Under Cloudy Skies

Here's a meditation on wet weather, dark-feathered fowl, and not letting your baby down.

  1. "Aren't the clouds beautiful?"

    Dialogue from the motion picture A Boy Named Charlie Brown.

  2. Shady Lane/Pavement

    The worlds collide, but all that I want is a shady lane.

  3. The Only Living Boy in New York/Simon and Garfunkel (Simon)

    I can gather all the news I need on the weather report.

    After the '06 midterm elections, I was hoping to go back to not caring about politics. Hasn't worked so far.

  4. Clouds/The Go-Betweens (Forster/McLennan)

    Told to equate achievement with pain,
    I stole their top prize
    and paid them back with rain.

    I saw the Go-Betweens in concert once, in San Francisco in 2005, about a year before Grant McLennan died. They did a version of "Clouds" with a quote from "Love Minus Zero"--similar to the version filmed for That Striped Sunlight Sound. That gave me the idea to pair the two songs on a mix CD.

    Rest in peace, Grant.

  5. Love Minus Zero/No Limit/Bob Dylan (Dylan)

    In the dime stores and bus stations,
    people talk of situations,
    read books, repeat quotations,
    draw conclusions on the wall.

    Someday I'll find a way to get "She Belongs to Me" into one of these mixes.

    jTunes Trivia: While I was compiling this CD, my working title was "Speak Like Silence"--but in the end I decided that was too Zen, or too Orientalist, or something.

  6. Blackbird (Live)/Paul McCartney (Lennon/McCartney)

    All your life
    you were only waiting for this moment to arise.

    A lyric that's been rattling around in my head for most of the past year.

  7. Little Wing/The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Hendrix)

    When I'm sad, she comes to me
    with a thousand smiles she gives to me free.

  8. The Moon/Cat Power (Marshall)

    Everybody says they own you....

    In which the spacey heroine of "Little Wing" takes the mic to sing about moonbeams.

  9. Buckets of Rain/Beth Orton and M. Ward (Dylan)

    I like your smile and your fingertips
    I like the way that you move your hips
    I like the cool way you look at me
    Everything about you is bringing me misery

    Probably my favorite Dylan song. I'd never thought of it as duet material, but then, I'm not a singer.

  10. Storm Windows (Live)/John Prine (Prine)

    Time don't fly--it bounds and leaps.

    Silence is golden till it screams
    right through your bones.

    With so many good lines in this song, it's hard to pick just one or two.

  11. Coney Island Baby/Lou Reed (Reed)

    I'm a Coney Island baby now.

    In which hardass Lou reveals the marshmallow within.

  12. Sweet Stuff/Horace Silver (Silver)

    He really has a way with a ballad.

  13. Golly Gee/Kathy McCarty (Johnston)

    You make the world sit still
    The world sit still
    The world sit still

    From her great album of Daniel Johnston covers.

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