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The List of the Moment, Volume No. 20

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Too long, no excuses, time too quickly passes. I won't say any more than that. No hesitation, after being asked and cajoled in the best possible way by true believers (for whom I am ever grateful), here is The List of the Moment, Volume No. 21.

Note: You can also listen to the list (or most of it).

"Hello, Goodbye" by Erin Alden & Brian Robbins – I never thought I would like covers of any artist, let alone The Beatles, but it was actually a bootleg that I found of a four-volume Beatles set that convinced me that all these years perhaps I had been too closed-minded about such matters. This cover sung by Erin Alden sounds a lot like the version that is currently being used by Target for their advertising. I may be wrong about this, but you can judge for yourself.

The song has been altered for the advertisement, but is actually a fabulous rendition of a classic, and although I do not generally pick two songs by the same artist on The List, I will make an exception here for I was equally impressed by the next song…

"Julia" by Alison Krauss – From the same collection of Beatles covers. Here is a splendid version of “Julia” with just incredible instrumentals. Krauss has her roots far back and is not exactly new to the scene and is no amateur at work here (in fact, nobody on this set was an amateur – I’ll tell more later on.) The guitar here — the handpicking is precise and beautiful along with the other instrumentation which you will not want to miss. If you are a Beatles fan or not, these covers may turn you on to music that you did not like in its original incarnation, but might perhaps like in this iteration.

On this volume, the other artists of note and versions that are most impressive include a cover of “Sexy Sadie” by the fabulous Paul Weller, originally of The Jam fame and subseuquently The Style Council before he broke out on his own, doing a fabulous job as a solo artist. Yes, an acquired taste for some, but an amazing talent. There are also covers by Phish, Joe Cocker, Jackson Browne, Neilson Hubbard (an amazing version of “Julia”), Michelle Shocked, and so many others that this is well worth looking for.

"Time of Your Life" by Green Day – This I picked perhaps because it is close to the Now and one tires of living in the past or looking too far to the future. This song reminds us to enjoy what we have in the present. I admit the false start with the chords and picking and the quick “fuck” when he misses adds something to the mix because it is unexpected. Life is, as he says, unpredictable, if nothing else. Perhaps that’s the good stuff.

Yes, we take the photographs and we hang them up and we keep our souvenirs and although he is telling us that he hopes we have the time of our life, I take that so much in the present that this song would be terrific back to back with The Cranberries' “Dreams” which strikes me as a similar theme with new beginnings, awakenings, and overall, an uplifting, almost transcendent, sense and sound – of life being lived to the fullest in the moment that you’re in.

At the end of the day, isn’t that all we have anyway? Sure, memories are more than nice and give us something to think about on those blue days — or provide fodder for books like On Being Blue by William H. Gass, a terrific book if you don’t know it. Gass is, of course, one of the best classic writers of our time and was no doubt an editor’s dream to discover. I imagine the editor feeling much the same way Maxwell Perkins felt when he, after much haggling with Scribners, finally signed Thomas Wolfe or F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, or any number of great authors Perkins signed in his day. (There is a great story about Perkins and Hemingway’s use of four letter words. Perkins had to run these certain words that Hemingway used often and were still new to literature at the time – in the U.S. at least – past Scribner. So, on his list of things to do, Perkins wrote, and I quote: "shit, piss, and fuck." When he took the list to old man Scribner, Scribner said to him – and I paraphrase a bit here – “Max, if you need to remind yourself of these things, you’re in worse shape than I thought.”)

Of course, one could point to many songs about the Now. Perhaps the best that comes to mind immediately is Oasis’s "Don’t Look Back in Anger", maybe because it is right there in the title – don’t look back. We don’t look back because it is futile unless we are to learn from it – which any of the wise among us would endorse. But to simply sit and stew serves no purpose. Just walk on by… and don’t look back in anger. It’s simply not worth it. I wonder why such spark and spit sometimes flies over the smallest of things. Perhaps there is simply nothing better to do. Or perhaps it is some imagined evening of a score that is simply not being kept.

Whatever the case, it’s simply not worth it. Oasis had it right. They also told us not to place our faith in a rock and roll band, but a little advice? This much we can take. This isn’t faith, this is common sense.

