Go to www.samphillips.com to join the Long Play!
For the last EP of the Long Play, I made some late night songs for you to listen to as the summer comes to an end. I have covered a song from the 1930’s called “Undecided”, a song from the 1960’s which I will not mention here except to say that the Sex Pistols also covered it, and a song from the 00’s by Tom Waits called “Green Grass”. I thought I would also attempt to cover myself, so I have finally recorded “Where is Love Now”, a song I wrote in the 1990’s that Jimmy Dale Gilmore recorded, and a late night version of “Lying”.
“Undecided” is a classic. I have this song on vinyl by Django Reinhardt. Listening to Django’s records on vinyl is a wonderful treat. I remember reading that when he stayed in hotels as he traveled around he would turn some of the furniture upside down and turn on the water faucet, (making the sound of a stream or river), to make the room feel more like the Gypsy wagons he had lived in.
I love Tom Waits. I met him in the late 1980’s. His wife Kathleen Brennan is smart, beautiful, stylish and a great writer as well. Together, they wrote a truly great song called “Alice”. The lyric is as close to perfect as any modern writers can get. Even though I love “Alice”, I could not figure out a way to record it and do it justice. In 2004 he released a record called Real Gone, which is one of my favorite records of his. The amazing, death-defying guitarist Marc Ribot is playing all over it. When I heard “Green Grass” on that album, I thought a girl singer should sing it— straight, like an old standard from the 1940’s. Eric Gorfain did a beautiful string quartet arrangement of the song, (not exactly a 40’s version) and I sang it live with the Section Quartet on quite a few occasions. It took us a while, but we have finally recorded this version of the song.
As you grab your favorite cold (or hot) drink and sit up late and listen to Days of the One Night Stands, I am dreaming up the last few songs for the new album. This new collection of songs surprised me. I had no idea what kind of record I was going to make when I started out a year ago. I tricked myself. I kept thinking I was writing for one of the 5 EPs, but as Jay, Jennifer, Eric and I worked on recording them, I thought they turned out so well that I held them back for the album. Since I still have 4 or more songs to write, I can’t say exactly what kind of record it’s going to be, but it’s picked up speed and moves at a faster pace than Don’t Do Anything so far.
Since Days of the One Night Stands is only 5 songs, may I suggest some other late night favorites of mine?
When my little girl was born, Elvis Costello brought us one of the Jazz ‘Round Midnight collections. I wore it out. Though I love the classical versions of Rodrigo’s “Concierto De Aranjuez”, listen to Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis. Earlier in the evening when you are little more awake but want to drift away to another time and place, The Jelly Roll Morton box set is a wonderful visit to New Orleans. On some of the tracks he tells stories as he plays piano. (Thanks to Howard, one of the Long Players, for suggesting this one.) I am not a big opera fan, but there is a beautiful album of Bidu Sayao singing opera arias and Brazilian folksongs that I love listening to late at night. If you haven’t heard Sigur Ros, they are simple, modern, dreamy, orchestral and late night. I can go on, but I am certain all of you Long Players have great suggestions to make so I will look forward to reading your picks.