Every Day I’m Shufflin’…2011 Playlist

One of the earliest memories I have is siting on the floor of my bedroom listening to 45’s on my little record player. Not sure what songs, but I do remember it like it was yesterday…

I recall my first LP’s. (Okay for the younger crowd, these are both vinyl discs. The 45 refers to the RPMs and usually had one song per side. The LP was an “album”. Not photo album, but you probably don’t know what that is either. Anyway it usually had about 10-12 songs, 5-6 per side.) Elvis, Beatles, Beach Boys and Manfred Mann were among the earliest ones I had.

I also have fond memories of Dad putting on music while we were getting ready for church on Sunday morning, and then having music play once we got home and were fixing breakfast. Everything from Herb Alpert to George Shearring and Peggy Lee to Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach, Al Hirt and John Coltrane or Miles Davis.

Good memories.

Fever…Do You Know the Way to San Jose?…Whipped Cream (and that famous album cover that any young boy would love!) Good stuff.

So music is in my DNA…Diana’s…and my sons’. We all love music and I benifit from our three sons enjoying it. We are always being exposed to new and different sounds.

The Academy Award Nominations just came out. Grammys out. MTV. Everyone has their “Best of 2011” lists out. So I thought I would throw my 2 cents worth in the fray. But I do not proclaim these to be the best. Just my favs. My “2011 Playlist”…in no particular order…and a bit eclectic…

