I figure I'd better get my "Friday" Random Ten from last week out there before Friday this week!
Back to the Friday Random Ten. I did finally get a 512mb sD card for my Lyra MP3 player, so I added some more songs. I wish I could convert all the MP3 files that I recorded via Rhapsody in one easy step, to smaller MP3 files, though. I played with a bunch of MP3 encoders, but none were easy enough for me to use. I think a simple 96k stereo recording would work just fine for an exercise "tape", which shrinks the files by half or more. And there is a setting in Rhapsody to convert to this when copying to my MP3 player, but I think it is only invoked if the original song is in a format the player doesn't support.
Anyway, back to my random walk down memory lane, where I pull out a handful of CDs from my CD case and cherry pick my favorite songs from them.
- Pink Floyd - "The Great Gig in the Sky" (Dark Side of the Moon ) : Man oh man, the stories I could tell... I had a friend in high school who was a huge Pink Floyd fan. Had all their albums, played them incessantly. I liked them well enough, but this was the killer album of my high school years. I can't believe it was released 5 years before my graduation, as it was still an important album. It spent 1,350 weeks on The Billboard 200, 741 on the top 40 list. I also have the SACD version, which is really an amazing listening experience. I think I'm going to have to rip the entire CD, as I don't think it can be listened to standalone. This song gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it, with the plaintive wail of session singrt Clare Torry and Gilmour's slide guitar driving the song home. According to the review on Rhapsody, it's ironic that Syd Barret, the original creative force behind Pink Floyd, was kicked out, in part, because of a desire to add a female singer and saxophones...
- Patti Smith - "People Have The Power" (Dream of Life ) : Rhapsody gives this a genre of "Old School Punk". Excellent, progressive rock with a political bent - my favorite combination.
- Fine Young Cannibals - "Johnny Come Home" (Fine Young Cannibals ) : Combine the English Beat with a soulful singer, and you get FYC. This is their debut album and is chock full of great songs, including two versions each of "Johnny Come Home" and "Suspicious Minds", both great songs to add to my workout MP3 player. Listening to this CD for the first time in ages, I'm reminded of just how many solid songs are on it. "Funny How Love Is" also wants to be cranked to 11.
- Big Pig - "I Can't Breakaway" (Bonk ) : Big splash made by a big percussion band from Australia. Remember Big Pig, with the leather aprons and pounding drums? Hit it big with this song, but then disappeared from the musical map. One of my girls' favorite songs.
- Richard Barone - "River to River" (Primal Dream ) : Leader of one of my favorite New Wave guitar pop groups of the 80s, The Bongos, Barone's first solo CD, Cool Blue Halo is an all-time top favorite pick of mine, but this followup effort is seriously lacking in originality. This is probably one of the first times I've listened to this CD since I got it and was immediately unimpressed. This song comes closest to re-imagining The Bongos, who's Numbers with Wings ELP will be one of the first I'll do when I get my vinyl-to-CD effort going, as it has some incredible guitar pop. I see that The Bongos' first two albums were combined into one CD, but the only place I can find this CD (Half.com) is asking US$80 for it!
- Modern English - "Melt With You" (After The Snow ) : A perfect slice of New Wave pop heaven. Hard to believe it never got higher than 76 on the Billboard charts, as it remains a song nearly everyone would recognize. This is probably the only song on the CD I've listened to, although the full CD gets some pretty good reviews.
- Stevie Ray Vaughn - "Ain't Gone 'n' Give Up On Love" (Soul to Soul ) : Gone too soon, Stevie Ray was a giant among blues guitar players. I'll never forget one time my teen-aged sister came back from a Police concert. I asked her who opened for them. She said she didn't know but it was "some guy who played lots of guitar." Well, it turned out to be Stevie Ray, and I would have wanted to see him rather than the Police! I have a tape of a B.B. King blues special he was on and it is one of my most treasured possessions.
- Seal - "Crazy" (Just Say Anything ) : Volume 5 of the Just Say Yes series of compilations, this one is actually pretty weak, as you can see by my pick of this Seal mega-hit as the sample from it. The only other interesting song is the low-key "That's Entertainment" cover by Morrissey, but I'll stick with the original, thank you very much. Even a Danielle Dax song isn't enough to rescue this disc from obscurity.
- Talk Talk - "Such A Shame" (It's My Life ) : The group's second album, much more "power pop" than their later, more moody albums, one of which I've already talked about. This has some hook-laden songs, including their big hit, "It's My Life". This song is a solid addition to their canon.
- Kate Bush - "Sat in your lap" (The Dreaming ) : the predecessor to Kate's smash hit album, Hounds of Love, The Dreaming is a solid, very Kate Bush-like album in itself. Her first time wearing the producer's hat, she really tries plenty of different styles and sounds. I love the pounding percussion in this song. There's plenty to like on this CD, including the mysterious CD cover, where she's passing some sort of ring lying on her tongue to her lover.