It’s hot here in Seattle. A scorcher. So my friend Lester decided to have a pool party. Does he have a pool? Of course not. He has a hose. With a special nozzle. Everyone was assigned a job. Potato salad, tongs, thongs, booze. I was asked to bring the music. Normally, I hate this request. Not because I don’t like picking tunes. I do. It’s just that, no matter what, someone is always pissed. You play Steely Dan? Too obvious, too boring. You don’t play Steely Dan? You’re an elitist ass. The night before, Lester called me up.

“Yeah, I don’t think so, man.”

“What? Why not?”

“I dunno. It’s too divisive. Everyone gets pissed when I don’t bring my Indigo Girls remixes.”

He laughed. I’ve been collecting vinyl since I was 15. It’s one of the reasons my friends tolerate me.

“Don’t be a douche. You’re doing tunes. Just bring your iPod.”

I sighed. “Okay, but only under on one condition.”

“Fine. What?”

I tried to think of a condition worth demanding. Nothing good came to mind. “I’m only playing bands whose name starts with A. You want the rest of the alphabet, you’re on your own.”

Lester breathed in, about to yell something mean that would take a few weeks for us to pretend he didn’t. But then he breathed out again, Lester being a thrice-rehabbed gambling degenerate.

“Fine, genius. I’ll bet you five hundred bucks you can’t.”

“Can’t what?”

“Entertain a party. For, let’s say, five hours. Seven to midnight. Only using bands that start with A. If the people at the party dig it? At the end of the night you get five hundred, cash. People think it sucks, you owe me five.”


“Hell, yeah. In fact, I’m so serious, I’ll give you B, too. You got any band starts with A or B at your disposal. Keep in mind, now, you gotta entertain a diverse crowd. You gotta make them get up and shake ass. And no doubling down. Only one song per band.”

It was ridiculous. Doomed.

“Deal. See you tomorrow night.”

“No, wait. We need to go over the rules, son.” I could hear his brain whirring. It sounded like a thousand year-old fax machine. “Like, okay, Barbara Streisand is a B, so she counts, right?”


“But Sonny Bono ends with a B, he’s no good. Can’t use him.”

“No way. You gotta give me first and last names.”

“Okay, fine. Pussy. First and last names for the pussy. But it doesn’t work with bands. Bands have to start with the letter. Bad Company counts, sure. But Massive Attack? You don’t get the A on that. That starts with an M, so they’re out.”

“Fair enough.”

“Captain Beefheart? They’re no good either. Starts with a C.”

“Fuck, I was going to spin the whole second side of Trout Mask.”

“And no dialing up U2 and claiming Bono.”

“Like I’d play fucking U2. But listen, Lester, if I spend all the time it’s going to take to put this together, there can’t be any of that oh, it was all a joke routine afterward. I mean, I intend to collect.”

“Oh, me too, my friend. I am definitely going to collect. I’ve practically spent half your cash already.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“And listen, no metal. No one at this party wants to hear Accept or Anthrax or AC/DC. Or, fuck, Black Sabbath. Or, like, Boston. No Boston, Beatles, or Bob Dylan. No Blow Monkeys. No Aldo Nova. No Abba or Asia. And no Argent! What’s that song?”

“Hold Your Head Up.”

“Yeah, I hate that song. And no jazz! Absolutely no jazz!”

“Alright, alright already.”

“You know what, though? I haven’t mentioned the most important rule.”

“Which is?”

“Anything you play has to already be in your collection. I’m holding you to your word on this! No going to Amazon as soon as I hang up and downloading everything under B, okay?”

“I would never download anything from Amazon. For one thing, they don’t use FLAC, or any of the other lossless formats, and for another-“

“Blah, blah, blah, you know what I mean. If it’s not in your collection right this second, you can’t use it.”

“You got my word.”



So, I dug deep in my vaults. Tune for tune, here’s the first 80 songs I played. If you round it out to about 4 minutes per, that’s a little over five hours of music. Of course, that’s just proximate, and the party went on until about 3 in the morning, so there were a whole lot more songs after these, but you get the idea.


1. Aretha Franklin-Rock Steady      

Sheer Aretha love in a very funky package. Her voice remains a vague prooflet of the existence of some sort of god. Possibly Athena.


2. Al Green-You Say It

I had tickets about ten years ago to fly to Memphis and hear Al preach in his tiny little church in the sticks. And then United pilots went on strike. Never made it. I still refuse to fly United.


