Tuesday, May 29, 2007

20 airplane discs

Because, in this one way at least, I'm extremely spoiled, I will be accompanying my parents and bro to South Africa for two weeks starting June 16.

Needless to say, I'm rather excited about this, but as my parents keep reminding me, it does mean two rather long flights (like 17 hours each, I think), so I'm gonna have to find some serious timekillers.

I've already settled on my plane book, Monica Ali's "Brick Lane" (yes, I know, I'm more than a bit behind.) And, since I'm also always way behind on technology too, I'm still a CD person, and have managed to snag a portable CD player for the voyage.

Here are the 20 discs I'm planning to take with me, though that is, of course, subject to change in the next few weeks.

Ween, Live at Stubbs 7/2000
Any fan of Ween (and if you're not one, I have to ask why not) should get this one, if you can still get your hands on it. It's just a two-hour party featuring all of Ween's best stuff played to a crowd that was really into the groove. And, this being Ween, there's a third disc with one half-hour song titled "Lick My Love Pump." That one you can avoid and not miss anything.

The Best of Chuck Brown
I actually stumbled upon Chuck Brown through a duet disc he did with the great jazz singer Eva Cassidy called "The Other Side." In his own right, Mr. Brown is the king of D.C.'s go-go scene. Nelly once called his "Bustin Loose" the best beat he had ever heard, and I have to agree with the man there.

Mary Lou Lord, Live City Sounds
Sure, recording herself playing in the subway was a big gimmick, but I'm willing to forgive when the results are this beautiful. The covers are the best stuff here, especially "Thirteen" and "1952 Vincent Black Lightning."

Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins, Rabbit Fur Coat
Like all male fans of indie music, I'm simply smitten with Rilo Kiley's Jenny Watson, and this solo record is as fun as anything she's ever done with the band.

Carolyn Mark and her roomates present a tribute to Robert Altman's Nashville
By all accounts, this should never have worked. As the title implies, alt-country hipster Mark assembled all her friends to record all the songs from Altman's best flick. They all clearly got into the spirit of the project, and the results are surprisingly good.

Wig in a Box - Songs from and Inspired by Hedwig and the Angry Inch
The original soundtrack to John Cameron Mitchell's crazy movie is good in itself, but this is one of the few all-star tributes that makes it even better. You may think you're prepared for the pure-pop sensation of the Polyphonic Spree doing the title track or They Might Be Giants on "The Long Grift," but it will definitely surprise you if you've never heard it.

Goodie Mob, Soul Food
It's probably rather unseemly that I first started listening to hip-hop when I was 30 years old, but that's what happened. When I moved down to Macon, I found it was the best thing coming out of my little corner of the world, and this CD from Cee-Lo and his former Goodie Mob mates is just about as good as it gets.

Drive-By Truckers, Southern Rock Opera
I'm still ashamed that my brother had to call me from Minnesota to hip me to this sensation in my own backyard. I've been hooked ever since I first played this two-disc set that's sort of the story of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and have seen many incredible live Truckers shows since.

Rodney Crowell, The Houston Kid
As far as Texas twang-pop goes, it doesn't get any better than Rodney Crowell. If I'm not mistaken, this is the middle disc in a trilogy, but it's the only one I've managed to acquire from the former Mr. Rosanne Cash.

Alejandro Escovedo, Rhapsody
Mr. Escovedo is apparently as healthy as can be expected now, and the world is certainly a better place for it. It was hard to pick only one of his discs, but this one from 2001 just perfectly encapsulates what he's all about.

David Banner, Mississippi: The Album and Certified
When I sent these two rap albums to my brother, though I think he liked them, his first response what that it's "awfully bleak." He's right at that, but Mr. Banner, who essentially played himself in Craig Brewer's "Black Snake Moan," is the king of all Dirty South rappers for my money.

Steve Earle, Jerusalem
I think it might have been because of all the hoopla surrounding that terrible John Walker Lindh song, but it took me more than a year to get into this one. Now, however, it's just about my favorite Steve Earle album, with the top track being "What's a Simple Man to Do."

Hip Hop Forever III - compiled and mixed by DJ Jazzy Jeff
It's easy to forget (as I did) that Will Smith's former sidekick was and still is a real DJ, and a great one at that. As the title implies, here he takes some of his favorite hip-hop tracks and weaves them together for a party that never stops.

Amadou and Mariam, Dimanche a Bamako
I guess it's appopriate that I bring one African disc, even if it's by this blind couple from Mali rather than anyone from South Africa. If you can get past the fact that this one is mostly in French, it's infectiously pure pop with a great African beat.

Atmosphere, You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having
Though he's surely doing fine without the acclaim, this Minneapolis rapper should definitely be one of the most popular around by now. I've heard some lame critics call him "emo" (whatever that means), but the leader of the Rhymesayers collective is as tough as anyone, and this is his best work yet.

Cee-lo Green ... is the Soul Machine
He may not be able to decide if he wants to be a rapper or a soul singer, but Mr. Green, who you may all know as one half of Gnarls Barkley, is a master at both. He collaborates with T.I., Timbaland, Ludacris and others on this, his best solo disc.

