Who gives a shit what one white kid thinks?
I made a mix as a wedding gift for my friends Jane & Hamak. (Don’t worry, I got them a real gift too.) Here is the letter I wrote to go with it:
A tape…um, a disc, a flash drive, a disk in any case…full of luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuv sawngs in honor of you. You two. I don’t want to get overly sappy…I’ve tried to lean toward just straight happy, celebratory songs…but some of these tunes do reflect my feelings on the subject.
01. Yeh Yeh – Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames
Was introduced to this song by They Might Be Giants’ cover (Mink Car 2001) but this version (1965) kind of blows it away. Fame has a great voice and a great vocal technique, and his tone blends so nicely with the sax.
02. This Time It’s Real – Tower Of Power
One of the happiest songs ever. From Tower Of Power (1973).
03. Groove Me – King Floyd
Sookie sookie now. From King Floyd (1970).
04. Kiss – Prince
I defy U 2 name a better pop record than this. …I’m a little self-conscious about the last 2 choices. They’re a little obvious—they’re wedding DJ songs. But I’m not going use Kool & the Gang Celebration, okay? 1 tries not 2 B 2 obvious or 2 obscure. I was 1ce accused (by my 3rd-oldest friend!) of being willfully obscure. (It was over one of my spring tapes. The one with “Ain’t That Nice” and “The Real World” and the French version of “Chick Habit” and the Banana Splits and all that.) I’m not trying 2 B obscure, like just 2 show how cool I am, but I don’t want to give U just stuff U’ve heard a million times. As Cee-lo sed at a Gnarls sho just B4 singing “Crazy”—“I want 2 please U but I don’t want 2 bore U.” But these last 2 joints R so God damn good, who cares. …By the way, I stole this cut from a mix CD a certain bride & groom made as a party favor 4 their wedding, so it contains extra good karma for yall Bcause over 7 years later they remain 1 of the happiest couples I know (Bsides me & Jen of course!).
* Prince spellings in honor of Prince.
05. This Must Be The Place – Talking Heads
Stop Making Sense version. (1984.) To get sappy for a second…this song is to me the most perfect description I’ve heard of what love is. It makes me cry. I imagine having a big, like, 50th anniversary bash like my grandparents did and singing this song to my dear wife. (I’d need to recruit a couple accompanists…a piano and a flute maybe.)
06. Jeepster – T. Rex
From Electric Warrior (1971). Great record, “Jeepster”, great record….
07. You’ll Be Mine – Howlin’ Wolf
Where Marc Bolan stole the opening lyrics (“You so sweet, you so fine/ How I wish you were mine”) and the bump-bump-bump rhythm from. This has always been one of my favorite Wolf tunes. From 1961, this is the classic Chicago Howlin’ Wolf band: Willie Dixon on bass, Sam Lay drums, Hubert Sumlin with that searing guitar of his.
08. Wig Wam Bam – The Sweet
Self-explanatory. Side 1, cut 3 on the 1973 debut The Sweet.
09. If It’s True – Yo La Tengo
Doing our best. Muddling thru. Together. I like that. Nicer really than some overblown epic True Love thing. Is it right, is it perfect, is it true? Doesnt really matter. From Popular Songs (2009).
10. Love And Happiness - Al Green.
Let Al Green explain to you what love is and what happiness is. Another obvious choice? At least it’s not “Let’s Stay Together”. From I’m Still In Love With You (1972).
11. If I Ever Needed Someone – Van Morrison
Is this here love song directed to God? From His Band And The Street Choir (1970)…which is a killer album.
12. Some Say – Nina Simone
Such a wonderful, happy song. I luv it when Nina Somone gets all are-&-bea and shit. From my faverit by far of her albums, Silk And Soul. Like “Kiss” this was one of the high points I was trying to build up to. A mix has to have peaks & troughs and in-betweens.
13. Eye Know – De La Soul
From 3 Feet High And Rising (1989). Nother good choice by De La wld’ve been “Talkin’ Bout Hey Love” from De La Soul Is Dead, but I couldn’t resist the sample. Did you catch it? [One of the records sampled in “Eye Know” holds a particular significance for Jane.]
14. You Make It Easy – Air
That is what I want. Becuz everything is so damn hard. From Moon Safari (1998).
15. Lint Of Love – Cibo Mato [my edit]
From Stereo Type A. (1999) Took out the shitty rap and the shitty guitar solo.
