here it is, a week late, the 6th installment of my weekly playlists. i think the average blog reader will like roughly 10 out of the 20 songs. 50% is pretty damn good. the music player is at the bottom of the page. this one is kinda country centric, and here’s why…not last weekend, but the weekend before, maddy stayed in los angeles with her auntie deb while brooke and i headed to the palm springs area for a short getaway before my life gets turned upside down by the release of my book. anyway, we did a little hiking in joshua tree, and a lot of driving. here are some songs that we listened to, along with a little writing by me. oh. and some tiny photos i took during the trip.
01. “woman, when i’ve raised hell” by josh t. pearson – from the album, “last of the country gentlemen – i’ve listened to this record several time over the past week and can’t get it out of my head. then i read this review and it all made sense.
02. “before the flood” by swearing at motorists – from the album, postcards from a drinking town” – was surprised by the release of this digital-only release by one of my favorite bands. it’s a collection of tracks found on 7″ records and other hard to find albums, and this one is my favorite of the bunch.
03. “adoration” by glen campbell – from the album, “the capitol years 65/77 – a lot of really awful country music was made in the 70s. actually, not just country music. anyway, a lot of people will tell you that glen campbell was at the forefront of that shitty period of music. but i can’t help but think they’re deaf. i mean, just listen to this song. it starts off with the kind of suck you’d expect from the era, but then about 1:06 into the song, it becomes so damn intense you’ll find yourself crying for no apparent reason. that is, if you have a heart.
04. “bottles & bones (shade & sympathy)” by califone – from the album, roomsound – an old favorite of mine, that seems to get a lot of plays when i’m driving through the desert, which is exactly what i found myself doing this past weekend.
05. “for an hour with you” by j. tillman – from the album, minor works – it may not seem to be nearly as intense as that josh t. pearson song above, but it is. minor works is without a doubt the best record i’ve bought in the past three years (and i’ve bought a shit ton of records in that time). every song carries with it the emotional weight of something really, really painful. i don’t know what it is for mr. tillman, but i can tell you that this record came to me a time when i needed to feel something other than my pain, and to have his to walk me through mine, well, nothing could have been me more valuable.
06. “hot burrito #1″ by the flying burrito brothers – from the album, hot burritos! anthology 1969-1972 – this is the worst song title by the band with the worst name off of the record with the worst title. yet somehow it’s an awesome song. every time i make my way to joshua tree, it pisses me off that most of the world associates the place with u2 instead of gram parsons (the guys singing this song). read about his death and you will never again have to think about u2 when you hear someone mention joshua tree. you can thank me next time we meet.
07. “wipe the clock” by uncle tupelo – from the album, march 16-20, 1992 – i spent the last of my high school years listening to these guys, and this song as always stuck with me as one of the best. and saddest.
08. “mykonos” by fleet foxes – from the ep, sun giant – you’ll hear this and be like, i swear my dad used to listen to this song when he picked me up from school back in the 70s. you’d be wrong. this song came out in 2008. but someday, i hope maddy will hear it and remember when i used to play it for her in the car on the way back from her daycare.
09. “death of an heir of sorrows” by silver jews – from the album, bright flight – my love of this band has been well documented, and this is one of my favorite songs. in my wildest dreams i couldn’t write something 1/8 as beautiful as the worst thing he has ever written. not that he’s ever written anything bad. i just mean that if he wrote a letter to the fedex delivery person telling him/her to leave the package on his doorstep, it would still be more beautiful and more poetic than anything i could dream of doing myself.
10. “you are not needed now” by townes van zandt – from the album, high, low and in between – this guy wrote a lot of songs you know, but you don’t know he wrote them. i love this one.
