The Last Juke Box Hero

By David

Confession: My favorite part of every posting was picking the music for the end.

When I was a kid, I dreamed of being a DJ, and I’d actually record myself on my eight-track spinning singles in my basement, introducing the bands, announcing the tunes, every now and then venturing a particularly catchy B-side (God, am I dating myself).

Later, I was one of those geeky dorky dweeby dudes who couldn’t share mix tapes and CDs fast enough. I have two friends who say they almost need entire rooms—or outbuildings—to warehouse all the music I forced on them. I always saw it as the perfect postcard, the best way to say hi and what’s up and lay my own trip out there without getting too, well, weird.

But hey, I’m weird. Just check out the tunes, you know that much.

I always got a kick out of sharing some of the obscurities I posted here—yeah, that’s me, the guy who’s always into “the best kept secret in …” (which explains my writing career, in more ways than I’d like to admit).

And so, in trying to determine what tune should conclude my stint here at Murderati, I was my usual exuberant, over-indulgent self, having too much I wanted to share, and only one last chance to do so.

So postmark this one, save it for later, play it in bits. This is my Murderati Mix Tape, with samples of a handful of the bands and singers and songs I had bookmarked to share but never got the chance, such as:

Ani DeFranco singing “(Fuck You and Your) Untouchable Face

Dee Dee Bridgewater with Jimmy Smith performing Horace Silver’s “Filthy McNasty

One Nation with Victory covering Roxy Music’s “More Than This

The Sons of the Pioneers singing “Tumbling Tumbleweeds

Vinicio Capossela (“The Italian Tom Waits”) performing “Ultimo Amore

Los Straitjackets with “My Love Will Go On” (the “love” theme from Titanic)

Punk girl band Sleater-Kinney with “Start Together

The Raindrops doo-wopping with “The Kind of Boy You Can’t Forget

Kay Starr, with the Charlie Barnet Orchestra: “Sharecropper’s Blues

Bonnie Raitt absolutely killing Randy Newman’s “Feels Like Home

Randy Newman killing as well with, well, Randy Newman (“Shame”)

Sash! performing the hypnotic dance classic “Encore Une Fois

The Bobby Fuller Four performing “Let Her Dance” on Shivaree

Renee Fleming with “Soave sia il vento,” a stunning tercetto from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte

Ultravox with the punk anthem “Saturday Night in the City of the Dead

Slim Whitman singing the classic “Cattle Call

Cleveland’s The Outsiders performing “Time Won’t Let Me

Cleveland’s Joe Walsh (and ELO’s Jeff Lynne) kicking it with “Wrecking Ball

Meg Hentges with the gay teen anthem “This Kind of Love

A great video mash-up with the Nicholas Brothers tap-dancing to The Contours’ “First I Look at the Purse

Guitarist extraordinaire Johnny A with “Oh Yeah

Carmen Consoli with the plaintive, aching “Tutto su Eva

Little Willie John (God, what a voice): “Leave My Kitten Alone

Noel Coward (God, what a voice): “I Went to a Marvelous Party

The jazz geniuses Ninety Miles: “Black Action Figure

Bryan Ferry covering the Everly Brothers’ “The Price of Love

Willie “The Lion” Smith performing the breathtaking “Echoes of Spring

Fiona Apple’s haunting “Red, Red, Red

The first four minutes of Bernard Hermann’s score for The Day the Earth Stood Still

Brazil’s Nação Zumbi (what The Who would have sounded like if Pete Townsend were Brazilian, not British) performing “Hoje, amanhã e depois

And finally (for this set), this old chestnut titled “The Cruel Sea” performed by The Dakotas, from that bastion of surf culture, Manchester UK (yes, this one’s for you, Gordon):

There were, of course, also songs with a crime theme I wanted to share, such as:

Anita O’Day with the Stan Kenton Band: “And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine

Steely Dan: “With A Gun

The incomparable Raul Malo covering “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress

Brave Combo with a killer cumbia version of the Mission Impossible theme

Gypsy wedding band Fanfare Cioçarlia performing the James Bond Theme

The (okay, not so obscure) O-Jays: “For the Love of Money

Richard Thompson: “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” (how does he sing and play like that at the same time?)

