Monday, September 17, 2018

We’ve Got Tonight (TOTR 337)

Bob Marley & the Wailers - Satisfy My Soul
Funkadelic - One Nation Under A Groove
Chic - Le Freak
Village People - Ups And Downs
Kraftwerk - The Robots
Queen - Bicycle Race
Blondie - Heart of Glass
Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Pump It Up
The Jam - Down In The Tube Station At Midnight
The Clash - English Civil War
The Cars - Just What I Needed
Dire Straits - Sultans Of Swing
Billy Joel - Honesty
Journey - Lights
Foreigner - Hot Blooded
The Police - Can’t Stand Losing You
Talking Heads - Take Me To The River
Bob Seger - We’ve Got Tonight
Joe Walsh - Life’s Been Good
Van Morrison - Kingdom Hall
Patti Smith - Ghost Dance
John Prine - That’s The Way The World Goes Round

The audio archive is here:

Monday, September 10, 2018

Rolling On (TOTR 336)

John Coltrane - A Love Supreme, P 1 - Acknowledgement
Jack Kerouac & Steve Allen - Charlie Parker
Bono - September 1913
Radiohead - Everything In Its Right Place
TV On The Radio - Wash The Day
Israel Nash - Rolling On
Rainbow Kitten Surprise - Hide
Jim James - Over and Over
Jenny Lewis & Moses Sumney - Cassidy
Bono & Secret Machines - I Am The Walrus
The Flaming Lips - (Just Like) Starting Over
Bob Dylan - Things Have Changed
Neil Young - Old Man
Leon Bridges et. al. - Ohio
Jason & the Scorchers - Take Me Home, Country Roads
R.E.M. - Final Straw
DJ Drez et. al. - For What It’s Worth
Madonna - American Pie
Cocteau Twins - Persephone
Dead Can Dance - American Dreaming
Ani DiFranco - The Arrivals Gate
Casey Neill Trio - Araby
Pistol Pete & Popgun Paul - all along

My Life Is A Mixtape (with shoutouts & apologies to Rob Sheffield)

This great book is considered in this post.

My life is a mixtape. Is yours? If you are reading my blog or listening to my radio show, I have a hunch that you might listen to your life as a similar soundtrack too. The songs, the sounds, the life that is under your skin and always in your ears. 

 Highway 111 is one of my favorite highways. It can get me from Cookeville to Sparta, the town where I have worked as a part-time pastor for the last two years. Highway 111 is also the way we get to Chattanooga and Atlanta, a road trip we frequently take, most often for music, for friends, for festivals. Highway 111 is well-traveled but never crowded like I-75 or I-24, the nearest divided-lane of the interstate alternatives to go south and east. Highway 111 is where I recently went from dabbling in Rob Sheffield’s memoir Love Is A Mixtape to falling in love with his book, reading it out loud to my wife, laughing out loud, crying out loud, choking on the words. 

 This man is the Anne Lamott of music writing, my mind told me, without knowing how Anne Lamott or Rob Sheffield, both working writers, would feel about this comment. But what I love about Sheffield I love about Lamott. Honest. Hilarious. Self-deprecating. Down-to-earth. I have always considered music sacred, but now we can see how the old-school cassette mixtape itself is sacrament. 

 When I think about mixtapes, I think about this radio show I do called Teacher On The Radio. When I think about Teacher On The Radio, I think mixtapes. I tell you I have been making mixtapes for you as audience for this radio show since 2007, but actually, I have been making playlists. I don’t remember my last proper mixtape, made for a friend or made for myself, except that it was more likely a mix CD. I know I made one on April 20, 2003, and I called it the 4-20 mix, yet it was not about weed, but about love and the Iraq war. But I never stopped making mixes in hard copy, either tapes or then CDs, until I got into the DJ booth again, after a 20-year hiatus, at the beginning of the fall semester 2007. That’s when I started making playlists on my laptop, using various platforms.

 Lately, I have been making mixes as a form of time-travel, going back a decade at a time, hence the pair of recent 1968 mixes that have aired on the show, and of course, the 1978 and 1988 mixes that are coming soon. In the process of planning these shows and sampling songs for them, I am confronted with numerous personal pecadillos regarding my playlist philosophy. I guess these have always been there, but now, now I am required to regard them more seriously, now that I have wrestled with them fully. 

