Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An Early Holiday Gift To You From The Mistress Of The Mix & Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Dear readers, did I mention last week how thankful I am for you? Although writing Mistress of the Mix is immensely satisfying to me personally, I really appreciate all the support and generally nice things ya'all have to say about the column and my musical choices for the accompanying playlists. Music is my passion, and to know that you're sharing that with me and enjoying it really means a lot. So it gives me great pleasure to share something else with you today...another pair of tickets to one of my all time favorite swingin' bands, in today's Mistress of the Mix special edition.

I've seen a lot of bands once. A very select few, twice. But three times? I can only think of one band:
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.  Their style is unique. Scotty's voice is spectacular.They're music is amazing. Even more impressive is that the whole group has stuck together all these years. Seven guys who've been making music for more than 20 years, and every time I've seen them, they've completely convinced me that after all this time they still really enjoy what they do, who they're doing it with, and who they're doing it for. (And they're really nice guys. My daughter had a hilarious encounter with Scotty during their first performance at the Cascade when she was still in elementary school that she still talks about today.)
But don't just take my word for it.

Experience it for yourself on Tuesday, December 6th, when Big Bad Voodoo Daddy returns to the Cascade Theatre with what I believe will be the swingingest dance party of the holiday season from Jefferson Public Radio. I have it on good authority that they'll mix it up a little, serving up a generous helping of their raucously fun Christmas and wintery weather tunes along with a huge heaping portion of the hits we all know and love. Comfort food of sorts, from the kings of swing. If you're not familiar with or haven't yet become a fan of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, I'm here to help.

Please enjoy this playlist, a mix of BBVD tunes on Grooveshark, served up just the way I hope they'll do in a few weeks. This playlist is a well balanced meal of seasonal songs and their past hits. Enjoy.
Oh....and before I forget, one lucky fan of Mistress Of The Mix will get a chance to experience Big Bad Voodoo Daddy up close and personal. As my early holiday gift to you, I hold in my hand a coveted pair of front row tickets to the show. All you have to do to enter to win this pair of tickets is to leave a comment below, and I'll draw a winner December 4th. Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 14, 2011


I feel so sorry for Thanksgiving. It's a great unique, so North American, so full of mashed potatoes and gravy. It's such a warm & fuzzy holiday that bridges the gap between the Christian idea of giving a shout out to God for putting food on our plates and the Pagan practice of recognizing the sun and the earth and the rain for working together to provide a bountiful harvest. It's about the original dwellers of this land accepting the newcomers, and working through our differences to try and live together. I like that. But poor, poor Thanksgiving, it's been the middle child for a long time, and it's just getting worse. Thanksgiving is stuck between Halloween and Christmas, who's competition for the holiday spotlight has gotten so intense, that Thanksgiving just gets lost in the middle.
And I think that's just wrong.
Don't misunderstand me. I love Halloween and Christmas, but I dislike the fact that Christmas has become so commercialized, every retailer depending on their entire year going into the black by selling massive quantities of stuff to us consumers to give away to each other. In order to do this, retailers have pushed up the "Shopping Season" (just calling it what it is) to butt up against Halloween instead of politely waiting until Thanksgiving is over.
Well, today I am giving Thanksgiving it's due. In fact, I'm challenging you, reader, to do your best to celebrate Thanksgiving, to even celebrate Thanksgiving all the way to Christmas, in a way that won't cost you a dime.
Discover the things you're grateful for in your life and express it. Not just here (although I welcome your comments). Express it to those who deserve to know it in a thank you note extolling their virtues & singing their praises. Then wrap these little notes up with a ribbon and give them as as personalized holiday gifts that I guarantee will mean so much more to the recipient than a tin of peppermint bark or a hat & scarf set. These simple, yet significant acts of grace could be the most meaningful gift you ever give.

OK, get to writing those thank you notes!

And while you're at it, please enjoy these songs of gratitude on Grooveshark.

Thankful by Valerie Ing-Miller on Grooveshark

  1. Louis Armstrong - Thankful
  2. Dido - Thank You
  3. Kelly Clarkson - Thankful
  4. Jonny Lang - Thankful
  5. Delbert McClinton - I Wanna Thank You
  6. Mavis Staples - I Wanna Thank You
  7. India.Arie - Thankful
  8. Natalie Merchant - Kind & Generous
  9. Bob Marley - Give Thanks & Praise
  10. Shaggy - Thank You Lord
  11. Michael Franti - Thank You
  12. Edwin Starr & Blinky - I'm So Thankful
  13. Bonnie Raitt - I Thank You
  14. Ruthie Foster - Thanks For The Joy
  15. Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra - I'm Thankful
  16. Sly & The Family Stone - Thankful N' Thoughtful
  17. Natalie Cole - Be Thankful
  18. Elton John - All That I'm Allowed (I'm Thankful)
  19. Bing Crosby - Thanks
  20. Ashanti - Thank You

Let's put the FUNK in Dysfunctional

Relationships can, at times, be pure torture. Hopefully, instead of identifying with today's playlist, it will actually make you feel a little bit better about your own life life, no matter what your situation. It wouldn't matter if you were happily married, desperately seeking, or just sank the final nail into the coffin of your last relationship, because today's playlist is dedicated to those really really messed up relationships that haven't yet taken their final breath - but really, really  need to. Yes, today we're putting the funk in dysfunctional!

