Random Shuffle – April 3, 2006

magical mystery tour

“Your Mother Should Know”
By The Beatles
From Magical Mystery Tour

A throwaway song on a throwaway album. Ok, that’s sacrilege; there are tons of great singles on the album. Maybe that’s just it, Magical Mystery Tour sounds like a collection of singles instead of a cohesive album. It’s like a greatest hits package, and “Your Mother Should Know” is the new song added to give real fans a reason to buy it.

Really it’s not a bad tune. It’s actually pretty good, but when it’s a Beatles tune I expect greatness and this one just doesn’t live up. I mean, which would you rather listen to, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “I am the Walrus”, “Hello Goodbye”, or this? Not a tough choice, is it?

“I’ll Be Your Mirror”
by Velvet Underground
From a live show in Paris on 1/29/72

This is from some live Velvet shows I got on a vine a few days ago. I’ve not really given any of it a real listen yet, so I don’t know if it is any good.

The song is an absolutely beautiful one. Nico sings lead vocals and she’s got the voice of a broken angel. It is a simple, lovely song about seeing the best in someone. I’ve put it on numerous mix tapes for friends and lovers alike. It’s that kind of song. One whose simple message of love speaks to anyone of any size, sex, or creed.

This live version is nice, a little unpolished, but still sweet. Nico’s vocals are still sparkling, but the backups from the Velvets are a little rough. I’m a sucker for the in-studio, soft and fuzzy sound of love songs. They never sound the same live.

hard rain

“Lay Lady Lay”
by Bob Dylan
From Hard Rain

Rough, ragged, and ready to rock is how I would describe Dylan’s live album from his 1970s Rolling Thunder Review.

I’ve never been a fan of the studio version of “Lay Lady Lay.” Bob Dylan on the make is just kind of creepy to my ears. This is a balls to the wall, sweat-drenched rocker. The vocals are out there, the whole band singing back up, nearly screaming every refrain.

If the studio version is a crooning, slick, sleazy Dylan trying to cajole some lady of the night into his bed, then this live version is the command of a rough and tough bastard keeping his lover for seconds after a long night of sexual activity

“I Know Your Married”
By Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglass, and the Bluegrass Sessions
From the Strawberry Mountain Festival – 09/05/99

From an absolutely scorching show at a bluegrass festival. This is the masters of newgrass pickin’ and sangin’ for the sheer joy of it. You can hear how much these boys are enjoying themselves throughout the show, and trying to show each other up a bit.

This is a slow, old-timey song that was played toward the end of the show. It’s a front porch in the middle of summer kind of song. Something to sing along with your pa on a family reunion. The boys goof it up in the middle and everybody laughs along.

On my version, there is a couple of minutes worth of banter after the song that is priceless. Sam Bush ripping on Bela Fleck and Bela ripping right back. This is true, real music. Not the processed, stylized junk you hear on the radio these days.

tom waits bone machine

“That Feel”
by Tom Waits
From Bone Machine

I’ve never been much of a Waits fan. The guy can write some brilliant music, but that voice just gets me every time. He sounds like he needs a really good hacking cough. I know it’s styled that way, and I know a lot of it is purposeful, but I just can’t get past it.

I’m not really much of a lyrics guy. I mean there are thousands of songs with great lyrics that I love, that move me to my very soul. But as a general rule, I don’t pay much attention to them. My mind concentrates on the music, the instruments, and the melodies. If the lyrics are clear and understandable I might catch on and enjoy them. However, for most songs I just don’t understand what the heck people are singing about.

Start naming songs, and I can probably hum the melody, maybe sing the chorus, but after that, I’m at a loss. Add to it a singer who mumbles, or mutters, or distorts his vocals and you can forget it. I just won’t hear a line of it. This is a good example of that. I looked up the lyrics and they are actually kind of moving. But after multiple listens, I couldn’t gel what I was reading on the page with what I was hearing.

The melody here is pretty simple, it’s kind of a slow dirge, and Waits does his usual garbled garbage disposal vocal take which pretty much ruins the song for me. Find a sweet soul singer, add a couple of flourishes and this could be something amazing.

One thought on “Random Shuffle – April 3, 2006

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