Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Top Ten Music Picks....This One Goes To Eleven

Reading over Falen's top ten music list has inspired me to have a go myself, even though I really need 7 or 8 or 10 different genre lists to put all my favorites down.  So this list will be more...representative, shall we say.

Let me just say first that my "taste in music" is....eclectic to say the least.  There are, I think, several reasons for this--but the main one is early exposure to a wide variety of musical styles.  My parents liked (and owned) classical music...and jazz and swing...and popular music of the 50's, 60's and 70's, the music they grew up with.  We had a lot of that on 8-track:-))  The other main reason this list will seem mixed up to some people is that I have both some musical training (flute), and some dance training (a little ballet, jazz, tap, ball room--and I just generally like to shake my booty.  Especially when nobody's home...)

In no particular order:

Billie Holiday, Summertime (also I'll Be Seeing You, and... ain't nobody sing like The Lady!)

 James Galway, Greensleeves  (I play flute--and he came to my university when I was a freshman.  He is jaw-droppingly good-- an amazing and funny performer. At one point during the performance he pulled a tin whistle out of his pocket and began to play...and suddenly there stood before us not a world-famous flautist wearing a tuxedo, but a little boy who loved to play.  He shares something very special with the audience when he does that)

Simon & Garfunkel, Cecilia (my husband likes this one,too--and our daughter is named after it;-)  I grew up with this...on 8-track.  Also, you can dance to it.

 Sibelius, 2nd Symphony, Finale  (I played this in high school--it still makes me feel like I'm being lifted straight to heaven.  It was an intense musical experience--and our orchestra placed first in state competition with it.  I am profoundly grateful that our director chose it--that he chose difficult music and challenged us to play it.  We seldom played versions arranged for high school players.)

 Jackson 5, I Want You Back  (Also on 8-track...I challenge you listen to this and *not* shake your booty!  What is this life, if full of care, we have no time to...shake our booty!  I'm dancin'--you?)

Dave Brubeck Take 5 (My dad had this album--the original, which I listened to over and over.  And appreciated even more when I got to high school and understood that this piece is not in standard 4/4)

REM, Radio Free Europe (college music--the stuff your boyfriend introduces you to.  I saw REM in Hamburg, in a pub with no more than 300 people.  My friend and I listened to them perform this song--she and I sat on their instrument cases:-))

Puccini, O Mio Babbino Caro  (this makes me wish I'd had voice instruction at some point in my life, so that I, too, could sing like angels in the shower.  Yes, angels take showers, too--and this is what they sing!)

Young MC, Bust a Move (this makes my butt go--and the rhyming!  Is he the second incarnation of Edward Lear?  Call me a philistine if you must, but...yeah, I see you there, bustin' a move in your bedroom;-))

Ray Charles, Georgia On My Mind (this song makes me homesick--it could be the national anthem, except everybody in the other 49 states would complain. But I wouldn't, even though I'm from Indiana--I know he meant it for everybody).

Coventry Carol (the only time we ever had music on playing in the background was at Christmas.  I love Christmas music, and this is my favorite one--medieval and haunting, and I love to listen to it sung in a cavernous cathedral)

So--what do you sing in the shower to?  Shake your booty all by yourself in your bedroom to?  Fly up to heaven with?  Do tell!  Another time, I'll put up a list of Japanese songs I like:-))

(Again, note that this is by no means an exhaustive list--ask me next week, and you'll see The Supremes, Frank Sinatra, Teleman woodwind quartets, Johnny Cash, The Carpenters, Ella Fiztgerald, The Nutcracker Suite, En Vogue, Mozart, and Madonna...)

Ja ne!  Mata asobou!


  1. A good list, certainly far better than the one that inspired you. A few comments:

    Billie Holiday: "Summertime" is okay, but I love others more. "He's Funny That Way," with sax accompaniment by Lester Young, is awesome, and of course there is "Strange Fruit'

    Simon & Garfunkel: I grant that Cecilia has familial appeal, but I like many others better, e.g., "The Boxer," "Sounds of Silence," "Bridge over Troubled Waters," "Dangling Conversation"--the list is endless.