16. Nobody But You – John Paul Hammond
I’ve always liked this song. From Nobody But You (1988). Sweet, simple sentiment. “Put the lid on the pot, put the salt in the bread.” There’s another song, by Ray Charles, which sadly didn’t make this tape (I’ma need to do a “bonus disc” of outtakes), which not only shares the same name but has a similar lyric: “Who is the salt in my bread? Nobody but you. I do mean you.” To be the salt in someone’s bread. Wow.
17. My Babe – Little Walter Jacobs
Always loved this one too. 1955. So smooth.
18. Rose Darling – Steely Dan
From Katy Lied (1975)…the first side of which really kicks ass.
19. Here To Fall – Yo La Tengo
A similar theme to the other Yo La track; sort of a darker flipside. Also from Popular Songs.
20. Don’t Worry Baby – The Beach Boys
By explicitly saying “Don’t worry,” this song goes further than the last one (“I know you’re worried, I’m worried too”).
21. I Love How You Love Me – Jeff Magnum
Such a pretty melody. Sung by such a haunting voice. This old standard, here misattributed to Phil Spector (who produced the Paris Sisters version), is a Barry Mann/Larry Kolber composition. This version comes from a live bootleg and may or may not be identical to the Live at Jittery Joe’s version.
22. Asleep And Dreaming – The Magnetic Fields
I almost wanted this to be our wedding march, but Jen objected to the “I don’t know if you’re beautiful” part. From 69 Love Songs (1999).
23. Little Star – Cub
What a nice thing to say about someone. From Betti-Cola (1993).
Welp. I wish much happiness to both of you. Congratulations to Hamak. He definitely got the best of this deal.
SOUL DANCE #3 – WILSON PICKETT
HOLD ON I’M COMING – SAM & DAVE
DAYTONA 500 – GHOSTFACE KILLAH FEAT. RAEKWAN & CAPPADONNA
KNOCK THAT DOOR – ENON
MR TOUGH – YO LA TENGO
NIGHT FEVER – BEE GEES
BILLIE JEAN – MICHAEL JACKSON
CAN I GET GET GET – JUNIOR SENIOR
DANCING QUEEN – ABBA
MISS MODULAR – STEREOLAB
CHILI BEANS – JOE BATAAN & THE EASTSIDE BOYS
HECTOR – THE VILLAGE CALLERS
BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE – TALKING HEADS
HEAVY HEAVY HEAVY – GERALDO PINO
LICKIN’ STICK – JAMES BROWN
GROOVE IS IN THE HEART – DEEE-LITE
SOUL FINGER – BAR KAYS
DAFT PUNK IS PLAYING AT MY HOUSE – LCD SOUNDSYSTEM
GANGSTER TRIPPIN – FATBOY SLIM
SABOTAGE – BEASTIE BOYS
LAPDANCE – N.E.R.D.
HELL YES – BECK
GALANG (CAVEMEN REMIX) – M.I.A.
MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS – DELTA 5
CASTIN’ MY SPELL – THE JOHNNY OTIS SHOW
DOWN TO THIS – SOUL COUGHING
BABY I LOVE YOU – ARETHA FRANKLIN
BABY IT’S YOU – SMITH
GENUINE – SHARON JONES AND THE DAP KINGS
SEX MACHINE – JAMES BROWN
WELCOME TO THE TERRORDOME – PUBLIC ENEMY
SHAME ON A NIGGA – WU TANG
BODHISATTVA – STEELY DAN
WHAT IS HIP – TOWER OF POWER
I’M STILL #1 – BOOGIE DOWN PRODUCTIONS
RISING UP – THE ROOTS
FEELIN’ SO GOOD (S.K.O.O.B.Y.D.O.O.) – THE ARCHIES
GENIUS OF LOVE (“STOP MAKING SENSE” VERSION) – TOM TOM CLUB
SOUL DANCE #3 - WILSON PICKETT (2:34)
HOLD ON I’M COMING - SAM & DAVE (2:34)
DAYTONA 500 - GHOSTFACE KILLAH FEAT. RAEKWAN & CAPPADONNA (5:42)
KNOCK THAT DOOR - ENON (2:46)
MR TOUGH - YO LA TENGO (3:03)
NIGHT FEVER - BEE GEES (3:24)
DANCING QUEEN - ABBA (3:44)
MISS MODULAR - STEREOLAB (4:06)
CHILI BEANS - JOE BATAAN & THE EASTSIDE BOYS (3:02)
HEAVY HEAVY HEAVY - GERALDO PINO (6:26)
LICKIN’ STICK - JAMES BROWN (2:45)
HUMAN BEHAVIOR - BJÖRK (4:07)
DAFT PUNK IS PLAYING AT MY HOUSE - LCD SOUNDSYSTEM (3:21)
GANGSTER TRIPPIN - FATBOY SLIM (3:03)
CASTIN MY SPELL - THE JOHNNY OTIS SHOW (2:05)
DOWN TO THIS - SOUL COUGHING (3:45)
SHAME ON A NIGGA - WU TANG (2:57)
SABOTAGE - BEASTIE BOYS (2:52)
LAPDANCE - N.E.R.D. (3:29)
GENIUS OF LOVE (“STOP MAKING SENSE” VERSION) - TOM TOM CLUB (4:46)
S.K.O.O.B.Y.D.O.O. - THE ARCHIES (3:07)
Yet another placeholder. Someday I might write posts to go in these holded places.
