Posted by: Mark Nielsen | May 8, 2008

Musical Awakenings, Musical Thievery

I caught Graham the other day singing a little snippet of a Beatles song: “Hello Hello, I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello.” My wife sings this song occasionally as a greeting, or as a lark even after she’s greeted you. So that’s where he picked it up (either that, or he got it from the current “good buy” commercials for Target… ugh!) 

It bodes well though. I was about seven when I bought my first 45 rpm single: the Beatles’ Ob-la-di, Ob-la-dah (flipside: Julia) . They were already broken up by 1972, but they were still my first love. So between those jaunty, kid-friendly Beatles songs, like Yellow Submarine, and the classic Lewis Carroll-like nonsense of I am the Walrus, I think there’s a good case to be made that the Fab Four were the first kids’ music supergroup.

[BTW… I also caught Graham playing with Barbies at daycare after school with one of the girls. I didn’t make an issue of it. We’ll just wait and see where this goes…]

Musically, we suffered a significant loss last summer or fall: somebody got into our car and stole our main traveling CD holder. I still have the jewel cases, though. I’m slowly trying to track down replacement discs, through various means both devious and direct. Here’s the full list, acting as sort of a cross-section of our family’s musical tastes (though more mine than Sue’s or G’s, since it disappeared from my car):

Dave Matthews – Some Devil

Dave Matthews Band – Everyday

Bruce Springsteen – Tunnel of Love

XTC – Upsy Daisy Assortment

Coldplay – X&Y

Living Colour – Time’s Up

Eric Eggleston – This Modern LIfe

Bruce Cockburn – Life Short, Call Now (I miss this one the most, as I had just purchased it a month before it went missing.)

Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (the only “green” cardboard case of the bunch)

Blues Brothers – The Definitive Collection

Various Artists (Bloodshot Records) – The Bottle Let Me Down (the best children’s record we owned)

Various Artists – Best of Sessions at West 54th – (Sessions was a PBS concert show from the mid-Nineties. Susanne Vega, Lou Reed, The Mavericks, John Hiatt, Ani DiFranco, David Byrne… quite a nice variety on this disc.)

Various Artists (Waterbug Records) – Anthology : A cool little folk label in Chicago that Sons of the Never Wrong, Kat Eggleston, and a few others recorded on, at least in the mid-Nineties when I bought this for $5. Best cut: Chuck Brodsky – The Ballad of Me and Jones, about some friendly competition between two old pals.

Afro-Celt Sound System – Further in Time (our favorite “driving music” CD for long trips… must be replaced by this summer, according to Sue.)

Sesame Street – Best of, Vol. 2 ( I think we still have Vol. 1, but I miss “Put Down the Ducky”, a warning about the dangers of codependent relationships with one’s tub toys. Ernie’s been ten years on the wagon now.)

Bob Dylan – Bringing It All Back Home

Ben Folds – Rockin’ the Suburbs (Ben’s the best example of my penchant for “comedy rock”)

They Might Be Giants – Dial-A-Song, Disc One (more classic “giggle rock”)

Norah Jones – Come Away With Me (Didn’t hold up to a hundred listens, but the first few dozen times, it was one of the best debut albums I’d ever heard.)

Benny Goodman – The Benny Goodman Story (soundtrack to the movie) – His version of Louis Prima’s Sing Sing Sing has got to be the most rockin’ big band song ever recorded. That Gene Krupa drumming is da shizzle!

The Essential SRV & Double Trouble


Beat This! The Best of The English Beat


Allison Krauss: Now That I’ve Found You


Supertramp: Crime of the Century


Al Green: Greatest Hits


Steve Goodman: No Big Surprise


Joni Mitchell: Ladies of the Canyon


The Pogues: The Rest of the Best


The B-52s: Time Capsule


Carole King: Tapestry


andi and i: Harder


Vigilantes of Love: Blister Soul


John Lee Hooker: Graveyard Blues


Sting: Sacred Love


Eric Clapton: Unplugged


James Taylor: October Road


 So… if you see anyone driving around with any five of the above, let me know. I’ll go steal ’em back.





  1. Good to see your post mentioning “No Big Surprise” by Steve Goodman. He often doesn’t get his due. You might be interested in my 800-page biography, “Steve Goodman: Facing the Music.”

    You can find out more at my Internet site (below). Amazingly, the book’s first printing sold out in just eight months, all 5,000 copies, and a second printing of 5,000 is available now. The second printing includes hundreds of little updates and additions, including 30 more photos for a total of 575. To order a second-printing copy, see the “online store” page of my site. Just trying to spread word about the book. Feel free to do the same!

    Clay Eals
    1728 California Ave. S.W. #301
    Seattle, WA 98116-1958

    (206) 935-7515
    (206) 484-8008

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