1: Earl Scruggs with Billy Bob Thornton – Ring Of Fire ~ SpottedRichard
Randy Scruggs heard Billy Bob’s album and called him to come talk to his dad about recording a Johnny Cash cover for the album Earl Scruggs and Friends. You may or may not like this “hick-hop” influenced version of the Johnny Cash song, but kudos to Earl for pushing the envelope all the way.
2: Iron & Wine – Belated Promise Ring ~ ToffeeBoy
Iron & Wine are one of the acts that I’ve ‘discovered’ through LastFM’s similar artists feature – I think that Sufjan Stevens was probably the link – and although I’ve enjoyed most of what I’ve heard, they’ve never really grabbed me. A bit samey – a bit monotonous – one-dimensional. Good lyrics, good stories but not enough in the musical cupboard for my liking. And then I heard this song and I can’t stop listening to it. It starts off at a good steady pace and just keeps going right to the end, spreading harmoniously melodic joy on its way. Hope y’all enjoy it too..
3: The Wailers – Bus Dem Shut (Pyaka) ~ AlBahooky
I came to the magic of Bob Marley late on and first heard this on the ‘Songs Of Freedom‘ box set. Here he is with Peter Tosh & Bunny Wailer, pre – Perry & Island as The Wailers with a sublime melodic lightness to counterpoint the consciousness lyrics as enlightened by Robert Christigau : ”Bus Dem Shut (Pyaka),” “bus” meaning “bust” and “pyaka” meaning “liar.” - nuff niceness!
4: Tracy Chapman – Subcity ~ bishbosh
Compassion, empathy, a social conscience… All qualities greatly undervalued in rock and pop, IMHO. 20-odd years later, this still sounds depressingly timely.
5. Everything But The Girl – Don’t Let The Teardrops Rust Your Shining Heart ~ Zalamanda
From the lushly orchestral album, “Baby, The Stars Shine Bright“, this always makes me think of a sad and lonely knight whose armour is at risk of rusting – as well as his heart. I love EBTG’s use of lyrics.
6: Aretha Franklin & Mary J. Blige – Never Gonna Break My Faith ~ Tincanman
Not hard to tell why Aretha was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame this spring. This song about struggling to understand a random fatal shooting is the most powerful gospel duet I know.
Here’s Tin’s Billy Bob Thornton interview.
A big Thank You to everyone who has send in these and other songs. If you have more, PLEASE! Send your juiciest worms plus a line or two per song on how you got hooked: to either firstname.lastname@example.org or a wormhole near you. Thank you.