Until I saw Ed Bott’s Random 20 challenge, I didn’t realize that I could shuffle through my complete digital music collection using Windows Media Player.
[Tip: open your library to "Songs," click "Shuffle" in the player control, then click "Play," switch to the Now Playing and watch them go by. If you have "Show List Pane" set you can see the list of randomized selections in the right sidebar of the Media Player Window.]
Here are the first 20 selections that came up, with my commentary as I listened to them and checked to see what they were.
- Piano Quintet in A D.667 "Trout" Theme: Andantino, Franz Schubert, Guarneri Quartet / Emanuel Ax. I have this because it has Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik on the album.
- The Thin Ice, Pink Floyd, The Wall. When Amazon MP3 launched, Pink Floyd quickly rose to the most downloaded. For all I know it was all of us filling in our collection of long-abandoned LPs. This is the 1994 remaster.
- A Conversation with Brian Jones about Office and XML, Jon Udell (podcast). This is an interesting podcast because there is some talking past each other around what interoperability is. When I last spoke with Jon he claimed not to be a geek, but in this conversation he does speak of himself as a toolsmith, and he is certainly a power user, so there.
- Running Away, Bob Marley and The Wailers, Songs of Freedom. What fascinates me is the number of familiar tunes that have been performed by Bob Marley. This is not one of those, but a nice reggae with great backing and horns.
- Help Me Find My Way, Rooney, Calling the World. I just heard a tune by Rooney on Pandora yesterday and I tracked down this album on Amazon MP3. I downloaded it on spec., based on the reviews.
- Sun Shines on OpenID, Eve Maler Interview, Identity Management Buzz from Sun (podcast) Eve Maler is the singer for Mud Cat in real life, but this pod cast is about her day job at Sun Microsystems and her work on digital identity, single-sign on, and the Liberty Alliance.
- The Pusher, Steppenwolf, Steppenwolf Live. This group was one of the first live performances that I went to in Philadelphia after my rock-concert inauguration at a performance of Iron Butterfly in Columbia, Maryland, around 1969-70. I hadn’t listened to their music much in recent years and then I found this Amazon MP3 album while looking around through some blues selections. I just learned from the metadata on this track that the song was written by Hoyt Axton.
- Massachusetts, Bee Gees, The Record: Bee Gees, Their Greatest Hits. I still like them and this was a not-to-be-passed up MSN Music full-album download. I play the album sometimes while working out on my rowing machine or just when I want to mellow out.
- Time to Kill, The Band, The Band: Greatest Hits. My favorite Band production is the Last Waltz DVD. If I spin it up, I can’t help watching it. This is good background music though, and that is why I downloaded it from MSN Music.
- Nights on Broadway, Bee Gees, The Record: Bee Gees, Their Greatest Hits. A duplicate on this list, but this is much stronger for me and I wanted to hear it anyhow.
- Six O’Clock News, Kathleen Edwards, Failer. A new performer for me, discovered via my Grace Slick station on Pandora.
- Don’t Take Your Guns to Town, Johny Cash, Johny Cash Willie Nelson. An MTV-unplugged acoustic event with the two singer songwriters has this standard Western form. Some nice duet guitar picking and chatter between the two performers.
- Golden Gate, David Benoit, Professional Dreamer. I go through bursts of enthusiasm for smooth jazz, which I set aside for classical, rock, and, lately, ballads. Not my favorite from this MSN Music album, but it has some wonderfully mellow bits. There was a smooth-jazz station that billed itself as the soundtrack of Western New York. When I hear these, tunes it puts me back there. The Pacific Northwest and Puget Sound country have a different tone. Not sure what it is.
- Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee Unplugged: Semantic Web (interview), David Berlind, IT Matters (podcast). This downloaded with my RssBandit feeds, but this is the first time I listened to it.
- Midnight Lightning, Jimi Hendrix, Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Jimi Hendrix. I did not know about these sessions (or mash-ups) until I was looking at blues recordings that interested others on Amazon MP3. I started down that road looking for Peter Green and wanting to understand the early life of Fleetwood Mac as a blues band, not the differently-unique performers they were to become.
- Acadian Driftwood, The Band, The Band: Greatest Hits. This representative Band arrangement delivers a song that refers to the great upheaval in pre-Revolutionary North America where acadians were expelled from Canada, some settling in Louisiana.
- Medley (Slow March & Walk), The Pipes and Drums and Military Band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, Amazing Grace. There are no pipes on this track, but there are plenty on the album’s title tune. Good wake-up music, this.
- Please Read the Letter, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Raising Sand. I was unaware of this amazing project until the amazon.com page for the album and its wonderful promotional video was pointed out by Bob Sutor. This has quickly become the most-popular download album on Amazon MP3. It’s a touching gift and demonstration of virtuosity.
- Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting, Elton John, Rocket Man: Number Ones. I think Elton John videos and concert performance DVDs are some of his strongest performances. But again, when I want a soundtrack to my evening without visual distraction, this works just fine. It’s good exercise music too.
- Introduction by Alex Cooley/Workin’ for MCA, Lynyrd Skynyrd, One More
ForFrom the Road. A little ragged but gritty enough. This download of a two-CD set of live performances replaces a long-gone "Best Of" vinyl album.
- Philadelphia Freedom, Elton John, Rocket Man: Number Ones. It’s amazing the number of tracks that are repeat appearances from the same performer. This is the third. I am playing them through because I like ’em. Classic Bernie Taupin.
- Say Hello Wave Goodbye, David Gray, White Ladder. There’s a beautiful love song, The One I Love, that was repeated constantly on the MSN Radio Plus "Sounds Like the Mountain" station. That led me to download the single and this separate full album. I was so proud of my discovery only to learn that Vicki knows his music well and has tired of it. I haven’t.
- Nowhere Man (Album Version), Paul Westerberg, I Am Sam: Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture. This arrangement lacks the liveliness of the Lennon-McCartney tune as performed by the Beatles, but the sorrowfulness is deeper here. I downloaded the complete Amazon MP3 album after listening to the Ben Folds treatment of Golden Slumbers repeatedly on Pandora and thinking it was the Beatles every time. I must arrange to see the film. I’m told it is outstanding. I avoided it after seeing the trailers, thinking it was about the serial killer.
Well, I added three tracks to make up for the duplicates and the pod casts.
I have three lessons from this experience:
- I have many podcasts that I have never listened to. This is an interesting way to have them inserted into my day. It also provides a break from/during solid coding and other solid computer activities.
- I am not so attentive to my relationship to music. I see here how personal it is for me. That is somehow uplifting for me. It gives me a sense of all the ways that music is personal for others.
- I would not have learned this except for responding to the challenge and choosing to say something about the random selections as they came up.
Playing out with
Captain April, Liz Story, 17 Seconds to Anywhere. An impulse purchase I am quite content with.
Bigger Situation, Leo Kottke, One Guitar, No Vocals.