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9:46 a.m. - November 21, 2006
I Worry That This Mix Essay Will Bore You
You know, a few people in my life have said to me, "You worry too much."

Well, I know I do. I can't help it. Maybe it's selfish, like I'm the pigtailed girl in the choir where "it's all about Mi! Mi! Mi!" Because you know, people make decisions in their life based on if I do or don't do something - right?

Of course not - normally there's a good reason for a change or alteration of plans and it's not anything I've said or done at all. But at times, I go into to total freak, panic mode, like if Ed Grimley was going to see Pat Sajak, I must say! Totally decent!

So then my friends have to tell me, "Smed, you worry too damn much!"

And I have to agree with them.

Liz, bless her heart, also has this trait. Somehow, someway (because fate loves to play games) we tend to not be in 'worry-too-much' mode at the same time. Otherwise, we'd probably be the basis for a sitcom called "The Fretters" starring Virginia Madsen and some Baldwin-or-another.

As is usual in my life, I am making a mix for someone. This person has recently become pretty close to me, because we're both kind of messed up in the head I think. Or something. Anyway, ever since we got back from Oklahoma she's been kind of a rock for various reasons, and well, it's time to reward her and her beloved hubby with some great tunes.

Then plan is to mail them by the end of November, and I'm going to write that down because I've been tardy on my mailings lately. Sigh.

So to go along with the worry theme, here are 20 tunes on this mix of 104 tunes, and well, what worries me about putting these songs on a disc. Ready, and away we go.

1. Groovy Tuesday - The Smithereens. From their classic first album Especially For You, this is a perfect little pop-rock song with a definite sixties flair, much like the Smithereens themselves. The change from the chorus to the bridge is sudden and a bit jarring, but it works. It's just a perfect tune. Worry: That people will claim that I set up this 'random' view this way, since I'm posting it on a Tuesday.

2. Tara / I Like You / Carmalina - The Pursuit of Happiness. Off their last record, which is about as hard to find as Plutonium in the Earth's crust, this actually isn't presented as a trio, but I joined the three songs together when I ripped the disc onto iTunes. The songs bled into each other as a sort of medley, but the stops and starts weren't clean on the tracks, as you could tell. Anyway, it's three fantastic songs with great harmonies and clean power pop. Worry: - Only two of the three songs will suit the listener, or someone will not get the humor of "I Like You", with lines such as "My friends and family give you a"

3. Outshined - Soundgarden. What a classic riff. What a classic song. What a classic record. All you can do with this one is just crank this mother up loud, loud, loud! And tell the neighbors to go kiss off. Worry: - Many people may already have this in their collection.

4. I Hope You're Feeling Better - Santana. From Abraxas, this is one of the proper rock songs on that album instead of a Latin incursion. It has a heavy riff, with some great organ work (and soulful vocals) by Greg Rollie. Carlos plays a hella guitar and well, it's a perfectly fine rock song that got buried on an album. Worry: - The production is a bit distorted at times, and some snobby audiophiles may sniff at it. To heck with them, though.

5. Lunatic Fringe - Red Rider. This is one of THOSE songs. It wasn't on the radio, at least not top-40. Yet it was on MTV pretty well constantly for a while during my high school years. This group was a bunch of deadly serious Canadians, let by Tom Cochrane, who released that odious car commercial song "Life Is A Highway" a few years ago. This is much, much better than that. It sets a striking mood, and the dynamics of the song are quite interesting, with the solo being played by an amplified, biting, and distorted pedal steel. Worry: - It takes a while to get going and the listener would not be patient to let the song get going before hitting fast forward.

6. Don't Be Taken In - The Dave Clark Five. Sure, they were somewhat lightweight, and really didn't take any chances at all. (They went psychedelic, finally, about 1968, just a wee bit too late.) Yet, they were pretty darn good at what they did - crafting simple pop songs like this. The bass of the DC5 was always very bottom heavy, and this is true in this song as you can hear it under the piano quite well. Worry: - Not everyone will get the simple charm of a song like this and concentrate on the fact that it's a moldy oldy album cut that they don't know from 1965.

7. Bulbs - Van Morrison. For a while, Van Morrison was an unstoppable artist. Veedon Fleece is probably his last truly essential album, and this kicked off side two of that collection with great aplomb. This is just a tasty and up-tempo song with a fantastic, yet simple, arrangement with a tasty guitar line and neat bass underpinning. And no one can "la-di-la-la-la" like Mr. Morrison. Worry: - Sometimes Van Morrison can get a bit dense for people, and this can be a dense song. There's a lot going on as the music and lyrics do interplay quite well. You have to pay attention.

8. Salt Lick - ZZ Top. This was the first official release by ZZ Top. I even think this was the B-side to "Miller's Farm", but it's a tasty, tasty song. It's a bit different than most ZZ Top, as an organ is quite prominent (reminiscent of Billy Gibbons' Thirteenth Floor Elevators) but you can tell that it's ZZ Top from how Gibbons plays guitars and the chugging bass working with the drums. Worry: - Again, this is an independent single and the sound is pretty distorted and transfers to MP3 don't really help that sound. Listeners will have to work through that, but they should be able to.

9. Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt - We Are Scientists. A 'modern' rock song, in that it incorporates some dance and new wave elements into the post-modern rock stew that evolved from the grunge era. And this works, because this feels fresh, alive and vibrant, unlike a lot of the bands that have seemingly "pre-processed" sounding hits. (Cartel, I'm looking RIGHT at you). This has a great energy to it. Worry: - Some people may think THIS is derivative. And sure it pays homage to its antecedents. But it's a great tune.

10. Groove Me - King Floyd. A classic slice of early 70's soul, with a great bass part that contributes to the groove, a sparse yet tremendous arrangement, and impeccable vocals from Mr. Floyd himself. I don't know if anyone listening to this couldn’t enjoy the slinky groove and not start to move. Worry: - I overhype the song and people just go, "Meh, it's OK."

11. Flute Thing - Seatrain. Something that I just happened to come across thanks to Rhino's great What It Is compilation. A lot of songs on that compilation are funky little instrumentals that feature a flute as the focal point. And the flute doesn't sound so incongruous in funky jazz type motifs than it does with Jethro Tull. This works because it's funky and the flute line is strong, but they give plenty of space to other instruments. Worry: - Some people can't deal with instrumentals, right Serena (and yes, one day, she WILL update again.

12. Give Him A Great Big Kiss - The Shangri-Las. I picked this song basically because I can definitely see her singing this about her husband, based on the writings that I've read in several places about how wonderful he is. I love to read about people who are madly in love, and it reminds me of the potential that Liz and I have together. Sigh. Worry: - Some people think the talking parts are campy and unnecessary. Some people are wrong.

13. The Girls Want To Be With The Girls - The Talking Heads. This is a live version, from The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads, and it's a basic, simple version of a very neat, yet quirky song. Well, of course, it's early Talking Heads, so it HAS to be neat and quirky by definition, right? Worry: - David Byrne's vocals are a bit odd and strange and may put people off.

14. Portions For Foxes - Rilo Kiley. Oh, I'm bad news. Baby, I'm bad news. Jenny Lewis is a chanteuse, for sure, and the band is hot and tight. This song is just pretty well damn near perfect. Lyrically it's got everything together and fresh and unique. Musically, it works, for sure. It should have been a hit. Worry: - Some people don't like Ms. Lewis' voice, though I think it's a fine, fine instrument.

15. New Kind Of Kick - The Cramps. All you need is a couple of guitars, a simple drum kit, a bass, three chords (maybe four) and a deranged man singing about a "new kind of kick". Raw, unpolished, and vibrant. That's rock and roll, babe. Worry: - Young pups just don't understand why the Cramps and music like that needed to be made. Sense of history, people.

16. Volcano Girls - Veruca Salt. Oh, sure, they were a bit overhyped thanks to "Seether", though the first record has some pretty good moments. But Eight Arms To Hold You had some good moments too that were ignored, thanks to some backlash. Pity. That led to squabbles and that led to an implosion. But this is a kick-butt song that deserves to be blasted as loud as possible. Worry: - Some people won't appreciate the gratuitous cop from "Glass Onion" by the Beatles.

17. Point And Shoot - Yo La Tengo. It's jazzy, yet noisy. A neat piano line is offset by distorted fuzzed up guitar and farfisa accents. The lead vocals are processed while the backing vocals are nice and sweet. It's really an enigmatic song, but it works on every level. And of course, the album title I Am Not Afraid Of You, And I Will Beat Your Ass is amongst the best ever. Worry: - The strange mix of styles will jar and offset some listeners who need to be coddled.

18. In Your Mind - Built To Spill. Built To Spill's records are always filled with grandiose songs that feature intriguing song structures and guitar freakouts. Even though this is a relatively short song, it IS grandiose in its own way and the guitar solo, as always, is amazing. There's so much going on in this song, it's hard to describe. Worry: - There's so much going on in this song, it's overwhelming.

19. Hash Pipe - Weezer. Yes, Weezer was and is a band that I listed as overrated , but yes, once in a while I like a song by them. And this is one of them. It rocks harder than most of their stuff, which is probably why I like it. Worry: - That people will think I'm going emo.

20. Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then) - The Decemberists. I downloaded this song, and the first time I listened to it, it really struck me. It's a beautiful song with pretty harmonies between Laura Viers and Colin Meloy. But the beautiful song has some pretty dark lyrics. Black dark. Worry: - Lines like "But you are in the ground with the wolves and the weevils / All will chew on your bones so dry" won't sit well with people no matter how beautiful the melody is.

Well, there you go. Now I worry that I've gone on too long. I worry that my readership has dropped by three in the past three months. I worry that you'll just pull the plu...


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