A Day In The Life

Musicasaurus.com digs into the art of the music mix…

A new mix will be posted every two weeks on Sunday.....If you are a dinosaur, you’ll probably be searching out these tunes to create a mix copy on CD; if you have evolved, you may instead be pulling from iTunes or another downloading source to create a playlist for your mobile device.  Either way, ultimately allow yourself this time to shut out the world (and the physical and mental multi-tasking that we are heir to).  Sink into these sonic revelations...Let the songs insinuate themselves. 

Highly recommended:  Playback of these playlists should be through a home stereo system, cranked up mightily.


Posted 4/7/24....

(Next post: Sunday, April 21, 2024)

The “A Day in the Life” tab of this website currently has capsule reviews (with photos) of some key concerts I attended between the summer of 2016 and the fall of 2017.  This trip back in time prompted me to take another look at the musicians/singer-songwriters who left us and went to Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven that year.  In 2017 we lost a wealth of talent.  May they rest in peace...

 TOM PETTY (10/20/50 – 10/2/17) – Sample Tune: “Dreamville”

Petty had always been on the battle lines with regard to artists’ rights, starting over four decades ago when his record company at the time (circa 1981) wanted to raise the price of his upcoming new album from the industry’s standard $8.98 list price to $9.98.  He threatened not to release the record at all, and then vowed to make the title of the album Eight Ninety-Eight if it was released at the higher price.  The record company capitulated and the album eventually hit the stores with the name Hard Promises instead...Flash forward a couple of decades, and Petty was at it again in 2002, releasing a themed album entitled The Last DJ.  With songs like “Money Becomes King” and the title track “The Last DJ,” Petty was pondering modern life where corporate avarice was running rampant, radio stations were further restricting playlists, and musical expression was increasingly stifled, gagged & bound.  This track “Dreamville” (also from The Last DJ) is a pretty and contemplative piece, though; a mid-tempo ballad about being young in the 1950s and 1960s, living the small-town life, buying guitar strings at the local music store, and listening to the radio where, as the song says, “there was rock ‘n’ roll across the dial.”  https://youtu.be/ViczcWEHgaY?si=5M75o5QlzzgKjhXd   


 CHARLES BRADLEY (11/5/48 – 9/23/17) – Sample tune: “Changes”

Bradley’s success was not overnight; for him, it came late in the evening.  His debut album No Time for Dreaming was released in 2011 when Bradley turned 62.  He had slogged through some tough times but soul music was always in his head and heart, starting with his life-changing concert experience as a 14-year-old when he saw James Brown at the Apollo Theater in 1962.  Some friends and I were first exposed to Bradley live at the 2016 Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh, where Bradley was testifyin’ to the power of music and the power of The Lord; an incredible mix of passion and gratitude leapt out of that man’s throat at every turn.  The song listed here is Bradley’s cover of a Black Sabbath song.  It was the title tune of Bradley’s third album Changes which was released in 2016.  Bradley passed away on September 23, 2017 from a battle with stomach cancer.  https://youtu.be/JuFAwcoG8VI?si=Tz7YHgOC1pqWU1t1   


 GLEN CAMPBELL (4/22/36 – 8/8/17) – Sample tune: “Wichita Lineman”

Campbell was incredibly popular in the ‘60s-into-the-‘70s with TV appearances and chart-topping radio hits like “Gentle On My Mind,” “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” and later on, “Rhinestone Cowboy.”  But Musicasaurus.com’s pick of the litter is the Jimmy Webb-composed tune “Wichita Lineman.”  Campbell was quite the picker as well, an underrated guitarist who, as a session player, helped propel hits for Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, Phil Spector and many others.  He also was a member of The Wrecking Crew, L.A.s’ renowned group of studio musicians who in the 1960s churned out an amazing amount of songs for stars like Frank Sinatra, Sonny & Cher, The Mamas & The Papas, The Beach Boys, and more.  The song listed here comes from Campbell’s 1968 album of the same name.  https://youtu.be/Q8P_xTBpAcY?si=Hoi4JY7qciRrv-rw


 CHRIS CORNELL (7/20/64 – 5/18/17) – Sample tune: “Fell on Black Days” 

Superunknown, from which this track was taken, was this Seattle band’s blistering and bludgeoning yet quite tuneful fourth album, the one that brought them widespread acclaim critically and commercially in 1994.  It was dense and delicious, sounding a little like the crew of Zeppelin had decided to steer toward sky’s-the-limit alternative rock.  Cornell was the vocal front man who led the charge here, and then later on, as vocalist with Audioslave which featured three remnants of Rage Against The Machine—guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and dummer Brad Wilk.  Cornell was hugely respected within the industry by peers and fans but spent periods of his life chased by the internal demons of drugs and depression.  His lyrics in “Fell on Black Days” are indicative of his struggles: “Whatsoever I've feared has come to life / And whatsoever I've fought off became my life / Just when everyday seemed to greet me with a smile.”  Cornell took his own life one evening after a Soundgarden performance in Detroit, on May 18, 2017.  https://youtu.be/aqW-VF49Sok?si=gZxqoSZDvaJ1f6mG


 CHESTER BENNINGTON (3/20/76 – 7/20/17) – Sample tune: “What I’ve Done”

Bennington first broke through to the masses as the lead singer on Linkin Park’s 2000 debut album Hybrid Theory and was renowned for his vocal prowess which could go from anguished whisper to cathartic scream in a heartbeat.  “What I’ve Done” is from the band’s third album Minutes To Midnight which was produced by Rick Rubin and which spotlighted Bennington’s towering vocals alongside the raps and rhymes of Linkin Park’s other vocalist, Mike Shinoda.  Bennington’s suicide on July 20, 2017 came just two months after Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell’s death by similar means.  Bennington had sung Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah” at Cornell’s funeral and was also the godfather of Cornell’s son Christopher.  https://youtu.be/Jrprk5dNboI?si=dSGatK6DOr3QglNw  


 GREGG ALLMAN (12/8/47 – 5/27/17) and BUTCH TRUCKS (5/11/47 – 1/24/17) – Sample tune: “Statesboro Blues”

For Musicasaurus readers of a certain age, this leadoff track is the first song we soaked in as our turntables spun the brand new Allman Brothers Band album At Fillmore East in July of 1971.  All these years later, the effect is the same: there’s sizzlin’ slide from Duane Allman and—speaking of the whole album here—it is one of the tightest rock-band workouts ever captured in a live setting.  It brims over with energy, road experience, discipline and intuitive playing; the musical boundaries blend into a stirring amalgam of blues and rock, and even touches of jazz.  The band members, all in their twenties, were at the absolute peak of their powers.  Duane Allman died at the age of 24 in a motorcycle accident just three months after this double-live album was released, and Gregg Allman and Butch Trucks passed away in 2017, both at the age of 69.  https://youtu.be/dWy3Q30Cn2A?si=hbOo1ct-NI0eCRqr


 WALTER BECKER (2/20/50 – 9/3/17) – Sample tune: “Book of Liars”

Walter Becker and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan were not quite Siamese twins but were certainly joined at the hip in one respect: they shared an obsession for the painstaking work involved in creating sonic masterpieces in the recording studio.  Washington Post pop music critic Richard Harrington interviewed the two musicians in 1993 and he eloquently explained the undiminished appeal of Steely Dan songs.  These tunes, wrote Harrington, are “smart and stylish, with a jazz-wise pulse, sketched skintight in the studio by partners with a reputation for mordant wit and obsessive perfectionism.”  Becker, though 50% of Dan’s songwriting success, didn’t shine as brightly as lead singer Fagen in terms of overall visibility, but he did manage to release two solo albums in his lifetime, one in 1994 (Eleven Tracks of Whack) and another in 2008 (Circus Money).  Neither climbed the charts anywhere near the level of Steely Dan recordings or even Fagen’s solo works but the music does hew a bit toward the Dan, and some of it certainly could be considered quirky yet captivating.  https://youtu.be/cm5xyA6keFY?si=OwRrVxnlkAxZ3hf4  


 CHUCK BERRY (10/18/26 – 3/18/17) – Sample tune: “Nadine”

One of Rock’s true forefathers, Berry had a string of hits in the late 1950s that titillated teens here at home and also perked up the ears of English musicians abroad—like the Beatles and the Stones—who then covered these tunes on their earliest recordings.  Berry’s landmark rock records include “Johnny B. Goode,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll Music,” “You Never Can Tell” and the track listed here that was released as a single in 1964 and subsequently included on Berry’s first greatest hits album released that same year.  He was one of the first inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (in 1986) and Rolling Stone magazine in 2004 created a tantalizing list and put a Berry on top; he was crowned # 5 in this magazine’s tribute issue entitled “The Hundred Greatest Artists of All Time.”  https://youtu.be/1M9XdkUk298?si=4YPAr9axR31bZE6k  


 LARRY CORYELL (4/2/43 – 2/19/17) – Sample tune: “She’s Leaving Home”

Coryell was a jazz-rock rabblerouser who blew minds and blew right past boundaries in the 1960s.  Through the decades he bounced between electric spazzed-out jazz and intimate, more accessible acoustic exercises.  And in his career he released a list of albums a mile long—over seventy records dating back to his 1968 debut album Lady Coryell.  The original version of the Beatles’ classic listed here of course comes from their 1967 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, and in Coryell’s talented hands it is truly a thing of beauty.  The song hails from his 2004 release Tricycles, a trio effort which also features ex-Pat Metheny Band collaborators Paul Wertico on drums and Mark Egan on bass.  https://youtu.be/S9zqogKA9E0?si=0BIPFQPIcIZ3IRlt   


 AL JARREAU (3/12/40 – 2/12/17) – Sample tune: “Thinkin’ About It Too”

Jarreau’s Milwaukee childhood was all church and song, with his father a singer and minister, and a mom who played piano in that house of worship.  In the late 1960s he hit L.A. with his hellacious vocal style which playfully braided together pop and jazz in a winning combination, and which established him as a draw in venues like the Troubadour and the Bitter End West.  Television appearances on Merv Griffin, Dinah Shore, Mike Douglas and Johnny Carson brought him mainstream fame, and in 1975 Jarreau released his first major-label album on Warner Brothers’ Reprise Records entitled We Got By.  The track listed here, “Thinkin’ About It Too,” was the album opener for Jarreau’s third major-label exercise, 1977’s All Fly Home.  This is the best track on the album, a funky fast-paced jazz-pop pleasure that has Jarreau sailing all around the syncopation and percolation.  https://youtu.be/T3P2lr19Mzk?si=DSr0DB3si9B5XX3m




Posted 3/24/24....

....when “WORLD” is in every tune in the mix!

1. Vicious World - Rufus Wainwright  https://youtu.be/5eDe2okxnUg

2. World Turning - Fleetwood Mac  https://youtu.be/eKw2h_ZFFfY             

3. World Spins Madly On - The Weepies  https://youtu.be/7RWgjy9CAeQ            

4. This is the World Calling - Bob Geldof  https://youtu.be/6uaEmjt-2rI                             

5. (What A) Wonderful World - Sam Cooke  https://youtu.be/VzlLi5jX_C4

6. Waiting On The World To Change - John Mayer  https://youtu.be/pquX7Ya4-wE

7. Singing Joy to the World - Fruit Bats  https://youtu.be/-lnrkscsJPg        

8. Troubles of the World – Ollabelle  https://youtu.be/ZCSyzMg_NoM

9. Wander This World - Jonny Lang  https://youtu.be/rH5bDW3bnQg        

10. Everybody Wants To Rule The World - Patti Smith  https://youtu.be/CZYFt0Zwmnk

11. Harvest For The World - The Isley Brothers  https://youtu.be/dUxiKQXxGR8             

12. Back into Your World - Son Volt  https://youtu.be/salUViy2uoA

13. Sweet Old World - Lucinda Williams  https://youtu.be/BwGMJYszLMY

14. Sitting On Top of the World - The Pogues  https://youtu.be/0V5F8xpjI4w      

15. It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World - James Brown  https://youtu.be/hK97cdbbsQw

16. So Much Trouble in the World - Bob Marley  https://youtu.be/Az11r3EKmbg            

17. Out Of This World - Boo Hewerdine & Darden Smith  (this track starts at the 19:27 mark of this full album video)  https://youtu.be/VWalbDxGAEk

18. No World Like the World - Kelley Stoltz  https://youtu.be/4CIocnNpTL4

19. It's A Big Ol' Goofy World - John Prine  https://youtu.be/pAfFnB7Yxn8                                  

20. The World We Live In - The Killers  https://youtu.be/8EqBVO0eYOI

21. You’re The World To Me - David Gray  https://youtu.be/rA7_o2r-1LU

22. What a Wonderful World - Kenny Werner & Toots Thielemans  https://youtu.be/sHdITynB1iU




Posted 3/10/24....

THE BEAT GOES ON...a representative sampling of songs based on the “favorite drummer” survey responses that were submitted to Musicasaurus for posting in the A DAY IN THE LIFE section of this site.                       

1.) I Can’t Turn You Loose – Otis Redding (drummer: Al Jackson, Jr.) https://youtu.be/bfT3_MJDTu8?si=stA6tDJA9HDPE3tn

2.) Get Off My Cloud – The Rolling Stones (drummer: Charlie Watts) https://youtu.be/1sWqmMAvmdU?si=EV1Lnb_RIdDG9ACe

3.) Seven Days – Sting (drummer: Vinnie Colaiuta) https://youtu.be/pG7_gceIFL4?si=zGkWkDNE4CUV7oHF

4.) Leaving Here – The High Numbers (before the band changed its name to The Who) (drummer: Keith Moon) https://youtu.be/o0lz7doiM0c?si=g0soOHJH2ZqiVJ4W

5.) Mean Street – Van Halen (drummer: Alex Van Halen) https://youtu.be/FYVMTEtYqi8?si=LkY8g9TFaK_bCBfL

6.) Running on Empty – Jackson Browne (drummer: Russ Kunkel) https://youtu.be/LNmIbSre7Tw?si=xYqUn_C7-3WxowKp

7.) Cover of a ZZ Top song by a band featuring Steve Moore, The Mad Drummer...The video is called “This Drummer is at the Wrong Gig” and has racked up over 53 million views—so far: https://youtu.be/ItZyaOlrb7E?si=vKk-sjTqrMu6VTYp

8.) Toad – Cream (drummer: Ginger Baker) https://youtu.be/z9ey8dFqM98?si=uStvwh8BETrBzHlM

9.) Stone’s Throw/Killers/Wondering Why/Don’t Care – The Red Clay Strays (drummer: John Hall) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZL7rPowq2w  

10.) Rush - La Villa Strangiato (drummer: Neil Peart)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3zlRdksakI

11.) Ain’t That a Shame (Live at Budokan) – Cheap Trick (drummer: Bun E. Carlos) https://youtu.be/8tD1oHVPXVg?si=ndsq52U2aY8Fpl3c

12.) One More Red Nightmare – King Crimson (drummer: Bill Bruford) https://youtu.be/cLoQADJnGr4?si=o10WQexSXEL_wRNt

13.) I Can’t Quit You Baby – Led Zeppelin (drummer: John Bonham) https://youtu.be/6d_wxEz1Cbg?si=qrQtPMSyexJ3kv-T

14.) This I Dig of You – The Roger Humphries Quintet (drummer: Roger Humphries) https://youtu.be/ghYjNYmWufI?si=rQN2iFbZmgIy2jgW

15.) Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Karn Evil 9 (drummer: Carl Palmer) https://youtu.be/l_0VoikhMtY?si=H3nykknlRxwfVFFH

16.) Aja – Steely Dan (drummer: Steve Gadd) https://youtu.be/CYZwVf07tHA?si=U8-zhHdabvaugV5_

17.) Oliloqui Valley – Herbie Hancock (drummer: Tony Williams) https://youtu.be/AY5-YRc_nMI?si=st8H9PPBlkBz7OEZ

18.) A Night in Tunisia – Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers (drummer: Art Blakey) https://youtu.be/S4ylZmsR8AM?si=Y0qpLJ_G0eJSZDOx




Posted 2/24/24....


