Play me that song…here it comes again

Let’s talk about playlists on media players on a computer. No, this won’t be another iTunes bashing thread. Been there, done that, sent Jambo the t-shirt. I got addicted to this idea back in the late 90s when I was experimenting with Internet radio stations. There was this station called British Blues Radio that played all those late 60s – early 70s British blues-rockers. Early Fleetwood Mac, Savoy Brown, Zep, early Tull, Blodwyn Pig, Clapton, etc. I loved it and after that station disappeared I decided to recreate it on my media player, which at that time was probably Real Player. Real Player had about as many bugs in it back then as iTunes does now so I switched to Windows Media Player and disabled the license protection. And I was off to the races, lumping music together for a particular mood, genre, whatever caught my fancy. An all instrumental list that ran from Joe Satriani to George Winston, a collection of nothing but acoustic guitar songs, a playlist of epics over the 8 minute mark, and so on. It was fun but it got to be a distracting time consumer, I was spending more time building lists than actually listening to them. And so my lists were abandoned.
I think this all stems from the Mix Tape (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mix_tape). The Mix Tape was immortalized in Nick Hornby’s marvelous “High Fidelity” and the subsequent movie, but it’s been around longer than that. As long as men (and some women) have been able to move music from one recorded medium to another, they’ve been making mixes. It’s an art form I first experimented in high school, starting with the notoriously difficult 8-track tape. With 8-tracks, you had to not only figure out the proper segues, but slice and dice everything into four equal segments. Given the random nature of the length of most rock songs, it was a challenge at times. Cassettes made it easier, all you had to do was make two equal sides. Carjo picked up on this pretty quickly; soon after we were married she was making far more mix tapes than me. CDs are easy – just figure out what song segues to what, and limit yourself to 80 minutes. Carjo has burned CDs for Halloween, a Christmas series that she actually gets requests for, and a three disc set celebrating our 25th anniversary. We have umpteen CDs for the car now – it just keeps growing. I think I created a monster…
But playlists are different – there is no time restriction. I have built a few that last for hours upon hours. Lately I have been hearing the siren call of again and compiled a few at home and at work. I set up a nice Ronnie James Dio list that encompasses all this best solo stuff and material with Sabbath and Rainbow. A sloppy rockers list that veers between the Faces, Aerosmith, Bruce, etc. A late 60s that has seminal Kinks and Pretty Things. And of course the all acoustic set, all instrumentals, a great compilation of all the live Faces songs off their box set. The other day at work I had a killing nuclear devastation headache so I just kicked off the acoustic set and eventually the pain floated away. I’m not sure what the Faces set does other than make me wish I could play it louder and have a beer in front of me. It’s not British Blues Radio but in some ways it’s even better.

About jeroljohnson

I guess I'm the crying on the inside kind of clown
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3 Responses to Play me that song…here it comes again

  1. Anonymous says:

    no time restrictions?
    “I set up a nice Ronnie James Dio list that encompasses all this best solo stuff and material with Sabbath and Rainbow.”
    I’d think that would be small enough to fit in the voice memo function of your cell phone. Probably sound just as good there as well.
    – Jambo

    • jeroljohnson says:

      Re: no time restrictions?
      Ah, there’s no one more constipated in their musical tastes than aging new wave evangelists. Thank god you’re for Obama or I don’t know what I’d do with you.

      • Anonymous says:

        Re: no time restrictions?
        Yeah, new wave evangelist, that’s me. I’ve set up a nice Ric Ocasik list that encompasses all his best solo stuff and material with the Cars.

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