The Bob Dylan Starter Compilation – Playlists on Parade

Originally posted 2010-05-01 16:56:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

I’ve been wanting to kick this off for a few months now, but the time has finally arrived…

One of my goals for 2010 is to review every Bob Dylan studio album before New Year’s Day 2011.  This will include both one-sentence reviews in the “Yes, No, or Maybe So” series and full-out segments of “The Weekend Review.”  Unless he surprises us again, Dylan’s total studio album count is at thirty-two (I don’t count Dylan or Christmas in the Heart as studio albums), so I figured that I’d better get moving on this goal.

The Bob Dylan “Starter Compilation” is a playlist that I assembled with my girlfriend Nicole a while back as I continued to introduce her to the massive catalog of my favorite singer/songwriter of all time.  For anyone who knows me, it will come as no surprise that she had heard quite an array of Dylan songs already, most of them via the CD player in my car.  As we sorted through my iTunes software, she pointed to songs she loved and I played her songs that she hadn’t heard yet.  After a great deal of listening, discussing, arranging, and rearranging, we came up with a seventeen track layout.  I just updated it to eighteen tracks to include a sampling from his 2009 album Together Through Life.

So, without further ado, here’s the playlist.  Thanks to iTunes and other such services, you could easily download these tracks and start listening today.  For anyone unfamiliar with but interested in Dylan’s music, I’ve included the album that each song was originally released on, as well as a ranking for each album.  The 5’s are albums you should listen to right away, ranging down to the 0’s which are only for the true Dylan fanatics.  And there are some great albums that aren’t represented here (Desire being perhaps the most notable), but I had to make some hard decisions to make this the best playlist for a first-time listener.  Don’t hesitate to comment, criticize, etc. below…

See you tomorrow for the Weekend Review!

TRACK LISTING

1)   “Someday Baby” From Modern Times (2006) 3

2)   “Maggie’s Farm” From Bringing It All Back Home (1965) 5

3)   “Like A Rolling Stone” From Highway 61 Revisited (1965) 4

4)   “Simple Twist of Fate” From Blood on the Tracks (1975) 4

5)   “Political World” From Oh Mercy (1989) 3

6)   “Blowin’ in the Wind” From The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963) 5

7)   “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” From The Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid Soundtrack (1973) 0

8)   “I Want You” From Blonde on Blonde (1966) 5

9)   “Lay Lady Lay” From Nashville Skyline (1969) 1

10) “Sweetheart Like You” From Infidels (1983) 2

11) “All Along the Watchtower” From John Wesley Harding (1968) 1

12) “Honest With Me” From Love & Theft (2001) 5

13) “The Times They Are A-Changin’” From The Times They A-Changin’ (1964) 2

14) “I Feel A Change Comin’ On” From Together Through Life (2009) 1

15) “Just Like A Woman” From Blonde on Blonde (1966) 5

16) “Tangled Up In Blue” From Blood on the Tracks (1975) 4

17) “Down in the Flood (New Version)” From The Masked and Anonymous Soundtrack (2003) 0

18) “Forever Young” From Planet Waves (1974) 2

(Album Ratings: 0-5 – “5” for the albums you should hear first, down to “0” which are for fans only!)

The Weezer Compilation – Playlists on Parade

Originally posted 2010-09-11 12:35:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

With Weezer’s eighth studio album – and the third in three years – being released next week, I thought this would be the perfect time to reorganize, update, and publish my Weezer compilation.

Of course, after Tuesday, it will be in need of an update once again…

I haven’t adjusted my Weezer playlist since 2007, so the necessary selections from The Red Album and yes, even Raditude have been added, namely “Pork and Beans” and “Troublemaker” from the former and “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” and “Put Me Back Together” from the notoriously inferior latter.  “Put Me Back Together” is the only addition that I’m not fully committed to, having to knock out “Fall Together,” one of my favorites from Maladroit, and “The Damage in Your Heart,” a great song from Make Believe that is just a bit too slow and a bit too long for this compilation.

I’m certain that this list won’t please every Weezer fan.  Some may argue content (songs that don’t deserve top billing, songs that should’ve made the cut) and others may argue order (“Why is ______ so far down the list?!,” etc.), but that’s half the fun of creating a compilation like this.

I didn’t originally intend to order the tracks in bursts of chronological order, but I just loved the flow and transitions when I arranged them like this.  With the exception of the last three songs, the order (as you will no doubt pick up on quickly) is in order of album release: two full runs through their seven album catalog and a Blue Album-era outtake to kick off the third round, which extends to Maladroit before I alter the balance with extra tracks from The Green Album, Maladroit, and Make Believe.

The bottom line is that Weezer is one of the best rock bands of all time.  They’ve recently become embroiled in a critical cluster-cuss, but the dissension really extends back to Maladroit, which is – in this writer’s opinion – one of the finest rock albums of all time. Criticizing Weezer’s recent music has become a very acceptable, reasonable even, practice, one that I’ve contributed to with regards to 2009’s Raditude.

Meanwhile, Weezer rocks on.

