Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Hump Day Shuffle: 1979

For the first installment of the Catfish Vegas shuffle project: songs from the year I started raising hell:

1. The Eagles - The Sad Café - Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (originally on The Long Run)
Wow. Surely the Shuffle gods are using this song to clearly demonstrate that I'm playing this game by the rules - hands off, no cherry-picking. Like with most of the Eagles songs, it's mostly harmless. Just limit your dosage.

2. Bruce Springsteen - Roulette (original version) - Best of the Lost Masters
Ah, the bootlegs show up right away. The first I heard this song was on the Tracks boxed set, which was supposed to be a definitive statement (featuring much cleaned up sound) and make people forget about all those old bootlegs. Trouble is, this version is better, and it's precisely the rawness that makes it so.

3. The Clash - Lost in the Supermarket - London Calling
The first top-notch back-to-back of this project. This was one of the Clash songs that really confused me when I first started listening to Story of The Clash. It's so clean and catchy, so un-punk, that it just fried my expectations. Just one of millions of lessons against taking expectations into new musical discoveries, I 'spose.

4. The Jam - Butterfly Collector - The Sound of the Jam (originally B-Side to Strange Town)
The first of what I'm sure are a great many songs I'll confess to listening to for the first time during this project. No wonder these blokes are so well-regarded. This fits right in between Joy Division and Elvis Costello.

5. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Even The Losers - Greatest Hits (originally on Damn The Torpedoes)
One of rock 'n' roll's all-time greatest opening verses:
"Well, it was nearly all summer we sat on your roof
Yeah, we smoked cigarettes and we stared at the moon
And Id show you stars you never could see
Baby, it couldn't have been that easy to forget about me"

6. Michael Jackson - Don't Stop Til You Get Enough - Off The Wall
Thankfully shuffle tossed on one of the hits I actually know. This is dance music in the waning days of the disco era, from a wunderkid who would go on to be known as one of history's strangest human beings. Did anybody see it coming that far back?

7. Allman Brothers - Crazy Love - A Decade of Hits (originally on Enlightened Rogues)
Southern guitar boogie that I never quite jumped on. I dig the more laid-back, sing-along hits from the Allmans. They were just never big enough in rural Arizona to make much of a dent in my teen years.

8. Anita Ward - Ring My Bell - Pure Disco, Vol. 2 (originally 1979 single)
Man, I only really know this disco standard from the DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince cover version on 1991's Homebase (wouldn't it be great if that showed up on shuffle too?)

9. Billy Clone and the Same - Don't Look Back - Arizona Sounds Vol. 3 KDKB
An early Bruce Connole project, I got this one from the treasure trove that is AZ Local. Proof that even punk and new wave in Arizona had a distinctly strange skew, a feature that defines bands in the arid madlands to this day. This song is slower and more countrified (right up until a saxophone solo swoops in outta nowhere) than the band's X and Y record released the same year.

10. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - You Tell Me - Damn The Torpedoes
One of dozens of reasons to break off the Greatest Hits Highway and dig into the deep catalog of an artist like Petty. This song a similar feel to "Breakdown," with more of groove than his sing-along classics.

(A note: I've done my best to tag songs on greatest hits collections properly, to reflect the year it was first released, not when the record companies money grubbing repackaging hit the shelves. In the event that songs crop up in a wrong year, I'll skip them. Those will be the only skips. And I'll note which album the shuffle delivers. For example, "Even The Losers" in this shuffle came from the Greatest Hits, even though I have Damn The Torpedoes as well.)

Bruce Springsteen - Roulette (original version)
Tom Petty - Even The Losers (live 1980-03-06, London)
Billy Clone and the Same - Don't Look Back

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