On today’s show I speak with New York song writer John Houx. Originally from northern California, Houx has been in NYC for less than two years, but in that time has written a slew of excellent songs. In my view, John has developed a lyrical style and musical sense that allows him to deal directly and plainly with specific personal, social and political issues that he encounters, while maintaining in his songs a broader, general perspective. John plays live on the air, talks about his background and influences and plays some records that he likes.
See below for track information from the show:
Here’s what John Houx wrote about the records he played on the show today:
“He Had A Long Chain On” (J. Driftwood, sung by Odetta)
“Preguntas por Puerto Montt” (V. Jara)
Victor Jara had both his feet deep n muddy in the problems of his people, in the land of Chile. Sorta the Latin Woody Guthrie. In the coup in 1973 Victor was caught, tortured for a few days, got his ribs and hands broken, n then got shot up by machine gun bullets an left on the side a some road. here’s a song he wrote bout a 1969 massacre.
“The Dying Soldier” (Buell Kazee)
I caint quite put my finger on it but there’s somethin to this melody that minds me of a radio pop song from when i was a young brat. Such great words to this, even tho the idea they tell aint worth repeatin. Sort of a pie-in-the-sky fancy. But its got great surprises in the rhymes and plain talking.
“La Valse D’Amélie” (Yann Tiersen)
Sometimes at a party I’ll wander out to the backyard and find my friend Dizzy squeezin this tune out on her accordion.
also here is a classical bit – Borodin’s “Polovetsian Dances” from Prince Igor – was stuck in my head one day, an after years of not knowing who or what it was i dug blindly thru my friend’s record boxes, pulled out a record n set the needle down on exactly the track. great example of classical music that might as well be folk music, the chords are the same as a million songs but with tiny variations that make it float in the clouds