Long before I was aware of wide-spread Wes Anderson ironic musical nostalgia, there was Katy and I driving around southern Maryland, listening to the Divas Exotica album and singing Teach Me Tiger at the top of our lungs.
Katy just had incredibly great taste at an early age (even for the 90s, an era of deep musical love and appreciation, she knew all the classics) and I was lucky enough to benefit from her knowledge.
My burned copies of Divas and the downloaded version I made a few years ago are still in frequent rotation in my playlists.
Sadly, Divas Exotica is out of print but I assembled its extreme excellence here for your end of week listening pleasure.
Let Me Entertain You – Ann-Margret
Don’t Touch My Tomatoes – Josephine Baker/Jo Bouillon
Near You – Marlene Dietrich
Teach Me Tiger – April Stevens
Je Me Donne A Qui Me Plait – Brigitte Bardot
Do Your Duty – Billie Holiday
Since Me Man Has Done Gone And Went – Maya Angelou
Whenever I feel stuck, stodgy or just completely uninspired, listening to the right David Bowie album never fails to help me see the situation from a new perspective.
There is always a David Bowie album for exactly the right moment (I usually start with Scary Monsters, a gift from a particularly creative, innovative and inspiring friend and go from there) and I happened to see the recent BBC Documentary on five pivotal years in Bowie’s early career this morning, right when I needed inspiration the most.
David Bowie has a gift for re-imagining – he sheds personas, visual, musical and emotional, with a fearlessness and commitment to beginning fresh again that inspires me.
This documentary particularly hit home as the filmmakers looked to the nuts and bolts creative process of starting something new, both with frequent collaborators and new partners. His fellow musicians and producers discussed their own journeys with his constant evolution and how they were able to gain or lose insight and perspective along the way.
My only qualm would be a several minute section on China Girl, which included no mention of Iggy Pop as the writer/originator. Since the focus of the documentary was the influence of collaborators in both helping and hindering David Bowie’s evolution as an artist, I would think Iggy Pop would be a major feature!
Regardless, well worth your time – and please let me know if you were similarly inspired.