Wednesday, May 22, 2024

My Ten Favorite Songs

I created a Spotify playlist to listen to while driving across the country from Virginia to Oregon. I don't know how many songs it has on it, but the playlist is over 38 hours long! This large collection of favorite songs by my favorite artists got me to thinking about what my ten favorite songs might be. So I went through the playlist and jotted down the names of songs that I thought might be candidates for the top ten. This initial run-thru came out to over 30 songs. So then I whittled it away to these final ten.

Half Moon Rising by Yonder Mountain String Band, from the album Elevation.

Brown Eyed Women by The Grateful Dead. Pretty much any version, but I guess the Europe '72 version is the standard.

Windfall by Son Volt from the album Trace. It could have also been Tear Stained Eye from the same CD.

Tangled Up in Blue. This is a Bob Dylan song, but I'm specifically thinking of the Jerry Garcia Band version from the 1991 live album entitled Jerry Garcia Band.

Galway Girl by Steve Earle from the album Transcendental Blues

What Deaner was Talking About by Ween from the Ween album Chocolate and Cheese.

To Live is to Fly. This is a Townes Van Zandt song, but I'm thinking of the Cowboy Junkies cover of this song found on their Black Eyed Man CD.

Good Guys and Bad Guys by Camper Van Beethoven from the album Camper Van Beethoven.

Ginseng Sullivan. This is a Norman Blake song and I love Norman's version from his album Back Home in Sulphur Springs. Of equal status is the Tony Rice take found on Manzanita. However, I would be omitting a primary booster of this song if didn't give Mike Gordon from Phish credit. I first heard Phish do it on a bootleg CD of their 12/31/93 show from Worcester, MA. I was already familiar with Norman Blake's music at the time and this connection sealed the deal!

Paradise by John Prine from his album John Prine. Honorable mention to every single other song from that same LP!

I must also list these five runner ups: A Horse in the Country by Cowboy Junkies, Golden by My Morning Jacket, Just Before the Evening by Leftover Salmon (Drew Emmitt), Truck Stop Girl by Little Feat (Lowell George), Desolation Row by Bob Dylan (as played by the Grateful Dead with Bobby spewing out the lyrics!), and In Tall Buildings by John Hartford.

Back to the ten favorite...I didn’t want to repeat artists, however the Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia could have easily had a couple more besides Brown Eyed Women. Ship of Fools or Mission in the Rain, for example. 

Lastly, my favorite band is Phish. Phish is known for jamming more than songwriting, so I didn't want to fluff the list or undermine its credibility by arbitrarily including a Phish song in my list of ten favorite songs. But it wouldn't have been arbitrary. Evening Song, Friday, and All of These Dreams were all strong contenders. Yes, even Friday! Last word.

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