 What is this pesky playlist problem? When I sat down to start previewing tracks for my 1978 mix, I had to ask myself: what was I listening to in 1978? Granted, I was only 10, but I had to confess, I had no idea then who some of my favorite from 1978 would be come 2018. At thje same time, I had to include, against the wisdom of what you might think of me, the groups I actually loved in 78 -- even C’est Chic and the Village People. The time-machine mixtape is a beautiful thing. Earlier this year, I also made a mix with one song for every year since I was born, including the year I was born. I had been telling myself this was 50 years of music, but I am bad at math, and we are actually into our 51st year of my music-listening life. I also don’t really do math, so the idea that 11th anniversary really marks the beginning of our 12th year, actually blows my mind. 

 I come from that place in the 1970s when many albums had spaceships on the cover and where bands had one-word names that would never Google very well, but we did not have Google back then. The very early 1980s were for me just a continuation of the 1970s, before I discovered U2, R.E.M., punk, Deadheads, or had my own radio show on the high school station, so it would be that my imaginary basement air band of 1980s was simply called Rebellion. Our theme song was a variation on the Beatles “Revolution,” and I created a private history and mythology of this massive group inside my own head, an all-too-sincere and naive version of the fantasy rock biopic that would later be invented and then destroyed by Dewey Cox in Walk Hard. To explain how epic this band was between my ears, they wrote both “Freebird” and “Stairway To Heaven.” I hope you kinda get the picture!

 And even though I could not sing to save my life, I was the lead singer of this band, mouthing all the vocals, with our cassette-mixtape backing track in a boombox and cranked up loud. My friend David played lead air guitar on a tennis racket, and I am sure he is not looking back on this memory right now, if he remembers it all, with the same affection that I am. My journey to the mixtape began with a family cross-country car journey around 1978. Dad purchased some cheap low-fi blank tapes, and each family member was encouraged to make lists of nominations. These eclectic messes were delightful in their intergenerational variety and what my heart would give to hear one now. 

 The ripped-from-radio mixtape was never my favorite, but Sheffield writes of the static feedback and reverent presence of recording “in the now” -- what with the imperfect cuts and DJ talkback, all a part of the ambiance. I remember one 90s mixtape, a road-trip tape made mostly made from CDs in the Hendersonville basement of my first Tennessee home. It had the likes Aaron Neville and Nanci Griffith and was all about my new adopted southern status and my new-but-used Ford Econoline van. But it all began with the Jason and the Scorchers version of “Take Me Home Country Roads,” stolen from the airwaves of Lightning 100, still a great Nashville station. 

 When I set out to make a mixtape (I mean playlist) for the 11th anniversary of my radio show, I did not know how it would end up. I started by reviewing the earliest playlists from Teacher On The Radio. What were we listening to on the show back in 2007? Somehow this mix is marked by quirky cover songs, an idea I arrived at when I decided I had to include the aforementioned Jason and the Scorchers track in this show. 

But this show is not just cover songs, not just a time machine to September of Oh-seven! There are current tracks that currently speak to me that had to be included. It’s actually an unlikely messy mix like those old family road trip cassettes. Speaking of road trips, it also includes Kerouac. Why? Because in 2007, we were celebrating the 50th anniversary of On The Road, and I am still obsessively exploring my fixation on the Beat writers. I think my better mixtapes over the years include at least a little spoken word or showtunes or some kind of found sound. 

 Rob Sheffield shows us how love is a mixtape. How true love with his late wife Renee Crist was formed and transformed by shared music fandom. I have lost count of all the ways in which my wife Jeannie has embraced music fandom with me and how we have made travel to music shows one of our regular adventures. One of the first places we went together when we first met was to the third floor of the university center where our radio studio is. It sounds trite to say that music saved my life or even that more precisely, making music mixes has saved me. But after Jesus and Jeannie, this hobby-passion-and-avocation, is right up there with black coffee as one of the wondrous worldly things that keeps helping me live with hope and joy. Yep, life is a mixtape.

