I haven’t heard a lot of Christine Lavin songs, but I like the ones I have. Regretting What I Said… is brilliant, on a trip to New York City I had the tape player in my car cued up so I could listen to it at the corner of 49th and 3rd. I also have a weak spot for Amoeba Hop, the honky-tonk piano puts that song over the top. A couple years ago I heard a great interview with her on NPR, while I was driving home from a dopefest.
I have a recording of a cover version of Regretting What I Said… done by Debi Smith. It just doesn’t work. After listening to it a few times I figured out why; it is sung completely earnestly. It’s as if this woman has sung so many heartfelt songs so honestly, that there’s just no other way she can do it. She is genuinely sorry for all those things she said. Which makes it hysterical again, but in a completely different way.
Any Christine Lavin fans might also want to check out the work of Andrew Ratshin (Uncle Bonsai, Electric Bonsai Band, Mel Cooleys). He does the same sort of hyper-literate, satiric folk music.
And a slight identify-this-song hijack. I heard a song years ago on my college radio station, and I always thought it was by Christine Lavin but I’ve never been able to track it down. It think it was called “Love on the 40th Floor” (or something similar). It’s about a woman who works in a corporate skyscraper and falls in love with a guy in the mailroom. It doesn’t work out, and in despair she throws herself out the high-rise window. And lands on him. Thanks in advance.