It’s just a song — always strings me along.

April 21, 2011

We’ve almost reached the end of our series, but with two days left, there are still six songs to consider for placement on Grandma Cyd’s weekly Saturday night show, “The Heavy Petting Zoo.” Here are three more contenders. Be sure to check out The Heavy Petting Zoo’s Facebook Page tomorrow for your chance to vote a track posted this week into “The Heavy Petting Zoo”s rotation!

Which modern songs deserve placement alongside the classics?

Good Lovelies – Lonesome Hearts (from 2011’s Let the Rain Fall)
Paul: 5 olives
Grandma Cyd: 5 olives

Paul: Up to Canada with Good Lovelies. This song was actually just released this year. They got that Andrews Sisters vibe when they all get going after the first verse. Actually production wise, I think this sounds closest in terms of earthiness and “authenticity” to “A Wink and a Smile.” It’s a different instrumental arrangement, but it’s got that badge of authenticity to it.
Grandma Cyd: Yeah, I can hear that Andrews Sisters touch. Hmm. I wouldn’t have compared it to “A Wink and a Smile,” but I know what you mean.
Paul: Now that horn sound—do you think that’s an effected trumpet, or do you think that’s someone just making the sound with their mouth, like Uncle Joey used to do on “Full House”?
Grandma Cyd: Haha! It’s a muted trombone. Just based on the timbre of the instrument and how well the notes slide (and then the vibrato at the end). It’s so trombone-y.
Paul: Is it though? It sounds like someone pinching their lips and making a silly sound.
Grandma Cyd: No, that’s definitely an instrument. I think if it was some strange mouth noise, it’d be more identifiable that way. Trombone. We could do a sub-poll: “Uncle Joey or Trombone?”
Paul: Good idea. Uncle Joey’s Canadian, you know. This might not be as an out there a thought as it may seem. I do love this song. I really do. They hit the sweet spot and knocked it out of the park here. This sounds like a remastered track from the 1940s. Not something that was released this year.
Grandma Cyd: Is that a banjo too? Or some other twangy stringed instrument? Mandolin? At the beginning.
Paul: I think it’s a mandolin.
Grandma Cyd: Ah, OK.Yes, I agree with you. This is charming and not too kitschy in its attempt to harken back to a classic musical style.
Paul: How many olives, Grandma Cyd?! HOW MANY OLIVES?!
Grandma Cyd: I had to think about this. Because you know I’m “the Russian Judge” and all. But when I think about whether I’d play it on my show, and how well it could be integrated with the typical playlist, I think I’d be willing to give it 5 OLIVES! Holy moly, I just surprised myself!
Paul: FIVE OLIVES! ME TOO! They’ve charmed me. And here I was thinking I was handing them out like king of the olive factory. Good Lovelies make a breakthrough.
Grandma Cyd: Well, sometimes you are. You are the French Judge.
Paul: OK. I surrender.

Edgar ‘Jones’ Jones – Tenderly (from 2004’s Soothing Music for Stray Cats)
Paul: 4 olives
Grandma Cyd: 4 olives

Grandma Cyd: OK, which group does this remind me of? I can’t put my finger on it. But definitely something late 50s.
Paul: To me it sounds like Ray Charles’ early stuff on Atlantic.
Grandma Cyd: Ah, yes, perhaps.
Paul: Like the REALLY early stuff, before he started charting. But the production on this blows me away too. I didn’t think you could get that sound out of modern machines, but this was done in 2004 in a little portastudio.
Grandma Cyd: It was done in 2004? I was just about to ask. And I wouldn’t have guessed it was that new.
Paul: Now would it surprise you to know that Edgar Jones is a little white dude from Liverpool?
Grandma Cyd: Yes. If you told me he was the Walrus, I’d be surprised too.
Paul: Well, I suppose he’s kind of tall. But still a white Englishman. The melody actually reminds me a little of a Nat King Cole tune called “Send For Me.” The delivery and production is a million miles away, but it’s right in that 50s wheelhouse.
Grandma Cyd: Oh yeaaaahhhh. I hadn’t thought of that. But yes. Definitely. This is a style that doesn’t get played on my show very often because it almost demands its own segment, and my music collection is limited in that way. I’m not even sure how many times I’ve played “Send For Me” on my show.
Paul: That’s on the spring mix.
Grandma Cyd: I know. It looks like I’ve only played it once! On July 10, 2010.
Paul: Weak. Well there you go, you can run it alongside Edgar. Maybe get some lawyers listening and wondering if they have a copyright infringement case.
Grandma Cyd: Haha. Sorry. I’m working on expanding my 1950s arsenal now. So songs like this might make it on more often. Sounds like people would like to hear more of these things now that the oldies stations are focusing on 60s and 70s and forgetting about the 50s.
Paul: Exactly. And what the hell is up with that?
Grandma Cyd: Well, the people who like the 50s (and came of age in that decade) have probably moved onto the AM dial or something. Meanwhile, stations don’t want to use the term “oldies” anymore (when’s the last time you heard a DJ say that?) because they feel it would insult their audience, who still think they’re whipper snappers. So instead they call them “classic hits.” Or something milquetoast like that.
Paul: Huh. But you lose so much good stuff when you chop out the 50s.
Grandma Cyd: I know. I’ve stopped listening.
Paul: It’s all on you to save it, Granny.
Grandma Cyd: Sometimes I catch something on the AM band, but then they play crap like Carly Simon and Barbara Streisand and then I’m done.
Paul: TOTALLY weak.
Grandma Cyd: But I used to be anti-Oldies because other stations were taking care of that music for me. Not the case anymore, so I’m starting to warm up to the idea of playing songs that I’d otherwise classify as too “commercial.” Or too over-exposed. I don’t know. Still kind of torn about that in some instances.
Paul: Well… olives for Edgar?
Grandma Cyd: 4 olives.
Paul: I concur! Edgar’s the man, by the way. I love me some Edgar. He’s got better tunes, but this one I could see on HPZ.