Now THIS is a mix to pore over...

1.) Rain - The Beatles https://youtu.be/cK5G8fPmWeA?si=ICvCmYzk8mie24yv   

2.) Early Morning Rain - Eva Cassidy https://youtu.be/P9U_g7ftEyk?si=6ofhuWPLihD_GKwl     

3.) Box of Rain - Grateful Dead https://youtu.be/nxjvo4BRf-Y?si=lcBezr-UWddh9TUK     

4.) Heavy Cloud No Rain (live) - Sting https://youtu.be/C_xek3p0ya0?si=EbUyaDw528h3o2dO

5.) Save It for A Rainy Day - The Jayhawks https://youtu.be/QpUw0nCm_oQ?si=-i1DjShSGDOLpdhQ           

6.) Mandolin Rain - Bruce Hornsby & The Range https://youtu.be/bDgOwX72fLI?si=ib07xdX7D2eww_Ua                 

7.) Here's That Rainy Day - Kenny Rankin https://youtu.be/bId_H6eQSlo?si=gglY6wmjr2lFP054

8.) Sit & Listen to The Rain – Whiskeytown https://youtu.be/L0HUuGZakgM?si=unhV-0Wvu7EAN6aY                       

9.) Fire and Rain - James Taylor https://youtu.be/N4E9MKbOFAY?si=MRuf4ivckW1htztK  

10.) Rainy Night in Georgia - Sam Moore & Conway Twitty https://youtu.be/hIDxIYYxKjo?si=yVvgcQDEwpk3qaBR             

11.) It's Raining - Lou Ann Barton https://youtu.be/2MFwYaC01sc?si=gMLKXwH1JULdJgKV   

12.) I Wish It Would Rain - The Temptations https://youtu.be/keDpxp892Og?si=KuPv9z-cRdy4d1nb   

13.) Come Rain or Come Shine - Toots Thielemans featuring Lizz Wright https://youtu.be/49LyfmdqBtc?si=rSFFr1cVynDZAsfE   

14.) Right As Rain - Daryl Hall https://youtu.be/3cPCk2es19M?si=IygPIja8y7ZGKoVH    

15.) Four Days of Rain - The Flying Burrito Brothers https://youtu.be/aLIBwCXbrvA?si=tpJXnh0wtqRGdv-6   

16.) Here Comes the Rain Again - Miles to Dayton https://youtu.be/ru4BOquTrqU?si=-KH6RxUH1uz58rBV              

17.) Who'll Stop the Rain - Creedence Clearwater Revival https://youtu.be/obv6wkMBXt0?si=xhe8K6x_VyiNIUn4                

18.) Ringing Doorbells in The Rain - Valerie Carter https://youtu.be/1CdW4J3U-WM?si=RZ_BWZB8YSM5c_cC

19.) My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains - Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band https://youtu.be/XJ2kSmbxEUw?si=L6FpZay2sQvkTrxR                   

20.) Buckets Of Rain - Bob Dylan https://youtu.be/jGsOmKZXDvo?si=bcr7QZKbLnJT7amD

21.) I Think It's Going to Rain Today - Joe Cocker https://youtu.be/gJDnK8t-Bp8?si=ax6RuIVr8N4txS8L




Posted 2/11/24....


1.) What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong https://youtu.be/oVv5P_eie4o?si=8ZNFnG1EvnA2D6ha

2.) I Remember - Dianne Reeves https://youtu.be/ZkoneNquuSM?si=TvYmwo5-glyxxvi0

3.) The Thrill is Gone - B.B. King https://youtu.be/oica5jG7FpU?si=WMzRhbT5GG3CIhcj

4.) Hellhound on my Trail - Cassandra Wilson https://youtu.be/nmf43jZeodA?si=EBz5OXQ79pebpyt7

5.) Three Little Birds - Bob Marley & The Wailers https://youtu.be/NOyRsPDPfMM?si=798UfqC8ULhW9Ngs

6.) Rio De Janeiro Blue - Randy Crawford https://youtu.be/A7r3yHoYTXQ?si=S9yYI7DddYVcHIw4

7.) Walkin’ My Baby Back Home - Nat King Cole https://youtu.be/AIBg7pgrBXo?si=HefiuYH2AaWxdtkd

8.) Never Know (live) - Angélique Kidjo https://youtu.be/q0QAOxfgtXE?si=yIQtlZfloAOlqW2r

9.) Baby - Bobby McFerrin https://youtu.be/El-UenEtIfw?si=IOTubkC6xU7I1DB7

10.) Little Wing - Jimi Hendrix Experience https://youtu.be/JCyKBI7rkYc?si=VQC6fygqUq_Pw0AB

11.) Stranger to Love - Rufus featuring Chaka Khan https://youtu.be/Z5ZsYqx_hLo?si=fdHNKlqUSnfOmO4I  

12.) Sign Your Name - Terence Trent D’Arby https://youtu.be/iLVLfL3QVQQ?si=2MNSG1Efs_imvm08

13.) Seven Whole Days - Toni Braxton https://youtu.be/AjBCAWKzZWA?si=tvk2PRuEKj6dq0Qr

14.) Strawberry Letter 23 - Shuggie Otis https://youtu.be/sbhIZe3smr0?si=umdP4TUMqYQhPgMV

15.) I Pity the Fool (live) - Robert Cray & Shemekia Copeland https://youtu.be/m80A9GPsbLQ?si=_Xs1qEs7x1viH4AH

16.) Obsession - Sarah Vaughan https://youtu.be/PXDU0ertETA?si=8X61g7-OLK_5xBPH

17.) I Want You - Wilson Pickett https://youtu.be/1iGTZjBUER4?si=6hccRZvl1OglIpei

18.) Do Something - Macy Gray https://youtu.be/PHs-h7aMBO4?si=-ESFaM2IgMUwM1ME

19.) Wonder Wonder - Femi Kuti https://youtu.be/OLkYg1TLLTY?si=JL6Qpz77OTjW15T2

20.) Up Above My Head (live) - Rhiannon Giddens https://youtu.be/IAEaNqRq-ZU?si=kr9AYhmap_gR1NTF





Posted 1/28/24....


1. Jimmy Buffett (headliner) - Pre-You  https://youtu.be/ph1-eBG-Rp0?si=RhoeiWgmsk1-kFjG

2. Evangeline (one appearance this decade as an opening act for Jimmy Buffett) - Bayou Boy  https://youtu.be/a1LU9H5nNrs?si=C5M1PTB1JsGzrs1H

3. Alabama (headliner) - Mountain Music  https://youtu.be/9GGQ2zId8JA?si=aWIS_NuwM-dnPNAr  

4. Clint Black (one appearance this decade as an opening act for Alabama) - The Hard Way  https://youtu.be/PhBArvy990U?si=uHI2RM5o9bsTjL7E

5. Chicago (headliner) - Beginnings  https://youtu.be/lI-BMDnti4c?si=5k15H_9g5cQD2N1h

6. B.E. Taylor (one appearance this decade as an opening act for Chicago) - Vitamin L  https://youtu.be/9Kugfl0F1Yg?si=HeCiICi-VkcMQ7bx

7. Steve Miller Band (headliner) - Space Cowboy  https://youtu.be/9Kugfl0F1Yg?si=HeCiICi-VkcMQ7bx

8. Curtis Salgado & The Stilettos (one appearance this decade as an opening act for Steve Miller Band) - Star Light Star Bright  https://youtu.be/pEPRHPEOPPw?si=Jt48MhcKStPycyV4

9. Michael Bolton (headliner) - When a Man Loves a Woman  https://youtu.be/fHr4d2KzBzU?si=JNo90-adMGBGxxzH

10. Celine Dion (one appearance this decade as an opening act for Michael Bolton) - The Power of Love  https://youtu.be/W4KGlD6S7gA?si=PW9ce0ZcM0O_Nxbm

11. Stevie Ray Vaughan (headliner) - Texas Flood  https://youtu.be/OQuY7dHfWrM?si=IslW-CaJgmTkkQh8

12. Joe Cocker (one appearance this decade as an opening act for Stevie Ray Vaughan) - Pardon Me Sir  https://youtu.be/CWvVfZN5i7k?si=UbDggVm0h5jOmIJA

13. Crosby, Stills & Nash (headliner) - You Don’t Have to Cry  https://youtu.be/PmduVX7_-kE?si=Ftjl7ORDsbcJVaDC

14. Michael Hedges (opening act for Crosby, Stills & Nash) - Aerial Boundaries  https://youtu.be/v6pbzD4sRos?si=sCjv-K6sIUMwU-sL

15. Santana (co-headliner with Jeff Beck) - Incident at Neshabur  https://youtu.be/338TDhTN7HQ?si=TQjNZuU2nYKDHpNn

16. Jeff Beck (co-headliner with Santana) - Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers  https://youtu.be/VC02wGj5gPw?si=VB8O2DM1QBCbCBY4

17. Rusted Root (co-headliner with Santana) - Send Me on my Way  https://youtu.be/IGMabBGydC0?si=N3BxoPCx0iLKbzi4

18. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (headliner) - American Girl  https://youtu.be/SIhb-kNvL6M?si=5-3yGcusO8X3Y0_t

19. Lucinda Williams (one appearance this decade as an opening act for Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers) - Passionate Kisses  https://youtu.be/dEqXV9hGk-I?si=qoE5Jv9TxVDt0XzD





Posted 1/14/24....

VARIOUS ARTISTS MIX.....This mix recently put together by Musicasaurus is a “DIY” project for you.  There are nineteen songs and appropriate links; sequence them as below, or have a go at it on your own.  The 75-80 minutes you’ll invest in time spent listening will bring you ample rewards...

1. The Ghost – Efterklang https://youtu.be/i6XX8bU-wfQ?si=OopKHjp1eLrHjesX

2. Life In The Air Age – Be-Bop Deluxe https://youtu.be/eNx7wmmE5Zo?si=MQ8O7hU4M6zTH6Ox  

3. Where’s Home – Richard Thompson https://youtu.be/Spplly1cHYs?si=sr0l4y_aK_BUog7V    

4. Once I Ran Away – Flora Purim https://youtu.be/AFI12vEjRX8?si=kUBjhYrqiuqypCox    

5. Stranger In A Strange Land – Leon Russell  https://youtu.be/0iL5aOJ7LR8?si=pu8ndaG-9CMHxMQh  

6. Don’t Let Go The Coat – The Who https://youtu.be/Knlpz60gz0A?si=FJClWCrY2RWxs3MF    

7. Deborah – Dave Edmunds https://youtu.be/i46Pxa8TOhU?si=Sqk2s3Zv5g9GrQ0H

8. Northern Lights – Anna Fermin’s Trigger Gospel https://youtu.be/SKb1oh_Fa6w?si=10DT31J1Bvz5oBjP   

9. Washing Of The Water – Zia Hassan https://youtu.be/yyJK4tPSKko?si=3uEfmDM5wOATCqpc   

10. Thirteen – Big Star https://youtu.be/DWk0r8L29z0?si=X3zQdr7HCoQMMkp8    

11. Beautiful Girl – INXS https://youtu.be/nQ8IU2kZn9U?si=QE_7tfbcCp8WHlps       

12. Galloping Ghosts – The Kingsbury Manx https://youtu.be/vEgvJxl8zKA?si=3LqOB39qGfeopioU    

13. No Inbetween – Supertramp https://youtu.be/L-4hU43Wowk?si=EluYo7BWLiDGwUi3    

14. My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue) – Neil Young https://youtu.be/i6RZY4Ar3fw?si=XquRz_oVGP7tCVNh   

15. I Don’t Care Anymore – Andy Pratt https://youtu.be/JmIDMFaTMl0?si=S4inXSY_dGoB_anv   

16. I Ride At Dawn – Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite https://youtu.be/T_PyUZlFsas?si=YQwIt-VBez3aHTxQ    

17. Julie’s House – Leo Kottke https://youtu.be/BnhzyRVzfrw?si=IfEvCXsqqbGflg1h    

18. I Didn’t See It Coming – Belle and Sebastian https://youtu.be/au2RFNdi2YM?si=fhF51Tlw_jZggBDO   

19. When The Time Comes – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers https://youtu.be/ykCmB_ZlI68?si=wWP0CoM8FPFK2Urd      





Posted 12/31/23....

Another year has ended...and so once again have the lives of a number of prominent musicians/singer-songwriters.  Musicasaurus has rounded up some of their signature songs for your listening pleasure, and who knows whether you’ll see them in heaven--but you can hear them right here on Earth.

1. Robbie Bachman (February 18, 1953 - January 12, 2023) and Tim Bachman (August 1, 2023 - April 28, 2023) of Bachman-Turner Overdrive - You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet  https://youtu.be/w3fRBzRngdc?si=NsrhUU7NwBAgpMSV

2. Burt Bacharach (May 12, 1928 - February 8, 2023) - The Look of Love  https://youtu.be/ck57LnYScNQ?si=GqT9QOSYiq2bQiFR

3. Huey “Piano” Smith (January 26, 1934 - February 13, 2023) - Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu  https://youtu.be/euy9lUbhJ04?si=s7R9jLkpLbtS7nDP

4. Jerrold Laurence Samuels aka Napoleon XIV (May 3, 1938 – March 10, 2023) - They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha​-​Haaa!  https://youtu.be/eQNI1KfGXBA?si=0f_FPqmU6vcLSerN

5. Ahmad Jamal (born Frederick Russell Jones; July 2, 1930 – April 16, 2023) - Poinciana  https://youtu.be/Z0e2G32f3IU?si=p49sqWY9elrWcFt8

6. Harry Belafonte (March 1, 1927 – April 25, 2023) - Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)  https://youtu.be/YO7M0Hx_1D8?si=OqhQ2trfnH1h0nHc

7. Gordon Lightfoot (November 17, 1938 – May 1, 2023) - If You Could Read My Mind  https://youtu.be/jiU2lrGnT7U?si=olg-RTx62alA1biR

8. Astrud Gilberto (March 29, 1940 – June 5, 2023) - The Girl from Ipanema  https://youtu.be/EKEmQooklDw?si=Wusll0_57YisxiD_

9. Tony Bennett (August 3, 1926 – July 21, 2023) - I Left My Heart in San Francisco  https://youtu.be/Ysw4svDmcxc?si=YmfH7LxYocUexKo5

10. Randy Meisner, a founding member of the Eagles (March 8, 1946 – July 26, 2023) - Take it to the Limit (the studio version from the band’s album One of These Nights is currently not available on YouTube; this is a live version from a 1977 concert)  https://youtu.be/YR37H6TQauw?si=aJxHxUSCLwGYnvEA

11. David LaFlamme of It’s a Beautiful Day (May 4, 1941 – August 6, 2023) - White Bird  https://youtu.be/Nc5sbbAphoU?si=LvkpPyYDKhIvI8Ry

12. Robbie Robertson (July 5, 1943 – August 9, 2023) - Somewhere Down the Crazy River  https://youtu.be/4KP9PNSUME4?si=kj7UbFmrTE32DdLR

13. Jimmy Buffett (December 25, 1946 – September 1, 2023) - Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes  https://youtu.be/cmnLLkJfurg?si=eNxvhrFet0cmQvPp

14. Mylon LeFevre, American Christian rock singer (October 6, 1944 – September 8, 2023) - Crack the Sky  https://youtu.be/bALse_TYn8U?si=rdJjAGrpBxncfs7T

15. Rudolph Isley of the Isley Brothers (April 1, 1939 - October 11, 2023) - It’s Your Thing  https://youtu.be/vajsXO3Ub-4?si=Nke15-0kaZECfjTL

16. Dwight Twilley (June 6, 1951 – October 18, 2023) - I’m On Fire  https://youtu.be/rfRi7Jrk36k?si=8msGDw6kPiMrAwG8

17. Jean Knight (January 26, 1943 – November 22, 2023) - Mr. Big Stuff  https://youtu.be/EJ-4cKFVC34?si=M9eL-SLFYnVkt6GE

18. Shane MacGowan of The Pogues (December 25, 1957 – November 30, 2023) - Fairytale of New York  https://youtu.be/j9jbdgZidu8?si=Lr2yX5XZvR_HosQF





Posted 12/17/23....