3. Baby Huey-Listen To Me

One of my all-time favorite soul albums. I spent decades trying to find this on vinyl for less than the cost of a new car. And then, you know, cds came along.

baby h

4. Jimmy Bryant-Stratosphere Boogie

The guy is an absolute fretboard machine. Astonishingly fluid and precise at the same time. Some people call that skillz. I call it skills.


5. Eugene BlacknellGet In A Hurry

Oakland funk pioneer and all around propulsive guitar ace, this tune is off a super rare comp of early Eugene Blacknell and The Savonics stuff. One of his tunes was sampled, to no great advantage, by Beck.


6. African Music Machine-Black Water Gold

They laid down the tastiest grooves in Shreveport, mostly on the Jewel/Paula labels, for Ted Thompson, Little Johnny Taylor, Tommie Young, and numerous others.


7. Buddy Rich-Kilimanjaro Cookout

These are some seriously groovy chops. In the 70’s Buddy became a mainstay on Merv Griffin and The Mike Douglas Show. But I don’t ever remember him letting loose like this. Maybe it’s because Dr. Joyce Brothers was always looking over his shoulder.

buddy rich

8. Bobby Bare Jr.-I’ll Be Around

The excellent progeny of Bobby Bare Sr. The kind of country that makes you want to move to Austin yesterday.

bobby b

9. Boogaloo Joe Jones-Right On

When they say “acid jazz”, even though they never, ever should, this is what they mean. Funky, virtuosic, hip as all get out.

joe jones

10. Brian Eno-Third Uncle

It’s possible that Brian Eno is the second most misunderstood genius in the history of rock. This song is like a wet slap to the neck.


11. Black Heat-Chip’s Funk

You walk into a party and this tune is playing? You know you found the right place. Grab a drink and elbow your way in.


12. Bobby Valentin-Flight To Cuba

Muy, muy caliente. Book me a seat.

bobby v

13. Arthur Russell-Springfield

Classically trained cello player moves to 70’s NYC and becomes underground gay dance sensation. Experimental and ethereal and incredibly expressive.


14. Alan Vega-Raver

This always reminds me of being fifteen and laying on the carpet and realizing there were crazy people everywhere, and some of them had recording equipment.


15. The Brothers Johnson-Free And Single

That fine line between Bootsy and disco. It’s all about the bass, baby.

bros johnson

16. Amos Milburn-After Midnight

I love his lazy delivery, always makes me feel like smoking Lucky no-filters and knocking back a couple of Sidecars in a jook joint that doesn’t even bother to have a name.


17. Luther Allison-Little Red Rooster

It’s hot and packed and everyone is sweating straight bourbon down their backs. The only recourse is to lazily wave a napkin in your face while you grind very, very slowly in a leftward slant.


18. Henry Butler-Orleans Inspiration

By far my favorite living piano player, fantastic improv instrumental with more groove than any five full bands.


19. Tony Allen-Hustler

Drummer and musical director for Fela Kuti during the ’68-’78 glory years, and sounding every inch of it here, doing his own thing.


20. The Butthole Surfers-Kuntz

A truly demented album, borders on genius. Guaranteed to bring any party to the screeching halt it needs, so people can load up on what they need to load up on.


21. Badfinger-Rock and Roll Contract

The best band that wasn’t the Beatles that also simultaneously sounds like Bizarro-world Paul McCartney. Cursed unfairly on nearly every front.


22. Black Randy & The Metrosquad-Marlon Brando

This hilarious 80’s drag queen/tweaker had zero fear. An album that’s chock full of middle fingers for pretty much the entire world. Still, it’s surprisingly good, in a utter self-destructive mess sort of way.


23. Booker T and The MG’s-Chicken Pox

The band Janis Joplin should have joined.


24. Betty Davis-Anti Love Song

I am so in love with the sheer balls of Betty Davis. And, you know, those legs too…

betty davis

25. The Brian Jonestown Massacre-Nevertheless

Famous for their utter dysfunction, an unholy combination of opiates and ego, still a bunch of great songs on the first couple albums.


26. Big Star-O, Dana

Everyone’s favorite hipster icons, and, amazingly, deserving it.

big star

27. Buzzcocks-Love You More

No, Buzzcocks, I’m sorry, but I love YOU more.


28. Bull Moose Jackson-Hold Him Joe

Great up-tempo orchestra piece. Your grandfather probably shook some serious marine-on-leave ass to this.

bull moose

29. Chuck Brown and The Soul Searchers-Red Top

When I lived in D.C. in the mid-80’s, Go Go was king, and Chuck Brown was the king of Go Go. Man, it’s all about that sideways beat. I could have easily killed a few hours playing nothing but The Soul Searchers.

chuck brown

30. Boris-Ibitsu

Best Japanese band, ever. Also, best Nick Drake rip-off cover, ever. A shot of raw energy.


