Archive for the 'Articles' Category

We are here now, going nowhere, for very loving reasons.


As the old saying goes, imitation is the highest form of flattery, a well crafted remake is the musical version. 

Years ago, I named Mark E. Smith as a Different Drummer on an episode focused on used record stores, which is how I discovered his band, The Fall, during the transition from high school to college in the American Midwest. They are still my favorite band, or as close as I'll ever get to naming a favorite. 

The amount and quality of remakes by The Fall was not evident to me early on. Their approach to music was so unique that songs rarely stood out as remakes. There are exceptions, not always from the Country & Western genre but often enough. Here is a list:


It isn't an exhaustive list, either. 

Used Record Stores and a Healthy Aquarium


IC-Fest, Day 3


Spotify Day 3 is only missing a couple of these tracks, one by Imani Coppola and one by Chris Rice. The problem is that "Thirsty" from the missing Rice album, Past The Edges, is probably my favorite of all the songs Spotify does not yet have. 

The final day in this hypothetical music festival features some of the longest sets at the beginning and end, a bit like bookends. Most people might not consider Todd Snider a headliner for something like this. I certainly do. Whether with a band or in a man-with-guitar format, Snider brings something live that even his live albums only barely capture. 

Todd Snider

New Connection
New York Banker
Conservative, Christian, Right Wing Republican, Straight, White, American Males
You Got Away With It (A Tale of Two Fraternity Brothers)
Statistician's Blues
Beer Run
Just Like Old Times
Somebody's Coming
Once He Finds Us
A Lot More
Yesterdays and Used to Be's

Reba McEntire

Take It Back
Rumor Has It
If I Had Only Known
The Greatest Man I Never Knew

Chris Rice

It is Well with My Soul
Me and Becky
Smell the Color 9
Go Light Your World
The Final Move

Laurie Anderson

Difficult Listening Hour
Sharky's Day
Beautiful Red Dress
Mach 20
Let X=X

Imani Coppola

I'm a Tree
Voice in my Head
Contributing Member of Society
Cock Block (Little Jackie)
Lying to my Therapist
The Legend of a Cowgirl

Michael Franks

Sometimes I Just Forget to Smile
The Lady Wants to Know
Every Time She Whispers
The Art of Love
Three Today
Now I Know Why (They Call It Falling)

Dolly Parton

9 to 5
Red Shoes
I Will Always Love You

Neil Young

After the Gold Rush (with Dolly Parton)
My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)
Out on a Weekend
Old King
Southern Man
Oh Susannah
Harvest Moon
Rockin' in the Free World
Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)
One of These Days

Jarring transitions on this day, which is something I like. Ironically, I've envisioned what is probably both the most and least jarring transition with a duet. Could a Dolly Parton collaboration with Neil Young work on his "After the Gold Rush" classic? I'd say yes, in part because both Parton and Young have delivered surprisingly effective collaborations in the past. With Linda Ronstadt unavailable due to debilitation and Emmylou Harris not yet named a Different Drummer, Young and Parton together is the nearest substitute for a Trio performance

I won't take up the space required for other Different Drummers who could have made this list because they are still performing. I'll just note a couple that I've seen in concert, even though I didn't include them here: Al Stewart and King Missile (John S. Hall) would have been the next ones in. 
At the same time, it's heartbreaking that health or death blocked any consideration for -- among others -- Don Ellis, Queen (Freddie Mercury), Gisele MacKenzie, John Coltrane, John Fahey, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, The Fall (Mark E. Smith), Rush (Neil Peart), and Ronstadt. 

Mentally sunburned and exhausted, I'll stop here, refreshed nevertheless.

IC-Fest, Day 2


Spotify Day 2 represents every song from every artist.

Getting 25 into thirds, to simulate three days, puts the extra artist in the middle. I'm still linking the artist name to the episode that cited each as Different Drummers, along with putting at least one key track in italics.

Indigo Girls

Fill It Up Again
Land of Canaan
Power of Two
Prince of Darkness
Let It Be Me
Share the Moon
Closer to Fine
Kid Fears (with Gordon Gano?)

