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Sunday 23 January 2011

Hotels, Motels, Holiday Inns

Hotels. I've stayed in many in my time, some good, some bad, most just adequate. Inevitably it is the bad ones that are the most memorable. So I would like to dedicate this post to the likes of Hotel Brian in Amsterdam, Hotel Phoenix in Kinshasa, the hotel next to the market in Przemysl in Poland, and the hotel in rural Moldova where the staff locked us in our bedrooms at 9pm and went home for the evening.

Most of the songs about hotels that I know also fall into one of three types: the ones where there is something awry about the hotel, which quite often is a metaphor for something or other; the ones about lonely and/or weary travellers; and cheating songs. Here are a couple of each. They are all excellent, but I would particularly commend to you the contribution from the Wainwright family - Loudon's classic "musician of the road" number and his daughter Lucy's lovely version of Richard Shindell's "Next Best Western", which I first heard over at Cover Lay Down.

"Cheap Hotel" - Ron Sexsmith (from "Blue Boy", 2001)

"The Farmer's Hotel" - Silver Jews (from "Tanglewood Numbers", 2005)

"Motel Blues" - Loudon Wainwright III (from "Album II", 1972)

"Next Best Western" - Lucy Wainwright Roche (from "8 Songs", 2007)

"Paper Thin" - Denise Lasalle (on "Lady In The Street", 1983)

"Third Rate Romance" - Jesse Winchester (on "Learn To Love It", 1974)

To finish things off, here is a rather shaky video for one of my all-time favourite hotel songs. It was a big radio hit back in the late 1970s but inexplicably never did much in the charts.

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