The Playlist: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Texas A&M University’s decision a few years ago to leave the Big 12 and cast its lot with the Southeastern Conference was widely criticized and mocked — by everyone but Aggies, who saw the move as transformational. Now, both a documentary and a book are in the works about A&M’s fresh start, so we start this week’s old-school R&B-themed Playlist with James Brown’s “Get On the Good Foot.”

The easiest way to enjoy the playlist is to download Spotify, which is a free program. But even without it, you can still follow along. Here are this week's other selections:

The University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall has been locked in a contentious battle with UT officials and, more recently, state lawmakers, some of whom believe he may have committed impeachable offenses. Among other things, the embattled regent has questioned lawmakers’ influence on admissions, which raises the question: What good is clout if you can’t use it? Jean Knight has some ideas about that, so we went with her R&B classic “Mr. Big Stuff.”

New laws attempting to decriminalize student behavior have resulted in a sharp decline in tickets written to children by law enforcement officials, which reminded us of Frankie Lymon’s “I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquent.”

A small population of prisoners needing dialysis hits the prison system's pharmaceutical budget hard. The expensive medical procedure removes waste and excess water from blood, so we chose the Neville Brothers singing “Brother Blood.” And many former inmates can't afford the rent at halfway houses meant to transition them back into society, which brought to mind Ray Charles’ “Busted.” 

 

TribTalk, the Tribune’s new op-ed site, is using “Respect” in place of the traditional “Like” button as a way of promoting civil discourse. That could only go one place — Otis Redding’s “Respect,” performed here by Aretha Franklin. 

The ongoing dispute in North Texas between landowners and the Bureau of Land Management took another turn this week as a BLM report invited comments from the public about that land around the Red River, so Reverend Al Green’s “Take Me to the River” seemed like the right choice. And water turned up in another story later in the week, when a pair of scientists said data released by TCEQ indicates a link between fracking and methane contamination of groundwater, bringing to mind “You Left the Water Running” by Wilson Pickett.

Legal and ethical questions hover over Republican nominee for attorney general Ken Paxton, which could in turn cut off lines of attack for gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott at the top of his ticket. That could put some distance between the two, so it's The Temptations with “Can’t Get Next to You.”

Finally, a story and accompanying slideshow on Friday traced the history of Texas’ shift from red to blue. Those changes brought to mind “Them Changes,” performed here by the Band of Gypsies.

Enjoy!