Iowa

 

Just a quick reminder before we get into today’s post, which is as promised is the next in our series of state songs – Dragons Power Up! will be playing an in-store performance tonight at 7 pm, along with guests the White Whales.  Dragons Power Up! have been celebrating the release of a great split single (with Puppies and Trains) on Guilt Ridden Pop.

And now on to the next state in our 50 states project (Bringing us up to 47, Um, I mean 3).

Since yesterday’s post was about Minnesota, we though we could mosey just south a little to Iowa.  Plus, Iowa has been in the news so much lately, because of course it is the best possible place for our entire nation to start choosing it’s next leader.
Sarcasm aside, there are a lot of very beautiful songs written about Iowa, like this one:

iowa waltz website

Really, everything on Greg Brown’s second, or first (Never been clear on that) album, Iowa Waltz, could be seen as a paean to the folksinger’s home state. As a young man Brown won a talent show where the prize was to open for Eric Anderson, back when that was a big deal. Anderson suggested Brown leave school and go east to pursue a folk singin’ future, and that’s just what he did. Greg Brown spent a while playing clubs in New York and a shorter while as a ghost writer in LA before returning to the midwest.

Greg Brown co-founded Red House Records, a label which has become synonymous with solid midwestern folk music.  Iowa Waltz explores the Hawkeye state with love and sincerity, from “Counting Feedcaps” to the haunting, mellow “Out in the Country”.

I actually don’t have all that many songs about Iowa.  It turned out to be a lot harder to find them than I assumed, which doesnt give me optimism for compiling posts about some other states (New Hampshire songs, anyone?).  A lot of the ones I found sound like this one, simply titled “Iowa”, by folk-singer Dar Williams, who was actually from New York:

iowa

Although there is always “The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines”, a track on the Joni Mitchell/Charles Mingus collaboration released after his death.  It’s not a great Iowa song because it’s really more of a Las Vegas (or Atlantic City) song.


I guess the short version is that Mingus originally wanted Mitchell to perform passages from TS Eliots Four Quartets.  The singer-songwriter was unable to condense the masterpiece of 20th century poetry, and eventually received six melodic sketches instead – Joni I through Joni VI.  Although the end result, Mingus, is one of the more maligned jazz-rock collaborations in any given record shop, the record has moments that grow on you.  Interestingly, the most interesting thing on the record is the track that was written and recorded after Mingus‘ death in the summer of 1979, although clearly inspired by his work, “God Must be a Boogie Man”.

dry cleaner from des moinse

Iowa the, um, Classic Album:  Yes, we are aware that the band Slipknot released an album called Iowa, and the last track on the steaming pile of garbage was called “Iowa”.  Just because it was called “Iowa”, and yeah, even the fact that it was ostensibly about Iowa, doesn’t guarantee its inclusion.  No, we wont perpetuate the ongoing landfill fodder that is Slipknot, nor dignify its drug-addled garbage with inclusion on this or any playlist.  If you’re going to write me an angry email I recommend you invest your time instead in a trip to the Slipknot store.  Surely something there will delight you.

Yes, I am not only going to complain about the music kids listen to these days, but I’m going to follow those complaints with a song by Gene Autry.  After Im done typing this Im going to sit on my porch and think about how people drive too fast these days, at least if I have time before my nap.

Actually, its not a song written by Gene Autry – Heres a website all about the various recordings of “Sioux City Sue”.  Not the first, nor maybe the most famous, Genes version of the song is my favorite.  That‘s because the Gene Autry recording of damn near any song is my favorite.  Sioux City, by the way, ranked just three places behind the Twin Cities on the Daily Beasts list of the countrys drunkest cities.

souix city sue

The best part of Gene Autry’s recording of “Sioux City Sue” is the last verse – Funny, I met a girl I wanted to tie up and brand, too, but she was from North Dakota.

Say, speaking of the Dakotas, heres the last track for today – Its by a band that’s 4/5 (or 5/6?) South Dakotan, our old fav‘s Buffalo Moon.  These guys are expecting to release a new album with Moon Glyph Records very soon, by the way, and I expect its going to surprise everyone by being one of this falls best local releases.

The song is called “Iowa’s got a new Strip Club”, but seriously I have no idea what it’s about.

02 Track 02

See you tonight for the Dragons Power Up! / White Wales in-store performance (Plus our regular end-of-the-month bargain sale out front), and see you here where I will not post anything about a state again for a while.

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