Each year in the spirit of the holiday season I think fondly of that old saying “Love Makes The World Go Round”--but just in case it’s actually “Money” that does that, I have put together a mix on that subject.  This COULD BE a rewarding experience; you be the judge... 

1. A Fistful of Dollars theme - Ennio Morricone https://youtu.be/HjjDOdaFZg0?si=vLiCv5NUV1qIocNF

2. Money - Pink Floyd https://youtu.be/cpbbuaIA3Ds?si=rZMgqolmRRsUNGzK

3. Money (That’s What I Want) - The Flying Lizards https://youtu.be/tTo9K2UD-mA?si=h1OdmLLQAhBUEJ_4

4. Your Cash Ain’t Nothin’ But Trash - Steve Miller Band https://youtu.be/CYwh9VYNNFU?si=7bWaKrPkUhBK71ft

5. Money Changes Everything - Cyndi Lauper https://youtu.be/oI0UQ8lOgJM?si=DyGaxRiJhtXCB3z0

6. Money Talks - Rick James https://youtu.be/atVeeUXq1Kc?si=wnpevH9b_ULOmJv9

7. Money For Nothing - Dire Straits https://youtu.be/JRDgihVDEko?si=YV5L7coBkkeEAT50

8. Rich Girl - Hall & Oates https://youtu.be/AmHE65RAkSY?si=TCDDPJaea3eZmEkt

9. She Works Hard for the Money - Donna Summer https://youtu.be/1GlJ1lFvkK4?si=KabeKRlkNPCdOYyl

10. For the Love of Money - The O’Jays https://youtu.be/qxW789jHXII?si=2rHrvTOae1Pb0ICi

11. Money (That’s What I Want) - Barrett Strong https://youtu.be/bNND0AvhnyQ?si=nNj_qfLNeRiuxL1h

12. The Very Thing That Makes You Rich (Makes Me Poor) - Ry Cooder https://youtu.be/OTJ3RQSa1PU?si=q0OOfslAkJ7xF7Ob

13. It’s Money That Matters - Randy Newman https://youtu.be/LXv4L656gvw?si=gtIz6Ks2LBKpBMVc

14. Easy Money - Lowell George https://youtu.be/jcXfemmhMqw?si=QpumQT52etodoR2M

15. Penny Lane - The Beatles https://youtu.be/GEIeHaxcv9M?si=XCmUxPPQKn6A_Il4

16. A Nickel and a Nail - Billy Price & The Keystone Rhythm Band https://youtu.be/OI73OAQdv2k?si=qeHasrQIPH1t3JMk

17. Loan Me a Dime - Boz Scaggs https://youtu.be/WGGvlTXGERA?si=1bW3yoG70yAkn0wI

18. No Quarter - Led Zeppelin https://youtu.be/_BZLM2j8p5E?si=XCWHijzvM3SrY0FE

19. If I Had $1,000,000 - Barenaked Ladies https://youtu.be/V8zdNe_l3M8?si=ZIAmkskRFcQpEwXj





Posted 12/3/23....


1. Crossing - Oregon https://youtu.be/fXhC8ddL938?si=U5G-fhmN9wXDs_OE

2. The Beginning of the Partnership - Music by Stephen Warbeck from the Miramax Motion Picture Shakespeare in Love https://youtu.be/cO1lUY6fbpw?si=GyXjM8TpUFUEkE5F

3. Anthem for a New America - Jeff Lorber https://youtu.be/PWdOsn7Sw-Y?si=fApwVRI-t3XPnuZ2            

4. Blue In Green - Eliane Elias https://youtu.be/eJIF3pRKJNU?si=H4SaB5SXiYA1WK8q                     

5. Bygone Days - Eileen Ivers https://youtu.be/vr8047f0rDk?si=SB9HFSz0mvvV9wsO

6. Campanas de Invierno (Bells of Winter) - Seawind https://youtu.be/mRF2QTvhCnQ?si=ve0wQIRbrUifT9et

7. Country - Keith Jarrett https://youtu.be/OIjWevJPvYU?si=2UhhEyuyftZpA9in

8. De Usuahia a la Quiaca - Gustavo Santaolalla - from Motorcycle Diaries / Original Motion Picture Soundtrack https://youtu.be/mMSwgG4UOWo?si=zYYkjZUAKlw6-31v                 

9. First Winter at Plymouth Colony - Sumner McKane https://youtu.be/xndJHH7WAv4?si=rZZVzXJ1lcrIXxBc

10. Fragile Forest (live) - Phil Keaggy https://youtu.be/Ayc7oBR1ZGA?si=CKydfpi--EFbYNva

11. Oriental Shuffle - Stephane Grappelli, Philip Cathérine, Larry Coryell & Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen https://youtu.be/BLEVbX8cDSM?si=t2jbBojlMnduXf0x

12. For Eamonn - Nightnoise https://youtu.be/x5yC2EuP_8M?si=odxD8CvOITQ7CGyr                        

13. Hallelujah - Jazz Mandolin Project https://youtu.be/1yHL5oGKj34?si=zU7U-ackyDWiS0Fk

14. Listen - Bill Frisell https://youtu.be/73UTaKBTtOU?si=eNb2qhR7ToC_bRpd

15. The Hermit's Horse - Oystein Sevag https://youtu.be/fn0O9pz2r7A?si=XiRT91sFqqjXZX1O

16. Seven Sisters - Schonerz and Scott https://youtu.be/Oz7trWie53k?si=N0CnYTNd9nQYOX3W   

17. A House Is Not a Home - Stan Getz https://youtu.be/TjkPD3xQ7Ic?si=J_ZGaBVks2xbJVZp

18. A River Runs Through It - Mark Isham - from A River Runs Through It / Original Motion Picture Soundtrack https://youtu.be/j8jxGQJHQvg?si=0fWcfrDkBvX5IHs8

19. Praise - Aaron Parks https://youtu.be/Td2ptRuVA18?si=8ZJxda6hWUn4Trzi

20. Shennandoa - Checkfield https://youtu.be/qJfCuXaOKqc?si=j-sU_fPf_6ypUdBV





Posted 11/19/23....


1. We Can Work it Out - Stevie Wonder https://youtu.be/KHnIvw7CCKk?si=yetCBPD8ZTh27v9C

2. Work to Do - The Isley Brothers https://youtu.be/qDSP9ygSGuw?si=umQhVMu10Yx0SBkX

3. I’ve Been Working (live) - Van Morrison https://youtu.be/D3hkAWqmICI?si=G7D6zcit3-_fMSII

4. Let’s Work Together - Canned Heat https://youtu.be/YavThhrC1ik?si=udMwNyrTEy5GCZPo

5. Got My Mojo Workin’ (live) - Muddy Waters https://youtu.be/8hEYwk0bypY?si=mlY7nE-14zuhF7Q3

6. Dirty Work - Steely Dan https://youtu.be/kR5Ki6jjPaY?si=DYCiH4qPjnVzRod0  

7. Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out - Mayer Hawthorne https://youtu.be/pBKx8PyE5qQ?si=bAgkvBKsJXvmv8cR

8. Working in the Coal Mine - Lee Dorsey https://youtu.be/H7ND17Zf68s?si=UmxYs7mRXtCwsR-I

9. We Work the Black Seam (live) - Sting https://youtu.be/9OYfvnR2RsA?si=g6otZu8F-rKny0Rb

10. Senses Working Overtime - XTC https://youtu.be/kjt7AdLYT2w?si=JqkIpYrjvENxIQrb

11. Working Class Hero - Marianne Faithful https://youtu.be/rYQpFbZxmyw?si=T4FqCakEe8k-APzS

12. She Works Hard for the Money (club mix) - Donna Summer https://youtu.be/16MVX3jPc-8?si=MpK_GHpEPyxTUyCD

13. Working My Way Back to You - The Spinners https://youtu.be/gfn2YNU-ybA?si=3slveGC301-yz-_N

14. Work to Make it Work - Robert Palmer https://youtu.be/_WuPItK647g?si=3zCv9NNwgNjdEABo

15. You’re Gonna Work it Out - B.E. Taylor https://youtu.be/VRmj4nxIOMk?si=KB4RDANg_ZVomVos

16. Jah Work - Ben Harper https://youtu.be/WoEdS-HBgBw?si=1jyGEH-IXjQf3PW8

17. I Think It’s Going to Work Out Fine - Ry Cooder https://youtu.be/MVEMQ_SCc6w?si=bpEVeWKw6Iem_x5M

18. We Can Work it Out - The Beatles https://youtu.be/IgRrWPdzkao?si=Djzn1yqxe7fXWNU-





Posted 11/5/23....


1. Watching the Wheels https://youtu.be/pTvbB4br1pA?si=kKpcSpBl5WToVtpU

2. Every Night https://youtu.be/aSHkH_uMmtY?si=7IurIqtbV3HsVdy5

3. All Things Must Pass https://youtu.be/QWV4pFV5nX4?si=1Cn2urPapArwgWKc

4. Photograph https://youtu.be/nevdSt_2PIM?si=az2Iu29VSZWZZ4LK

5. Imagine https://youtu.be/rAn-AWXtHv0?si=Bsf8fxOmmCwZ9a13

6. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey https://youtu.be/8Y8fDsU0hX8?si=BC2Gh8dm0tzOwsrm

7. My Sweet Lord https://youtu.be/6wHBsMoHFWs?si=0wPoZ1RoHAAnFPLl

8. It Don’t Come Easy https://youtu.be/uCD0fPSsdBA?si=PtBtU86c5zUFg0t6

9. Mind Games https://youtu.be/QLeObvcUii4?si=Tmy8-w4hajDICYua

10. My Brave Face https://youtu.be/O4J_M_hClEg?si=Z8vkHD1jL5cA_ats

11. What is Life https://youtu.be/sKzvEThmqxE?si=s2EdYYUkczxgORxT

12. The No No Song https://youtu.be/FIzgJyhxbKY?si=EJaUVC1GGzpaY6P6

13. Happy Xmas (War is Over) https://youtu.be/flA5ndOyZbI?si=yZgJk6lbO0SO8afd

14. Maybe I’m Amazed https://youtu.be/cdDPR8GzXy8?si=TCvHIFGlph4PVRGb

15. Got My Mind Set On You https://youtu.be/_71w4UA2Oxo?si=1i0ZgTEvP7NPyXM_

16. You’re Sixteen (You’re Beautiful and You’re Mine) https://youtu.be/p_LtUZCXepo?si=xyIt8Fzfc82dUb73





Posted 10/22/23....

JAZZ ROCK FUSION MIX..... If you’ve shied away from delving into jazz fusion in the past, musicasaurus.com now advises you to throw off those shackles of preconception.  You’re bound (I think) to like this heady batch of jazz-meets-rock excursions through ten artists who have blazed trails while blending genres. 

1. Dark Eye Tango – Al Di Meola......This American-born jazz fusion and Latin music guitarist attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, and then at the age of twenty joined Chick Corea’s band Return to Forever for their high-water mark period of 1974-1976.  Known for his technical mastery and speed, Di Meola rips into this tune with sultry-then-searing guitar work.  “Dark Eye Tango” is from Di Meola’s third solo album Casino which was released in 1978.  https://youtu.be/fu-YeftSqWE?si=7A7y5-ppMU8COSBR  

2. Ready For Take-Off – Passport.....Saxophonist Klaus Doldinger is the creative, collaborative auteur who helmed this German jazz-infused progressive rock band through the years, as various members passed on to other ports of call.  Active through the decades but most notably in the 1970s, Passport produced a full-bodied stew of jazz improvisation and relentless rock rhythms.  This track is from the band’s 1974 release Looking Thru.  https://youtu.be/UuI5nqPoLD4?si=FRRpGrU7KHvaQs6Y

3. Expresso – Gong.....The band Gong formed in the late 1960s and pursued a sound early on that mixed prog rock, psychedelic music, jazz and assorted trippy touches.  Some players came and went, and ahead of their 1976 release entitled Gazeuse! Gong brought on board guitar player Allan Holdsworth.  Gong on this album morphed into a juggernaut of percussion, vibraphone, saxophone, glockenspiel and cosmically wailing guitar.  “Expresso” is a percussive dream with Holdsworth’s celestial, cerebral guitar work leading the charge and floating in and out of the fray.  https://youtu.be/Ganyw-jP2ZU?si=Gu6d0PJbDQfCI9rw

4. The Art of Happiness – Jean-Luc Ponty.....French violin virtuoso Ponty started on his instrument at the age of five and stayed true to straight jazz until the late 1960s.  By that point he had ventured to America and stinted with Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, the George Duke Trio, and from 1974-1975, the Mahavishnu Orchestra.  Ponty was the pioneer of the electric violin in the 1970s jazz-rock explosion, and was the first to borrow and bring over to his instrument some of the effects more commonly applied to electric guitars—Echoplex, distortion bars, wah-wah pedals, etc.  This fusion-laced-with-funk track is taken from Ponty’s 1978 album Cosmic Messenger.  https://youtu.be/VGEDgsSXRBM?si=9Emm9hLzcT8dT425

5. Golden Rainbows – Alphonse Mouzon.....Along with fellow jazz drummer Billy Cobham, Mouzon was instrumental in putting jazz fusion on the map in the early-mid 1970s.  Cobham produced a well-regarded jazz fusion record called Spectrum in 1973, and Mouzon followed in 1975 with arguably his best solo record Mind Transplant (from which this tune is taken).  The two albums share a common thread: guitarist Tommy Bolin.  To my ears rocker Bolin is more riveting on the Mouzon release, especially on this track.  Here he employs his usual economy of style and there is not a wasted note, whether he’s lightly accenting or full-on soloing.  His guitar work effortlessly carries the song to several emotional climaxes.  Sadly, Bolin overdosed on heroin at the age of 25 just a year after this record was released.  https://youtu.be/Kg381P4jCEI?si=WNj9Ut8BwR3CW5yw

6. Black Market – Weather Report.....This band is the enduring giant of jazz fusion based on the skill of the players and the caliber of the recorded performances.  The band formed in 1970 and in addition to progressive shifts in style, the group weathered some personnel changes over the course of their first five albums which came annually 1971 through 1975.  In 1976 founding members keyboardist Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter welcomed in drummers Narada Michael Walden and Chester Thompson, percussionists Alex Acuna and Don Alias, and bassist Jaco Pastorius.  Pastorius at that juncture was just edging in to replace Alphonso Johnson who had announced his departure midway through recording the band’s soon-to-be-released album Black Market.  Pastorius played on two tracks out of the seven on this record and Johnson played on all the rest, including the compelling title tune that was a powerhouse of jazz fusion and world music.  https://youtu.be/cd7S6V5IaBg?si=YC4_E2mUKYX4au3I

7. Silver Sword – Flora Purim.....Brazilian jazz singer Purim was influenced heavily by Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, and her six-octave voice is a marvelous instrument that is showcased to great effect on the first two early ‘70s Chick Corea and Return to Forever albums (Return to Forever and Light as a Feather).  The track listed here is from Purim’s second solo release from 1974 entitled Stories to Tell, and it is a breathtaking piece that features Purim’s wordless vocal soaring amid the frenzied fireworks of guitarist Carlos Santana.  A piece of advice: the marvel truly deepens over time, so be sure to hit “play” on this one with a bit of regularity.  https://youtu.be/_oCno8bGvjI?si=c1qlqq8bjYM4Nooc

