Phil Ochs

Phil Ochs titled the very last song on the very last album he recorded “No More Songs.” As prophetic titles go, that’s right up there with the Beatles titling the very last song on the very last album they recorded “The End.” Except the Beatles cheated by following that with a hidden joke track, and then releasing an entire album of stuff they recorded earlier. So I guess Phil Ochs wins for consistency.

Phil Ochs AllMusic page


Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel named his first three (or four, depending on where you live) solo albums Peter Gabriel. The music on those albums was very cool, weird, and original. Then he released a bunch of albums with actual titles. The music on those albums was increasingly bland and predictable. I guess he can only come up with interesting music or an interesting album title, but not both.

Peter Gabriel AllMusic page

Paquito D’Rivera

Back on my Horace Silver post, I dropped a (not) subtle hint for my kids that if they ever wanted to take a cue from Silver’s “Song for My Father” and come up with a musical tribute to their dear old dad, they should feel free (only completely voluntarily, of their own volition, of course … ahem). I hope they never find out that Paquito D’Rivera has a song called “Song to My Son”—I would hate for them to get the idea that there’s some kind of even exchange going on here.

Paquito D’Rivera AllMusic page

Orchestra Baobab

I’d like to pretend I’m all badass and have been listening to Orchestra Baobab since I was six. But anyone who’s ever met my family knows it is unlikely that there was any Senegalese music coming out of the stereo when we were growing up (although, to be fair, my mother did own some calypso records). Instead, this list gives me a chance to give another shout-out to the awesome blog World Is Africa by Djibril, which continues to introduce me to many great artists from that continent.

Orchestra Baobab AllMusic page

Nine Inch Nails

In the early 90s, I was a pretentious snob who never turned on the radio and only listened to classic female jazz vocalists, “worldbeat” (does anyone remember when that was a thing?), and, of course, Joni Mitchell. Today, when I hear 90s radio acts like Nine Inch Nails, I am thankful that I was a pretentious snob who never turned on the radio and only listened to classic female jazz vocalists, “worldbeat”, and Joni Mitchell.

Nine Inch Nails AllMusic page


New York Dolls/David Johansen/Buster Poindexter

Similar to the Jam/Style Council thing, here we have the punky, glam New York Dolls; serious, straightforward David Johansen; and tongue-in-cheek faux lounge lizard Buster Poindexter. There’s only one song on this list I’ve ever heard. Guess whom it’s by?

New York Dolls AllMusic page

David Johansen AllMusic page

Buster Poindexter AllMusic page

Miriam Makeba

So I’m at brunch, and my friend Jerusalem is talking about how much she loves Miriam Makeba, and I’m thinking, “Perfect timing! I just posted my Miriam Makeba list!” And then I’m thinking, “Wait. Did I actually post the list? I don’t remember.” And I check, and sure enough … I completely skipped over it. And this time, I can’t even blame Joni Mitchell.


Michael Franti/ Beatnigs/Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprosy/Spearhead

I had the whole Ben Folds/Ben Harper thing, but I actually think Ben Harper and Michael Franti are the same person. Maybe that’s why Franti changes group names so often—to throw people off his/Ben’s trail.

Michael Franti AllMusic page

Beatnigs AllMusic page

Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprosy AllMusic page

Spearhead AllMusic page

Merle Haggard

All I can say is, if I drank as much as he appears to based on his songs, I’d be pretty haggard, too. (Thanks. I’ll be here all week.)

Merle Haggard AllMusic page


Is it OK to give a group a list if they only have three albums? I guess if their name only has three characters, it kind of balances it out, maybe?

MC5 AllMusic page