DIJs 2016

Greg

Jim

Jim

“Stranger to My Happiness”Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

This week, Jim pays tribute to Sharon Jones, a huge figure in the neo-soul revival, who died November 18 after a battle with cancer. With her powerful voice and electric stage presence, Jones was, according to Jim, the true inheritor of the legacy of fellow Augusta, Georgia native James Brown. She moved to Brooklyn where she ended up teaming up with The Dap-Kings, the finest soul / R&B backing band since Stax. Their 2013 song "Stranger to My Happiness" exemplifies her bravery against her illness. Ostensibly a love song, the lyrics also find Jones reckoning with mortality. She didn‘t wear a wig after losing her hair from chemotherapy, refusing to pretend to be anything she wasn’t. You can see that in a powerful video Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings recorded for“Stranger to My Happiness,”which is Jim's Desert Island Jukebox pick of the week.

Go to episode 575

Jim

“Hyper Faster”Sheavy

What better way to end a show about the music of Canada than bringing a track by a Canadian band to the desert island? This week, Jim chose the song "Hyper Faster" by the stoner metal band Sheavy. Sheavey was a band that came out of Newfoundland in the early '90s. They are recognized most for blending hard rock in the tradition of '70s bands like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, with '90s flavored psychedelia. While the group sort of lost their way when their leader Ren Squires left in 2004, this 2000 song is peak Sheavy and a perfectly Canadian choice to bring to the desert island.

Go to episode 572

Greg

“Angel From Montgomery”John Prine

Dylan is not America's only great literary songwriter. John Prine, now 70, has been championed by legendary figures from Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, and Dylan himself. Born in Maywood, Illinois, Prine moved to Chicago as a young man, performing three times a week at an open mic night at a club called The Fifth Peg where he was discovered. Even at that young age, Greg feels his songs featured an astounding amount of empathy. That's best seen in "Angel From Montgomery," written from the perspective of a 47-year-old woman trapped in a marriage. Greg nominates Prine's 1970 live performance at the Fifth Peg, when he was still an unknown, to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 571

Jim

“I'm So Bored with the USA”The Clash

Jim's miniature society held their annual show recently, bringing together fellow tiny soldier geeks from all over the world. Jim's international friends often expressed bewilderment on how long we Americans drag out this grueling election process. Even the most patriotic Americans, regardless of politics, seem ready for the campaign to end. So Jim nominates a song for the Desert Island Jukebox that reflects that malaise: "I'm So Bored with the USA" from the 1977 debut from The Clash. It began as a Mick Jones-penned anti-love song called "I'm So Bored with You", but Joe Strummer misheard the lyrics and rewrote them to be more topical. The result is another classic melodic anthem from the punk pioneers.

Go to episode 570

Greg

“Nadine”Chuck Berry

Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize for Literature got Greg thinking about other great rock lyricists and the people who influenced them. Chuck Berry is often thought of for his pioneering work with the guitar but he's also a masterful lyricist. Greg points specifically to the 1964 song Nadine and the vivid imagery that Chuck conveys.

Go to episode 569

Jim

“The Model”Kraftwerk

Like many Americans, Jim and his wife Carmél watched the first presidential debate this week. Regardless of politics, Jim was greatly offended by candidate Donald Trump's hateful remarks about overweight people. Both of them felt that he was particularly cruel to former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, whom he publicly fat shamed in 1997 for gaining weight after winning her title. Jim wanted to counteract the negativity and insensitivity by bringing one of his favorite tracks ever, "The Model" by Kraftwerk, to the desert island. He wanted to play this song for Machado because she was and is a beautiful woman and she should may no mind to Trump's ignorant attitude.

Go to episode 566

Jim

“Bad Vibrations”The Black Angels

Recently, Jim was in a tattoo parlor getting some work done on a sleeve full of his favorite album cover art. As one can imagine, he endured a fair amount of (self-inflicted) discomfort. However, he found refuge in the song "Bad Vibrations" by The Black Angels, which was playing in the shop. Jim's Desert Island Jukebox selection comes from the 2010 album Phosphene Dream by the psychedelic southern rock band. Even though Jim was getting poked and prodded by a needle for three hours, this song momentarily took him to a groovy place in his mind where he forgot about the pain. The Black Angels conjure up a musical image of a hypnotic, chaotic“bad trip,”and Jim digs it big time for the Desert Island.