8. San Lorenzo – Pat Metheny Group.....Missouri-born Metheny started playing guitar at the age of thirteen and then taught the instrument at both the University of Miami and Berklee while still in his teens.  His style is a mix of jazz, rock, and folk but that doesn’t quite capture the idiosyncrasy and the appeal of his approach to this instrument.  Aligned through his early years with European jazz label ECM, Metheny played on albums by vibraphonist Gary Burton and released solo records on the label as well.  In 1978 he formed the Pat Metheny Group and released a self-titled band record that year that featured musicians Lyle Mays (keyboards), Mark Egan (bass) and Dan Gottlieb (drums).  The track “San Lorenzo” opens that album; it is cinematic in nature, and achingly beautiful in the interplay between all four musicians.  In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I caught the Pat Metheny Group live in concert several times and thought to myself, “I’ve stumbled into the Church of the Truly Transported.”  https://youtu.be/O9mEoXfN91I?si=7azknUh9LdIMqzYj

9. Butterfly – Herbie Hancock.....Born in Chicago in 1940, Hancock started on piano at the age of seven and his career path thus far has been a dotted landscape of acoustic and electric jazz, and forays into funk and rhythm & blues.  From 1963 through 1968, Hancock spent formative years with Miles Davis, all the while also issuing classic Blue Note label recordings as a solo artist.  Early in the 1970s Hancock entered his jazz fusion period with the release of Head Hunters in 1973 and Thrust in 1974.  “Butterfly” is from the latter album, and it is a funked-up, mid-tempo masterpiece in which Hancock’s clavinet and synthesizers jell quite well with Bernie Maupin’s sophisticated, snaking sax and bass clarinet.  https://youtu.be/-_mSzscIhyg?si=269aP8rq0oY1wy6a  

10. Crossed Wires – Mike Mainieri.....This track is from Mainieri’s 1981 album Wanderlust which, across a number of tunes, sports different players (a who’s who of jazz greats) including Michael Brecker on sax, Randy Brecker on trumpet, Steve Khan on guitar, Marcus Miller and Tony Levin on bass, and Peter Erskine on drums.  Vibraphonist Mainieri goes electric on this Weather Report-ish tune, and his solo in the latter half of this propulsive number is not just good, it’s great vibrations.  https://youtu.be/FsaVCcz2G2A?si=O952bOA-g6g7zU6Q





Posted 10/8/23....

Nick Hornby is a multi-talented Brit who I first became aware of when the film High Fidelity with John Cusack--and Jack Black as one of his record store buddies--debuted in theaters in 2000.  Hornby had written the 1995 book upon which that film was based (the original London locale was moved to Chicago for the movie).  A couple of other Hornby novels that leapt off the pages to hit the silver screen include his 1998 novel About a Boy which led to the critically acclaimed 2002 movie starring Hugh Grant, and 2009’s Juliet, Naked which ended up onscreen in 2018 with Rose Byrne and Ethan Hawke.

As evidenced by two of the above novels-into-films, High Fidelity and Juliet, Naked, Hornby is also into music BIG time.  He’s collaborated with rock band Marah and singer-songwriter Ben Folds, delved into writing lyrics, and dived into music criticism.  In 2002 he published Songbook, a collection of 26 essays about songs that deeply affect him, and below I have listed the total 31 tunes that he put under his microscope.  It’s an interesting assortment!

1. Teenage Fanclub – "Your Love Is the Place Where I Come From" https://youtu.be/Q3UEdWcoVCQ?si=TLvQq3K6cBN8c3-z

2. Bruce Springsteen – "Thunder Road" https://youtu.be/JGBXnw86Mgc?si=ddM8RurdrZyMzZ1G

3. Nelly Furtado – "I'm Like a Bird" https://youtu.be/roPQ_M3yJTA?si=MmH4tbK3BQxIQlYG

4. Led Zeppelin – "Heartbreaker" https://youtu.be/FZp2I3rntWw?si=PbdmCrpnPMZkYjF9  

5. Rufus Wainwright – "One Man Guy" https://youtu.be/60pGwTyOe1c?si=j4InwUN9FdIrjK9u

6. Santana – "Samba Pa Ti" https://youtu.be/timZoOs9ozo?si=gAk_HjBMT40B4Gzf

7. Rod Stewart – "Mama, You Been on My Mind" https://youtu.be/g5lsaUM4klw?si=QE5ogCSZEoLYyx-A

8. Bob Dylan – "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?" https://youtu.be/3EF1mDgfKKM?si=FNoJ8Xdf8nCe8fHU

9. The Beatles – "Rain" https://youtu.be/FkY9BEuLJk4?si=5YU8GUwVewwEHjbn

10. Ani DiFranco – "You Had Time" https://youtu.be/I2XPTXbNmkc?si=LAU8gYnegv9jnuUj

11. Aimee Mann – "I've Had It" https://youtu.be/lekB4EjrFDE?si=8JMWu0EPxc_7rT80

12. Paul Westerberg – "Born for Me" https://youtu.be/HBgF2ZJKZKg?si=6uDqEDGwnxj2Pn5l

13. Suicide – "Frankie Teardrop" https://youtu.be/Ugyp4CZF8rU?si=3Ky3ojeqiXGlt2Rk

14.Teenage Fanclub – "Ain't That Enough" https://youtu.be/3r1jbUquVFo?si=kZVc_LL0EKT4maGH

15. The J. Geils Band – "First I Look at the Purse" https://youtu.be/jqIwPQs6qW4?si=fhiCru4GaJrikG8v

16. Ben Folds Five – "Smoke" https://youtu.be/9T173caw7a4?si=GCfEHHK55KHHWHs5

17. Badly Drawn Boy – "A Minor Incident" https://youtu.be/KoZFV1nK2aU?si=1wFxr2I5pj1HFuXh

18. The Bible – "Glorybound" https://youtu.be/DhKHORfmRo4?si=i0hDY29xFrvc8yVK

19. Van Morrison – "Caravan" https://youtu.be/mVWwgf2F9L4?si=1lpmU8Mx5T-rJKYA

20. Butch Hancock and Marce LaCouture – "So I'll Run" https://youtu.be/KM9RQNe6LZ0?si=31tA4qL7tSFT-6Ao

21. Gregory Isaacs – "Puff, the Magic Dragon" https://youtu.be/CEXarKU7VMo?si=oEVIfRv5lWLAgN-y

22. Ian Dury and the Blockheads – "Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3" https://youtu.be/MoWV9g5gsdA?si=3nicUhBU_Rgdp7g9

23. Richard and Linda Thompson – "Calvary Cross" https://youtu.be/HoCkonFcwew?si=koRD8txlzEnKfS59

24. Jackson Browne – "Late for the Sky" https://youtu.be/n3SJz9jujEA?si=GQIEOVtI0vXcowh8

25. Mark Mulcahy – "Hey Self-Defeater" https://youtu.be/qydv_7dVD7s?si=DlVRqBCERiMBAEBu

26. The Velvelettes – "Needle in a Haystack" https://youtu.be/w0OFTebIuUY?si=h1xQyy0cBG6wWcQf

27. O.V. Wright – "Let's Straighten It Out" https://youtu.be/7V6DcU8dHZI?si=fI9SPUctR_uJiy2y

28. Röyksopp – "Röyksopp's Night Out" https://youtu.be/YP5PrUKpQxI?si=51jsQHKA7fqW5J4w

29. The Avalanches – "Frontier Psychiatrist" https://youtu.be/qLrnkK2YEcE?si=HwZK3-IKdtYJUjiW

30. Soulwax – "No Fun / Push It" https://youtu.be/2H4_7DF70_w?si=yy7yRiUjcJGOECvA

31. Patti Smith Group – "Pissing in a River" https://youtu.be/vuVgjvG2hgU?si=JR7hR972tGkbnrWR





Posted 9/24/23....


Reagan was president...“Hands Across America” happened...Smoking was banned in all modes of public transportation (planes, trains and busses)...The space shuttle Challenger disintegrated after launch...Internet Mail Access Protocol is defined which paves the way for e-mail...Top Gun, Crocodile Dundee, and Platoon were on top at the box office...Dynasty, Hill Street Blues, and Cheers reigned on the small screen...And if you are of a certain age, where were YOU in terms of the music you listened to?  Here are ten tunes from albums released that year, which will put you firmly on the path toward creating your own perfect mix from ’86:

1. Mandolin Rain - Bruce Hornsby.....Hornsby’s a Williamsburg, VA born and raised multiple-threat musician--singer-songwriter, pianist and accordionist--and he first burst into fame with his band The Range via their 1986 debut album The Way It Is.  In addition to fashioning his own accessible yet compelling mix of rock, bluegrass and jazz, Hornsby has guested on many peers’ records as well as dabbled with The Dead in the Jerry Garcia days, principally between 1988 and 1995.  https://youtu.be/PUWZB5Uoi90?si=AQVZjUA6AUmky8fZ   

2. Smoking Gun - The Robert Cray Band.....This first-person tale of a jealous lover was Cray’s breakthrough-to-radio song and he never again pierced through to such a level.  Instead he built a solid career in the blues-rock arena playing and recording with artists such as John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton and others.  The song “Smoking Gun” hails from Cray’s fifth studio album entitled Strong Persuader, a consistently fine effort anchored by his emotive, stinging fret work and his soulful, supple voice.  (One note of trivia here: Cray can be spotted in the Belushi film National Lampoon’s Animal House; he was the bass player in the house party scene that features Otis Day & The Knights.)  https://youtu.be/xM00qR6rhZc?si=NWleT7dsBJL7gutn

3. Back In The High Life Again - Steve Winwood.....Back in the 1980s I leapt into righteous indignation when I heard Winwood sold the use of some of his songs to beer companies for TV commercials.  But like the rest of humanity, I got over it (we all need to get back to indiscriminate and voluminous consumption, and not let petty issues like “artistic expression versus commercialization” consume us).  And now that my head’s on straight again, I can safely say that “Back In The Highlife Again” stands on its own as a great pop-rock ballad displaying an uplifting message, fine harmony vocals from James Taylor, and one of Winwood’s finest hours at the microphone.  The song hails from the album of almost the same name--Back In The High Life.  https://youtu.be/ojcSy6kXciI?si=fcFjHzVQo7-Lo1ax

4. In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel.....Britain’s Gabriel reached his critical and commercial peak with the release of the album So in ’86, and “In Your Eyes” stems from that release.  The mid-80s must have been “his time”--MTV was four years old at that point and Gabriel was doing tremendously innovative song videos which then had incessant play on the channel.  Musically, Gabriel was creating albums that sacrificed nothing to commercial considerations yet the public widely embraced them on their own terms.  “In Your Eyes” features South African vocalist Youssou N’Dour on the choruses, and longtime Gabriel musicians David Rhodes, Tony Levin and Manu Katche on (respectively) guitar, standup bass and drums.  This song from So was later famously featured in the 1989 Cameron Crowe film Say Anything; it was when John Cusack’s character Lloyd Dobson stands defiantly outside of his lost love’s bedroom window...hoisting up a boom box over his head and blaring this tune...seeking strength, and another chance, determined to win her back.  https://youtu.be/ugdYgq-y7Vc?si=61xAJTflZ7I70Vxi

5. When I Think Of You - Janet Jackson.....The album Control from which this track is taken is the one that sent Jackson’s career into the stratosphere in 1986.  It ended up yielding five Top Five singles on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 chart, and the recording process for this album was like her emancipation proclamation.  She had severed ties with husband James DeBarge and father-and-manager Joseph Jackson, and had immediately teamed up with new producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and a new business manager.  On a personal level, when I think of Ms. Jackson, it is not her music that first comes to mind.  I always hearken back to her September 22, 1998 date at Star Lake Amphitheatre, and how her artist rider--the part of the contract that spells out the artist’s wants & needs--had a stipulation in it that was somewhat out of the ordinary.  In the rider, we were instructed to provide a brand new toilet seat for the bathroom in her dressing room--and it had to have the factory seal still wrapped around it.  I’m guessing that this germ consciousness is something that may have run in the family.  https://youtu.be/gIgeh8PEQXI?si=D-TdYz3d4kCRkdcK

6. Welcome To The Boomtown - David & David.....David Baerwald and David Ricketts were L.A. musicians who came together for just one album--1986’s Boomtown--which featured this electrifying rock song, a real breath of fresh air to FM station listeners across the country.  It sounded like little else on the radio back then: sonically, the song’s a churner with rich, atmospheric layers of guitars and keyboards; lyrically, it spins a tale of the monied malcontents of Los Angeles who were perhaps once well-heeled but were now soul-deprived and artificially-fueled.  The chorus: “I say welcome, welcome to the boomtown / pick a habit, we got plenty to go around / welcome, welcome to the boomtown / all that money makes such a succulent sound / welcome to the boomtown.”  https://youtu.be/c3st4AD69-0?si=3hXfh5IOq2r_TxTp

7. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths.....English alternative rock band The Smiths were an exciting and refreshing additive to the overall 1980s music scene, with muscular, jangly alt-pop instrumentation beneath the melancholic wordplay of lead singer Morrissey.  The lyrics by wordsmith Morrissey always seemed to skew toward gloom and doom, but were often at the same time amusing because of their audacity; evidence these lyrics from the track listed here: “And if a double-decker bus / crashes into us / To die by your side / Is such a heavenly way to die / And if a ten-ton truck / Kills the both of us / To die by your side / Well, the pleasure, the privilege is mine.”  The beauty of The Smiths was that these lyrics sailed above a shimmering sound-bed of excellent guitar work and savvy pop constructs provided by group co-founder Johnny Marr.  “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” comes from the band’s third album The Queen Is Dead.  https://youtu.be/3r-qDvD3F3c?si=tq4Q7-4LO3JSFelJ

8. Something So Strong - Crowded House.....New Zealander Neil Finn and Aussies Paul Hester and Nick Seymour formed a band in Melbourne in 1985, and after picking up a record deal from Capitol they moved temporarily to L.A. to cut their debut album.  At that time they were known as The Mullanes but Capitol insisted on a name change before recording began.  So Crowded House was born, named for the cramped apartment quarters they were asked to lodge in while recording their first record.  “Something So Strong” comes from that self-titled debut album from 1986 and one year later it became a Top Ten hit in America along with one other from the album, “Don’t Dream It’s Over”.  Crowded House’s music is top-o’-the-line pop; strong on melody and boasting smart arrangements that place it miles above most of the glop that now passes for pop on American hit-radio stations.  https://youtu.be/ugZrMr7lnfI?si=9fTK9RiN-ZdMEABC

9. Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes - Paul Simon.....Simon’s seventh studio album Graceland, from which I’ve plucked “Diamonds,” was largely recorded in South Africa during the cultural boycott that was in place due to apartheid.  Though Simon’s efforts to recruit local musicians and ultimately record there stoked some controversy, the end result brought a heightened awareness of world music and nudged a few South African artists like Ladysmith Black Mambazo toward worldwide fame.  In America, Graceland picked up Record and Album of the Year at the 1986 Grammies and is to this day a highly-regarded milestone of pop music.  Famed former Village Voice critic Robert Christgau--not one usually to gush--called Simon’s album "so strange, so sweet, so willful, so radically incongruous and plainly beautiful.”  https://youtu.be/FAb2Mu0CRk4?si=BHN9b3jCA1pmfCuL

10. Living In America - James Brown.....The Godfather of Soul, so famous and aflame with talent in the 1950s and 1960s, really hit a dry patch in the decade leading up to 1985.  Then came the film Rocky IV--Sly Stallone’s most commercially successful entry in that beaten-but-not-broken boxer series--and this catapulted Brown back in the limelight with “Living In America.”  Brown appears in the film performing a bit of this song, and the tune was released as a single as well.  The song appeared both on the Rocky IV soundtrack and on Brown’s 1986 album Gravity, and it was a Top Ten hit for this artist, his first in that pop-music category since 1968.  [editorial aside: local readers of musicasaurus.com can take pride in the local shout-out from Brown, when he’s rattling off cities near the tune’s climax and includes “Pittsburgh, P-A.’]  https://youtu.be/6_Lu-__2TdY?si=UICVSEF4xbovYugd





Posted 9/10/23....

