Friday, January 23, 2009

Weekend Listomania (Special Land Ho! Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental in-house strumpet appointment secretary Fah Lo Suee and I are off to Washington, D.C., for the first annual Biblegate Conference at the private chapel of Fox News anchor Chris Wallace. Something to do with our president actually being the Great Horned Beast/Angel of the Bottomless Pit (whatever that means -- I'm vague on the details).

In any case, as a result, posting by moi will necessarily be somewhat fitful for a few days.

But until then, as always, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:


Self-explanatory, I think, so no arbitrary rules this time -- anything about naturally ocurring phenomena, i.e., streams, rivers, mountains, deserts, forests or whatever, should work just fine. But if you try to slip something man made by me -- like a highway or a dam -- I will come to your house and slap you silly.

Okay, here's my totally top of my head Top Seven:

7. Ike and Tina Turner -- River Deep, Mountain High

A two-fer, obviously, and Phil Spector's magnum opus. Incidentally, has there ever been a decent cover version of this? The two that spring immediately to mind -- Eric Burdon & the Animals and The Easybeats -- aren't their auteurs best work by any means. In any case, that video is to die for, don't you think?

6. The Bonzo Dog Band -- The Canyons of Your Mind

The late great Viv Stanshall on unctuous lead vocals, with Neil Innes performing The Worst Guitar Solo of All Time as a bonus. This clip is a new one on me, BTW, and a major mindblower.

5. Bruce Springsteen -- Meeting Across the River

Filmed live in 1978 at the Capitol Theater in New Jersey during Bruce's "South Passaic" tour.

4. The Beatles -- Rocky Raccoon

"Now somewhere in the black mountain hills of Dakota..." I don't know who's responsible for the vid, but it's pretty cute.

3. The Kinks-- I'm on An Island

One of the first of Ray's languid odes to genteel solipsism. Extra points to any reader who recognizes the album cover's relevance to a 90s indie rock icon.

2. Arcade Fire -- The Woodlands National Anthem

Just to have something recorded in this decade, obviously.

And the number one Stuff You Can See on a Map song of all time, it's not even close so just shut your festering gob, you tit!, obviously is --

1. Paul Simon -- Peace Like a River

I know I used this in another recent Listomania, but I've been kind of obsessing over it lately, so forgive me. From Paul's eponymous first solo album, which Graceland notwithstanding remains his masterpiece, I think. A perfect fusion of folk, blues and Brill Building romanticism -- just a gorgeous, gorgeous song. Simon's version seems to have disappeared from the intertubes, but this live cover by Spoon gets it just about right, I think.

Awrighty then -- what or who would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- theme: NYC flicks -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could out of the goodness of your heart see your way to going over there and leaving a comment, it would definitely get me in good with management. I thank you.]


Anonymous said...

Buddy Miller fans would probably agree on Wide River to Cross, I'd think.

There have been a number of covers of Kern River, but I like Dave Alvin's version on West of the West.

You can add Jimmie Dale Gilmore's ode to innocence lost, Banks of the Guadalupe, along with Neil Young's ode to childhood lost, Sugar Mountain.

Does R.E.M.'s Maps and Legends count as a self-referential thematic pick?

Libby Spencer said...

Take me to the River - Talking Heads

Dirty Water - The Standells

Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Marvin Gaye

Sandy Beaches - Delbert McClinton

That's it off the top of my head. Somehow I feel certain I'll think of more as the day goes on...

Libby Spencer said...

Hah. I love getting in early so I can snag some easy ones.

Ladies of the Canyon - Joni Mitchell

Anonymous said...

River - joni mitchell
michael from mountains-- joni mitchell
beyond the sea - bobby darin
island girl - elton john

The Wolfmen said...

Some great clips - loving the blog, will be doing plenty of digging here

Anonymous said...

"Hard Rain," "Down in the Flood," "One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)," and "Watching the River Flow" (Dylan at his vocal peak, IMHO)

"Ballad of Easy Rider" (at least the opening verse)

Oh, yeah, and Neil's "Down by the River," of course.

(confirmation word: prostai. is that the plural of prostate?)

Wendy said...

From Jefferson Airplane's "A Small Package of Value Will Come To You Shortly":

No man is an island!
He's a peninsula!

Wendy said...

Dick and Dee Dee's "The Mountain's High And The Valley's So Deep"

U2: "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"

I have climbed the highest mountain
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you

Allman Brothers' "Mountain Jam"

Anonymous said...

Many Rivers To Cross - Jimmy Cliff

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) - Jimi Hendrix ("I stand up next to a mountain/and I chop it down with the edge of my hand")

A Forest - The Cure

Desert Island Discs - The Jags

Rumour Sets The Woods Alight - The Records

Anonymous said...

Proud Mary -- Creedence
don hate me for this one-- ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH - JOHN DENVER

Feral said...

Here's a little variety for you:

Mott the Hoople - Walking with a Mountain

Led Zep - The Ocean

Monkees - Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

Peter Gabriel - Solisbury Hill

Mothers - Billy the Mountain

Yes - Roundabout

The Cowsills - Indian Lake

Noam Sane said...

Billy was a mountain
Ethel was a tree growing out of his shoulder

I think the problem with "River Deep" is that it just isn't a very well written song. The melody isn't compelling, the chorus tries to soar but really doesn't; it's a song that tries too hard to be soulful. Spector went crazy trying to polish that turd.

