kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Lists Are Stupid

Lists, I repeat, are stupid. So I shall be offering one of my own.

I took a couple of weeks off from writing anything here, mostly because I was too busy with the beginning of the school year, but also because I didn't have much to say (even relative to what I say here), and because I get apoplectic (can one get a bit apoplectic?) about the Bush administration and its approach to the U.S. Constitution. (The line I hear now, for the most part, is that a) we are at war [and, according to Donald Rumsfeld, evidently channeling George Orwell, we always will be] and that b) the American people are willing to give up (some unspecified number of) their rights for security [although they probably aren't getting increased security, and this is an administration that doesn't look at polls, except those polls that support its violation of the law]. The temerity of doing something that increasingly appears to involve a substantial violation of the law is somehow not exacerbated by the Administration bragging about it. Quite a strategy.)

So I decided to offer a list. Stupidly.

I was in Starbucks this morning, visiting my drug dealer, and saw that Elvis Costello has a CD subtitled "Music that Meant the Most to Me." So I decided it would be kind of fun to imagine Starbucks calling me with an offer to do one of my own.

I limited myself to 20 songs, and to "popular" songs (so no Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras, no Bartok Concerto for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, no Mahler Eighth, no Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue), whatever the hell "popular" means. What this mostly shows, of course, is how great song #21 is (my guess is that is would be Tammy Wynette's "I Don't Want to Play House"), and reveals a long list of names that didn't make it, as if they are somehow inferior. They aren't. This, again, reveals how stupid lists are, and odd that it makes one feel as if he or she is lacking integrity or violating a moral rule by leaving off someone--immediately I see monumental lacunae: James Brown, George Jones, Talking Heads, Merle Haggard, Memphis Minnie, The Rolling Stones, Duke Ellington, Tampa Red, Emmylou Harris, Louis Armstrong, Professor Longhair, Joe Ely, and on and on and on. And on.

So here's the list, in alphabetical order, with a brief (albeit superfluous) comment. And if you're that guy in the suburbs of Coeur D'Alene who reads this, offer up one of your own!

Ain't That Peculiar (Marvin Gaye)
What? No Tammy Terrell?

Bee Bop A Lula (Gene Vincent)
So Pure. So very Pure.

Body and Soul (Bill Monroe)
I heard Ronnie McCoury sing a very soulful
version of this last night.

Bye Bye Blackbird (Miles Davis)
From "'Round Midnight," as good as a jazz
record--any record--gets.

Can't Stop Now (New Grass Revival)
If only to hear John Cowan hit that closing note.

Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground (Willie Johnson)
Ry Cooder does a nice version of this, which he
then adapted into the soundtrack for "Paris, Texas."

Deep River Blues (Doc Watson)
Right. Only one song from Doc.

Don't Worry Baby (Los Lobos)
I could choose another thirty, easy, from these guys. A rare group,
as good live as they are in the studio; very creative, very sound
musicians, always stretching themselves. I chose this
because the "hook" reminds me of Texas.

Georgia Rag (Willie Mctell)
The master of the 12-string.

Head Over Heels (Flatt and Scruggs)
Many to choose from here. Earl is soooooooo cool.

Hellhound on My Trail (Robert Johnson)
I once had to take this record off (back when there
were records); too intense.

Love and Happiness (Al Green)
My friend Polly Hoover said Al Green was the only
artist who could sing gospel music that would make
you want to take your clothes off.

Love Minus Zero, No Limit (Bob Dylan)
Knockdown evidence that lists are stupid.

Maybelline (Chuck Berry)
I heard a guy once say that it was not all that suprising
that one of the great love songs of all time was written
to a car.

Rosalita (Bruce Springsteen; live)
If you've seen Bruce do this (especially in the "olden days"),
you know what I mean.

She Watch Channel Zero?! (Public Enemy)
Another one of my "greatest concerts" (uh-oh--I sense another
list coming)--I wonder if this was inspired by Gil Scott Heron?

The Weight (Staples Singers)
Specifically the studio version from "The Last Waltz." Before I
got married, I told my wife-to-be that Mavis Staples was the only
woman I would leave her for.

Viva Sequin (Flaco JimeƱez)
There's got to be some dancing, right?

Whippin' Post (Allman Brothers)
As Duane closes out this number, up around fret # 20, we
understand: this is the blues.

Yellow Rose of Texas (Ry Cooder)
This song got me through some rough rough times once.


Anonymous Frodo said...

I always like looking at list of people who have good tastes in music. Usually it is pretty bland, but yours shows a wide variety of intesting flavors. I will have to look into some. It would be very challenging for me to sit down and come up with 20-25 of my favorites. Thanks for the update in your musical interest.
You mentioned more than once music that got me thru...
During my darkest hour U2 released "All that you can leave behind" and every song they sang for me. So the song's meanings real or imagined is what I heard. Music is a powerful-strong healing power. And it shall remain #1 on my list for many years.

What no Daredevils????

2:22 PM  
Blogger kmosser said...

Ah, yes, the daredevils. For those not reading this--i.e., my audience--Frodo and I attended some fabulous (Ozark Mountain) Daredevils shows. I remember particularly one at the Cowtown Ballroom, where they opened up for John Mayall (who had Blue Mitchell in his band at the time). Great show.

The interesting thing about the Daredevils is that I saw them open for a number of bands, and always thought their show was better than that which followed (except, possibly, the Mayall), including opening for Commander Cody and for the New Riders of the Purple Sage.

While I'm feeling old, the first time I saw the Daredevils was when they opened up for Lester Flatt (without Earl Scruggs, but with Chubby Wise). That was a show.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Snake charmers have always been of particular interest to me. I've always wondered what was so enticing, so alluring that'd make snakes dance out of their insulated protection and into an unknown world, a world where the children of Adam reign, a world in which the snake has lost much of its power- an unnatural world. After thinking about it I assumed that it must be the language. The charmer and the snake speak the same language. The charmer sends rhythmic vibrations through the space inbetween them that resonates with everything the serpent believes and has ever believed. All that is true and ever will be true. For that the snake is thankful because he rarely meets beings with such mystery, such art, such possesion. For that possesion he risks everything, he risks everthing that he knows to be one with all he knows....

and that's all he knows.

"I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star"

No Bob Marley?
Where's Bob?


7:42 PM  
Blogger kmosser said...

No one claimed the list was complete, of course. There's no Elvis, either.

Hence a) lists are stupid and b) doing such a list reveals a) as true and offers virtually anyone the opportunity to say "without x, the list is incomplete."

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its a good list...

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


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Blogger darrelmartinez9514 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

curious about the deleted comment...

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Blogger kmosser said...

the ones i delete are spam, pure and simple. you didn't miss a thing.

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