Disappointments and Dreams in the Karaoke Bar

When you perform as much as I do, you start to miss your friends.

Two things I enjoy almost as much as television: karaoke and digging deep into music. I've searched through songbooks hundreds of times trying to find that obscure gem I could turn around and make my own. The problem is the people who produce these instrumental tracks are totally slacking when it comes to putting what's really good out there. Anyone who knows a lot of music and loves to get up and sing knows exactly what I'm talking about.

If I had my way, these albums would be available for all to sing.

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Into the Great Wide Open The title track and "Learning to Fly" are available to sing, but that is not nearly good enough. "King's Highway" is one of the best songs in Petty's catalog. And I get chills thinking about how awesomely I would deliver "The Dark of the Sun."

Steve Earle & the Dukes, Fearless Heart It is absolutely criminal, with all the garbage country that is produced for karaoke, that the only song of Earle's available is "Copperhead Road." Fearless Heart has a song called "Nowhere Road" that is just about as spectacular as Springsteen's "Thunder Road."

Pete Droge, Find a Door This one's a bit obscure, but that's the point. Every single track on this album is Americana gold. The moment any audience hears the intro to "Mr. Jade" or "It Doesn't Have to Be That Way," they will immediately love it. Plus there's a song called "Sooner Than Later" that would be one of the best sad-&-drunk songs to sing ever.

Tom Waits, Closing Time and The Heart of Saturday Night I have a plan, the next time I go to the Philippines, to find someone who can back me on piano and introduce this man's music to the country. There's no album of the past 15 years that I've listened to more than these two. They contain some of the best love songs ever written, and just about anyone can sing his gravelly voice.

Bruce Springsteen, Tunnel of Love It's his best album. The title track, "Brilliant Disguise," and "Tougher Than the Rest" are usually available to sing, but my life will not be complete until I am able to sing "One Step Up," "Valentine's Day," and "All That Heaven Will Allow."


Jeff Roman pens the Karaoke Korrespondent column for Reverb, seattleweekly.com's music blog.

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