Alibi V.20 No.13 • March 31-April 6, 2011 

Song Roulette

Random Tracks From the Music Library of The Porter Draw’s Ben Wood

Ben Wood
Ben Wood

Ben Wood plays banjo in The Porter Draw. He’s also a woodworker and projectionist, knows how to grow a fine mustache, and is descended from Jewish cowboys in Arizona from way back when. Below are five random tracks from his music library.

Don’t Throw Me Away

1) “99 Years Ago” • The Mumlers • Don’t Throw Me Away

“Caught The Mumlers at the Launchpad with Black Heart Procession last year; The Mumlers blew them out of the water. Their combination of New Orleans horns, early rock and roll, and fabulous vocal performance begs of The Animals and a prepubescent Tom Waits. Not to mention this track is a sultry love song about a letter to his grandma.”

In Spite of Ourselves

2) “Let’s Invite Them Over” • John Prine and Iris DeMent • In Spite of Ourselves

“John Prine manages to deftly walk the line between totally sentimental and comic genius—two of my favorite characteristics of country music. This record, composed entirely of brilliant duets, is no exception. Iris DeMent can invite me over anytime.”

The Covers Record

3) “Sweedeedee” • Cat Power • The Covers Record

“Ms. Chan Marshall has one of the most emotive voices I have ever heard, and this recording really displays that well. Just her and simple guitar, she floats through this Michael Hurley cover and breaks hearts with reckless abandon.”

Giant Step / De Ole Folks at Home

4) “Linin’ Track” • Taj Mahal • Giant Step / De Ole Folks at Home

“This has been one of my top five records since I was 12 or 13. A double disc—the first half featuring ’70s country / blues / rock and roll, and the second composed of raw Delta blues recordings—it conveys Taj’s versatility, amazing talent and refined taste for American music. ‘Linin’ ’ is an a capella work song.”

Oracular Spectacular

5) “Weekend Wars” • MGMT • Oracular Spectacular

“A good friend of mine recently described this record as near perfect. I would have to agree. The medium tempo, variety of texture and polished production make it a repeated joy for the listener. This high energy, neo-psychedelic rock seemed to have its finger to the pulse of ’07 to ’08 pop music.”