On March 26, I, Lance Davis, joined Sarah Espinoza in matrimony. It was a lovely, understated ceremony at the Urban Light installation in front of LACMA (LA County Museum of Art). Urban Light was one of the first places Sarah and I went to on a date because it features 200 street lamps from the 1920s and ’30s clustered together in a tight grid offering a ghostly, strangely comforting glow. The lamps automatically switch on at dusk, which I know because those beautiful orbs alit in magical synchrony with a dramatic whooshing pop minutes before Sarah and I exchanged vows. It was an unforgettable moment. The ceremony marked the latest milestone in our 3-year courtship and the beginning of what promises to be a marriage grounded in love, respect, sex, humor, music, beer, Bob’s Burgers, and Art’s Burgers*.
* Art’s is my favorite SoCal burger joint — even over In-N-Out — and it’s right down the street from us on Valley Blvd in El Monte.
When Sarah and I met in early 2012, I was a certified board member of the He-Man Woman Hater’s Club. I had a few brutal years in the trenches, but Sarah proved that genuine love and trust overcomes even the sternest, most stubborn opposition. As Austin bon vivant, Terry Humphries, once sagely opined, “Love is something you do, not something you’re in.” So, while we’ve had our share of close calls and dumb luck — and I may have been initially reluctant — Sarah and I worked our ass off to get to where we are in this relationship, and I’m proud of both of us for demonstrating love as an action verb. Plus, the sex is amazing. (Wait, did I type that or just think it? I think I just thought it. That could’ve been awkward.)
LOVE HAS FOUND ME SOMEHOW: A WEDDING PLAYLIST
Download playlist as zip file (mp3)
I’ve been to weddings in the past where the bride and groom gave guests a compilation CD as a parting gift. Granted, this was in the early 2000s when people still did things like make compilation CDs. Now we make playlists, which are the merely the latest variation on the comp CD/mixtape concept. So, consider this playlist part of that lineage and it’s our present to longtime Adios Lounge readers. As you scroll through each track below, you’ll see that there are comments by both Sarah and myself explaining why the individual songs (or clips) were chosen. For the most part the selections are in the Adios Lounge wheelhouse, but there are a few outliers. You’ll know when you hear them. However, not including them would’ve been disingenuous. I wanted this to be an honest representation of our relationship, part documentation and part interpretation, and I think it does a pretty good job of telling our story. Finally, just above this paragraph and all the way down at the bottom is a download link to the whole playlist in mp3 format, which is how I recommend listening to it. But, if you click on the song links below, they’ll play in a new browser tab.**
** Speaking of which, if anyone knows how to add a multi-song mp3 player to a WordPress site akin to the old Yahoo Media Player, contact me. These players that only play one song inside a web page are for the birds. I’m willing to pay in gold bullion.
01 Mike Nicolai – film clip
Woody Allen Stunt Footage, 2000
Sarah: Besides Nicolai being a musical genius and one of the few people to appear on here twice, this is Lance in a nutshell. He was weary of women, but was smart enough to know I wasn’t like the rest.
LD: Nicolai was an important bridge in our early relationship and arguably both Sarah’s and my favorite songwriter — of the last couple decades anyway. This is a film snippet taken from Mike’s brilliant Woody Allen Stunt Footage album (2000). Not sure of the original source, but it’s our humor in a nutshell. Sarah is totally right. I thought I wanted no part of the fairer sex when we met, but a man can admit when he’s wrong.
02 Bobby Jealousy – Lance And Sarah
Sarah: Bobby J was one of the things that got us talking in the first place. we totally bonded over them. Bonded with the band themselves. That was Lance’s first Valentine’s gift to me: A song about us. He set the bar high and hasn’t disappointed since.
LD: I commissioned Bobby Jealousy to write this song as part of a crowdsourced Valentine’s Day project in late 2012/early 2013. Sarah and I met with lead Bobby, Sabrina Ellis, ate mushrooms, went boogie boarding, played some miniature golf, and told her our origin story. My favorite part:
(Sabrina & Seth) Sometimes we make each other laugh
(Seth only) When I’ve been a jerk
Does this band get us or what?!?!
