Question of the Day: Strange Little Songs

28 03 2007

Xylophone
What are the weirdest song titles in your playlist or music collection? Submitted by Charline.

Gosh, where do I begin? There are 7,500+ songs on my iPod right now, and I have fairly eclectic taste. I like world music, 80s covers, folk music, avant-garde classical, and on and on. I don’t think much, if any, of my collection is actually “weird,” but your mileage may vary.

So, what in my collection is a little, um, offbeat? There’s a Hawaiian band‘s cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Baby, Can I Hold You?” Does that set off your weird-o-meter? How about poet Allen Ginsberg singing a song called “Vomit Express”? The original “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero” in all its strangely-peppy-but-anti-Vietnam-War glory? A bobsledding song called “Racing on the Edge” by Brady Swenson? An R&B song called “Our Love Would Be Much Better (If I Gave a Damn About You)”?

I carry around a half dozen covers of The Smiths’ “There Is a Light that Never Goes Out”; trucking songs like “Convoy” and “Six Days on the Road”; some Dean Martin near some Def Leppard; a healthy dose of Czech bluegrass; the coolest blues song of all time, Little Milton’s “The Blues Is Alright”; an entire album of music, including “Eleanor Rigby,” played on a toy piano; and Marlene Dietrich’s cover of “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top”—originally, of course, from Oklahoma!

I have a soft spot for a Marie Osmond song, “Meet Me in Montana” (with Dan Seals); a cover of “Teenage Dirtbag” by a Belgian children’s choir; a musical setting of an e.e. cummings poem, “yes is a pleasant country,” by jazz singer Susanne Abbuehl; a collaboration between a Hawaiian steel-guitar master and a Japanese folk musician; and a style of music known as “chicken scratch.”

Among the collections on my iPod are: an album of music from Cape Verde, Angola, and Guinea-Bissau; a cool set of songs about Oklahoma (the state, not the musical); several albums of north African music; a collection of songs by Mardi Gras Indians; and tribute albums to Tom T. Hall, Waylon Jennings, Greg Brown, and folk musician Kate Wolf.

But I think the “weirdest” thing on my iPod is probably the cover of Elvis’s “Viva Las Vegas” by Dread Zeppelin, the reggae Led Zeppelin cover band. That song is irresistible. Download it, if you dare.

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