Friday, November 30, 2007


Welcome to Blog d’Elisson’s Friday Random Ten, the weekly Exercise in Self-Aggrandizement in which I post a list of ten Random Bits o’ Musical Entertainment straight from the Little White Choon-Box d’Elisson.

Today, just for fun, I’ve added an eleventh selection, one not chosen at random. I picked it because I like it. Perhaps you would, too.

Let’s get started, shall we?
  1. The Angel - Bruce Springsteen

    From his first album, Greetings From Asbury Park, which still stands up as one of his best works - if not the best. It sounds as fresh and vibrant today as when I first heard it back in 1973.

    The Angel rides with hunchbacked children,
    Poison oozing from his engine
    Wielding love as a lethal weapon,
    On his way to hubcap heaven.

    Baseball cards poked in his spokes,
    His boots in oil he’s patiently soaked
    The roadside attendant nervously jokes
    As the Angel’s tires stroke his precious pavement.

    The interstate’s choked with nomadic hordes
    In Volkswagen vans with full running boards, dragging great anchors
    Following dead-end signs into the sores
    The Angel rides by, humpin’ his hunk metal whore

    Madison Avenue’s claim to fame
    In a trainer bra with eyes like rain
    She rubs against the weather-beaten frame
    And asks the Angel for his name.

    Off in the distance the marble dome
    Reflects across the flatlands
    With a naked feel, off into parts unknown
    The woman strokes his polished chrome
    And lies beside the Angel’s bones.

  2. Penny Lane - The Beatles

    I first heard “Penny Lane” when it was released to American radio stations in late January 1967 as a single backed with “Strawberry Fields Forever.” It was a watershed moment: The Beatles had managed to uncork a completely new sound, a sound that would be cemented with the subsequent release of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band that May. Two completely different songs sharing similar themes, each a complement to the other. Mark Lewisohn, in his landmark book The Beatles Recording Sessions, calls this release “arguably the greatest pop single to be issued by anyone at anytime.”

    The version of “Penny Lane” that American stations played that January was slightly different from the one most people remember from the Magical Mystery Tour album. It was Take 11, a mono mix that included an extra trumpet flourish at the end of the song. But that mix was evidently deemed not good enough for the final product, so it was tinkered with a few more times. Mix 14, which omits the final trumpet flourish, ended up being the “definitive” version of the song.

  3. Undone (The Sweater Song) - Weezer

  4. Non Nobis Domine - Patrick Doyle

    The elegiac psalm from Kenneth Branagh’s film version of Henry V, played over scenes of the aftermath of the Battle of Agincourt.

    Non nobis, Domine, Domine
    Non nobis, Domine
    Sed nomini, sed nomini
    Tuo da gloriam

    It is, of course, Psalm 115, rendered in Latin. The original Hebrew is:

    Lo lanu Hashem, lo lanu
    Ki l’shim’kha tein kavod...

    (Not to us, Lord, not to us
    But to Your name give glory...)

    Psalm 115 is part of the Jewish Hallel liturgy, a series of psalms in praise of God that is recited during festivals. It is also recited each day of Chanukah, which means that we’ll be seeing this little number in just a few days.

  5. Anxiety Attack - Skankin’ Pickle

    Talk about an abrupt change in mood...I love Random Music.

  6. Fell In Love With A Girl - Richard Cheese

  7. Nokh Ein Tantz - The Klezmer Conservatory Band

  8. There’s Always Someone Cooler Than You - Ben Folds

  9. Eve Of The War - Jeff Wayne

  10. All Along The Watchtower - Dave Mason

  11. The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys - Traffic

    This one’s the sole Non-Random Selection, the high point of Traffic’s musical career in the post-Dave Mason days. A lengthy (11:35) jazz-rock tune with overtones of Miles Davis, its cynical lyrics are a slap at the music business. The title was penned by actor Michael J. Pollard (the one on the left in this picture), a friend of band vocalist/percussionist Jim Capaldi.

    If you see something that looks like a star
    And it’s shooting up out of the ground
    And your head is spinning from a loud guitar
    And you just can’t escape from the sound
    Don’t worry too much, it’ll happen to you
    We were children once, playing with toys
    And the thing that you’re hearing is only the sound of
    The low spark of high-heeled boys.

    The percentage you’re paying is too high priced
    While you’re living beyond all your means
    And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
    From the profit he’s made on your dreams
    But today you just read that the man was shot dead
    By a gun that didn’t make any noise
    But it wasn’t the bullet that laid him to rest - ’twas
    The low spark of high-heeled boys.

    If you had just a minute to breathe
    And they granted you one final wish
    Would you ask for something like another chance?
    Or something similar as this?
    Don’t worry too much, it’ll happen to you
    As sure as your sorrows are joys
    And the thing that disturbs you is only the sound of
    The low spark of high-heeled boys.

    If I gave you everything that I owned
    And asked for nothing in return
    Would you do the same for me as I would for you?
    Or take me for a ride,
    And strip me of everything, including my pride
    But spirit is something that no one destroys
    And the sound that I’m hearing is only the sound of
    The low spark of high-heeled boys.

It’s Friday. What are you listening to?

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