The Midnight Cafe Mix-Tape #1: A Jingle Jangle Morning

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I’m an old school fan of mix tapes.  Throughout my high school and college years I made countless mix-tapes for friends – mostly girls I was trying to impress – as a way of expressing myself, of saying something to them that I couldn’t otherwise say.  I love putting a bunch of songs together and creating a really fun hours worth of music.  To this day I make my wife mix-CDs for her to listen to in the car.

For ages I’ve been meaning to make a mix of bootlegs songs.  With the new year I decided it was time to do exactly that.  My hope is to do one every month but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

I may eventually get to where I put together mixes with interesting themes or some sort of cohesion, but that’s not what this is.  There is no rhyme or reason behind this bunch of songs other than I like them and they sound good together.  I started making it when I was still moving music from one hard drive to another and all my playlists were all a-jumble.  I often listen to my bootlegs in my truck as I’m driving around for work.  Whenever I hear a particularly good version of a song I’ll make a note of it.  I made this mix by listening to those songs and choosing ones that flowed well together.

What I’m saying is that these are not my absolute favorite songs by an artist or the best versions of these songs.  There just good songs, played well. One thing you may notice  is that I’ve included a lot of cover songs. I actually removed a couple of other ones from my original mix.  Turns out there are two types of live songs that stand out to me.  One is when a song is performed really well, which either means when its arranged differently from the studio version, or it gets some extended jamming.  The other is when an artists does something interesting to someone else’s song.    Its fine when artists perform their songs just like they do on a studio album, but its not likely to stand out.

I tried to edit out most of the talking, and long bits of crowd noise but I did it with iTunes and I suspect that cuts weren’t actually made which likely means you all will not hear those edits.  If anyone knows of some free music editing software for MP3s on a Mac do let me know.  Also if anyone wants to make me some real cover art for this I would greatly appreciate it.

I’ve only included MP3 versions but if you all want FLACs let me know.  In truth I’m pretty sure most of the actual bootlegs that these songs belong to have already been posted elsewhere on the blog.  Anyways, here it is.

1. Sweet Virginia – Steve Earle, w/Allison Moorer
2004.12.10 – Brussels, Belgium

Steve makes some comments about surviving a bad election before he plays a rollicking version of this Stones classic.  It was recorded in 2004 which would have been when George W. Bush was reelected, but it seems relevant after our most recent election as well.  And that’s as political as I get on this blog.

2. They Love Each Other – Grateful Dead
1983.04.13 – Burlington, VA

It surprised me that I included a Dead song from the 80s in my very first mix, but this is a good one.  There is a really nice solo from Brent followed by some really nice Jerry licks.

3.Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
1973.07.24 – London, England

I know, I know, a real Van Morrison fan would have chosen some thing a little less obvious than his biggest hit, but good golly this is a really sweet version of it.

4. Mr. Tambourine Man – Bob Dylan
1998.01.21 – New York, NY

I love Dylan’s acoustic version of this song during this era.  The jam at the end is terrific.

5. Pocahontas – Beck
20111.10.22 – Mountain View, CA

6. It Stoned Me – Warren Haynes
2001.05.06 – Atlanta, GA

Warren brings some southern soul to this Van classic.

7. The Weight – Gillian Welch w/Emmylou Harris, Old Crow Medicine Show & Chris Thile
2005.06.18 – Telluride, CO

The sound quality here is less than all the other songs on this mix, but the performance is worth it.  You can hear how much fun everybody is having.

8. Saddle in the Rain – John Prine
1987.07.13 – Roslyn, NY

Not my favorite Prine song by a long shot, but the guitarist lays it down for a long solo at the end that just made me include it. I accidentally mislabeled the MP3s for this one 2005.06.18.

9. Pictures of You – The Cure
1995.06.26 – Glastonbury, England

There is a whole lot of acoustic playing on this mix so I needed The Cure to give it a little punch-up.

10. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
2009.10.02 – Meadowland, NJ

You can’t beat Springsteen in concert as he proves with his classic song right here.

11. Christ For President – Wilco
1999.07.02

Wilco’s semi-cover of a Woody Guthrie number closes us out with some really nice playing from everybody.

That’s it.  Hope you enjoyed my very first mix.  Do let me know if you dug it and if you want me to do more of them.

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12 thoughts on “The Midnight Cafe Mix-Tape #1: A Jingle Jangle Morning

  1. Mat, you’re speakin’ my language here – I’m a mixtape maker from WAY back – thousands of them, literally. Looking forward to your mix here!

  2. Mat, you are 100% right, MixTapes was our way to tell someone that we cared or didn’t care for them. It was a statement of what made us feel so good that we had to share. Yes it took real time to create, not drag and drop. And you might have to tape the song from the radio, if you didn’t own a copy. Yes radio, that media that does not go away into that silent night. MixTapes let you be the DJ for friends and family.
    My personal pleasure was not to stay with Top 40 Songs, but to mix it up with sounds from the movies, tv, interviews on radio. Sounds of nature and SFX libraries. All these elements come to play in my one hour entertainment package. The question I would get was, “Where did you find that?”
    There is a couple of wall of vinyl that surround me as I write these thoughts, and what struck me as I listen to The Midnight Cafe’s Mix #1 is there is still a lot of material out there that I have not had a chance to listen to. In fact there are several discs on my shelves with unbroken shrink wrap that have not been heard. Mat, your MixTapes are what the doctor ordered. A fresh tonic to my listening ears. You have introduce some sounds I wouldn’t normally reach for. For all that, a big thank you. Keep on keeping on.

    1. Thank you. I appreciate that. I’ve always loved mix tapes for the very reasons you mention. These bootleg mixes are fun to put together and (I think) fun to listen to. I do hope that maybe some folks will grab them and discover artists that maybe they wouldn’t normally listen to. I hope you enjoy it.

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