31. Archie Shepp-Attica Blues

Absolutely relentless outrage from Mr. Shepp and his raft of sore-throated backup singers.


32. Big Chief Monk Boudrerux-Sew, Sew, Sew

The New Orleans you want to come across unexpectedly.


33. A Band Of Bees-Horsemen

I can’t believe these guys aren’t from Nashville. One of my favorite contemporary bands. Great, original and creative songwriting.


34. Billy Wright-Man’s Brand Boogie

Okay, the afro is probably better than the voice. But it’s close.


35. Big Maybelle-Just Want Your Love

Big Maybelle had a tough life. She wanted everyone’s love. And didn’t get it. A voice that could build a bridge, blow it down, and build it back up again.

big may

36.  Billy Preston-Soul Derby

How Billy Preston didn’t become as huge as Elvis, I’ll never know. He did play many of the best parts on the best three (Beggars, Exile, Goat’s Head) Stones albums. Oh, and Richie Sambora’s solo gig, too.

billy preston

37. Bloodstone-Peter’s Jones

I don’t know what it is about this song, but I keep coming back to it. For me, it sums up the entire Nixon era. And, also, running around in footie pajamas while the babysitter lit incense and told hippie-with-a-hook-hand horror stories.


38. Brainticket-Black Sand

The acid band to reach for when you’re sick to death of Ummagumma and Tarkus. More attitude than actual delivery, these guys were still pretty good.


39. Animal Collective-Leaf House

Great experimental acapella numbers that could only exist with the advent of the Macintosh and the notion that laying around baked is a great alternative to an engineering degree.

animal c

40.  Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup-That’s Alright Mama

Yup, this is who Elvis stole it from. Thanks for the royalties Col. Parker!


41. The Birthday Party-Zoo Music Girl

It’s the bass line that makes this otherwise hilariously abrasive tune so party-ready. And also how 78% of all woman can be counted on to sidle over during the tune and whisper how they secretly find Nick Cave sexy.


42. Billy Joe Shaver-Black Rose

Forget all the pop-country noise. This is the deep grit, the place where line dancing won’t ever reach.


43. Willie Bobo-Boogaloo In Room 802

Willie Bobo is the name in 60’s uptown Spanish funk. If you don’t own this album, you’re pretty much just killing time until you do.


44. Bryon Lee and the Dragonaires-Jamaica Ska

The kindly grandfather of Ska. Old-timey in a way that gets everyone thinking you’re just using it as an intro to a few cuts of No Doubt. But you’re not.


45. Albert Collins-How Blue Can You Get

Pretty darn blue, as it turns out. Albert cut a lot of pretty dull meat-n-taters blues stuff later on, but this early album is crackin’.


46. The Action-Something To Say

Sort of like The Moody Blues, without bothering to be so annoyingly Moody. Actually, pretty crafty early garage punk.


47. As Mercanarias-Inimigo

The Souxie Sioux of Brazil, sung in Portuguese, one of the heroes of the early 80’s no-wave scene. A fantastic blending of danceable and Fuck You, the sheer natural attitude that every crap radio band back then desperately wished had come bleeding through their legwarmers.


48. The Blackbyrds-Rock Creek Park

You can taste 1974 in each chorus. It’s sort of like chicken. And the back fat of Spiro Agnew.


49. Aorta-Heart Attack

Just the sort of psychedelic over-indulgence you’d associate with that aunt who never got married, never stopped wearing corduroy overalls, named her two cats PeterPaul and Mary, and keeps sending you twenty dollar checks for no apparent reason.


50. Ary Lobo-Faroleiro

Like flying into Rio on the arm of the hottest stewardess in the fleet while wearing ankle-to-hairline seersucker, and a pumpkin colored ascot.


51. Alan Toussaint-Last Train

Without question the one of the ten hippest people on the planet. Responsible for more great music than pretty much anyone else alive. The New Orleans reincarnation of Thomas Jefferson.


52. Bill Withers-Lonely Town, Lonely Street

How many raw-voiced soul hits can one man have in the 70’s? A shitload, if you’re Bill Withers. Always a cool breeze when one of his tunes comes on the radio.

bill withers

53. Ann Sexton-I Had A Fight With Love And Lost

Unfairly obscure soul vocalist who lost a fight with love.


54. Devendra Banhart-Tonado Yanomaminista

While easy to make fun of for so unabashedly occupying the hippie realm, I really like this guy. Why does he, out of nowhere, on a song with a Japanese title, sound like a Fellini-era Italian crooner? Hey, why not? This dude can do anything he wants, since you and your judgmental world doesn’t even exist, man.


