Saturday, May 16, 2015

Setlist from last night with an explanation

So here's the setlist from the first "hour" last night:

C60: I Really Don't Know Life At All

Joni Mitchell Both Sides, Now (1969)
Johnny Rivers Positively 4th Street
Lisa Hannigan Courting Blues
Pentangle Let No Man Steal Your Thyme
Shelagh McDonald Sweet Sunlight
Spirogyra Disraeli's Problem
Sallyangie Children of the Sun
Led Zeppelin Going to California
Cro-Magnon Caledonia
Faith No More Jizzlobber
Death in Vegas Your Loft My Acid (Single Mix)
Can TV Spot (Apr. 71)
Gong Melting Love
Weather Report Birdland
Charles Mingus Goodbye Porkpie Hat
Joni Mitchell Both Sides Now (2000)

I decided not to do an analysis on-air about why I played each song so as not to bore anybody, but I'll do that here. Some have more reason behind them then others, but here goes:

Thinking about Joni Mitchell's current medical condition made me want to listen to more Joni before she is no longer with us. I had been intrigued by her version of "Both Sides Now" which she performed at a tribute concert to her in 2000 (2001?).

Here's an artist creating her own swan song from one of the first songs she wrote. While great at first, her reworking of it brings much more gravity to the song -- while she thought she had looked at clouds/love/life from both sides at a young age, she truly has now.

So with the starting point and ending point of the set in mind I constructed the rest, using a list of "songs inspired by Joni," Joni's picks for her favorite songs on a Starbucks CD (which in retrospect I only used a litle) and my own free association. So, the second song I chose seemed appropriate to be Dylan and while Joni had chosen Dylan's "Sweetheart Like You" from Infidels, it said in the liner notes of the CD that the real first Dylan song that had inspired her (that you could write about anything) was "Positively 4th Street." And apparently Dylan preferred the Johnny Rivers version to his own, so that's the one I chose.

I then moved on to the British Isles, as it seems that Joni had a big influence on the folk scene there, Fairport Convention covered a couple of her songs, and Sandy Denny mentions her in her lyrics. Nick Drake too, I believe was inspired by her odd guitar tunings. Drake covered Bert Jansch's "Courting Blues" on a home tape and himself was covered several times by Lisa Hannigan so I liked hearing Lisa cover of Bert's song. I'm a big Lisa Hannigan fan.

We then touch on Pentangle (Bert Jansch's former band), and a great song from Shelagh McDonald who also covered "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme" and even named her compilation album after it. Spirogyra and Sallyangie (featuring Mike Oldfield of Tubular Bells fame) are both examples of that weird folk-rock that was produced in Britain in the 60s/70s that I find so intriguing. Sallyangie sing about "Children of the Sun" and so does Led Zeppelin in "Going to California" a song inspired by the band meeting Joni Mitchell. Apparently Robert Plant would even sing Joni's name sometimes while performing the song.

At this point things do get a bit weird and perhaps off-topic. Cro-Magnon is a real early example of noise rock from 1969 and then I moved to perhaps the oddest choice, Faith No More's "Jizzlobber." I definitely wanted to go off into weird realms and not just play all Joni or all folk and jazz music, and I think in part I was inspired by reading about the disease Joni believes she has, Morgellon's disease. The sufferers believes that they have colorful, painful fibers springing out of their bodies and often scratch their skin raw to get them out. Scientists seem to largely believe it's a neurological disorder but there are several sad YouTube videos of Morgellon's sufferers who don't think it's all in their head. So, thinking about the horror of this disease, be it mental or physical I was thinking of the most powerful scream I could and once I remembered how Mike Patton screams in this song it took me awhile to remember what song had this scream. I guess the connection too is that Cro-Magnon and Mr. Bungle feel like kindred spirits.

Death in Vegas carries us through with repeated sounds (and maybe an appropriate acid reference) as does the funky weird jazz/rock of Can and Gong before getting closer to a Joni association with Weather Report which feature Joni's long-time collaborator Jaco Pastorius (who also influenced Les Claypool -- weird world!) on bass. Then I had to play some Mingus, who Joni worked with shortly before he died. I didn't play his and her version of Goodbye Pork Pie hat, I just played the original.

And then closing with the 2000 version of "Both Sides Now" from the album of the same name.

I'll just leave it there. I set up a Spotify playlist if you're interested. Follow me I will follow you:

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