Go to episode 565

Greg

“Born to Wander”Jack Wood

Inspiration for a DIJ pick can come from anywhere. Even a TV commercial. Greg recently heard a track used for an ad and it jogged his memory of a song he heard on an old mixtape. Sure enough he found the tape, and the song "Born to Wander" from the singer Jack Wood. In the mid-1960s, Jack Wood recorded two songs in small town Michigan. The songs borrowed sounds from soul, garage-rock and Morricone film scores. Greg says the tracks got a few spins on local radio before the music essentially disappeared. Fast forward to 2015 when Jack White and Third Man Records re-released the single. Greg says it is a great, one off moment in rock history that is worthy of the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 563

Jim

“Betrayal”Tangerine Dream

Like much of the TV-watching public, Jim enjoyed binge-watching the Netflix horror series "Stranger Things." The show hearkens back to many pop cultural touchstones of the '70s and '80s – including in its music. Jim notes that the synth-based score takes inspiration from the soundtrack work of the German band Tangerine Dream, a key act in the psychedelic krautrock movement. Jim's favorite Tangerine Dream score is for the 1977 William Friedkin film Sorcerer. He says the soundtrack perfectly matches the movie's dark, tense jungle setting. So as a dual nod to Stranger Things and Tangerine Dream, Jim nominates "Betrayal," the main theme from Sorcerer, to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 561

Greg

“I Am A Scientist”Guided By Voices

Greg's newest addition to the Desert Island Jukebox is by Guided By Voices. Greg recalls seeing them at one of the first Lollapalooza festivals when they were first emerging, and how great of a live show they put on. While they have a lo-fi sound on recordings, Greg says that live they have a giant, exciting sound that drew crowds from all over. In remembrance of that concert over 20 years ago Greg adds "I Am A Scientist" by Guided By Voices to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 559

Jim

“She's Like Heroin To Me”The Gun Club

For Jim's Desert Island Jukebox pick this week, he chooses She's Like Heroin To Me by The Gun Club. Jeffrey Lee Pierce and the other founders of this band played music that did not fit into any genre labels but which might be described as "psychobilly cowpunk post-punk tribal-psychobilly-blues." Jim reminisces about the very innovative period of indie rock and punk in the '80s when The Gun Club came about, and points out how important this particular track is in understanding '80s music and expressing popular punk themes like obsession, addiction, and sex.

Go to episode 558

Greg

“Desperados Waiting For A Train”Guy Clark

In his Desert Island Jukebox pick for this week, Greg pays tribute to the late country legend Guy Clark, who died on May 17 at age 74. Although he was never as well known as some of his contemporaries, Greg wants to emphasize Clark's influence as a songwriter and his reputation among Texas musicians for his generosity and musicianship. He wrote about drifters and rebels and mentored many prominent country musicians. Greg selects the song Desperados Waiting For A Train from the 1975 album Old Number One as an example of the kind of sparse, raw songs that Guy Clark was best at writing.

Go to episode 556

Jim

“Downtown Venus”P.M. Dawn

This week, Jim wanted to honor the late Prince Be of P.M. Dawn by taking a track of his to the Desert Island. Jim notes that like himself, Prince Be was a misfit music fan who grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey. He had a rough upbringing but went on to make four superb albums as P.M. Dawn along with his brother, DJ Minutemix. After the '90s, Prince Be virtually disappeared, sporadically releasing new music on the internet. Jim feels that he traversed a new path with the Afrofuturism/psychedelic rap he created, and inspired the sort of work being done today by artists like Chance the Rapper and Janelle Monáe. Jim chose the song "Downtown Venus" from the 1995 album Jesus Wept, a track that exemplifies his genre-melding abilities and skills as a singer. Prince Be died on June 17 at the age of 46 from complications from kidney disease.

Go to episode 552

Greg

“Irma Jackson”Merle Haggard

When outlaw country legend Merle Haggard died in April of this year, many obituaries focused on his huge 1969 hit "Okie From Muskogee." It was a divisive song from a contentious time in U.S. history. Many took it as a flag-waving anthem that mocked the counterculture. Haggard himself changed his tune many times regarding whether he personally agreed with the lyrics or not. What Greg finds interesting is that the single Haggard wanted to put out following“Okie From Muskogee”was "Irma Jackson," a song in defense of interracial romance. The record company“suits”wouldn‘t release it, believing it would alienate his new fans. Three years later, Haggard finally got his way and the single was released. Greg believes Haggard was finally able to show that he was much more than the one-dimensional character in“Okie.”And that’s why he selected“Irma Jackson”to take to the Desert Island Jukebox today.