"If You Leave" by Nada Surf – How can this not hold up? I’ve heard two versions of this song now, the one here by Nada Surf and one by OMD, and both stick as some songs do; the sort of thing you play repeatedly on the turntable, driving the neighbors crazy until you either tire of the song, or you learn to put it in its due place in your play list (where I have placed this one, as a real favorite). Nada Surf has become one of my favorites, I admit and I recommend them to anyone who has yet to hear this band. Nada Surf is an American-formed rock-punk-pop trio – Daniel Lorca on bass, Matthew Caws playing guitar, and Ira Elliot on drums. The band originally consisted of four members back in 1994. Today, vocals are by Matthew Caws and Daniel Lorca (easier than finding a new lead singer). The vocals are excellent; perhaps this was a blessing in disguise then that the original vocalist left? I can’t say – but as to this song and others (“Blonde on Blonde” “Comes a Time”, and others), Nada Surf is a band to pay attention to.

"New York State of Mind" by Billy Joel – It’s rather inevitable that this one be on my mind at the moment, regardless of whether it has made the list before or not (and I can’t recall at this time) but it is on my playlist and for this reason, it makes The List. For all of the songs that have been written about New York City, few capture the feeling of what it is to first enter New York as you drive down the Henry Hudson Parkway and see the river to your right as you head downtown. Having lived in New York City for several years, I miss it. And having family there now and business, I have a great nostalgia, perhaps too great of a nostalgia to write an analysis that is not sentimental. That said, I will state again, that no other song captures the city (La Grosse Pomme!) quite the way Joel did with this mellow hit. As I ride the Accela train down or I drive, this one is always on my MP3 player and as my feet pound and I round the corner of West 11th and 6th, you bet this and a few choice others are on the playlist. So it is, "New York State of Mind" makes The List this month – and I’m off to visit my old haunts again and see old friends and make new.

"Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door" by Bob Dylan
– Here I write of the MTV Unplugged version of the song recorded in 1995. Here is Dylan in his black and white polka-dotted shirt, the Dylan with his long black coat halfway to the Dylan we know now and the Dylan that came before as he evolved as he always does and will continue to. There are varying opinions on Dylan’s harmonica – loved or hated. Some actually hate, which I find curious since it seems so integral to his music.

What I love about this particular version is that it is live, and I often think (although this can vary, depending, like anything, on the song,) Dylan is better live in many ways. We must have by now surely all things Dylan here, and as I recently put together a four-disc compilation of the "best of" based on what I thought were the best versions of various songs, I found a lot of what I picked were the live and not the studio versions (save for such songs as “Highway 61 Revisited”).

But it’s not simply the words, which of course have struck everyone for many a cover of this song (and we need not list them here, but I will say that I don’t think anybody does this song as well as Dylan). What is amazing is the amount of pure belt he has in the harmonica solo, which is by no means brief. It’s smooth, it’s clear and clean (not muddy and sloppy as I think we’ve all heard at times) but perfect. I play the harmonica and am still trying to nail down exactly what it is he does here that makes it work and I can almost catch it (not in the way Dylan does – don’t misunderstand – I’m nowhere near that good), but it’s that he slides his slips across the silver rather than play note by note and if you play then you know how difficult this is. No small feat. At this time, not only have I been watching the video, but the song is and has been on the list for a while – for this reason, it makes The List of the Moment.

"Winding Wheel" by Ryan Adams
– Ryan Adams can be great or mediocre. I think Heartbreaker is one of the best ‘all the way through’ albums I’ve heard in a long time. It’s rare that an album comes along that you want to just listen to the whole thing without skipping over a few songs. Since I have quite a few from Heartbreaker on the playlist at the moment, I chose “Winding Wheel.” It’s heartfelt, as are so many others on this album, but this one really strikes me. The tempo is upbeat which lends some hope to the moment and although maybe he thinks he should “probably shut his mouth” there is that element of hope that works so well. I suppose at the end of the day, this entire list has been mostly one of hope and the moment – as in Now. One tires of waiting.

What is the line, “I am out of breath in this fond chase…”, which is not to say one gives up – only that we want the other party to give a little. Perhaps that’s what I’ve been getting at all along. Yes, that is what I am wanting – some respite. Some breath. For the other party to give a little, perhaps. Love, I am weary. Some lyrics from “Winding Wheel.”

well nighttime let her through
yeah i'm talking to you
I wanna see her
oh precious little thing
with eyes that dance around
without their clothes
so buy a pretty dress
wear it out tonight
for anyone you think
could outdo me
or better still…
be my winding wheel
'cause i feel just like a map
without a single place to go of interest
and i'm further north and south
if i could shut my mouth
she'd probably like this
so buy a pretty dress
wear it out tonight
for all the boys you think
could outdo me
or better still. . .
be my winding wheel
be my winding wheel

Thanks for listening.

