Monday, August 16, 2004

Johnny flippin' the bird. Coolest ever? Vote Early, Vote Often.

Hey everybody, heppy heppy Monday.
If you missed the Friday Hut (which went up late and closed out the acapella collection), I strongly recommend you scroll on down and get caught up. I'll wait for you.

All done? Great! New mix time!

For the past several months, I've been sending out a mix CD collection with an arbitrary and offbeat theme (previous mixes include "songs by children", "songs with the word "f*ck" in the title", "songs that start with the letter B by artists whose names start with the letter B", "embarrassing music to listen to at the gym", "spider music" and our last compilation, "acapella tracks"). These CD's are sent to Tofu Hut listeners who are granted a scant few days to listen to the CD and then email me a track by track review of the mix. Then I post their reviews UNCUT, UNCENSORED and UNEDITED (but peppered with my own smartass comments and observations in italics) along with the tracks in question. It's like listening to a mix CD with a bunch of friends... only you don't have to have any friends... except me. And I'm already your friend! Yay! Get it? Got it? Good!

So what's on the menu for the next two weeks? Our theme is:


My self imposed rules allowed me only to include tracks that featured the word "blue" in the title... NOT "blues".

Additionally, none of the tracks could be blues tracks. What I wanted was a collection of songs that celebrated the COLOR, not the emotion (with the exception of the first and the last; I'm a sucker for alpha and omega bookending).

This is easier said than done. I've got over a thousand tracks about the blues, not too many about "blue". I'm pretty happy with how it turned out though; as always, the goal is too try to genre-bust, find enjoyable and reasonably obscure music and try to keep a healthy flow to the mix. Mission accomplished? In September, you can tell me.

Pissed that I skipped over your favorite shade of blue? Feel free to submit tracks that you think got short shrift as we go along; recommendations are always welcome.

Let's meet our azure guest reviewers.

Pastor: Attached are my comment for the 'Blue Not Blues' collection.Overall I really enjoyed listening to it. I thought you did a great job with the mix and I didn't think any of the transitions were jarring at all. I especially liked the Long Winters track and will be on the lookout for them. Thanks for including me in this - It was fun and I'm looking forward to seeing everybody else's comments along with mine on the Tofu Hut. Take it easy.

Pastor is too modest to tell you but he runs his OWN musicblog, The Our Lady of Perpetual Obsolescence Vinyl Rescue Mission and Orphanage, where you're likely to find great offbeat obscurities saved from the scrapheap of history.
Be sure to check him out!

Juan: Well, here it is. It might not be very good, but it's on time. Many thanks for this, John. It's a great mix. There is one track that I missed: Blue in Green, Miles Davis, from Kind of Blue (hey, there is even "blue" in the title of the song *and* the album!). I'll send you a cd with some argentinian music. In a week or so. Thanks again.

Dude, you KNOW 'Blue in Green' was one of my first choices and if this were a person to person CD, I'd HAVE to put it on there.
Unfortunately, this is all gonna be up on the blog and posting 'Blue in Green' is like posting 'Billie Jean'; I wouldn't argue that they're great songs, but you could catch it on the radio anyday.

Brian: hey, sorry this is a couple days later than promised (slacker...i'll blame it on the cubs). But here it is, or should be. Really enjoyed the cd. I think i stated several times in the comments that it really struck me as a great autumn afternoon mix. I hope that the comments fit in to what you wanted...though i did get a little crotchety on a couple of songs. I'm working on a mix to send back to you, if'n you still want...my cd burner's acting a bit cantankerous, so i may have to give it a good cleaning...should get it out to you shortly...
Thanks again for the opportunity. I had alot of fun doing it, which is really the point, aint it? Take care.

Rob: Sorry it took so long.. had some trouble finding a computer to do email with since i'm on vacation (which i prolly should have thought of before hand), but anyway, here's the review =)
Thanks for letting me be involved in the whole review process, I had a great time.

Enough preliminaries! Let's get started.

glisten: Blue CD 1

1. Langston Hughes - "Too Blue"

Juan - This is a great start. "It'll probably take two." I love that.

Brian - I love putting little intros at the beginning and end of mixes. Sort of like little surprise packages. Langston Hughes was a perfect way to start this off. That coffee house meets street rhythm voice of his. And his reference to a gun? A perfect intro to…

Rob - short but sweet. the southern twang and monotone of the speaker doesn't quite fit the subject matter, but that seems to be intentional

Pastor - Poor guy. Too depressed to even work up the energy to off himself. I'd buy him a drink if I could. I don't think I've ever heard a recording of Langston Hughes' voice - very cool.

I feel bad about double packing the Hughes; I didn't realize that the last CD would segue this way. Ah well. Hughes is certainly worth your attention.

This track is off the same album as the previous Langston: Voices of Black America.
If you've gotten bit by the Hughes bug, may I recommend that you instead
Buy "The Voice of Langston Hughes" from Amazon?
It's good stuff.

