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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Top Ten: Klezmer for Woody

Download a zip of #s 1, 3-10 here (58Mb, link expires Oct. 11th).

1. The Klezmatics, "Come When I Call You": On "I Was Born" on Mermaid Avenue Vol. 2, Natalie Merchant playfully folked around the clock. This is an altogether more mournful Woody Guthrie lyric -- Lorin Sklamberg is so worn down by infant mortality and jagged bar lengths, he doesn't even make to twelve.
2. Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars, "Midnight Banda Judía": Sounds like a drinking song, but you try getting those rhythms right while inebriated. Michael Alpert beats Sklamberg for the best vocal on London's Carnival Conspiracy album -- that takes some doing.
3. Mr. Lif, "Murs Iz My Manager": It's not the first time undie rap has been funny, there's Z-Man, and that skit on Lyrics Born's album, and, um... Anyway, funny and funky is unprecedented.
4, 5, 6. Bob Dylan, "Spirit on the Water", "Workingman's Blues No. 2", "Nettie Moore": Modern Times might be my album of year, but aside from the boringness of picking Bob at this point in history, shouldn't an album of the year have a signature top 10 or 20 song? After a month of close listening, I can't find a sure shot like "Po' Boy" or "Mississippi", let alone "Hard Rain" or "Tangled Up in Blue", but any of these could still make the jump. On "Spirit on the Water" it sounds like he has his best band since the Band. The justified and ancient "Nettie Moore"is better written than anything on World Gone Wrong. And "Workingman's Blues" might make you forget he hasn't been using the word "proletariat" all his life. (Neither did Chaplin.)
7. Girl Talk, "Give and Go": So many songs to be mashed, and Ciara still gets centre stage for nearly half the track.
8. Prince, "Lolita": Well, sometimes you just want to dance.
9. Fergie, "London Bridge": Most Valuable Plagiariser.
10. The Klezmatics, "Condorbird": Condors have a better rep than vultures -- looks matter.

Ten more: Ben Allison, "Tricky Dick"; Cabruera, "Probido Cochilar"; Kimya Dawson, "My Mom"; Bob Dylan, "When the Deal Goes Down"; Earl Greyhound, "SOS"; Justice, "Waters of Nazareth"; The Klezmatics, "Orange Blossom Ring"; Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars, "Oh Agony, You Are So Sweet Like Sugar I Must to Eat You Up"; The Rakes, "22 Grand Job"; David S. Ware, "Sentient Compassion".

Next month: Got a bunch of jazz coming in the mail, so mostly that. Also: will the Vans-look-like-sneakers song remain stuck in my head?


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