Sometimes I take 2 songs and I expect them to be the seed, the germ, the sperm and ovum of a mix tape, but sometimes (often) they arent. Sometimes they don’t produce. Sometimes the 2 songs I put my hopes in are just friends. But sometimes they can get together and harmonize with a tape’s worth of other friends.
I’m off to the post office with the final version of my Summer Burn mix. It has changed quite a bit since last time, and of course you knew it would. I took a second look at my first draft and wasnt quite sure what I was thinking. I had started with James Luther Dickenson’s “Casey Jones”. I led off with that! Might be okay for a b-side, but an a-side? I needed a serious overhaul and initially I was at a loss. I decided to divide it up into 2 sections, speaking of a- and b- sides, which I have pretentiously labeled “Program 1” and “Program 2”. It can be a big help to impose artificial “sides” on a mix-ceedee. Last year’s Fuck Yeah Spring mix had 4 sections, making them a little closer in length to actual elpee sides. When you have only 2, they’re more like the sides of a cassette tape, tho still not quite as long. Those 90-minute tapes went on forever, and it’s one of the things I miss about a format I rarely use anymore. But you could divide your silver disc into any number of sections you choose. Jack Logan’s 2-ceedee, 42-song collection Bulk has 9 sides (according to its back cover). By having sides, that ceedee collection is pretending to be a box of elpees; but by having an odd number of them, it ensures that it could never actually be a box of elpees. The odd number of sides has always tweaked me out, even tho they’re not real ones. I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever divided a single disc into 3 sides. It seems like that could be pretty comfortable, around 25 minutes a piece…but I don’t think I’ve ever done it.
Having a b-side gave me an opportunity to go in a slightly different direction. There is kind of a lot of sameness here. I was going for a particular feel and I stuck with it. It’s not as eclectic as many of my tapes are. The flip side has a different but still related feel.
KEEPING COOL: summer burn ‘011
Rolled by: me
- Rolling Stones “Country Honk”
From Let It Bleed (London 1969)
The album version of “Honky Tonk Woman”.
- Ry Cooder “Goin’ To Brownsville”
(Sleepy John Estes)
From Ry Cooder (Reprise 1970)
That spiraling mandolin riff sticks in my head persistently thru th years.
- Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds “Time Gone By”
From Izzy Stradlin And The Ju Ju Hounds (Geffen 1992)
Soft, melancholy tune by the former Guns N’ Roses guitarist, from a record that at the time was called the best Keith Richards album in years. It was a bit throwbacky; and although it is one of this mix’s 4 songs from the 90s (the remainder were all released betw/1969 and 79, and the majority come from the first half of the 70s) it sounds quite a bit like the older material. There are plenty of points where it gives itself away however. It can never really escape it’s time.
- Z Z Top “Have You Heard”
(Billy Gibbons/Dusty Hill)
From Tres Hombres (London 1973)
Midtempo number from Tres Hombres. Great guitar solo.
- Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band “Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles”
(Don Van Vliet)
From Clear Spot (Reprise 1972)
In evry Summer Burn, I like to include a tune from one of the ceedees I got the previous year. When I heard this Beefheart sawng on CHRIS TREW’S SUMMER BURN 2010, I suddenly had a vision for the mix I would make this year, and surprisingly this mix follows that vision pretty close. The image that this song brang to mind was cruising around aimlessly on a hot summer day with a quart size bottle of weakass Mexican lawnmower beer between yr legs. (If you’re too responsible to countenance such a thing, you cn allus imagine that a passenger is the one with the beer. If even that is too much for you, well, get a life.) I thought of some other mellow, guitar-driven records that could accompany such an activity, and here we are.
- RL Burnside “.44 Pistol”
From Too Bad Jim (Fat Possum 1994)
From my brother’s vinyl rip of Too Bad Jim, the totally essential Hill Country Blues album which has the same relationship to 90s hipster bluesrock that the Stooges’ Funhouse had to 70s punk.