55. Adam Ant-Fall Out

The first two albums of Adam and his B-side Babies are great. Even the third album, which seriously shifted gears and adopted the drum-heavy “Don’t Drink/Don’t Smoke” sound everyone knows him for, is seriously underrated.


56. Bobby Conn-The Style I Need

Modern Scot rocker that would make Cheap Trick proud. I dig this guy. Like a modern Sweet, with nutty keys in the background.


57. Black Breath-Razor To Oblivion

Yeah, this almost broke up the party, but too bad. There was a brief mosh pit that ended with at least two broken heels, smeared lipstick, and some torn cartilage.


58. Altyrone Deno Brown-If You Love Me

Young dude was 8 years old when this was recorded. Amazingly soulful vocal performance.


59. Benji Hughes-Tight Tee Shirt

He used to be a paralegal…what else do you need to know? Genuinely excellent weirdness from this generation’s rockin’ Dan Haggerty.


60. Bob and Gene-Your Name

Haven’t you spent half your live wishing you were in a soul duo named Bob and Gene? No? How about Sam and Dave?

bob n gene

61.  Anthony And The Johnsons-Epilepsy Is Dancing

Oh, man is this stuff arty. Like, to the point of sheer distraction. But he’s got an amazing voice, like Beverly Sills after a bottle of Ripple and a bad quaalude.


62. Jerry Butler- Sweet Was The Wine

Butler was known as “The Iceman.” Any other info necessary? I didn’t think so. Now go buy a trenchcoat.


63. Bo Diddley-Heart-O-Matic Love

The MAN. Period. It all starts here. You try playing a rectangular guitar.


64. A.K Salim-Blue Baby

Every party needs a shot of this in the arm, coolly syncopated arrangements, the perfect opportunity to consider a martini, a chance to talk and be heard, to smell the perfume, to feel classier than you have in hours.


65. George Benson-It’s Uptown

Fairly maligned for his later-life turn to easy listening horseshit, this early George Benson stroke-picking jam helps you remember how he hard he could once rip it up. Slamming horn and keyboard breaks any dj would be happy to theft.


66.  Banda Black Rio-Wilson Simonal

Like you were just invited to the coolest, most mod apartment in the world, two hundred stories up, where everyone is wearing a leisure suit, eating endangered duck meat, and discussing bongos.


67. Al Kooper and Shuggie Otis-Bury My Body

Blues Project et al keyboard player Al Kooper teams up with child guitar prodigy Shuggie Otis, son of bandleader Johnny Otis, for this funky, gospel-infused stretching out. I bought this album for a quarter at a yarn store. Yes, a yarn store.

al shug

68. Baby Face Willette-Mo Roc

One of the great unsung soul jazz B-3 players, whose albums are extremely hard to find, but like Christmas morning when you do. Sort of an acquired taste with his light touch. Never double down on the 8.

baby face

69. The Budos Band-Mas O Menos

Retro the right way.


70. The Adverts-Gary Gilmore’s Eyes

Pissy Brit punk of the best kind, short, sweet, and wholly convinced of its cornering of the anger market.


71. Bobby Blue Bland-Cry, Cry, Cry

The voice that launched a hundred-thousand pregnancies. Slows things down so you can close your eyes, chew ice, and nod your head along to all the things Bobby knows that you don’t.


72. Bernard Woma-Gori Foto

What would I pay to have been sitting at the Pito Bar for this concert? A lot. Every second of this is joyfully beautiful percussion and seriously badass rhythm.


73. Bernard Purdie-Touch Me Again

Bernard famously claims to have been called in to “fix” a number of Beatles albums, since Ringo was such a talentless shlub, or, at the very least, was unable to consistently keep time. Bernard says he overdubbed Ringo’s parts on numerous songs. Everyone, of course, denies it. No denying he’s solid as ever on this cut.


74.  Billie Holiday-Now They Call It Swing

Her voice is one of the greatest singular instruments in all of recorded music. Truly transcendent. Face-stuffer party-drunks don’t like it? Meet me out back behind the shed.


75. Blue Orchids-Disney Boys

Gleefully off-kilter Manchester punk-poetry. Makes you want to pogo all over the spilled coleslaw.


76. Bill Moss-Who Knows?

Extreme soul obscurity that really is the aural equivalent of an orange suit.


77. Hasil Adkins-She Said

The craziest wildman in all of rockabilly, makes Jerry Lee Lewis sound like An Evening With Mitt Romney.


78. Baroness-The Birthing

What Pearl Jam always wanted to sound like if they weren’t so busy being earnest and resolving their solos in the right key all the time.


