Music on the CD Player

Although this may be rather quaint in an era of iPods, MP3 players, and downloadable content, I still have a CD player in which I place five CDs and usually set to random play.  After work, I like to come home, turn on the CD player, lie flat on my back on the rug, and either have a power nap for a half hour, listen to the music, or drift into a kind of hypnagogic combination of the two.

Mostly I play rock or pop, although I do like some jazz and classical, and even country.  I play new finds sometimes that’ve been lauded in reviews on such sites as Metacritic, but often I like to listen to music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Why am I making a page about this?  I’m interested in discussion and comments about any of the music I’ve got on, or any other music it may remind you of. I’ve got a couple of good reference books: “musicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide” and the second edition of the “All-Time Top 1000 Albums”, not to speak of the entire Internet, to delve into some of the background if the whim takes me.

I tend to leave the same five on for awhile, until I get tired of them, or I buy a new one. So my selection may only change at random intervals.  Anyway, this is an experiment so here goes…

September 11/06

1. Hymns of the 49th Parallel, by k.d. lang

For those who don’t know her, k.d. lang began as a kind of country-punk singer who insisted she was the reincarnation of Patsy Cline.  Her voice is so good, she just might be.  On this album, which is a tribute to Canadian singer-songwriters (hence the name), she’s chosen many tunes which have meaning to me. They include Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush, Bruce Cockburn’s One Day I Walk, Joni Mitchell’s Jericho, and Leonard Cohen’s Bird on a Wire.

2. Highway Companion, by Tom Petty

This is the new Tom Petty album.  Apparently he’s said he won’t be touring any more, so who knows how many more albums there will be.  I like Tom Petty a lot, and although there isn’t any one song that pulls you along by the ear, there are many here that grow on me as I listen to it.  Jeff Lynne helped produce, of Electric Light Orchestra fame, and a few years ago, a collaborator with Petty, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison in the Travellin’ Wilburys.  As an aside, I’ve been looking around for Volume III (which was the second album) of the Travellin’ Wilburys and it’s hard to find.  How did it compare with the first, anybody? (The great Roy Orbison died after the first one.)

3. Films About Ghosts, the Best of Counting Crows

Counting Crows is a band that I don’t know a lot about other than they are originally from the San Francisco Bay area.  They have a distinctive sound and they rock – that’s usually good enough for me.  I bought one of their albums a couple of years ago, and on the strength of that, I got this one.  They cover Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” which I like.

4. Another Fine Day, by Golden Smog

This is a new band formed from members of the Jayhawks, Wilco and Soul Asylum, among others.  The Jayhawks to me were one of the finest bands of the 90s.  I have one album (Summerteeth) of Wilco’s I like, and I know nothing of Soul Asylum, which I should rectify.  I haven’t had a chance to give this a real good listen yet, but I’m enjoying what I’ve heard so far.

5. Tim O’Reagan, by Tim O’Reagan

This is another alumnus of the Jayhawks, the drummer.  One reviewer has said this album is more of a Tomorrow the Green Grass follow-up than how the Jayhawks actually did follow-up that great album.  It’s getting rave reviews.  Another one I am just starting to get to know.

6 Comments on “Music on the CD Player”

  1. bloglily Says:

    K.D. Lang and Tom Petty — I like both of them very much, for different reasons. I guess it’s obvious how that works. When I was in college, one of my best friends spent a lot of time perfectding a Tom Petty imitation that was so over the top it could make me laugh at even the slightest suggestion of that drawl/growl thing he does. And I once saw him sing with Stevie Nicks in San Francisco — which was pretty great: a chance for him to be courtly and she to be her wonderful self. I like the Counting Crows too– Me and Mr. Jones is a song I play all the time, “I wanna be Bob Dylan, Mr. Jones wants to be someone just a little more funky” really cracks me up.

    I’m glad there are new albums of K.D. Lang and Tom Petty and also looking forward to hearing some of numbers 4 and 5.

    i like this page, Mr. Fencer!

  2. fencer Says:

    Hey thanks for commenting… and inaugurating this little experiment.

    Yes, Petty’s Dylanesque drawl is just ripe for imitation or parody.

    I’ve become quite a fan of concert DVDs. I have a couple of Tom Petty’s which I like, and speaking of Stevie Nicks, I just watched a reunion concert of Fleetwood Mac’s from a few years ago on a recently purchased DVD (probably spend too much money on these things). What a great band, even on this occasion when at the beginning they all seem a little stiff, I guess given all the emotional turbulence over the years, until they start to warm to each other part way through. Lindsay Buckingham is a phenomenal guitarist. Stevie Nicks is such a dramatic thing… a great songwriter.

    I should modify my comments on The Golden Smog above. Apparently they get together every once in awhile and this isn’t their first album. A lot of catchy songs on this one. The band name is funny: it must be a take off on the “velvet fog” who is, I forget, Mel Torme or one of those guys.

  3. Eliza D Says:

    Hi – I didn’t notice this page before but it’s a lovely addition. I am not familiar with the albums mentioned and I think it’s great that you’re adventurous about new music. It’s expensive to “try” new music here in Malaysia so the radio is my best source for new songs and I try to channel surf when I’m in the mood for new stuff.

    I’m pretty eclectic where music is concerned and go through phases. I don’t take music that seriously, but what I do have is mostly a mix of pop (Madonna, Anastacia, Simply Red), rock (Bon Jovi – their older CDs, one Lenny Kravitz). There’s some jazz (Diana Krall, both Joss Stone albums – she is superb, Chet Baker) and some middle eastern music (compilations). I am considering Buble’s Swing CD plus Ms Krall’s new album, which gives you an idea of the phase I am in. I do lean towards populist music but am not averse to new sounds, though alternative/rave and a lot of rap totally escape my comprehension!

  4. fencer Says:

    Hi Eliza,

    I quite like Simply Red (I forget the lead singer’s name)… an impressive voice. Diana Krall is a British Columbia girl, you know. I seem to have moved away from jazz, though there was a time I listened to a lot of Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Pat Methaney…

    I’m afraid most of rap just seems like prison music to me… although there’s a very rare song or two that has more going for it.

    Have you ever heard of Sheila Chandra? Indian I think, she sings these haunting wordless songs over a steady drone. Like a river of sound with subtle currents.


  5. Eliza D Says:

    Never heard of her..but ..umm..sounds a little bit too zen for me. I love words and lyrics. Didn’t know that about Diana, Fencer, but I read a recent interview with her in the IHT and decided there and then I need to get her new album.

  6. qazse Says:

    Fencer, I just noticed this page. Mel Torme was the velvet fog. I thought it might be a reference to the Golden Gate Bridge. What are you listening to now?

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