Monthly Archives: April 2013

My Favorite Record #7

Fleetwood Mac: Sara (Reprise, 1979) In anticipation of Monday night’s Fleetwood Mac concert at Madison Square Garden, I will be spending the entire weekend listening to (Buckingham/ Nicks era) Fleetwood Mac. I’m currently making myself a Fleetwood Mac mix to accompany my solo trip to the Allentown Record Fair tomorrow in Pennsylvania. “Gypsy” will be first, as it is on my many attempts at the perfect Fleetwood Mac mix. And then “Sara.” Oh Sara. When I get asked to pick my all-time favorite record, I struggle between the Ronettes “Be My Baby” and “Sara.” This is a rare song; direction-less, sparse, no obvious chorus, and nearly impossible to hum. Even Mick Fleetwood was baffled, struggling to come up with a suitable drum beat. I can think of no reasonable explanation for how and why this song works, yet it is as catchy and addictive as the most glaring pop records. Stevie Nicks has this special ability to write pop songs that don’t feel like pop songs. They don’t tire after too many listens. They are understated, tough to grasp, always slipping through your fingers. So easy to get lost in. I used to … Read more

Breakfast In Bed Mix

I recall pissing off an ex-boyfriend with deafening dance-pop at 7:30am. He said it was far too early for such brash sounds. Now I agree. I would’ve loved to include the Neon Philharmonic’s “Morning Girl” (at least for the line “Put your dreams away and read your box of Cheerios”), but that damn keyboard intro is an instant mellow-killer. Morning music should ease you into the day, gently. Cozy, warm, ethereal. No sudden thuds of a kick drum. A tempo slow and easy. Never too loud a chorus. Basically the opposite of those “Wake Up Boo!”-esque, shouty “gett outta bed and get to work!!!” motivational monstrosities. I took extra special care to ensure that the mood is mellow throughout. And by the time you get to the Byrds’ “Draft Morning,” you’ll be awake enough to enjoy the fuzzy psych-rock breakdown. I avoided a few obvious ones (The Commodores “Easy”) and didn’t want to strictly choose songs with “morning” in the title. The Bee Gees “Charade” references summer nights, but I think it works equally well in the early hours. And I’ve always thought the Pixies “Ana” sounds best at sunrise. I … Read more


I came home to find this handmade postcard in my mailbox, sent from a friend who lives just down the road and who knows how much I love spiders. I’d written a piece a few weeks ago on the magic of receiving postcards, which you can read here. It’s automatic mood-elevation. Someone somewhere is thinking of you, and has taken the time to let you know it. Or in this case, my ridiculously talented friend Meghan Moore decided to illustrate a spider on a skateboard because, as she writes, “you should never buy something you can personally make.” I spent the next hour drooling over the illustration, re-reading the postcard, and feeling awesome. The joy of such a simple pleasure! My offer to write you a postcard still stands, so please send me your mailing address. sheila (at) chachacharming (dot) com. I have a new mix all ready to put up, but somehow all the music on my site has stopped working. It’ll go up as soon as everything’s fixed.

Swingin’ Dors

In 1956, British blonde actress Diana Dors headed to Hollywood. Her husband Dennis Hamilton was determined to further his wife’s career and arranged a press party on Sunset Boulevard to launch Diana Dors stateside and announce her imminent signing to RKO Pictures. In attendance were top gossip columnists Hedda Hopper and Luella Parsons and a celebrity guest list that included Lana Turner, Ginger Rogers, and Doris Day. Apparently 30 minutes into the party, Dors, Hamilton, and two others were pushed into the pool, prompting a drenched and furious Hamilton to punch the first photographer in sight before he was restrained. News of the incident spread fast, and crushed any chance of Diana Dors’ future in the US. The press was brutal, with headlines that read: “Miss Dors Go Home – And Take Mr. Dors With You.” Ouch.  Like her American contemporaries, Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield, Diana Dors’ life was riddled with bad luck, one too many husbands, and a premature death. Her first husband, Hamilton was a particularly nasty character. When the couple split in 1958, Hamilton held Diana at gunpoint, forcing her to turn all of her assets … Read more