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Vitamin Q: the book!

~ Friday, March 05, 2004

The tracks for a perfect male singer-songwriter CD:

1 Bob Dylan - Dirge (so hard to pick a Dylan but, of my favourites, this is the most singer-songwritery; a dark start to a dark selection)
2 Jon Brion - Hook Line and Sinker (achingly fine recent song from the musician better known as a producer and power-pop maven)
3 Cat Stevens - The First Cut is the Deepest (much-covered, but never bettered; an exemplary piece of pop music)
4 Van Morrison - Sweet Thing (some prefer the wilder moments of Astral Weeks, but I’ve always admired Van pop skills and his way with the love song)
5 Nick Drake - Joey (from forgotten cult folk singer to tired music hack’s yardstick, Nick’s posthumous years have been trying; why he never released this early song - perhaps his best - we’ll never know)
6 Cathal Coughlan - Dark Parlour (fine and moody moment from the multi-talented Irish songwriter)
7 Thomas Dolby - Airwaves (one of the finest songs ever written about New York)
8 James Taylor - Sweet Baby James (upbeat piece of Americana from the star known for too few of his many good numbers)
9 Kevin Tihista - Sucker (a great simple but catchy song, Elliott Smith-like, but with a lighter touch)
10 Leonard Cohen - Stories of the Street (his finest moment happened early on; one of the few songs where the lyrics stand up as good poetry)
11 Joe Jackson - It’s Different For Girls (this may have the most faultless first 30 seconds around)
12 Elliott Smith - Waltz # 2 (XO) (poor Elliott; this song obsessed me for a while - it eats your brain; it still gets me every time, from those first 1-2-3 drumbeats on)
13 John Cale - Ship of Fools (it has one of the loveliest refrains in rock music)
14 Alex Chilton - The EMI Song (a beautiful track from the turbulent solo years of the former Big Star star)
15 Ron Sexsmith - In a Flash (a highlight from the consistent Canadian troubador)
16 Gordon Grahame - Campfire Song (a favourite number by former Lost Soul Band leader and the UK music business’s most overlooked talent)
17 Jackie Leven - Wrapped Up in Blue (sad, but spot-on closer from one of the under-rated Scots soul / folk singer’s recent LPs)
18 Steve Harley - Nothing is Sacred (moody strumalong number with drug-addled lyrics about a dark night of the soul in mid-Europe)
19 Elvis Costello - Alison (one of the century’s best ballads)
20 Martin Stephenson - Rain (atmospheric piece of Cohenesque from the mid 80s by the warm-hearted Northern English songwriter)
21 Bob Mould - Sinners and Their Repentances (moving and mournful last track from his solo masterpiece Workbook)

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