Monday, January 12, 2015

Ethno-music-auto-bio...: Two non-mixes (that are kind of mixes): Goodfellas soundtrack and Best of Louisiana Music Sampler

I'm guessing that I stole the Goodfellas soundtrack from my brother, which seems fitting, since he's also the one who probably showed me the movie at first. It's a great soundtrack, with its own Wikipedia page; and it leans heavily on historical classics. Or do these songs seem classic me just because of how often I listened to them?

  1. "Rags to Riches" - Tony Bennett 
  2. "Sincerely" - The Moonglows 
  3. "Speedoo" - The Cadillacs 
  4. "Stardust" - Billy Ward and His Dominoes 
  5. "Look in My Eyes" - The Chantels 
  6. "Life Is but a Dream" - The Harptones 
  7. "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" - The Shangri-Las 
  8. "Baby, I Love You" - Aretha Franklin 
  9. "Beyond the Sea" - Bobby Darin 
  10. "Sunshine of Your Love" - Cream 
  11. "Mannish Boy" - Muddy Waters 
  12. "Layla (Piano Exit)" - Derek and the Dominos

All I know is The Shangri-las's "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" and Bobby Darin's "Beyond the Sea" are songs I can't even remember not knowing. Considering that the movie came out in 1990, there clearly must've been a time before I knew these songs, but it feels like an impossibility or a Zen koan, along the lines of "What was your face before you were born?":

"How did you love Bobby Darin's 'Beyond the Sea' before you heard it?"

(Note: Though it's true some of my feelings for "Beyond the Sea" trace back to The X-Files episode "Beyond the Sea," which is really an exceptional bit of TV. If you want to hear more on that, Kumail Nanjiani speaks of it here.)

There was a time when I could count on one hand the CDs and tapes that I actually bought. Which back then meant that I just listened to other people's copies, not that I was downloading them illegally. Reality check for my friends in their 20s: I bought this tape before I had an email address.

Or at least, that's what I think; I bought this (bought it!) when my parents took me to New Orleans during... some later year in high school. Senior year, maybe? Maybe there was a photographic conference?

I don't know, I was really drunk on that trip.

No, I wasn't drunk. In fact, after hearing about the usual debauch of Mardi Gras, it was strange to go there with my parents the week after MG. There were beads, but they were mostly shattered bits plastic strewed from broken strings all over the street. And all the callers outside the topless and strip bars mostly didn't try to tempt us. 

I had beignets at Cafe du Monde, though, and I saw some swamp life before it arrived on TLC and the History Channel. (Back then, the innocent History Channel was the Nazis Nazis Nazis! Channel.) I bought a book on voodoo, but that goes without saying.

And I also really enjoyed the music, so I bought this at some tchotchke shop.
  1. Hey Pocky Away - The Meters 
  2. Second Line Part 1 - Stop, Inc. 
  3. Zydeco Hee Haw - Boozoo Chavis 
  4. Hell Yes I Cheated - Johnny Adams
  5. Ruler of My Heart - Irma Thomas 
  6. Sure Enough It's You - Walter Wolfman Washington 
  7. No It Ain't My Fault - Olympia Brass Band 
  8. Sweet Lorraine - Alton Carson & Magnificent Seventh's 
  9. Zydeco Gris Gris - Beausoleil 
  10. Grand Mamou - Waylon Thibodeaux 
  11. Jambalaya - Waylon Thibodeaux 
  12. Have a Little Talk with Jesus - Zion Harmonizers 
  13. Bourbon St. Parade - Magnificent Seventh's 
  14. Revenge Lover - Jude Taylor 
  15. Zydeco Boogaloo - Fernest Arceneaux 
  16. Dance Cajun Dance - Cajun Playboys 
  17. Brother Moses Smote the Water - Zion Harmonizers
It's still available for sale, apparently, but I'm not sure I can recommend it. But that's not because I don't like it, but because I'm a sucker for zydeco. It turns out that I love smart lyrics best, like Elvis Costello and Tom Waits songs; but slightly under that, I love songs whose words I can't possibly decipher. Zydeco gris gris, indeed.

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