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About Sadi Ranson-Polizzotti

  • http://www.tantmieux.squarespace.com sadi ranson-polizzotti

    steve, i finally got this up….. hope you find it before i got to NYC, tho i should have my computer with me, it’ll be harder.

    You around?

  • Steve

    Hey, Sadi,
    Interesting List.

    “If You Leave” was an OMD original, recorded for the “Pretty In Pink” soundtrack as I recall, their biggest hit in the US (#4) which missed the UK Top 40 at the time (1986).

    I only have a sample of that Dylan tune, featured in Gabrielle’s UK#1 hit from 2000 called “Rise”.

    Very familiar with the “New York…” tune, a fave of mine too, though I’ve never actually been there (drove past it once).

    I’ve got about 30 covers of Beatles’ songs, though none of the ones you mention.

    Re. “The O.C.” soundtrack that you allude to at the bottom, that’s a fave show of my sisters’. I have the tracks from it by The Killers and The Thrills. I also have the original of “Maybe I’m Amazed”.

    Glad to see the List back, Sadi!

  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    Great stuff on the list, Sadi. Heartbreaker sometimes feels a little too long for me, but “My Winding Wheel” is one of my true favorites on that record. He and Gillian Welch were fabulous on that record.

    I like the Unplugged version of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.” His re-imaginings of songs in live settings can be hit and miss with me. I hate what he does to “Things Have Changed.” I love the studio version of that song. Other songs though truly come to life when he plays them.

    Really good stuff on this list!

  • http://www.tantmieux.squarespace.com/ sadi ranson-polizzotti

    hey steve;

    i don’t watch the o.c. – it just happened, i guess, that some of the songs were on there, so that was interesting.

    What do you think of the OMD? I didn’t know that was covered… if you have links or a way of uploading, i’d love to hear it… you can always email me through http://www.tantmieux.squarespace.com and we can exchange mp3s if you want – i’d be curious to hear, esp. the Dylan cover… is it Gabrielle covering it? Nice voice if so… i can imagine it, but then, who hasn’t covered that song….

    i was going to put Shooting Star, but i couldn’t make up my mind. Now that i think of it, I like the live version of Shooting Star by Dylan from that MTV 95 much better.

    Of course, we’re not talking Desolation Row here – but still… i think good all.

    Do you know Ryan Adams? If not, if i didn’t upload it, then i will…. he’s worth the time…

    back off and on all weekend. family affair/ etc…

    sade

  • http://www.tantmieux.squarespace.com/ sadi ranson-polizzotti

    hey DJ:

    simple list, but a good one to kick-off again. i’ve been away too long, too f-ing busy, &etc, but hey, it’s great to be here… i like doing The List.

    Yes, Winding Wheel is a great song – it has movement which i think a lot of the other songs on the album lack in some way (though that said, i really like the country/folk feel of this album by Adams more than “Gold” or some songs anyway – i’ll never give up “La Cienega Just Smiled” because that is a terrific song – so it varies). Overall tho, I like “Heartbreaker” and i really like this song and all that it expresses in terms of a sort of itchiness to be something to someone.

    I understand that – i think we all do. I think we’ve all been there anyway. That itchiness… that feeling…. gawd…. but he captures it well, i think.

    cheers – and nice to see you ; )

    s.r.p.

  • Steve

    You can find the two tracks fairly quickly at puretracks.com…just type in ‘Gabrielle’ and you’ll see her name in a list, click on it, and you’ll see her 2000 album “Rise”…it’s the title track you want to listen to, and if you like it you can buy it there for $0.99 after listening to it. The album also has the haunting “Should I Stay” which is excellent as well.

    Same procedure with OMD, look for the album “OMD Singles” and you can listen to it there (track 11), $1.19 to buy it or $11.99 for the album (great album actually, almost all their hits).

    I have problems sending attachements thru Outlook Express, and I don’t know how to with Hotmail. Sorry.

