With Valentine's Day upon us, Joey Porter's Pit Bulls thought we'd share an appropriate song for the occasion: "I'll Kiss a Pit Bull."
Performed by Mem Shannon, New Orleans bluesman and taxi driver, this tender little ditty probably goes well with a candlelit dinner.
It's a good song, with a good title, one that gets your attention. We all know, in any case, our four-legged friends are likely to kiss first.
Joey Porter's Pit Bulls try to be neutral about Valentine's Day, and at least we try to resist the temptation to be snarky.
Valentine's Day is fine for other people, but that's just it: Valentine's Day is for other people.
We're neutral because: One, if you're in a relationship, you're obligated to make the day especially special (not to be redundant). And, two, if you're not in a relationship, you feel like a loser. Either way, you can't win.
Oh, and another thing: Thinking of going out to dinner? Bad idea. Valentine's Day and Mother's Day probably argue with each other over which rates as the worst day of the year to go to a restaurant.
And, please, spare us the treacly, sappy television commercials for crappy jewelry from the likes of Kay Jewelers, Jared, Zale's, etcetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
All of which leaves us rather uninspired about the whole concept of Valentine's Day, which we suspect is a glorified excuse to drum up business for greeting card companies, chocolate confectioners, jewelry purveyors and, naturally, florists. It's amazing, isn't it, how flower prices prices are sky-high one day, and back to earth the next.
For all that, we do try to avoid snide, snarky sarcasm (and how's that for alliteration?).
If Valentine's Day enriches some relationships and enhances meaning for some couples, well, good for them. Whatever works.
We're neutral. We're Switzerland.
Meantime, this calls to mind our only previous Valentine's Day post on this here blog. Here's an excerpt:
Valentine’s Day was always for other people, anyway. For me, it was usually the day I was reminded that other people do, in fact, actually do that sort of thing — but only when I’d walk into my favorite neighborhood cocktail lounge, Le Mardi Gras, in the early evening and see couples canoodling while they waited for their reservations to be called at the overpriced, overcrowded restaurant next door.
“Who are these annoying people? What are they doing here?", I'd wonder, and then I'd remember, "Oh, yeah, it’s Valentine’s Day.”
And then I’d go over to the jukebox and play “Dead Flowers” by The Stones.
A Mixed Bag of Suggested Listening for Your Valentine's Day
First, a tip 'o the hat to Wrett Weatherspoon, host of the Big Town Blues show at WYEP-FM, for turning us on to Mem Shannon's "I'll Kiss a Pit Bull."
On to the music. Put on a blindfold, throw a dart, and you'll surely find something to suit your mood this Valentine's Day ... happy, wistful, ebullient, brokenhearted, contented, sentimental, or just ready to move on.
Some people swear by Barry White. Some prefer The Velvet Fog (Mel Torme) and some, The Velvet Underground. Still others find inspiration or comfort in the likes of Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Joni Mitchell, Burt Bacharach & Hal David, Frank Sinatra, Lucinda Williams, Henry Mancini, Al Green, Bonnie Raitt, Dinah Washington, Etta James, and a multitude of others.
The following set should contain something to stir your sipstraw. A little something for everyone. A mixed bag. Just like life.
- "A Song for You" -- Leon Russell
- "It Makes No Difference" -- The Band
- "Save Room" -- John Legend
- "Leavin' On Your Mind" -- Patsy Cline
- "Are You All Right" -- Lucinda Williams
- "Unforgettable" -- Nat King Cole
- "I've Got Dreams to Remember" -- Otis Redding
- "I'm Gonna Forget About You" -- Billy Price
- "You Ought To Be With Me" -- Al Green
- "In a Sentimental Mood" -- Duke Ellington & John Coltrane
- "Thank You" -- Bonnie Raitt
- "Thank You Too" -- My Morning Jacket
- "You Don't Know Me" -- Ray Charles, or the cover by Maceo Parker
- "That's How It Is" -- Billy Price and Otis Clay
- "At Last" -- Etta James
- "Tired of Being Alone" -- Al Green
- "Love Has No Pride" -- Bonnie Raitt
- "I Still Miss Someone" -- Johnny Cash
- "Have a Little Faith In Me" -- John Hiatt
- "It's Your Turn to Cry" -- Billy Price
- "Lean on Me" -- Bill Withers
- "I'm Still In Love With You" -- Al Green
- "I Wonder" -- Robert Cray
- "Glad It's Over" -- Wilco
- "Still I Long for Your Kiss" -- Lucinda Williams
- "A Case of You" -- Joni Mitchell
- "Walk on By" -- Isaac Hayes
- "It Ain't Me" -- Bob Dylan's classic covered here by June Carter and Johnny Cash
- "When I Fall in Love" -- Nat King Cole
- "Still Got the Blues for You" -- Gary Moore
- "The Thrill Is Gone" -- B.B. King
- "The Shadow of Your Smile" -- Tony Bennett
- "I Believe When I Fall in Love (It Will Be Forever)" -- Stevie Wonder
- "You Blew It Baby" -- John Lee Hooker Jr.
- "Mood Indigo" -- Charles Mingus
- "This Guy's In Love With You" -- Herb Alpert
- "To Love Somebody" -- Little Milton
- "I Can't Quit Her" -- Blood Sweat & Tears led by Al Kooper
- "Sail Away" -- David Gray
- "Ain't No Sunshine" -- Bill Withers
- "Today" -- Jefferson Airplane
- "A Rainy Night in Georgia" -- Little Milton
- "That Sunday, That Summer" -- Nat King Cole
- "Ruler of My Heart" -- by Irma Thomas
- "Leaving New York" -- R.E.M.
- "True Love" -- Rosemary Clooney & Bing Crosby
- "Sentimental Lady" -- Fleetwood Mac
- "Please Forgive Me" -- David Gray
- "Urge for Going" -- Joni Mitchell
- "Comin' Back to Me" -- Jefferson Airplane
- "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" -- Bob Dylan, covered by Johnny Cash
- "L.O.V.E." -- Nat King Cole
- "Girl From the North Country" -- Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash
- "Be Mine" -- David Gray
- "Let's Stay Together" -- Al Green
- "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" by Al Kooper
- "The One I Love" -- David Gray
- "Essence" -- Lucinda Williams
- "A Good Day for the Blues" -- Ruth Brown
- "Diamonds & Rust" -- Joan Baez
- "When the Stars Go Blue" -- Ryan Adams
- "In my Time of Need" -- sung by Joan Baez, covering Ryan Adams
- "One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)" -- You can't go wrong with either Billie Holiday's version or Frank Sinatra's version of this classic composed by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer.
Postscript: As noted in a previous post, great Blues music always serves as an effective antidote to The Blues. We've also recommended listening to just about anything by any number of Pittsburghers (such as Billy Price, for instance) and any of the numerous jazz greats born and raised in The Burgh, including Ahmad Jamal, Art Blakey, Billy Eckstine, Stanley Turrentine, Roy Eldridge, George Benson, Billy Strayhorn, Earl "Fatha" Hines, Mary Lou Williams, Benny Benack, Errol Garner, Kenny Clarke, Gene Ludwig,and others.