DID YOU KNOW???
They actually made music in the 20th century? Yes, it's true!
They had gizmos and watchamacallits and pots and pans and metal wires of whoosh and zing and it all came together and made the primitive sounds that helped define our modern culture.
Amazing, I know! FUN FACTS ABOUND!
So to pay homage to the dusty ages of the 1990s and the times that came before then (And as well to demonstrate that I indeed do not just listen to "new music"...) let's dip in to some classic 20th century eclectica that has been tickling my toosh as of late.
This is a MEGA POST! Over 2 hours of goodness. Many years. Some smash hits, some crate-digger rarities, some 78-rpm transfers, some timeless underground classics.
I have sorted the playlist based on year, so be sure to use the M3U file if you wish to proceed chronologically.
Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe McCoy - I Called You This Morning (1931): Let's start with a fabulous roots blues duet, taken from the Last Kind Words collection. It's the tried and true tradition of deliberating your relationship issues through song!
The Evening Breezes Sextet - The Coal Loading Machine (1933): Hey, do you enjoy your weekends? Then thank the labour movement, who struggled against bloody retribution to get the working conditions we have today. The struggle also produced some absolute classics of Western folk music, too.
Leadbelly - Bottle Up And Go; Polly Polly Wee (Frog Song) (1948)
Leadbelly - Nobody Knows When Your Down And Out; Bully Of The Town (1948): I download lots of random out-of-print albums to check out at later times, and was just floored when on came a rip of the old Folkways 4 LP set "Leadbelly's Last Sessions". It was beautifully presented, with mostly just the raw tapes, giving you all the talking between songs. These are from the end of his life, and he is recounting all of the classics for the magnetic tape of the ages. What a blessing it is.
Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Dream A Little Dream Of Me (1950): This piece intersects in the right way. Imagine a Venn Diagram, one set of "top 10 Ella songs", "top 5 Armstrong songs", and "top 2 renditions of Dream A Little Dream" and you'll find this classic.
Brother Willie Blue - I'm Pressing On (1950s): Another root of Western music is the storied gospel traditions, and the compilation "Fire In My Bones: Raw + Rare + Other-Worldly African-American Gospel" gives a satisfying cross-section. This song however just jumped out at me for it's fabulous delivery that transcends the simple melody by far.
Sam Cooke - A Change Is Gonna Come (1964): Classic classic Cooke.
The Monkees - Shades Of Gray (1967): As a kid, The Monkees re-runs were on constantly after school. On their 3rd album, The Monkees actually started doing their own thing and tried to shed their manufactured image. It was a friend in school who turned me on to this track, one of my first melancholic loves.
Zombies - This Will Be Our Year (1967): Covered so often, I had to dig back to the original because I love it oh so so much. Probably my most loved of earnest love songs, truly.
Mary Jane Hooper - I've Got Reasons (1969): Sing it, sister!
Randy Newman - Let's Burn Down The Cornfield (1970): If your only exposure to Randy Newman was the parody on Family Guy, oh man, there's a whole world of goofy sass to unearth.
Adriano Celentano - Prisencolinensinainciusol (1972): All of the words are gibberish, sung in a quasi-American style and Elvis-heavy swagger. I don't know much about Italy, but this is one of my top 5 favourite imports.
Aphrodite's Child - Four Horsemen (1972): This is one of those songs that found my way all on it's own. I don't know the band, don't know how big their hairdos are, but damn this is allllll bout what 70s rock did so right.
Liza Minelli - Cabaret (Cabaret OST) (1972): DOESN'T MY BODY DRIVE YOU WILD WITH DESIRE?
Sun Ra and His Astro Intergalactic Infinity Arkestra - Rocket Number Nine (1972): Space Is The Place is one of my favourite artefacts of the 70s, and the future jazz really shines here.
Temptations - Ain't No Sunshine (1972): Classic extended funk jams! Oh so delicious.
Celia Cruz & Johnny Pacheco - Quimbara (1974): Another one where I have no idea about it, but oh I love.
Dolly Parton - Jolene (1974): Gah, total gushing classic. No, you can't do it at karaoke. A few more rounds of drinks first, please.
Billy Squier - The Big Beat (1980): oh gee, where have I heard this before? Yeah that's right, Mr. Dizzee Rascal basically sampled the entire song for his Fix Up, Look Sharp hit. How did like 25 years pass with no one doing the exact same thing before?
Bow Wow Wow - C30, C60, C90, Go (1980): You want candy? YOU WANT SOME FUCKING CANDY? Bow Wow Wow were not just a one-hit wonder, people! They had some fabulous grooves. Like Whale, 20 years beforehand. And we all know candy meant cocaine. So shove it.
The Normal - Warm Leatherette (1980): A perfect follow-up to the above is probably my favourite true one-hit-wonder, and ultimate proto-industrial dancefloor single ever. And it's about Ballard's Crash to boot!
Barnes & Barnes - Fish Heads (1982): YOUR HEAD IS NOW EXPLODING! A favourite song from the early days of Much Music, back when there weren't actually that many music videos, is this oddball favourite. It even came on a fishhead shaped vinyl.
