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No Easter-themed entries in this week's The Listening Room

The Listening Room April 9, 2007: Sheryl Crow, Bruce Springsteen, Lizz Wright, Patti Smith, Eddie Money

A Happy Belated Easter to all you Easter people from your Listening Room panel. We don’t have any “Easter” themed entries in this week’s installment. That’s kind of a drag, actually. I like when themes emerge. Oh, well, there are plenty more holidays in 2007. Maybe we’ll put something together for one of them.

I don’t know if anyone else had trouble choosing this week, but I did. There were several songs that emerged as possibilities for me, but I eventually narrowed it down to one. You’ll find out what that was soon enough. Once again, Bruce Springsteen makes an appearance in The Listening Room, which means the baffling contingent of anti-Springsteen people who have coalesced here at Blogcritics should have a field day.

You know, I understand we all have our individual likes and dislikes. I actually had some idiot come over to Fanboy and insult Guster. Why didn’t he go ahead and insult TheWifeToWhomI’mMarried and my mom while he was at it? We all have our likes and dislikes and that’s fine and good, but I don’t understand the Springsteen vitriol. Of course, a great many libraries could be filled with the things I don’t understand. This is not exactly exclusive terrain.

These may not be the best songs ever, they may not even be our favorites, but they kept us entertained last week. You could do worse than to try a few of them out and see what they do for you.

Josh Hathaway “My Favorite Mistake” from The Globe Sessions by Sheryl Crow

Few things in this world will put TheWifeToWhomI’mMarried in a cross mood faster than to catch me listening to Sheryl Crow- it’s a long story, it was a long time ago, it makes me look bad, and I’m not going to tell it. Anyway, I used to really like her music but decided it was a waste of precious capital to listen to it. By the time I got an iPod and could listen in privacy I had somewhat lost interest. That, and C’mon C’mon didn’t do much for me and I moved on. This is precisely why I stopped trading CDs in at used places. Last night, while trying to make some changes in iTunes I stumbled across her discography and this song. I decided to listen to it again and it clicked inside my head.

It’s a completely foreign concept, the idea behind the lyrics. Even though it was usually me who got dumped, it didn’t take long for me to be as glad to be rid of them as they were me. I can’t think of a single past relationship that thinks of me as their favorite mistake. Oh, I might be their biggest mistake but even that’s pushing it. I seriously doubt I made that much of an impression. Besides, contrary to internet rumors (everyone else has an internet rumor, I want one, too!) I wasn’t exactly what the kids would call a player (I believe it’s correctly misspelled “playa,” but I don’t roll like that).

Crow always had a terrific voice but on her early albums didn’t always have the best control of it. By the time of Globe, she had matured into a great singer and this is one of her vocals I like best.

Pico “Trouble” from Dreaming Wide Awake by Lizz Wright.

Like most of her folk, gospel and soul-inspired music, “Trouble” has a low key way of achieving a certain loftiness about it. It starts with Wright’s empathetic, gentle vocal, and is perfectly supported by the sparse, efficient production, putting Wright’s rhythmic acoustic guitar up near the front. It’s a song that carries enough emotional feel to compel you to pay attentions to the lyrics, which is about appealing to a Higher Being to stay strong in the midst of despair. You then sense the added weightedness when the B-3 organ opens up in the chorus and the prayer is then made:

I’m gonna ride this pain like a wave
Lord, make me over I don´t wanna be afraid
And when my time is come and gone
I don´t wanna be the one who can´t let go

Inspirational, indeed.

Michael Jones “Gimme Shelter” from Twelve by Patti Smith.

While there are a few choices that Patti Smith made as to what songs to cover on her newest album, “Gimme Shelter,” is not one of them. Right from the opening chords, Patti makes this song something familiar and yet new, raw, and definitely hers. That’s not easy to do, especially when the song is so well known that to think of it is to immediately think of The Stones. And yet, Patti wraps her voice around the lyrics, and makes me forget for a while… and just close my eyes and enjoy myself. Great song on a damn good album.

Glen Boyd “Long Time Comin'” from Devils & Dust by Bruce Springsteen.

I know Springsteen has been showing up here quite a bit lately, and that it has also drawn out his more, umm “vocal detractors”. But I had to put this one up because there is a personal story attached to it. For me, Springsteen’s voice has always been one I’ve turned to as a source of comfort, in times both good and bad. Right now, times are pretty good for me, as I’ve returned to a great new job in my first love, doing direct sales in the record business…after a particularly bad period last year. For me, it feels like I’ve kind of come “home” after being away far too long.

And that to me is what this song–one of Springsteen’s best in my view–is all about. It’s really a song of affirmation, whether it be through overcoming the odds to persevere, or just rediscovering that place you’ve really belonged all along.

For me these lyrics really sum it up:

“Tonight I’m gonna get birth naked,
and bury my old soul,
and dance on it’s grave.”

The storytelling and overall lyrical imagery of Devils & Dust is nothing short of amazing anyway. But this one hits me particularly hard on a personal level in the place I uniquely live.

Connie Phillips “You Don’t Know Me” from Wanna Go Back by Eddie Money

When I first saw this album, I mistakenly believed it was going to be a “greatest hits” collection of Money’s songs, include the song of the same name. What it was, in fact, was a collection of classic rock songs.

The first single, “You Don’t Know Me” is one of my favorites from this album. A perfect fit for Money’s smooth, yet testosterone coarse voice, it’s a stunning rendition backed with a simple piano arrangement. The song is most famous for Ray Charles rendition and is as heart wrenching as it is simply beautiful.

If you love the classic songs rock music was formed on, you’ll want to check out this album and song.

Mary K. Williams: “Tessie” by The Dropkick Murphys

About 18 months ago I wrote an innocuous little review of The Dropkick Murphys’ release of The Warrior Code. I quite fell in love with the CD, but over time I’ve misplaced it. It was just recently that I had a renewed hankering for the sounds of TDM, caused in part because we just passed St. Patrick’s Day not long ago.

Also, I was delighted to find that “Shipping up to Boston” was part of the soundtrack for The Departed. Murphys Mojo to be sure! And maybe it was my imagination, but HBO had Fever Pitch showing a lot recently, could it be because of Spring Training? Now, my dear friend Josh had super words to say about John Fogarty’s “Centerfield”. And I agree.

But, since this is opening day of major league baseball, I felt the sounds of TDM’s “Tessie” would be more welcome than not, at least in Red Sox Nation!

About Josh Hathaway

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