So the old man was a master carpenter who never fulfilled his potential. Whether that’s better or worse than being a master of nothing is debatable, I suppose, though Americans are never keen on squandered talent. That’s why we’re still waiting for those “I’m Too Sexy” guys’ comeback. Genius like that doesn’t come around too often.
I know absolutely nothing about woodwork, but I know a little bit about words. I like to think the basic idea is the same: Start out with big chunks of raw material, saw, carve and plane until they fit together just right, then sand and oil until they gleam. The trick in either case is to create a finished product that looks nice but not too nice — professional but with the maker’s hands still detectable.
And that’s why I named this playlist “Wood Songs” rather than “Wooden Songs.” That’s a whole other list, rounded out with dead to the ear favorites from talent show winners and Auto-Tuned pretty people. Also, Rockwell.
Enough intro, time to lay some pine:
“Songs From the Wood,” Jethro Tull. It’s remarkable how little Jethro Tull has come up during my Why It Matters tenure. Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that they made something that was truly their own, and Ian Anderson blows the meanest flute this side of Ron Burgundy. Me? I dig them. In fact, I own the majority of their catalog.
“Wooden Jesus,” Temple of the Dog. Not a deep cut for most old-timers, but if you’ve never heard it then it’s deep to you. Chris Cornell’s eulogy for his buddy, roommate, and Mother Love Bone lead singer Andrew Wood, the eponymous one-off Temple of the Dog album remains in my regular rotation.
“Wooden Nickels,” Eels. If you don’t own any Eels, start with Daisies of the Galaxy. You can thank me later.
As for this clip: I chose it because the kid only had nine views, and just the balls to put yourself out there is worth 100, minimum. Also, he’s pretty good.
“Wood Jackson,” David Bowie. From Bowie’s Heathen, an album you’re likely unfamiliar with. It’s not bad, by the way.
“Knock on Wood,” Eddie Floyd. I had to include this one because most people know only Ami Stewart’s heresy of a cover from 1979. Here’s the original, groove intact.
“Face of Wood,” Modern English. I can’t leave a “Deep Cuts” without a nod to my teenaged new wave self.
“Do You Know the Difference Between Big Wood and Brush,” Gary Roberts & the Satellites. So which is it, ladies: Are you big wood or brush? Discuss.
“Norwegian Wood,” Jan & Dean. Bad Beatles cover or worst Beatles cover? For your consideration.
So there you have it: Eight songs about wood. Do you have any to add, or have I stumped you? I’m listening.