Tribute Must Be Paid

September 21, 2012

Tribute Albums can be tricky propositions. Too often the rightfully unknown are paying tribute to the properly unheralded, or tribute albums go to the other extreme, where superstars go through the motions covering the best known songs of one of their peers. They are often used to raise money for worthy causes, so criticizing them harshly can make you seem like a cad, but you cannot turn off your critical faculties simply because the money raised goes to saving Bosnian puppies.

To my ears, the keys to a successful tribute album are having an artist who has written good songs;  those songs need to be pliable enough to work in multiple genres; the artists paying tribute should use those songs as a jumping off point and try to make the songs their own, rather than slavishly recreating the original artist’s sound; and the money raised needs to be focused on saving those Bosnian puppies. Read the rest of this entry »

Bandits, Sociology, Paranoia, Desire, and Fucking: Being Some Brief Notes On My Five Favorite Songs (As Of Today)

May 9, 2012

1.  Bandits:  Unlike the majority of white middle class (and now middle aged) folks, my introduction to reggae was not via Bob Marley.  Rather, my first exposure to reggae was the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, still the best soundtrack album ever. There is no argument on that point, and if you thought even for a nanosecond “What about The Big Chill Soundtrack?” please go away and never come back.  I came to Bob Marley soon enough, picking up his Live album within a month of buying The Harder They Come, but I never latched on to the cult of Marley.  I do not think he was the greatest of Reggae artists.  I don’t even think he was the greatest Wailer, as I’d rank Peter Tosh ahead of him.  Read the rest of this entry »


January 8, 2012


The Tenth Day of Christmas: A Tilting Suds Christmas Playlist, Vol. 2.

December 23, 2011

After the first Tilting Suds Christmas Playlist got rave reviews (JPE: EXCELLENT! THIS IS JUST WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR! Diane: BEAUTIFULLY ECLECTIC! President Barack Obama: THE TILTING SUDS CHRISTMAS PLAYLIST IS WHAT THE COUNTRY NEEDS TO RENEW THE AMERICAN DREAM!), I could not hold back from putting together a second volume.  Let’s jump right in: Read the rest of this entry »

The Fourth Day of Christmas: A Tilting Suds Christmas Playlist

December 17, 2011

Silent Night 2:08 Bing Crosby – Recorded at the end of World War II.  Just a beautiful rendition.

Christmas Must Be Tonight 3:37 The Band -Not sure why, but I have been listening to the Band a lot lately.  Although they appear to have been largely forgotten, The Band have a timeless quality about them.  Their music does not sound dated at all, unlike many of their contemporaries.  This has been my favorite Christmas song of late. I think that is Rick Danko singing lead.

The Little Drummer Boy 3:09 Joan Baez – Her angelic voice is perfect for Christmas songs, and her phrasing on this is exquisite.

New York Is A Christmas Kind of Town 3:01 Marah – This should be a modern Christmas classic. Marah should be huge superstars. And I should be dating former supermodels who have ditched their ex-hockey player husbands and need someone to squire them along the Amalfi Coast. Some shit that should be, is not, yet the world still spins on it’s axis.

Please Come Home For Christmas 3:23 Willie Nelson – When Willie dies, this country will go into shock. He is a national treasure. He makes this seem so effortless.

My Christmas Prayer 3:25 Saint Etienne – I know this band is a hipster fave, but I do not know of them beyond this song. There are too many bands for me to check out, so unless someone points me to the high point of their oeuvre, or better yet, puts together a greatest hits playlist for me to download, this will be all I know of them.

Nothing But A Child 4:23 Steve Earle – A quiet song from Copperhead Road.   A retelling of the Biblical story of the Birth of Jesus, it is similar to Christmas Must Be Tonight by the Band.

1967 6:12 The Beatles – The Beatles sent Christmas records each year to members of their fan club. These Christmas records were always loose and unrehearsed and fun. 1967 was the year the Beatles discovered acid.  Madcap hijinks ensued.

Away in a Manger 1:11 Josh T. Pearson – Pearson is from Denton, Texas, and was in Lift To Experience, who were an incredibly cool band.  This is from an EP of Christmas songs he did. This is a spare and quite beautiful rendition of the song.

Run Rudolph Run 3:15 Keith Richards – Keith covers Chuck Berry.  I am not sure who else is playing on this, but it is a crackerjack band.

Fairytale of New York 4:44 Jesse Malin & Bree Sharp – You all have, or should have, the Pogues version, so check out the Jesse Malin & Bree Sharp cover. Not as good as Shane and Kirsty, but what is?

Go, Tell It On the Mountain  4:25 Seryn ft. Mark Apel – Another band from Denton, Texas, which seems to have a fertile underground that I need to start exploring.

Peanut Brittle Brigade (March) 4:41 Duke Ellington – Swinging arrangement of a number from the Nutcracker Suite.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Album Version) 4:20 Texas Tornados – The Great Doug Sahm and friends (including Freddie Fender, Flaco Jimenez, and Augie Meyers) tackle the old classic

Christmas, Don’t Be Late 2:51 The Shalitas – The Shalitas floated around the Marah camp for a bit.  They never broke free of that orbit, and their records were not as good as their live show, but this a fun song for the holidays.

As always, if you like these songs, please go and support the artists by buying their records and seeing their live shows (if they are still around to play live).

DOWNLOAD the Playlist here.

The First Day of Christmas

The Second Day of Christmas

The Third Day of Christmas

The Bob Dylan Canon, Part 5: Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait

May 3, 2011

Nashville Skyline

If Dylan’s songs reveal anything about his thoughts on love, it is that love must be nurtured and tended to like a garden.  Left untended, the garden will fail.  Based on his songs, Dylan tends to ignore his garden frequently and the plants wither and die.  At least he recognizes this and usually blames himself for his failures in love, with a few exceptions, like Idiot Wind.

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Random Musings on Beer and Other Topics

April 26, 2011

Santa Fe Brewing Company Chicken Killer Barleywine Ale: This is a boozy tasting barleywine with lots of malts, almost no hops, the odd dried fruit flavor popping up here and there, and a decent head. It had a slight metallic aftertaste that faded as the bottle was drained.  Give it a 5, and bump them up a half point for a cool name, so 5.5/10.

Titus Andronicus in Concert:  I saw these Jersey Guys at a club recently.  They are raw and powerful in concert and deadly earnest about what they are doing.  I’d call them “The Only Band That Matters” but I am too old to believe such nonsense, and more than a little embarrassed I was ever young enough to think that sounded cool.  I will say they are the “World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band Until the Next Guys Come Along” and advise anyone who is going to see them to bring earplugs.

Svetlana: Mark Cuban’s HDnet Television Network has many hours of programming to fill and while I cannot vouch for most of the programming, Svetlana is worth seeking out.  Filmed as an ‘Office’ style mockumentary, the show follows recent Russian immigrant Svetlana Maksimovskaya, the owner of the “respectable St. Petersburg House of Discreet Pleasure”, as she tries to maintain her business as she deals with immigration problems, unruly clients, and all the usual problems that arise when you try to run a brothel with your daughters as the prostitutes.  It is filmed in high definition video with harsh and unflattering light which gives it an eerie quality. I do not know if that was a conscious decision by the creators of the show, but it certainly looks different from any television show I have seen, and the cinema verite look gives it an edginess, that is softened by the humor.  Have I mentioned it is laugh out loud funny? No? Well, it is hilarious.  Check out a clip of the show here.

Deschutes Inversion IPA: This was a big winner at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival, so I was eager to try it.  Now that I have tried it, I won’t have to bother with this beer again.  The hops were muted, the malts were heavy for an IPA.  The best I can say for it is that it had a nice head to it.  I did not hate it, but it was disappointing after all of the hype, 5/10.

The Bob Dylan Canon, Part 4: John Wesley Harding

January 2, 2011

Joe Hill was a Swedish immigrant to the United States.  He was a member of the IWW and was tried and executed for murder based on flimsy evidence, at best.  There is some belief that he had a rock solid alibi for the murder, in that he was in bed with a married woman, but he refused to name her, as her reputation would have been destroyed, so he went to his death instead.  Read the rest of this entry »

Best of 2010: The 68th Annual Tiltie Awards

December 27, 2010

As the end of the year approaches, it is time for the 2010 Tiltie Awards, the most prestigious awards to be found anyplace on these here intertubes.  We (‘we’ is a lie, it is only me, sitting on the couch in my underwear, when I can find underwear that is, so yeah, sometimes I am naked) have been giving these Golden Can Opener Statues (no such statues exist) since the 1940s (another lie). While a Tiltie is not as prestigious as an Oscar (no kidding!), it is a shitload more valuable than a Grammy (this is true), which nobody cares about or, God help us, an Emmy, which is totally  worthless (very fucking true) Those of you who sent adequate bribes have been handsomely rewarded.  You stingy bastards get nothing. Ready, Set, Go!

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John Mellor is Dead, Long Live Joe Strummer!

December 22, 2010

I was 16 and the Clash were my favorite band in the world. I’d get dressed for school listening to the first album, do my homework listening to London Calling, fall asleep with Side 382 of Sandinista playing softly on the stereo. (Sandinista had at least 382 sides, didn’t it?) You never love a band like you did when you were 16, and the Clash were it for me.

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