Instead of the now usual 18 or 20 songs listed for your surfing, this time on Building A Mixtery we are focusing on ten tunes.  The ten were long ago housed on one of the many cassette tape mixes I cobbled together during the 1980s.  Call this an “Eighties Obscurity” mix; it predominantly features less-than-mainstream artists whose moments in the spotlight primarily came only during that ‘80s wave.  Here are the ten, with a bit of background on each band.

1. Painted Moon -- The Silencers.....from the band’s debut album in 1987 entitled A Letter From St. Paul.....Hailing from Scotland, this pop-rock band with Celtic and folk leanings had a stateside radio cult hit with the track listed here, and it made a bit of a splash on MTV as well.  They have been compared to their fellow nationals of the time Big Country and The Proclaimers.  https://youtu.be/FJC_cuAL1us?si=NWPhvjquSq2RuVTq   

2. Gettysburg -- The Brandos.....from Honor Among Thieves, the group’s first album (1987).....The band formed in New York City in 1985, and the subsequent MTV adoption and Radio embrace of the tune “Gettysburg” propelled them onto critic’s lists--and on to cassette mix tapes like mine.  The song was one of those rock-anthem types that sounded refreshing--at the time, at least--and it served as a nice break from the dominant synth and new wave-ish stuff pumped out by a lot of other ‘80s outfits.  https://youtu.be/gBrUU-DfihY?si=oM8D1wrA046l7VBJ   

3. We Are What We Are -- The Other Ones.....from their self-titled 1986 debut.....The Other Ones were another band helped immeasurably by MTV’s influence, though the video was pretty pedestrian.  But the song was kinda cool; it had an eeriness coupled with an Eighties sheen, like a few other new wavers from that era (Eurythmics, Missing Persons, etc.).  The band consisted of a 50/50 split of Aussies and Germans, and were originally based in Berlin--but der furor never arose in terms of wild success and they went kaput.  https://youtu.be/e0iLZvm0DxQ?si=A_qoHfQjDQdNBJeY

4. Too Much Ain’t Enough Love -- Jimmy Barnes.....from the album Freight Train Heart released in 1987 in native Australia, and in 1988 in the USA.....Singer-songwriter Barnes left the dissolving but immensely popular Australian band Cold Chisel for a solo go in late 1983.  Freight Train Heart was his third solo effort after leaving the band, and it was #1 in Australia but also once again aimed at perking up more ears in the States (to little avail).  Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain from Journey were involved in this record as well.  Barnes’ strong suit?  He’s a blackbelt belter, for sure.  https://youtu.be/InlyO2Q0sIA?si=T85bLoJqEn4aE2GR    

5. Don’t Fear Me Now (Kiss You Once More) -- In Tua Nua.....from The Long Acre (1988).....This Irish ensemble, sounding a bit like an Emerald Isle 10,000 Maniacs, got their first break in the early ‘80s by signing on with U2’s record label Mother for a radio single.  Nothing much gelled commercially though, until a few years later after personnel shifts and a signing with Virgin Records.  Yet the band never really made any kind of dent in the United States.  In the mid-to-late 1980s I was working at Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena and In Tua Nua was an opening act on a major tour coming through town, which led me to their album The Long Acre.  The particular track listed here, and one called “Innocent And The Honest Ones,” are the picks of the litter.  https://youtu.be/DLBJOS2BOYc?si=IE7Xo6jGqRkm81Yn  

6. The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades -- Timbuk3.....from the duo’s debut album Greetings From Timbuk3 (1986).....If you HAVE to become a one-hit wonder, then may you be renowned for it in an eternally good light.  Timbuk3--at the time a Madison, Wisconsin husband and wife who had teamed up as a musical duo--came up with this lyrical, satirical pop culture nugget that has appeared in CD compilations aplenty, and has also popped up in various films and television programs over the years...Sample lyrics: “I study nuclear science, I love my classes / I got a crazy teacher who wears dark glasses / Things are going great, and they’re only getting better / I’m doing all right, getting good grades / The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades”.....and.....“I gotta job waiting for my graduation / Fifty thou a year will buy a lotta beer / Things are going great, and they’re only getting better / I’m doing all right, getting good grades / The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades”.  https://youtu.be/OEH4jaQpOt4?si=-g7UPHPfSEUN-7SS

7. Charlotte Anne -- Julian Cope.....from the artist’s fourth solo album released in 1988, My Nation Underground...Cope could be called a citizen of the world [would that make him the original citizen Cope?] because of his many interests and slants.  He is a musician, an author, a political activist, an antiquarian, a counter-culturalist and much more.   Interestingly, the album from which “Charlotte Anne” stems is one that Cope labels a wrongheaded move or a misstep by him.  Cope’s albums before and after were more experimental he reportedly proclaimed, and they were certainly more to his liking.  “Charlotte Anne” though, helped get him solid exposure in America for the first time as the more progressive rock stations across the U.S. added the song and ran with it.  The tune delighted seekers like myself that were glued to the alt-airwaves looking for fresh off-kilter sounds to feed upon.  https://youtu.be/9KNL9tA1Qac?si=C0FsNuijxDLrf2nz    

8. Soviet Snow -- Shona Laing.....from the 1988 album South, the artist’s fifth.....Laing is an alternative-pop New Zealander who made significant headway in America (for the first time in her career) with a song that became a heavy favorite on college campuses back in the late ‘80s, “Glad I’m Not A Kennedy.”  Another song from South, the one featured here on the playlist, is “Soviet Snow” which illustrates Laing’s knack for sometimes writing melodic, powerful, and politically relevant alt-rock songs that have anthem choruses and intelligent spins of lyric: Are we wide awake? Is the world aware? / Radiation over Red Square / Creeping on to cross Roman roads / Fear of freezing in the Soviet snow / One eye on the winter / Oh there's just a hint of Soviet snow”.....and.....“We need something to keep the chill / From freezing our own free will / We're teasing at war like children / Love is the one solution / Seeing ourselves inside / Our enemies' need for shelter / Same winter wind that's blowing / Deep down inside we know / We’ve got one eye on the winter...”  https://youtu.be/M5Te_yWiHBs?si=0o-7gyItIEcprVxK

9. No Other Girl -- Semi-Twang.....from the band’s debut album Salty Tears, released in March 1988.....A native of Kenosha, Wisconsin, singer-songwriter John Sieger eventually moved to Milwaukee and ended up with a Warner Brothers recording contract for his newest band Semi-Twang in 1988.  The record had a lot going for it: long-established top-tier producers including Mitchell Froom, Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads, and Chris Thomas (who had labored on The Beatles’ White Album and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon), and also some stellar musicians including two of Elvis Presley’s band, guitarist James Burton and bassist Jerry Schef.  But the Semi-Twang album was released and did nada.  It is out of print today, but the band reunited in 2009 (twenty years after their tanking debut) and these days they’re reportedly issuing new material via private-label endeavors.  “No Other Girl” from Salty Tears really captures the band’s late-‘80s alt-country sweetness and sophistication.  https://youtu.be/LAoIzkxX9R8?si=teIoJwn9ZM1NGsfL

10. All Touch -- Rough Trade.....from the band’s 1981 release For Those That Think Young.....Toronto-based vocalist Carol Pope and keyboard player/guitarist Kevan Staples formed a band in 1968, shifted personnel and redubbed themselves Rough Trade in 1974, and then achieved cross-Canada success starting in 1980 with the release of the song “High School Confidential.”  This tune from their 1980 album Avoid Freud was in its day quite controversial with its overt references to lesbian love.  The album For Those That Think Young followed that next year, containing another somewhat explicit song in “All Touch,” which became a top radio hit outside of Canada after a long-delayed international release of the album finally happened.  The song hit modern rock stations in the States in late 1982/early 1983 and, aided by an MTV video, picked up much wider recognition.  Singer Pope was clearly the centerpiece of the band, looking like Grace Slick’s younger, bondage-garbed sister (judging from her concert getup), and “All Touch” was their forever frozen-in-time moment in the sun.  https://youtu.be/Hj8ByGkotBI?si=CbtopAAr4kAv3n4i    





Posted 8/27/23....

“There’s no mix like home...There’s no mix like home...There’s no mix like home...”

1. Home - Edward Sharp & The Magnetic Zeros https://youtu.be/DHEOF_rcND8?si=4jzDj85YpGCPkzkw

2. Home - Joe Satriani https://youtu.be/MMMqwIgNhjI?si=td4Hc_wr-guKAiRE

3. Home - Barenaked Ladies https://youtu.be/8IK23JE8KFg?si=WDnzjXNfLiZ6FebO

4. Home - Jack Johnson https://youtu.be/6vL0LTlG3H0?si=WXkdmyTkdUBGF4mG

5. Home - Zero 7 https://youtu.be/cZctp4faoqA?si=VxR9Rl-YRJyjBSkD

6. About to Make Me Leave Home - Bonnie Raitt https://youtu.be/AsYcmYpfsvE?si=PVDLeHQpgHE9Kaaq

7. Bring it on Home - Little Big Town https://youtu.be/eOae5HflxhI?si=Rkhp5etbLBCwPYhB

8. I’ll Be Home - Randy Newman https://youtu.be/xXDxYVuLNm4?si=TrZs3Kqk1mzSCGhm

9. Can’t Find My Way Home - Ellen McIlwaine https://youtu.be/wHVCXKjZ-BY?si=q57Z6Wt5iT0oW3qt

10. Anybody Wanna Take Me Home - Ryan Adams https://youtu.be/voxTOYBbx9A?si=BNFlrjp0YkQVyCdQ

11. Calling My Children Home (live) - Emmylou Harris & Spyboy https://youtu.be/ggwPUsaBmOk?si=WOqQawUl9TGklair

12. Go Home, Girl - Ry Cooder https://youtu.be/k63zFZn2JRE?si=IGyk6FW6gYc7I_Ks

13. Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home - Etta James https://youtu.be/-YdRcdxfNjE?si=h44RtPPUNrGepnqC

14. Home is Where the Hatred Is - Gil Scott-Heron https://youtu.be/DuaugaX8N2U?si=ax-QmWo2sRo_YkcR

15. A House is Not a Home - Stan Getz https://youtu.be/TjkPD3xQ7Ic?si=RY6Qft5GaH_eHwGi

16. Home Again - Carole King https://youtu.be/xgnEXa1PizU?si=FK7w_nOeQnKMT3Wz

17. Just to Walk that Little Girl Home - Mink DeVille https://youtu.be/GD7KV9r5r3c?si=PfU8OR-Cpwc3VFuf

18. Night Ride Home - Joni Mitchell https://youtu.be/qf3Mjlkj8uk?si=enxyMq7SY84c1lnl





Posted 8/13/23....

(Next post: Sunday, August 27, 2023)

If I delayed any longer to post this particular mix, I just could not bear it.  It is comprised of some recognizable artists and songs, sandwiched in with doses of the more obscure.

These are fully fleshed-out songs, and not just the bits of ‘em that pop up at key points in the intriguing, well-scripted and beautifully acted Hulu series The Bear.  The songs below represent a sampling all across Season One. 

1. Have You Seen Me Lately - Counting Crows https://youtu.be/NF1SR2recG4

2. Rocco and His Brothers - Mi Loco Tango https://youtu.be/zbaTahAzWbI

3. Saints - The Breeders https://youtu.be/mPuNkAQo1lI

4. Animal - Pearl Jam https://youtu.be/vR7OWzvf5uM

5. Old Engine Oil - The Budos Band https://youtu.be/cHWQ88ODtLQ

6. Help Me, Rhonda - The Beach Boys https://youtu.be/j1THDLgL_bs  

7. Sisyphus - Andrew Bird https://youtu.be/zug1B8DSkWw

8. St. Dominic’s Preview - Van Morrison https://youtu.be/AZNQM1GUfp0

9. Call the Police - LCD Soundsystem https://youtu.be/zWKIWNJnlzI

10. Oh My Heart - R.E.M. https://youtu.be/ilM9ywvobS0

11. Peace Blossom Boogy - Babe Rainbow https://youtu.be/p875E_kk50o

12. Impossible Germany - Wilco https://youtu.be/eY-7q42UZR0

13. Beat City - The Flowerpot Men https://youtu.be/c1S5isFLRgI

14. In Too Deep - Genesis https://youtu.be/3WkzMvw0b8E

15. Loved by You - Kirby https://youtu.be/PoEnPmjfl0A

16. One Fine Day - David Byrne & Brian Eno https://youtu.be/d7fG9ddmgts  

17. Don’t Give a Damn - Serengeti https://youtu.be/8ECsMlswGaI

18. Chicago - Sufjan Stevens https://youtu.be/c_-cUdmdWgU





Posted 7/30/23....


1. What is Life - George Harrison  https://youtu.be/5Y5olEjNjAw

2. Where Are You Going - Dave Matthews Band  https://youtu.be/qjykrjAS5bQ  

3. Some Journey - Suzanne Vega  https://youtu.be/gX5mJc73KCs             

4. The Long and Winding Road - The Beatles  https://youtu.be/fR4HjTH_fTM

5. Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God) - Kate Bush https://youtu.be/HYwNM1t9ltI            

6. Mystic Mile - Robben Ford & The Blue Line https://youtu.be/Row83ujjXkc      

7. Take A Giant Step - Taj Mahal  https://youtu.be/zafN8DFPJbI

8. Running to Stand Still - U2  https://youtu.be/orfhLLo7XDs          

9. Can't Find My Way Home (live) - Rachael Price with Chris Thile  https://youtu.be/1xZxxVlu7BM    

10. Long Way Back - Gene Parsons  https://youtu.be/eFIyMuEidHM         

11. Follow You Follow Me - Genesis  https://youtu.be/vt2HSAfa2rQ          

12. Home By Another Way - James Taylor  https://youtu.be/nX6aPdx9btY          

13. Long May You Run - The Stills Young Band  https://youtu.be/dVM8_jAL86w

14. If I Should Fall Behind (live) - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band  https://youtu.be/-nCpv6D8uFc

15. Why Walk When You Can Fly - Mary Chapin Carpenter  https://youtu.be/cChsyweLDos   

16. Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot - Sting  https://youtu.be/4lYkfqaLOfM     

17. Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) - Paul Young  https://youtu.be/_iFnBRcHJw4

18. The Search - Pat Metheny Group  https://youtu.be/cKfbBNOCHM0

19. Into the Mystic - Van Morrison  https://youtu.be/MLFpKrFmwrA





Posted 7/16/23....