03 Glossary – Little Caney
Better Angels Of Our Nature, 2007
LD: One of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands. “Little Caney” is a touching song about death, memory, and family tradition. It means enough to me that I used it for my post, When They All Had Souls, to honor my father following his death on February 2, 2013, and the birth of my daughter, Lucinda, 3 weeks later on February 24.
Sarah: Lance chose this song to publicly introduce our baby girl, Lucinda, and to say “See you later” to Papa Jack. A simple song about life going full circle. Glossary was also the last show I went to before having Lu. I was basically about to pop and Lu was doing her signature shimmy in my belly during the performance.
LD: The Blasters are huge for Sarah and I. We’ve seen either The Blasters or Phil & Dave Alvin 4-5 times. As usual, Phil’s singing is great, but Bill Bateman (drums), Gene Taylor (piano), and Lee Allen (sax) are the real stars here.
Sarah: We both love ’em. On our first date (May 4, 2012) I might have told Lance I hate him because he was seeing them the following day. This song is the rebel lovers’ song. Not everyone approved of us being together, but we kept rockin’ and won them over.
05 Sam Cooke – That’s Where It’s At
Single released 1962
LD: When Sarah told me that she loved Sam Cooke, I knew she was a keeper. In fact, we love Sam so much that he’s the only artist on here THREE times — once via Sam & Dave, who we’ll discuss in a bit.
Sarah: Another playlist two-timer — that might sound wrong — and definitely another genius. This was my Cooke choice for the simple fact that he recognizes that a woman wants him, and nowhere else is the place to be.
06 Dave Alvin with Chris Gaffney – Cowboys To Girls
Continental Club, Austin
LD: This cover The Intruders’ 1968 single is mind-blowing, featuring the fantastic and sadly underrated country-soul singing of the late Chris Gaffney and the lead/rhythm guitar of his good friend, Dave Alvin. It’s from SXSW 2000, so I guess this is just over 15 years old now. Damn. RIP Gaffney.
07 Reigning Sound – Starting New
LD: This was actually Sarah’s selection. I ripped the album Shattered to her phone, but because I often rip albums in batches, I forgot I gave it to her because she never mentioned it. So imagine my surprise weeks later when I randomly had Reigning Sound on in the car and Sarah is singing along to every track.
Sarah: Another group I discovered through LD. Cartwright’s voice is like butter and if people say country doesn’t have soul, they haven’t heard this song.
08 Courtney John – Lucky Man
Made In Jamaica, 2009
Amazon (fucking pricey!)
Sarah: To quote Lance, “I’m glad our list has some reggae.” There really is no holiday from his love because I can’t ever stay mad at him for too long. He won’t let me.
LD: I owe my knowledge of this song to good friend of The Adios Lounge and a man who recently turned 50, John “Ducktaper” Smith. Happy birthday, Duck! Anyway, when’s the last time you were actually blown away by a ska song and not “white guy drunk on Jäger blown away by ska”? Know what I’m sayin’?!?!
09 John Legend – Save Room
Once Again, 2006
Sarah: A lot like Reigning Sound. Soulful. Pleading. Beautiful. Love is a lot like those three words.
LD: This one’s all Sarah and exists in that Sam Cooke category of, “If you can’t get laid while this is playing, you may need medical assistance.”
10 Morrissey – You’re The One For Me, Fatty
Your Arsenal, 1992
Sarah: Obviously one of my choices. Morrissey has a way of being sweet but is always sure to give himself an out. I like you. You like me. But it’s okay if you get too much of me.
LD: This is another Sarah selection, but a confession is in order. Sarah and I saw Morrissey play the LA Sports Arena on May 10, 2014, and I have to admit that I was entertained. And I say this while acknowledging that during the show I was — and Sarah can back me up on this — literally being squeezed out of my chair by a 600 pound gelatinous human. It was those conditions and I was STILL entertained. I’ll let that sink in.
