Sunday, 26 July 2009

State Songs #20: Maine

Maine, the most north-eastern of states, was the first place in America I ever 'visited'. En route to Florida as a kid we changed planes in Bangor. We had a lovely time that day; at the airport I remember buying Superman comics and a Hershey bar.

Some trivia: The moose is Maine's official animal and 'famous' residents include actress Phyllis Thaxter (Ma Kent in the first Superman film) and voice-over ace Steven Zirnkilton. You'll know his work if this means anything to you: "In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories".

Until I really started to dig around 4AD veterans The Mountain Goats were my only contenders for songs about Maine. I hope you enjoy what else I've stumbled across.

MP3: The Mountain Goats — Going to Maine

The Mountain Goats' 'Going To...' series of songs now totals at least 45 including such fine ditties as Going to Utrecht and Going to Some Damned English City. You can find this one on their album Ghana, a record that surprisingly does not include a song called Going to Accra.
Buy: 7digital | Amazon

MP3: Okkervil River - Maine Island Lovers

The only time I've seen Okkervil River was at Come Down & Meet the Folks when it was still at the Fiddler's Elbow in Kentish Town. That was probably around the time they were promoting Down the River of Golden Dreams, the album this song comes from.
Buy: 7digital | Amazon

MP3: Doris Day - That Jane From Maine

It's tunes like this that make my State Songs project so much fun. I'd never normally listen to Doris Day but can't deny a smile's come to my face whenever I've heard this the last few days. It's from the film It Happened to Jane (1959) - a surprise flop according to the unofficial Doris Day website.
Buy: 7digital | Amazon

MP3: Blue Oyster Cult - Cagey Cretins

"Well it's so lonely in the state of Maine". Until last week my Blue Oyster Cult knowledge pretty much began and ended with the always enjoyable (Don't Fear) The Reaper. This is from their third album Secret Treaties which a Melody Maker critics' poll in 1975 voted the "Top Rock Album of All Time."
Buy: 7digital | Amazon

MP3: REM - King of the Road

The classic road song includes the lyric "destination Bangor, Maine". I couldn't resist favouring REM's shambolic version (come back later in the week for the original). Peter Buck's sleevenotes to Dead Letter Office say it all: "This was recorded at the end of a long alcohol soaked day, and I can barely remember cutting it. If there was any justice in the world, Roger Miller should be able to sue for what we did to this song".
Buy: 7digital | Amazon

We're staying on the east coast for our next stop as we say hello to Maryland. Suggestions of songs to feature are always welcome.

The Journey So Far
State Songs - links to every post on this musical road trip


Sam said...

The Modern Lovers' New England includes the line

'I have seen old Israel's arid plain; it's magnificent, but so's Maine (ow-ow-oh New England...).'

Nigel Smith said...

Sam - of course it does! How could I omit such an obvious classic? Will include when I get round to adding the obvious Louisiana omissions too.

Sam said...

Loved the Doris track by the way. I am perhaps surprisingly familiar with her back catalogue as a result of listening as a child to Radio Merseyside's Billy Butler and Wally Scott. I think they played a lot of Alma Cogan as well.

Wally's love of Doris Day was often remarked upon, although thinking back I can't help but wonder if that was a coded reference to his sexuality.

Whatever: Doris, you rock.

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