WARMER MIXTAPES #1253 | by Mike Cooper of R.A.S.T., Truth In The Abstract Blues, Rembetronika, Trystero System, Chris Abrahams/Mike Cooper, Spirit Songs Live and The Recedents
1. Brian Wilson And Van Dyke Parks | Movies Is Magic
Van Dyke Parks is one of my favourite song writers. I do a lot of concerts improvising Live Music to Classic Silent Films, such as Tabu and Sunrise by F.W. Murnau, ¡Que Viva México! by Eisenstein and about 20 others. This song was written for Brian Wilson to sing on the album Orange Crate Art that Van Dyke Parks made with Brian Wilson when they re-united after many years to work together in 1995. They had not worked together since Wilson abandoned the Smile album in the 60s. I admire Van Dyke Parks' Eclectism... Something I treasure in my own work.
2. Blind Boy Fuller | Cat Man Blues: Take 1
This is one of the first songs I learnt by Blind Boy Fuller. I owned one LP of 78rpm records made by Blind Boy Fuller which came out in the 1960 and it became the source of a lot of Music that I made as a solo Acoustic musician in the late sixties. I learnt to play everything I could from that record. This song's lyrics have their roots in an English Ballad called Seven Drunken Nights - sometimes called The Berkshire Ballad - which is where I was born - in Reading in Berkshire.
3. Warren Zevon | The Hula Hula Boys
I went to Hawaii for the first time in 1994. I played in an Italian restaurant/bar called Casanova's on Maui. At one point I sang a slack key song in the Hawaiian language. At the end of the song I looked up and at the bar there were several Hawaiian cowboys drinking and they were dying of laughter at my attempt at pronouncing Hawaiian. I learned the song from a record by David Lindley, one of my favourite lap steel Hawaiian guitarists. I never met Warren, but I did meet David one time when we shared a stage at a festival in Melbourne, in Australia. A real gentleman, he let me use his amplifiers and his soundman.
4. Little Village | Do You Want My Job
John Hiatt/Ry Cooder... I love songs about islands. I love islands. I have a video project called Island. This song is about polluting islands with mainland rubbish and exploiting the labour of island people - So the kids can wear Adidas.
5. Fred Neil | The Dolphins
Another Ocean subject. I love Beaches, the Ocean, Surf Culture and Dolphins. I was swimming in the bay in Perth in Australia one day some years ago and suddenly I was surounded by dolphins. Fred Neil wrote this song. Fred virtually retired from Music at one point and concentrated all his time and effort to the Dolphin Foundation in Miami. He was one of the first Folk Rock/Singer Songwriter musicians and inspired many of the early sixties and seventies musicians, such as Tim Buckley, David Crosby, Joni Mitchell, Karen Dalton, John Sebastian and others. He wrote the hit song Everybody's Talking for Nilsson and he is a personal musical hero of mine. Here is a link to a great version of this song by Tim Buckley performed live on British TV in 1974.
6. Ry Cooder | Across The Borderline (with Freddy Fender) (The Border Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Another song by this duo. Ry Cooder is one of my favourite guitarists and singers. This song is about Immigration - a favourite subject of mine - especially at the moment here in Italy... John Hiatt/Ry Cooder's song was written in 1982 for the Tony Richardson film The Border. It was sung by Freddy Fender in the film. The complete soundtrack for the film was composed by Ry Cooder. Coupled with the next song...
7. Pete Seeger | Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos) (with lyrics by Woody Guthrie)
It seems to be an endless subject --- we move because we need to earn money to live -- that's all --- this song by Woody Guthrie is from 1948 and concerns folks moving across the border from Mexico into North America --- it was originally a poem written by Guthrie and was later put to Music by a schoolteacher Martin Hoffman and popularised by the Folk singer Pete Seeger. I don't see or hear many people writing songs like these two songs these days. Here is a link to the song sung by Woody's son Arlo Guthrie...
8. Mississippi Fred McDowell | Fred's Worried Life Blues (Big Maceo's 'Worried Life Blues' Cover)
I had the pleasure of playing concerts with Fred McDowell in the late 60s in England. He was a Blues singer and slide guitar player and was a great inspiration to me when I was in my late 20's.
9. Elvis Presley | Heartbreak Hotel
This song was recorded by Elvis Presley in 1956 and was his first single for RCA Records. It was written by Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton. It was apparently inspired by a newspaper article about a lonely man who committed suicide by jumping from a hotel window. The original recording featured two of my favourite musicians as session players - guitarist Chet Atkins and pianist Floyd Cramer. I perform this song myself in a de-constructed - Post Modern manner with an improvised Musical backing. The original recording is barely two minutes long and was Presley's first million selling record...
10. Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee | Born To Live The Blues
The first live Afro American Country Blues musicians I ever saw were Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee in my home town of Reading in England, in the late 1950's. I recorded their song Born To Live The Blues on the first record I ever made together with guitarist Derek Hall. That was a four track 7inch that we made as an independent release in 1965 called Out Of The Shades. I sang and played harmonica and Derek played the guitar part. Here is a link to the original song performed live by Sonny and Brownie.