- Steely Dan “Everything You Did”
(Walter Becker/Donald Fagen)
From The Royal Scam (ABC 1976)
Turn up the Eagles the neighbors are listening.
- Z Z Top “Shiek” [sic]
From Tres Hombres (London 1973)
Nother one from Tres Hombres. Just a little bit more rockin…and a little sinister.
- Little Feat “fat man in the bathtub”
From Dixie Chicken (Warners 1973)
Juanita, my Juanita, what are you up to, my Juanita? Were I to be honest I’d say this is my all-time faverit Little Feat song. It also belongs on my long list of songs that sound kind of like “Sitting On Top Of The World”. I love the way the previous song fades into this one. Seamless.
- Rolling Stones “So Divine (Aladdin Story)”
From the bonus disc in the newest edition of Exile on Main St. (Universal 2010)
I have a version of this sans vocal track on a bootleg ceedee of Let It Bleed outtakes. (I’m not sure but I think much of the material on Exile was originally conceived during the Let It Bleed sessions.) That laid-back, bloozy jam was exactly my taste. I never heard the words until this Exile reïssue came out.
- JJ Cale “Let’s Go To Tahiti”
(Bill Boatman/Roger Tillotson)
From 5 (Shelter Recording Company, Inc. 1979)
- 30 seconds of silence.
- OutKast “Da Art of Storytellin’ (Pt. 1)”
(Andre Benjamin/Antwan Patton/David Sheats)
From Aquemini (LaFace 1998)
A classic from the kings of cool Southern rap, that vanished genre with mellifluous, drawling flows—as opposed to the “Dirty South” hollering & grunting that has been so ubiquitous for the past decade, decade and a half. (Nothing against that stuff, mind you.)
- James Brown “Spinning Wheel”
From Sex Machine (King 1970)
Reediculous feel good cool jazz version of Blood, Sweat & Tears’ “Spinning Wheel”.
- Ike Turner and the Kings Of Rhythm “Funky Mule”
Taken from I Smell Trouble!!! by the Ike Turner Review [sic] featuring Tina Turner (ABM) (honestly one of the best $4 ceedees I’ve ever bought). It may have originally been featured on this album, A Black Man’s Soul by Ike Turner and the Kings Of Rhythm (Pompeii, 1969).
Hard funk instrumental.
- Van Morrison “I’ve Been Working”
From It’s Too Late To Stop Now (Warners 1974)
Live version of a throwaway song from a throwaway album (I mean that in the best possible way) off the absolute utter classic double elpee It’s Too Late To Stop Now. The horn section spits bullets. The rhythm section drives a death proof stunt car.
- Kool & the Gang “Street Symphony”
(Khalis Bayyan/Kool & The Gang)
From Light Of Worlds (De-Lite 1974)
Nother great feelgood funkjazz instrumental. A perfect record for cruising around town pretending you’re cool. Out of nowhere, th sax quotes Coltrane’s version of “My Favorite Things”. I should do a whole tape of funk instrumentals like this. Any suggestions? Does “Soul Finger” count as an instrumental?
- the jon spencer BLUES EXPLOSION! “very rare”
From orange (Matador 1994)
Speaking of instrumentals to tool around town to, this album will always remind me of guiding a silver Mazda up Clearwater Street. The record grinds along like a cartoon locomotive.
- Betty Davis “They Say I’m Different”
From They Say I’m Different (Just Sunshine 1974)
A smouldering slab of Betty Davis. Lyrical references to chitlins etc remind you that her genius extends to soul-food cooking as well as stanky lowdown sexgrowl.
- Rolling Stones “Fingerprint File”
From it’s only Rock n Roll (Rolling Stones Records 1974)
Is there too much Stones on this tape? Possibly. Too much of any one thing is never healthy for a mixtape, even if it’s spread out like it is here. Just on the cusp of their disco/fake reggae era, the band lays down an shuffle type groove that makes this one of my all-time faverit driving tunes. This song will always remind me of Main Street, at night. Early summer. Chilly. All the windows open. Over top of this interminable boogie, Mick toasts, whispers, growls, and whines thru his clencht throat, at times sounding almost like Michael Jackson. Good night. Sleep tight.
- 1 minute of silence.
Program 2: “funk side”
Favorite transition: Sheik → fat man in the bathtub.
Least favorite transition: Everything You Did → Sheik.
Places where I’m worried this tape doesnt flow so well:
Everything You Did → Sheik
willin’ → Have You Heard
Everything You Did → Sheik
Alabama Bound → California One
California One → Sister Sweetly
Places where I think it flows really well:
Have You Heard → Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles
Sheik → fat man in the bathtub
Preliminary sketch for cover.
