This used to be a Wednesday feature, but two lists in one day feels excessive, and I don't want to spend a weekday post on this. I'd pretty well stopped posting on Saturdays, so this feels like a good compromise.
1. "Flashback Blues," John Prine. The first John Prine album (titled, appropriately enough, John Prine) was one of the first albums I ever bought for myself, and -- I'll admit this now -- I bought it because the boy I had a massive, obsessive crush on recommended it. Quite a lot of my music collection are relics of misguided romantic interests -- but as long as I still like the music, they were all good for something. In that context, this song feels especially appropriate.
2. "Poor Little Critter on the Road," The Knitters. An equal proportion of my music collection is gifts from friends, which this one is (a gift from my friend Tom, I'm pretty sure). The Knitters are a reincarnation of the punk band X as a country-folk band, and they're great.
3. "This Charming Man," The Smiths. I bought this one for myself, and am not ashamed. Morrissey spoke directly to my late-adolescent self, and still speaks to the ghost of her in my soul. "He knows so much about these things . . ."
4. "End of the Road," Eddie Vedder. Another gift, this one from my friend Gary. it's part of the soundtrack to Into the Wild, a movie I still haven't seen (although I loved the book). I was not a big Pearl Jam fan, but Eddie Vedder's voice is beautiful, and this album is terrific.
5. "Looking for a Way Out," Uncle Tupelo. My brother Ed likes this second album (Still Feel Gone) better than the first one (No Depression); I disagree, but it's still great stuff. Ed and I drove across the country together one summer -- was it '91? '92? -- and a cassette of this album was part of our personal soundtrack.