Geto Boys, The Resurrection
My former fellow cubicle slave Dan Maley, who I believe once had the honor of interviewing Bushwick Bill, once hailed the Geto Boys as "the Ramones of rap." I can see that, since they are very funny guys who just happen to like rapping about guns and drugs.

Soundtrack, The Ladykillers
I liked this Coen bros. remake a whole lot more than most people I know, and I like the soundtrack even more. It mixes hip-hop from the likes of the Nappy Roots and Little Brother with great gospel music. An odd mix, but a great one too.

Eva Cassidy, Live at Blues Alley
In exchange for a copy of the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe's "Elizabethtown," which is loads better than the movie, I sent this to a frequent and always welcome visitor to this site, J. Marquis, who said both he and his wife like it. Cassidy, for anyone who doesn't know, was a D.C. jazz singer who died of cancer way before her time. This live set serves as a fitting tribute to her life.

Dead Prez, Revolutionary but Gangsta
Though it was packed with hip-hop superstars, the show was stolen at "Dave Chappelle's Block Party" by this L.A. duo. Rap with a conscience just doesn't get any better.

So, there you have it. Because I'm not remotely averse to burning CDs for people I like, I'll make this offer. Leave me your e-mail address in the comments and I will send you my street address (I'd rather not just give it out to the masses.) Then, for anyone who mails me a blank disc (or more than one) with a request from this list, I'll gladly burn it for you and send it back. Piracy? Yes, but I buy way too many CDS, so I think I should be able to share them if I want to. Peace out.


jeremy said...

I just finished burning my entire CD collection to my hard drive. It was so freeing to box them all up and put them in storage. I'm currently on a mission to convert my VHS collection to DVD via my Netflix subscription and DVD burner (shh! don't tell anyone).
I can't wait to get rid of all that VHS.
Oh, but the main reason I'm commenting today is cuz I saw Knocked Up this weekend. I don't want to make your expectations too high, but I think you're really going to love it.

jeremy said...

OH! And one more thing . . . can you name a movie starring Jenny Watson?

Reel Fanatic said...

I don't think you could raise my expectations too high for this one, Jeremy ... I didn't realize until seeing the commercial that two Judd Apatow TV alums, Jason Segal and Jay Baruchel, are both in the movie in supporting roles .. I'm afraid I can't name a movie with Jenny Watson, so please enlighten me (before I cheat and go peek at IMDB)

Reel Fanatic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nell Minow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nell Minow said...

"Wig in a Box" and anything by Eva Cassidy are among my very, very favorites. I hope you have seen the documentary "Follow My Voice" about the making of "Wig in the Box;" if not; add it to that long Netflix queue!

(Sorry for the deletion -- early morning typo in the first attempt.)

jeremy said...

The Wizard starring Fred Savage also stars Jenny Watson. Trippy, huh?
And, I was alerted to this site today, which I'm sure you'll appreciate.

Anonymous said...

I think it's about time for an Ipod wouldn't you say? All your music in one place no matter where you are (home,car,plane,ect...), maybe Santa claus can bring you one this year.

Reel Fanatic said...

I hadn't heard of that documentary, Nell, but it's definitely on my list now! ... That record is one that I can just listen to again and again ... And thanks for the link, Jeremy ... I'm gonna watch it during my lunch break. ... As for the ipod, it is definitely time, but I don't even have a cellphone, so who knows when I'll ever get around to the ipod

Beth said...

But now you can get a phone that's also an MP3 player! Two birds with one stone!

Of course, you wouldn't get getting an iPod, which is the gold standard, but if you're gonna be logging that much time on planes, it's about time to invest in digital music technology. Much easier than dealing with CDs and batteries.

Sounds like a fab trip, though!

Reel Fanatic said...

It definitely is high time for me to do that, Beth, but I just blew my digital budget for the short term on a fab digital camera

J. Marquis said...

Keith- I've been a Trucker fan ever since Southern Rock Opera came out. I've seen them four times here in Seattle. Before the the 2006 show I ran into them at a bar and visited with them. Seemed like really good folks.

They remind me of Skynrd but a lot smarter...

J. Marquis said...

Beth- I gotta say, you're pretty cute.

Reel Fanatic said...

Though I've been to many Truckers shows, Mr. Marquis, I've never had the pleasure of hanging out with any of the guys or one girl .. I did, however, interview Mike Cooley once on the phone, and do have to say he's an awfully cool dude ... I just hope the departure of Jason Isbell won't mean the end of easily one of my favorite bands

Eaglewing said...

Alright, some Steve Earle in the shuffle. That's not a bad album - I love the 'I Remember You' duet with EmmyLou Harris. And the title track is pretty good too. Of course, my favorite Earle tune would be "All My Life" from Transcedental Blues. I think I would have worn that one out if not for the MP3 age.

Reel Fanatic said...

Transcendental Blues is definitely another great Steve Earle album, Eaglewing ... I'm fairly certain I have all his studio albums, and listen to them often

Chalupa said...

Nice to see you're a fan of Hedwig too!