Poetic Memory: Old Tiger (List)

San Diego’s Old Tiger will play the Tin Can Alehouse this Saturday, October 2. In anticipation of their show, they sent us a list of 10 YouTube videos. This is a Poetic Memory first — and an excellent idea — and I’m a bit surprised that nobody has done it before.

For Old Tiger’s list, the self-described “visual learners” did something that they’d normally do anyway: “we sit around one of our places with a laptop, bringing up random videos to show each other that inspire us musically (or are just something fun or so old we’ve never seen it before).”

The first five items in the list were chosen by guitarist/vocalist Dustin Lothspeich; the second five were selected by Old Tiger drummer Eric Boone. The band also has an EP available for free download, which I highly recommend that you check out.

10 Inspiring & Influential YouTube Videos We’d Show Our Friends If We Were Hanging Out, by Old Tiger

1. “Quiet Dog” (Live on Letterman) – Mos Def: This is one of my favorite tracks by Mos Def. It’s off his new record and it’s got such a good groove to it. The timpani seal the deal for me on this one. I also like how he lets the defiant Fela Kuti audio clip roll in the beginning – even in such a heavily dictated & controlled live-TV environment – which makes it all that much more fitting. Mos is one of the greatest artists around, in any genre of music. I’ve always appreciated how he doesn’t wax cliche about the typical rap fodder, but instead – always says something unique with his work. True genius.

2. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (1968 Live TV Special) – Aretha Franklin: What can I say about Aretha that hasn’t been said a million times already? Seeing her onstage in her prime in 1968, belting out one of Carole King’s greatest compositions with incredible authority (even before she was considered the ultimate Queen of Soul) is just awe-inspiring. Sadly, she also makes me want to give up singing altogether.

3. “Jolene” (from Under Great White Northern Lights) – The White Stripes: If you don’t get goosebumps when listening/watching this, you surely ain’t human. This version from Under Great White Northern Lights is the best I’ve seen them do it. Equal parts heart-wrenching and visceral, I always get chills at 1:40 when he pleads: “I’m beggin’ of you – please don’t take my man!” I could watch this documentary all day long. I firmly believe it’s the best music film since Bob Dylan’s Don’t Look Back. And after watching 10 minutes of it, I simply cannot resist the urge to pick up a guitar and just play anything.

4. “Distant Lover” (Live) – Marvin Gaye: This might seem pathetic, but I went through 2 or 3 relationships with this song. You could say it’s an old friend. But this is true soul singing at it’s best – a slow, smoldering yearning for that gal that got away turned into a raucous exclamation towards the ending (especially live). I could write music for an eternity and never come up with something as powerful as this. It just blows my mind. Marvin knew how to capture an audience and this song, in particular, is legendary. And heck, the guy had to swim through a sea of panties to get offstage every night.

5. “Ready, Able” (Official Video) – Grizzly Bear: I’m not usually up-to-date on music videos these days, but someone showed it to me awhile back and I’ve been stuck with it ever since. Besides the fact that the song is just absolutely gorgeous, there’s something sad and really creepy about the animation. I’ve also had the good fortune to have seen GB in concert twice, and they just might be the best damned musicians I’ve ever seen….

6. “Imperfectly Perfect” – Mr. Sam Phillips: Genius, madman, or both? I believe he’s both. But Mr. Phillips speaks with such conviction you must believe every word he says, crazy or not. This is a nine-minute interview with the late founder of Sun Records, and it is truly priceless. If you really listen to what he’s saying, you’ll come away understanding a large chunk of what rock ‘n roll, rhythm ‘n blues, and American music in general is all about (or what it should be about).

7. Howlin’ Wolf defines the blues while slamming Son House: Three people you’d have dinner with, living or dead? Howlin’ Wolf is at my table fo’ sho’! The Wolf tells flat out what the blues is all about and makes an example of old drunk Son House all the while. At this point, The Wolf’s career is hot and Son House, once a legend, is just a sad, old has-been.

8. “John Henry” – Mississippi Fred McDowell: This clip makes me grateful that someone had the brains to film this incredible guitar picker way back then. Funny how when they come up with these ridiculous lists of “Greatest Guitarists Ever,” they only include guys from the late 60’s to present and neither Mississippi Fred nor Mississippi John Hurt never make the cut.

9. “Time Is Tight” – Booker T. & The MGs: Awesome footage of one of the best collectives of musicians. Love watching Steve Cropper and Booker T. Jones jamming out and feeding off one another. Al Jackson Jr. on drums is my man — I’m always striving to play more like him. Jackson creates great drama during the break when he gets up and walks away from the drum kit.

10. “I Come To The Garden Alone” – Mahalia Jackson: She was the favorite singer of Aretha Franklin, Martin Luther King, and countless others. This performance will nearly drive you to tears. She shared her gift with the world and gave everything she had. Pure beauty.



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