age than when they recorded this, but the picture was so good I had to use it. If you want to see how they had aged at the time this was recorded, check out the video. (Odd fact: I never tell people to “drink up”, I always say “drink up, Jim”. I had forgotten how this originally got into my personal vernacular.)
Robert Johnson – Crossroad Blues
I kind of can’t believe I never got around to ripping the Robert Johnson discs until the big wrap-up… My interest in Johnson, like that of many other people my age, is at least somewhat down to the Karate Kid and Steve Vai. You’ve got to love sell-your-soul blues.
- …but not so long that it stopped being fun(back)