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Week 37 - Tango Till They're Sore (Tom Waits, 1985)

Week 37 - Tom Waits

It was a very difficult task to pick songs from Tom Waits’s vast collection of songs.  And it was wonderful to see that so many people have such an affection for him and his songs.  In the end I decided to cover one of my all time favorite songs.  This was the song that made me fall in love with Tom Waits and I’ve tried to sing in the past but coudn’t quite get it.  So it was time to try again!  It’s the intro of the song that gets me every time so we had to work on that - it’s just so perfect in a drinking whiskey in the afternoon kind of way.  It also has the line “just get me to New Orleans” which is pretty much how I feel every time I think about that beautiful city.  As I was recording the song I realized that this song is probably about Mardi Gras, which meant we sang about entirely wrong holiday but that’s how we roll over here in Miwa Gemini land.  Enjoy.

Happy Holidays!



Week 35 - Cemetery Polka (Tom Waits, 1985)

Week 35 - Tom Waits (1985)

One of the many things I love about Tom Waits is his ability to make music with just about anything.  Unusual instruments, unusual subject matters, unusual ideas, unusual situations - all of these things makes his world so exciting and interesting.  Like this week’s song, Cemetery Polka from the album Rain Dog. It's a song about aging relatives who are mostly insane, dying or both. Absurdity with a twisted sense of humor ran through this song and it includes some of my favorite rhymes like “egg” and “wooden leg” and “hotel” and “hell.”  

I read that Tom Waits walked around NYC recording street sounds and other ambient noises on a cassette recorder in order to catch the sound of the city for recording Rain Dog.  Rain Dog is one of my favorite albums and it makes me happy that it was written in my old neighborhood West Village, though I’m sure it was quite a different neighborhood back then.  

I’ve been wanting to to do all toy instrumentation and this seemed like a perfect opportunity.  We had a great time working on this song.  I hope you enjoy!

“If I want a sound, I usually feel better if I've chased it and killed it, skinned it and cooked it.”  - Tom Waits

And a happy belated birthday, Mr. Waits!



Week 25 of 52 Weeks - Ruby Tuesday (The Rolling Stones, 1967)

Week 25 - The Rolling Stones (1967). 

Growing up I was more of a Beatles fan than the Rolling Stones.  Not that you have to pick one of them…  It wasn’t till we began collecting vinyl that I really fell in love with the Rolling Stones.  Especially with their early recordings.  This song although credited to Jagger/Richards, both Bill Wyman and Marianne Faithful mention Brian Jones’s contribution. 

I love it because it reminds me of so many of my friends.  I’ve been extremely lucky to have many many colorful ladies in my life. Although I don’t get to see them that often, even the ones that live close by, but I’m always grateful for their inspirational existence and I know I can call any one of them if I need a pick me up or a good laugh.  Thank you!  You know who you are.  I love and miss you!



Week 18 of 52 Weeks - Sunnyroad (Emilíana Torrini, 2005)

Week 18 - Emilíana Torrini.

I love good story telling and many of the musicians and songs I love usually spins a good yarn. This song by the Icelandic singer Emilíana Torrini tells a beautiful one and when I first heard it, I wished that I had written it!  The challenge of covering this particular song was how to make it our own.  Luckily Rebekah had a brilliant idea of bringing in a trumpet.  I really love how it came out. 

Emilíana Torrini has released many albums and has done some interested collaborations with the likes of Thievery Corporation and Kylie Minogue.  If you are Lord of the Ring’s fan, she’s the singer that sang “Gollum’s Song.”



Week 17 of 52 Weeks - Changes (Black Sabbath, 1972)

Week 17 - Black Sabbath. 

This song was requested by Matt Brundrett, our drummer on the west coast.  The piano is the main instrument in this song and it’s not what you’d expect of Black Sabbath but it’s really a pretty song.  Maybe next time we will cover a metal song that’s more typical of Black Sabbath - in our style, of course ;)  I do have a soft spot for Black Sabbath though - my dear friend and my first band member Christy Kane loves them, and Matt, of course.  A little trivia, Bekah and I encountered Ozzy’s wife Sharon once when we both appeared on America’s Got Talent with our accordion orchestra, The Main Squeeze Orchestra.  Sharon Osbourne called us “the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen!”  Given that Ozzy was rumored to be pouring cocaine on his breakfast toast, and snorting ants off the ground through a plastic straw, I can’t believe that’s true!!! 

Our show at Rockwood Music Hall is tomorrow at 5pm.  Please come see us if you are in NYC area!



Week 16 of 52 Weeks - Rum and Coca-Cola (the Andrews Sisters, 1945)

Week 16 - The Andrews Sisters. 

I have such a love for harmonies, so of course I love the Andrews Sisters.  I’ve been wanting to cover one of their songs for a long, long time and finally we were able to do it with help from one of our accordion sisters, Jennie Muoio!  We were going with the beach/summer theme but didn’t realize the actual words till we really learned the song.  Musically it’s such a cute song but the words are, well morally questionable to say the least! It seems like a similar thing happened to the Andrew Sisters.  They recorded the song with 10 minutes to spare in their recording session. Years later, Maxine Andrews recalled, "The rhythm was what attracted the Andrews Sisters to 'Rum and Coca-Cola'. We never thought of the lyrics. The lyric was there, it was cute, but we didn't think of what it meant; but at that time, nobody else would think of it either, because we weren't as morally open as we are today and so, a lot of stuff—really, no excuses—just went over our heads.”  The song was banned by network radio stations despite being a big hit, because it mentioned….an alcoholic beverage!  Things were certainly different back then. 

Anyway, hope you enjoy the song and if you are in NYC area, please come see us next Sunday (8/7) at Rockwood Music Hall.  It’s going to be a special one because Jennie is going to make a guest appearance, yay!