Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Take Five

I love YouTube because it seems like so many really cool things are now available. Especially music. And best of all, you can share it with people.

I was trying to play a variation of the old "next five songs on your shuffle" meme. Instead, let's play deejay. I was a college deejay at the mighty 90.3, WBCR-FM, during my college days. My show was pretty odd - half new wave/punk, half 60s soul, with a smattering of classic rock as a bridge. So tonight I'm going to play deejay and pick five of my favorite songs and present them to you. No votes, but I would be curious about your five favorites.

First up is my favorite from the Fab Four. The clip is an excerpt from the movie "Help," which was not nearly as good as "A Hard Day's Night" cinematically but was chock full of great songs. Including this one, with one of John's best vocals, tricky time signatures and lots of other goodness. Here are the boys cavorting in the Alps, singing

Next up, my favorite 60s soul tune, from the most dramatic singer in the Motown stable, Levi Stubbs, and his compadres in the Four Tops. The Tops weren't as consistent as the Temptations and certainly less influential than Marvin Gaye or Smokey Robinson, but when they were on their game, they were magnificent, and this is their crowning achievement. From a 1966 appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, here they are, singing

Next, the title song for this post. Dave Brubeck is still going strong, pushing 90 and still performing. While he never reached the level of genius that Armstrong, Ellington, Davis or Coltrane did, I greatly enjoy his music. And his most famous work still sounds fresh, 50 years on. Here is Brubeck and his group from 1961, featuring the brilliant saxophonist Paul Desmond, performing

So if Brubeck wasn't a genius, who was? Well, Miles Davis, of course. And John Coltrane. And around the same time that Brubeck and Desmond were creating their best work, Davis and Coltrane were collaborating with Gil Evans on one of the most influential records in the history of jazz, Kind of Blue. And the best piece on Kind of Blue is this one. Here are Davis, Coltrane and several other collaborators in a 1959 performance of

And finally, something from the Only Band That Matters. At the end of 1979, I was a junior in high school and I heard something startlingly new. I've owned this album in one form or another ever since. And while this song isn't my favorite from the album, it's probably one of the best performances/statements of purpose in the history of rock and roll. It's the Clash, performing

So, if you were to "Take Five," which five would you take?


Anonymous said...

Tough to limit it to five, but:

Dylan-Tangled Up in Blue

Beatles-In My Life

Richard & Linda Thompson- For Shame of Doing Wrong

Led Zeppelin- Trampled Under Foot

The Clash-Rudie Can't Fail

None of which I played on my Beloit College radio show. I remember it more for the comedy bits, and not as much on the music, though I do recall having a lot of fun by playing off the distinction between my then pretty exclusively old rock tastes and my radio partner's more jazz and easy listening predilictions. I have grown a lot since then, and could easily include some Sinatra, Mingus or Ellington on my list. But in college, in marked contrast to the eclectic breadth of Mr. Dilettante's musical explorations, my music knowledge had never extended beyond the limitations of my bank balance. I probably owned 20 albums then, and they all got beat to hell.

My recollection of my high school radio show, however, is all guilty pleasures: Nick Gilder's Hot Child in the City, Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street, Andrew Gold's Lonely Boy, Jay Ferguson's Thunder Island, Foghat's Fool For the City. Speaking of limitations, I wish my guilty pleasures in high school extended beyond 70's pop and vast consumptions of alcohol.

A Truck Driver

Uncle Ben said...

Pink Floyd - Brain Damage/Eclipse

Cannonball Adderley - Autumn Leaves

Johannes Brahms - Requiem (2nd movement)

Ella & Louis - Cheek to Cheek

Gustav Holst - Thaxted (the hymn in the Jupiter movement of The Planets)

Of course there are tons of songs that could contend for such a list, but these are definitely quality tunes!

Leo Pusateri said...


Harry Chapin, Taxi

Talking Heads: Once in a Lifetime

Stevie Ray Vaughan: The Sky is Crying

Van Morrison: The Mystic

Rush: Bytor and the Snow Dog

Hard to argue with anything else mentioned here.

Leo Pusateri said...

Gads... I'd have to add "Time" by Pink Floyd in there, too... but which song to take out?