Friday, September 7, 2007

Random 10(+1) and three composer/performers.

It's a common question to ask what music you would take onto a desert island. Instead of picking ten albums, here are three composer/performers who would listen to happily for the rest of my life, forsaking all other music. From left to right, that's Fats Waller, Tom Waits and Elvis Costello.

What about Johann Sebastian Bach, Mr. MattyBoySmartGuy?

Tip top A #1 composer, no question, but we are kind of light on the recorded performances of JSB.

Okay, Mr. SpecialCases! How about Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Paul McCartney and/or John Lennon, Roy Orbison, Astor Piazzolla, David Hidalgo, Joe Strummer? How about David Friggin' Bowie? Nina Simone, Duke Ellington, Stephen Sondheim, Laurie Anderson, Kirsty MacColl, Ray Davies, Mose Allison, Stephen Sondheim, NICK LOWE???? What say you?

Excellent choices, every man jack (or woman jill) of them. But as Gene Hackman said in the movie Hoosiers, "That's my team out on the floor." Fats when I want to hear somebody who plays the piano a jillion times better than I do, Tom when I want somebody who gets feelings raw down to the bone and Elvis when I want to hear what a really well put together lyric and tune can sound like.

And with that, here is this week's Random 10+1, dominated by the Big Three as I have here defined them.

Outsider The Ramones
Black Hole Sun Soundgarden
You Keep Me Hanging On Diana Ross & The Supremes
Fish and Bird Tom Waits
The People’s Limousine The Coward Brothers
If It Isn’t Love Fats Waller
Old Man On The Farm Randy Newman
A Town Called Big Nothing (Really Big Nothing) Elvis Costello & Ross MacManus
Cemetery Polka Tom Waits
Time Tom Waits
Bonus Track: Handful of Keys Fats Waller

After three songs from other artists, Tom, Elvis and Fats take center stage, with only a short interlude for another excellent choice, Randy Newman. The Coward Brothers are Elvis Costello and T-Bone Burnett. Ross MacManus is Elvis' dad, who played trumpet professionally for big bands back in the day.

Technically, Fats didn't write either song listed here, but I don't see any reason to get picky. When he plays a song, he makes it his own.

So tomorrow is the weekend, and I get off the heroes kick. I'll be back to the snarkiness and mercilessly making fun of those I disagree with. Go with your strengths, I always say.


dguzman said...

Solid choices, MattyBoy. You don't have to defend your team from me.

My personal faves from one of your team:
"Every Day I Write the Book," "Just a Memory," and "Allison" by Elvis Costello--pure greatness.

FranIAm said...

I was in London in 1984 and bought a 12" single with a special remix of "Every Day I Write the Book". Said single is long gone, but the thought of it makes me weak in the knees. Thanks Dguzman for jogging the memory!

All great choices - oh, Tom Waits Cemetery Polka. Oh Matty... so wonderful.

Matty Boy said...

I am Elvis crazy. I could make a Top 10 of songs only available on extra tracks of remaster CDs.