(Editor’s note: Palisadian Alan Eisenstock’s 19th book “Redeeming Justice” co-written with Jarrett Adams, came out on September 14 and was named the Best Book of September by Amazon. “A consuming tale of a broken legal system, its trail of ruin and the fortitude needed to overcome its scarring.”
When Eisenstock is not writing, he pursues what he calls “a crazy labor of love side project” that he started in March 2020: sending a weekly Covid-themed playlist of songs to his family and friends. These playlists (which can be downloaded on Spotify click here span rock ‘n’ roll and pop music from the 1950s to 2020, and Eisenstock adds one or two lines of commentary about each song that is clever, amusing and informative.)
Due to COVID, we are experiencing severe supply chain issues. Supply ships by the dozens are anchored in harbors, backed up, immobilized, waiting in vain for workers to unload them. What to do? Idea. Here are 20 “chain,” “sea,” “ship,” and “harbor” songs. Listen up!
- “Sea Cruise” Frankie Ford. Vincent Francis Guzzo aka Frankie Ford recorded this song written by and originally recorded by Huey “Piano” Smith and His Clowns. This 1959 hit became Frankie’s signature song.
- “Chain Of Fools” Aretha Franklin. “The Queen of Soul” presents our first “chain” song, written by Don Covay, recorded by Aretha in 1967. The Voice of voices.
- “Sea Of Heartbreak” Rosanne Cash, Bruce Springsteen. Rosanne put together a list of essential country songs and recorded a lucky thirteen for her 2009 album, The List. She enlisted The Boss to join her for this Hal David-Paul Hampton tune, previously recorded by her dad. LOVE.
- “Sea Of Love” Phil Phillips & The Twilights. Louisiana-born John Philip Baptiste changed his name to Phil Phillips, began a singing career, and teamed up with The Twilights. He co-wrote this huge hit in 1959 and the record sold over a million copies. Thanks to record company accounting, Phil made a total of $6,800.
- “Beyond The Sea” Bobby Darin. Rock-jazz-blues singer Darin, from East Harlem, NY, started as a songwriter for Connie Francis, then hit it big himself with his song, “Splish Splash.” This jazzy 1959 sea song was actually taken from a French song, “La Mer,” written by Charles Trenet.
- “The Chain” Fleetwood Mac. The band’s signature song, from the 1977 album Rumours. The entire group took writing credit. Tough times with the band as Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were calling it quits, John and Christine McVie’s marriage was on the rocks, and Mick Fleetwood and his wife had split, too. Who knew that rock musicians had relationship issues?
- “Sloop John B” The Beach Boys. The iconic L.A. band put their own spin on this Bahamian folk song and recorded it for their 1966 album Pet Sounds. There have been countless versions of this song, including a version in 1958 by The Kingston Trio called “The Wreck Of The John B.”
- “Harbor Lights” The Platters. In 1960 the famous singing group from L.A. recorded a version of this 1937 Hugh Williams-Jimmy Kennedy standard and saw it “sail” up the charts. The Platters’ version has an Hawaiian-tinged sound, complete with a ukulele. “See those harbor lights? See that ship? My stuff has been on that ship for weeks!”
- “Wooden Ships” Crosby, Stills, & Nash. Grim psychedelic song about the effects of a nuclear war with Russia, written by Stills, Crosby, and Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane. The Airplane also recorded a version of the song, both versions in 1969.
- “No Milk Today” Herman’s Hermits. Graham Gouldman wrote this for Peter Noone and the Hermits in 1968. He saw a sign with that inscription on someone’s door and became inspired to write the song. By the way, late on your deadline? Just say, “Sorry, supply chain issues.” Worked for me.
- “Yes, We Have No Bananas” Louis Prima. Frank Silver and Irving Cohen wrote this novelty song in 1923, inspired by the loud sales pitch of a Long Island fruit salesman. New Orleans blues and jazz singer Prima recorded his version in 1950.
- “Out Of Time” The Rolling Stones. A Keith and Mick composition from their 1966 album Aftermath. Supply chain issues have hit us so hard that we’re out of milk, bananas, and now we’re out of time.
- “Rock The Boat” Hues Corporation. Pop/R&B trio formed in Santa Monica. None of the members were named Hues. This 1974 song was their one hit and it was huge, selling over 2 million copies.
- “Sail Away” David Gray. British singer-songwriter and a personal favorite. Gray’s gushy, melodic tune comes off his 1998 hit album, White Ladder. “Sail away with me, honey, sail away with me.” Why? We’ve got no freaking supplies!
- “Come Sail Away” Styx. American rock band from Chicago led by singer-songwriter Dennis DeYoung. This is a crazy song that puts you through changes. It starts as a sad ballad and then builds into a kind of power rock song with a lot of synthesizers.
- “Trains and Boats and Planes” Dionne Warwick. Dionne was born in New Jersey and went to Hart College of Music in West Hartford, CT. She settled in Detroit, sang backup for the Drifters, landed her own record deal, and produced hit after hit. No surprise, this 1966 song was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
- “The Crystal Ship” The Doors. From 1967, this is the B-Side of “Light My Fire.” What’s it about? The end of a relationship? A suicide pact? Sharing some crystal meth? I know this. It’s not about a ship or the supply chain.
- “Little Boxes” Pete Seeger. Folksinger Malvina Reynolds wrote this for her friend Pete Seeger who recorded it in 1963. This catchy song is about the perils of conformity in suburbia but I see hundreds of little boxes stacked up unopened on supply ships.
- “Supply and Demand” Amos Lee. Folk-rock-soul artist Lee from Philly was born Ryan Anthony Massaro. He changed his last name because “I got sick of people mispronouncing it.” I feel you, Amos. But, wait, why did you change your first name?
- “When The Ship Comes In” Peter, Paul & Mary. We close the supply chain playlist with this stirring 1964 Bob Dylan song from his album The Times They Are a-Changin. I love Dylan but on this song, I prefer PP&M’s harmonies over Dylan’s nasal whine.
There you have it–a supply chain blues playlist as we wait for our ship to come in.
In the meantime, some advice:
Don’t Forget To Disinfect and… PLAY IT LOUD!
The link again: click here.
I haven’t tried the “supply chain issues” excuse yet myself. Tempting, though.
The writers of “Yes, We Have No Bananas” did hear a fruit salesman shouting this line and were inspired to write the song.
LAST WEEK’S POLL QUESTION:
Donovan’s “Wear Your Love Like Heaven” outlasted Procul Harum’s “Whiter Shade Of Pale.”
THIS WEEK’S POLL QUESTION:
A battle at sea from 1959: “Sea Cruise” by Frankie Ford, “Sea Of Love” by Phil Phillips & The Twilights or “Beyond The Sea” by Bobby Darin. Who you got?
Until next week,
N.B. I have a scheduling conflict next Friday, November 12.
Look for next week’s playlist on Thursday, November 11, at noon!