Turkey Tunes

Wild_turkey_001 It's started. WXPN's got some listener's holiday playlist on, and it begins well enough with Cheryl Wheeler's "Driving Home," which is appropriately dreamy, but it moves like a car stuck in traffic. Next comes a version of "Tobacco Road." This is a Southern gothic tale, not my soundtrack.

My personal favorite goes back to 1988, a 90-minute mixed tape called Music for An Expectant Thanksgiving, and it was -- the whole extended family gathering in Connecticut, surrounding my wife who was pregnant with twins.

It was a vibe, not a overly Thanksgivingy or thematic mix -- Richard Thompson's "Waltzing for Dreamers," Bruce Springsteen's "Valentine's Day" ("what scares me is losing you"), John Hiatt's "I Stood Up." Slow, warm, glowing. I'd play it today if I still had the tape player connected.

But that wouldn't be a universal list -- one that you might play at home and serve as your own musical comfort food. It meant something particular to me at the time. These things always do. That made me think, what's the perfect, more-literally Thanksgiving playlist?  I went looking.

"Wild Turkey" by David Crosby? "Thank You" by Led Zeppelin. "The Thanks I Get?" by Jeff Tweedy? My musical cupboard is a little bare on this theme.

It wouldn't take long for reinforcements -- "Cold Turkey" by John Lennon, Lightnin' Hopkins' "Long Gone Like a Turkey." But that's a lot of hunting and gathering.

Well, I found a groovous Thanksgiving  Playlist -- downloadable for the digital age -- on an MP3 blog called Boogie Woogie Flu.

From that rare Bird that was Charlie Parker to Wm. DeVaughn's one-hit wondrous "Be Thankful For What You Got" to a Yo La Tengo cover of same, it should provide a hearty soundtrack to the TV parades and Cowboys game and turkey with grandma's stuffing. You might blanche at the Redd Foxx and Wm. S. Burroughs, but they're welcome at our table.

Earfarm's got a tasty mix, too -- from Pulp's "Turkey Mambo Momma" to Cab Calloway's "A Good Sauce From the Gravy Bowl."


A day of making turkey and stuffing wound up with this accompaniment:

Be Thankful For What You Got    Yo La Tengo   
String Bean Jean    Belle & Sebastian   
Thanksgiving Waves    Eef Barzelay   
Pecan Pie    Golden Smog       
Mashed Potato Time    Dee Dee Sharp
Thank You (Led Zeppelin Cover)    Chris Cornell    
A Good Sauce from the Gravy Bowl    Cab Calloway and His Orchestra   
Sweet Potato    Imperial Teen        The Hair the TV the Baby and the Band
Turkey Mambo Momma    Pulp   
Thankful N' Thoughtful    Sly & The Family Stone 
Carvin' The Bird    Charlie Parker Septet 
I Thank You    Sam & Dave   
Surfin' Bird    The Ramones   
Holiday - (Madonna Cover)    Jack Johnson and G. Love 
One Big Holiday    My Morning Jacket    
I'll Be Yr Bird    M. Ward    
Blackbird    Elliott Smith   
Big Bird    Eddie Floyd      
I Hate To See You Baby Doing That Stuff    Lloyd Cole   
wild turkey (aka. leather winged bat)    David Crosby 
Be Thankful for What You've Got    William DeVaughn   
Thank You For Sending Me An Angel    Talking Heads 
Thank You Louise    Ryan Adams   
Thank You, Lord, For Sending Me The F Train    Mike Doughty 
Be Thankful For What You Got    Massive Attack    
Thank You    Led Zeppelin   
The Thanks I Get    Jeff Tweedy   
Thanks A Lot    Coffee Creek ( Uncle Tupelo + 1 )
Thank You Friends    Big Star    
You To Thank    Ben Folds      
The Thanksgiving Song    Adam Sandler       

Citizen Mom
Posted 11/22/2007 10:30:11 AM

As long as it's not Alice's frickin' Restaurant. I adore XPN and love the Sleepy Hollow morning they do on Thanksgiving -- it's perfect turkey-stuffing music -- but I've decided I just can't do Arlo this year. It seems dated and boring and . . . old. Definitely doesn't 'speak' anymore. Please, please, put it to rest already.

Citizen Mom
Posted 11/22/2007 10:31:55 AM

Also, Thanksgiving always reminds me of the Barry Levinson film Avalon, where the one uncle always gets to Thanksgiving dinner right before they sit down to eat and gets pissed because they didn't wait. "YOU CUT THE TOIKEY??"

Posted 11/22/2007 10:34:49 AM

That Sam and Dave tune is one of the best ever. Thanks for the linkage. A little blanche is good once in a while. Keeps us on our toes. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I spent the day at our wonderful Art Museum with the Renoir Exhibition. If you are so inclined, I highly recommend it.

Daniel Rubin
Posted 11/22/2007 10:36:09 AM

I'm with you on Arlo. Lotta freaks.

Posted 11/22/2007 03:44:18 PM

Don't forget ''Planes, Trains and Automobiles" for the perfect getting home for Thanksgiving saga.

Posted 11/22/2007 09:10:04 PM

And don't forget "Strawberry Fields Forever". Doesn't he say "cranberry sauce" at the end? Or is it "I buried Paul?"