Go to episode 551

Jim

“I'm the Toughest Girl Alive”Candye Kane

It has become a sad cliché at this point that 2016 has been a terrible year for losses in the music world. This week, Jim pays tribute to Candye Kane – an artist less famous than Prince or Bowie, but every bit as exceptional. She came out of the Los Angeles punk scene, but wore many hats throughout her life: feminist, porn star, bisexual, fat activist – and big, bold, and brash blues singer. Over dozens of albums, she showcased her power, raunchiness, humor and an unforgettable voice. Kane died on May 6 from pancreatic cancer at age 54. In her honor, Jim nominates her 2000 anthem "I'm the Toughest Girl Alive" for the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 550

Greg

“Why”Lonnie Mack

Lost in the global media spotlight on Prince's death was the passing of another important musical innovator – guitarist Lonnie Mack, who died at 74 on April 21. Born an Indiana farmboy, Mack inspired generations of artists by blending country, blues, and soul on his famous Flying V guitar. He was one of the first to turn the whammy bar into a true textural instrument. But Greg feels Mack's vocal style is sadly underrated. He was a true soul singer, and Greg calls his recording of "Why" from the 1963 debut album The Wham of That Memphis Man! one of the great vocal performances of the era. Because of that, it's Greg's Desert Island Jukebox selection of the week.

Go to episode 545

Jim

“American Girl”Tom Petty

Jim delivers a Desert Island Jukebox twofer this week, naming both a song and a film he can't live without. After having recently seen the Jonathan Demme-directed "Ricki and the Flash," starring Meryl Streep, Jim is gaga over the movie and Streep's musical performance. Already a huge fan of Tom Petty's original song "American Girl," he finds that Streep's character Ricki Rendazzo brings new meaning to the song. Originally released as the second single off Petty's debut album, the song is about a young girl questioning her future, but when sung by an aging rocker, it's about not letting go of one's youth. For Jim, the track is a triumph for all parties involved: Petty, Demme, Streep, and the listener.

Go to episode 542

Greg

“You Don't Love Me Yet”The Vulgar Boatmen

Greg takes a trip to the desert island tax shelter this week. Lately, he's been thinking a lot about the rock band The Vulgar Boatmen. The group began in Florida/Indiana in the early 1980s when a University of Florida professor teamed up with one of his former students. They made some cassette-only records before making full albums in 1989 and 1992. The 25th anniversary re-issue of their first album, You and Your Sister, came out a few months ago. Greg started listening to that record again, as well as 1992's Please Panic. The song he chose was a track from their '92 record called "You Don't Love Me Yet." He feels the song exudes all the uncertainty and cautiousness surrounding love and thought it would be the perfect song to hear on the desert island.

Go to episode 541

Jim

“Eat Steak”Reverend Horton Heat

This week, Jim and Greg are soaking up some sun and new music in the beautiful city of Austin, Texas for South by Southwest. While Jim always loves visiting the annual festival to discover new talent, there's one element that makes him positively giddy – world famous Texas BBQ food. So for this trip to the desert island, Jim thought he would mentally prepare himself for some good old-fashioned carnivorous cuisine with the Reverend Horton Heat song, "Eat Steak." This track is some fun psychobilly rock that will get you looking for the closest barbeque restaurant, and fast.

Go to episode 538

Greg

“(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher”Jackie Wilson

This week, Greg has the legendary Jackie Wilson on his mind. Early in his career, Wilson drew comparisons to Elvis but in fact, you couldn't liken him to anyone. Wilson heavily influenced many artists, namely Michael Jackson and even James Brown with his style, dance moves and vocals. In the '50s, he had an amazing run with big hits but floundered in the '60s. When he came to Chicago to work with record producer Carl Davis, they cut one of Greg's favorite tracks ever, "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher." Greg thinks this is pretty much as perfect as a song can get, and that's why he selected it as his Desert Island Jukebox pick this week.

Go to episode 536

Jim

“I Won't Give Up”The Erasers

For Jim and Greg, it's February in Chicago, and they couldn‘t think of a place they’d rather get away to than a warm desert island. This week it's Jim's turn, and he wants to take us back to the burgeoning New York punk scene in the 1970s. Specifically, he wants to focus on Ork Records, a small independent label that served many underground punk bands. One such group that's a bit of a deep cut is the Susan Springfield-led band, The Erasers. Jim really digs this quartet, even though they only released one single and were never heard from again! However, the song "I Won't Give Up" is the perfect example of a great punk track that was ahead of its time.

Go to episode 533

Greg

“Trying to Live My Life Without You”Otis Clay

Greg's Desert Island Jukebox selection this week is inspired by the death of R&B and soul singer Otis Clay on January 8th. It got Greg thinking about his track "Trying to Live My Life Without You." Most people will remember Bob Seger's version of the song. And as Greg explains, Seger was such a fan, he was angry when the Eagles released something similar: "The Long Run." Eagles member Glenn Frey also died this week, but it's the Clay original Greg chooses to remember.

Go to episode 530