I say, let’s rock on with them.  If you can’t applaud their recent work, then you should at least appreciate the attitude.  And, after a run through the compilation below, you just might remember why Weezer deserves so much respect.  They may not be the smartest lyric-writers or even musicians out there, but I dare you to find a band that’s more consistently fun to listen to!

1)  “My Name is Jonas” – Weezer (The Blue Album)

2)  “The Good Life” – Pinkerton

3)  “Don’t Let Go” – Weezer (The Green Album)

4)  “American Gigolo” – Maladroit

5)  “Beverly Hills” – Make Believe

6)  “Pork and Beans” – Weezer (The Red Album)

7)  “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” – Raditude

8)  “Buddy Holly” – Weezer (The Blue Album)

9)  “Pink Triangle” – Pinkerton

10)  “Island in the Sun” – Weezer (The Green Album)

11)  “Dope Nose” – Maladroit

12)  “Perfect Situation” – Make Believe

13)  “Troublemaker” – Weezer (The Red Album)

14)  “Put Me Back Together” – Raditude

15)  “Jamie” (Live Acoustic) – Dusty Gems and Raw Nuggets

16)  “Say It Ain’t So” – Weezer (The Blue Album)

17)  “Why Bother” – Pinkerton

18)  “Photograph” – Weezer (The Green Album)

19)  “Keep Fishin’” – Maladroit

20)  “Hash Pipe” – Weezer (The Green Album)

21)  “Slave” – Maladroit

22)  “The Other Way” – Make Believe

Running Time:  71 minutes

The Best of the Bob Dylan Covers – Playlists on Parade

Originally posted 2010-11-20 12:40:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

With some sources placing Bob Dylan as the #2 most covered artist (behind the Beatles, of course), there are some excellent performances of his songs.

Predominantly, though, there are hundreds and hundreds of inferior versions of his work, ranging from mediocre all the way down to openly offensive.

As a Dylan fan now for over a decade, I have accumulated quite a number of covers.  Folk?  I have it.  Bluesgrass?  Regrettably, yes.  Gospel?  You betcha!  Reggae?  For reals.

Suffice it to say, there’s some utter crap.

I’ve been thinking for weeks now about putting together a playlist of my favorite Dylan covers.  Finally, after coming across a Jimi Hendrix recording of “Tears of Rage” on iTunes today, I sorted through the archives and pieced together eighteen of my favorite recordings.  For those who don’t know me, you should understand that I’m often the guy who will remind you that, “This song was actually written by…” or ask you, “Have you ever heard the original?”  So, for me to say I love these songs means that they’ve truly made the cut for me.

And I hope you’ll enjoy them as well!

The artists are as wide ranging as George Harrison and Beck.  They go back as far as the sixties, with a sampling of classics by the original masters of the Dylan cover the Byrds, and are as recent as the Dead Weather, that super-ish-group co-fronted by Jack White.  In the case of the former, I love the Dylan versions about as much as Roger McGuinn and company’s, but in the case of the latter, a forgettable Street Legal track was revived and successfully reimagined.

There are some that you absolutely must listen to the originals – “Simple Twist of Fate” for one, and “Born in Time” for another (that is, if you find the Bootleg Series version).  There are some that are, frankly, better as covers – I’m thinking of “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” here.

So, go explore.  Visit Amazon and iTunes.  Expand your Dylan horizons.  And, most of all, remember why Bob Dylan was, is, and forever shall be the freakin’ man.

1)  “Mr. Tambourine Man” – The Byrds

2)  “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” – Beck

3)  “All Along the Watchtower” – Jimi Hendrix

4)  “If Not for You” – George Harrison

5)  “Mama You’ve Been on My Mind / A Fraction of Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie” – Jack Johnson

6)  “Masters of War” – Pearl Jam

7)  “New Pony” – The Dead Weather

8)  “Simple Twist of Fate” – Jeff Tweedy

9)  “My Back Pages” – The Byrds

10)  “Absolutely Sweet Marie” – George Harrison

11)  “Tears of Rage” – Jimi Hendrix

12)  “I Shall Be Released” – The Band

13)  “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” – Eric Clapton

14)  “Mississippi” – Sheryl Crow

15)  “John Wesley Harding” – Wilco

16)  “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” – The Byrds

17)  “Born in Time” – Eric Clapton

18)  “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” – Warren Zevon

“Chris’ Mix (Vol. 2): Music I Discovered in 2009” – Playlists on Parade

Originally posted 2010-04-03 13:23:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

In April 2009, I decided to put together a playlist for a friend, one which would represent my favorite music that I had discovered since I began paying close attention to new music, as well as expanding my range of interests.  This had all started in the middle of my first year of teaching; now that I made a regular salary, I realized I could budget out enough money for regular music purchases.  So, it all started in January 2008 with Ringo Starr’s Liverpool 8.  I would have bought that album anyway, but I went on to buy albums that I never would have paid much attention to in the past.  Some, like R.E.M.’s Accelerate, are albums that I consider to be among the best of all time.

I’m glad I didn’t miss them!

