Twelve CDs Noah Baumbach says you've gotta get -- The ''Squid and the Whale'' director loves Pink Floyd, Bert Jansch, Leonard Cohen, and more

By EW Staff
Updated October 28, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

1 PINK FLOYD Obscured by Clouds 1972 (Capitol) ”One of two soundtracks Pink Floyd did for Barbet Schroeder — this one to La Vallée. It catches the band in a dreamy transition stage, moving away from Syd Barrett and toward Dark Side of the Moon.”

2 JOHN PHILLIPS The Wolf King of L.A. 1970 (Dunhill) ”I’m always looking for overlooked post-Dylan singer-songwriter records from the ’70s. I put ‘Holland Tunnel’ in The Squid and the Whale.”

3 BERT JANSCH It Don’t Bother Me 1965 (Castle) ”I used four Jansch songs in Squid. His lyrics feel incredibly personal, and sung so honestly they creep under your skin.”

4 VARIOUS ARTISTS Sam Cooke’s SAR Records Story 1994 (Abkco) ”A collection from Cooke’s short-lived label. The production is beautifully stripped-down and it has a great raw version of ‘You Send Me.”’

5 LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III Attempted Mustache 1973 (Sony/Legacy) ”His best songs are like excerpts from a novel. In addition to ‘The Swimming Song,’ ‘Come a Long Way’ and ‘Lullaby’ are two of my favorites from the record.”

6 LEONARD COHEN New Skin for the Old Ceremony 1974 (Columbia) ”This is him at the end of his acoustic records, before he worked with Phil Spector and started using Euro-disco backup.”

7 BOB DYLAN Oh Mercy 1989 (Columbia) ”I bought this record recently after reading his amazing memoir, Chronicles. It’s a compelling document of an artist finding himself all over again.”

8 NICK LOWE Dig My Mood 1998 (Upstart) ”He is probably more known for producing great Elvis Costello records, but in recent years, I think he’s made incredible singer-songwriter albums.”

9 PAUL & LINDA MCCARTNEY Ram 1971 (Capitol) ”It’s full of emotion. I love the far-off sound of the ukulele accompanying Paul’s sad, sad voice on ‘Ram On.”’

10 WAYLON JENNINGS Honky Tonk Heroes 1973 (Buddha) ”I could just as easily put a Kris Kristofferson (Kristofferson) or Willie Nelson (Shotgun Willie) here, but I’m trying to follow the rules and keep this list to 12.”

11 GENE CLARK No Other 1974 (Rhino) ”Clark is my favorite ex-Byrd. There’s something in his voice — I can’t put my finger on it — but it feels like someone trying desperately, but gracefully, to climb out of a deep dark place.”

12 GARY HIGGINS Red Hash 1973 (Drag City) ”Another recently resurrected singer-songwriter from the ’70s. Higgins is a good replacement for all the people now too embarrassed to like Nick Drake after the VW commercial.”

The soundtrack to the director’s latest film, The Squid and the Whale, is out now.

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