« A blogger's perogative? | Main | On the other other other hand, do we want our own Karl Rove? »

The Horn Book

OK, Gentle Readers, here is The Horn Book, as actually burnt to a disc by Your Humble Blogger:

Song TitleArtistAlbumTime
Ring Of FireJohnny CashClassic Cash2:45
I Can't Turn You LooseOtis ReddingOtis! The Definitive Otis Redding (Disc 2)2:45
I Prefer YouEtta JamesThe Chess Box 23:05
Papa's Got A Brand New Bag, Pt. 1James Brown20 All-Time Greatest Hits2:06
Soul ManSam & DaveAtlantic Records 50 Years: The Gold Anniversary Collection (Disc 1)2:41
Soul CadillacCherry Poppin' DaddiesSoul Caddy3:29
25 Or 6 To 4ChicagoGreatest Hits Vol 14:53
Got To Get You Into My LifeThe BeatlesRevolver2:30
You Can Call Me AlPaul SimonGraceland4:40
Jackie Wilson SaidVan MorrisonBest Of Van Morrison2:57
Would I Lie To YouEurythmicsBe Yourself Tonight4:28
Mr. JonesTalking HeadsNaked4:20
House of FunMadnessMadness3:00
Eddie's ConcubineEddie From OhioThree Rooms (Disc 2)4:56
Nelson MandelaThe Special A.K.A.Too Much Two Tone - Ska Classics4:14
Revolution RockThe ClashLondon Calling5:33
Up for the Down StrokeParliamentGreatest Hits (The Bomb)3:23
Hell Of A HatThe Mighty Mighty BosstonesQuestion The Answers3:54
Dead Man's PartyOingo BoingoDead Man's Party6:21
It's Margaret ChoSkankin' PickleSing Along With Skankin' Pickle1:25
HellSquirrel Nut ZippersHot3:13

A few comments: Of course, this list reflects more than anything my own taste, and even then there were a lot of songs I like that I finally left out (and I still overshot the 60 minutes I was aiming for). So songs that would fit into the category nicely and would be all informative’n’stuff about the history of the horn line in rock were left out if I thought they would make me enjoy the disc less. The primary ones in this category were NWA’s “Express Yourself”, built around a sampled horn line, and interesting if not, to my ears, enjoyable and Gladys Knight and the Pips “Midnight Train to Georgia”, which was illustrative of how horns mixed with strings in early disco. Honestly, would it have been worth it to put Dexys Midnight Runners on the disc? I think not. There were also a lot of songs that I like a lot that didn’t quite make it onto the list: The English Beat’s “Stand Down Margaret”, Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke”, either version of “Tears of a Clown”, the Pogues “Blue Heaven”, Elvis Costello’s “Only Flame in Town” or “Chewing Gum” and Dire Straits “Two Young Lovers” among others I can’t recall at the moment. Oh, and I couldn’t find the Elvis Costello live with the TKO horns cover of “Stand Down Margaret”, which would have really been lovely. I also left off Laurie Anderson’s “Baby Doll”, which isn’t really rock music, at least, not within the meaning of the act.

A few more comments: Clearly, the list did wind up being overloaded with 60s R&B/70s Soul and their immediate influences, and 80s Ska and their immediate influences. I pretty much left off the New Jump bands of the 90s; their only representative is the Cherry Popping Daddies, with “Soul Cadillac”, which is more clearly rock than jazz. Taking off the Brian Setzer Orchestra’s “Rock this Town” was tough, though. For Skankin’ Pickle I chose their theme to Margaret Cho’s sitcom, although I am likely the only person in the whole wide world with fond memories of that show. If I were making the disc for someone else, I might replace that with their cover of “Turning Japanese”, which really shows how much better a song can be with a horn line. Similarly, if I were making this disc for somebody born after 1980, I would hesitate about “Nelson Mandela”, which has for me a powerful and visceral memorial function that, you know, you had to be there.

Yet more comments: For some reason, I totally forgot about Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time”, which has very nice horn line, but hey, I’m not going back. At least, not unless there’s some other reason to. I did choose to leave off Jim’s Big Ego doing the version of “Stress” with the talking trombone, but I had meant to listen to it again. It turns out that I don’t own Elvis Costello’s Punch the Clock album, and it isn’t on either of my download stores, so I couldn’t put on “TKO (Boxing Day)” or “Let Them All Talk”, and I can’t remember them well enough to know if it’s a travesty to leave them off.

OK, last comments, and then I’m posting this: I did not do the work to tell you which tracks have Wayne Jackson, and which trombone player studied with which other trombone player. That would be interesting, but sadly, I’m too lazy to do the work on it. Sorry about that.

chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek,


I like how you've bracketed the list with "Ring of Fire" and "Hell".

It's good that you posted some of your alternates to fend off a peppering of "but what about X?" comments. Because, you know, seeing the list has suddenly brought to mind several others...

i considered peter gabriel. i have only so here but there are several that could be included except i was tricked - i thought the horns were synth.

"which trombone player studied with which other trombone player"

...all it would take is five minutes with any trombone player and you could have that information. Seriously, take it from someone who's dated a trombone player: they all have everyone's pedigree memorized, all of it, and they're all too happy to tell you about it. It's almost as bad as asking one of them about mouthpieces...

That said, are you willing to burn copies of this masterpiece for friends? :-)

A) I would still love to hear about songs you would put on such a mix; I'm not likely to go back and remix, but I might well make myself a Vol. 2...

ii)The horns on So appear to be real, and appear to be... I can't remember, the horns from Dexys Midnight Runners? The horns from (Huey Lewis and) The News? The guy that played the tin whistle on "Nelson Mandela"? Which brings me to...

3)Note to self: do not date trombone players. However muscular their fingers are. Now, that's trombone players, viola players, and drummers off the list. Nobody better say anything about clarinet players...

Oh, and (delta) I would need to check with my attorney about the legality of making copies of this subset of my legally acquired music. That said, it couldn't hurt to check your mailbox next week, particularly if you have the World's Greatest Mailman...


This trombone player, much to his shame, wouldn't be able to cough up a pedagogical tree for famous players of any sort of brass or woodwind. Do I have to quit the band, now?

Dating a trombonist ain't so bad. One word: embouchure.

Leaving off "TKO (Boxing Day)" is not a travesty, but I regret to report that leaving off "Let Them All Talk" is. You want an MP3 for volume two? I can help. You should also hear Bill Frisell's "The Tractor", which has one of my all-time favorite horn arrangements.

Although really one could just make a CD that consists of "Jackie Wilson Said" twenty times, one after the other. That would be fine.

I'm not sure why I don't own Punch the Clock, and I'm sure that someday soon I will own it, so you needn't send along any copies of songs on it. If, on the other hand, any Gentle Reader has digital copies of EC's live performances with the TKO Horns that were being bootlegged around at the time, I would like to know about it.

The thing about "Jackie Wilson Said" that stands out for me is how well it exemplifies the wonderful tradition of the vocalist scat-singing the horn line. I wanted to put in one of those, and didn't want to put on Otis singing "Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa", since I wanted his "Can't Turn You Loose". That meant that "Moondance" didn't get to make the exception-that-proves-the-rule flute appearance, which would have left that open for Smokey's "Tears of a Clown", but then with Otis, Etta, Sam&Dave and the Godfather, Smokey would have been too much of a good thing.
Oh, so much time to be wasted...

Comments are closed for this entry. Usually if I close comments for an entry it's because that entry gets a disproportionate amount of spam. If you want to contact me about this entry, feel free to send me email.