  • http://WWW.ERINALDEN.COM Erin Alden

    Hey,
    Just a note of thanks for the nice words.
    I’m glad you like the track.
    Erin Alden

  • Steve

    Re. Ryan Adams, I think we had this conversation before Sadi, I find I am more drawn to the music than the lyrics of an artist, so if the music doesn’t move me in some way, it’s hard for me to follow the lyrics, because the interest just isn’t there. Not that he’s bad per se, quite competent I suppose, I just find his music bland that’s all, it doesn’t stand out from the crowd for me.

  • http://www.tantmieux.squarespace.com sadi ranson-polizzotti

    Erin Alden!!!!

    Your work is amazing… otherwise, you would not have made The List, and really, i’m not the only one to think this… just tremendous work. Sorry it took me a few days to see this comment (i’ve been away) but truly amazing.

    You have a real gift… so is that you in the Target commercial or some version of you… we’re wondering and can’t sort it out. It doesn’t make a difference either way. You have a super voice and this is a truly great cover… I played it for a dear friend who couldn’t believe how great it was (esp. since covers so rarely beat the original).

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write here…

    Be well,

    s.r.p.

  • http://www.tantmieux.squarespace.com sadi ranson-polizzotti

    hey Steve,

    I know what you mean about Adams but you either love him or you just can’t get into him. Right now i’m getting into some pretty cool Hungarian pop (sort of like my French pop phase, but now it’s Hungarian, lol) but it’s great – now if only i knew the names of the bands. I got the music from my niece, who didn’t know the bands either, so i can’t put them on The List… damn damn).

    I’m into Imogen Heap a lot… so that’s next List.. lost of stuff… and i’m looking back as well… i think for the next list I have John Waite (yes, i really do)…

    i ain’t missing you at all…

    nope.

    and i won’t.

    hey, everybody has to give up something for Lent. I chose maybe to give up a person. We’ll see. Depends on the amount of will i have and besides, I’m half-and-half so i’m sort of off the hook if i want to be –

    annnyyyywaayyyy

    the next list should be interesting – i have to go away this week to NYC but as soon as i’m back, then i imagine the next List. Things have been just nutty, but i do miss doing this a great deal…

    Thing is, i haven’t done is so then people forget and have gone away which stinks, but in due course if i keep doing it, perphaps they’ll come back… we’ll see…

    anyway…

    bisous, babe.

  • Steve

    By the way, Sadi, I forgot to mention…Paul Weller has a ‘best of’ called “Hit Parade” that just came out last year. What’s different from his “Modern Classics” best of from 1998, is that this album comes in both single disc and box set versions containing hits from his first band The Jam, as well as The Style Council and his solo UK hits. Might be worth checking out if you liked stuff from all three stages of his career.

  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    You’re right about “La Cienga.” That is a marvelous song and about the only one I really like from that album.

    My favorite Adams disc is Love is Hell. I am the only one I know who picks that as a favorite. Not sure what that means. Probably nothing, but I do love it.

  • Steve

    Wow, Hungarian huh? I don’t have ANYONE from there in my collection!! Out of almost 13,000 songs…that’s saying something!! Not sure what, but anyway…lol.

    I have about 178 tunes by French artists.

    Sorry to hear you sort of have to give up someone this month Sadi, not an easy thing to do I know.

    Be here when you get back from NYC, Lord willing.

  • Steve

    Hey, Sadi,
    Hope you had a great trip to NYC. Let us know here when your next List is up, OK?

  • http://tantmieux.squarespace.com/bob-dylan-on-tant-mieux-/ sadi ranson-polizzotti

    hey steve,

    v. successful nyc trip… and sorry not to be in touch. i have pneumonia, but am working on a bunch of stuff – a new list too… so i’ll post here and ping you …

    you around?

    sade

  • Steve

    Hi, Sadi,
    Been house-sitting this week, no access to a computer. Things should be back to the usual by Sunday. Looking forward to the next List.

  • Steve

    Sorry to hear about your pneumonia, hope you recover soon, Sadi. Home again now, so whenever you’re ready with the next List, just let me know here.

  • http://tantmieux.squarespace.com/bob-dylan-on-tant-mieux-/ sadi ranson-polizzotti

    hi Steve…. glad you’re back! i hate being without computer access…. that’s how dependent i am. It’s pathetic….

    Yes, i’m making a list of songs for the ist…i just need to make sure they have not been on previous lists…!

