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Barack Obama’s Perpetual Playlist

Sometimes when you read a politician you are reading a politician and sometimes when you are reading a politician you are reading a person and in president Obama’s interview with Rolling Stone about what was on his Ipod I felt you got the latter . The Prez said this about Stevie Wonder: “(Stevie) had that run with Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Fulfillingness’ First Finale and Innervisions, and then Songs in the Key of Life. Those are as brilliant a set of five albums as we’ve ever seen.” he stops before “Journey through The Secret Lives Of Plants” -exactly where the five album string of masterpieces end.
So I’ve read the article and here is the President Obama infinite playlist!! No, I didn’t always use the songs he choose but life is unfair.
You Haven’t Done Nothin’ – Stevie Wonder – “But we are sick and tired of hearing your song, telling how you are gonna change right from wrong.” from 1970 and I guess it was easier to hate on Nixon then it is on Barack but still the President should hear on it and not just because it is a need to be heeded warning about North American’s, also because it is perfect dance song with an amazing sax and a chorus (“do the walk…” which seems to come out of nowhere.
I Love You Porgy – Miles Davis – Musical miscegenation at its best, A Gerhswin ballad conducted by Gil Evans, their next album would be the great “Sketches In Spain” but I can’t help it, I worship George Gershwin and I love every song on “Porgy And Bess” a gloriously beautiful operatic blues. This is where black meets white and everybody wins.
The Promised Land – Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band – No Chuck Berry on Obama’s list so let’s take a Berry namesake anyway. And anyway, Springsteen’s proto-Prostestant work ethic, article of faith in Bruce’s and Obama (and our) ability to claw our way out of the back break of manual labor is the sort of American dreaming everybody can get behind. Obama mentioned “The Rising” but that song creeps me out.
Shelter From The Storm – Bob Dylan – Twas in another life time -that’s what the Obama presidency feels like, but Dylan’s fairy tale is in a world of toil and blood. It is a plain spoken parable of the lost and found of love.
Philadelphia Freedom – Elton john – C’mon, this has got to be the song he would choose. Remember, there was a time when the perpetual hit machine got the balance between art and commerce exactly right.
Spoonful – Howlin’ Wolf – Howlin’ Wolf wasn’t the best thing to come out of Chess Records. Neither was Muddy Waters. That would be Chuck Berry BUT you gotta grade on a curve here because jeez, how much better can you be to Howlin’ Wolf. How much sexier? Oddly, with the exception of Yo-Yo Ma who I am not putting on my Obama playlist, this is as far back as Obama goes. No classical, no
Change Clothes – Jay-Z – You knew I wasn’t gonna choose “Dirt Off My Shoulders” for him. Jay-Z is an easy choice if Obama wants to name check hip hop, and Ludacris wrote a song for him, but I wonder what’s really on there. Public Enemy? The president would have been in his late twenties when PE hit… Grandmaster Flash? He’d have been eighteen… I bet this is the hidden gold rush of Barack’s Ipod. No shout out for Rakim? No NWA? Ludacris, yeah, right.
Tennessee Jed – Grateful Dead – The live at lakeland, FA version from 76. I love the Dead when they are in full country acoustic jam mode -it’s when they get into blues mode I zone out.
He’s Gone – Grateful Dead – I have the Amsterdam 72. Better than the version I heard at MSG earlier this year (because JG) was there and as the pressure mounts on our young and brilliant President I will leave him with these words: Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile…

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