Quintin Jardine's Playlist
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- 1. "Country Feedback" by R.E.M.: "Country Feedback, from the R.E.M. album Out of Time, isn't just my favourite song of theirs, it's also Michael Stipe's, by his own admission. I'm not sure what it's about, but I doubt that he does either. Listen to the studio version and it's obvious that it was recorded as live. What isn't so clear is that much of the lyric was improvised; Stipe had a few words on paper, sang the song, and then walked out, job done. I suspect, though, that it's about conflict and the end of a relationship, themes I'm exploring in my current work in progress. From the jumbled, stream of consciousness, Dylanesque verse a single line emerges 'It's crazy what you could've had', to be repeated over and over again, until finally the band comes through to the finish as the singer wanders away as if to contemplate the loss. It's crazy, but I love it."
- 2. "Frankie & Johnny" by Lonnie Donegan: "When I was at school there was a guy in my class whose dad was a journo, and whose street cred was based on the fact that His Old Man knew Lonnie Donegan. The worst thing Lonnie ever did was to reveal that 'His Old Man was a Dustman'. It and other comic songs tend to blind people to the fact that the man was an absolute genius as a folk/blues performer. You don't believe me? Just listen to him sing his heart out over the tragedy of Frankie and Johnny, who done her wrong, and you will."
- 3. "The Sun's Comin' Over the Hill" by Karine Polwart: "I'm a writer, and I suppose that's why I have an ear for a good lyric, and reckon that much of what Dylan did was sh*te. On the other hand, Ms Polwart, a Scots singer from Earlston, is a very special talent, and this is her masterwork. 'He kissed me each evening and told me he'd die for me, then he ran off the road full of whisky and irony. He always meant what he said.' Not even Cole Porter wrote anything purer than that, neither did Elvis Costello, Adam Duritz, nor any other contemporary hero, yet it gets even better the further into the song you get. Magnificent, yet disgracefully under-appreciated."
- 4. "Third World Man" by Steely Dan: "Twice I've come close to hearing Fagen, Becker and their current pals play live, once in Edinburgh, the other time in Christchurch, NZ; missed by a day each time. If I had, I'd have hoped they'd play 'Third World Man', the last track from what was to be their last album for twenty years. It's languid, poetic and enriched by a guitar solo from a youngish Mark Knopfler."
- 5. "Almost Blue" by Diana Krall: "Chet Baker recorded this track twice, and eventually so did Diana Krall to boost the family royalties, since her husband, Elvis Costello, wrote it. In the process, she produced what is probably the definitive version of the song, by a female singer. As far as I'm concerned, after she married Elvis, she became the singer she'd been threatening to become."
- 6. "Alison" by Elvis Costello: "If you have one, you must have the other. Elvis recorded this at the height of the punk era on his first album, and today it remains my idea of the definitive pop song. The man has gone on to become a great, across a few genres, but he has never written anything better than this simple, compelling lyric and haunting tune."
- 7. "Miss Otis Regrets (She's Unable To Lunch Today) [1956 Version]" by Ella Fitzgerald: "The most gifted female vocalist of all time sings one of the saddest songs of all time, by the greatest lyricist of all time. This is 'Frankie and Johnny' in the raw, and this is Ella at her finest; it's so painful I don't listen to it very often. A few years ago, Clare Teal recorded the song; respect to her, she shouldn't have bothered."
- 8. "There's No Disappointment in Heaven" by Jimmy Scott: "I first heard Jimmy Scott sing this song in the background of a TV cop show. I'd no idea who he was. My wife was very ill at the time, so it got to me, and afterwards, I was moved to find out. What I discovered was a genius. He was seventy when he recorded 'No Disappointment' in 1996, after a fifty year career during which he was frequently exploited and under-appreciated. He's recognised now for what he is, he's still alive and I believe he's still recording. His voice is quite unique and at his age he doesn't get everything right, but when he does... A phenomenon."
- 9. "Faraway Eyes" by The Rolling Stones: "As I recall the Stones won a country music award for this track."
- 10. "I Wish You'd Stay" by Brad Paisley & Chris DuBois: "Being from the West of Scotland, I have the maudlin gene that leads my people inevitably to country music. So who more likely to top my popularity chart than a young guy whose name originated in Renfrewshire? This track's from his second album, and it shows a lot of what he can do... although not the fact that he's a guitar virtuoso."
- 11. "Right Here All Along" by Amanda Marshall: "Years ago, my son sent me from Singapore a CD by a Canadian girl he thought I'd like. He was right. It wasn't this album, her second, but there are very few singers around who are as consistent as she is, so just about any track I pick will hit the spot for me. Career-wise, she had the misfortune not to be Alanis Morrisette at the wrong time, and around six years ago, she dropped below the radar. I hear that she's been performing again, and that there's a new album on the way. I will be looking out for it."
- 12. "The Memory Will Never Die" by Default: "A few years back, Eileen and I were in a restaurant in Las Vegas. Videos were playing on a big telly in the corner, and I was paying attention just to stay awake, as we were a shade jet-lagged. Then this track popped up and just blew me away; it took me a long time to find it when I got home, but I did. Default are from British Columbia, they're blessed with the best rock drummer since Keith Moon died, and they don't record nearly enough. But what there is, is brilliant."
- 13. "Cortez the Killer (Live)" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse: "I've visited Canada quite a few times, and with every visit my appreciation of its music has grown. But to find my favourite rock track of all time of Canadian origin, you have to go back thirty years, to the time when I was a nightly listener to the late lamented John Peel, who wasn't afraid to play seven minute tracks over and over again. For those of you who simply think of Neil Young as the guy with Crosby Stills and Nash who messed up the harmonies, and not as one of the best guitarists ever to pick up a Gibson, listen up."
- 14. "Little Cowboys" by Monoceros: "I'm not including him in my list simply because he's a friend, but primarily because he's a damn good musician in the electronic camp. His name is Joan (Catalan version of Juan, or John) Malé, and he lives in a place called St Marti d'Empuries. If you saw it in the winter, you'd understand why his music is so laid back. If you saw it in the summer, you'd marvel at it. If you like a band called Mogwai, beloved of John Rebus' sidekick Shiv, you'll appreciate Joan."
Name Artist Time Price 1 Country Feedback R.E.M. 4:09 £0.99 View In iTunes 2 CleanFrankie & Johnny Lonnie Donegan 5:25 £0.79 View In iTunes 3 The Sun's Comin' Over the Hill Karine Polwart 4:57 £0.79 View In iTunes 4 Third World Man Steely Dan 5:13 £0.99 View In iTunes 5 Almost Blue Diana Krall 4:03 £0.99 View In iTunes 6 Alison Elvis Costello 3:24 £0.99 View In iTunes 7 Miss Otis Regrets (She's Unable To Lunch Today) [1956 Version] Ella Fitzgerald 3:00 £0.99 View In iTunes 8 There's No Disappointment in Heaven Jimmy Scott 4:22 £0.79 View In iTunes 9 Faraway Eyes The Rolling Stones 4:36 £0.99 View In iTunes 10 I Wish You'd Stay Brad Paisley & Chris DuBois 6:17 £0.99 View In iTunes 11 Right Here All Along Amanda Marshall 5:11 £0.99 View In iTunes 12 The Memory Will Never Die Default 4:23 £0.79 View In iTunes 13 Cortez the Killer (Live) Neil Young & Crazy Horse 9:46 £0.99 View In iTunes 14 Little Cowboys Monoceros 5:00 £0.79 View In iTunes 14 Songs