Anonymous said...

"Big River" - Johnny Cash
"Across The Great Divide" - The Band
"Help! I'm A Rock" - Frank Zappa
"Green River" - CCR
"Tecumseh Valley" - Townes Van Zandt
"Lookout Mountain" - Drive-By Truckers - bill buckner

Libby Spencer said...

There is a mountain - Donovan

Legend of a girl child Linda - Donovan
...Bright cascading crystals, they danced in the sand dunes,
On the beach of no footprints to harpsichord tunes.

Sweet Baby James - James Taylor
... and the Berkshires seemed dreamlike on account of that frosting

Suzanne - Leonard Cohen

Libby Spencer said...

I'd love to add Ain't Nobody's Business because I love the song and it's been covered by a million bands, but I think the original goes to pre-Elvis.

Anonymous said...

Eric Anderson (w/ Joni Mitchell!)- "Blue River"
Johnny Rivers - "Mountain of Love"
The Band -- "Cripple Creek Ferry"
Kate and Anna Mcgarrigle -- "Mendocino (Talk to Me of)"
And it's on to Southbend, Indiana
Flat out on the western plain
Rise up over the Rockies and down on into California
Out to where but the rocks remain

Libby Spencer said...

Okay, this is my last post but I have to give some props to my old home boys from the Happy Valley.

Fire in the Canyon - Fountains of Wayne
...There's fire in the canyon
Rain on the plain

And does their Fire Island count? That's a natural feature right?

Scud Mountain Boys - Penthouse in the Woods

And my old upstairs neighbors, who I didn't love that much as a band after having suffered through 1000 of their first practice sessions, at 2:00am, but I loved the cat they're named after.

Jaya the Cat - G*d-n-State

...Another helicopter in the national forest
Flown by some national guardsmen but he aint looking out for us

Anonymous said...

Fool On the Hill .. Beatles
Mother Nature's Son - Beatles

Michael said...

Harry Nilsson did a decent cover of "River Deep, Mountain High" early in his career, on Pandemonium Shadow Show. Very Spectoresque, but not still not as good as Tina.

ms. rosa said...

Noam, the problem is that Spector didn't realize 'River Deep' was a punk song.

From the One Two Three Four EP by The Saints...ABSOLUTELY SUBLIME!:

Anonymous said...

And, because I am compelled to add an Emmylou song to every list, Boulder to Birmingham

And I don't want to hear a sad story
Full of heartbreak and desire
The last time I felt like this
I was in the wilderness and the canyon was on fire
And I stood on the mountain in the night and I watched it burn
I watched it burn, I watched it burn.

MBowen said...

Neil Young - "I'm The Ocean"

Bruuuce - "The River"

Midnight Oil - "King Of The Mountain"

Otis Redding - "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay"

Kirsty MacColl - "La ForĂȘt de Mimosas"

Fotheringay - "The Pond And The Stream"

The Act - "The Long Island Sound"

and the very meta:

Wire - "Map Ref. 41°N 93°W."

Anonymous said...

I must uphold the puissance (look it up!) of Pete Townshend's Song is Over from the Who's immortal Who's Next: "I sing my song out to the wide open spaces / I sing my song out to the infinite sea / I sing my vision to the sky high mountains / I sing my song to the the free!" Doth make grown men cry...

And on the more ornery front, there's the late great John Entwistle's Heaven and Hell, featured to great effect as the opening track to the expanded version of Live at Leeds: "On top of the sky there's a place that you go if you've done nothing wrong / and down in the ground there's a place that you go if you've been a bad boy"

Also must mention Townshend's solo track The Sea Refuses No River: not his best work, but still pretty good...

And a big second to Neil Young's Down by the River. While we're talking 'bout Neil, how about Cortez the Killer, with the line "they came dancing across the water"? One of his very best...

steve simels said...

Okay, been gone all day but --

THIS makes me incredibly happy.
ms. rosa said...
Noam, the problem is that Spector didn't realize 'River Deep' was a punk song.

From the One Two Three Four EP by The Saints...ABSOLUTELY SUBLIME!:

Anonymous said...

Thunder Island - Jay Ferguson
The Water Is Wide- various folkies
Armenia City In The Sky - The Who

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm ... Water is Wide ... lovely.

Three of my favorite versions are by Cowboy Junkies, Karla Bonoff and Van Morrison.

preznit said...

Martha and the Muffins- Echo Beach
Soft Boys- Underwater Moonlight
Ideal Free Distribution- Tropic of Cancer
Boy Genius- Great Lakes
TMBG- Tropical Island
The Lucksmiths- The Great Dividing Range

Anonymous said...


The montage of The Kink Controversy looks kinda like a Yo La Tengo album cover, no?

TJWood said...

Anonymous said...

The montage of The Kink Controversy looks kinda like a Yo La Tengo album cover, no?

I did some research on this one. Actually, it would be Sleater-Kinney,and their album Dig Me Out

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Mike said...
Many Rivers To Cross - Jimmy Cliff

A terrific song which reminded me that i probably never would have heard of it but for poor Harry who in between throwing up blood at the Pussy Cats sessions gave that one his all. Also, same album, Nilsson explained that Mount Elba is a high mountain.