News & Rambling

News & Rambling

The Nightlife – Episodes 1-20

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The Nightlife was originally conceived as a template for a midnight, three hour radio show. I tried to envision myself at a radio station on a Saturday night, pulling records off of the infinite shelves of Spotify. But because I wasn’t talking between the songs, at times I felt like I was back at the old tape deck, making a mix tape for a friend. Now I’ve got this box of mix tapes, and I wish I’d labeled them better. But if you’re going somewhere, or cleaning the house, and you wanted to hear a few of my favorite tunes and artists, The Nightlife is here for you.

Episode 20 / Episode 19

Episode 18 / Episode 17

Episode 16 / Episode 15

Episode 14 / Episode 13

Episode 12 / Episode 11

Episode 10 / Episode 9

Episode 8 / Episode 7

Episode 6 / Episode 5

Episode 4 / Episode 3

Episode 2 / Episode 1

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Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, hit songwriters

Nickolas Ashford (born May 4, 1942, in Fairfield, South Carolina) and Valerie Simpson (born August 26, 1946 in The Bronx, New York) are a successful husband and wife songwriting/production team, as well as being recording artists in their own right. This performing and songwriting team met in the choir of Harlem’s White Rock Baptist Church.


“Lets Go Get Stoned”
Words & Music by Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson, & Josephine Armstead
Performed by Joe Cocker


“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”
Words & Music by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson
Performed by Diana Ross


“Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”
Words & Music by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson
Performed by The Jackson 5


“Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand)”
Words & Music by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson
Performed by Aretha Franklin


“You’re All I Need/I’ll Be There for You”
Words & Music by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson
Performed by Mary J. Blige & Method Man


“Solid”
Words & Music by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson
Performed by Ashford & Simpson

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Cindy Walker, teardrops on the bar

Cindy Walker, (July 20, 1918 – March 23, 2006) was an American singer/songwriter and dancer. Born in Mart, Texas, Walker wrote a great many hit songs for a number of country music stars such as Bob Wills, Eddy Arnold, and Carl Smith. In 2006 American music icon Willie Nelson released a CD album featuring 13 of Walker’s well-known songs. The album title is You Don’t Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker.


“You Don’t Know Me” performed by Willie Nelson
Words and Music by Cindy Walker and Eddy Arnold


“I Don’t Care” performed by Webb Pierce
Words and Music by Cindy Walker and Webb Pierce


“Cherokee Maiden” performed by Merle Haggard
Words and Music by Cindy Walker


“Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream?)” performed by Roy Orbison
Words and Music by Cindy Walker

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Christmas classic, or, Birdwatching by-product

“Jingle Bells”, also known as “One Horse Open Sleigh”, is one of the best known and commonly sung secular Christmas songs in the world. It was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893) and copyrighted under the title ‘One Horse Open Sleigh’ on September 16, 1857. The song has been translated into many languages. The Singing Dogs version was originally created by Danish recording engineer Carl Weissmann who discovered, while editing the sounds of barking dogs out of birdsong recordings, that perhaps dogs can sing as well.. Awesome guitar solo added later, in the United States.


Jingle Bells performed by the Singing Dogs
Words and Music by James Lord Pierpont

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The Nightlife: Episodes 1-5

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The Nightlife is a weekly playlist based on what I think it’d sound like if I had a free-form midnight radio show. I look at this like I’ve rolled into the radio station to have the best time of my life playing great records in sequence and hearing the beautiful stories they tell each other across time. Another way to think of it, is like I just sent you two 90 minute mixtapes in the mail. And of course you don’t have to listen at midnight. You can listen anytime.

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As I understand it, Spotify Premium members can listen to these shows complete and in order, whereas Spotify Free users can listen to a shuffled version of each playlist with added commercials and missing the songs only allocated for premium members.