11. “he lays in the reins” by iron & wine with calexico – from the album, in the reins – for some reason i’d never been a big fan of calexico (the band, not the city, but come to think of it i’ve never been to the city so maybe i wouldn’t like that either), but for some reason pairing them up with iron & wine back in 2005 made me change my mind. when i lived in india in 2006 i used to go to this british pub just off of mahatma gandhi road (a place called, the tavern), and as soon as the dj saw me in the crowd, he’d point to me. that meant that the next song he’d be playing would be for me, and that it would be an iron & wine song. now, the job of a dj is to make the crowd happy, and he always had the crowd going with ac/dc, metallica and other shit i didn’t like, but i thought he was the best dj in the world because each and every time he played this song for me he risked alienating the other patrons. and their scorn meant that they would be buying beer for him. but he did it every single time. i appreciated the risks he took for me and always made sure he had a beer in his hand. wait a second. was he only playing this song for me because he knew i’d buy him beer? fuck. i bet that’s what was going on.
12. “always on my mind” by ryan adams & the cardinals from the album, jacksonville city nights [vinyl] – this song was included on the vinyl version of the record when it came out, and of course it’s was made famous by willie nelson. i’m a sucker for a great cover song, and this one is nothing if not that. i know this is sacrilege, but it’s better than the original.
13. “how can i send tonight (there to tell you)” by the original harmony ridge creek dippers – from the album, december’s child – the two primary members of this band lived in joshua tree for awhile. they seemed like the perfect couple and i imagined them living in the desert together forever. sadly, their relationship ended as a result of a divorce in 2006. their demise first was one of my first clues that nothing lasts forever.
14. “sure as shit” by kathleen edwards – from the album, asking for flowers a woman with a beautiful voice singing a song called, “sure as shit” – what’s not to love?
15. “love is not a game” by glen campbell – from the album, “the capitol years 65/77 – okay. you may have thought i was joking when i mentioned glen campbell above, but listen to this song and believe me when i tell that this is the greatest song of all time. i mean, it’s 2 minutes and 14 seconds of pop perfection. his voice is about as gentle as a man’s voice should be. listen to those strings. they will sweep you away. the song. it’s a song about love. it’s a song about lost love. it’s the song every single person wishes they could write after a break up. in fact, people break up hoping to write songs just like this. and guess what? every single one of those songs sucks because it’s compared to “love is not a game.”
16. “talk on drinking still mash” by hamper mcbee – fromt he album, good old-fashioned way – drag city has been rereleasing these really rad obscure country albums by people you’ve never heard of. one of them is a record by a guy named hamper mcbee. the songs are great, but the short snippets of conversation on the record are the real treasure. i’ve never met a guy like hamper mcbee, and i’m kinda glad i haven’t because i’m not nearly man enough to hang out with a dude like this.
17. “shoulders” by larry jon wilson – from the album, larry jon wilson – another one of those drag city releases. this song sounds so damn sad. like, i wonder what the hell happened to this guy for him to write a something like this? a break up…yeah. that what all these country singers sing about. women and booze. but this one sounds so damn personal. i don’t think it’s the words so much as the way he sings them.
18. “pissing in the wind” by papa m – from the album, papa m sings this song always reminds me of my grandpa. he used to had this sign hanging up in his workshop that said, “never whittle toward yourself or piss into the wind.” words to live be, i always thought.
19. “poor fools” by the lonely wild – from the ep, dead end – this was on a wall at origami vinyl in echo park when i last stopped in. the very lightly sepia-toned cover image of a couples of horse out to pasture sold me for some reason and i bought it. this song came on while brooke was napping in the passenger seat of the car while i drove out of joshua tree and toward the salton sea. when it got really loud i was worried that it was going to wake her up. instead of turning it down, i grabbed the ipod to see who the artist was, just so i would know which band to blame if she suddenly woke up and yelled at me for having the music on too loud. with about 52 seconds left in the song, it suddenly sounds like every western song you’ve ever imagined, and that’s not a bad thing.
20. “the cold hard truth” by george jones – from the album, the cold hard truth – back in college my friends and i used to watch cmt all day just to see the video for this song. george jones is a goddamned legend, yes, but damn it if the video for this song isn’t one of the cheesiest fucking things of all time. we loved to make fun of the video so much, i actually went out and bought the album so i could randomly insert this song into mix cd of songs that are actually good, just to piss people off. and now i’ve just done it to you.