Ten Great Songs For Sitting Out a Hurricane

As Hurricane Earl lurches and stirs its way toward my home state of NC, I thought it only fitting that I offer a brief soundtrack for the coming havoc.


A little ditty about drug enslavement and moral turpitude that churns like a class 4 storm, until the too-lovely for words pedal steel and feedback coda sweeps the song out to sea on a cloud of country-blues redemption.

2.Ill Wind-Frank Sinatra

‘Ole Blue Eyes’ conjures a perfect storm of self-pity, weariness and brokenhearted weather forecasting, all while emoting like a man who’d really like to get off the couch, but knows he probably won’t.

3.Stormy Weather-The Pixies

“It is time, it is time, for stormy weather, for stormy weather.”

Pure gleeful nonsense from one of the finest bands of the late twentieth century.

4.Smokestack Lightning-Howling Wolf

The voice of Zeus thunders from on high at his faithless concubine far below:

“What’s the matter with you?

Why don’t ya hear me cryin’?


Excellent questions considering the terrifyingly feral roar ‘The Wolf’ unleashes here. One riff, no chord changes. Perfection.

5.Shelter From The Storm-Bob Dylan

“I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form,

“Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you, shelter from the storm.”

‘Buckets of Rain,’ another song from ‘Blood on the Tracks,’ would work just as well. The sound of each conjures a world of rain, mud and wandering sorrow; occasionally redeemed by an open door, warm whiskey and love.

6.Strange Weather-Marianne Faithful

A tremendous version of an often-overlooked Tom Waits number, wherein Faithful calls forth a tour de force of world-weary, scabrous lethargy to perfectly compliment Mr. Waits’ corrupt fairy tale poetry.

7.It’s Raining-Irma Thomas

New Orleans soul at its finest: Poor little Irma may be sitting by the window, counting rain drops and pining for the past, but I have a feeling she’s not going to be sitting there long.

“Counting every drop, about to blow my top…

I guess I’ll just go crazy tonight.”

8. Like a Hurricane-Neil Young

As obvious as it may be, the damn thing really does sound like a hurricane: Thick lurching feedback that threatens to rupture the very boundaries of the track and careen into the stratosphere. Blow wind, blow.

9. Swamp Water-Tony Joe White

The ‘Swamp Fox’ unleashes a thick, unwholesome squall of funk that could serve as the soundtrack for a hung-over Satan tromping across the bayou during a mid-July downpour: Best to stay inside until he passes by or passes out.

10. Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On-Jerry Lee Lewis

The unhinged version from the “Live at the Star Club” album, one of the greatest performances captured on tape by one of the early rock godfathers. All but ostracized from the recording industry, the still defiant Lewis, feeding off his young back-up band, The Nashville Teens, rips and snorts like the cousin-loving Id of Rock and Roll he truly was. He ain’t fakin,’ baby, and listening today, it’s still a wonder the whole damn building didn’t come down around him.


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