Friday Random 10: Are You Ready?
Today's Random 10 is crazed. That's the only way to put it. No human being would pick these 10 songs to play together--which is the point.
"Motherless Child"/Eric Clapton/From the Cradle. Starts off normally enough, doesn't it?
"'Til I Gain Control Again"/Crystal Gayle/The Best of Crystal Gayle. Sad-and-bluesy version of a country standard by a singer whose default sound is sad-and-bluesy. (Van Morrison is covering this tune on Pay the Devil, his forthcoming album of country standards.) Not too weird yet.
"Stones in the Road"/Mary Chapin Carpenter/Stones in the Road. A fine song about growing up boomer, with one of the great throwaway lines ever, at the end of a verse:
And now we drink our coffee on the runAnd thus things grow a touch weirder.
We climb that ladder rung by rung
We are the daughters and the sons
And here's the line that's missing
"Are You Ready?"/Pacific Gas and Electric/Reelin' in the Years, Vol. 3. Smokin' rock and roll meets gospel testifying. A bit of preaching to the kids, which makes it not entirely inappropriate next to. . . .
"An Open Letter to My Teenage Son"/Victor Lundberg. Not so much preaching to the kids as it is passive-aggressive haranguing of the kids. This must be heard to be believed. (It's on my laptop because I had to hear it before I'd believe it.) Keep in mind as you listen that it made it all the way to Number 10 on December 2, 1967. Then drink in the majestic weirdness of its juxtaposition next to. . . .
"Ghosts (First Version)"/Albert Ayler/Spritual Unity. Ayler is a major figure of 1960s free jazz--a form that goes to a place this jazz fan can't follow. Unlike some free jazz, however, "Ghosts" has snatches of a conventional melody. Allmusic.com describes Ayler's sound as "like a runaway New Orleans brass band from 1910." That's about right.
"Another Morning"/American Music Club/Love Songs for Patriots. Victor Lundberg would like the "patriots" part of this, I'm sure, but probably not much else. In 2004, Love Songs for Patriots was the first album for this acclaimed roots-rock band after a 10-year hiatus.
"I Should Care"/Thelonious Monk/Jazz Moods: Round Midnight. Despite Monk's reputation for odd harmonies, this is as conventionally lovely as anything I've heard him play.
"Taboo"/Chet Baker/Young Chet. Yer basic note-splattering 50s vintage bebop track. Sounds fine next to Monk, works OK in close proximity to Ayler, but makes no damn sense at all next to. . . .
"Diary"/Bread/Anthology of Bread. Memo to all those Jack stations out there who are marketing themselves with the slogan "We play anything": Eat my dust.