Alabama 3 with the theme from The Sopranos

The Eliminators with “Dawn Patrol” (inadvertent theme for the Don Winslow novel)

John Hiatt with “Tennessee Plates

Anita O’Day (again), this time with the Gene Krupa Orchestra: “Murder He Says


And then all the sad goodbye songs I thought might bring a tear, a chuckle, or a sigh:

Bettye Lavette with “Let Me Down Easy

Annie Lennox with my favorite version of Cole Porter’s “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye

Café Tacuba and Celso Piña with “Aunque No Sea Conmigo” (Since You Will Not Be With Me)

Shivaree (the band, not the TV show): “Goodnight Moon

Merle Haggard: “Someday When Things Are Good (I’m Gonna Leave You)

John Lennon. “You Don’t Know What You Got (Till You Lose It)

Otis Redding: “You Don’t Miss Your Water (Till Your Well’s Run Dry)

Raul Malo (again—God, what a voice), this time with J.D. Souther’s “You’re Only Lonely

Santana with Alejandro Lerner (LOVE this song): “Hoy Es Adios

Jimmy Buffett and Roy Orbison, “Beyond the End

Emmylou Harris, with a song by Steve Earle, produced by Daniel Lanois: “Goodbye

* * * * *

And with that, I bid adieu to all of you in this, my Murderati incarnation. I’ve made a lot of grand friends here, friends I intend to cherish in other formats and other locales, on the Murderati Facebook Page and beyond—beyond the end.

The Final Jukebox Hero of the Week: Who else, with what else—and a tease for Stephen’s final post this Friday:

21 thoughts on “The Last Juke Box Hero

  1. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    And I couldn't agree with you more, my friend.

    Oh, and I want to tell her that I love her a lot
    but I gotta get a belly full of wine….

  2. Barbie

    Can I just disagree that Nação Zumbi and The Who are nothing alike in my humble Brazilian opinion? Haha! 🙂

    Thanks for all the music!

  3. Jake Nantz

    If I may, I'd like to add two artists/songs to your crime list, as my own adios to ya:

    Howlin' Wolf – "Evil"
    John Lee Hooker – "I'm bad like Jesse James"

    I'd stick some Muddy Waters in there, but I couldn't find a suitably crime/goodbye-themed song. Take care, David. I always enjoyed your posts here, and learned a hell of a lot in the process.

    Vaya con dios, amigo.

  4. Richard Maguire

    Hi David. This is great! From Sons of the Pioneers to Punk Rock. I'll play each and every one of them.

    And on a final note (no pun intended) I'm about a third of the way through THE ART OF CHARACTER and enjoying every word of it. It's a reminder of all the really great posts you've written on craft.

    The very best of luck.

  5. David Corbett

    Stephen: Yeah, looks like we have a pretty similar take on things, judging from our posts this week. It ain't over till the last track, and even then…

    Reine: Your friendship has been one of the great joys of this gig. I'm glad I introduced you to a few good tunes. You introduced me to a great deal more, and I'm grateful.

    Barbie: Yes, and Noel Coward doesn't have a great voice either. I consider it a personal failing that, after over 60 posts, I was unable to enhance your grasp of irony. 🙂

    Jake: had a couple blues tunes in mind, then couldn't remember if I'd posted them before and ultimately blanked as I was rushing to get this in on time. Those are great selections, thanks. Here's a few I'd add:

    Howlin' Wolf: Killing Floor:

    John Lee Hooker: Never Get Out of These Blues Alive (Bumblebee):

    Otis Taylor: Three Stripes on a Cadillac:

    And believe me, I think I got twice as much as I gave, especially with comments like yours.

    Richard: That's really kind of you. Glad you're enjoying the book. I was always happy whenever I saw your name pop up in the comment queue, brightened my morning, and I'll miss this connection. Let's try to keep it going someohow, somewhere.

  6. Dee

    I was always avid to read your posts, David, and the truly impressive conversations with commenters that ensued. I learned so much from the posts you created during the writing of the wonderful The Art of Character. And like Richard I am savouring the book. It is good to have a take away from the Murderati years since when the blog is done I won't be meeting any of you any more. I will miss your voice and those surreal music selections.


  7. Allison Davis

    One of the joys of my life is when David Corbett says, wow that's great music, what's that? Playing stump the Corbett is a dangerous game as we have learned. Recently I gave him two CDs of Argentine folk music and tangos. You see, there's no end really to any of this, too much music, too much writing to do, more friends to meet and love and life goes on. The goodbyes to our forum, our favorite hang out is triste, but (Edith Piaf, Non, je ne regrette rien, although it may not link). I love it all. David, thank you for your obsessiveness and thoroughness, it keeps the rest of us rocking.

  8. Sarah W

    You've introduced me to a playlist-worth of great music (among many other things) over the past couple years, David, thank you.

    Don't think I'm quite ready for the Goodbye list yet, though–I've barely left the Denial stage.

    It's been excellent, sir.

  9. MJ

    Awesome, thank you. Your posts always resonated with me and gave me a kick in the butt to get out of the office and WRITE, and I'll always value that. Onward on other boards, blogs and venues.


  10. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Damn, Dave, this is a treasure trove of musicality. I thought I knew a little bit about what's happening in the music scene, but I'm way off. Thank you for being my mentor.