11 Bob’s Burgers – Date Night
“Adventures In Chinchilla-sitting”
Premiered March 15, 2015
Sarah: This is basically me whenever we have a night off from the girls (Edie, age 4, and Lu, age 2).
LD: Bob’s Burgers is probably our favorite show. There’s so much to love about Bob’s, but the fact that the lines to this song are, “Date night tonight, have a few drinks, forget we have kids for awhile,” is way up on the list.
12 New York Dolls – Looking For A Kiss
New York Dolls, 1972
Sarah: The Dolls are huge to me in music and fashion and just general guts. This song relates to us because i hated the fact that all of Lance’s friends were constantly so strung out … Kidding! It’s a “cut the bullshit and come to your man” type song and that’s the relationship we’ve built for ourselves.
LD: Another band that we bonded over early on in our relationship. Come on, someone into Johnny Thunders and the Dolls at their peak? It was meant to be. It was also Sarah who had a collection of Dolls demos, A Hard Night’s Day, that I commandeered.
13 Lydia Loveless – Wine Lips
Somewhere Else, 2014
Sarah: This is tricky because I feel like I don’t like Lydia Loveless. She seems generally moody and unapproachable. But, I hear her facetious lyrics and her struggle with the “rules” of a relationship in song and I get that. I like that. I want to be bubbly, and the life of the party, and cute with no makeup, but that’s not me. Maybe I don’t like her because we’re a lot alike.
LD: One thing in which I share solidarity with Lydia Loveless and husband/bassist, Ben Lamb, is that the age disparity between Ben and Lydia is comparable to that of me and Sarah (17 years). DIRTY OLD MEN IN THE HOUSE, Y’ALL! This was my favorite song on one of my favorite albums last year. Lydia’s voice is great, but Ben throws down a funky bass riff that perfectly counterpoints Todd May’s equally sweet guitar riff. Fun fact: Excellent makeout tune.
14 Alex Chilton – Lipstick Traces
Loose Shoes And Tight Pussy, 1999
Sarah: Well he mentions “big brown eyes” and “wavy hair” so I automatically think this song is about me. Because that’s how girls think. But, our relationship has been tough, so there were times we had to say, “Don’t leave.” We pondered what it would be like without the other and decided it wasn’t an option. Everywhere we look we see the other person.
LD: You may be surprised to learn this was a Sarah selection, though she learned the song from a Chilton comp I gave her. This is one of Alex’s many cover tributes to his adopted city of New Orleans. A regional hit for Benny Spellman in 1962 — and written by Allen Touissant — “Lipstick Traces” remains a hidden gem from the golden age of New Orleans R&B. The “leave me no more” outro background vocals are straight outta Chris Kenner’s “Mother-In-Law.”
15 Mike Nicolai – Time Bomb
Balloon Race [EP], 1998
Currently unavailable, but check out Mike on Bandcamp
Sarah: So I’m not even sure what this song is about. And I don’t need to know because it’s pretty much amazing. We both love Nicolai. So the way we had to pick his song was which one made me the most giddy. “Time Bomb” wins.
LD: If I had to pick one person, Mike Nicolai would be my choice as favorite songwriter during my lost decade in Austin (2000-09). Deceptively clever arrangements, sneaky good melodist, and poignant, heartfelt, clever lyrics. His songs zig when you expect them to zag and I love that he can finish a song, otherwise in the Elvis Costello mold, with a cool-ass yodel.
16 Muffs – Forever
Whoop De Doo, 2014
LD: The Muffs became one of my favorite bands in 1991-92 when I saw them open for — and blow away — Thelonious Monster at Bogart’s in Long Beach. God knows how much I love the Monster, but The Muffs ruled that night. Sarah and I saw them play at The Troubadour in West Hollywood on one of our early dates (July 20, 2012) and Sarah was sold. She’s actually the one who chose “Forever” and given the lyrical content I’m glad she did.