79. The BlastersAmerican Music

Dave Alvin’s version of Americana and rockabilly mixed with a pointy toe’s worth of Roadhouse attitude.

slash recordings

80. Benny More-China Lake

Every party should come to a close this way, let down easy with the dulcet tones of the great Benny More.


So, yeah, if you made it this far, just like at the end of the night, Lester explained the bet. A vote was held. A couple people were pissed at having been unwitting guinea pigs, but most saw the humor in it. And only one person claimed to have noticed the name-ubiquity during the set. And I’m fairly sure she (yeah you, Leslie) is full of shit. Or at least she was full of Guinness and Jameson’s. I’m happy to say that I was also paid promptly. And then almost immediately blew $300 treating people to pancakes at the Denny’s down the street, and then cabs. All in all a great night.

Hint: most of the tags are bands I played after the first 80, but didn’t have space for…..


TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SEAN BEAUDOIN's latest novel is Wise Young Fool. His stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications including the Onion, the San Francisco Chronicle and Spirit, the in-flight magazine of Southwest Airlines. www.seanbeaudoin.com.

88 responses to “Party Mix and Random Cash Wagering”

  1. Zara Potts says:

    You are plain and simple: Freakin’ awesome.

    I feel like giving you 500 bucks myself.

    Fantastic, Sean. Funny, clever, inspired!

  2. dwoz says:

    Every post puts you that much Closer To Fine.

  3. Brin says:

    That is a pretty balls deep post, I have to say.

  4. Brad Listi says:

    While I’m deeply impressed that you were able to pull this feat of deejaying off, I might be even more impressed by your inclusion of all the album covers in this post.

    A tip of the cap for such detailed assembly.

    Thought I must say I’m a bit disappointed that Alvin & The Chipmunks didn’t make the cut.

  5. Gloria says:

    Wow. I’m crazy impressed. I’d never heard of 2/3 of these artists.

    Your description under Anne Sexton cracked me up.

    So, did you own these on vinyl and you had to transfer them to your iPod? Or did you already have every single one of these on your iPod? ‘Cause I mean, crap – how big is your iPod?

    • thanks, Gloria. Probably 60% ripped off vinyl over the years. I have the 160gb model, which is full to capacity. They seem to have discontinued it. Kept waiting for the 320, but I think I’m out of luck now that they’ve decided to be busy with a less-functioning iPhone…I am at the verge of pruning the detritus.

  6. No Bob Dylan? No AC/DC? No Black Sabbath? Man, he laid down a tough task. I notice you didn’t even go for any Bruce Springsteen… No Babyshambles or Arcade Fire, either. That’s pretty much the background music to my life. Now that I think about it, Springsteen, Babyshambles, Arcade Fire and Bob Dylan together comprise more than 33% of the space on my iPod. In fact, I think Springsteen and Dylan have got 25% of that covered.

    Personally I would’ve broken out my Allen Ginsberg recordings and blasted his “OM” chant for five hours. That really gets a party going.

    • I enjoy the Libertines. I somehow forgot about Babyshambles. Arcade Fire was considered and then tossed for no serious reason. I have to admit to a serious Bruce aversion.

      Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky doing a karaoke/drone version of Tumbling Dice should have been featured heavily.

      • Oh man, I love the Libertines. I think Babyshambles are the ones who’ve grown on me more and more, though. I wasn’t really into them when they first came out.

        When my mum was pregnant with me she went to a Springsteen concert apparently I began dancing in the womb. Or so the legend goes… Years later I developed an inexplicable fondness for Springsteen, and my mum pulled out all the concert posters she saved, on an inclination that I might later like his music.

        • I have Nebraska, which I listen to now and again. Otherwise, the Bruce Earnestness sort of does me in. A while back a bunch of Bruce Head friends of mine got tired of listening to me denigrate him and dragged me to a show for the Boss Cure. Standing outside the coliseum drinking Bud was fun. The cross-section of humanity was fascinating. But I was bored to tears by the concert. I realize Born In The USA is not the propaganda it was adopted to be, but somehow I’ve never recovered from those hanky-in-the-back-pocket years…..

        • Art Edwards says:

          Yes! The earnestness! Sean, thank you.

          That’s the word I’ve used for years to describe my distaste for Springsteen. The whole thing seems phony to me. I’m sorry you had to go to the concert, which strikes me as a practice in hero worship for someone you wouldn’t even allow in your living room.

          And his fans always blame it on Born in the USA! I always want to say, quit blaming that album for this guy’s megalomania.

