August 5, 2011
In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
The Vinyl Princess is a young adult novel steeped in music and filled with quirky, interesting characters. Yvonne Prinz's love for music comes through in her characters, especially the protagonist Allie (a music blogger and vinyl record shop employee), but it is her storytelling skill and keen ear for dialogue that make the book shine.
Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:
"Filled with local color and a skillfully drawn cast of eccentric characters, this novel will appeal to music lovers, romance fans, and those seeking an upbeat, satisfying read."
I wrote The Vinyl Princess over a summer in a studio apartment on College near Claremont Avenue in Berkeley, just a few blocks from my character Allie's house. I rented the place from Norbu Tenzing Norgay, son of Tenzing Norgay, the famous Himalayan Sherpa who guided Sir Edmund Hillary to the top Mount Everest. That detail somehow held great meaning for me and I set to work in kind. While I wrote, I listened to a lot of old stuff but I was also putting together the mix CD that my character Zach presents to Allie in the book in order to woo her. Allie calls the Mix CD "The calling card of the romantically challenged" and dismisses Zach's gift without listening to it for she's caught up in other matters, one of them being "M", the mysterious stranger she's obsessed with who recently arrived on Telegraph avenue. Eventually, Allie comes to realize that in a complicated world, sometimes the guy for you may have been standing right in front of you all along. In this case, Zachary Joseph Zimmerman, self-proclaimed music geek and Germaphobe. I present to you, Zach's Mix CD (cover art clipped from National Geographic):
1. R.L. Burnside "Come On In"
-R. L. Burnside is 100% raw, stripped down Mississippi blues.
2. Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald "Under a Blanket Of Blue"
Two of the sweetest vocalists of all time pair up for a bit of romance. Louis does some nice trumpet soloing too. You can't go wrong with Louis if you're trying to get someone's attention.
3. John Doe "Beer, Gas, Ride Forever"
John Doe- One man, many hats. He's a rocker (X) , country artist, solo artist, and actor, This one's from the kissingsohard album.
4. Elvis Costello "Hidden Charms"
Elvis brings new charm to an old standard, from the "Kojak Variety" album. (second best: Dylan's "Threw It All Away")
5. Crowded House "Mean To Me"
Something very different from the guys who brought you "Don't Dream It's over". I'm trying to send Allie a message with this one.
6. John Lennon "Be-Bop-A-Lula"
First (and arguably the best) cut on Lennon's rebellious Rock-N-Roll album.
7. The Triffids "Estuary Bed"
Australian 80's Punk band. A standout from the brilliant Born Sandy devotional album. Admittedly, I'm showing off a bit for Allie here, I mean, she works in a record store.
8. Joe Strummer "Johnny Appleseed"
Joe Strummer of "The Clash" did this song in 2001 with The Mescaleros, the last band he formed before he died in 2002. His version of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" can bring you to your knees. Allie loves Joe. He's a hero to her.
9.Ruthie Foster "Runaway Soul"
Ruthie is a Blueswoman from Texas with a powerhouse of a voice. People compare her to the amazing Ella Fitzgerald. Her unforgettable sound has gospel overtones owing to the fact that she comes from a family of gospel singers.
10. The June Brides "Every Conversation"
80's English Indie pop band. Morrissey's favorite band in 1985.
11.The Kinks "All Of My Friends Were There"
Written in 1986 by the infamous Ray Davies. By law, every mix should have a Kink's song on it.
12. Jesse Malin "Brooklyn"
Springsteen's heir apparent with tons of attitude. I picked this song to really get her attention, maybe score some cool points, I dunno.
13. Joe Ely "All Just To Get To You"
Alt. Country for beginners. Joe's the best. He's also in The Flatlanders with Jimmy Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock. You can round out your eclectic taste with this one.
14. Ry Cooder "Across The Borderline"
This is early Ry, long before the Buena Vista Social Club. "When you reach the broken promised land…" This song showcases Ry's genius signature guitar stylings. Allie blogs about Ry so I figured I throw one in.
15. Tom Waits "Green Grass"
"Lay your head where my heart used to be." Were more beautiful words ever uttered?
16. The Frames "Lay Me Down"
Gorgeous, early Glen Hansard, the Irish lad featured in that gem of a wee movie "Once" and now of The Swell Season.
17. King Creosote "Home In A Sentence"
Kenny Anderson's band, Indie/Rock/Alternative, a bit like Coldplay but way better and without the record sales…pity.
18. Iggy Pop "The Passenger"
You need not be a raving Iggy fan to appreciate this classic. He's performed it live with Bowie a couple of times too. Brilliant.
19. Nick Cave "God's Hotel"
Nick Cave - Australian Oddity, Folk musician, Writer. This tune is a brawling sort of bar song that everyone should know the words to.
20. Johnny Cash "Sunday Morning Coming Down"
Not much to say here; the legend in black doing justice to a Kris Kristofferson tune.
21. Junior Wells "Mystery Train"
From the acoustic "Come On In This House" album. Nicely scaled back version of a classic.
22. Small Faces "Runaway"
The Small Faces were the original mods. Later they were joined by Ron Wood and Rod Stewart and became The Faces.
23. Del Amitri "Driving With The Brakes On"
Justin Currie's best song…ever .Can she just fall in love with me already?
24. Son Volt "Tear-stained Eye"
Son Volt and Wilco were the bands that branched off from Uncle Tupelo. Jay Farrar of Son Volt brings the gorgeous on this song.
25. The Music Lovers "The Former Miss Ontario"
San Francisco based band that never gets their due. This song is fantastic but only one of many for this band led by Matthew Edwards, British Ex-Pat.
26. Felice Brothers "Frankie's Gun"
Slouching Hudson River Pirates, they used to do farmer's markets, now they're on everyone's top ten list. Simone Felice recently left and released a new album with a band he calls The Duke and The King. Fantastic.
27.Gram Parsons "She"
The legendary Gram never penned a more breathtaking song than "She". If she's not in love with me by now, I give up.
Yvonne Prinz and The Vinyl Princess links:
Caught in the Carousel review
Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf review
Lavender Lines review
Lit Snit review
Music Induced Euphoria review
Reading Stands Forever review
Steph Su Reads review
Story Scoop review
ThirdCoast Digest review
The Undercover Book Lover review
Y.A. New York review
also at Largehearted Boy:
other Book Notes playlists (authors create music playlists for their book)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (weekly book reviews)
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from the week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists