From sweet and smooth classics, to new names, to old names with new music...the focus here, is to shine a little light on some damn fine music.

I'll find it. You can listen, review, or tell me I wouldn't know good music if it kicked me in the ass. I personally don't give a shit.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Just Me and My Tunes...and a Deserted Island

This morning, friends of this blog, rock band Survivor asked a question we've all heard over the years: What album would you take if you were on a deserted island, and it was the only music you could hear for the rest of your life.

When I first thought about this question, it must have been thirty years ago, and I narrowed it down to a few. There were some fun ones like Help from The Beatles, a few like Traffic's John Barleycorn Must Die, which is almost perfect except it's a little short. If I have to listen to it forever...I need more than six songs. The album I chose back then would not be what I would pick today. The reason for that is because it was so popular and it has been played so often, well maybe thirty years is a bit too long to listen to just one album. But my original pick back then was the debut album by Boston. Apparently I was not alone in thinking this was a great album, as it became the highest selling debut album in US history. From the first licks of  "More Than A Feeling" to the end of "Take Me Home Tonight", there is not a bad note on the album.

But for this exercise, here is my criteria for deserted island listening: Good melodies, good hooks, and songs I can sing along with. If I'm alone on this island, I'll be singing at the top of my lungs...and thinking I'm not too bad. These songs wouldn't necessarily be my favorites, just ones I could stomach for eternity.

But back to the present choices. Well I decided to change it up a bit. While I still don't know where the energy for powering the music would come from, I think we have moved from albums to CDs to iPods/iPhones, etc. How many people beside me actually buy albums anymore? Exactly.

So here's my idea. I'm going to narrow my choice down to an even dozen...songs. Not as easy as you might think. How do you choose one Beatles song, or Springsteen? I'm a freakin' Jersey girl for crying out loud. You can't, but I'll give it a shot.

In no particular order:

"Layla"...Original version. Love the acoustic, but the sweet guitar and piano solo...can't beat it. I could listen to Layla every day in my life and never tire of it.

"Mexico"  James Taylor. Has all my requirements and JT is singing. He could sing the Bill of Rights and make me cry.

"Candy's Room" Springsteen. So hard to pick one from Bruce, but Max's drums and the lyrics...try this on:

"She says, Baby if you wanna be wild,
you got a lot to learn, close your eyes,
Let them melt, let them fire,let them burn"

Tension, heat and the drums...perfect.

"Glad" Traffic. The first song I played on the first CD player I ever bought. Nobody does the keys like Winwood and the sax...just a great instrumental.

"The Way You Look Tonight" Sinatra. A girl does not live on rock alone. Balance, baby. You've got to taste it all, and no one did it like the other Jersey boy. It's also perfect for a tropical least I'm assuming it's a tropical locale. It would really suck to be stuck on a cold island.

"Blue on Black" Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Need something a little bluesy. This fits the bill, great music, lyrics, and vocals.

"Blue on black, Tears on a river
Push on a shove, It don't mean much
Joker on jack, Match on a fire
Cold on ice, A dead man's touch"

"Ooh, Baby Baby" Smokey. Picking one from Smokey is like picking your favorite can't. Gotta taste 'em all. But this is just so sweet.

"The Way I Feel" Robert Plant. From Now and Zen, sensuous, mysterious and Plant at a really good time in his career.
"The stranger is too perfect,
take my breath away"

And I love the lyrics.

"Southern Cross" Crosby,Stills & Nash. Also has an ocean theme, but not the reason I picked it. Beautiful lyrics, the harmonies are spot-on and I could sing it forever.

"Eight Days A Week" Beatles. I'm thinking after being alone for a while, I might need a song to pick me up. If I need to pick one Beatles tune, this has harmonies, a great hook and it makes me happy.

"Oh Holy Night" Jennifer Hudson. Since I will be spending  a Christmas or twenty on this island, I need a little Christmas carol. This is my favorite. It makes me cry, which will be what I will be doing if I am spending twenty or so Christmas nights alone.

So as this little exercise began with a prompt from some musical friends, and because I'm the kind of girl who always dances with her date, let me choose one of their songs to come along on the journey. I am torn between two, but will go with the one with the heavier beat, better hook and the one which keeps my feet moving..."Caught in the Game."

As fun as this was, there are still too many artists and genres omitted. If I'm stuck on a deserted island, instead of an album, I think I'd rather have someone else along for the ride. Preferably someone with a guitar...who can sing.

Now all we need are some cocktails.



  1. we have had this debate many times with my buddies(drunk or stoned).We debated music,books,women,games,drugs,booze&other things a growing boy needs.Kath used the Kobiashi Maru,(she ceated).Hard to decide.It came down to 3 choices,Allman Bros-live at Fillmore,Pink Floyd the wall&Jethro Tull-Heavy Horses.Tull-heavy horses is my humble choice

  2. honorary mentions on subject-Beethoven-triple concerto,Tchikovski-1812 overture&Carl Orff-caramina burana.Kat challenged me to come up with a dozen individual songs.Will be tough

    1. it is tough, especially when you like all types of music. the point was to start a discussion and judging from the one between the group assembled here, it's working.

  3. Hi again from England.

    As long as the island has a better climate than here
    I would settle for anything from Canned Heat thru' to the Allman Brothers...

    But please - no "techno" stuff.... I would want real music !!

    All the best


  4. hi ishmael, good to hear from you again. i agree, no techno. canned heat is an interesting choice. we are still discussing this subject here. friends are spending days now, attempting to come up with just a dozen songs. I wrote it in 3 1/2 hours, so I missed so many possible choices. just happy, i don't need to really have to choose.

  5. this was very tough.left out motown,blues,reggae,footstumping blue grass,zydeco&others.came up with a list i can listen to over&over(think that was the idea).will cheat,made it a bakers we go in no particular order-Orff-caramina burana,Beethoven-triple concerto(sophie mutter,mark zeltser,yo yo ma&karejan conducting,Simon&Garfunkel-bridge over troubled watter,Clapton-layla,Mountain-nantucket sleighride,Pink Floyd echoes(live at Pompeii),Traffic-low spark,Allman bros-jessica,Doobie bros-long train runnin(live at wolf trap,Journey-wheel in the sky,Clapton&Winwood-little wing,Jethro tull-thick as a brick,Beatles-in my life.was very tough.

  6. Hi again...

    While my school mates were going on & on about getting 'Pepper' in 1967 - I had just got the Heat's first album..... a couple of moons later, I made a trip up to London & they became the first band I ever saw in concert.

    As I type, in front of me on the wall units, I have about 20 Heat Cd's & I still play them to this day...... I wonder how many of my school friends are still playing 'Pepper' ?!

    Life goes on....

    Take care


  7. i just love that story. i love hearing about global influences. in an interview i did with finnish musician esa linna, he talked about being influenced by both alice cooper and earl scruggs. sometimes the world isn't as big as we think. thanks for sharing that.