Playing Favorites #8: “Life in a Glasshouse” – Radiohead (2001)

(Originally posted November 24, 2009)

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“Life in a Glasshouse” by Radiohead (2001)
Written by Radiohead

“Life in a Glasshouse” opens with strange, atmospheric shimmering sounds that could be interpreted as church bells tolling. I offer up that interpretation only because what follows is a slow dirge in A minor featuring trumpet, trombone and clarinet, instruments often found in New Orleans-style jazz from a bygone era, but in this case they carry a funereal flavor. Then follow the lyrics:

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Playing Favorites #7: “Try a Little Tenderness” – Otis Redding (1966)

(originally posted August 9, 2007)

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“Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding (1966)
Written by Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly and Harry M. Woods

By the time Otis Redding was cajoled into recording “Try a Little Tenderness,” it had already been recorded by Sam Cooke, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and even Bing Crosby. The song, after all, had been around since the 1930s, but Redding’s manager Phil Walden thought it would be a good “weeping ballad” for Otis in 1966.

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Playing Favorites #4: “Rio” – Michael Nesmith (1977)

(originally posted 4/23/2007)

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“Rio” by Michael Nesmith (1977)
Written by Michael Nesmith

I’ve never really understood why Michael Nesmith wasn’t embraced more warmly as a solo artist after the end of The Monkees. Maybe because he made such an issue of not wanting to be a part of any reunion projects for several years when nearly every band from the 60’s was launching reunion concerts. (Although he did join the surviving Monkees – after the death of Davy Jones – for a brief tour in 2012.) That’s not to say Nesmith wasn’t successful – he certainly was both as a musician and an innovator in music videos in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s. Some even refer to Nesmith as “The Father of the Music Video,” which isn’t quite accurate, but I’m willing to give Mike the nod.

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Playing Favorites #2 & #3: “Dear Someone” and “Red Clay Halo” – Gillian Welch (2001)

(originally posted 3/31/07)

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“Dear Someone”
“Red Clay Halo”
by Gillian Welch
written by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings (2001)

Gillian Welch writes contemporary songs that sound like they were penned fifty, sixty, even a hundred years ago. You can hear elements of various styles in her music: country, gospel, mountain, roots, old-time, rock, and blues, to name just a few. But with “Dear Someone” what you get is pretty straightforward: a slow waltz that’s in absolutely no hurry at all. Yet at just over three minutes, it’s over far too soon.

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Playing Favorites #1: “No Expectations” – The Rolling Stones (1968)

The other day I was going through my mountain of CDs, trying to figure out which ones to keep (or store digitally) and which ones to toss. This exercise (mostly an exercise in futility) reminded me of a project I started years ago and never kept up with: blogging about my favorite music. I thought it might be fun to revisit some of those entries and maybe create some new ones. This initial entry was first posted in March 2007 on another blog. Here it is:

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