A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Gauze

Something quick and dirty to mollify Bet. As Barry Levinson said to Mel Brooks in High Anxiety: "Happy now?!"


This mix brought to you by the Fender Telecaster, official twang provider of A Drinking Song.


  1. Shortest song in your collection—comb through iTunes and find the shortest song in there.

Penis Song – Monty Python

Not to be a size queen, but so far my “shortest song” (at 43 seconds) is the second longest of all the other mixers. I feel I should point out that this is not the shortest song I own, but it's the best piece of musical brevity for starting a mix. Call me a pragmatist, but I think the quality of the mix has to trump the strict consturciton of the category description.



  1. Color my world: song that has a color in the title—no blue. It’s too obvious.

Little Green Bag – George Baker


  1. Good song from a rotten movie—thanks to Duke for this one.

Super Duper Love (Are You Diggin’ On Me?) – Joss Stone, from Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.


  1. Sincerest form of flattery — Song that steals (or borrows, if you prefer that terminology) from another song

Stare it Cold – The Black Crowes

Pretty much any song from the Crowes could be considered a knock-off any song from the Faces’ “Ooh La La” LP; in particular, though, I was thinking of Silicone Grown. It’s interesting to me how others interpreted "steals/borrows" and picked song that sampled another.

I have to ask my fellow-mixers: do you consider sampling “stealing?”

Me, I went with more of a “stealing” in a copyright infringement, My Sweet Lord/He’s So Fine sense. Or more topically, Coldplay vs. Joe Satriani


  1. Song about a character you don’t like—this one is from Bet: any song that is about someone who is a jerk, or obnoxious, or violent, or has some other quality you don’t like.

She’s No Lady – Lyle Lovett


  1. Family Act: Song performed by artists who are related—brothers, sisters, husband & wife, etc.

Keep on Walking – Spanic Boys

Astute pop-culture historians might recognize father Tom and son Ian Spanic from their 15 minutes of national fame gained standing in on Saturday Night Live when Sinead O’Connor refused share the stage with host Andrew Dice Clay. Does liking them make me a misogynist?


  1. Song about sex—I don’t think this needs any explanation. If you’re not sure, ask Mike.

Be My Girl, Sally – The Police

The more of these mixes I do, the more I’m convinced that Sting’s biggest creative misstep was going solo. The Police rocked so much harder, and clearly didn’t take themselves too seriously, and for the most part, early on at least, managed to avoid self-indulgent, pseudo-intellectual wankery. They were a helluva lot more fun to listen to.


  1. Department of Redundancy Department—song with repetition in the title

Hold On, Hold On – Neko Case

“I leave the party at 3 a.m., alone, thank God . . .” Need I mention that I loves, loves, loves me some Neko?


  1. Song about the time of day—can be a specific time, or a general time like morning or nightfall.

12:51 – The Strokes



  1. A song that “takes you back.” This could be either a song from your childhood or whatever, or it could be something recent that makes you think of days gone by.

Bottle of Wine – Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs

The video has the added takes-me-back effect of authentic, late-60s wow and flutter. This is of the same vintage, at least in my memory, of Henson Cargil's Skip a Rope, In the Year 2525 by Zager and Evans (which I might have used for track 9, if I owned it), One by Three Dog Night, and So Happy Together by The Turtles .


The funny/sad thing about music in the post-Napster age is that the visceral sense memory you associate with a particular song--that way it takes you right to a particular moment--is dissipated by the easy availability and over-use in beer and cell-phone commercials.


  1. Spoken word—a non-song! Any spoken word piece—a comedy bit, short story, whatever. These can sometimes be pretty long, so beware.

A Little More Gauze – Mike Nichols & Elaine May


  1. Alternate version—a demo, acoustic, live, or alternate take. Bonus points if it’s an alternate version of a song you’ve used before (no covers, though)

A Little Less Conversation (JXL Remix) – Elvis Presley


  1. SAT vocab song—Song whose lyrics include a fancy two-dollar word.

Vitriol – Bluejuice


  1. Epic—Song that would make a good feature-length film

Trudy and Dave – John Hiatt


Ironically, the song I'd most like to make a movie out of is not available as a video. Maybe it's a sign... As any John Hiatt fan will tell you, he's a stellar songwriter--and storyteller--not least because he really understands character development and "show, don't tell." To wit:


"Well, Davy lit a match to a Lucky Strike

and the smoke curled up 'round his head how he liked

made him feel a little mysterious, 'til Trudy said,

"David, honey, what about us?"

So he thought about them, and those shots ringin' out

and other things he shouldn't be thinkin' about

Like how it wasn't them at all, just life that was mean

And how a twenty-dollar pistol made him feel so clean..."


This song, more than most of his, is especially cinematic because it (probably by design) uses character motivation to build tension over narrative arc that finishes with a fun little twist.