  11. Larry Gasper

    Looks like I've got hours of listening here. Thanks for the songs and the posts, David. I won't say goodbye because we'll stay in touch. Expect to see the book for your editing service this fall.

  12. Shizuka

    One of the sad things about growing up is how much harder it is to find new music.
    So thank you for your goodbye gift to us.

    Like all your posts, there's so much here to unpack and discover.

    Here's a song I love that I'd forgotten about and remembered today after reading your post.
    Maybe because of my melancholy about Murderati ending or because it's from a French crime movie.

    See you elsewhere on the Internet. And maybe again in person.

  13. KDJames

    I was reading this post in my RSS feed and the lists just kept going and going and going until I started giggling at your enthusiasm and sheer tenacity for getting all these songs listed here, this one last time. I also found myself nodding in agreement at many of them, "yes, that's a good one" and "oh, I'll have to check that out" at others. Will definitely bookmark this and come back to eventually hear them all. Well done.

    I've learned a lot from you, David, and certainly not all of it about writing. I'll miss your emotional intensity and wry humour and the mental calisthenics you always provoked in your posts. And the music. Thank you for all of it.

    I've about had it with saying goodbye, so instead:

    "I'll be seeing you,
    in all the old, [un]familiar places…"

    And I'm thinking not so much Billie Holiday or Frank Sinatra, but the dulcet stylings of Jimmy Durante. 😉

  14. David Corbett

    Dee: You make me blush. I’m glad you’re enjoying The Art of Character, and that you enjoyed the posts where I was thinking my way through much of it. But don’t get too glum. We’ll all still be floating about cyberspce either at the Murderati FB page or our own pages, our own websites, guest posts on other blogs, etc. It’s not the end. It’s the beginning of The Next Phase:

    Thanks, Allison. Actually, I’m pretty easy to stump. Sadly. And I’m pretty sad at being easy. –Stumpy

    Sarah: Gee, maybe I should have made a denial playlist! I’d kick it off with this: (Don't be a stranger!)

    Marla: Thanks. I like being useful. (See Blood of Paradise, page 65). Thanks for being such a true believer all this time.

    Stephen: You’re joking, right? Half this stuff is almost as old as I am. And I exhale dust.

    Larry: That’s great news about working together. Meanwhile: Happy listening.

    Shizuka: Wow, what am amazing track. Thanks for sharing it. What was the movie? And yes, we’ll see each other virtually for sure, and hopefully in person before too long. (Deb & I will no doubt discuss you in some detail when we get together at the DFW Writers Conference the first weekend in May. Pretty to feel your ears warming up.)

    KD: Thanks so much. I know it was a challenge for you in any number of ways, no more so than always ending up in moderator limbo. Thanks for hanging in there with us. And with the mental calisthenics. I didn’t mean to be a taskmaster, honest. Meanwhile: You chose an excellent tune, regardless of rendition, and one very close to my heart. (Check out the dedication to Done for a Dime.)

  15. Shizuka


    The movie is "Ni Pour Ni Contre."
    It didn't come together completely (maybe because I saw it in unsubtitled French
    and missed a lot of the dialogue), but I liked the mood and some of the sub-themes
    (i.e. the oppression of living in a high-rise, being an anonymous city dweller).
    The soundtrack is beautiful.

    Give my love to Deb!


  16. Erin Alford

    Thank you for all the great blogs. And especially all the great music!! Thanks to you I have Steve Earles Copperhead Road video with me where ever I go. 🙂

  17. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    It's all new to me, David, or at least most of it is. I'm amazed by how you manage to keep up with it all.

  18. Pari Noskin

    David, I have so much more listening to do now. I think I'll take a few weekend days to try to get to at least some of these.

    And sorry not to have commented yesterday. I finally had a colonoscopy. Believe me, I'd rather listen to good music.

    Thank you for everything you've done here, my friend.

  19. David Corbett

    Erin: Steve Earle's the gift that keeps on giving. Glad I played a part in your loving it so much.

    Stephen: I probably waste more time listening to music than you do. That's how I "keep up." My form of writer's block.

    Pari: Gee. I think that may be the best excuse for not commenting I've ever heard. You deserve a day or two of good music. (Especially check out the Kay Starr track. You can really hear the influence she had on Patsy Cline.)

    It's been a pleasure, an honor, and a wonderful education being here. Thanks for including me.

  20. PD Martin

    Hi David. I'm catching up with the long goodbye….

    It's hard to believe we're already up to people's last posts. April seems to have gone very quickly. It's been amazing (and at times intimidating!!!) reading your wonderful and thought-provoking posts. I'll miss them, but hope to catch up with you on Facebook (and one of these days in real life).

    Thanks for the great juke box heroes, and perhaps you can post them on the Murderati Facebook page once a week or fortnight? Maybe even starting with these ones!


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