Violent Femmes

Girl Trouble
Rejoice and Be Happy
No Killing
Dating Days
Add It Up
I Held Her in My Arms
He Likes Me
I Know It's True, but I'm Sorry to Say

Larry Kirwan & Black 47

Second Coming Blues
40 Shades of Blue
James Connolly
Different Drummer

Phil Manzanera

Diamond Head
Law and Order
Postcard Love
Rongwrong (with Brian Eno)

Brian Eno

Baby's on Fire (with Phil Manzanera)
Sombre Reptiles (with Phil Manzanera)
Burning Airlines Give You So Much More
Iced World

Elvis Costello

The Other Side of Summer
Less Than Zero
Two Little Hitlers
Every Day I Write the Book
The Beat
Human Hands
London's Brilliant Parade
Tripwire (with The Roots)

The Roots

Walk Us Uptown (with Elvis Costello)
Here I Come
You Got Me
Break You Off
Don't Feel Right
The Seed 2.0

Holly Cole

Take Me Home
I Told Him that My Dog Wouldn't Run
I Thought of You Again
Make It Go Away
Don't Let the Teardrops Rust Your Shining Heart
If I Were a Bell
Tango 'Til They're Sore

Tom Waits

Jersey Girl
Warm Beer and Cold Women
Murder in the Red Barn
Down There by the Train
Way Down in the Hole
Picture in a Frame
Once Upon a Town / Empty Pockets (Purple Avenue)
(Looking For) The Heart of Saturday Night

My focus on this day's lineup was on points of potential collaboration. Whether films like Monterrey Pop or The Day The Music Died (or Woodstock), unexpected collaborations are among my favorite part of festivals. This one could have Gordon Gano stepping in for the Michael Stipe harmony on "Kid Fears" by Indigo Girls, Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno almost sharing a set, and Elvis Costello's album with The Roots providing songs to transition between their sets. 
I wouldn't mind seeing a Holly Cole and Tom Waits duet on one of his songs, too. "Jersey Girl" seemed less optimal for that than something like "Little Boy Blue" or "Falling Down" but I left those two tracks off of both their lists.

IC-Fest, Day 1


Spotify Day 1 does not include Garth Brooks at all. We know why, but I did mention it during his Different Drummer segment

I intend to italicize the one key track, if I can narrow it to one, that truly sets the beat for me on each of these Different Drummers, too.

Garth Brooks

We Shall Be Free (written by Stephanie Davis)
It's Midnight, Cinderella
Two of a Kind, Workin' on a Full House
Unanswered Prayers
How You Ever Gonna Know?
Wolves (written by Stephanie Davis)
The River
Friends in Low Places

Nanci Griffith

You Were on My Mind
Drive-In Movies and Dashboard Lights
The Loving Kind
Time of Inconvenience
It's a Hard Life Wherever You Go
More Than a Whisper

Victoria Williams

What a Wonderful World
Why Look at the Moon
Summer of Drugs
I Can't Cry Hard Enough
Holy Spirit
Crazy Mary


In the Light
Lose My Soul
Jesus Freak

Sophie B. Hawkins

Strange Thing (Walking in my Blue Jeans)
Don't Don't Tell Me No
Betchya Gotta Cure for Me
Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover
Carry Me
No Connection
As I Lay Me Down
Saviour Child
Lose Your Way

Dana Gillespie

You Just Gotta Know My Mind
Move Your Body Close to Me
Empty Bed Blues
More Fool Me
Cry To Me

Maria McKee

Effigy of Salt
I've Forgotten What it Was in You (That Put the Need in Me)
A Good Heart
Am I the Only One (Who's Ever Felt This Way)?
I Can't Make It Alone
Let Your Light Shine on Me
Absolutely Barking Stars
Drinkin' in my Sunday Dress
You Gotta Sin to Get Saved
Show Me Heaven

T Bone Burnett

I Can Explain Everything
Fatally Beautiful
The Long Time Now
Shut It Tight

I also couldn't find "I Can Explain Everything" on Spotify, and that was a key song for the 200th episode of Inappropriate Conversations, The Sound of Dissent.

One other note about song sequences. Perhaps it is noticeable; perhaps not. You can almost take the last song from each artist and presume it's an encore. McKee's set, for example, would end brilliantly with audience call-and-response for "You Gotta Sin to Get Saved" leaving "Show Me Heaven" as a perfect -- albeit vocally challenging -- encore.