Now, of course, there were many mediocre (and worse) albums along the way, but in the end, this decision has been fruitful.  I look forward with excitement to each “New Music Tuesday,” waiting to receive the Newbury Comics newsletter in my inbox.  Many weeks, there is music that piques my interest, and I set off on the journey to pick it up and listen.

I will feature this first playlist of 2008 music on next week’s edition of “Playlists on Parade,” but I felt the strong urge to start with my latest playlist.  This is a collection of songs that I discovered in 2009, either because they were released that year, were recommended to me, or I stumbled upon them.  I hope you enjoy the brief liner notes and consider picking some of these up!

1)  “Got Some” – Pearl Jam

This is the song I thought should have been the lead-off track on their 2009 album Backspacer.  I first heard it performed live on the first-ever Late Night with Conan O’Brien show, and I was head-over-heels for it from the first snare shots.  The studio version didn’t disappoint, and thus, it’s the lead-off track for this playlist.

2)  “Wilco (the song)” – Wilco

I’ll admit it:  I laughed when I first heard this song performed live on the Colbert Report, but I simply fell in love with the album version.  The band is clearly so comfortable with themselves that this very direct, very cheesy statement comes across as consoling and encouraging.  I needed it last year, and I continue to sing along every time.

3)  “Help Me, Suzanne” – Rhett Miller

I vividly remember hearing this song for the first time on Mike Fusco’s iPhone.  He was playing this because it was a song he had to share.  He had heard it on the Hollister store soundtrack, and I was surprised by just how good it was.  How could such excellent music slip by unnoticed?  Well, Mike noticed it, and I picked up the album shortly after.  There are a couple other great songs, but although the album is enjoyable, there’s no song that competes with this gem.

4)  “Singing Joy to the World” – The Fruit Bats

This is one of the most stripped down performances on the Fruit Bats’ brilliant 2009 album The Ruminant Band.  You just don’t hear too many ballads like this one, and I’m hooked on the lyrics and melody every time I listen.

5)  “Part of It” – Relient K

Why this song wasn’t released as a single from 2009’s Forget and Not Slow Down, I’ll never know.  It is easily one of the best performances on the album, and it is one of my favorite Relient K songs of all time.  My favorite line?  Gotta be: “I’m the Cusack on the lawn of your heart.”  Now THAT is a metaphor for the ages!

6)  “Jonathon Fisk” – Spoon

Mentioned in an email by former student Geoff Troup less than a month before the New Year, I set out to hear Spoon’s Kill the Moonlight before their scheduled 2010 release of Transference (which is fantastic, by the way).  I realized I did know “That’s the Way We Get By,” probably from watching The O.C. with my sister.  (Did I just admit that in an official post?  Wow.)  The album was a bit odd to me at first, but after a few listens, I couldn’t get enough of their unique style.  “Jonathon Fisk” is among the best, and I hold a special place in my heart for this track since I learned it for a recent Laptop Session.

7)  “The Mob Goes Wild” – Clutch

Clutch came highly recommended by my colleague Dan O’Brien, and although I liked Blast Tyrant very much (so much that it just missed charting on my favorite 50 albums of the decade list), “The Mob Goes Wild” immediately stood out from the rest.  It is one of those songs for which you feel compelled to learn the lyrics so you can competently sing along.  It also adds a nice, harder edge to this playlist that balances out the quieter tracks.

8)  “Cornerstone” – The Arctic Monkeys

Like “Singing Joy to the World,” I instantly fell in love with the story told in this song.  Not only did I listen with rapt attention that first listen, but I was fascinated by the instrumental and vocal blend.  “Cornerstone” is a wonderfully quirky, hauntingly skeevy, and addictively entertaining track, one that softened my distaste for the Arctic Monkeys,’ an opinion I had based on their early work.

9)  “Life of a Thousand Crimes” – Echo & the Bunnymen

If you believed the critics that write for the major music magazines, you would have ignored the 2009 release (The Fountain) that yielded this Echo & the Bunnymen gem.  McCulloch’s vocals are in gritty, perfect form for leading this upbeat romp.

10)  “Peacemaker” – Green Day

There were so many standout tracks on Green Day’s 2009 album 21st Century Breakdown that it was difficult to choose just one for this playlist.  Overall, though, “Peacemaker” is one of the most instrumentally and vocally interesting, not to mention one of the catchiest.  When I recorded my Laptop Session cover song version of this track, it certainly gave me a workout as I figured out how to fit in all the vocals and still breathe!

11)  “Cream and Bastards Rise” – Harvey Danger

Remember “Flagpole Sitta”?  Well, it seems that this is about the only Harvey Danger song that anyone remembers.  And it’s a shame because 2005’s Little by Little… is an outstanding disc, one that featured this catchy, killer performance of their lead single.  (And, sadly, they’re so right!)

12)  “Jocelyn” – Kevin Hearn & Thin Buckle

If you liked the hidden track on the Barenaked Ladies’ 2000 album Maroon, then Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle are for you.  This, as you may have guessed, is Hearn’s side project, and their second album (2004’s Night Light) yielded this beautiful little song.  After the frenetic buildup of “Peacemaker” and “Cream and Bastards Rise,” I thought this was the perfect track to relax on before “Got Some” returns again for another go-round.