dijs 2011

Greg

Jim

Jim

“Gris Gris Gumbo Ya Ya”Dr. John

Jim returns to New Orleans for his Desert Island Jukebox selection this week. In addition, there's an element of psychedelic lunacy on his pick, as there is on Smile. The record is Dr. John's 1968 release Gris Gris, and the song is "Gris Gris Gumbo Ya Ya." You'll never hear anything like it.

Go to episode 314

Greg

“Kalimba Story”Earth, Wind and Fire

The Desert Island Jukebox segment is often an opportunity to give love to an artist who doesn't get enough of it. Prime example? Earth, Wind and Fire. Sure we‘ve all heard the hits at weddings. But brothers Verdine and Maurice White were musical geniuses in Greg’s opinion. And one of their strengths was linking the funk of the 1970's to its roots in Africa. They did this through dress, but also through the use of instruments like the Kalimba. Check out the rhythms in Greg's choice of the week, "Kalimba Story."

Go to episode 312

Jim

“Save the Last Dance For Me”The Drifters

Not to completely dis Lou Reed, Jim decides to present the musician's softer side during the Desert Island Jukebox segment. Reed has an enviable encyclopedic knowledge of rock and roll, and he showcases his fandom in a recent issue of Rolling Stone. He talks about one of his, and Jim's, favorite songs: "Save the Last Dance For Me" by The Drifters. The song was co-written by one of Reed's heroes, Doc Pomus, and Reed schools even our critics by describing the song's inspiration. Pomus, suffering with Polio, is unable to dance with his wife at his wedding, so he jots down the lyrics on a place card (which was later gifted to Reed). The song became a classic, and one Jim wants to take with him if stranded on an island.

Go to episode 311

Greg

“When the Sun Comes Up”Bert Jansch

It's Greg's turn to drop a song in the Desert Island Jukebox, and he chooses to honor Bert Jansch who died recently at age 67. The Scottish folk guitarist can count Neil Young and Jimmy Page among his followers, and his east meets west sound continues to be an influence for a new generation of folk artists such as Beth Orton and Devendra Banhart. Greg chooses the tune "When the Sun Comes Up," featuring Orton from his 2006 release Black Swan.

Go to episode 308

Jim

“The Message”Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

Sylvia Robinson passed away last week at the age of 75. One half of Mickey and Sylvia, Robinson earns her place in the music history books through her contributions as a businesswoman. She co-founded Sugar Hill Records, which pioneered early hip-hop. To honor Robinson, Jim decides to take one of Sugar Hill's most significant tracks to the Desert Island Jukebox: "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The track demonstrated that rap music could not only get people moving, but could inspire and spread a message.

Go to episode 306

Greg

“Midnight Train to Georgia”Gladys Knight

The harmony vocals on Wild Flag's record inspired Greg to give the backup singer some. And there's no better backup singing group than The Pips. Everyone, Jim and Greg included, wanted to be as cool as The Pips. Their music with Gladys Knight epitomized what was great about the golden era of soul music—not just sophisticated songwriting, but sophisticated arrangements that were influenced by the call and response style of gospel music. Greg chooses to add their hit song "Midnight Train to Georgia" to the Desert Island Jukebox, which incidentally is an improvement from the original title "Midnight Train to Houston."

Go to episode 302

Jim

“Running On Sand”Mari Wilson

Thinking about Amy Winehouse, Jim is reminded of her roots. Clearly she was influenced by singers like Ronnie Spector in the '60s. But the link between that era and this one was British singer Mari Wilson. She revived retro and sported a beehive long before Amy. Partly jazz, partly pop and partly camp, Wilson had a string of hits in the U.K. in the '80s. Health problems have interfered with her success in recent years, but she did have a comeback album in 2005 called Dolled Up. Jim chooses a track from it called "Running On Sand" to add to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 297

Greg

“I used to love H.E.R.”Common

Bummed by what he sees as Common's recent descent into mediocrity, Greg charts a craft for the desert island. He takes us back to the Chicago rapper's glory days in the early nineties, when he released "I Used To Love H.E.R.". SHE - if you haven‘t already guessed it - isn’t a woman. She's a metaphor for the golden age of hip-hop (H.E.R. stands for Hearing Every Rhyme). Common loved that scrappy city kid who grew up to be a beautiful Afrocentric woman in New York City, and he's disappointed when she goes West Coast and gets corrupted by show biz. There's more than a bit of irony here. As Greg reminds us, Common's lament for classic hip-hop is a hip-hop classic.

