Was a time I’d make huge playlists and burn CDs of the saddest songs I could think of and listen to them when I was bummin’. That’s not my bag much anymore, but I can’t deny that I have a bit of a chub for some sad bastard music. Your woman done left you? I love it. You’ve “done been kicked around” your whole life? Sing it to me! You’re a schizophrenic heroin addict who keeps waking up in public with blood stains on your clothes and the whole week prior is a blank in your mind? Let me hear it already! Today’s mix is a monster—36 tracks (2 hours) of sad bastard music. Get out your Kleenex, bebbies.
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01. Magnetic Fields — “When You Were My Baby” A great Phil Spector-ish groove from the band’s first album.
02. The Toys — “Baby Toys” The band was a one hit wonder for its hit “A Lover’s Concerto” (which we featured in a previous mix). They had other jams too, though.
03. Arthur Alexander — “I Hang My Head and Cry” Other groups (The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Marshall Crenshaw, George Jones, Joe Tex, etc.) made Alexander songs such as “Anna (Go to Him)”, “Soldier of Love” and “You Better Move On” popular, but sadly the man himself had very little success on the pop charts. The mix of R&B and country probably explains the wide appeal; as it’s recorded this song could almost be played on old-timey country radio.
04. George Jones — “My Tears Are Overdue” Watch the linkage—from Arthur Alexander we go to George Jones, who covered Alexander’s “You Better Move On”. This song is from Jones’ 1965 album Trouble in Mind.
05. Nina Simone — “Trouble in Mind” “Trouble in Mind” is a widely covered blues standard written by Richard M. Jones in 1926; George Jones did a hillbilly version of it on his aforementioned album of the same name, and Sam Cooke’s version (my personal fave) is on the My Kind of Blues album. Interestingly, the lyrics seem to change from performer to performer.
06. Flying Burrito Brothers — “Dark End of the Street” Originally performed by James Carr, this version appeared on the Burritos’ debut album.
07. James Carr — “To Love Somebody” For many critics, Carr’s right up there with Otis Redding in terms of vocal artistic ability; his best-of compilation is recommended.
08. The Bee Gees — “Mr. Natural” Actin’ cool but feelin’ like a fool is a good trope for sad bastard songs.
09. Brinsley Schwarz — “Ever Since You’re Gone” The SCHWARZ!!!
10. Terry Reid — “Better By Far” Know what would’ve been better by far? If Terry Reid had joined Led Zeppelin instead of Robert Plant. That would’ve been better by far.
11. The Isley Brothers — “Behind a Painted Smile” Just like a silly ol’ clown.
12. Dusty Springfield — “All the King’s Horses” I included this on a previous muxtape mix last year, but hey, that site’s not up anymore. This is a previously unreleased track from the 1999 Rhino remaster of Dusty in Memphis. Good stuff.
13. Pulp — “A Little Soul” Some pretty revealing stuff from Jarvis here.
14. Fleetwood Mac — “Save Me a Place” Oh Lindsey B. You are such a beautiful man. Such a beautiful, wonderful man.
15. Richard & Linda Thompson — “Walking on a Wire” From the duo’s last album, after they stopped being Sunni Muslims and decided to get divorced.
16. American Music Club — “Ex-Girlfriend” Totally wrecked third-person breakup lyrics from Mark Eitzel.
17. Afghan Whigs — “Fountain and Fairfax” Gentlemen is one of the harshest, most oppressive albums ever made (and I loves it for that). It’s a wonder any chick wanted to sleep with Greg Dulli after it. Oh wait, chicks love abusive heroin addicts. I plum forgot!
18. Blur — “This Is a Low” But it’s not a low for the site! This mix is bangin’, if I do say so m’self. Read on!
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19. Mekons — “Hello Cruel World” I love the Mekons. They always seem kinda bummed though. Chin up, Mekons!
20. Hefner — “I Love Only You” I kinda forgot this band (probably not without reason), but they’re fun to revisit. Overly British, late-’90s, early-’00s indie poppins.
21. The Velvet Underground — “Who Loves the Sun” I just can’t understand why more goths don’t love this song.
22. Graham Parker — “You Can’t Be Too Strong” A pretty stark, anti-abortion statement from Graham Parker. As uneasy as I am with its politics, it remains a heartbreaking listen.
23. The 6ths — “As You Turn to Go” Speaking of hearbreaking listens, here’s one from Stephin Merrit and his 6ths.
24. Irma Thomas — “Cry On” Keep on a-cryin’ and a-cryin’ and a-cryin’ …
25. Smokey Robinson — “Who’s Lovin’ You” Is it the mailman? Is it the milkman? Is it the gardener? Surely it is one of those men.
26. Sam Cooke — “Trouble Blues” A cut from the Night Beat album, totally cool.
27. Tom Waits — “Tom Traubert’s Blues (Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen)” Tommy gets all poetical on us. There’s some hard livin’ in that voice. Or is that just Beefheartburn?
28. Waylon Jennings — “We Had It All” Another hard-livin’ rambler. This song was written by Troy Seals, brother of yacht rockers Jim Seals (of Seals and Crofts) and Dan Seals (of England Dan & John Ford Coley)!
29. Richard Harris — “The Name of My Sorrow” From Harris’ debut, A Tramp Shining
30. Scott Walker — “Joanna” An early solo single from Scott Walker, to be distinguished from his Tony Bennett cover, “When Joanna Love Me,” which appeared on his debut, Scott. A Joanna fetish? Methinks I have this tie pegged!
31. ABBA — “When All Is Said and Done” You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Pierce Brosnan’s horrifying, tin-eared version of this song in the movie Mamma Mia. Now that’s a stink you can smell for miles!
32. Ian Hunter — “Ships” Definitely one of Hunter’s sappiest ballads. It always makes me feel tender though. Barry Manilow cut a really bad cover of it shortly after this was released that became a U.S. hit.
33. Thin Lizzy — “Running Back” Phil Lynott was one of the coolest dudes ever. I think he’s in the hall of fame of sweet dudes or something. He should get nominated this year at least.
34. Gilbert O’Sullivan — “Alone Again (Naturally)” Another Irishman of considerably less cool dude status. Still, I dig this song.
35. Ray Charles — “You Don’t Know Me” The most romantical song of all time in my book.
36. Elvis Costello — “Town Cryer” They should have used this in that Simpsons episode where Homer gets to be the town cryer. Or something.