She's The - Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band  https://youtu.be/blbFaatKszE      

It Takes - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston https://youtu.be/EB1AnAPfGn4

Soul Dance Number - Wilson Pickett  https://youtu.be/RhD6JUpsT-w      

Days of Rain - Flying Burrito Brothers  https://youtu.be/aLIBwCXbrvA     

O' Clock World - Hal Ketchum  https://youtu.be/k-Dv_xwtcuw        

Blocks Away - Lucinda Williams  https://youtu.be/81gOkVG9NbM  

Chinese Brothers - R.E.M.  https://youtu.be/7hGe2ao0yms                        

Miles High - The Byrds  https://youtu.be/V_51PAR23sY     

Cloud - The Temptations  https://youtu.be/cEOgTGlCw7Q

10 Years Gone - Led Zeppelin  https://youtu.be/DBzuYNK95sM

13 Questions - Seatrain  https://youtu.be/RrYm_Hju_RA

Edge Of 17 - Stevie Nicks  https://youtu.be/3oZunnY-Cbs

I'm 18 - Alice Cooper  https://youtu.be/m5ZL94cdiuU

Hey 19 - Steely Dan  https://youtu.be/oJ11Vq6N7rk    

Strawberry Letter 23 - Shuggie Otis  https://youtu.be/sbhIZe3smr0

25 Miles - Edwin Starr  https://youtu.be/elS2-rFe_Vc                           

30 Days - Chuck Berry  https://youtu.be/sRT8HlmptQI                                                

40 Days and 40 Nights - Muddy Waters  https://youtu.be/LMFKZ9UhNzE

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover - Paul Simon  https://youtu.be/ABXtWqmArUU 

60 Minute Man - The Dominoes  https://youtu.be/09EarjR-UPU





Posted 7/2/23....




1. Michael Stipe and Coldplay - In the Sun https://youtu.be/n02zq2wyfdo           

2. Leo Kottke and Iris DeMent - Banks of Marble https://youtu.be/ncEKYPNtiJc

3. Snow Patrol and Martha Wainwright - Set the Fire to the Third Bar https://youtu.be/tCYSeRL9YXM        

4. Aimee Mann with Chris Difford & Glenn Tilbrook(formerly of Squeeze) - That's Just What You Are https://youtu.be/uTK_L3qgwSc 

5. Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Stop Draggin' My Heart Around https://youtu.be/H5i7j0VhEHw

6. Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris - Return of the Grievous Angel https://youtu.be/h_Iz0iVvhEc            

7. Mindy Smith and Buddy Miller - What If the World Stops Turning https://youtu.be/6ik2IRmv5lY

8. Nanci Griffith and Adam Duritz (of the Counting Crows) - Back to Georgia https://youtu.be/4-fM2tiFnys

9. Kid Rock with Sheryl Crow - Collide https://youtu.be/WoFHIhAW4W0

10. The Vaughan Brothers (Jimmy and Stevie Ray) - Tick Tock  https://youtu.be/N8uUTW9zPbM

11. Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash - Girl from the North Country https://youtu.be/Je4Eg77YSSA

12. Patti LaBelle and Travis Tritt - When Something is Wrong with my Baby https://youtu.be/IWaP6H_n0qw

13. Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell - Ain’t No Mountain High Enough https://youtu.be/ABfQuZqq8wg                                                                                                                                  

14. David Bowie & Queen - Under Pressure https://youtu.be/nbwn21TU4ec     

15. Eminem and Rihanna - Love the Way You Lie https://youtu.be/acMtKzTbAAU

16. The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale of New York https://youtu.be/j9jbdgZidu8        

17. Clannad and Paul Young - Both Sides Now https://youtu.be/ynLGeQ22d3k

18. Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood - Jackson https://youtu.be/D36P3nNsD34

19. Luciano Pavarotti and James Brown - It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World https://youtu.be/GaB9F3R9cIY

20. Toots Thielemans and Beth Hart - Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea https://youtu.be/RVjifqmCZHg





Posted 6/18/23....

That is the theme that WQED documentarian and producer Rick Sebak and I hewed to on the evening of Wednesday, May 31 when he and I deejayed the twin turntables at Independent Brewing in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh from 6:00-8:30pm.  We played songs all evening by artists who are no longer with us and who now reside in Rock and Roll Heaven.  [p.s. Thanks to Haley Joel Osment for popularizing “I see dead people” so that we could riff off of that famous phrase.]

1. Rick played JOSEPH SPENCE - “Out On The Rollin’ Sea” https://youtu.be/9QfxBbBnm9w

2. Rick played DAKOTA STATON - “Broadway” https://youtu.be/9hczka__jjY

3. Rick played TINA TURNER - “Better Be Good To Me” (extended 12” single) https://youtu.be/bT2MxLvOfUE

4. Lance played GORDON LIGHTFOOT - “Sundown” https://youtu.be/1IBdZ645S-o

5. Rick played TINA TURNER - “When I Was Young” https://youtu.be/gZ1tpHyMvQo

6. Lance played DAVID LINDLEY - “Bye Bye Love” https://youtu.be/6uqZLXcLX4I

7. Rick played JOY DIVISION - “She’s Lost Control” https://youtu.be/CYA-KtCfN6Q

8. Lance played CROSBY, STILLS & NASH - “Long Time Gone” https://youtu.be/nS3l_TwPNRY

9. Rick played BING CROSBY with BUDDY COLE & HIS TRIO - “Did Your Mother Come From Ireland?” https://youtu.be/u767MU9U9kA

10. Lance played JEFF BECK - “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” https://youtu.be/xiOPvOBd8IA

11. Rick played PRINCE - “Let’s Work” https://youtu.be/vFmJqdksL80

12. Lance played B.J. THOMAS - “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” https://youtu.be/sySlY1XKlhM

13. Lance played JOHN PRINE - “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore” https://youtu.be/sRCLHBhZPQ4

14. Rick played OS MUTANTES - “Ritta Lee” https://youtu.be/LsyYdnW7c98 / “Mágica” https://youtu.be/W-IDaWwF1yk

15. Lance played TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS - “Something In The Air” https://youtu.be/8J7yTze4Xbs

16. Rick played AMY WINEHOUSE - “Rehab” (Hot Chip Remix) https://youtu.be/FJbq3NJVXFk

17. Lance played AL JARREAU - “We Got By” https://youtu.be/ComvXGgjkwM

18. Rick played DINAH WASHINGTON - “What A Difference A Day Makes” https://youtu.be/upJ3OgMRiUA / “Nothing In The World” https://youtu.be/O-D8xTZXhjg

19. Lance played DAN HICKS - “Cloud My Sunny Mood” https://youtu.be/YuhHIGsGh_4

20. Rick played TINY TIM - “New York, New York” https://youtu.be/mQYlshEkmFY / “Stairway To Heaven” https://youtu.be/AYMHiAYFM20

21. Lance played DAVID BOWIE - “Let’s Dance” https://youtu.be/coD5jw-OCe8

22. Rick played FRANK SINATRA - “Some Enchanted Evening” https://youtu.be/To4uLt9jEBI

23. Lance played CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND - “Her Eyes Are A Million Blue Miles” https://youtu.be/WiMJPFfsEQk

24. Rick played ELLA FITZGERALD - “You’re Laughing At Me” https://youtu.be/9FaxTuzymOA / “Let Yourself Go” https://youtu.be/3kAbDGd9Veg

25. Lance played ROBERT PALMER - “Can We Still Be Friends?” https://youtu.be/QfH27fYKbZ4

26. Lance played HERBIE MANN - “Push Push” https://youtu.be/y9EMVd1773A

27. Rick played a whole side of songs by RICK DANKO - “What a Town” https://youtu.be/lgmzeWQg028 / “Brainwash” https://youtu.be/xlwNfKUAgDw / “New Mexico” https://youtu.be/4kRkQbeSN20 / “Tired of Waiting” https://youtu.be/BpPPRfiQuVY / “Sip the Wine” https://youtu.be/LbZkf4LGiNg





Posted 6/4/23....

A 50-year Flashback to 1 9 7 3...

Fifty years back, these were the best songs from a variety of new records that were released in 1973.  When I, again and again, placed these particular albums on my turntable, these are the songs that cried out for frequent needle drops...ENJOY.

1. Martha - Tom Waits https://youtu.be/VXQwDb7AUmo

2. Had I Known You Better Then - Daryl Hall and John Oates https://youtu.be/YOHIe5fRKhc

3. You've Been In Love Too Long - Bonnie Raitt https://youtu.be/Q43Je3ay2xY            

4. Come Get to This - Marvin Gaye https://youtu.be/pvkG_kjBS-o

5. Learn How to Fall - Paul Simon https://youtu.be/VqlaLXAoJN0                          

6. On Your Way Down - Little Feat https://youtu.be/dwk79zJFIGQ

7. Please Send Me Someone to Love - Paul Butterfield’s Better Days https://youtu.be/EP9q-jkV7O4            

8. Mind Games - John Lennon https://youtu.be/QLeObvcUii4                                  

9. If You Want Me to Stay - Sly & The Family Stone https://youtu.be/gZFabOuF4Ps

10. What Is Hip - Tower of Power https://youtu.be/o1KCoX_dDBE                         

11. Ooh La La - Faces https://youtu.be/bRukNU3jkIM                                                

12. Panama Red - New Riders of the Purple Sage https://youtu.be/O9G0emfp87E

13. Full Circle - The Byrds https://youtu.be/79oGn6-7wL4                                        

14. Spirit in the Night - Bruce Springsteen https://youtu.be/hFEeqfqoTSY

15. Right Place, Wrong Time - Dr. John https://youtu.be/W4PjWgiH-LQ

16. Avenging Annie - Andy Pratt https://youtu.be/DZI-DraC0o4                              

17. All the Way from Memphis - Mott the Hoople https://youtu.be/7BXvZSApms8  

18. Sufficiently Breathless - Captain Beyond https://youtu.be/fIQWu5YbCAA

19. Sail On, Sailor - The Beach Boys https://youtu.be/Zx6dgEgbMNU

20. Happiness Is Just Around the Bend - Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express https://youtu.be/qfxFxqa_K60





Posted 5/21/23....

People...People who listen to “People”...are the luckiest people in the world.

Enjoy this mix of songs with people’s names in the titles.

1. Jolene - Mindy Smith https://youtu.be/IaJn5IMf-Ww

2. Daniel - Elton John https://youtu.be/-9xib-hCm6c

3. Amelia - Joni Mitchell https://youtu.be/BsWVRN8DDjs

4. Suzanne - Judy Collins https://youtu.be/F3WOAqtRRvQ

5. Amie – Damien Rice https://youtu.be/ibUpX-mZayQ

6. Angie - Rolling Stones https://youtu.be/aVLBF-UKevY

7. Arthur McBride - Andy Irvine & Paul Brady https://youtu.be/KMgovNHwtqc

8. To Ramona - Flying Burrito Brothers https://youtu.be/n7zijSFW0Ok 

9. Abraham, Martin and John - Dion https://youtu.be/rwn8hIyiHvI

10. Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond https://youtu.be/5JfU4PKgmJc

11. Ophelia (live) - The Band https://youtu.be/cRap5ta6k9k

12. Billie Jean - Michael Jackson https://youtu.be/OZGtRvYF-A4

13. Proud Mary - Ike & Tina Turner https://youtu.be/2RF7Ya9YHEI

14. Brian Wilson - Barenaked Ladies https://youtu.be/fIZyqx83mso

15. Jack & Diane - John Mellencamp https://youtu.be/l7gG5KyHbEc

16. Juliet - Little Feat https://youtu.be/3xhrGzj1qT4

17. Luka - Suzanne Vega https://youtu.be/-06n1iy4Ey4

18. Bobby Jean - Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band https://youtu.be/iGR_Rk74tOk

19. Peg - Steely Dan https://youtu.be/8pk90bIPVs4

20. Lucille - Little Richard https://youtu.be/yjZtZye7aeI

21. Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry https://youtu.be/Uf4rxCB4lys

22. Roxanne - The Police https://youtu.be/CMjUyI8_G2Y

23. Aurora – Foo Fighters https://youtu.be/2Psg8CaJkUQ

24. Francesca - Richard Thompson https://youtu.be/w1AYP5TzOCk





Posted 5/7/23....


1. Kings - Steely Dan  https://youtu.be/mNBTUJbnN1o

2. When You Became King - Alana Davis  https://youtu.be/fMfmZ3bLmfk

3. Homecoming King - Guster  https://youtu.be/MUbSVGrdD_I

4. I’m a King Bee - Rolling Stones  https://youtu.be/X3IUPW2Yoj0

5. King for a Day - XTC  https://youtu.be/EVASP83kjT0

6. Your Love is King - Sade  https://youtu.be/c_lgse6-JKo

7. Sun King - The Beatles  https://youtu.be/6bNMxWGHlTI

8. Rain King - Counting Crows  https://youtu.be/FEL48-0xRAA

9. Rain King (not the same song as immediately above) - Terence Boylan  https://youtu.be/JKykV2kDN5g

10. King Harvest - The Band  https://youtu.be/yeKY5PUMgvQ

11. King Grand - Sea Level  https://youtu.be/5Z_fTcC1XHQ

12. King of America - The I Don’t Cares  https://youtu.be/BWb-BcSkq9A

13. King of Pain - The Police  https://youtu.be/SZlRX03BzeA

14. King of Hearts - Lucinda Williams  https://youtu.be/xosuLI583ps

15. King of Nothing - Seals & Crofts  https://youtu.be/FhiCCcHkBVE  

16. King of the Road - Roger Miller  https://youtu.be/F8njusCInWo

17. King of the World - Steely Dan  https://youtu.be/Q7kA5qDOUHE

18. King of the World (not the same song as immediately above) - Angelfish  https://youtu.be/vsEmgZIT3xw

19. All the King’s Horses - Joss Stone  https://youtu.be/7fzg5JNUEDo

20. Riding with the King - John Hiatt  https://youtu.be/GNVkiOR6exs

21. Kings Highway - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers  https://youtu.be/-h3gXKArWyw

22. The Court of the Crimson King - King Crimson  https://youtu.be/ukgraQ-xkp4





Posted 4/23/23....

I am commemorating Women’s History Month a bit late here--annually, it’s March!--however there’s no time like the present to dig into the sonic achievements of the fairer sex.

1. Abra Moore - Your Faithful Friend  https://youtu.be/cwDBydukoL4

2. Joni Mitchell - My Secret Place  https://youtu.be/50tn9Es5ORU

3. Nanci Griffith - Going Back to Georgia  https://youtu.be/4-fM2tiFnys

4. Angelique Kidjo - Never Know (live)  https://youtu.be/q0QAOxfgtXE

5. Sam Phillips - What Do I Do  https://youtu.be/P96om77z9hI  

6. Shona Laing - Glad I’m Not a Kennedy  https://youtu.be/vuJ2-i2_d2I

7. Flora Purim - Silver Sword  https://youtu.be/_oCno8bGvjI

8. Shelby Lynne - Thought It Would Be Easier  https://youtu.be/OKE4VjfwdGc

9. Rickie Lee Jones - Night Train  https://youtu.be/XQpO_kl_6S0

10. Bjork - Human Behaviour  https://youtu.be/RaiXND_JFNA

11. Tracy Chapman - Telling Stories  https://youtu.be/EScNALt7IFM

12. Valerie Carter - Ooh Child  https://youtu.be/4H32jFWceWI   

13. Marsha Ball, Lou Ann Barton, and Angela Strehli - Good Rockin’ Daddy  https://youtu.be/iFbQPHjgKzg

14. Katell Keineg - Franklin  https://youtu.be/H9mR4Tc9Agc   

15. Shawn Colvin - Round of Blues  https://youtu.be/-1_RbxuRvVA

16. Macy Gray - Do Something  https://youtu.be/PHs-h7aMBO4

17. Julie Driscoll with Brian Auger & The Trinity - All Blues  https://youtu.be/9BKG28owM2g

18. Enya - Ebudae  https://youtu.be/apEy8Ky1PpM





Posted 4/9/23....

On the website bigthink.com, there is an article dated May 23, 2019 about a study on links between levels of intelligence and a love of instrumental music.  “From deejays to Debussy,” the subheading says, “it's all brain food.”  Listed key takeaways are: “A new study supports earlier suspicions of a link between intelligence and non-vocal music.  This may have to do with a taste for novel experiences way back on the savannah.  Purely instrumental music may simply be more fresh for brainiacs.”

So, have a listen.  Apparently that would be a smart move.