  1. Nonsense—Song containing gibberish

Doop-doo-dee-oop – Blossom Dearie


  1. Song about first love—self-explanatory

Fat Bottom Girls – Queen


The improbability of Freddie Mercury's affection for the ladies--lardy or otherwise--notwithstanding, he really sells it in this vocal performance (though not so much in the video: patent-leather pants, suspenders, and no shirt. Really?) Oh, and Brian May's guitar is simply a force of nature. Hearing this song makes me want to start a band in my folks' garage.


  1. Kick-ass cover song—the old standby

Time Won’t Let Me – The Plimsouls


  1. Song you wish you had sung backup on.

Loves me like a Rock – Paul Simon


Carving out an exception to my own "no superlatives" rule, this really is my absolute, all-time favorite song to sing backup with. In fact, I only ever sing along the backup parts. Dirty little secret: I’ve used it on a previous mix, but after the Never Say Never incident, I figured no one will be the wiser the wiser. Heh.


  1. Amnesty song—as in past mixes, any song you wanted to use (in this or any past mix) but couldn’t find a place for.

Sweet Sweet Baby (I’m Falling) – Lone Justice


Two-fer amnesty qualification: repetition + wanna-be backup singer

Revelation from this mix: My love for Neko Case has deep roots in my love for Maria McKee. To say more would fall under “if I have to explain it, you won’t understand.”


  1. Greatest song ever written, period.

Moon – Fossil


Maybe not the greatest song, when considered in a vacuum, but the best fit for this mix. Cole Porter can suck it. Actually, I'm pretty much in the "Way You Look Tonight" camp, but I couldn't put my hands on a copy in time. And, I'm a firm adherent to the Totality-of-Circumstances approach to mixes. See also Track 1, supra. Law school will do that to you.

9 comments:

Mike said...

By my scorecard you won 8 and 16, and most likely tied with Patrick on #2. It's the Neko Case trump effect.

Btw, you've seen the Neko cheesecake photos, right?

Mr. Middlebrow said...

Mike: I was under the impression this was strictly an exhibition, not a competition (please, no wagering). In any case, thanks for the nods.

When I put together my Best-of mix, I'm going with your pick for #20, with Kelly's a very close second. ;^) That oughta wipe the smug smile off Stennie's face.

I have not seen the photos you mention. (Do I dare, he asked, expecting the answer No...)

Patrick said...

1, 2, 8, 14. Awesome, always a pleasure to hear.

3. Haven't seen Briget Jones 2: The Squint-ening, but I'll take your word for it.

6. The Spanic Boys are Cheeseheads like me.
Side note: I was in NYC the week after Sinead O'Connor ripped up the Pope. Attended mass with my folks in St. Patrick's Cathedral (no relation), within spitting distance of Rockefeller Center. Watched the protestors shouting "Sinead was right" across the street. Was a strange place to be.

11. Thru deductive reasoning, recognized Nichols and May but was unfamiliar with this particular routine.

16. The clear Best in Category.

18. This song would've qualified for me at #10. Pure 8-track goodness. And now of course, I imagine Ladysmith Black Mambazo on backing vocals.

19. I see the McKee/Neko connection. It's okay, my wife has the same thing for any mopey, skinny Brit man. I hope to someday drop the accent I'm required to use at home.

20. Don't apologize. Porter's too obvious a choice, and this is a song I also remember and love. I really wanted to throw a song in this category that made listeners question the rest of my musical taste. As if they hadn't already.

All in all: swell!

Mike, you play with my emotions, you magnificent bastard. Confound you, foul tempter! And a thousand curses upon the easy-to-use Google Image Search. A pox upon your virtual, user-friendly houses!

Anyway, they're real and they're spectacular. And I only feel a little sleazy as a result.

Mike said...

Yeah, not a competition.....that's it. (Hiding the scorecard)

This is of course only for educational purposes.

Mr. Middlebrow said...

Mike: Wow. Now it really is an exhibition. As I always suspected, the 'k' in Neko is for klassy.

All: I kind of expected #16 to be dismissed as an obvious cop-out; I'm glad it turned out to be such a crowd-pleaser.

Bet said...

Consider me mollified.

2. Yes, 2. Believe it or not, I don't have that song anywhere in my collection, but now I do.

And 10 actually took me back, but probably way back more than it took you.

11, cute, but extra points because they're friends with Alan F.

My favorite John Hiatt song is Thirty Years of Tears. God, that song.

I think I speak for everyone who was in #squeeze that night listening to your mix that a big collective whoop went up on your first love song. Just perfect.

Once again, stellar mix, well, even if you got #20 wrong. It's OK, I probably did too.

VP81955 said...

Epic—Song that would make a good feature-length film

"Twenty-Four Hours From Tulsa," Gene Pitney (composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David). A song that deserves to be extrapolated into a noirish romantic thriller, an affair on the road gone bad.

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