Monday, September 3, 2018

If I Could Only Fly (TOTR 335)

Pete Seeger & the Song Swappers - Roll The Union On
Pete Seeger & the Song Swappers - Solidarity Forever
Utah Phillips - Bread and Roses
Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Last Of My Kind
Blaze Foley - City Pigeons
Blaze Foley - If I Could Only Fly
Blaze Foley - Livin’ In The Woods In A Tree
Blaze Foley - Tree House Lullaby
Jason Isbell & Elizabeth Cook - Pancho & Lefty
Townes Van Zandt - Dollar Bill Blues
The Ballroom Thieves - Can’t Cheat Death
Darlingside - Hold Your Head Up High
The Dirty Guv’nahs - It’s Dangerous
Judah & the Lion - Hold On
Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors - Another Man’s Shoes
Family and Friends - Winding Roads
I’m With Her - I-89
Caamp - Books
Penny and Sparrow - Bread and Bleeding
Mandolin Orange - Hard Travelin’
Trampled By Turtles - Wildflowers
Margo Price - Heart of America
Mavis Staples - We Go High
Durand Jones & The Indications -
The War and Treaty - It’s Not Over Yet
Liz Vice - Save Me
The Avett Brothers - Closer Walk With Thee

Monday, August 27, 2018

Festival of Life - Chicago 1968 (TOTR 334)

Otis Redding - Respect
Aretha Franklin - People Get Ready
Aretha Franklin - Groovin’
The Impressions - They Don’t Know
Etta James - I’d Rather Go Blind
Phil Ochs - In The Heat Of The Summer
Janis Joplin in Big Brother & the Holding Company - Summertime
The Farm Band - Om
Miles Davis - Freedom Jazz Dance
MC5 - Come Together
Detroit - Gimme Shelter
The Rolling Stones - Street Fighting Man
Earth Opera - Home of the Brave
The Apple Pie Motherhood Band - Bread and Jam
The Band - To Kingdom Come
The Byrds - One Hundred Years From Now
The Youngbloods - The Other Side of This Life
The Doors - The Unknown Soldier
Nina Simone - Backlash Blues
Phil Ochs - I Ain’t A Marching Anymore
Tom Paxton - Talking Vietnam Potluck Blues
Allen Ginsberg - Come Along Vietnam
Graham Nash - Chicago
Judy Collins - Both Sides Now

Joan Baez - I Wish The Wars Were All Over

Monday, August 13, 2018

Swim Until You Can’t See Land (TOTR 333)

Dedicated to the memory & music of Scott Hutchison 1981-2018

U2 - Love Is All We Have Left
Frightened Rabbit - Death Dream
Owl John - Songs About Roses
Live - Selling The Drama
Counting Crows - God Of Ocean Tides
Dead & Company - Franklin’s Tower (6/6/18 Deer Creek)
Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)
Fleet Foxes - Mykonos
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit - Last of My Kind
Band of Horses - Compliments
Jason Isbell - Children of Children
Arcade Fire - Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
U2 - Acrobat
Energy Orchard - Belfast
Big Country - In A Big Country
Frightened Rabbit - Swim Until You Can’t See Land
December - Elijah on a Hill
Jack White - Connected By Love
Cold War Kids - Love Is Mystical
U2 - Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way
U2 - 13 (There Is A Light)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Time Of The Season (TOTR 332)

Otis Redding - (Sitting On The) Dock Of The Bay
Jeff Beck - Morning Dew
The Zombies - Time Of The Season
Cream - White Room
Small Faces - Afterglow Of Her Love
Pink Floyd - Let There Be More Light
Procol Harum - Glimpse of Nirvana
The Pretty Things - Private Sorrow
The Kinks - Picture Book
Donovan - Hurdy Gurdy Man
The Moody Blues - Voices In The Sky
Deep Purple - Hush
Traffic - Pearly Queen
The Rolling Stones - Salt Of The Earth
The Beatles - Happiness Is A Warm Gun
Van Morrison - Slim Slow Slider
Simon & Garfunkel - America
Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues
The Band - Long Distance Operator
The Byrds - Tribal Gathering
The Doors - Five To One
Grateful Dead - That’s It For The Other One
Jimi Hendrix - Long Hot Summer Night
Big Brother & The Holding Company - Flower In The Sun
Aretha Franklin - People Get Ready

Bob Dylan - I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine (Songs from 1968, 50 years later, aired on Monday, August 6, 2018)