Vangelis - Rachael's Song (Blade Runner OST) (1982): Pretty much the best thing Vangelis ever did, and he's done a lot of good work. But see, in the 90s the melodies here were orgasm enducing as they got sampled wholesale on one of the decades greatest electronica records. Then when people went digging for the Blade Runner soundtrack, they were all WHAT THE FUCK because this song was somehow LEFT OFF OF IT. Subsequent fan-built compilations cprrected those grave injustices.
Talk Talk - It's My Life (1984): 80s synth pop... with an edge of awesome!
Martin Galway - Arkanoid; Title (C64) (1986): Did someone say proto-industrial? Here, check the badass deep synths renched from the bowels of a Commodore 64 computer for one of the most popular games of 1980s. Fire up those fruityloops, kiddos.
The Art Of Noise - Paranomia (1986)
The Art Of Noise - Peter Gunn ft Duane Eddy (1986): Continuing with the electronic revolution, I point to In Visible Silence as one of the timeless records of the 1980s. The songs are so amazingly constructed that they are innovative beyond the days people will ever spend slaving over their Ableton Live effects chains. The subtlety and imagination at play is enormous. In the way that Kraftwerk's art transcended their peers in the 70s, the Art Of Noise did likewise here in the 80s.
The Pogues - The Body of an American (1986): We now interrupt this blog posting to get right drunk.
Jim Henson & Ladysmith Black Mambazo - African Alphabet (1987): Oh this is so beautiful it almost moves me to tears. Kermit, as portrayed by Henson, in the classic piece LBM. sooooo goooood
unknown composer - Shadowgate; Ending (NES) (1987): The 2nd slice of videogame history, the ecstatic ending to Shadowgate! Really, when this comes on, shit has been so tense and deep that it's like a baptism. A baptism of awesome.
Jessica Rabbit - Why Don't You Do Right (1988): Are we stuck on my childhood? Sure.
The Thrown Ups - Traffic Accident Sex (1989): After Warm Leatherette, this is just kinda perfect, k?
Yoshihiro Sakaguchi - Duck Tales; The Moon (NES) (1989): We have here one of the great compositions coming out of the 8-bit video game era. One of the greatest NES games, Duck Tales, surprised everyone with just how intelligent and fun it was. Top it all off with loads of secrets, non-linear play, and a killer soundtrack and you have crack for children.
Genesis - Jesus He Knows Me (1991): Growing up, I think song marked the first time for me when I really became aware of sarcasm, namely political sarcasm. It is not quite Land Of Confusion in terms of classics, but shit, it's one damn fine Genesis song.
Built To Spill - Reasons (1994): Awww man, over all ready? So close to the end... OK, here's a sweet little number from "There's Nothing Wrong With Love".
Cap'n Jazz - Oh Messy Life (1995): And goodbye and so long for now. I leave you with the greatest emo hardcore song of the 1990s, in my increasingly irrelevant opinion. Time for some Thai food and gender theory.
THIS WEEK'S TRACKS
Adriano Celentano - Prisencolinensinainciusol (1972)
Aphrodite's Child - Four Horsemen (1972)
Barnes & Barnes - Fish Heads (1982)
Billy Squier - The Big Beat (1980)
Bow Wow Wow - C30, C60, C90, Go (1980)
Brother Willie Blue - I'm Pressing On (1950s)
Built To Spill - Reasons (1994)
Cap'n Jazz - Oh Messy Life (1995)
Celia Cruz & Johnny Pacheco - Quimbara (1974)
Dolly Parton - Jolene (1974)
Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Dream A Little Dream Of Me (1950)
Genesis - Jesus He Knows Me (1991)
Jessica Rabbit - Why Don't You Do Right (1988)
Jim Henson & Ladysmith Black Mambazo - African Alphabet (1987)
Leadbelly - Bottle Up And Go; Polly Polly Wee (Frog Song) (1948)
Leadbelly - Nobody Knows When Your Down And Out; Bully Of The Town (1948)
Liza Minelli - Cabaret (Cabaret OST) (1972)
Martin Galway - Arkanoid; Title (C64) (1986)
Mary Jane Hooper - I've Got Reasons (1969)
Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe McCoy - I Called You This Morning (1931)
Randy Newman - Let's Burn Down The Cornfield (1970)
Sam Cooke - A Change Is Gonna Come (1964)
Sun Ra and His Astro Intergalactic Infinity Arkestra - Rocket Number Nine (1972)
Talk Talk - It's My Life (1984)
Temptations - Ain't No Sunshine (1972)
The Art Of Noise - Paranomia (1986)
The Art Of Noise - Peter Gunn ft Duane Eddy (1986)
The Evening Breezes Sextet - The Coal Loading Machine (1933)
The Monkees - Shades Of Gray (1967)
The Normal - Warm Leatherette (1980)
The Pogues - The Body of an American (1986)
The Thrown Ups - Traffic Accident Sex (1989)
unknown composer - Shadowgate; Ending (NES) (1987)
Vangelis - Rachael's Song (Blade Runner OST) (1982)
Yoshihiro Sakaguchi - Duck Tales; The Moon (NES) (1989)
Zombies - This Will Be Our Year (1967)
crank up the grammophone and rest ye weary heels: http://thetastates.com/mp3s/blog/blog20110211.zip
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