    Otherwise tho, i have a list going already… a real weird mix of stuff, but i like it… should be a trip down memory lane with some new stuff…

    do you ever go to tant mieux and take a listen? I hope so… next time anyway, there is ONE Dylan musical piece (just piano) that i want you to hear… if you like, maybe i can arrange to get it to you….

    love,

    sade

  • Steve

    Aww, that’s sweet of you, Sadi, I’m just signing off for the evening, I’ll maybe check it out tomorrow, thanks so much.

  • Steve

    Checked your other site Sadi, listened to “Time Of Your Life” by Green Day, had forgotten all about that song, musically nicely done song, (although I don’t like the vocals on it, hence Green Day are not my fave but anyway…). You mentioned “Dreams” by the Cranberries as a companion to that song, I don’t have the original but I do have it sampled in Dario G’s UK#9 hit from 2001 called “Dream To Me”, which is pretty great too.

    I’m on a ‘limited download’ ISP subscription right now, so not sure how much I can download from the internet in a month, I’ll have to check on that before I check out any other tunes there.

  • http://www.tantmieux.squarespace.com/ sadi ranson-polizzotti

    hey Steve:

    i’m glad you listened. I need to update that section. My uncle passed away yesterday so i’ll be back from teh funeral and wake on Friday. I have a really good list going as well, so i’ll have that up hopefully by the weekend and i’ll put it up on the site and also, will upload some new songs tonight for you and build the link in here so check back. i’m at school right now and my students are taking an exam, hence i have five mins to email this, but i must get back to teaching etc etc but i will upload.

    for the next list, i will upload most of the songs so you can listen. you ought be able to download directly from there, from tant mieux, no?

    love,

    sade (sorry can’t get list up sooner; uncle died very suddenly; my next list is for him, of course, so i’ve changed some songs around….i hope you understand…)

  • Steve

    Sorry to hear about your uncle, Sadi, one of my uncles died last year, and though I miss him, it was a very moving funeral and reception, and I’m glad I could attend. I totally understand about your hectic schedule right now, no worries.

    I will definitely check out your site again, when I have some more time. Looking forward to your next List, it’s always interesting. You’re a real sweetheart!

  • http://tantmieux.squarespace.com/bob-dylan-on-tant-mieux-/ sadi ranson-polizzotti

    Hey Steve,

    Thanks for the kind words about my Uncle… The next list, volume 21, is up … so go for it if you like… or anyone for that matter… but it’s up and running. just went up today (March 20, day before the first day of Spring, tho it doesn’t bloody feel like Spring!), but the list is up…

    see you there?

    looking for you, so jump!

    sade

  • http://tantmieux.squarespace.com/bob-dylan-on-tant-mieux-/ sadi ranson-polizzotti

    List No. 21 there’s the link to the new list, just click click click…. and a few songs to listen at The List of the Moment | Tant Mieux

    xo

    sade

  • http://www.myspace.com/erinalden Erin Alden

    Hi,
    I just saw your response to my email.
    Sorry (10 years later).
    It is not my version in the Target commercial.
    I, of course, wish it was.
    But I thank you very much for the compliments regarding my cover of ‘Hello Goodbye’.
    It was fun to do.
    I’ve had many requests to put it up on my myspace page, which I will try to do soon.
    In the meantime, please drop in to my website http://www.erialden.com or my myspace page http://www.myspace.com/erinalden to check in for ‘my’ music and music updates.
    Again, thank you very much for supporting not only my music but others.
    Take care,
    Erin Alden

  • http://tantmieux.squarespace.com/bob-dylan-on-tant-mieux-/ sadi ranson-polizzotti

    Erin, hi…

    well, regardless of whose version used, it is your version i chose because it is the best i have heard and their loss if not and let’s see what we can do about getting you so much deserved publicity, if you don’t already have enough already!!!

    I would love to hear more of your music. You can email me directly through my web site at tant mieux and use the Contact link and shoot me an email. If you have a disc, i’d gladly review it for here and others as well…. so email me through my site. I don’t want to put my email up on here, butyou can contact me through my own site – again click here.

    I’d love to hear from you. I’ll visit your site and try there. I’m not a big MySpace person but i’ll check it out. Let me look and see; as to you other comments regarding The List, hey…. part of what i do. I run a Dylan site also (at the same site, you’ll see it) and that does really well also; i like what i do. seems you do as well….

    be in touch, be well,

    sadi