IC-Fest Concept


Indulge me, if you will. I had a fun idea a week or so ago, and it has been a welcome distraction. 

I've never been to a music festival -- not Alive on the Contemporary Christian side of the spectrum or anything like Rocklahoma when I lived in Oklahoma. A couple of months ago, though, Nessa P. made me think of this on a short "not-an-episode" of her Hello Nessa! podcast. After I checked out the band Rainbow Kitten Surprise, it occurred to me that I've named at least one festival's worth of musician/songwriters as Different Drummers in the past decade.

Right now, the count would be 65 if I combined the categories for bands, artists, and songwriters as Music, which I have done on the Category tags. Some of these performers and composers are gone or retired. Others wouldn't make sense in the context of an "Inappropriate Conversations" music festival. But I had no problem coming up with 25 artists and groups, along with very little trouble putting them into a sequence.

Again, making lists can be a relaxing indulgence. So, for a few posts in a row, I'll share my thoughts on an #ICfest of sorts, including proposed set lists reflecting the songs I love most. This will include a focus on inspirations behind their Different Drummer segments. My plan is to post the song titles, as if by day, along with a Spotify playlist that puts these songs in sequence (with only a couple of limitations due to Spotify gaps).

Of course, there is a reason I don't do music festivals. Camping is not really my thing, even less for my wife. Weather is an issue, with a bright, sunny day being no help. I once got a sunburn walking across the street in El Paso, Texas. In addition, I'm sure this concept reflects a combination that's too odd for an audience much bigger than 1.

For now, though, the list!

Neil Young
Garth Brooks
Elvis Costello
The Roots
Tom Waits

Indigo Girls
Violent Femmes
Maria McKee
Todd Snider
Sophie B. Hawkins

Along With:
Reba McEntire
T Bone Burnett
Dana Gillespie
Holly Cole
Chris Rice

Special Appearances By:
Dolly Parton
Nanci Griffith
Brian Eno
Phil Manzanera

Laurie Anderson
Michael Franks
Imani Coppola
Victoria Williams
Larry Kirwan (Black 47)


A Cold Night's Death poster

I believe my all-time favorite in the ABC Movie Of The Week series is A Cold Night’s Death from 1973. I don’t pretend that it deserves a place in history with Duel or Brian’s Song. It’s just my favorite.

The plot brings together elements of science fiction, horror, adventure, and mystery. At the same time, it is a character study that makes full use of props and location. If this short plot summary sounds familiar, you may have seen the film re-aired as “Chill Factor.”

Robert Culp and Eli Wallach star as virtually the only actors in the 74-minute film. They are research scientists sent to a remote mountaintop laboratory to study the impact of high altitude on primates, in support of space exploration. Leaders of the program have lost contact with the scientist on site, and part of the mystery is resolving what happened to him.

The plot kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat at age 8. That is less true now, and not because I remembered the story. It is an excellent example of the journey being more important than the destination.

Culp was the star on the TV series “I Spy” and would later appear regularly on “The Greatest American Hero.” He’s never been better than this 1973 movie of the week, though. It’s harder to make the same claim for Wallach, who will always be remembered for roles in films like 12 Angry Men, The Magnificent Seven, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

A small cast helped control costs on a tiny TV budget. This is not a Hollywood film, in the purest sense, and it is even lower in budget than most independent films today. Still, A Cold Night’s Death was shot on 35mm film rather than videotape and several scenes are on location in the White Mountains of California.

More than anything else, this 47-year-old movie shows what can be done with limited resources when characters and actors are given room to drive a story. On re-watching, some moments reminded me of The Shining (1980) and The Thing (1982) and the earlier film pales in comparison to those classic thrillers. It is noteworthy that A Cold Night’s Death came earlier.

I believe there are several films in the ABC Movie Of The Week series that are worth a second look today. It aggravates me to think of how few are available either in re-run, videotape or DVD.

For all the better-known examples in the series, though, A Cold Night’s Death is my favorite. Yes, over Steven Spielberg’s Duel or pilots for future TV shows like “The Night Stalker” and “Starsky And Hutch.”


Made For TV Program Direction is a Facebook group focusing on recollections of old TV movies and shows like this one.

Inappropriate Conversations
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