Sunday, February 18, 2007

black print on a white t-shirt

I start up the car in the dark of the night, pulling out from the curb and into the thin vehicle-lined road. The street lights seem dim on this cold night. I fumble with the front hem of my velvet coat, buttoning 25 buttons as I turn onto University. I'm no warmer. I feel the small of my back press into the car seat as I turn onto the interstate. Lucinda Williams tells me something. Her wavering voice tells me that it's true. And I believe her.

John Ciba has a simple way of telling me his thoughts, the simplest way for a girl like me, who dreams in measures and spinning harmonies. His mix cds are the pure gold, the most precious of my collection and tonight I will share one with you from 2002.

Lucinda Williams - Something About What Happens When We Talk
Jean Plum - Look at the Boy
Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham - I'm Your Puppet
Venice Shoreline Chris - Rocksteady
Louis Armstrong and Oscar Peterson - Let's Fall in Love
The Specials - You're Wondering Now
Flying Burrito Bros. - Cody
Magic Sam - All I Need
Reigning Soung - You're Not as Pretty
The Band & The Staple Singers - The Weight
Dusty Springfield - Willie & Laura Mae Jones
Mike Ireland & Holler - I'd Like Too
Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks - Sweetheart
Marion Williams - He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
Nina Simone - Want a Little Sugar in my Bowl
Style Council - You're the Best Thing
Big Star - September Gurls
Beulah - Lay Low for the Letdown
My Bloody Valentine - Drive it all Over Me
Uncle Tupelo - Wait Up
The Wailing Wailers - Mellow Mood
Nikki Giovanni - Butterfly
Vera Hall - The Wild Ox Moan

The track listing is ironed on to two white cotton t-shirts, each song with it's own commentary or story of why John loves it or just what he was thinking or how it pertained to our lives at the time. It was one of the most honest and beautiful things ever given to me and is a testament to the true and thoughtful nature of one of the best friends I've ever had.

One of my favorite notations by Mister John Ciba:

"The Band and the Staple Singers. The Weight.

From the Last Waltz documentary, the Staples team up with the Band to create a version superior to either of their own seperately. They never actually made it to the concert but this was recorded afterwards and added to the documentary. I went and saw this a few months ago at the theater. After this performance, all thirty people stood and gave a round of applause for the next few minutes. It was one of the most beautiful things. I was so moved I went and bought the box set at Tower after the movie."

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