The Nightlife: Episode 1 – 10/5/19

The Nightlife: Episode 2 – 10/12/19

The Nightlife: Episode 3 – 10/19/19

The Nightlife: Episode 4 – 10/26/19

The Nightlife: Episode 5 – 11/4/19

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Mac Davis, hit songwriter

Morris Mac Davis, known as Mac Davis (January 21, 1942 – September 29, 2020), was a country music singer and songwriter originally from Lubbock, Texas who has enjoyed much pop music crossover success. He became one of the most successful country singers of the 1970s and 1980s. He is also an actor.


“It’s Hard to Be Humble” Words and Music by Mac Davis

Performed by Mac Davis and Jim Henson


“Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me” Words and Music by Mac Davis Performed by Mac Davis


“I Believe In Music” Words and Music by Mac Davis Performed by Cliff Richard and Nana Mouskouri


In The Ghetto Words and Music by Mac Davis

Performed by Mac Davis

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The Sherman Brothers, monsters of Disney songwriting

The Sherman Brothers are Academy Award-winning American songwriters who specialize in musical films. They are Robert B. Sherman (born December 19, 1925) and Richard M. Sherman (born June 12, 1928). The Sherman Brothers wrote more motion picture musical song scores than any other songwriting team in history, working for Walt Disney during the last six years of his life. Film scores of the Sherman Brothers include Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats and The Tigger Movie.


“Jolly Holiday” Words and Music by Robert Sherman and Richard Sherman

Performed by Dick Van Dyke, Julie Andrews, & ensemble From the film “Mary Poppins”


“I Wan’na Be Like You” Words and Music by Robert Sherman and Richard Sherman

Performed by Louis Prima From the film “The Jungle Book”


“It’s a Small World” Words and Music by Robert Sherman and Richard Sherman

Narrated by Walt Disney


“Let’s Get Together” Words and Music by Robert Sherman and Richard Sherman

Performed by Hayley Mills & Hayley Mills From the film “The Parent Trap”


“On The Front Porch” Words and Music by Robert Sherman and Richard Sherman

Performed by Burl Ives From the film “Summer Magic”

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Fats Waller, American Mozart

Fats Waller (born Thomas Wright Waller on May 21, 1904, died December 15, 1943) was an American jazz pianist, singer, songwriter, organist, and composer. Widely recognized as a master of stride piano — Waller was one of the most popular performers of his era, finding critical and commercial success in his homeland and in Europe. A masterful instrumentalist as well as singer, Waller was prolific as a recording artist and bandleader. Despite his litany of credited hits, he is rumored to have written several more standards which he “sold” to other songwriters.


“Joint Is Jumpin'” performed by Fats Waller

Words and Music by Fats Waller, Andy Razaf, J.C. Johnson


“Squeeze Me” performed by Mildred Bailey & Her Alley Cats

Words and Music by Fats Waller & Clarence Williams


“Ain’t Misbehavin'” performed by Sammy Davis, Jr.

Words and Music by Fats Waller & Andy Razaf


“Honeysuckle Rose” performed by Anita O’Day with the Buddy DeFranco Quartet

Words and Music by Fats Waller, Andy Razaf, & Harry Brooks

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Books I’ve read this year.

I started this list because I have a website and I wanted to put something on it in case anyone bothered to visit it and wondered what I was up to. This list of books idea is really Art Garfunkel’s, he’s basically my hero. He sings, reads, and takes walks. That’s the life.

Sophie Collins – Who Is Mary Sue?

Joan Didion – Run, River

Marisha Pessl – Special Topics In Calamity Physics

Toni Morrison – Tar Baby

Lynda Obst – Hello, He Lied

Lillian Ross – Picture

Maya Angelou – I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Swami Vishnuvenada – The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga

Milt Josefsberg – The Jack Benny Show

Herman Melville – Moby Dick

Sidney Lumet – Making Movies

S.E. Hinton – Hawke’s Harbor

Herman Melville – Typee

— Updated 12/4/2019 —

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Copyright 2014 Alex Battles.