    Jackson 5: Yep, you chose their best song. Danceable!

    REM: Meh, never liked them, although "Losing my religion" is okay

    Callas: I love O mio babbino caro, but I think others (esp. Kiri Te Kanawa) do it better.

    Ray Charles: "Georgia" is an inspired choice.

    I have my own marvelous list of favorite songs, but the margins of this comment are too small to contain it . . .

  2. Ha! Bust a Move win! I didn't even look at any of my classical music faves, because that would have pushed me way over ten. I played the violin, so pretty much any song that i palyed in my orchestra is a fave (though some more than others.)

  3. Jerry--you don't like REM 'cause you don't have any relationship with that music;-)) It's not your college music, and you didn't sit on their instrument cases. Remember, I don't write lists like this insisting that it's a Definitive List For Everybody--it's just my list:-)) Also--I wanna see you dance to "I Want You Back"!

    Sarah--Lists like this are *totally* hard! I ended up writing it like this 'cause if I only put in pop choices, people look at it and think--"wow, she has no taste in music! No classical, no jazz, no..." and get no sense of all the variety of music I really *do* like. *sigh* So I went with overall representative. So--did you Bust A Move, girl? ;-))

  4. J--I like Kiri Te Kanawa, too--but I like watching Maria Callas nearly crying when she sings that she'll throw herself into the Arno. Couldn't find a video version of Kiri for some reason (didn't look hard enough). I even liked listening to little Jackie Evancho sing this O Mio:-))

  5. Not fair! I like lots of music that came out after 1971, when I finished college and, largely, dancing! Steely Dan, much of Madonna, etc., all came out after 1971. (I consider Steely Dan the greatest unappreciated rock group of our era.)

    I have a great move to "I Want you Back." You put your right foot at 12 o'clock and then move it clockwise six times to the beat. At that point your right foot is behind your left, allowing you to spin around at the right point in the music. This is my TRADEMARKED move.

    Dame Kiri sings "O Mio Babbino Caro": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRuYQ9KRJms

  6. Ahhh-Dame Kiri *is* awesome. Her voice really is...golden somehow, isn't it? I wanted to find a video for that piece that was actual film footage, though (that was really the only reason I went with Maria Callas--and that is really old footage of her, too. She's quite young there, which I enjoyed seeing, along with her facial expressions.) Now I'm inspired to find a live vid of Dame Kiri!

    And I *definitely* want to see that dance move!!

  7. Thumbs up for Greensleeves and Cecilia (although I agree with JC that there are arguably many "better" ones from them, but Cecilia is definitely the most fun to sing and shout to with a bunch of bawdy friends)! I like the rest, too, but those two I love.

  8. Greensleeves is a strange one - the on-screen captions are a translation into Italian of the traditional lyric, but the choir is singing the Christmas carol "What child is this" and the pictures are all of great houses and castles, all of which I found a distraction from the music.

    Yes, James Galway is a great flautist - have you heard his rendition of a selection of Japanese standards? Includes a haunting 'Itsuki no komori uta'. There's a lush orchestral backing, but it seems to work - for me, anyway.

  9. Hi, Roy! The Greensleeves is a bit weird--sorry about that. I wanted the traditional lyrics and couldn't find them for some reason (must try harder...). And, no, I haven't heard him playing Japanese songs! (*rushes off to check*!) If you have a good link, I'd be much obliged!

  10. Aratina--thanks! Cecilia is *definitely* for bawdy singin'--though I really like lots and lots of S&G, but my daughter isn't named after any of their other songs (couldn't exactly name her Mrs. Robinson...)

  11. James Galway: the LP album is "Song of the Seashore and other melodies of Japan" (1979), put on CD 1991. I don't know about links for downloads though. That's something I've not tried yet. I had the LP but it disappeared during a house move, so I've now ordered the CD.
    You're right, there doesn't seem to be a freely-available version of Greensleeves with the trad lyrics, but the one you found will do nicely.