1. Theme From The Last Waltz The Band https://youtu.be/8UkmFdMvnTI         

2. Roscoe - Bill Frisell  https://youtu.be/PE_t5iZHFXg

3. Didjital Vibrations - Jamiroquai https://youtu.be/ywTFQ6hbfFM                         

4. The Pink Panther Theme - Bobby McFerrin  https://youtu.be/HbQDjAx0n3I

5. Flying - The Beatles  https://youtu.be/Z1ONJQLdZrk                                             

6. Goodbye - Larry Carlton  https://youtu.be/4UiwMdbUerg

7. Lionheart - Angels of Venice  https://youtu.be/ZG7bP8CaKY0

8. Crossed Wires - Mike Mainieri  https://youtu.be/FsaVCcz2G2A

9. A Taste Of Honey - Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass  https://youtu.be/gRGOm071sE0        

10. Jumpin´ At The Woodside - Jay McShann  https://youtu.be/WLe7vtFGxrk      

11. Cool # 9 - Joe Satriani  https://youtu.be/dMKRoWTKJ5Y

12. Take Time - Rufus  https://youtu.be/sCYvHiZk0hM                                              

13. Bone Chaos In The Castle - Kaki King  https://youtu.be/xfEy7p6_eiM

14. Beat 70 - Pat Metheny Group  https://youtu.be/oGU98hNw41c                        

15. She's A Woman - Jeff Beck  https://youtu.be/rkxqb33lAAM                                

16. Rhum 'n' Zouk - Jean-Luc Ponty  https://youtu.be/ZFbOZaLHwqs                   

17. Peter Gunn - Henry Mancini  https://youtu.be/glemICLcSyU                             

18. Say What! - Stevie Ray Vaughan  https://youtu.be/DG_4foWpcvE





Posted 3/26/23....

The year 1962 predated the Beatles music reaching American shores, and our radio stations, and our television sets...So what was popular music like in the USA pre-John/Paul/George/ Ringo?  What styles of music?  Which artists were the chart climbers?  Here is a sampling of some of the best music before The Beatles arrived on the scene: Songs from 1962.

1. Love Me Do - The Beatles (note: this was the band’s debut single releasedin the U.K. in October 1962.  The very first single by the group to air on radio stations in the USA was “Please Please Me” in February 1963, and the first two albums by the band released in our country were Introducing...The Beatles and Meet the Beatles!  Both of these were released in January 1964, one month before the Fab Four came to America for the first time and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.) https://youtu.be/7uQuX1sOYk4

2. Shuffle Twist - Gene Ammons, Jack McDuff & Sonny Stitt https://youtu.be/OmwjQ4pxM0g

3. I Left My Heart In San Francisco - Tony Bennett https://youtu.be/YSIF3KtwGUA

4. Something's Got a Hold on Me - Etta James https://youtu.be/BPjQ7iK5GVI   

5. Puff, the Magic Dragon - Peter, Paul & Mary https://youtu.be/_1G9wO9-54c  

6. You Don't Know Me - Ray Charles https://youtu.be/hGA0HnBjnDs 

7. Twist and Shout - The Isley Brothers https://youtu.be/fuNCwPBm3fw               

8. I Hear Music - Ella Fitzgerald with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra https://youtu.be/dxomUp9of6g       

9. Cry to Me - Solomon Burke https://youtu.be/h1U2GfCGIEs                                  - 

10. Up on the Roof - The Drifters https://youtu.be/s0gmweTGosg                          

11. Green Onions - Booker T. & The MG's https://youtu.be/0oox9bJaGJ8            

12. You've Really Got a Hold on Me - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles https://youtu.be/Hw27U6act7I       

13. Stormy Monday Blues - Bobby "Blue" Bland https://youtu.be/Y4x_REN5XBk

14. Night Train - James Brown https://youtu.be/l0hcjUkXUmQ                                

15. Soul Twist - King Curtis https://youtu.be/VSB-WfgnTG8                                     

16. Song to Woody - Bob Dylan https://youtu.be/lOWfCVQBixs                              

17. Sealed with a Kiss - Brian Hyland https://youtu.be/qsvTtp-n_a0                       

18. Do You Love Me - Contours https://youtu.be/uRsoWlYMO-4





Posted 3/12/23....

A   P S Y C H E D E L I C   S I X T I E S   M I X

1. Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds - The Beatles  https://youtu.be/naoknj1ebqI

2. (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet - The Blues Magoos  https://youtu.be/fNEIh21Nn6o

3. Shapes of Things - The Yardbirds  https://youtu.be/-OjcB-D5Yy4          

4. Eight Miles High - The Byrds  https://youtu.be/V_51PAR23sY

5. Legend of a Mind - The Moody Blues  https://youtu.be/2WMA3LVi6Zg

6. Journey to the Center of the Mind - The Amboy Dukes (with Ted Nugent)  https://youtu.be/a_J-sNBnaaY     

7. I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night) - The Electric Prunes  https://youtu.be/bjaHU8iuhmI          

8. Did You See Her Eyes - The Illusion  https://youtu.be/TRd4lUj0Olo       

9. Plastic Fantastic Lover (live) - Jefferson Airplane  https://youtu.be/Gs-6nsyart0  

10. Omaha - Moby Grape  https://youtu.be/Ig0Px1nSb6M     

11. I Got A Line on You - Spirit  https://youtu.be/faEtYEP2vUs       

12. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Iron Butterfly https://youtu.be/Tfpn3wHoNGA  

13. Strange Brew - Cream  https://youtu.be/GLdz6zfJMDI    

14. Hot Smoke and Sassafras - Bubble Puppy  https://youtu.be/c0JLHwoPu44  

15. I Can See for Miles - The Who  https://youtu.be/KEUOsVEzSMg         

16. Piece of My Heart - Big Brother & The Holding Company  https://youtu.be/SCngPse1iiI

17. Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix  https://youtu.be/WGoDaYjdfSg        

18. Summertime Blues - Blue Cheer  https://youtu.be/o4vIlg4alz8                          

19. Break on Through (To the Other Side) - The Doors  https://youtu.be/NFeUko-lQHg          

20. Psychotic Reaction - Count Five  https://youtu.be/lrsGz6mQuN4        

21. Incense and Peppermints - Strawberry Alarm Clock  https://youtu.be/idJzMSKaHaw         

22. She's a Rainbow - Rolling Stones  https://youtu.be/Va87qt0VZ2M





Posted 2/26/23....

IT’S A SUNDAY KIND OF MIX...Eighteen songs with the word “Sunday” in the title.

1. Gloomy Sunday - Billie Holiday https://youtu.be/XQ2AuLaClmk

2. Sunday Morning - Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs https://youtu.be/HQEalEU6FJw

3. A Sunday kind of love - Diane Schuur https://youtu.be/ktjIkGGjMdI

4. I Met Him on a Sunday - Laura Nyro and LaBelle https://youtu.be/lx5rP2vQFxA

5. A Month of Sundays - Don Henley https://youtu.be/0FeT6zJ47RA(note: The video is just a black screen, but the entire audio track is there)

6. Sunday - k.d. lang https://youtu.be/4Wkl-EYg4zM

7. Sunday - The Cranberries https://youtu.be/_jvJQjLZCiM

8. Another Park Another Sunday - The Doobie Brothershttps://youtu.be/EI-QAGGi1ng

9. Sunday Clothes - Charlie Sexton Sextet https://youtu.be/bIEjQWizSfk

10. Sunday Morning Coming Down - Johnny Cash https://youtu.be/8_xd5jG3JTA

11. Sunday Morning - Julie London https://youtu.be/KWkgdYMDimo

12. One Sunday morning - Wilco https://youtu.be/awNMkagYJ_w

13. Sunday Will Never Be The Same - Spanky and Our Gang https://youtu.be/07nK9CXZvAI

14. Sunday Girl - Blondie https://youtu.be/7VWalYqwKIA

15. Sunday Bloody Sunday (live at Red Rocks, 1983) - U2 https://youtu.be/EM4vblG6BVQ

16. Every Day is Like Sunday - Morrissey https://youtu.be/h8j2-nBkeL8

17. My Sunday Feeling - Jethro Tull https://youtu.be/nzjp-cFkNoE

18. Sunday Papers - Joe Jackson https://youtu.be/BgTcsdltfec





Posted 2/12/23....


 1. New Walkin’ Blues - Paul Butterfield’s Better Days https://youtu.be/SV-aqZXlhDI

2. Walk On By - Dionne Warwick https://youtu.be/vsGsCvJWEo8

3. Walking In Memphis - Marc Cohn https://youtu.be/PgRafRp-P-o

4. Walk On - U2 https://youtu.be/gwKEdFoUB0o

5. Walkin’ On The Sun - Smash Mouth https://youtu.be/p8LZhGUu7C8

6. Walking After Midnight - Patsy Cline https://youtu.be/WPVPjte-2EY

7. Why Walk When You Can Fly - Mary Chapin Carpenter https://youtu.be/cChsyweLDos

8. Walk On - John Hiatt https://youtu.be/YVdMyeTQCkw

9. Walk Like An Egyptian - The Bangles https://youtu.be/cFGCu5hnLyA

10. Walking On the Moon - The Police https://youtu.be/kmJce02JHWM

11. Walking The Dog - Rufus Thomas https://youtu.be/GOHofU8CQYs

12. Walking On Broken Glass - Annie Lennox https://youtu.be/y25stK5ymlA

13. Walk Right Back - The Everly Brothers https://youtu.be/-bqYI1MOs2E

14. Walkaway Joe - Trisha Yearwood https://youtu.be/XYfkX6IHh7Y

15. A Long Walk - Jill Scott https://youtu.be/B6nVV-ibpWk

16. Walk Of Life - Dire Straits https://youtu.be/nUW6G5QdyYU

17. Walking On Sunshine - Katrina & The Waves https://youtu.be/8TiRI7_QgVI

18. Walk This Way - Run DMC featuring Aerosmith https://youtu.be/4B_UYYPb-Gk

19. I Want To Walk With You - Toni Childs https://youtu.be/r6jqNOlogRw

20. You Gotta Walk And Don’t Look Back - Peter Tosh https://youtu.be/M6wRUDrfPX0





Posted 1/29/23....

Life is a series of highs and lows...and Music is Life.

1. HighLow and In Between - Townes Van Zandt https://youtu.be/O6SC5HCIlnU

2. High & Dry - Jamie Cullum https://youtu.be/JU9BDf5z1G4

3. Moanin’ Low - Billie Holiday https://youtu.be/uPOmtF91Wz0

4. Natural High - Joan Osborne https://youtu.be/LjM3tQhTHQo

5. Sweet and Low - Darlingside and Caitlin Canty https://youtu.be/xr5Adx54SxQ

6. Too High - Stevie Wonder https://youtu.be/UvtYEdYjkJM

7. After the Lights Go Down Low - Freda Payne https://youtu.be/HJGXi2R6aDk

8. High on a Mountain - Ollabelle https://youtu.be/9p2LkexKUMA

9. The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys - Traffic https://youtu.be/vDGorIWYz-A

10. Back in the High Life Again - Steve Winwood https://youtu.be/ojcSy6kXciI

11. Low Rider - War https://youtu.be/qMkwuz0iXQg

12. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell https://youtu.be/Gq-Ufl_dNwk

13. Too Low for Zero - Elton John https://youtu.be/RELnfzeehcU

14. High Speed - Coldplay https://youtu.be/JXmyDJpZhAw

15. Low Yo Yo Stuff - Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band https://youtu.be/I4XDRb20UVw

16. High Time We Went - Lou Ann Barton https://youtu.be/RdVPayBkHYM

17. Low Down and Dirty - Luther Allison - https://youtu.be/16LmLzFto0w

18. Eight Miles High - The Byrds https://youtu.be/V_51PAR23sY

19. Shimmy Low - The Clarks https://youtu.be/lFWOnqHZIlQ

20. High on a Mountain - Seals & Crofts https://youtu.be/MCcKjyhBCm8

21. The Lowlands - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with Jaime Hanna & Jonathan McEuen https://youtu.be/5nmmBV340jM





Posted 1/15/23....

Heavenly and Hellacious: the GOD AND THE DEVIL Mix

1. Whenever God Shines His Light - Van Morrison with Cliff Richard https://youtu.be/ueNmxh781rI

2. Devil’s Nine Questions - Bonnie Koloc https://youtu.be/Rikei7TGlFQ

3. God Only Knows - Beach Boys https://youtu.be/u90beUXTKwo

4. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea - Toots Thielemans with Madeleine Peyroux https://youtu.be/TurN1Ok7B0o

5. Lying in the Hands of God - Dave Matthews Band https://youtu.be/Gcc82caQnZI

6. Blue Devil Jump - Jay McShann https://youtu.be/xLs4kngzHps

7. God Bless the Child - Blood, Sweat & Tears https://youtu.be/3qS9JMJ0aaE

8. Devil in her Heart - The Beatles https://youtu.be/IGe-jfFrxCk

9. Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.) - Monsters of Folk https://youtu.be/NJz4-WHtqWI

10. Friend of the Devil - Lyle Lovett https://youtu.be/mNUEiOufg00

11. The Absence of God - Rilo Kiley https://youtu.be/yO8JLXIH-Ig

12. Shake the Devil - Tommy Bolin https://youtu.be/IB4gWLHsMo8

13. God on my Side - World Party https://youtu.be/I3dLgwbYHqw

14. Sympathy for the Devil - Rolling Stones https://youtu.be/HOYLkf3lZQo

15. Dear God - XTC https://youtu.be/xf58TEMm8Rw

16. Devil Inside - INXS https://youtu.be/w7TB2ZrBYAs

17. God - Tori Amos https://youtu.be/5-MmyopVWog

18. Devil’s Haircut - Beck https://youtu.be/aa3rBVb3v4g





Posted 1/1/23....


1. Night and Day - Ella Fitzgerald https://youtu.be/yGdUohOPGt8 

2. Southern Nights - Glen Campbell https://youtu.be/5_Pu4C9bDlk

3. The Days of the Dancing - Maire Brennan https://youtu.be/SJZJoO6GVho

4. Here Comes the Night - Dwight Yoakam https://youtu.be/4Ry0LEZFsaE3

5. Oh Happy Day - Edwin Hawkins Singers https://youtu.be/KJohGa66FJM

6. Long Hot Summer Nights - Wendy Waldman https://youtu.be/fqRzWItKJi0

7. Our Day Will Come - Amy Winehouse https://youtu.be/CxYRbzGi8Rg

8. Night Train - James Brown https://youtu.be/l0hcjUkXUmQ

9. Seven Whole Days - Toni Braxton https://youtu.be/itjZzYplQSI

10. Stay While the Night is Young - Savoy Brown https://youtu.be/ksyMKBr4w-I

11. Better Days - Rufus https://youtu.be/r6x60yAzpGw

12. Such a Night - Dr. John https://youtu.be/fj9lG30WzcA

13. One April Day - Stephin Merritt https://youtu.be/-kRMTtqiJAI

14. One More Night - Bob Dylan https://youtu.be/HJbfDbFZn8s

15. Six Days on the Road - Flying Burrito Brothers https://youtu.be/_j2Ha44wJ44

16. Seven Nights to Rock - Moon Mullican https://youtu.be/jGW-NQsMJeM

17. Rainy Day, Dream Away - Jimi Hendrix Experience https://youtu.be/ipxBQcci0X0

18. Wild Night - Martha Reeves https://youtu.be/qxziDdrsD14

19. Dancing Days - Wang Chung https://youtu.be/Jm6S9niyKbA

20. Night in my Veins - Pretenders https://youtu.be/n31l4jdN0Ks

21. King for a Day - XTC https://youtu.be/n31l4jdN0Ks





Posted 12/18/22....

