Now, the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do's and don'ts. First of all you're using someone else's poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing. -- Rob, High Fidelity
If I was an artist like Greg Peters, or a photographer like dsb or Galfreaka, or had the design aesthetic of dangerblond, or had kept up with my musical training like the Hot 8, I could have created something original for Ashley. Instead, I do what most former zine editor/rock critic/college radio DJs do...I rearrange other people's art to express my feelings.
This is the mix CD that was played during the visitation at Ashley's funeral. Probably most of you didn't get to hear it, or only heard snippets. Maybe you can take this list and turn it into your own version, or I can burn a couple copies for people to pass around if anybody wants. I kinda like it. I used to be a mix tape fanatic back in the day, and it felt good to make this. Keeping it down to one CD was the hardest part.
Many thanks to Greg Peters for the vast collection of vintage funeral jazz to dig through.
Warren Zevon "Keep Me In Your Heart" The Wind
Everybody's seen Greg's video that goes with this song. It still makes the tears flow, two weeks later. This song is going away in the vault with Sigur Ros "Staralfur" and Martin Sexton's "Wasted" as songs that are so associated with pain that I don't think I can listen to them ever again.
Treme Brass Band "The Old Rugged Cross" Gimmee My Money Back
Classic jazz funeral dirge done with modern Treme flair. Plus I think Ashley is gonna be reincarnated as Uncle Lionel. Seriously. When Uncle Lionel passes, Ash is gonna sneak into his body before anybody notices and live the life for a few years (with Lionel's blessing, I'm sure).
Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys "La Toussaint" La Toussaint
La Toussaint is the Cajun French name for All Saints Day, the day we pay respects to our ancestors who have passed on. This song is beautiful and haunting.
Queen "Love Of My Life" A Night At The Opera
Requested by Hana.
Professor Longhair "Tipitina" Doctors, Professors, Kings & Queens: The Big Ol' Box Of New Orleans
We had to have the most classic of all New Orleans songs by the most classic of all New Orleans musicians, and this is one of the most stellar studio versions. I never went to Tip's with Ashley, although we always talked about this show or that show. Always thought there was plenty of time.
Warren Zevon "Accidentally Like A Martyr" Excitable Boy
Looking for an older Zevon song that was funeral-appropriate, I happened on this and it was such a fucking obvious winner.
Louis Armstrong "St. James Infirmary (Gambler's Blues)" Birth of Jazz
Liam's choice, a classic version by the man who made it famous.
James Booker "Over the Rainbow" Spiders on the Keys
Recorded live at the Maple Leaf, the last place I ever saw Ashley, played by another man who lived too loud and too fast and too crazy and left the world too soon without realizing how much he was truly loved.
Lyle Lovett "If I Had a Boat" Pontiac
Requested by Hana.
Kermit Ruffins "What is New Orleans?" The Barbecue Swingers Live
Ashley Morris IS New Orleans. Kermit needs to re-record this.
Flogging Molly "If I Ever Leave This World Alive" Drunken Lullabies
This song brought me to tears in the first days of April. Check the lyrics if you don't believe me.
Cheap Trick "I Want You to Want Me" Live At Budokan
Requested by Hana.
Eddie Bo "When The Saints Go Marching In" Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album
A brilliant post-Katrina mellow-sad version.
Queen "You're My Best Friend" A Night At The Opera
My choice. Nuff said.
Davell Crawford "Gather By The River" Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album
My favorite post-Katrina gospel recording that is heavy with tragedy, brotherhood, and redemption all at the same time.
George Lewis "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" Funeral Songs (Dead Man Blues)
Supplied by Greg Peters. A 1920's recording of a classic jazz funeral dirge.
New Orleans Wanderers "Perdido Street Blues" Funeral Songs (Dead Man Blues)
Another 1920's vintage recording from Greg Peters. Ashley would have wanted at least one title with a political subtext to it. Gotta get that last dig in.
Henry 'Red' Allen "Canal Street Blues" Funeral Songs (Dead Man Blues)
The third selection from the huge library of vintage jazz Greg Peters sent me. We started Ashley's journey homeward at the funeral home on Canal Street, and we definitely had the blues.
Allen Toussaint "Tipitina And Me" Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album
A post-Katrina recording that renders the Fess classic slowed down and in a minor key, taking our happiest of happiests and producing a dirge with a hint of triumph.