Thursday, October 15, 2015

Top 100 Songs From the 1990s (No. 9)

9. "Blue"
Artist: The Jayhawks
Year: 1995

Really pressed for time today. So, short and sweet. Most of you will know this one well anyway. I'm a 'Hollywood Town Hall' man myself, but this isn't an albums list, and "Blue" is the band's moment. If this is the song the Jayhawks are remembered for, well, that's fine by me. Most of us know they have been much more than "the hit."

I hope I'm not giving the impression 'Tomorrow the Green Grass' isn't wonderful as well, but 'Hollywood' is where I came in, and it's the one I usually pull off the shelf when I have a hankerin' for some Jayhawks. I assume if you're a fan these are your go-to albums too, but I'm curious about what you think of the band's other work. Did you stick with the Jayhawks as Mark Olson jumped in and out of the lineup?

I have a very memorable tale to tell about the purchase of 'Tomorrow the Green Grass.' Mrs. LTL and I were still in Japan when the album was released. Our time there would be coming to an end later in the year, and we knew it. We were saving as many yen as we could knowing we could be unemployed for a while when we returned to America, but we also felt like we should see as much of the region as we could because, hey, maybe we'll never get back here. (Twenty years later, that has proven to be the case.) So, we decided to dip into the account for a few fun-filled days in Hong Kong. We reasoned the Sino-British Joint Declaration would be kicking in soon. Better go now. I had not been buying much music, but I knew if I had the opportunity I would pick up the new one from the Jayhawks while we were there.

I remember it like it was yesterday. We walked into an HMV and placed 'Tomorrow the Green Grass' and Nick Lowe's 'The Wilderness Years' on the counter. There was a promotion going on where paying customers were allowed to spin a wheel to win prizes. I won a free CD. When I chose my bonus music and took it to the counter, I was told I could spin the wheel again. Well, long story short, I just kept winning. I didn't understand why they kept letting me spin every time I took my FREE CD to the counter, but they did. It got to the point where I was feeling anxious because I didn't have my trusty hand-written list of music wants with me, and my mind was a blank. So, I kept going back to the stacks and searching for the next CD. Meanwhile, Mrs. LTL was giving me the eye because she would like to go see Hong Kong, and now she's stuck in a record store. I was literally sweating at this point, and it was all a blur as I was running back and forth between the counter and the shelves over and over again. The girls working the counter were covering their mouths and giggling as this silly American was making a fool of himself.

When I finally "lost," I walked out of the HMV with nine CDs. Thank you, Jayhawks!

Here's a bonus live performance:

"Blue" (First Avenue, Minneapolis, 2010)

15 comments:

charity chic said...

One of my favourite songs from one of my favourite bands. Saw them perform this at The Garage in Glasgow with Sharleen Spitteri and had a drink and a chat with Gary Louris, Marc PeArlman and Sharleen afterwards!

charity chic said...

Like your story too Brian.HTH is the one for me also.TTGG has the almost impossible job of trying to follow it.I rarely play Smile or Sound of Lies these days but still enjoy Rainy Day Music

George said...

Brian, there's something about the Jayhawks that insires people to do crazy things. Just ask CC about that one!

charity chic said...

https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=5834198189370622587#editor/target=post;postID=2202718229366208148;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=3;src=link

Brian said...

CC, We are two peas in a pod when it comes to the Jayhawks. We like the same records. I do have a couple of songs that I like on Smile and Sound of Lies, but I don't listen to those albums much. If I had been able to choose a song from HTH, which I just couldn't seem to do, I would have gone with Crowded Into Wings, but I really do love them all. Envious that you had a drink with the band. I think you sent me a link that I might be interested in, but I believe it might be from the back end of your blog. Resend if you get the chance. Sounds like George has something to tell.

The Swede said...

