I Left My Heart in Café Durant

Here's our hero, trying to come to terms with stuff.

  1. Easy to Slip/Little Feat (George/Kibbee)

    The late Lowell George imbues a pothead anthem with surprising universality...

  2. Good to Me/Inara George (George/Andrews)

    ...while, three decades on, his daughter evinces a similar gift for artful indirection.

  3. Boogie: 1 a.m./Langston Hughes (Hughes)

    Because I did come to California to study literature, after all.

  4. I've Got Love If You Want It/Slim Harpo (Moore)

    I first came across this song as a teenager in the Kinks' underwhelming cover version. Years later, I heard the original on satellite radio. Quite the eye-opener.

  5. I Buried a Bone/Blind Pilot (Nebeker)

    One of those evocative songs that filmmakers like to play over their end credits. This comes from Cyrus, the 2010 comedy/drama featuring John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, and Jonah Hill.

  6. Abandoned Love/Bob Dylan (Dylan)

    Despite being a pretty big Dylan fan, I somehow managed to never hear this song until the past year, when I was sampling some songs from Biograph on eMusic.com.

  7. Losing Your Affection/Future Bible Heroes (Merritt/Ewen)

    Wry synth pop from Gen X's very own Cole Porter, Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields.

  8. Teardrop/Massive Attack (Marshall/Del Naja/Fraser)

    In which our hero demonstrates his impeccable timing by embracing trip-hop 10 years after the fact...

  9. Alive Alone/The Chemical Brothers Featuring Beth Orton (Simons)

    ...or is that 15 years after the fact?

  10. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat/Charles Mingus (Mingus)

    Mingus's beautiful elegy for Lester Young.

  11. Life Is Fine/Langston Hughes (Hughes)

    Another helping of Hughes's poetry-with-jazz-accompaniment, originally from the 1957 album, Weary Blues.

  12. Pardon My Heart/Neil Young (Young)

    A song that's made me think of She Who Must Not Be Named ever since I first heard it back in 1993.

  13. These Days/Paul Westerberg (Browne)

    Affecting cover of an old Jackson Browne song. Hard to believe he was still a teenager when he wrote this one.

  14. Dive for Your Memory/The Go-Betweens (Forster/McLennan)

    The waters of her dream
    Are black and forgetful
    I'd like to make them clean

    A song that's had much the same effect on me as "Pardon My Heart," although I didn't hear it until years later.

Honorable Mention

Our Day Will Come/Amy Winehouse

A nifty performance by the doomed diva, edged out by the Inara George track and its greater specificity.

Going to California/Led Zeppelin

Considered for inclusion as an autobiographical scene-setting piece. Musically, it fits in with some of the folkier material, but in the end, it just wasn't necessary. (Plus, it's been played to death on classic rock radio, and what fun is that?)

Blue Monk/Thelonious Monk

I originally had the solo piano version from Thelonious Alone in San Francisco in the spot now occupied by "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat." But the Mingus tune was sadder.

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