Monday, December 31, 2007

Great Songs 2007 #1: The Hangin' Judge

I spent a lot of time and effort trying to decide what the final song would be in this end-of-the-year tally of songs I really like a lot. Even though I generally lost interest in the process shortly after I posted the third installment, I have yet to lose interest in songs in general, and these songs specifically.
Some of the things I thought about while compiling this list:
-does the world really need another blog entry about Spoon's "The Underdog"?
-I've already posted one R. Kelly cover (by Shivaree). Am I ready for another (by Bonnie "Prince" Billy)?
-wouldn't I rather just listen to "Remember the Good Times" by Cuff the Duke, with its fantastically treblesome 12-string opening, fifty times in a row than write another meandering blog post?
-Andre Ethier's 2007 album, On Blue Fog, wasn't nearly as good as I'd hoped it would be, especially considering the wondrousness of his 2006 effort, Secondathallam. But the album's closing track, "Pride of Egypt" is one of Ethier's best songs ever. Maybe I shouldn't save that for early 2008?
-what's for supper?

So I've settled on Howe Gelb's "The Hangin' Judge" from his Upside Down Home 2007: Return to San Pedro. This is a bit of a tricky pick, since I only finally got 2006's 'Sno Angel Like You in 2007, and have more or less been using it as a blueprint by which to build my life ever since. Along with Thank You for Arguing by Jay Heinrichs, This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley, and the discovery of baking, Gelb's music is part of the Great Transformative Works in My Life 2007 Edition. Upside Down Home 2007 isn't quite on the transcendental level of 'Sno Angel--it's solo-er, unfinished-er, all around rougher--but it's still hitting me where I'm soft and malleable.

"The Hangin' Judge" especially taps into some of the themes from 'Sno Angel that I responded to so strongly. On the surface it's a bit of an existential quiz, but put in context with SALY songs like "Hey Man" and "That's How Things Get Done" it's something a little more earthy, a little more here and now graspable.

Thanks for all your comments and questions and Happy New Year! See you in the FUTURE!

mp3: "The Hangin' Judge" by Howe Gelb

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