It’s later than you think. #PlagueSongs, no. 4

This week’s #PlagueSong is a cover of Prince Buster’s “Enjoy yourself” (1963). But I first heard the Specials’ cover version (1980). That said, Prince Buster’s version is itself an adaptation of Guy Lombardo’s 1949 version, which reached #10 on the US pop charts in 1950. Prince Buster retains the chorus of the 1949 song (music…

The Bright Side. #PlagueSongs, no. 3

This week’s #PlagueSong is dedicated to my mother, Gloria Hardman. This is her favorite song, her motto, and very good advice. The song is funnier when sung as Eric Idle’s “Mr. Cheeky” character (as it is in The Life of Brian). I suspect the song’s mixture of irony and sincerity is one reason it resonates…

They Might Be Giants’ Flood is 30!

I thought I would begin 2020 with something joyous — the 30th anniversary of They Might Be Giants‘ Flood, the band’s first album with a major label (Elektra), and the one that launched them into mainstream Anglo-American culture. (“Birdhouse in Your Soul” reached #6 on the UK charts and #3 on the US Modern Rock charts.)…

Best of 2019: Music

Just under the wire, here’s my “Best of 2019” playlist. Have I missed some good music? I expect I have. That’s what the “comments” section is for. It’s also why I’m including a few other “Best of 2019” playlists here. First, here’s mine, named for Sleater-Kinney’s “The Future Is Here.” I probably listened to their…

The Many Moods of Christmas: Playlists

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Just for you (yes, you!), here are some musical selections — in many genres. The mixes’ themes cover a range of moods, and the songs themselves are in many varieties. Countdown to Christmas An eclectic, mostly peppy mix — it winds down a bit at the end. Many genres: jazz, punk, big band,…

Concentrate: Instrumental Playlists

As those of us in North American academe stare down the final weeks of the term, it can be hard to sustain focus. Heck, whatever your job may be, there is much to distract you — in your environment, in your life, in your own head. So, here are some playlists to help you attend to…

Goodbye, Pork Pie Hat

I’m borrowing the title of Charles Mingus’ tribute to Lester Young because my uncle Terry Webb liked Young, Mingus, and this song. To the best of my knowledge, Terry did not wear pork pie hats. Earlier in his career, Terry wore bowler hats. Later, he wore a Tyrolean hat. Or no hat — as in the…

Peace Pieces

In these unsettling times, I turn to music to help me calm down — especially at day’s end, when I need to sleep. While calming melodies might not grant complete tranquility, they do nudge me in that direction. Thinking that others might also appreciate some soothing sounds, here is a playlist — roughly two CDs of music,…