“Ah but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?” - Robert Browning
“You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.” - GW Bush
Flatter? Sharper? This has been one tough gig to tune into!
FIrst, some background. At one time I thought I had fairly catholic musical tastes: Louis Armstrong to Arthur Lee, Lee Hazlewood to Karen Carpenter, Klaus Dinger to Dollar, giving me much joy down the years. Most bands will have at least one good song in 'em. Well, that’s my excuse for persistent nominations of certain tunes….
Then I joined RR and then Song Bar. Having moved from longtime lurker to contributor a couple of years ago, this marvellous community has been a godsend, introducing me to so much good stuff I didn’t know existed or would otherwise have crossed the street to avoid. I should stress, that still stands.
So the following list is my own take on the Landlord’s rubric. It is probably more subjective than usual as what might sound great, albeit a bit odd, off-key or just plain weird to me, may sound fine to others. And vice versa.
But first, an analogy, from the terrific Brian Bilston (check him out on Twitter, he really is something).
I found it really difficult trying to whittle down the A-list to a baker’s dozen from some 60 on the shortlist. I must confess to being slightly swayed by the thought of adding some deserving names to the Marconium, but not, I hope, at the expense of missing the topic.
Wandering Star – Lee Marvin
There must be thousands – The Quads
Felicity – Orange Juice
Angel Baby – Rosie and the Originals
Stop that Girl – Vic Godard and Subway Sect
In a manner of speaking – Tuxedomoon
Decades – Joy Division
Line Song – Shrimp Boat
Poptones – Public Image Limited
Hero – Neu!
The Vile Stuff – Richard Dawson
I woke up one morning in May – Didier Hébert
The Great Dominions – Teardrop Explodes
Tuned-in, tuned-out crowdsourced B-list:
Drawn from some of the most popular upvotes this week.
The Canyons of Your Mind – Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
The Flowers of Romanc – Public Image Limited
If There is Something – Roxy Music
You’re No Good – ESG
I Heard it Through the Grapevine – The Slits
Stere – Pavement
Shack Up – A Certain Ratio
Atrocity Exhibition– Joy Division
Lou – Adam and the Ants
Splitting in Two – Alternative TV
Some Velvet Morning– Rowland S Howard and Lydia Lunch
Flying into the Sun – Crystal Stilts
And finally, a Z-list, comprising a single entry:
... And to think I could have wandered through life blissfully unaware of Mrs Jenkins. Thanks swawilg! Der Hölle Rache – Florence Foster Jenkins:
Guru's wildcard pick:
For myself, I was really hoping for Daniel Johnston’s Devil Town
or Gram Parsons’ Hearts on Fire (for Emmylou’s stellar, if unavailing, efforts to keep Gram in tune)
I’m now off for a warm bath of Bacharach, Smokey and Ella.
Elvis, and everyone else, has left the building. If not, I’ll put on the A-list again.
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: Flatter, sharper, stranger, stronger: successful out-of-tune songs. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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Fancy a turn behind the pumps at The Song Bar? Care to choose a playlist from songs nominated and write something about it? Then feel free to contact The Song Bar here, or try the usual email address.