I was lucky enough to be walking by the cool kid's table in the cafeteria while Splotchy was planning the latest Green Monkey Music Project--the Geography Pop Quiz Mix! I got in on the action, and with a little luck some day I'll be a GREEN MONKEY MASTER (say that in your best badly-dubbed 1970's kung fu movie voice!)
So here's my choices. I put a lot of thought into these, racking my brains for 5 or even 10 minutes before sending a list of titles over to Splotchy at 1:13 am:
Singapore Tom Waits
This was the very first song I thought of, off of my favorite Tom Waits record Rain Dogs. What a unique sound, and the very first line (we sail tonight for Singapore, we're all as mad as hatters here...) sets the tone.
Mozambique Bob Dylan
When this song came out I immediately wanted to go hang out in Mozambique. Something about the fiddle, the talk of pretty girls, I don't know. At the age of 14 this song sounded so exotic and worldly; in hindsight read about what Mozambique was going through when Dylan wrote this song and you have to ask yourself, Bob, what the f*ck were you thinking?
Streets of Laredo Marty Robbins
A maudlin classic, based on a traditional tune by those masters of maudlin the Irish. Marty Robbins' version is actually slower than the folk versions I've heard (check out the one by Johnny Cash) but it's still great. Get this--this is one of the songs I routinely sang as a bedtime lullaby to my children. By the age of 5 my kids had heard more songs about dying cowboys, train wrecks, prison, murder, morphine addiction and homelessness than any other kids around.
Viva Las Vegas Elvis Presley
This was the second song I thought of. I gave Splotchy the option of using the Elvis version or the Dead Kennedys', but I'm glad he picked the original. I don't think I ever get tired of hearing this. I'll probably be playing it 2 or 3 times a day until December 1st when I head out for the Las Vegas Marathon. It's just got a great frantic sound repeating over and over behind Elvis' slower, cooler vocals. Dig it.
Blue Moon of Kentucky Bill Monroe
This is one of those songs that we have at least a half dozen versions of, including multiple takes by Monroe himself. Originally recorded as a high lonesome sounding hillbilly waltz, in later versions Monroe picks it up. In later versions, like the one Splotchy picked for the mix, Monroe starts it out slow and then speeds it up mid-song. One of Elvis Presley's first recordings for Sun Records was a great rockabilly version of this song.
Wild Cats of Kilkenny The Pogues
A great instrumental by a great band. Kilkenny is a beautiful little city and a fun place to visit--I regret not spending more than a day there when we visited in 2003.
That's Right (You're Not From Texas) Lyle Lovett
I've always had kind of a weird love for Texas, ever since training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio back in the early 80's. San Antonio--really, all of the hill country between San Antonio and Austin--is one of my favorite places. Ignoring the current occupant of the White House, I've always found Texans to be kind of quirky in a larger-than-life way, and to my mind there's no better liberal than a Texas liberal. One of MizBubs' brothers has lived there for a few years now, and we love to visit and hang out there. It's on my short list of places to retire to in a few years.