Scroll down to the August 12th entry for more Langston info; no sense in repeating myself so soon.
Find out if you have your own problems with depression.
Whip up some "too blue for you" mashed potatoes.
Commiserate with some other Blue Men.


2. Johnny Cash - "Run Softly, Blue River"

Juan - Not my favorite from Johnny Cash. The rhythm guitar is interesting--it could as well be a grater.

Brian - Boom chicka boom….Johnny. There’s something about his voice that just demands longing, isn’t there? “Run softly blue river, my darling’s asleep”. Can’t get it out of my head. That trademark train/truck guitar line, carrying Johnny home. Really quite keen on this, I am. Perfect setup to “blue”-blue Johnny, blue voice, blue river.

Rob - I've never really listened to Johnny Cash, but from this song I can see the power of his voice coupled with the simplicity of the his guitar. I like the song and i'll have to go find some more of this.

Pastor - This reminds me of the type of music my father used to play in the car on family trips. He died six years ago so this type of stuff will always have a soft spot in my heart. I don't think I've ever heard this Johnny Cash tune - I miss them both.

Short, sweet, simple, rockin', twangy, homey, contemporary, legendary.
Cash, baby. Cash money.

Visit the official Johnny Cash site.
Watch the "Hurt" video and read some opinions about Johnny's later works.
Explore this Czech Cash fan site. Dig deep and you'll find a cache of DL'able tracks.
Download a copy of this classic Cash mugshot. Stellar wallpaper.



Just posted a fourplay of "WAR" tracks over at Music 4 Robots. Zip by if you have a chance; they're solid cuts one and all.

In other M4R news, Mark Willet (who's gonna be doing one of the reviews for our NEXT mix CD) was interviewed by the New York Times today about the Warner Brothers Secret Machine tracks.

Also mentioned in the article are Fluxblog and Cocaine Blunts. Much dap to everybody on gettin' the word out.

HOWEVER, there were some surprises in the interview:

In the week after the song was posted on Music for Robots, a message board on the site attracted some thoughtful commentary on Warner's move. But a few comments, posted under several different names, stood out because they looked like something one might read on a teen-pop fan site.

"I never heard these guys before, but theyre awesome," read a posting last Thursday under the name Ron. "I went to their website and you can listen to a lot of ther other stuff, very cool and very good!" Another post, sprinkled with casual profanity, asserted that big corporations could still release good music, and cited the Beatles as an example.

A check of site records by Mr. Willett revealed that all four of the suspect comments had been posted from the same Internet Protocol address, indicating that they came from the same computer or from a computer within the same company. That address was also the source of two e-mail messages that Ms. Bechtel(, the vice president for new media at Warner Brothers and Reprise Records,) sent to a reporter, as well as the original messages sent to the bloggers.


They just tried to play us, gentlemen. Play us like CHATROOM PUNKS. I'm invoking Godwin here.

Some thoughts on the whole scene:

1): While I applaud Warner's attempt to reach out to the musicblog community, spamming boards with pro-corporate nonsense is just short of self-parody. It's enough to make you laugh or cry and it certainly lets you know what they think of the intelligence of their consumers. So thumbs down on how that was handled. However:

2): This shouldn't put us all on the offensive against corporate contributions in the future. I'm certainly not advocating that we allow ourselves to become tools but I'm suggesting they may need a bit of time to know what to make of us. Let's give them a chance to figure it out and see if they can come to a better solution to dealing with us.

Most importantly: music is music is music and if it's good I don't care if it came from Britney's teat, the Delta or straight from the hipster. I'm not gonna turn down the opportunity to hype good music just because I don't like the company that publishes their stuff; I think that's unfair to the artist.

The transition to a new music marketplace is going to be difficult; if we can avoid knee-jerk "FUCK YOU MR. SUIT!" responses, maybe they'll avoid knee-jerk "THIEVES IN THE TEMPLE!" accusations.

Just a thought.

3):On the plus side, here's another quote from the same interview:

"The blogs - which are relatively new but increasingly popular - are personal Web sites that offer music criticism right next to the actual music, in the form of downloadable MP3 files."

So there's a pretty good and straightforward description in black and white in the paper of record. In the business section, no less.

We're getting closer to coming above ground and that's when the fun really starts.

4): Though WB _was_ fool enough to contact Cocaine Blunts (where there was NO chance of the track getting posted), they DIDN'T call the Hut. So we're apparently less high profile than we've been led to believe. Que Sera.
Still one CD left. Anybody want it? Scroll down for instructions how to get the hook up.
Oddio Overplay just relaunched their site and it is unbelievably mega-gorgeous.
I mean REALLY. You have no reason to be here when sites like Oddio are available. I'm just in awe.

As part of the redesign celebration, Oddio has invited a group of web musicians and friends to contribute to a Compilation CD, now available for download. Yours truly contributed a rambling piece for the liner notes but skip that nonsense and go grab the excellent tunage and marvel at the fabulous design.

Rush over. Seriously. We're done here, so go NOW!