Pandora again

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Pandora.com? I listen to my pandora stations for hours most days. I’ve got my favorite stations tuned pretty well, and it’s like listening to the best commercial-free radio stations on the world. If you’ve not tried pandora yet, I beg you to give it a try. Or if you messed around with it for a few minutes and gave up because you couldn’t figure out how to get a good mix on your stations, heed my advice and try again! It does take quite a bit of tinkering to get your station tuned the way you like it, but it’s easy tinkering.

Here’s how I built my favorite station:

I started by building a station on folk singer and political activist Pete Seeger and singer-songwriter, satirist, and pianist Tom Lehrer. Right away it started playing me and assortment of folk/protest/civil rights music, and satirical stuff. I had to do a LOT of thumbs-downing at first, getting rid of goopy pseudo-folk music and hideous sappy piano stuff. And I did a little bit of thumbs-upping but not much — that’s key! I generally only thumbs-up when I hear an artist I really REALLY like, and I’ve pretty much stopped thumbs-upping now that my station is satisfying. Don’t do too much thumbs-upping or your station will drift off in unknown directions. If you want it to drift around, thumbs-up to your hearts content. But I’ve found that I have better luck keeping the thumbs-upping to a minimum but being hard-nosed with the thumbs-downing.

So here’s an assortment of really great songs I’ve heard this evening:

  • Dust Bowl Pneumonia Blues (Woody Guthrie)
  • Links on the Chain (live, Phil Ochs, AWESOME song, artist I never heard before Pandora)
  • Galway Bay (Johnny Cash — I’ve discovered that I just love Johnny Cash’s folky acoustic guitar/vocal songs)
  • Born 10,000 Years Ago (Cisco Houston — never heard this one before!)
  • Little Turtledove (Ed McCurdy — never heard this one before either)
  • Destroyer Life (Oscar Brand)
  • We Will All Go Together (Tom Lehrer)
  • Draft Dodger Rag (live, Phil Ochs)
  • Mad Dogs and Englishmen (Noel Coward — Hilarious! Pandora decided I’d like this one a few days ago and it’s come on nearly every day since)
  • Red Iron Ore (Bob Gibson (Not the Bob Gibson who broke the piano at Palomar College…) — never heard this one before!)
  • Don’t Want No More Of Army Life (Leadbelly)

Take It From Day To Day (live) by Stan Rogers just came on — lovely song, another artist I’d never heard of before Pandora.

In case you don’t know it — Pandora lets you bookmark songs/artists/albums so it’s easy to remember the good stuff and track down CDs to buy. (You can see my bookmarked songs in the sidebar on the right and down a bit) I’ve bought several cds since I started listening to Pandora. Before Pandora I almost NEVER bought cds ’cause I never heard anything on the radio that I liked enough to want to own.

Long live Pandora.com! Did I mention that it’s FREE (if you don’t mind seeing some ads in your music player)? I splurged on the $36/year subscription to get rid of the ads. An incredible bargain, considering the pleasure and entertainment pandora provides me.

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