A double dose of James Brown in honor of Tuesday's book signing for his bio, The One.
1. "There Was a Time" - James Brown: Writer RJ Smith will be at Octavia Books Tuesday at 6 p.m. to talk about the Godfather of Soul and autograph copies of his new book on him, The One. This is one of my favorite Brown tracks.
2. "90 Days Same as Cash" - The Bo-Keys: This Memphis-based R&B band is making classic soul today with many of the guys who played it the first time around.
3. "Catfish" - The Four Tops: "Catfish / makes my nature rise." I don't want to know if "nature" is nature or a euphemism.
4. "Same Beat (Pt. 1)" - James Brown: I interviewed RJ Smith about Brown (online tomorrow), and we agreed that the late 1960s-early 1970s period this track comes from is taken for granted. There's nothing to this song and I love it.
5. "Bourbon Street Skank" - Ernest Ranglin: The ska guitar great pays tribute to New Orleans and its influence on ska and rock steady in a barely perceptible way on this cool groove.
6. "Aht Uh Mi Hed" - Shuggie Otis: Joey Burns and Calexico's publicist recently posted a very cool Spotify playlist of tracks that influenced Algiers, the band's upcoming album, which they recorded in New Orleans last December. This Shuggie Otis track is on their set too.
7. "Express Yourself" - Diplo w/ Nicky da B: I love the Crass-like cover to Diplo's Express Yourself EP, and he does bounce better than most non-NO DJs do. He also shows off local bounce rapper Nicky da B beautifully.
8. "Dirt" - "Neneh Cherry & The Thing: I'm not sure why I've been so obsessed by this album, but I've been looking forward to The Cherry Thing since I heard it was coming out. Here they cover The Stooges' "Dirt" from Fun House, and the last few minutes veer closer to "L.A. Blues." Stay with it for Cherry's final punk rock syllable.
9. "Vowels = Space and Time" - Grimes: Almost ephemeral electropop from the artist who'll open for The Flaming Lips Thursday night at the House of Blues.
10. "Another Shore" - Yann Tiersen: French soundtrack is so me it might as well share a social security number, and while I like Tiersen's new Skyline, it's opening track spoiled me. I haven't found anything else on it that I like as much. I'm hoping when tracks show up out of sequence in iPod shuffles, they'll emerge in their own right.
11. "Bait and Switch" - The Shins: I stuck Port of Morrow in my car door's pocket and just rediscovered it last weekend. It has since grown on me, so much so that today I listened to Marc Maron's WTF podcast with James Mercer even though Maron's not nearly as good with musicians as he is with comedians. With comics, the podcast's an hour of shoptalk and psychotherapy; with Mercer, the best Maron could manage was the good fan and music lover trying to locate common ground. He locates some, but there are a few cringeworthy moments anyway.
12. "Second Hand Smoke" - Smile: Smile's A Flash in the Night still has my attention for tracks like this one, which detours the "Crazy Train" intro into The Incredible Bongo Band and ultimately lightweight Swedish pop.
13. "Silver Trembling Hands" - The Flaming Lips: A good approximation of krautrock from Embryonic. The Flaming Lips will conclude their eight-city/24-hour tour in New Orleans at the House of Blues Thursday night. You'll be able to follow their exploits on the O Music Awards online.
14. "And the Cradle Will Rock ..." - Van Halen: This defines Van Halen for me even more than "Jamie's Crying" or "Running with the Devil" because David Lee Roth's smartass is the exactly right counterbalance to give the band's cock rock personality. The band plays the New Orleans Arena Tuesday.
15. "Man of the World" - Alejandro Escovedo: This track from his new Big Station album sounds like one Syl Sylvain could have written for The New York Dolls or one of his post-Dolls projects.
16. "Formidable" - Syl Sylvain and the Teardrops: For years I've balked at the song's story - don't abort our baby, baby - but as with so many Syl tracks, his good-natured enthusiasm and song sense catches me anyway.
17. "In Some Room Above the Street" - Gary Stewart: It's easy to find and love Gary Stewart drinking songs, and his honky tonk tracks are equally abundant. I like this from the brief moment when he tried to live in a place between country and rock without an easy barroom pose to inhabit.
18. "Famous in a Small Town" - Miranda Lambert: Lambert played New Orleans on the weekend. This is my favorite track from what remains my favorite of her albums, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.