Rolled off a first draft of my Summer Burn mix ceedee last night. Following the usual pattern, right now I think it’s perfect, so in a day or 2 I’ll probably realize it needs a grip of work.
- James Luther Dickinson – Casey Jones (On The Road Again) – Jim Dickinson’s take on the Furry Lewis version of the song, from the legendary album Dixie Fried, yet another thing Uncle Dan Dan turnd me on to. I couldnt quite deal with it at first. Took me a while to let myself step into its insanity. Dickenson’s sons took on this tune a couple decades later.
- Ry Cooder – Goin’ To Brownsville – That spiraling mandolin riff sticks in my head persistently thru th years.
- JJ Cale – Let’s Go To Tahiti – Self-explanatory.
- Little Feat – willin’ – From the first album. First heard this in my auntnuncle’s jeep. I think it was the day before Thanksgiving. Evryone was at our house. You always have to do that last minit trip to town cause you don’t have enuf pearl onions or something. They volunteered, probably anxious to get out of the house, an’ I invited myself along on the pretense of helping them find their way to the store. It’s a truck-driving song. “Driven the backroads so I wouldn’t get weighed.” We talkd about Little Feat and we talkt about Wilco and I don’t kno what else. Dan got me the album that Christmas.
- Z Z Top – Have You Heard – Midtempo number from Tres Hombres. Great guitar solo.
- Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band – Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles – In evry Summer Burn, I like to include one tune off one of the ceedees I got the previous year. When I heard this Beefheart sawng on CHRIS TREW’S SUMMER BURN 2010, I suddenly had a vision for the mix I would make this year, and surprisingly this mix follows that vision pretty close. The image that this song brang to mind was cruising around aimlessly on a hot summer day with a quart size bottle of weakass Mexican lawnmower beer between yr legs. (If you’re too responsible to countenance such a thing, you cn allus imagine that a passenger is the one with the beer. If even that is too much for you, well, get a life.) I thought of some other mellow, guitar-driven records that could accompany that activity along with this one and here we are.
- R.L. Burnside – .44 Pistol – From my brother’s vinyl rip of Too Bad Jim, an album as essential as the Stooges’ Funhouse.
- Steely Dan – Everything You Did – Turn up the Eagles the neighbors are listening.
- Z Z Top – Shiek [sic] – Nother one from Tres Hombres, bit more of a rocker.
- Little Feat – fat man in the bathtub – Juanita, my Juanita, what are you up to, my Juanita? Were I to be honest I’d say this is my all-time faverit Little Feat song.
- Bob Dylan - Everything Is Broken – Christmas 89 I bought the Oh Mercy elpee for my dad. It’s still one of my favorite Dylan albums, and probably the root of the current era of the man’s music.
- The Charlatans – Alabama Bound – Again, it was my uncle who hipped me to the Charlatans, an amazing psych band that featured Dan Hicks pre-Hot Licks. Their reworking of this Leadbelly tune will blow your puny mind.
- The Decemberists – California One – Kind of a crap song but hey. I’ve taken a long drive on California One and I’ve drunk nuf long drams of California wine and I can be sentimental.
- Big Head Todd and the Monsters – Sister Sweetly – This headnoddin funk rock thing is by far the band’s finest moment.
- Rolling Stones - Fingerprint File – Sometimes the whisperd vocal almost sounds like Michael Jackson.
I once made a tape called RAWK & RAO. It was basicly my treatise on real rock & roll. Real sincere dank smelly evil blazing urgent rock and roll. As tapes sometimes do, it self-destructed. It’s been a while, but I wonder if I could re-make it, or re-make some semblance of it. I’m trying to remember what was on it:
Driver by Chuck Berry
Fuckin Up by Neil Young
Don’t by Dinosaur Jr
The hidden song from Mutations by Beck
Mind Reader by Sebadoh
Castin My Spell by Johnny Otis
Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis
Who Do You Love by Bo Diddley
29 Ways by Willie Dixon
Oh Red! by Howlin Wolf
Quiet Whiskey by Wynonie Harris
Too Much Adrenaline by Half Japanese
I Just Wanna Make Love To You by the Rolling Stones
Sabotage by the Beastie Boys
Think by Aretha Franklin
Louder Than A Bomb by Public Enemy
He Don’t Love You by Levon and the Hawks
Leaving Trunk by Taj Mahal*
Formula One Headache by Honcho Overload
USA Capable by Menthol
Down To This by Soul Coughing
White Light/White Heat by the Velvets