Sarah: The first show we ever went to go see was The Muffs. It was at The Troubador. We already knew I was pregnant and the first thing Lance Davis does is get in an argument with the parking lot attendant over the angle of his car. The Muffs rocked, though.
17 Married – “The Getaway” Trailer
Premiered July 31, 2014
Sarah: I fell in love with this series because it really made me feel like we weren’t alone haha.
LD: I fucking love this show and I’m super stoked that the new season begins July 16. (Although, JULY?!?!) When Sarah and I started watching Married, we couldn’t believe there was a show that spoke our language. Judy Greer and Nat Faxson as Lina and Russ are flawed, but they know it, and though they argue, they clearly love each other. It’s inspiring, really. [wipes away tear]
18 Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers – I Love You
L.A.M.F. Revisited – The Lost ’77 Mixes, 1995
Sarah: “There’s no one like you!” That line alone being screamed is why this song is for us.
LD: Good ol’ Johnny. A favorite of ours and just a good sloppy rock ‘n’ roll love song.
“Baby I love you, baby I love you … “
19 Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs – Lil’ Red Riding Hood
Li’l Red Riding Hood, 1966
Sarah: This is just a bad boy sexy song. Sly wolves are out there, but they ain’t so bad once you earn their trust.
LD: A dirty old man sex fable. STOP JUDGING! This shit is sexy as hell and you know it.
20 Sam & Dave – Soothe Me [Live]
Single released 1967
Sarah: Sam & Dave singing Sam Cooke. Yes. “Soothe Me” is all there is to say.
LD: The 2nd of 3 Sam Cooke songs and an all-time underrated cover. It’s a legitimately swinging version of a Cooke rave-up, but you hear what Sam & Dave brought to the table in their own right.
21 Question Mark & The Mysterians – 96 Tears
Single released 1966
LD: One of the great songs of all-time and like “Lil’ Red Riding Hood,” vintage mid-’60s sex music. How cool is that bassline during the bridge? “And when the sun comes up/You’ll be right down there lookin’ up.”
22 Eliza Doolittle – Moneybox
Eliza Doolittle, 2010
Sarah: All of Eliza‘s songs are adorable and it’s funny because this is a Lance choice. Song itself about a simple girl who’s easy to please, can’t help but relate to that.
LD: You may be shocked to learn that this is my pick, a classic guilty pleasure, and waaay out of my wheelhouse. Can’t explain it other than this song is hooky as shit and her voice is sexy as hell.
23 Sam Cooke – Bring It On Home To Me
Single released 1962
Sarah: This #3 for Mr. Cooke, if anyone is counting. This song is one of my baby’s favorites and whatever he loves, I tend to love. It doesn’t hurt that it’s an amazing song.
LD: True story: That picture above is of my wedding ring and it features musical notes around the circumference of the band. Those notes are the opening piano chords of “Bring It On Home To Me.” [drops mic] And the rest of you call yourself Sam Cooke fans.
24 Har Mar Superstar – Lady, You Shot Me
Bye Bye 17, 2013
Sarah: Another song about that pain in the ass love, with whom we’ve all had a love/hate relationship — if we’ve done it right. This boy Har Mar puts on a show and is a genius with words and music.
LD: This was a great discovery early in our relationship. Har Mar Superstar is really the brainchild of Sean Tillman. His earlier stuff is more dancey, but the album from which “Lady, You Shot Me” comes — Bye Bye 17 — is lowdown, funky, sexy, clever, retro-but-in-a-good-way R&B.
25 David Bowie – Rock & Roll With Me
Diamond Dogs, 1974
Sarah: If someone were to say “I don’t like David Bowie,” I probably wouldn’t be friends with them. This song is so big, it’s an anthemic love song.
LD: David Bowie is Sarah’s spirit animal, so this was definitely ladies choice. But come on, “Rock & Roll With Me” is a layup for a wedding playlist. You want something triumphant. Granted, we gave “Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family” a brief thought, but it didn’t quite fit.
