Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I Like Both Kinds of Music: Honky and Tonk

Science Blogs, which I love, has a new meme which is at once at the heart of Flop Eared Mule's existence -- music -- but also her greatest anathema -- awkward personal revelation! It started with a post on some research which is trying to say some useful things about musical preferences and personality (link to a PDF of the article in the journal Psychological Science.) This has lead to much naming of ten favourite songs and psychoanalysing thereof.

Of course the proposition has alot of anecdotal weight: the primeval urge to hand out mix tapes/CDs, the read, write and comment on music blogs, "what music do you like" as a perennial ice breaker, the way I sneakily survey a person's CD and book collection immediately on entering their house and make snap judgements thereon.

So, here are my top ten. With as little premeditation as possible. Off the top of my head. And with the usual caveats about how it will change tomorrow and invoking Bob's Law (only having one song by one artist represented otherwise it would be 10 Dylan songs).

If You See Her, Say Hello, Bob Dylan
She Ain't Going Nowhere, Guy Clark
You Were Never Mine, Delbert McClinton
Waitin' Round to Die, Townes Van Zandt
Goodbye, Steve Earle
Big River, Johnny Cash
Sunday Morning Coming Down, Kris Kristofferson
Sorry You Asked?, Dwight Yoakam
Lines Around Your Eyes, Lucinda Williams
Paradise, Bruce Springsteen
Dance Me to the End of Love, Leonard Cohen

OK, that's 11 but it's done now and I can't choose which to remove.

First off, I notice that it is all incredibly white although that doesn't actually reflect my overall listening habits at all. Thinking about it, while there is not much better than Muddy doing "Soon Forgotten" at Newport I tend to listen to blues in blocks of albums and less as individual songs I seek out. My favourite albums would have to include, say, The Chambers Brothers "Live", and surely a Solomon Burke and at least one Sonny Terry/Brownie McGee. Muddy's Folk Singer. Or Willie's Blues. This is ... odd. ?

Also, the list leans very heavily to the maudlin, indeed downright tragic in some cases. I concede this is probably an accurate reflection of my tastes. The Dwight is uptempo and tongue in cheek (with mariachi horns!) but the rest is pretty ballady/angsty. I do love a good don't-think-let-rip singalong, but again few jump to mind for a list like this. And noticably light on actual rock music, although some loudish Springsteen or the Stones or something is also representative of ... me.

And of course there is only one chick. Female artists are certainly in the minority on my roster, but surely not this extreme.

And there is no Randy Newman which is just plain wrong.

I wonder what song would indicate: "cannot just make a list of ten songs"?

UPDATE 14/3: I've added YouTube links to those that exist. Fat Steve is the best Steve. Discuss. And Emmy too. The Kris is from the Johnny Cash memorial. *Sniff* Another Bruce song which could well be The One is his full band live version of "Youngstown" from The Ghost of Tom Joad, where it's done al la folkie. That version is great too but the E Street rock treatment is so intense. Here is a random live version from YouTube, it is officially available on the Live in NYC CD and DVD. And also the solo acoustic arrangement to complete the set. Neat segue to ... since I left Randy off the list, My Life is Good.
Heh. And my real favourite Randy song set to a montage from Days of Our Lives.

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