        • Ah yes, “Bruce Springsteen Loves Fisting”… I remember.

      • Tom Hansen says:

        I hear that, the Bruce aversion. Have to add that Darkness on The Edge of Town is a great album and the only one I like

  7. Simon Smithson says:

    Sir, I’d be impressed with this feat even if you hadn’t included the term ‘the tastiest grooves’.

    But you did.

    You can DJ my pool parties anytime. I’ll give you C, D, and E.

  8. Greg Olear says:

    It’s safe to say I would have lost this bet…I probably would have played “Old Time Rocknroll” over and over and over until he paid me $500 to stop. But then, I also would have played “Hey Now” by Augustana, and you didn’t even get that one!

    I was going to ask if anyone noticed the letter game, but you already addressed that.

    And thank you for giving props to Badfinger. “Day After Day” is one of those songs that randomly pops in my head and stays there. I love it.

  9. Art Edwards says:

    Come on, Sean. Fess up. None of these albums really exist.

    Yours from Clear Channel,


  10. Joe Daly says:

    Oh my goodness, was this a savory read.

    Knowing your deep and abiding history of music, I was half-surprised you didn’t add one more requirement, just to up the ante. Like “I’ll only play artists beginning with A or B, AND they can’t have recorded their first album in North America.” I have no doubt that you would still have triumphed.

    What strikes me about the genius of your mix is that it’s got so much old school blues/funk that it could lay in the background and really seep in. Sometimes music is best absorbed subconsciously. You’re sitting there working over some pasta salad and then your brain brings your attention to something in the bass line of the song in the background and next thing you know, you’re jotting down artist and album names for your next record buying spree.

    I was phenomenally stoked by your inclusion of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, as well as Bauhaus. Of course, now I’m going to have to go through my collection and see what I would have come up with. It would be terrifically harder for me with the “No Metal” rule. Although I wonder, could an argument be made that deathcore is so far from traditional metal that its subgenre is a different species? OK, forget it.

    This list has officially wiped away my day and any chances of productivity. And for that, I gladly thank you!

    • Very pleased to have destroyed your day, Joe. No more working for The Man! I lobbied hard for the inclusion of Deathcore in the operating rules, to no avail. Actually, I should have included Avail on the mix, huh? I was going to link each album to a place you could download the songs, but it all got to be too much work. Hope it does inspire a shopping spree, though. And I knew you’d be into the Brian Jonestown, going crazy with the sprinkler nozzle in the middle of the party and demanding more….

      • Joe Daly says:

        And I knew you’d be into the Brian Jonestown, going crazy with the sprinkler nozzle in the middle of the party and demanding more…

        It’s like you can see my soul. Super creepy…

        Btw- forgot to give you props on Billy Preston, too. Between him and Jim Keltner, they’ve been behind some of the best recorded music of our lifetime. Well, I should clarify, my lifetime. I mean, guys your age grew up with a whole different blueprint for music…

        • Ah, Billy Preston. He played on practically everything. Guy could have been the biggest act in the world if he wanted. Nice call on Keltner…he’s all over Richard Thompson’s best albums…wasn’t he in a band with Ry Cooder for about ten minutes? Can’t remember their name. Yeah, he’s got chops.

  11. Tyler Stoddard Smith says:

    God bless Baby Huey, and you sir.

  12. Dana says:

    Holy cow this is impressive Sean — not only the deejaying, but the compiling, the links and the notes. Sheesh! And you won! Hurrah for you. Some great names on this list and so many more that have never registered on my radar. And somehow (?!?), while I’ve heard Big Star before, I don’t recall ever hearing “O’Dana” before. WTF? and YAYY!

  13. Matt says:

    That is one seriously groovy playlist, bro. Awesome feat pulling it off.

  14. el Detroit says:

    (I’ve reached him.)

  15. el Detroit says:

    Totally Judge-worthy list. But what if one of your friends get’s all drunk and doesn’t get the hint that it’s time to go home and there’s still beer to be drunk.

