Welcome to another new feature on the blog: Desert Island Discs! In the spirit of the long-running BBC program, I’ll be asking my friends and fellow bloggers to send me the 8 tracks they couldn’t live without. I thought I’d start things off by sharing my own…
1) Atlantic City by Bruce Springsteen… This might be my favorite song of all time. It’s everything I want in a song and I’m never NOT in the mood to hear it. “Now our luck may have died and our love may be cold, but with you forever I’ll stay.” <—- Kills me. Every. Single. Time.
2) Bring It On Home To Me by Sam Cooke… Is there a better Sam Cooke song than this? Not if you ask me. From the first notes of the piano my head is swaying and I get lost in Sam’s soulful voice. His girl can do him all kinds of wrong and he still wants her back. We’ve all been there, Sam. (PS. Betty Harris has a shoulder for you…)
3) Cry to Me performed by Betty Harris… As far as I’m concerned, the female soul singer buck stops with Betty Harris. Excuse my language, but she sings the absolute shit out of this song. If I could sing one song well, this would be it. (I can’t, for the record. But I sure do try.)
4) Don’t Think Twice it’s All Right (demo version) by Bob Dylan… There are about a million versions of this song, and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard them all. But this (THIS!) is the best version. I promise. It’s so raw and simple and just perfect. “I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind / You could have done better but I don’t mind / You just kinda wasted my precious time / But don’t think twice, it’s all right.” Perhaps the most poetic FU of all time.
5) Feelin’ Good performed by Nina Simone… Please tell me I’m not the only one who spent many a morning in her 20s singing this in front of the bathroom mirror. It’s the ultimate pick me upper, which might come in handy if I really was stuck on an island forever.
6) Let It Be by The Beatles… I prayed a lot when I was a wee lass, like a good Catholic school girl should, but found I didn’t quite relate to God or Jesus, so I would ask them to “put Mary on” (ha!) and she and I would chat about stuff. So when I was old enough to understand the lyrics of this song I was like, “Mother Mary comes to me, too!” It became my anthem for coping with my parents’ divorce, and it still makes me feel better when I find myself in times of trouble.
7) Swept Away by The Avett Brothers… Obviously.
8) Tonight Will Be Fine performed by Teddy Thompson… I love Leonard Cohen, but I have to be a bad music snob and admit that I like other people’s versions of his songs better than I like the originals. No song is that more true for than this version of Tonight Will Be Fine. It’s such a genius song, and Teddy Thompson covers it so beautifully. The last verse is probably the best verse in all of music and it gives me chills every time I hear it… “Sometimes I see her undressing for me / She’s the soft naked lady love meant her to be / She’s moving her body so brave and so free / If I’ve got to remember that’s a fine memory.”
(PS… The Spotify tracks don’t show up in the RSS feed, so if you’re viewing this in a feed reader click on the link so you can hear the tunes!)