Ignored, Maligned, and Forgotten Music

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Coffee Songs - Various Artists

Legbamel Not-Pop

Of all of the types of songs I collect (and, yes, there are many), coffee songs speak to me the most. It could be my pot-and-a-half-a-day habit, my experiences with caffeine withdrawal, or simply the fact that there are so many of them, in every tempo and genre, that I can always find one that suits my mood. Today, I'm sharing a steaming cup full with you, from Bobby Darin to The Descendants.

A fair number of coffee songs are about, not coffee itself, but relationship problems and drinking coffee alone. I'm sad that the Henry Rollins solo version of Black Coffee that I have was rejected by Grooveshark for its poor quality, as the Black Flag version they have sounds like crap. I included it anyway, as it's a good, high-energy song when it doesn't give you the impression that your speakers are in a tunnel with a pillow stuffed in the end. Beware of a truly dreadful moment of failed harmony in Squeeze's Black Coffee in Bed, while you're listening as well.

I was, however, pleased to find Stan Ridgeway's delightfully strange The Coffee Song (though not Sinatra's cover), which is not about love gone wrong but about there being too much coffee in Brazil. I've slipped Ella Fitzgerald, kd lang, and Peggy Lee covering the same version of Black Coffee into the list, for you, and a live version of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones' Cowboy Coffee in which Dicky Barrett sounds like he's been gargling Drano more than usual. To find out what else lurks in the caffeinated darkness below, you'll have to take a look for yourself. But don't miss The Arrogant Worms.

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