26 Gram Parsons – Return Of The Grievous Angel
Grievous Angel, 1974
Sarah: I didn’t know too much about Gram until Lance bought me I’m With The Band by Pamela Des Barres, which is such an amazing book. But, when she talks about him, it kinda breaks your heart. Lance is my grievous angel. He’s been everywhere, seen lots of things, and met some nasty people. But all those roads brought him home.
LD: Gram Parsons is a unique figure in our relationship. I’m definitely a fan, but I don’t think I played him that much during the first 3 years of our relationship. However, because we had to take a quick honeymoon due to work, Sarah and I chose a location within driving distance, but where neither of us had ever been. Joshua Tree. And my feeling was that if we were going to Joshua Tree, why not stay at The Joshua Tree Inn in the infamous Room 8 where Gram met his untimely demise? Sure, on paper that sounds creepy, but it was actually a lot of fun. Of course I brought my GP CDs to pay proper homage, so for that alone Gram has earned his spot on this playlist.
27 Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis – Our Year
Our Year, 2014
Sarah: Okay so if ever there was a motto for our family/relationship this would be it. We’ve had 3 years to struggle and strive for stability, so getting here feels a little foreign. I’m just glad I had LD fighting for us the whole way. I tend to get a little doomsday when the bad rains down. He’s the positivity that blasts through and keeps me going.
LD: One of my favorite records of 2014, “Our Year” is one of the best hope songs I’ve ever heard. Love Kelly’s honey sweet vocals — slightly in the lead — but Bruce‘s harmonies are perfectly complementary. The arrangement is actually out of the mid-’70s Neil Young songbook in that you have banjo and acoustic guitar up front, subtle drums down low, and pedal steel floating on top. Minimalist, but gorgeous.
Sarah: Side note. Lance wrote the chorus down on a card he gave me during a rough patch we went through and I keep the card in my purse just in case I need a pick me up. The card has a cute teddy bear on it and an offer to stab someone for me, because that’s the kind of support system I need.
28 Beatles – Oh! Darling
Abbey Road, 1969
Sarah: Our process of elimination for The Beatles was weird. I remember when we both realized we had the same favorite song. “… And I feel my finger on your trigger…”
LD: Unfortunately, a song about heroin (“Happiness Is A Warm Gun”) isn’t exactly appropriate for a wedding playlist. “Oh! Darling” isn’t a bad Plan B, though. I was going back and forth on this and “Don’t Let Me Down,” but either works fine. Thank God The Beatles didn’t write that many catchy, memorable songs. The process of elimination might’ve been REALLY challenging.
29 Maria McKee – I’m Gonna Soothe You [Acoustic Version]
I Can’t Make It Alone [Maxi-Single], 1993
Sarah: Maria McKee is kind of another Lydia Loveless for me. To be fair, I haven’t listened to much of her, but no doubt this is a good song. A powerful song. I found myself saying things to Lance that are very similar to what Maria sings. Give me a chance and you won’t regret it. Though I never claimed to have healing powers, I think LD and I kind of “fixed” each other once we decided to trust and actually love one another.
LD: Maria is one of my favorite singers and this acoustic version of the You Gotta Sin To Get Saved track is hot in the pocket. Lyrically, “I’m Gonna Soothe You” is what this playlist is all about. “Lay your head on my breast/I’ll do the rest.” That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!
30 Penguins – Memories Of El Monte
Single released 1984
Sarah: Being born and bred on Art Laboe has its perks. Lance is happy to be living in a city that bears the same name as the title, and was hip to the Nashville West nightclub and El Monte Legion Stadium, which hosted rock ‘n’ roll shows back in the day. I’m just happy because babysitting is 5 minutes away.
LD: This one’s dedicated not just to Sarah, but her whole family, AND my dad. Co-written by Frank freakin Zappa it’s a wonderful tribute to doo wop and was released in 1984, when doo wop may as well have been Appalachian folk songs, it was so off the mainstream grid.
