Random tunes

One of my definitions of indulgence is spending the time to go through editing, sorting, and re-ordering my iTunes library. I know things are okay when I have the headspace to do that. It’s what I’m doing right now.

I have about 3,500 songs in my library, from classical to country and western (more country than western), from jazz to punk to heavy metal, and everything in between.

It’s surprising the simple joy I derive from this, though I gather it’s quite common. I can very easily wile away many hours at one sitting, and still have plans to do much more.

One of the pleasures is randomly selecting on music not heard for a while and playing it again.

Right now an old song from the mid-70’s is playing – Get Up And Dance by Supercharge. Hands up anyone who knows that song!

Not long ago I played what I reckon must be one of the greatest covers of all time. I reckon Marvin Gaye singing I Heard Through the Grapevine is probably number one, but Crooked Fingers do a wicked version of Solitary Man. It’s got a truly great arrangement, quite different to any other version you’ve heard, overlaid by the gravelly, lived in voice of the singer. This is my favourite version of what is a classic song.

A few months back when I was in the old job somehow we got to discussing what our karaoke songs are. I said this, Solitary Man. My supervisor, who I always clashed with, smirked audibly at that. I was taking the piss, but she appreciated it. Besides – I have been known to sing it (with gusto).

I’ve got some random stuff in my library too. There’s an excerpt from the great Danny Kaye movie The Court Jester which is a bunch of fun, and a few years back I found the theme song from Top Cat. It was one of my favourite cartoons growing up (they don’t make ’em like that anymore), and it’s a great little ditty.

Reminds me for years I’ve tried to get the original song for the TV series The Littlest Hobo. That was a great little show – a German shepherd, the hobo of the title, goes from town to town meeting with characters, largely kids, and playing pivotal role in making a tough situation better. Then he’d go off to the next town while the music played, a melancholy piece about never settling down. God, I remember I would have tears in my eyes by the end of most episodes because I loved that dog – and by extension all dogs – so damn much.

I think the series was from the sixties. There was a later series with a different song, but the original is much more poignant. If anyone knows where I can find it…

The other thing I have to admit to is that I was an ELO fan growing up, and still have a nostalgic fondness for their music. A New World Record is one of the first LP’s I ever bought, and it’s still a cracker. And on the follow-up album, Out of the Blue, there are still a bunch of songs I count among my favourites – say top 120. Sweet Talkin’ Woman is just a great pop song, then there’s Mr Blue Sky, and Strange Magic. None of their later stuff is cutting edge except perhaps for the orchestral sound, but gee it’s feel good stuff.

So many memories. One Christmas many moons ago my father bought a JVC Quadraphonic stereo, which was quite the big deal at the time. It was a particular sound system which separated out musical components into separate streams. There were albums made specifically for this sound system, and being members of the Doubleday music club mum would buy a few albums every month – she was a great music lover too (and I still have most of those albums now).

One such album was called Latin Festival, which had South American music, There were some great tunes on that LP, Brazil, and Malaguena particularly.

Sometime after I managed to convert those tunes into MP3 files, and they’re in my library too – a direct link to another time, another life. And still great music.

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