I've compulsively made mix tapes and CDs over the years, a practice that seemed to naturally extend itself to writing. With each novel, I've made a personal CD mix collecting songs that roughly fit the tone and content of the work-in-progress. There's a lot of music in GONE 'TIL NOVEMBER, more so than the other books, and the mix that eventually emerged was a mash of styles, but with a certain thematic unity. Some of the songs made it into the book, most didn't. But here's the tracklist of the CD I made while writing it - and went back to when I needed inspiration. This was homemade and strictly for personal use, of course. It exists only in my iTunes playlist:
1: Gone Till November – Wyclef Jean (needless to say, an inspiration for the title)
2: Everybody Always Leaves – Matthew Ryan (off his 2006 CD "From A Late Night High Rise ")
3: I Still Miss Someone – Johnny Cash (title says it all)
4: I Miss You – Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes (with the late Teddy Pendergrass on vocals)
5: Regina – Bunny Sigler (a Philly soul classic)
6: Jane, I Still Feel the Same – Matthew Ryan (a simple, yet heartbreakingly beautiful, song)
7: Gone For Good – O.V. Wright (deep soul from a Memphis master)
6: Great Expectations – The Gaslight Anthem (young N.J. band with a lot of heart)
7: Trailer – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (only a b-side, but one of their best songs)
6: Ramblin' Man – Hank Williams (chilling, simple, perfect).
7: Cure For Pain – Morphine (essential track from the too-short-lived Boston band)
8: Nothing Stays The Same Forever – Percy Mayfield (philosophical R&B from the other Mayfield)
9: Keep Movin' On – Sam Cooke (America's greatest pop singer. His voice has healing properties)
10: Streets Of Philadelphia – Bettye LaVette (greatest Springsteen cover ever)
11: People Get Ready – Blind Boys Of Alabama (the Curtis Mayfield classic, further elevated)
12: A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke (there's nothing else like it. Sounds like church. Sounds like death).
13: (I Won't Be) Leaving – Dave Alvin (a spare, late-night version of a song he wrote for the Blasters, from his "King Of California" album)
14: Everybody Always Leaves – Matthew Ryan (an EP-only alt. acoustic version. An almost painfully intimate song of love and loss).
If I dig up the CD track lists for the first two books, I'll post them at some point as well.