A breathtaking song and brilliant story. I saw The Jayhawks a handful of times, notably on a double bill with Wilco when both bands ended up on stage together bangin' out some covers. I don't who was having more fun, us or them. I stuck with them until 'Rainy Day Music', though I admit I've never played that album very much. I also saw The Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers, though sadly it was a shockingly poor show, becoming one of the very few gigs I've ever walked out of.
Not only is 'Blue' a thing of utter beauty, but its b-side, the lost title track, 'Tomorrow the Green Grass', is a personal favourite that appeared on many a car tape way back when.

George said...

Not me Brian, it's CCs tale of going to Jayhawks' concerts

kevinpat said...

You can never lose with the word Blue in a song title. Think about it…… Love the sweet melody highlighted by the pretty harmonies. I once had a cassette that played (don't laugh) Leann Rhimes "Blue" after the Jayhawks, and then Willie Nelson's "Blue Eyes Cryin in the Rain" and Dolly Parton's "My Blue Tears". Was a great set because they all have that country thing going, and well because y'no Blue. I really like Tomorrow the Green Grass but I never went far beyond that although my buddies were all over it. In fact they gave me some Jayhawks cassettes they made in favor for me burning TTGG onto cd for them. And there's the wonderful first two Victoria Williams, the Miss Williams of Miss William's Guitar", albums that I love because one thing leads to another, eh? I certainly would concur that the song "Blue" by the Jayhawks is one memorable tune, and worthy of recognition on a list of great songs of the 90s. Yes indeed. And of course it's blue.

charity chic said...

Second time lucky

http://charitychicmusic.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/the-first-two-times-i-saw-jayhawks.html

Brian said...

CC, Now that story was worth the wait! I would be telling that one every chance I had.

Brian said...

Kevinpat, Now, of course, I'm trying to think of the worst "Blue" song ever to debunk your theory, but you just may be correct. Sounds like quite a mix tape you had going there.

Brian said...

Swede, sounds like the best double bill ever! I imagine this choice is another one that doesn't surprise you. There will be at least a couple more of those.

kevinpat said...

Almost Blue (Costello), Baby Blue (Badfinger), Blue Angel (Roy Orbison), Blue Bayou (Roy Orbison), Famous Blue Raincoat (Leonard Cohen), Blue Days, Black Nights (Buddy Holly), Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue (Crystal Gayle), Crystal Blue Persuasion (Tommy James/Shondells), Blue Moon (Van Morrison), Blue Moon ( The Marcels), Little Girl Blue (Nina Simone, Janis Joplin), Blue Jay Way (The Beatles), Blue Line (Let's Active), Blue Motel Room (Joni Mitchell), Roses Blue (Joni Mitchell), Tangled Up in Blue (Bob Dylan), It's All Over Now (Baby Blue), Bob Dylan, Blue Suede Shoes (Carl Perkins/Elvis Presley), Out of the Blue (Roxy Music), Devil With a Blue Dress (Shorty Long/Mitch Ryder), Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue) (The Temptations), My Blue Tears (Dolly Parton), Never Saw Blue Like That (Shawn Colvin), Suite: Judy Blue Eyes (Crosby, Stills & Nash), Behind Blue Eyes (The Who), Baby Blue Eyes (Joan Armatrading), Blue Turns To Grey (Rolling Stones/Gene Pitney), Am I Too Blue (Lucinda Williams), Bullet The Blue Sky (U2), Blue Umbrella (John Prine), Bluebird (Paul McCartney, Buffalo Springfield, Leon Russell), Union City Blue (Blondie), Blue Sky (Allman Brothers Band) Blue Sky (Patty Griffin), Mr. Blue Sky (ELO) and of course Joni Mitchell's Blue from her classic album called Blue.

I rest my case. Anyone got the Blues???

The Swede said...

Lots of blue eyes in your list kevinpat, but no 'Pale Blue Eyes' by The Velvet Underground? I'll also throw a favourite of my own onto the pile, 'Borrowed and Blue' by Natalie Portman.

kevinpat said...

@The Swede Oh yes!! How could I forget. Classic. Thank you sir. Don't know Portman but I'll check it out!! Can't have too many blue.