Randy Newman – Shame (from 1999’s Bad Love)
Paul: 4.5 olives
Grandma Cyd: 2 olives

Grandma Cyd: I just started listening to it, forgetting who the artist was going to be, and I thought, “This sounds like Randy Newman!” Oohhh, Granny’s getting senile.
Paul: Well that’s appropriate
Grandma Cyd: So this guy always held a special place in my heart.
Paul: Really?
Grandma Cyd: Yeah.
Paul: So many girls I know can’t stand him.
Grandma Cyd: Why’s that?
Paul: I love him. I think he’s hilarious, I think he’s a genius songwriter. I can’t say enough good things about him. But [girls] immediately get turned off by his voice. Or “Short People.” Which isn’t supposed to be a REAL criticism of short people, but a lot of people still get sensitive about it. I just think it’s hilarious.
Grandma Cyd: Well might I remind you that in addition to being described as “the Russian Judge,” I’ve also been described as “basically a dude.” By a member of Icarus Himself at that. But yes, I find him to be a clever wordsmith, and I appreciate the stories he’s able to tell in song, even if they’re silly (or insulting).
Paul: I’m exactly the same way.
Grandma Cyd: Plus, he wrote the theme to “Monk”! When that happened, I was like, “Oh man. Oh MAN! This is too much awesomeness compressed in a 90-second block—Monk + Newman.” Well, I couldn’t play this song on my show. Wanna know the great irony?
Paul: Just because of the “Goddammit you little bitch” line?
Grandma Cyd: It’s not because he says, “Goddammit, you little bitch.” It’s because he says, “take a piss.”
Paul: Really?
Grandma Cyd: Yes. Thank you, convoluted and inexplicably strange FCC indecency rules. To “take a piss” is an “excretory act” and thus it’s indecent. If my show aired between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., then we’d be golden. No pun intended.
Paul: Haha! That’s too bad, because it’s so great though. “Do you know what it feels like to get up in the middle of the night? Sit DOWN to take a piss? You do know? So you say. I have my doubts, missy.”
Grandma Cyd: You could say on the air that the FCC’s indecency rules “piss you off.” But once you “piss on” something, you’ve crossed the line.
Paul: That sounds like it should be a Randy Newman song.
Grandma Cyd: I wish he’d write one. Does he improvise well? Maybe we could get him to compose a song about FCC indecency right there on stage (should we ever get to see him).
Paul: We could get his email.
Grandma Cyd: How?
Paul: I have my ways.
Grandma Cyd: Creeeepy. But I’m down with creepy. “Stalker” is my middle name. Wait. Make that “Detective.” It’s more respectable. Or something.
Paul: No, not creepy, I’m a journalist. I can find this stuff.
Grandma Cyd: Yes, I’ve played the “journalist” card too. But most people don’t know that I actually carry that card from time to time. So I’ll let you handle it.
Paul: Haha.
Grandma Cyd: I’m just a part time detective.
Paul: Well, pissing about lyrics aside, would this make your show if the FCC just pissed off entirely?
Grandma Cyd: Actually, I don’t think so. It’s a bit much and pretty far off-base for the music on my show. I’ll give it two olives, though, because it’s Randy Newman.
Paul: Travesty. Four and a half olives.
Grandma Cyd: FOUR AND A HALF? Have you heard my show before, Paul Snyder? Do you REALLY think this fits the bill?
Paul: You have breakup shows.
Grandma Cyd: I haven’t had one in eons. Though I’ve been meaning to.
Paul: And at the end, he says he wants her back. “I’d kill you if I didn’t love you so much.”
Grandma Cyd: Well, if she takes him back after he shouts at her like that, then she’s an idiot. Ditch the jerk.
Paul: Fair enough. I still say it’s a great tune.
Grandma Cyd: I’m not saying it’s not a great tune.
Paul: And it’s got that late 40s jazz lounge feel.
Grandma Cyd: I’m just saying it wouldn’t really fit well on the show. I thought I was supposed to be rating on that. And I know, partly on likability. Hence the extra olive. Because it’s Newman.
Paul: Well, I don’t have a show. So I go all on likability.

The conclusion to our series runs tomorrow…

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