What qualifies as 'Dysfunctional'
One of my good girlfriends always gets a kick out of a song I turned her onto some years ago about a woman who embraces her affection for sociopaths.  Every time she hears the song at my house she says, "Val, you gotta put together a playlist of all the pathetic, dysfunctional relationship songs in your arsenal." I just happen to have a few. Well, as it turns out, more than a few. Turns out I've got songs about desperate women, womanizing men, obsessive stalkers, cheaters and beaters and revenge seekers.  In fact, some of these songs aren't even about romantic relationships gone bad. Eminem's "Stan" is about an obsessed fan, and William Shatner's most brilliant effort ever (even better than Captain Kirk) is his portrayal of an estranged father alongside Aimee Mann and Ben Folds.
There's just not a lot of happy in these songs (although the witty Lily Allen seems pretty thrilled to get back at her cheating guy in "Smile" and Avril Lavigne is blissfully ignorant of the impact her actions have on others in "What The Hell." But if you're looking for happiness, today's playlist is not the place to find it. But if you're looking for revenge, or if you're a tortured soul looking for a little empathy, perk up your ears.

Don't shoot the messenger 
Some of these songs will piss you off, as they should! Oh, I hope they do. Many of them make me downright angry. Sometimes I even forget they're just songs. Every time I hear the pathetically desperate and sweet voice of Sara Watkins (from her Nickel Creek days) calling out to Anthony, I wanna shake her! Likewise, every time Sara's former bandmate Chris Thile's song "Alex" comes over my stereo, I want to reach through the speakers and knock one of his teeth out.  This is a man I've had the pleasure of meeting twice (and he's really nice), but still, I find it difficult to separate reality from songwriting. The lyrics are so callous and heartless, that I forget it's not an actual guy singing about luring women away from their boyfriends just for fun. Or is it? Regardless, every time I hear these songs I end up simultaneously furious and in awe of the songwriting skills that make me feel that way.

F-Bomb Warning!
There's some pretty strong language in this playlist. I've dropped a few F Bombs here and there in the past, but there's some very passionate language in almost half the songs on this one. And by passion, I'm talking about the kind of hateful rage that can only be fueled by intense love gone sour. I remember once somebody explained to me that hate is not the opposite of love, but that love and hate are equal on the scale of passion. (The opposite of both love and hate is apathy.)  When passionate love turns sour, it can turn into passionate hate, and passion is what fuels amazing songwriting.
* = F Bombs and other nasty name calling

Enjoy (okay, Experience) this playlist on Grooveshark

  1. Anya Marina - Sociopath - The song that inspired this playlist
  2. Ben Folds with Regina Spektor - You Don't Know Me*
  3. Nickel Creek - Anthony 
  4. Kate Nash - Foundation*
  5. Garbage - #1 Crush - Someone likes someone just a little too much.
  6. Macy Gray - Relating To A Psychopath
  7. Ludo - Love Me Dead Thanks to my friend Tim, who kept asking me about this song that he'd heard once upon a time on my iPod where a guy sings about how wonderful and awful his girlfriend is at the same time. Great addition to this playlist!
  8. Lily Allen - Smile* Revenge, sweet revenge!
  9. Eminem with Dido - Stan* I haven't found a lot that I like about Eminem, but this song about a deranged fan is actually pretty brilliant.
  10. Eminem with Rihanna - Love The Way You Lie* OK, this song is pretty scary. If this relationship sounds close to home to anyone reading this column, get out NOW. 
  11. Magnetic Fields - Yeah! Oh Yeah
  12. Rob Favre - Dysfunction
  13. Florence Rawlings - A Fool In Love I like Tina Turner's version better, because her lyrics weren't fiction to her.  Alas, Grooveshark does not have access to Tina.
  14. William Shatner with Ben Folds & Aimee Mann - That's Me Trying That's me not trying very hard, that is, to make up for years of neglectful parenting. Thanks to fashion designer Wil Curtis for finding this gem for me.
  15. Avril Lavigne - What The Hell
  16. The Police - Every Breath You Take Sting, if it weren't you, I'd be filing a restraining order so fast it'd make your head spin.
  17. Punch Brothers - Alex Come on ladies, this song makes your blood boil, doesn't it?
  18. The Rescues - You're Not Listening
  19. Doris Day - Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps If I ever have my own cabaret show, I will be singing this pathetic song about a woman who just can't leave, even though deep down, she knows he doesn't love her.
  20. Maroon 5 - Nothing Lasts Forever Adam Levine & his gang of musicians have broken a Mistress of the Mix record - 4 songs on one playlist! He's so good at writing about dysfunctional relationships that you'd think he was writing from experience, wouldn't ya?
  21. Maroon 5 - This Love True Story: Turns out Levine spent years in a really dysfunctional relationship with a woman named Jane. So affected was he, that he wrote a tons of songs about her, and his band named their debut album exactly what it was: "Songs About Jane." Poor Jane.
  22. Maroon 5 - Misery
  23. Maroon 5 - Harder To Breathe*
  24. Janis Joplin - Piece Of My Heart
  25. David Lowery (of Cracker) - All Those Girls Meant Nothing To Me And I'm sure expressing that sentiment makes everything all better. 
  26. Staind - Dysfunction
  27. Ween - Baby Bitch* I'm convinced a song this full of venom can't be made up. I know there's a ton of Weenies around who will let me know if this song is based on a real life experience.
  28. Puddle of Mud - She Hates Me* She doesn't just hate you, dude. She effing hates you. But way to turn that sentiment into a really catchy riff!