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Dave Elder's Favorite Songs Playlist

What's my favorite song? That's a tough question, and this playlist is my answer. I don't know that I could ever pick just one song. These are the cuts that I listen to, and that mean something to me. I have lots of memories and stories tied up with them, and I share a portion of those tales on this list. Surely you will recognize some of the tracks here, but probably you'll find some that you don't, and hopefully I can help you discover some good music. You might notice that some numbers are missing, including number 1, and that's because the linked videos are no longer available, so those songs have been removed from the list.

This page only includes a few recent bits. If you'd like to read some older ones, the previous link below will take you to the post before the last one, on my Blogspot runway, which has links to earlier writings. The Master List page has links to all of the playlist Blogspot articles. However, my earliest playlist rambles, before Song 185, only live on this website, since I didn't start posting on Blogspot until February of 2014.


Recent Songs

(Sunday, 8/18/19) Song 473: Silver Dollar by Thin Lizzy, written by Brian Robertson. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I found out about Thin Lizzy from hearing Wild One (Song 296). I liked that tune so much, I decided to get a copy of Fighting, and the LP had some other gems, including Spirit Slips Away (Song 410) and this cut. The quartet got a lot more attention when they released their follow-up 33, thanks to a hit called The Boys Are Back in Town, but that one didn't impress me, and I didn't bother to get their chart-topping Jailbreak because I thought the album I already had sounded better, and I still think so. This track has the line My roots are in Chicago, and personally, my roots were not in The Windy City, but I was living in that area when this one came along, though at the time, I really didn't know where I might want to plant my seed. During that stretch, I also had no silver dollars, but when my father died in 1996, I found one in his wallet, so now I could possibly bet a silver dollar, though even if I did, I'm not sure it would make me rich. Yet, regardless of how the coin might roll, I do feel quite certain that this number is an easy pitch.

(Sunday, 8/11/19) Song 472: The Weasel by Wendy Beckerman, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Seven weeks after my previous personal friend song post, this week's entertaining opus comes from one of my Fast Folk colleagues. When the January 1995 FF Bottom Line show rolled around, I no longer hung out with that bunch, so I didn't get to hear this track, or the rest of the album, when it came along, although, ironically, by the middle of the following year, I ended up doing the layout work for the final handful of FF issues. Wendy had shared a few memorable pieces at the weekly songwriter gatherings on Houston Street back when I did make that scene, though I don't recall hearing this tune there, but I quickly developed an appreciation for her work, and I'd say this composition showcases her talents quite well. Perhaps you already knew that the weasel is a slender active carnivorous mammal, but maybe you didn't know, until you heard this track, that there's a weasel in the house of monogamy.

(Sunday, 8/4/19) Song 471: Jambalaya (On the Bayou) by Hank Williams, written by Hank Williams and Moon Mullican. You can find a YouTube video of it here. During my family's alternate-year summer visits with the Ohio relatives in the 1960s, my aunt and uncle routinely let me choose which LPs to play on the stereo, and they had a lot of country music gems in their stash. This musical binge soon turned me into a major Hank fan, and it also did that to both of my brothers. We would often sing along together on this cut, and that has more than a little bit of irony - all three of us were quite finicky eaters, and while I gradually got over it and my brothers never did, I suspect that none of us would have savored the real flavor of Jambalaya back then. However, we all relished the spicy suggestion to have big fun on the bayou, and I would gladly have volunteered to be the one to pick guitar. At first, I didn't know exactly who ma cher amio might be, though from the context, I assumed it referred to the singer's lover, and then, not long after I began Spanish class in junior high, the pet name for the sweetheart became clear. Today, son of a gun, I would say that this tasty old classic still sounds like big fun.

(Sunday, 7/28/19) Song 470: Classical Gas by Mason Williams, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of it here. When this 45 came across the airwaves in the summer of 1968, just shortly before I began my senior year at HS, I really liked the sound of it. At the time, I played violin with the orchestra, as well as writing my own songs on an acoustic guitar and the family piano, so I really enjoyed an instrumental hit that combined classical elements with popular music ones. I also have a vague memory of one of my friends sharing an odd rumor about the record being created by an anonymous source who hid his real identity and put Mr. Williams up as a front man. I don't know where that strange story came from, but I learned, in researching for this post, that MW was the head writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour at the time of the release, which makes me respect him even more. In addition, I read that Mason originally called the tune Classical Gasoline, and I'd say that the musical copyist who shorted it did him a favor, because this composition is a real gas!

(Sunday, 7/21/19) Song 469: El Diablo by ZZ Top, written by Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard. You can find a YouTube video of it here. La Grange (Song 366) turned me into an instant ZZ Top fan, and a couple of years later, when Tejas came along, I thought it sounded even better than the trio's previous records. The LP became a regular spinner on my turntable, and I liked it so much that when the band came to Chicago a few months later, in February of 1977, I had to join the crowd for that show, and it remains one of my most memorable concert experiences. Having studied Spanish in HS, I knew that the title of this song meant The Devil, although the character sketched in the song lyrics, while malevolent, did not possess supernatural powers, The man with the tan who lived by the luck of the draw might have been high on the hog for a bit, but by verse 3, he was caught, he was bound, he was tried, he was found, he was readied for the noose, and then he bid his last farewell.

(Sunday, 7/14/19) Song 468: She's Too Good for Me by Sting, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of it here. When Ten Summoner's Tales came along in early 1993, Fields of Gold (Song 112) got a lot of airplay, and rightfully so, I thought. That cut, just by itself, might have convinced me to get a copy of the album, though I also heard some other good stuff from the record before I made the purchase, but I did not hear this track until the first spin on my own player, at which point I knew that disc was money well spent. Later, when I got my iPod, Sting's TST numbered among the handful of albums that adorned its drive, and that have enlivened various journeys where the iPod has accompanied me. This marks the fourth appearance of a TST tune on this list - Something the Boy Said is Song 123, and Saint Augustine in Hell is Song 317. I would bet that most young single guys, if they've chased enough young single women, have found themselves, at least once, in a situation similar to what Sting sings about here - I know I certainly did, and so I understand what it feels like when she don't like the clothes I wear, the way I stare, the tales I tell and the way I smell, but oh, the games we play.

(Sunday, 7/7/19) Song 467: Blues from an Airplane by Jefferson Airplane, written by Marty Balin and Skip Spence. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Not long after I began my freshman year at N.U., I started an LP collection that soon included Surrealistic Pillow. That 33 became a constant spinner and forever favorite, but I also knew that the group had released their debut album some months before that well-known classic appeared, and I suspected that I might treasure their earlier effort almost as much, so at some point, I acquired my own copy of Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. This cut opens the record, and by the second verse, I felt sure that I had made a very good purchase. So what's that sound around my heart? Well, these days, it's not something new - it's something well over 5 decades old, but whenever I hear it, I know that the love the band put into this track must be real.

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