Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll – Playlists Part One

CamI guess my first playlist was the order I stacked the 45’s above the turntable.  Do you remember when the singles would drop sequentially? Next would be the order you selected songs from the old Seeburg 200 Wall-O-Matic at the local greasy spoon. Of course your playlist could be sabotaged by another diner if they were feeding dimes and quarters into their Seeburg. If their B3 played before your C2 your entire mix would be ruined. Of course another round of chips’n’gravy would need to be ordered if you didn’t get your whole quarter’s worth of tunes.

Cassettes changed the equation and perfect mixes could be created for every occasion. The Friday night party Maxell 90 cassette would end up on the Lloyds stereo in Mixtapesomeone’s basement at some point during the evening. The cassette saved your album collection which always seemed to get trashed when you brought your vinyl to a party. Nothing was more infuriating than pulling out your Deep Purple album a few days after a party and finding a Chris De Burgh disc in the sleeve. With cassettes there were always two kinds of mixes; the one for you, and you alone, and the party mix where you let your personal taste take backseat to what the crowds wanted to hear. With the advent of dubbing decks cassette mixes could be copied and this allowed the opportunity to make the girlfriend a mix and keep one for you.

Once iTunes was up and running for the non-MAC users of the world, CD mixes became all the rage. Once they developed a decent Discman that didn’t skip when iPodwalking or driving your mix became your mobile soundtrack. When the iPod finally appeared I was an early adapter and it is still my preferred mobile music choice. I don’t want music on my Blackberry and prefer the stand alone iPod and I can rarely be seen without my buds in when outside and alone.  I walk a lot and always have the iPod on. Occasionally I will listen to an entire album but more often can be found listening to one of my mixes. Here are my options as they appear, in order, on my iPod:

1,2,3 Quick Mix – A 52 song ever changing mix of the recent hits from bands.  A playlist you can put in and most of your audience will know 80% of the songs. It won’t be the artist’s latest single but usually will be the one before their current hit. Here you will find The Sheepdogs, The Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys, etc.

100 More 50 4 50 – When I turned 50 I compiled my favourite 50 songs of all-time and gave select birthday party guests a USB with the 50 songs. It was difficult to pare it down to 50 and this mix is the 100 that just missed the cut. This is a good mix for long travelling as it runs just over six hours and, let’s face it, I love all 100 songs. Musically it is a mixed bag with everything from Zager & Evans and Bundock to The Prodigy and Editors.

Best Of 2009-2013 – Five individual mixes with the 20 or so of the best songs of the year. Rarely listen to these but every year I will start to build a best of so that by the end of the year I can check it to see what stuck out.  Fun to have a quick listen to a years gone by best of just to see where my head was at and how cool I thought I was.

50 4 50 – The aforementioned 50th birthday mix. Kicks off with “Heroin” from the “Rock’n’Roll Animal” and closes with “Christmas Wrapping” from The Waitresses. In-between there is everything from  Mott the Hoople to The Nails.

60’s Mix – A four hour celebration of everything that was fun about AM radio in the sixties. “Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)” waits at the “Bus Stop” that’s  in “Itchycoo Park” near “Spanish Harlem” just for “Kicks” as she is meeting “Happy Jack” and they plan to “Ferry Cross The Mersey”.

70’s Mix – Another four hour party when AM meets FM.  “All The Young Dudes” long for an “Evil Woman” on “Saturday Night” hoping that the “Green Eyed Lady” might “Surrender” and “Go All The Way”.

Alex & Heather Wedding Mix – Made this one for their royal wedding this summer.  A close to six hour mix which is almost a greatest hits from my other mixes. Liked it so much decided to keep it on the iPod as it can work in a lot of different situations. Good luck to Alex on Friday as his knee goes under the knife for a second time.

Back Up Dance – A quickie 20 song set that is sure to get them up on the dance floor. Oldies meet newbies as Robin Thicke and Justin Timberlake battle Rick James and George Clinton.

Beatles – Sometimes you just need some Fab Four. Skimming the surface it only has 40 tracks and clocks in at two hours.

Beats Mix – Mostly hip-hop and mostly old school.  Three hours of Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Grandmaster Flash, Sugarhill Gang  with some M.I.A., Dizzee Rascal and Streets thrown in to keep it somewhat recent.  Great walking mix.

Bovine – My punk mix and named in honour of the club. A four hour 100 song collection that I could throw on in the back room of The Bovine and everyone would be happy. The Dirty Nil battles it out with The Sex Pistols while The Strokes brush up against Iggy. This is one of my fave “going downtown on the streetcar” mixes and is often played when I am wearing my Ramones jacket.

Bowie Best Of – My current most listened to playlist. Four hours, 45 songs beginning with “Station to Station” and concluding with “Memory Of A Free Festival”. I occasionally juggle the first ten or so songs as to not burn them out and give a few tunes from the bottom of the list a chance at the top.

Brits & Pieces – Another four hour party of everything that was British in the sixties and seventies. Suzi Quatro, T. Rex, Mott, Queen, The Kinks, Slade, Petula Clark, The Faces, Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Bowie, The Yardbirds and dozens of others. Will move up in rotation closer to the World Cup this June. C’mon England!

Cadillac – Another playlist named after a club, The Cadillac Lounge on Queen West. Old country meets rockabilly with a few newer songs, Jack White with Loretta Lynn and others,  thrown in for good measure. Elvis Presley takes on Robert Gordon while Matchbox meets Gene Vincent at the bar. Another good walking mix and a good one to drink Jack Daniels and play cribbage while listening.

Christmas – Pretty obvious. 65 songs and very few new ones added each year. Lots from the Phil Spector discs as well as Bowie, Lennon, Dean Martin, Greg Lake and even our own Segarini.

Cocktail Party – For the adult in me that rarely comes out. The kind of mix you can play when hosting a euchre evening with the seniors. Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Julie London, Chet Baker and Judy Garland. Lana Del Ray, Nouvelle Vague and Jessica Pare are allowed to mix with the classics.

Current 30 – Where the work is done. Thirty current songs that are making an impact somewhere. This is the most listened to mix and changes every couple days as new songs are added and older tracks are shuffled off to another mix, or, just left to shuffle. Right now it contains the likes of The Strypes, The Orwells (loved their recent performance on Letterman), The Autumn Stones, Sebastian Grainger and Teenage Kicks.

Demos – Another work project as artists are constantly sending me demos of their new material. They get about five or six spins and after that I will offer my opinion.

Next week, part two of Cam’s iPod playlists.


Follow Cam on Twitter @CC59

Cam’s column appears every Thursday

The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll are proud to be presented by The Bovine Tiki Bar and Bovine. There are heaters on the Bovine patio and great bands downstairs at the legendary rock bar. Fill up next store at The Rock Lobster and then get your rocks off at The Bovine.

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DBAWIS_ButtonCameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener,  The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY, New Canadian Music, NXNE Magazine and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.


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