Poe and the Carol of the Bells

Just in time for Christmas, here's Trans-Siberian Orchestra with a tune called "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24", which strikes me as a sort of unholy cross between "The Carol of the Bells" and Edgar Allan Poe's "The Bells". I hasten to add, there's no actual Poe here; but I can't listen to this without thinking of the Brazen Bells:Hear the loud alarum bells, Brazen bells! What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells! In the startled ear of night How they … [Read more...]

Lee Press-On and the Nails: Hat Back Boogie

All I know about Lee Press-On and the Nails is that they are a San Francisco area swing band; and it's quite possible that I'm happy knowing no more than that. But they've got a song that I like (Pandora is the culprit, as usual), and here it is: … [Read more...]

Great Big Sea: Sea Shanties with Attitude

The more time you spend with folk music of the British Isles, the more you're exposed to songs of the sea; and when you like those, Pandora eventually introduces you to Great Big Sea,* a folk band from Canada that specializes in folk songs and sea shanties from Newfoundland. Mind you, some of their songs are a little too, um, ribald for my taste, or at least for my image; but here are some of the ones I like.First, here's a tale from the late 1800's about a memorable sort of funeral—"The N … [Read more...]

Music for Black Friday: I’ll Fly Away

The Coen brothers attracted some remarkable talent for the soundtrack for their movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?; and one of my favorite tracks is this one, performed by Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch. Typically for bluegrass, it's about going to heaven.The song has been recorded by virtually everyone; I first encountered it in bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley's version:One verse contains this lyric,Just a few more weary days and then I'll fly away To a land where joys will … [Read more...]

The Monster Mash, Just Because

So Tom McDonald has been regaling us all month with "Dark Country" songs in honor of Halloween. For my response I'm bringing it the fully goofy.Yes, here's a fully computer-animated version of "The Monster Mash". I think think it's a re-recording by the folks who did the animation; it certainly isn't the Bobby "Boris" Pickett recording I usually hear. The animation's a little clunky, but fun nevertheless. … [Read more...]

Marty Robbins: Old-Fashioned Cowboy Music

Until I started listening to Pandora I didn't appreciate the difference been "Country" music and "Western" music. I was a rock'n'roll kind of kid, and despised anything heard on "Country+Western" radio stations, and so I never picked up on the subtleties. My tastes have broadened as I've gotten older, though, and bit by bit Pandora's been chipping away at my prejudices. (I made the mistake of adding Johnny Horton as a seed to one of my Pandora stations, and after that, well....)One of the … [Read more...]

She’s Had Enough of Me

Pandora never ceases to amaze. Here's a blues number (I guess you'd call it blues) by the Darrin James Band that sounds like what Bob Dylan might have sounded like if he were a blues singer on a day when his voice wasn't TOO weird.This is a live version; I like the studio version much better. Still, if you ignore the overlong guitar solo it's interesting. … [Read more...]

Hold Tight, said the Boogie Woogie Washer Woman

I think most people are familiar with the Andrews Sisters singing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"; it's a classic, and a lot of fun. Recently, though (thanks to Pandora, natch) I've been familiar with a couple of other Andrews Sisters tunes that really bring it the full goofy.First, there's "Hold Tight", which is a warm, tender, and upbeat love song to...seafood.And then, once you've eaten (because shrimps and rice, they're very nice, so saith the Andrews), you can get your clothes washed … [Read more...]

You’ve Heard Shatner; Introducing Mrs. Miller

So one of my FaceBook friends posted this video of Nancy Sinatra singing her trademark song "These Boots Are Made For Walking." It's notable mostly as a reminder of how short miniskirts got in the '60's, which was not quite all of the way up to the armpit.While looking at that, I saw a link to a recording of the same song by someone named "Mrs. Miller", a recording clearly of same vintage as Miss Sinatra's: but "Mrs. Miller" bears an unfortunate resemblance to Margaret Dumont. I had to … [Read more...]