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Malvolio Production Diary: Songs for fools

Time to talk about the Twelfth Night Play Playlist List, isn’t it?

Having already done the drag mix for As You Like It, I didn’t want to do that again. There were a few options for this one, but in the end I decided to go with fools. There are, after all, a lot of great songs about fools. Lots. Sometimes I have trouble filling an hour for a playlist of top-notch songs; sometimes I have trouble cutting down to an hour. This one clearly has the latter problem.

And another problem, as well. For instance, which cover of “Chain of Fools” do I select? Aretha, you answer without thinking, and you are obviously correct, but then if Aretha Franklin is represented by “Chain of Fools”, what version of “Running out of Fools” do I use? Well, you respond, didn’t Elvis Costello record that one? True, true. But I was hoping to put “You Little Fool” on the playlist, too. Not to mention that I really like his cover of “Get Yourself another Fool”; I could use the Sam Cook cover, I suppose. And going back to “Running out of Fools”, there’s a Neko Case cover that’s not bad, and there’s an Isaac Hayes cover that’s… soulful. I dunno.

And that’s before we get to Etta James. I could perfectly happily put any of three Etta James covers: “Ev’rybody’s Somebody’s Fool”, “These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)” or of course “Fool That I Am”. I could use a different cover of any of those songs—how about Michael Jackson with a very early-seventies version of the first one (note that Connie Francis recorded an entirely different song with the same name, which was also recorded by Ernest Tubb and Pat Boone, among others), there’s a plethora of great recordings of the second (Billie Holliday is perhaps my favorite, the James Brown live version is fantastic, and there’s a Sam Cooke cover if I’m not using his “Get Yourself another Fool”) and Adele has recorded the third.

Did I mention Sam Cooke’s recording of “Fool’s Paradise”? No? The big hit with that song was the Charles Brown side. Looking that up, I found a Charles Brown version of “Get Yourself another Fool” that’s pretty terrific. So if I use the Charles Brown of that one, the Sam Cooke “Paradise”, then EC with “You Little Fool”, Aretha’s “Running out of Fools”, and then, what the heck, maybe Joe Cocker doing “Chain of Fools”. Etta can go on with “Fool That I Am”, Billie with “These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)” and MJ with “Ev’rybody’s Somebody’s Fool”. Simple!

Oh, crap, Etta James’ses “Seven Day Fool” is so good. And Jully Black’s cover isn’t. Aw, hell. Start over.

“If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody”—Bonnie Raitt or Ronnie and Rod?

“The Fool on the Hill”— Annie Lennox or Sergio Mendes? Or Shirley Bassey?

“Why Do Fools Fall In Love”—Frankie Lymon or Diana Ross? Or The Beach Boys?

“Fun to be Fooled”—Bobby Short or Lee Wiley? Or Lena Horne?

“I’m a Fool to Want You”—Peggy Lee or Chet Baker or The Jody Grind?

What about “Fools in Love”—Does anyone want to argue for the haunting Inara George cover over the original? Or for Joe Jackson’s own haunting cover?

And those are the songs that make me decide between covers. There are a lot more that I just have to decide in or out: “Who’s Been Fooling You” is Professor Longhair’s song, and that’s the end of it. If I include “Fool in the Full Moon”, it will the the Violent Femmes original. The Rolling Stones’ “Fool to Cry” will either make the cut or not. I’m not putting on the list somebody other than the Doobie Brothers doing “What a Fool Believes”. I suppose I could use some bootleg live version of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” but it would be a mistake. I will probably not choose “Dancin’ Fool”, but if I do, it’ll be Frank Zappa.

Well. I dunno, what do you think?

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


Just came across Joni Mitchell doing a really impressive and totally surprising “Why Do Fools Fall in Love”, so that's causing trouble, now.


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