Monday, June 11, 2007

Tape Full of Love Songs (Jonathan Byrd)

My mix-tape-making ability is legendary in these parts, and my compilation cassettes (now CDs, to keep up with the current technology) are quite the cherished currency of friends and family (she said with equal amounts of pride and humility... :-) - I have been doing this for myself for fun and release for over 35 years and have gifted others on their own life milestones, from weddings to new babies to birthdays to my sister's first car, etc. I put a lot of heart and soul into these collections, and can't just string a lot of meaningless songs together - they must have a theme. I've already done trains, moons, birds, unexpected duets and harmonies, synchronicity, politics, spirituality, a cappella, Oz, dancing (a 10-cassette series celebrating "the vertical expression of a horizontal desire"), to name but a few - since I will be listening for a long time to come, I try to make it interesting for myself too, striving for as little duplication as possible. I have an extensive music library from which to choose so this part is not too difficult - plus I am a lyric person, so I really pay attention to the words, and even the inflections and phrasing can mean something in a special song.

I have lots of strange rules too: I prefer only one cut per artist per mix; I try to go for the obscure song, rather than the better known; given the choice, I would rather use a studio version than "live"; and I usually like to include the song by the original artist, rather than the cover version (however, my friend Mosh got me started on the art of making NOT mixes for a fun change of pace... meaning the whole compilation is composed of remakes... i.e., Big Yellow Taxi NOT Joni Mitchell... and the Counting Crows' version is included). I almost always use the last song on the mix as the title - therefore, I have to choose carefully, since that's the cornerstone/foundation/thematic unifier.

Okay, given all of those anal/retentive/obsessive/compulsive restrictions, I am also here to say that rules are meant to be broken - I certainly do not *always* abide by these, but it is a conscious decision when I do not. Maybe I should call them guidelines - living within these boundaries makes my efforts a bit more interesting and challenging.

SONG: Tape Full of Love Songs by Jonathan Byrd
In my almost-month of blogging, this is the first song I've been unable to find the lyrics for online - I'm using it regardless, and would urge you to visit iTunes, spend the 99 cents and listen... whereupon you'll be convinced to buy The Waitress CD. Jonathan is a brilliant songwriter and a super-nice guy - he's won quite a few awards for good reason.

BOOK(S): Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time by Rob Sheffield

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

Liner Notes by Emily Franklin

POEM: I Live in Music by Ntozake Shange

I live in music, is this where you live, I live here in music, I live on c# street, my friend lives on Bb avenue, do you live here in music? Sound falls round me like rain on other folks, saxophones wet my face, cold as winter in st. louis, hot like peppers I rub on my lips, thinkin they waz lilies, I got 15 trumpets where other women got hips & upright bass for both sides of my heart, I walk round in a piano like somebody else/be walkin on the earth, I live in music, live in it, wash in it, I cd even smell it, wear sound on my fingers, sound falls, so fulla music, ya cd make a river where yr arm is & hold yrself, hold yrself in a music."

QUOTE: "The mix tape is a form of American folk art: predigested cultural artifacts combined with homespun technology and magic marker turn the mix tape into a message in a bottle. I am no mere consumer of pop culture, it says, but also a producer of it. Mix tapes mark the moment of consumer culture in which listeners attained control over what they heard, in what order and at what cost." ~ Matias Viegener


  1. As someone who has enjoyed your mix tapes for years (10? 12?), I can attest to their awesomeness! ;) You are talented indeed, my friend, and I will never tire of listening to your creations!

  2. M, you have always been an appreciative and enthusiastic recipient of my long-time and ongoing A/R/O/C creative musical compositions - thanks for the continued positive feedback (no pun intended... :-)