2011 Playlist

  • “Heartache” by, Jamey Johnson. Heartache is to Johnson what “Sympathy for the Devil” was to the Stones. (Stones=the devil; Johnson=heartache) Born in a cave during the dinosaur age, you never see him coming (the heartache, that is). With a haunting voice and the crackle of drums, Johnson tells you “By the time you know I’m on you / Buddy it’s too late / I’m a heartache.”
  • Blessed” by, Lucinda Williams. This hits you between the eyes. It feels like there has been a revelation in the wake of a loss…and Williams reminds us why we should not focus on the loss. Lyrics are incredible…”We were blessed by the neglected child who knew how to forgive.” This bluesy-rock rendition of redemption opens your eyes and ears…maybe even your heart.
  • “Otis”, Jay-Z and Kanye West. In my day…when you were getting ready to head out for a night of fun, you might have put on “No Way Out” by the Allman Brothers Band. As Tyler told me, this is the perfect song to “get ready” to…They use a few seconds of Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” to create a stepping stone for style and wit…and a really good song.
  • “Knockin'”, Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Luminescent Orchestrii. What happens when you take a NY punk band and combine it with a Southern Negro jig band? Knockin’. A song that captures American roots with attitude and flair. “If you come a knockin, honey I don”t mind, but if you’re not here for loving, well baby don’t waste my time. There’s chicken in the fridge, half a bottle of wine, sit and eat your fill and give me what is mine.” Listen to this and I dare you not to move your shoulders or hips…it is that infectious.
  • “Can You Give Me a Drink?”, Blind Boys of Alabama and Vince Gill. On an album that features the Blind Boys and several of Country music’s heavy hitters (twangers) I really enjoy this song. Southern gospel, fire and brimstone, hand clapping, foot stomping… Hallelujah! Amen! And pass the plate, brother!
  • “Longing to Belong”, Eddie Vedder. Not since Arthur Godfrey or Tiny Tim has a musician made so much from a ukelele. Vedder trades in his rough powerful voice as lead singer for Pearl Jam for the tender strings of this seldom used instrument…and it works. While he has out together an entire album filled with this soft sound, and a whole album of the ukelele i a bit muc, there are 3-4 songs worthwhile on this outing. Also check out “Without You” and Tonight You Belong to Me”. You can thank me later.
  • “Little by Little”, Gregg Allman. This year Allman took his Southern Rock style of music he made famous with the Allman Bros Band, and added a blues edge…and what an edgeit proved to be! Another cut to try is “Floating Bridge” off of the Low Country Blues album.
  • “Somebody That I Used to Know”, Gotye (featuring Kimbra). I know, many of you are saying “What?” This is one of the perks of having sons who share music with you. (Thanks T) Not new in 2011, but new to me, and on my playlist. The male voice sounds like a young Sting in early Police days. Haunting…
  • “Back Down South”, Kings of Leon. Seasoned with fiddles, this song takes you down south, backwoods, for a bonfire, a handy 24-pack and laid-back fun on a Friday night. The song is not a kick-ass rowdy song, but a rollicking anthem to a late night party.
  • “Hold On Hope”, Glen Campbell. No this is not a sentimental choice for the Rhinestone Cowboy. This is just a nice good song by a very talented man. Dramatic. Introspective. And yes, also Haunting for a song from someone who was recently diagnosed with Alzhiemers. Don’t let his past recordings prevent you from listening…listen to it…it will be “gentle on your mind”.
  • “Whole Love”, Wilco. This is from their first album on their own label, and they seem energized with artistic expressions and different sounds. It reminds me of a “bouncy” song the Beatles may have put out. This song can lift your spirits without any effort at all…try it.
  • “The Way it Goes”, Gillian Welch. A rather bleak, folksy, country tune that can’t help but make you grin with lyrics like,”She was broke and busted flat; Had to sell her pussycat”. With a banjo, a song about hard times is not always depressing. Bitterness…yep. Pretty…nope. But you feel like you are on the back porch with her just relaxing and listening. Good…I think so.
  • “You and Tequila”, Kenny Chesney (featuring Grace Potter) Ya gotta like a good tequila song. Especially one that says ” ‘ Cause you and Tequila make me crazy; Run like poison in my blood;
    One more night could kill me baby”. It ain’t Margaritaville, but keep the blender handy and the tunes coming. Especially when they are good like this one.
  • “Rolling in the Deep”, Adele. I don’t think this song really needs for me to say much about it…just listen and you know why. If you don’t like this song, replace it with one of the other top songs from her album, “21”.(Someone Like You, Rumor Has It, or Set Fire to the Rain)
  • “Rome”, Danger Mouse and Danielle Luppi. Okay this is not a song, but an album. It is Danger Mouse’s tribute to the spaghetti western movies of the ’70s. Jack White and Norah Jones co-star, having 3 songs each. White’s voice sounds like a harmonic “High Plains Drifter” and Jones has never exhibited a more sultry side of herself. Turn this on, instrumentals and vocals, and let your imagination watch the movie unfold.
  • “Moves Like Jagger”, Maroon 5. I know I could/will take some heat for this selection, but…”Kiss me ’till your drunk and I’ll show you”. It is fun. No excuses.
  • “Party Rock Anthem”, LMFAO. Okay, if the previous song is not my “guilty musical pleasure”, than this is it. Cheesyey? Novelty? Low brow? Guilty as charged. Who cares? Not I, LMAO! Now get up and SHUFFLE…
  • “Paradise”, Coldplay. This is one of many good songs from Mylo Xyloto, their latest disc. Orchestral sounds run through it so well, so softly, you might not notice at first. Those orchestral strings, soild beats, and the falsetto voice of Chris Martin could make this song one of Coldplay’s iconic tunes. There is a liquid flow to this song that makes it easy to forget your worries and just drift away…
  • “Shake It Out”, Florence and the Machine. On the lates disc, Ceremonials, Florence becomes the machine. Her vocals and theatrics soar to a new level and carry the Machine as Bono’s voice carries U2. This is just one of many songs on my list from this release. Bells… Whistles… Harps…Drums and adrenaline all carry this stadium deserving anthem about heartbreak and rebirth. And it sets the tone for other songs…Heartlines…What the Water Gave Me…No Love, No Love…Lover to Lover…Only For a Night…all full of personal debts and doubts that can lift your spirit…the way Big Red’s voice lifts the machine.
  • “Little Black Submarines”, The Black Keys. Their latest album has taken these reluctant saviors of the bluesy-rock sound out of their basement in Ohio and vaulted them to the proper rock eschelon status…with the help of Danger Mouse. This track, one of several noteworthy ones, starts off like an acoustic gentle autumn breeze and ends like a tornado via the White Stripes. Not too different than “Stairway to Heaven”. Raw. Energized. Powerful. That’s what these boys are all about. A sound powerful, simple and yet very different than what others are trying to invent. While this is a fantastic song, some may argue it is not the best off of thier latest release…Lonely Boy…Gold On the Ceiling…Sister…Dead and Gone are all “keepers”. As are the Black Keys. Keep listening and I am sure you will be glad you did.

There are a lot of others I could include…”These Days”, Foo Fighters; “Don’t Carry it All”, The Decemberists; “Holocene” Bon Iver; several from the Tedeschi Truck band; “Bright Lights”, Gary Clark; “Just Fishin'”, Trace Adkins; “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not” Thompson Square; “You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks”, Seasick Steve; “God Gave Me You”, Blake Shelton; “Pumped Up Kicks”, Foster the People; “Barton Hollow”, the Civil Wars;…but…

As I said earlier, I have been able to expand my music selections becuase of my sons, we share music all the time. Example:

  • Blake introduced me to The Black Keys about 4-5 years ago because he knew I would like their blues infected rock.
  • Drew and Rachel opened to door for Florence and the Machine to be added to my playlist this summer when they had her song, “Cosmic Love” as their wedding song.
  • While Tyler was in Australia last year, he would always be sending me music to check out, which is how I became familiar with “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye.

Just one more example of how lucky I am to have such a great family.

So, what about 2012? Already looks rather promising.

In that case I think I will just…

…”Keep On Shufflin’, Shufflin’…”


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3 CommentsLeave a comment



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