From Dwight Yoakam to Joy Division?


Warning: Almost none of you will care about this.

I dig Dwight Yoakam. My first year in Connecticut, when I grew tired of police sirens and amber skies at night, I bought "If There Was a Way" on cassette, stretched out underneath an elm on Old Campus, and pretended the squirrels nibbling my shoes were actually Dad's little pack mule, Willy.

Nobody sounds mournful like Dwight, and he's somehow cornered the market on balding, homely cool. Plus he appeared in the balcony at the White Stripes concert in Minneapolis a few years back. So he gets bonus points. Too bad he didn't play that night ...

Dwight's got a great old song called "Coal Miner's Prayer," which I've loved for years now. Last year, when I started digging into Mike Doughty's back catalog, I ran across his tune, "Sweet Lord in Heaven," which is a great little song that seems to borrow heavily from "Coal Miner's Prayer," right down to the "sweet Lord in heaven" line. That's what caught my attention.

Doughty mentions Sam Cooke and Ian Curtis in that song. Cooke I'd heard of; I had to look up Curtis. Which led me to Joy Division (the band for which Curtis was singer and lyricist prior to his suicide) and the point of this ramble.

I tracked down a used copy of Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures" disk on eBay and just listened to it (very casually) twice. Dark, brooding, and strangely beautiful. Reminds me of the slogan on the back of an old Soundgarden T-shirt: "Uneasy Listening."

I was in kindergarten when this record was released, but it doesn't sound dated to me. Do you music-heads know this band? Other recommendations?

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