Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Taking time to live well and soothe the savage beast

The 4 meme dealie I participated in last week asked about what four musicians turned my crank. Today, I want to talk more about the musicians that make me happy. It’s not that SRV, Gov’t Mule, Tom Petty and the Beatles don’t make me smile—they do. There are so many tunes that make my soul happy, though, that I want to highlight them today. Right now is a time to count all those things that bring a smile to my face, because sometimes I forget.

Smack dab on the top of my list is Sublime’s What I got. It’s not all sweetness and light, but it’s about living life, right now, the best that you can. Also, since I usually hear it on the radio, “I can play the guitar like a motherfucking riot,” gets blurred by the censoring folks. So for a long time, I didn’t know what the hell Brad Nowell was singing for sure. “Motherfucking zealot” or “m.f. pilot” were some of my favorite fill-ins, back when I didn’t know the lyrics.

Jack Johnson’s Bubbly Toes makes me smile wide every time I hear it. This was the first Jack Johnson song Lew ever learned how to play. Johnson sounds like he’s having a blast playing and singing. Those good vibes flow through the speakers and straight into my veins.

X’s Blue Spark and Under the Big, Black Sun just plain kick-ass. That, of course, makes me feel happy on the inside and I walk a bit taller after listening to them.

Spill the Wine by Eric Burdon & The War—how many songs are there about “overfed, long-haired leaping” gnomes?

Paul Simon’s song Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard grew on me last year, when I took college courses at the University of Washington. I swear, every Tuesday Marty Riemer would play this song during the Attitude Adjustment hour. It makes sense—after the initial annoyance of hearing this song a few times, it really does make you happy. I wonder if the tone of Simon’s voice produces endorphines.

Soulshine by Gov’t Mule. My love affair with this song began with the Mountain Summer Sample cd they gave away in 2002. When I bought Lew Gov’t Mule’s The Deep End Vol. 1, I became in serious heart with this song. It makes me quake inside, it’s so luscious.

Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Couldn’t Stand the Weather. ‘Nuff said. Quintessential SRV.

Happy=most songs featuring xylophones. The Violent Femmes trip my happy meter, because I dig the way Brian Ritchie bangs those boards. I also majorly love songs with horns and saxophones. Oingo Boingo receives two thumbs up, because they have brass and boards. I must follow up, though, by saying that I dislike most songs they recorded on Dead Man’s Party and beyond. Sadly, I never quite got over Weird Science.

Because of my addiction to brass, SKA is a guilty pleasure of mine. Madness’ recent release of cover tunes, Dangermen Session, Vol. 1, is a fun cd to spin. I get happy when I hear any song from Dave Matthew’s Crash. Okay, part of that happy factor is I love hearing Deadhead Girl refer to Matthew’s by the nickname she made up for him (she has quite the aversion to early DM music)—the way she says it totally cracks me up. Her fusion, deadheady music influence brought me to Galatica—their songs that have prominent baritone saxophone are especially tasty.

Do you sometimes forget to dwell upon that which makes you smile? As I mentioned, I certainly do. Music soothes the savage beast, and all that crap—that’s probably why I enjoy it so much. If I have anything going at all during the day for background noise, it is the radio or a cd spinning. If you’d like, share the music that makes you happy. Yes, I’m grubbing for comments here. Let’s exchange happy tune lists and make tomorrow a bit brighter for both of us.


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