    Akron/Family: I’ll Be on the Water (Snaps party goers out of Benny More’ induced coma)
    Alison Krauss & Central Station: Baby, Now That I’ve Found You (Once snapped el Detroit out of LSD-induced coma)
    Amy Winehouse: Back to Black (Is it too soon to call this album a classic? No. It is classic)
    Apples in Stereo: I Want (Who doesn’t appreciate a nice pair?)
    Architecture in Helsinki: Heart it Races (The Daytrotter version is best)
    Arctic Monkeys: Brainstorm (If they had sunny days in England they would play this song)
    Amon Tobin: Bridge (About as close to jazz as I ever want to come)
    Bad Livers: Honey I’ve Found a Brand New Way/It’s All the Same to me (If there’s a hose, they’ll be water balloons. And if there’s water balloons, you’ll need chase music)
    Band of Skulls: Death by Diamond’s and Pearls (I’m pretty sure these guys are from Detroit or at least own a home there)
    Basement Jaxx: Romeo (This song goes on every mix I ever make for the “WTF? followed by happy feet” response it garners)
    The Beach Boys: Wouldn’t It Be Nice (Just try to deny the urge to sing along)
    Beachwood Sparks: Sister Rose (…and I don’t care if they’ve totally ripped off the Flying Burrito Bros)
    The Beastie Boys: Groove Holmes (Only because I have no idea there was an actual Groove Holmes)
    Beck: Que Onda Guero (C’mon you know Beck’s still cool)
    The Big Pink: Dominos (Instantly transports you into one of Madonna’s ex-husband’s movies)
    The Black Keys: Hard Now (In the time-honored tradition of white folks rippen’-off black folks)
    Blake Mills: Hey Lover (For that moment you and wife give a little tipsy, drop your guards and start flirting by the pool/hose)
    Bonnie Prince Billy: New Partner (Nothing says summer like 8″ of beard)
    Bonobo: Terrapin (But only if you have a raft to float on)
    Brendan Benson: Good To Me (Unadulterated 8 Mile Pop)
    Buck Owens: I Don’t Care/Just As Long As You Love Me (May he RIP)
    Buddy Guy: Watch Yourself (This guy totally sounds like the Black Keys)

    • Now, that’s a helluva response there, Detroit.

      Bands I considered and discarded: Akron/Family, Bonnie Prince Billy (could have sworn I put him in the links), Buddy Guy

      Winehouse and Beach Boys and Beasties were out from jump. So too with Apples in Stereo, Architecture in Helsinki, Arctic Monkeys, and The Black Keys…

      Should ever have forgotten Buck Owens. Bad lapse there.

      Man I KNOW you know Groove Holmes is real. Maybe too real.

  16. Henry says:

    This is a great read. I’ll be back every week!

  17. Erika Rae says:

    Sean, why don’t you live in Boulder? You should really live in Boulder. Totally selfish request.

  18. JB says:


  19. Judy Prince says:

    Awesome research and collection, Sean.

    An excellent book about Chicago blues where jazz began, is THE VOICE OF BLUES: CLASSIC INTERVIEWS FROM LIVING BLUES MAGAZINE, by Jim O’Neal and Amy van Singel.

    Following’s a customer review from amazon.com:

    By Bomojaz (South Central PA, USA) –

    The Voice of the Blues : Classic Interviews from Living Blues Magazine (Paperback)

    “Living Blues magazine has always been the leading periodical in the field in the US; one reason for this is the superb interviews with bluesmen/women that have graced its pages since its founding in the 1970s. Allowing artists to tell their stories fully and freely, often prodded on by knowledgeable and probing question by the interviewers Jim O’Neal and Amy Van Singel, produced important first-hand documentation of the art form. This book compiles a dozen of those interviews, ranging from Georgia Tom Dorsey to Muddy Waters, Eddie Boyd to Little Esther. One of the most fascinating is the very long (the longest in the magazine’s history) interview with Delta blues legend Houston Stackhouse who was able to relate first-hand information and reminiscences of just about all the great bluesmen who worked in Mississippi and Arkansas going all the way back to Tommy Johnson. But all of the interviews plumb deeply into each artist’s background, career, opinions, and memories, and that’s what makes them (and the book) so interesting and indispensable. Hopefully additional volumes of more Living Blues interviews will be issued.”

    • Thanks for the clip, Judy….any book that interviews Little Esther is certainly worth owning….I hope you snapped up more than one copy. I like your phrase at the top about “Chicago being where jazz began”….I can tell you’re trying to start a battle amongst the purists. That sentence would certainly start a free for all at a record convention.

      • Judy Prince says:

        Let the purists come on, Sean! I’ll trust the old, now dead, musicianers above all others on this.

  20. Lisa says:

    Damn, I’m so musically illiterate – and that’s only the first 2 letters of the alphabet. I love how you phrase this – “…and laying on the carpet and realizing there were crazy people everywhere, and some of them had recording equipment.” I think it’s time to lay on the carpet and expose my kids to some wonderfully crazy people, so I’m making a list and hittin’ the road, how many of these you think I’ll find at the Public Library?

