Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Music and Food


My first love. My first passion. My first career choice, before I eventually decided, instead of going to University of Memphis for a degree in sound engineering, I wanted to be a pastry chef instead.

I played sax for ten years, was an unashamed band geek in high school, playing in our concert, marching, and jazz band. Jazz band led me to a discovery that shaped me into who I am today: music of decades past. It started with Glen Miller and led to Harry Connick Jr., Frank Sinatra, B.B. King, Ray Charles, (old) Elvis of his most rockabilly days (that is to say, his first and third albums), and finally to the truly amazing blues/folk singing/field songs of Leadbelly, Big Boy Arthur Cruddup, and Lightnin' Hopkins.

I listen to stuff from today, too - various genres, and am continually trying to open my mind to music I wouldn't normally listen to. But there is nothing - nothing - that makes me feel as peaceful as putting on The Sensational Ray Charles, pulling the needle to the right, a sharp "click" as the record starts spinning, the slight scratch of the needle hitting the record, that muffled and soulful voice that emanates through the static and clicks of a vinyl record player, while I lay on my couch with eyes closed and let it wash over me.

Friends poke fun at me. I'm okay with this. When I got a new iPod a few weeks ago and told my sister what I had put on it so far she paused, thinking, and asked "what decade are you from?" I know I have the musical taste, generally speaking, of an 80 year old woman, and again, I'm okay with this. But what does this all have to do with food?

I'm presenting here, my top few favorite songs about food.

The Coffee Song by Frank Sinatra - I love coffee. I love Frank Sinatra. The theory of logic makes it so I have to love this song.

Everybody Eats When They Come to My House by Cab Calloway - oh Cab, you're so great. This song is catchy, funny, and represents a time when food was harder to come by; I imagine that's what inspired songs like this.

Rock 'n' Roll McDonald's by Wesley Willis - you mean to say you didn't know about schizophrenic musician Wesley Willis, that just sings absurd and bizarre lyrics over the same keyboard music? Well, this will be a good introduction for you. In case the song sounds familiar to you, it was in the film Super Size Me.

Rubber Biscuit by the Blues Brothers - originally done by The Chips, this song is weird and makes no sense as it's mostly scat singing. The Blues Brothers version is my preference. I wish I could scat.

All That Meat and No Potatoes by Fats Waller - Fats clearly has some strong opinions about what should be on his dinner plate.

Spam Song by Monty Python

They're Red Hot by Robert Johnson

Nutrition by Dead Milkmen - If you don't give a shit about anything else, care about your own nutrition. (If you're like me and don't listen to a lot of punk and can't tell what he's saying, lyrics are here.)

Eat Steak by Reverend Horton Heat - a damn good song about steak by a damn good rockabilly band.

Satan Gave Me a Taco by Beck - a warning against taking any food, especially tacos, from Satan. From a pre-"Loser" Beck album, containing mostly his own home recordings and random noises.

And finally, don't forget about Weird Al's entire Food Album.

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