I’ve been tagged two or three times to participate in the Facebook Shuffle List game — most recently by my friend Chris, generally known here as Grandpa — so it’s probably about time I break out the iPod and find out what it says about me.

And what I found out is that my iPod lies. I gave it 25 chances and it didn’t give me a single Grateful Dead song. Despite the fact that it holds literally hundreds of Grateful Dead songs from 27 different albums, concert recordings, playlists and compilations, it gave me just one Dead-related song, a Garcia/Grisman number as time was running out.

That egregious omission aside, the list my iPod gave me is a pretty good representation of what I listen to on a regular basis. And yes — I am a dirty stinking hippie, just as you’ve suspected all along.

1) “Just So You Know,” Railroad Earth, Tupelo Music Hall 4.17.08. I have a concert recording where someone introduces Railroad Earth as “country and eastern,” which is a pretty good description of the bluegrassy jamband.

2)  “Sigur Ros,” Sigur Ros, Von. Sigur Ros might be my favorite band to listen to when I’m driving home from a late night at work. They’re weird enough that I can’t really imagine listening to them when it’s still light out.

3) “Backwards Down The Number Line,” Phish, Festival 8 10.31.09. Great song from Joy that opened up even further once they started playing it live.

4) “Catapult,” Phish, Camden 8.12.04. From the show that, at the time, was to be our last one before the “retirement.” We saw a very good show at Camden; the folks who slogged through the mud to get to Coventry the following weekend probably couldn’t say the same thing.

5) “Running Away,” Bob Marley and the Wailers, Stanley Theater 9-22.80. Great show from what is now the Benedum Center in downtown Pittsburgh.

6) “I’ll Be You,” The Replacements, Don’t Tell A Soul. A college friend of mine tried over and over to get me to see the beauty in The Replacements; of course, I didn’t get it until many years later — and many years too late.

7) “Help,” the Beatles, Love. This is a fun record. It was produced by George Martin to serve as a soundtrack for Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles-themed Las Vegas show. It plays as a single mashup of Beatles tunes, fading and mixing with each other for more than an hour.

8) “Tumbling Dice,” Phish, Festival 8 10.31.09. For their 2009 Halloween show, Phish selected the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street as their costume, playing, as they do, the album in its entirety. Exile was a good cover for them, but, as I’ve mentioned previously, this year’s cover of Little Feat’s Waiting For Columbus might have been their best ever. That this popped up is significant for a couple of reasons — first, I’ve maintained for a long time that Exile is the best rock ‘n roll album ever recorded, and second, HOW DID MY iPOD NOT INCLUDE ANY STONES SONGS?

9) “Muzzle of Bees,” Wilco, Rochester 12.6.08. I tend to rotate Wilco shows on and off my iPod frequently, but this one, a nice matrix recording (a mix of soundboard and aud recordings) is too good to remove. A side note: I am apparently incapable of typing the word “bees” without trying to type the word “beer” first.

10) “Weehawken Ferry > Rachel > Weekhawken Ferry,” Assembly of Dust, Gathering of the Vibes 8.18.06. A smoking combo by AOD at our one and only Gathering.

11) “I’m A Wheel,” Wilco, Riviera Theater 2.20.08. Back in February 2008, Wilco set up for a week at Chicago’s Riviera Theater for a five-show residency, during which they promised to play every song they’ve recorded at least once. Of course, I grabbed recordings of each one.

12) “Casino Queen,” Wilco, AM. C’mon — you’re not really surprised that so many Wilco songs are showing up here, right?

13) “Runaway Jim,” Phish, Saratoga 6.19.04. I’ve never been so unhappy at such a good show. This is the one that was such a pain in the ass that Mrs. Crappy and I sold our tickets to the second night so we could have a relaxing day in Saratoga and a relaxing night at our camping spot north of town.

14) “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat),” Digable Planets, Reachin’ (a new refutation of time and space). There isn’t a ton of hip hop on my iPod; this record has been there for a while, though, and it’s not being removed any time soon.

15) “Kid Charlemagne,” Steely Dan, A Decade of Steely Dan. I’m old. So what?

16) “Lady Madonna,” the Beatles, Love. I have other Beatles records on the iPod, honest.

17) “Pick Up The Pieces,” Average White Band, Average White Band. A nice bit of 1970s funk.

18) “Untitled,” Mad Professor, Dub Me Crazy. You youngsters might not be aware, but the the music you’re listening to these days — thinking hip hop in particular, or even the excellent Girl Talk record All Day release just last week — is a direct descendant of the cutting, pasting and looping mastered by Jamaicans like Lee Perry, King Tubby and the Mad Professor. An even better compilation to check out is Dub Chill Out.

19) “Machine Gun,” Portishead, Third. Weird is good. Weird and cool is even better.

20) “Handshake Drugs,” Wilco, Mershon Auditorium 10.12.09. From my birthday Wilco show in Columbus a year ago. Handshake dissolved into “Wishful Thinking,” leaving me both stunned and overjoyed.

21) “Swing,” Keller Williams, Mr. Small’s Funhouse 11.19/20.04. This is a beautiful cover of an Ani DiFranco song by Keller, as it appeared on the DVD Sight, which he recorded at Mr. Smalls.

22) “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart,” Wilco, Kicking Television. This is the song that really got my attention when we saw Wilco for the first time at the arts festival show in 2004. It’s still one of my favorites.

23) “Working Out Words,” The Diableros, You Can’t Break The Strings In Our Olympic Hearts. One of the best things I’ve received from satellite radio is access to The Verge, a station that plays stuff from Canadian indie bands. It’s consistently better than XMU, and I’ve padded out several playlists with songs from artists, like the Diableros, I’ve discovered while listening.

24) “Shady Grove,” Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, The Pizza Tapes. A great song on a great record, but really, iPod? This is all the Dead you’re going to give up? Really?

25) “The Neighborhood,” Los Lobos, Bimbo’s 3.26.09. Perhaps the worst hole in my concert resume — I still haven’t ever seen Los Lobos. I hang my head in shame.

That’s it — that’s the list. I’ve mentioned the omissions of the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones; my iPod also failed me when it comes to Radiohead, the Flaming Lips and an awful lot of jazz. But overall, this isn’t a bad representation of what’s playing in my car at any given hour.


  1. What a great post idea to steal! (I’m not proud.)

    Re: #13 I used to live up in Albany, and loved going to Saratoga for shows. Or the races. Or to play hockey. Great town!


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