  21. I think it’s time, too, Lisa. By all means. My daughter loves it when I pull out the funk and our kitchen turns into the set of Soul Train 2010….please do report back. Curious how much you can find at that library…

  22. Tammy Allen says:



  23. Irene Zion says:

    This is so strange.
    In fact, for a few days now, everyone is posting strange things.
    Is there something I don’t know about?

    • Huh. What’s strange about it, Irene? I’m sure it would seem normal in Bhutan.

      • Irene Zion says:

        You got me there, Sean.
        Didn’t this take a lot of time?
        don’t you think that means you’re a tad on the nutty side?

        • Well, I’m not sure if that is conclusive proof, but, yeah, you’re probably right that my dosages need to be recalibrated by a medical professional.

          Actually, I already had the playlist on my iPod, and I linked the images from Google, so that stuff was pretty fast. And you can tell by my mini liner notes that I didn’t spend a whole lot of time conjuring those nuggets of wisdom. But getting it to all lay out correctly took way more time than I care to admit. Which proves three things:

          1. I continue to suffer from insomnia
          2. Once I was a third of the way done I was sorely tempted to scrap the whole thing, but, I am also one of those people who has to finish a book no matter how bad it is, or watch a movie no matter how terrible, once I start it.
          3. I will always go the extra yard for Shuggie Otis.

        • Irene Zion says:

          I’m with you on the insomnia thing.
          I never, ever, ever get things lined up the way Brad wants them to be.
          It makes me crazy!
          I really, really try.
          It’s harder for me than it should be.
          I don’t know who Shuggie Otis is, but I like his name so much that I’ll go with you on that one too.

        • Gloria says:

          @Irene – I think there are some WordPress issues that we have no control over. My Storm Large interviews kept getting all out of whack through no effort of mine (and yes, it took a ton of time). If not for sweet, lovely Megan D. (as well as an assist from Listi), they may not have ever been published with the proper formatting.

        • Irene Zion says:

          I cringe when I get an email from Brad.
          He’s so sweet.
          It always starts with how much he loves the post and then BAM!
          There is a list as long as your arm of what I did wrong.
          What I need is a WordPress Primer.
          I’ve tried to find out its ins and outs, but, it’s HARD!

        • For Shuggie Otis enlightenment, I humbly refer you to entry #67 above. If you like his name, you will love his music…..

  24. Megan says:

    Sean, like everyone else said, to think of you uploading all those images is so adorable and thank you.

    Ann Sexton is new to me and I instantly adore her.

    Only Danger Mouse’s 170 song summer playlist tops you (but no CD covers how lazy).


    • Thanks, Megan. That fine line between “adorable” and “insanely frustrating and time consuming” is one our social scientists and philosophers need to explore.

      Love that you’re into Ann Sexton! She totally needs a legion of new fans.

      Damn Danger Mouse. Thefting my ideas right and left. I notice, arrogant mouse that he is, that DM felt free to use the entire alphabet and yet STILL included Bananarama, whereas even with just B, I was able to restrain myself.

  25. Uche Ogbuji says:

    My word! First of all the lead-in dialogue is excellent, but the list! Hats off, man, I’ve always prided myself in ability to keep a crowd moving (used to spin in college, and still take over friends’ parties now and then if the incident DJ is wack) but I doubt I could have pulled that off.

  26. An excellent blanket immunity. You are too generous. And also, now I’ll always know where to steer our conversations.

  27. I have about 1/1000th of your music knowledge. You’re awesome. I wish I was there for those pancakes! nom nom nom

    • Thanks, man. You know, if you wanted to get up to speed, all you need to have done is spend thousands of fruitless hours (that you might otherwise have indulged in reading, writing, or fucking) thumbing through dirty stacks of records in thrift stores and yard sales across the country, with the nagging but irrefutable notion that if you didn’t look through EVERY LAST ONE, including the pile that is clearly nothing but Leo Sayer and Boz Scaggs, you’d miss out on that deep groove Lexington Ave. Hank Mobley (now currently listing for just over 3k on the Japanese market) you’ve been searching for like the vinyl grail for years.

      They call it OCD now, and apparently there are medications for it, but where where these Pfizer people then?

  28. angela says:

    fun post!

    i’m with nick on the music knowledge. i didn’t know 99% of those musicians, but since i don’t know shit about music, i’m sure they are all awesome. 🙂

  29. Wait a minute…..you don’t really mean fun, do you? Maybe fun, but not FUN? Just read your new post and really liked it…..

  30. Cynthia Hawkins says:

    You’re the man, Sean! That is all.

  31. […] dude knows his music.  Like, he once deejayed a party using only music by bands and artists that start with the letter “A” (too bad for you, ZZ Top).  And he knows who Captain Beefheart is (or was).  And he has very […]

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