The theme for the June 28, 2008, Wavelength show was “Songs for Kathleen.” My wife Kathleen’s birthday is coming up soon, so I asked her to pick artists to feature for the show. The playlist may be found here.
Kathleen has been a big encouragement in my producing these shows. She is always asking for more blues, so I began the show with an hour of various types of blues. This ranged from Blind Willie Johnson to Koko Taylor to Muddy Waters to Ruth Brown, among others.
I played two cuts each from two of Kathleen special favorites, Bettye Lavette and Ray Charles. Bettye Lavette is a classic rhythm and blues singer who began recording in the 1960s and never quite made it big despite loads of talent. She has made a comeback in recent years and now records for the wonderful Anti label (along with Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Neko Case, et al). Her most recent, very fine, record, is Scene of the Crime. It may be heard in its entirety here.
Ray Charles needs no introduction, of course. My favorite collection of his best is “Ray Charles – Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 [DCC]” and His Greatest Hits, Vol. 2.
For the second hour I featured several songs from four of Kathleen’s favorite rock acts–three of which we have been fortunate enough to see in concert. Our favorite Tom Waits record is Mule Variations. The last song on this record is one that Kathleen often talked about using as a benediction in our church service (it hasn’t happened yet, though).
Slim Cessna’s Auto Club have produced several lively, even slightly crazed records of country/punk/rock/gospel. Their most recent record may be their best: Cipher.
For Alejandro Escovedo, I especially recommend A Man Under the Influence and for Patti Smith Gone Again.