31 King Of The Hill – Romantic Intent
“Master Of Puppets”
Premiered March 1, 2009
Sarah: Haha Lance and I are both a little bit Hank. The way we differ is he has some Bobby in him while I have some Peggy.
LD: God bless the Hills. My only regret is that there wasn’t a quality clip of this available online.
32 Figgs – Do Me Like You Said You Would
The Day Gravity Stopped, 2012
Sarah: These guys put on an awesome show. And ladies, don’t be ashamed to brag about your talents ;-)
33 Zombies – Way I Feel Inside
Begin Here, 1965
Sarah: This is the perfect filler. The footsteps at the end get me every time. You know when you’re just about to tell someone something really big and you have those rush thoughts of hesitation right before? That’s this song.
LD: A late add by Sarah, I love this song’s demo-y feel, which creates a nice contrast from most of the other tracks. And lyrically it can’t be beat. Gotta say that of all the British Invasion bands, The Zombies might be the most underrated.
34 Doug Sahm – Can’t Fake It
Hell Of A Spell, 1980
Sarah: Sir Doug is pleading in this song, I love it. Brown sugar’s addictive, people. Watch out now!
LD: My boy Doug Sahm. He was one of our early bonding figures, which surprised the hell outta me. I didn’t think anyone under the age of 30 knew who the hell he was. But, when you’re a Mexican chick from El Monte, there’s a pretty good chance you know Freddy Fender and Flaco Jimenez, and it’s a short distance from there to Sir Doug. It’s also the 3rd song on this playlist to feature a kissing sound, after “Looking For A Kiss” (NY Dolls) and “Wine Lips” (Lydia Loveless).
35 Centro-Matic – Love Has Found Me Somehow [Live]
Cafe Du Nord, San Francisco
September 19, 2003
Sarah: This is a really cute song and Will Johnson is a sweetheart. This was a last-minute add and I’m glad it made the cut. We were different before we found each other than we made each other better.
LD: A late add from me and the perfect title track. “Love” is atypical Centro, but it’s so charmingly goofy and heartfelt that you can’t help but love it. Will’s intros are hilarious and this particular recording is the best version of the song I’ve ever heard. God bless you, Centro-Matic*.
* Centro called it quits this past December after a prolific, 19-year run.
36 Baptist Generals – Morning Of My Life
Jackleg Devotional To The Heart, 2013
LD: Baptist Generals may not be for everybody, but they were hugely important to us. I think lead General, Chris Flemmons, has the kind of rangy, reedy voice that can rub some people the wrong way, but I love it, and damn he can wrestle down elusive melodies. Jackleg To The Devotional — especially the second half — has a number of devastating ballads, including this cover of early Bee Gees.
Sarah: More Texas boys. These guys are still the best live show I’ve seen. It was amazing while they were up there. I never heard this song the way Lance hears it and now I can’t unhear it, which is good. I’m curious to see what he says about the rest of the list.
37 Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now
Sarah: So, really I wanted this song because 1) It’s fucking Queen and 2) It’s fucking Queen with lasers and unicorns, with flamethrowers galloping over rainbows and shit. I bet you this is Tina Belcher‘s favorite Queen song.
LD: If Bowie was triumphant, this is like zooming back into town on the Millennium Falcon after blowing up the Death Star. And maybe YOU’RE the weird one for not having an extended dance sequence to this song … not naming any names.
38 Steve Martin & Bernadette Peters – Tonight You Belong To Me
The Jerk, 1979
Sarah: After our first kiss at Lance’s place I asked him “What took you so long?” He said, “I didn’t know why you came over.” That’s our relationship. It’s simple, yet very confusing haha. I love everything about it.
LD: Simultaneously the goofiest and most romantic sequence in cinematic history. It’s hilarious and sweet and if that doesn’t describe us I don’t know what does.
LOVE HAS FOUND ME SOMEHOW: A WEDDING PLAYLIST
Download playlist as zip file (mp3)