Monday, July 28, 2008

Songs #22: Way Down In The Hole
What Community? #50

Inspired by MOMI's "Making The Wire" week, I thought I'd go ahead and post mp3s of the five different versions of "Way Down in the Hole" used for each of the five different seasons' opening credits. Unfortunately, I didn't find mp3s of all five. However: I did find my two favorites, from the first two seasons, by The Blind Boys of Alabama and Tom Waits. And, in lieu of mp3s, I found youtube clips of each season's credits, sans narration by Andrew Dignan (which you can check out every day this week at MOMI's website). I've said elsewhere that I thought the series picked up steam as it went along through its first four seasons, only to kinda-sorta falter under its own ambitions in its final, fifth season, so I don't need to dive into that again. But it's worth noting, I think, how each version constitutes my relationship to each season, beginning with Steve Earle's cover, for that fifth season, that plays the harshest (and whitest), although kinda groovy, which added to my distaste for that season's misfires (and occasional bits of brilliance). By contrast, Tom Waits' elegiac original fits the mood of the docks really well: all those years of toil for nothing. The Neville Brothers' jazzy third season opener makes a nice compliment to the Blind Boys, which makes me think of the dueling East and West sides of B'more starting to come together, or at the least how they interact, starting with Stringer's negotiations in that season. DoMaJe had the honor to grace the show's greatest chapter, the fourth, and their plaintive march through varying genres, with time for odd samples and a nasty guitar solo and a grimey in-the-round vamp, speaks to the corner boys' close-knit texture, riffing on one another, trading insults and love equally. But, lemme get out of the way already. I'll leave the comments from here on out to Mssrs Dignan, Seitz and Lee. --RWK

Season One
The Blind Boys of Alabama (zshare link)

Season Two
Tom Waits (zshare link)

Season Three
The Neville Brothers

Season Four

Season Five
Steve Earle

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