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Music and memories in the mix

April 30, 2014

I’ve tried to upload a blog once a month, but this one has been trying. Among other tasks, I’m trying to put together a playlist for a slideshow for a memorial service for someone with whom I spent a dozen years. As her health was failing, Karen managed to put together the actual slides but left the musical choices up to me, so instead of my regular blog, I’m simply going to jot down some potential musical choices.

I still have a few LPs of Karen’s (Blondie, Rough Trade, The Cure) that she had when we met, so I’ll have to include a track or two from these.

There were a lot of old 70s bands she liked, and I believe that Supertramp was her first concert, so I’ll make some space for that, the Eagles, and probably some even older music like the Beatles.

Ann Magnuson -- maybe the best show ever!

Ann Magnuson — maybe the best show ever!

Among the many live shows we saw, Karen raved about Ann Magnuson’s Luv Show at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco as maybe the greatest. Ann came out in a Glinda the Good Witch costume and a neck brace, as the band kicked into a cover of Kansas’s “Carry On My Wayward Son.” The concert started on a high note and only got better from there. While most of The Luv Show would be a little too wild for a memorial (“Miss Pussy Pants”), I did find a song I can use. Appropriately, it’s called “I Remember You.”

Lucinda Williams was another favourite, and I think there are a few cuts I’ll work into the mix, including one called “Fancy Funeral,” which basically makes the point that there are better things to spend money on. Nonetheless, we’ll still have a pretty good send-off in Karen’s honour, but I think the lyrics say a lot about her view of the world.

These last few months, Karen’s health, and her pain, got much worse, and in the last weeks of her life I was sending her nice photos on Facebook, funny things from the Web usually involving pets, and I also sent her a link to perhaps her favourite song, Ibrahim Ferrer’s “Dos Gardenias,” from Buena Vista Social Club. I like to think this was the last song she heard, and it’ll definitely be at the top of my “Do Not Cut” list.

There are so many more choices – Calexico, Al Green, our Grand Forks friend Dave Soroka, Neko Case, Betty Carter. I’m not sure what I’ll get in and what I’ll have to leave out, but I know I’ve got some work ahead, so I think I’ll save my energy for choosing some music rather than writing about it.


From → Essays, Lists

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