Feist, One Evening
Joan Baez, Scarlet Tide
Thea Gilmore, Josef’s Train
Jesse Ware, Wildest Moments
Moorcheeba, The Sea
Cassandra Wilson, You go to my Head
Massive Attack, Safe From Harm
Tanita Tikaram, For all these years
K.D. Lang, Tears of Love’s Recall
Laura Nyro, Beads of Sweat
Cold Specks, When the City Lights Dim
Case, Lang Veirs, Atomic Number
Beth Orton, Ooh Child (alternative version)
Carina Round, You Will be Loved
Joan Armatrading, Help Yourself
Al Green, Love and Happiness
Laura Nyro, Eli’s Coming
Corinne Bailey Rae, Diving for Hearts
Joni Mitchell, Tin Angel
Bjork, The Dull Flame of Desire
KD Lang, Season of Hollow Soul
Mariee Sioux & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Loveskulls
Joseph Arthur, Love Never Asks you to Lie
Brandi Carlile, Raise Hell
Until recently, I’d have said that The Red Shoes was my least favourite Kate Bush album. I hadn’t listened to it for years. Then Lily and Big Stripey Lie scrobbled on my last.fm account and I completely changed my mind. Maybe The Red Shoes resonates more as you get older. It’s a complex, mature woman’s album, exploring themes of self-determination, resilience (Rubberband Girl), creativity (The Red Shoes), and spirituality.
Well I said, “Lily, oh Lily I don’t feel safe
I feel that life has blown a great big hole
Through me” And she said
“Child, you must protect yourself
You can protect yourself
I’ll show you how with fire”
My partner got me listening to Cris Williamson’s classic of feminist, lesbian and women’s music, The Changer and the Changed (1975). Williamson has such a beautiful, soaring voice. ‘Waterfall’ (0.00) gives me chills and you can just hear them playing ‘Sweet Woman’ (12.51) for the slow dance at the end of the lesbian disco in the 1970s. You might like to compare the original ‘Shooting Star’ (21:15) with the Butchies cover. Williamson has developed a more solidly country sound in recent years. Fringe (2007) is awesome too.
I need something upbeat to get me moving in the morning. July’s get-up-and-go pop music has been provided by LP. Her new album Forever for Now is fast, fun and summery. She’s an out lesbian and she looks utterly adorable playing the ukulele in her videos.
One of my friends sent me this rare footage of Bruce Springsteen and Tracy Chapman singing ‘My Hometown‘ live in 2004. The video triggered a craving and I lost most of an evening watching Bruce Springsteen videos on You Tube. This performance of Dancing in the Dark featuring his Mum slays me, while this live cover of Stayin’ Alive is going on my list of favourite things ever.
The last couple of months have been quite challenging, as well as cold and dark, so I’ve been looking for music to accompany cups of tea and introspection.
I love Joan Baez’s Gone from Danger (1997). All except one of the songs were written by younger artists (Dar Williams, Sinead Lohan) and Baez brings a rich maturity to the material. As you’d expect, there’s a political undercurrent, with songs about immigration, child abuse and environmental issues, but it’s all comforting somehow. The collector’s edition features a live bonus CD of performances in which Baez is joined by some of the songwriters.
I’ve never really been into Dar Williams. This may be a British thing, but the extreme earnestness of her lyrics makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. However, I’m getting beyond that and Promised Land (2008) is growing on me. Apparently this is one of her more poppy albums and frowned on by some fans of her earlier, more acoustic sound. I have no opinion on that at this time.
Singer-songwriter dies aged 68
Her signature song is as relevant as ever.
You Don’t Own me
“You don’t own me, I’m not just one of your many toys
You don’t own me, don’t say I can’t go with other boys
And don’t tell me what to do
And don’t tell me what to say
And please, when I go out with you
Don’t put me on display, ‘cause
These are some of my favourite songs to play during the season. It’s rather a sombre list, not because I feel unhappy at this time of year, but because I like the winter to be a time of inwardness and reflection.
Martha Wainwright, Proserpina
Thea Gilmore, Cold Coming
Janis Ian, In The Winter
Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Winter Lady
Kristin Hersh, Winter
Kate Bush, Snowflake
Thea Gilmore, December in New York