Go to episode 295

Jim

“C·30 C·60 C·90 Go”Bow Wow Wow

Jim riffs on tUnE-yArDs' love for African rhythms for his Desert Island Jukebox pick. It reminds us of yet another Western band to put African beats to its own creative use. This week, it's the British new wave group Bow Wow Wow. Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood created the band in 1980, but were out a lead singer until they discovered 14-year-old Annabella Lwin working at a dry cleaner and singing along to Stevie Wonder. Jim's pick, "C·30 C·60 C·90 Go" makes ample use of the then-popular "Burundi Beat," a rhythm cribbed from a French anthropologist's recording of native Burundian percussionists. Tracked down years later, the original Burundian musicians singled out Bow Wow Wow for special props. Sure, they stole the beat, but they also gave it a new spin.

Go to episode 294

Greg

“Personality Crisis”New York Dolls

Jim and Greg sail away to the Desert Island Jukebox, and it's Greg's turn to choose a song. He wants to return to the high point of the New York Dolls. They're still making music today, but it's nothing Jim and Greg want to remember. Greg goes back to 1973's "Personality Crisis," which showcases what was so amazing about the Dolls: Johnny Thunder's guitar, Syl Sylvain's pop smarts, and David Johansen's charisma. People called the group "glam," but Greg credits them as the 1st punk band, giving way to the Sex Pistols.

Go to episode 293

Jim

“She's Not There”The Zombies

Jim's Desert Island Jukebox selection is inspired by his television guilty pleasure: True Blood. While he was disappointed by the season premiere, he loved hearing Neko Case and Nick Cave duet on a cover of "She's Not There." But nothing compares to The Zombies‘ 1964 original. It combines beautiful chords and harmony vocals with a dark, sinister undertone. Plus you can’t beat those keys or Colin Blunstone's vocals.

Go to episode 292

Greg

“If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day”Robert Johnson

To cap off the show, Greg pays tribute to Robert Johnson. The 100th anniversary of the bluesman's death is this year. Although he died at the age of 27 and didn't get to record much in his lifetime, he nonetheless became so influential many regard him as the godfather of rock and roll. With his unique vocal and guitar performances and complicated narratives, it's easy to understand why Johnson resonates today. Greg chooses to add the song "If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day" to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 291

Jim

“Chinese Rocks”The Heartbreakers,The Heartbreakers,The Heartbreakers

Jim noted that 20 years ago on April 23, 1991, Johnny Thunders died. The former New York Doll sadly became as famous for his bad heroin habit as he was for his music. So, Jim uses his turn at the Desert Island Jukebox to remember the music. He plays a song about addiction, "Chinese Rocks," which was written by fellow punk legends Dee Dee Ramone and Richard Hell, and performed by Thunders and his band The Heartbreakers in 1977.

Go to episode 282

Greg

“One by One”Wilco

One of Dylan's motivations for moving to New York was to meet his hero Woody Guthrie. And decades later, Guthrie continues to inspire musicians. In fact, Greg says one of the best performances of Wilco's entire career is their cover of Guthrie's tune "One by One" from the 1998 album Mermaid Avenue. And that's saying something, since Greg literally wrote the book on Wilco. As a result,“One by One”goes into the Desert Island Jukebox this week.

Go to episode 279

Jim

“East-West”The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

We really do read your letters! Last week a listener commented on our interview with Jac Holzman, saying he'd like to hear more about Paul Butterfield. So this week Jim drops a track by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band into the Desert Island Jukebox. In 1966, on an album of the same name, the group recorded the song "East-West" written by guitarist/composer Mike Bloomfield. Bloomfield was influenced by blues, psychedelia, free jazz and Indian raga music. This track in turn influenced everyone from the Grateful Dead to Joe Boyd. It's a landmark in rock, and it's goin' with Jim to the island.

Go to episode 276

Greg

“Give Me Back My Wig”Hound Dog Taylor

The Gang of Four were heavily influenced by Chicago blues, and perhaps no label better represents that sound than Alligator Records. The label, run by blues fanatic Bruce Iglauer, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. To toast them, Greg adds one of his favorite tracks by Hound Dog Taylor to the Desert Island Jukebox. It's the stripped down, raw, mood-setting song "Give Me Back My Wig."

Go to episode 274

Jim

“Sway”Rolling Stones

Jim gets to pop a quarter in the Desert Island Jukebox this week, and he admits his choice is more about him than the music. He hates moving – especially in January in Chicago. The boxes and boxes of music books, records, CDs and even cassettes don't make the task any easier. But on the upside, Jim explains, he could finally set up his turntable again. He christened his new place by throwing on the vinyl of Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones, and despite all the stress of moving, everything felt better. Jim even enjoyed the skipping during the album's second track "Sway", so he decided to add it to his desert island collection.

Go to episode 269