I ALONE CAN DRAIN THE SWAMP.  So of course I put together a mix, a roundup of “swamp music” which is in some ways hard to summarize.  It is Southern music...sometimes a mix of country, funk and R&B but pretty much always with a real groove--one that is soulful, sometimes even satisfyingly sinister-sounding.  The songs are listed chronologically by release date.  And at the end of the list I’ve added two contemporary female singer-songwriters who have, through these particular tracks of theirs, put their own stamp on swampy & seductive.  ENJOY.

1. Lawdy Miss Clawdy (1952) - Lloyd Price https://youtu.be/O1OX0kA0zA0

2. Suzy Q (1957) - Dale Hawkins https://youtu.be/8AtV7NTIt9g

3. Sea of Love (1959) - Phil Phillips https://youtu.be/L0DTHA3HVj8

4. Walking to New Orleans (1960) - Fats Domino https://youtu.be/GrZrueIMoww

5. Big Boss Man (1960) - Jimmy Reed https://youtu.be/OgwXQgjEwWo

6. A Certain Girl (1961) - Ernie K-Doe https://youtu.be/2q6MtlinkEQ

7. Time Is On My Side (1964) - Irma Thomas https://youtu.be/cn0ZofphEzE

8. I Walk on Gilded Splinters (1968) - Dr. John https://youtu.be/lekQoT485aA

9. Hush (1968) - Joe South https://youtu.be/9l0N9fLxD6A

10. Born on the Bayou (1969) - Creedence Clearwater Revival https://youtu.be/NRF1e82MVCA

11. Polk Salad Annie (1969) - Tony Joe White https://youtu.be/n8thsU52dfw

12. Amos Moses (1970) - Jerry Reed https://youtu.be/PbXFHSa4YmQ

13. Promised Land (1971) - Johnnie Allan https://youtu.be/PbXFHSa4YmQ

14. On Your Way Down (1973) - Little Feat https://youtu.be/dwk79zJFIGQ

15. Small Town Talk (1973) - Paul Butterfield’s Better Days https://youtu.be/_QCpsPok6GU

16. Spiders & Snakes (1974) - Jim Stafford https://youtu.be/fOs1w3zzWCQ

17. Swamp Music (1974) - Lynyrd Skynyrd https://youtu.be/_MyM6JgHWfY

18. Struttin’ my Stuff (1975) - Elvin Bishop https://youtu.be/J0nrl3-HZs0

19. Spit of Love (1998) - Bonnie Raitt https://youtu.be/vGlfN-GZ1gI

20. Your Husband’s Cheating on Us (2011) - Matraca Berg https://youtu.be/cG27frUoooU





Posted 12/4/22....



1. Van Morrison - Moondance https://youtu.be/7kfYOGndVfU

2. War - Spill the Wine https://youtu.be/MYCRIykylOc

3. Guess Who - Undun https://youtu.be/zHKqPSAchcU

4. Donovan - There Is A Mountain https://youtu.be/zil3-EDye1g

5. Chicago - Colour My World https://youtu.be/cWkXmx-0phc

6. Men at Work - Down Under https://youtu.be/dbqfdC8xCRg

7. The Association - Along Comes Mary https://youtu.be/URUd5RUAz1I

8. Beach Boys - Feel Flows https://youtu.be/bp_8GKcNvdQ

9. Loggins & Messina - Angry Eyes https://youtu.be/6U7FFE_c1Ds

10. Moody Blues - Legend of a Mind https://youtu.be/2WMA3LVi6Zg

11. Canned Heat - Going Up the Country https://youtu.be/4eQMA_noRYQ

12. Marshall Tucker - Heard It in A Love Song https://youtu.be/ZkOsccnyFWs

13. Traffic - Hidden Treasure https://youtu.be/PUntEk2wuLo


1. Zamfir - The Lonely Shepherd https://youtu.be/blkhko_4T8s

2. Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Serenade to a Cuckoo https://youtu.be/UJOk8G5w6Yg

3. Jethro Tull - Bourée https://youtu.be/z6ZJGaT30wk

4. Hubert Laws - Pavane https://youtu.be/OrKq6_wpBHA

5. Osibisa - The Dawn https://youtu.be/mPr-1j5eaCo

6. Tim Weisberg - Street Party https://youtu.be/CI3VxmCGNto

7. Blues Project - Flute Thing https://youtu.be/uZLzsg2Bu7E

8. Jean-Pierre Rampal - Baroque and Blue https://youtu.be/pcNEh0_-_g4

9. Jeremy Steig - Howlin’ for Judy https://youtu.be/Psd-ANb6fwk

10. Herbie Mann - Push Push https://youtu.be/y9EMVd1773A

11. Nightnoise - Busker on the Bridge https://youtu.be/Cnnu9W33Gjw

12. Chick Corea/Return to Forever - Spain https://youtu.be/sEhQTjgoTdU

13. Lonnie Liston Smith - Voodoo Woman https://youtu.be/X7EL9C2WE5Y





Posted 11/20/22....


1. Trains and Boats and Planes (1966) - Dionne Warwick https://youtu.be/0KAEJv0C6iQ

2. Midnight Train to Georgia (1973) - Gladys Knight & The Pips https://youtu.be/A0F9lh8TiSM

3. Longer Boats (1970) - Cat Stevens https://youtu.be/yq3HS2LdjZ4 

4. Leaving on a Jet Plane (1967) - Peter, Paul & Mary https://youtu.be/F2m--R3J6f4 

5. Night Train (1979) - Rickie Lee Jones https://youtu.be/XIZIAmzC_nk

6. Boat on the Charles (1971) - Todd Rundgren https://youtu.be/ONnjNCjkxKg

7. Plane (2005) - Jason Mraz https://youtu.be/Kcug6E1QWqw 

8. Downbound Train (1977) - The Smithereens https://youtu.be/i5WJowjLhmc

9. Come on Down to My Boat (1967) - Every Mother’s Son (1967) https://youtu.be/t8dU4RKNNBo

10. When I Get My Plane (1968) - Nazz (Todd Rundgren’s first group) https://youtu.be/bDwu-oatnbM

11. Night Train (1962) - James Brown & The Famous Flames https://youtu.be/l0hcjUkXUmQ

12. Rock the Boat (1974) - The Hues Corporation https://youtu.be/gSP_Jqn5eUM

13. Hold That Plane (1972) - Buddy Guy https://youtu.be/z7X37HSUhgE

14. Two Trains (1973) - Little Feat https://youtu.be/b1pQ7UhgH3A

15. If I Had a Boat (1987) - Lyle Lovett https://youtu.be/TKKcNjvxhns

16. Big Jet Plane (1994) - Primal Scream https://youtu.be/T1Ss1Z_ZadI

17. Train in Vain (1979) - The Clash https://youtu.be/zqZSONJYNGI

18. Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) (1956) - Harry Belafonte https://youtu.be/YO7M0Hx_1D8

19. Paper Planes (2007) - M.I.A. https://youtu.be/s9M2JQTDjiA





Posted 10/23/22....


1. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) - The Beatles https://youtu.be/Y_V6y1ZCg_8

2. Last Train Home - Pat Metheny Group https://youtu.be/908kjmbjABI

3. Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time) - Delfonics https://youtu.be/hUwYAA03MQI

4. Charlie Don’t Surf - The Clash https://youtu.be/fFYLCj-hCsc

5. Everytime You Go Away - Paul Young https://youtu.be/s_-QRNVbNM8   

6. Cry Like a Baby - The Box Tops https://youtu.be/dmhtxLSUhYU

7. San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair) - Scott McKenzie https://youtu.be/LAX5GgvS-8s

8. Turn-Down Day - The Cyrkle https://youtu.be/SNf4T7W5dE8

9. The Rain, the Park & Other Things - The Cowsills https://youtu.be/uC9tALmALh0

10. Come and Get Your Love - Redbone https://youtu.be/bc0KhhjJP98

11. Judy in Disguise (With Glasses) - John Fred & His Playboy Band https://youtu.be/I0bLoaVFpTQ

12. Don’t Come Around Here No More - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers https://youtu.be/h0JvF9vpqx8

13. Games People Play - Joe South https://youtu.be/vDeVonv3kY0

14. Just Dropped in (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) - First Edition https://youtu.be/NJAs7-i3H8o

15. Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours) - Stevie Wonder https://youtu.be/DdLvpi9OhP4

16. Band of Gold - Freda Payne https://youtu.be/DdLvpi9OhP4

17. Heart Full of Soul - The Yardbirds https://youtu.be/bTbJ_oFfGTc

18. Do It Again - Steely Dan https://youtu.be/LrwCj6sL2pk

19. Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones https://youtu.be/8-AK67iz3gI

20. Within You Without You - The Beatles https://youtu.be/HsffxGyY4ck





Posted 10/23/22....

This mix consists of 18 songs that are all under three minutes in length.

1. Silhouettes - Herman’s Hermits (1965) https://youtu.be/RtbOyf73qjA

2. What’s New Pussycat? - Tom Jones (1965) https://youtu.be/qQvIAs-nPSo

3. 59thStreet Bridge Song - Simon & Garfunkel (1966) https://youtu.be/-xhJcQEfD5s

4. Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out) - The Hombres (1967) https://youtu.be/nesjujh62X0

5. The Letter - The Box Tops (1967) https://youtu.be/lk4DJIss1Oc

6. Let’s Make The Water Turn Black - The Mothers of Invention (1968) https://youtu.be/s_x2O50MefU

7. Volunteers - Jefferson Airplane (1969) https://youtu.be/Xaw--HWHecg

8. Why Can’t I Be Free - Spirit (1970) https://youtu.be/y44-kc5KI8o

9. Mercedes Benz - Janis Joplin (1970) https://youtu.be/-H7YULkiLIA

10. Find The Cost of Freedom - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (1970) https://youtu.be/GMfvYxK9Zoo

11. Ain’t No Sunshine - Bill Withers (1971) https://youtu.be/YuKfiH0Scao

12. Road - Nick Drake (1972) https://youtu.be/jpk32L8Bb4c

13. We Will Rock You - Queen (1977) https://youtu.be/UvEmwYg6aFw

14. White Riot - The Clash (1977) https://youtu.be/2wC4UsFsa3A

15. Don’t Bogart That Joint - Little Feat (1978) https://youtu.be/5anAokwZsFI

16. Girlfriend In A Coma - The Smiths (1987) https://youtu.be/wy8mEOhSk0s

17. Ebudæ - Enya (1991) https://youtu.be/wy8mEOhSk0s

18. The Cactus Where Your Heart Should Be - Magnetic Fields (1999) https://youtu.be/VoM9igpTSiU





Posted 10/9/22....

A bit of a headscratcher for you...This is an Earth, Wind & Fire mix that has no performances by the group Earth, Wind & Fire.

1. Earth Song - Rufus https://youtu.be/xQoqvaqy9fw

2. Catch the Wind - Donovan https://youtu.be/Iuc9_46wf7I

3. This Wheel’s on Fire - Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity https://youtu.be/yLOiYiKWcUY

4. Ends of the Earth - Lord Huron https://youtu.be/m9kxjzsCHUQ

5. Four Winds - Bright Eyes https://youtu.be/ETdDMHx7oGU

6. Fire - Pointer Sisters https://youtu.be/yZEiiI7FAcY

7. I Feel the Earth Move - Carole King https://youtu.be/6913KnbMpHM

8. The Wind Cries Mary (live) - Gary Moore https://youtu.be/CDMheJqjzgs

9. Fire in the Hole - Steely Dan https://youtu.be/9PwkU4nsJM8

10. Holding On To The Earth - Sam Phillips https://youtu.be/jKxWQntd_VU

11. Blow Wind Blow - Muddy Waters https://youtu.be/qxXabAeCL4c

12. Hands on Fire - The Stills https://youtu.be/oh909Vzklh4

13. Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) - George Harrison https://youtu.be/LYW9cjcO_SY

14. Ride the Wind to Me - Julie Miller https://youtu.be/bhfzpiySZW8

15. Hearts on Fire - Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris https://youtu.be/GhjlY0R_0Ts

16. Europa (Earth’s Cry, Heaven’s Smile) - Gato Barbieri https://youtu.be/YfyCrpUOAJw

17. Hickory Wind - The Byrds https://youtu.be/4D8-5w1gQHA

18. Fire on the Mountain - Marshall Tucker Band https://youtu.be/0uMWbZj-gWg








The “Tunes for Tables 2022” fundraiser benefiting the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank concluded last night (Sunday, September 25, 2022) just before midnight, and the re$ult$ are in: In this one-week campaign we raised a grand total of $37,315.50 inclusive of the generous gift from the William Talbott Hillman Foundation (in honor of Margot Gloninger Jones (1952-2007), and also--notably--through many donations from people like you.

One hundred and four individuals, in donations large and small, helped us reach that astounding grand total--astounding because of how far this amount of money will go in helping our neighbors in need throughout southwestern Pennsylvania.  This $37,315.50 will enable the Pittsburgh Food Bank to provide up to 186,577 meals. 

And the demand “out there” in the community is undiminished.  For the first time in two years, the need for food assistance has spiked back to pandemic highs.  The reasons are clear: Inflation, the rise in gas prices, and percentage changes in the price of food from last year to this year--meat, poultry, fish & eggs, up 14.2%...dairy, up 11.8%...fruits & vegetables, up 8.5%...and on and on.  And at this point in time, 1 in 7 southwestern Pennsylvanians face hunger and 1 in 5 children are in similar dire circumstances.

I give those of you who donated my sincere thanks, AND those of President & CEO Lisa Scales and her entire team at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.





Posted 9/4/22.....

Royal treatment, this time out: Musicasaurus has made you a mix of Kings & Queens.

1.) Raoul and the Kings of Spain - Tears for Fears https://youtu.be/w1WO-jkbcrY        

2.) Bring Me My Queen - Abigail Washburn https://youtu.be/O316-4khIWE

3.) Homecoming King - Guster https://youtu.be/FQ14pg-MKR0     

4.) Queen of Hearts - The Hillbilly Moon Explosion https://youtu.be/jSR9CLcVBMM       

5.) Sun King - The Beatles https://youtu.be/6bNMxWGHlTI  

6.) Queen of Hearts - Gregg Allman https://youtu.be/WvMVyeq6GF0        

7.) King for a Day - XTC https://youtu.be/EVASP83kjT0       

8.) The Pirate Queen - Alison Brown https://youtu.be/6MBtJGBhAMY

9.) When You Became King - Alana Davis https://youtu.be/fMfmZ3bLmfk            

10.) Caribbean Queen (No More Love On the Run) - Billy Ocean https://youtu.be/uxX2gA18grk

11.) King of Nothing - Seals & Crofts https://youtu.be/FhiCCcHkBVE        

12.) Queen of the Silver Dollar - Sarah Jarosz https://youtu.be/1oPQHoTJ8v0

13.) Kings Highway - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers https://youtu.be/-h3gXKArWyw   

14.) Casino Queen - Wilco https://youtu.be/LY8uYzdSPPw

15.) I'm a King Bee - Muddy Waters https://youtu.be/vD0gk4pcUvY           

16.) Queen Bee - Taj Mahal & Toumani Diabate https://youtu.be/eExZfMD0YCA

17.) Kings - Steely Dan https://youtu.be/mNBTUJbnN1o

18.) Queen of the Slipstream - Van Morrison https://youtu.be/0bDEzE_NpVU





Posted 8/21/22.....

To dovetail with the current story in the A DAY IN THE LIFE section of this website--the one about major stadium shows in Pittsburgh in 1972--this edition of BUILDING A MIXTERY takes you back to 1972.  Here are the twenty most popular songs in the USA from that year, according to the music industry’s bible of that era, Billboard Magazine.  Enjoy your flashback!

1.) The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - Roberta Flack https://youtu.be/VqW-eO3jTVU

2.) Alone Again (Naturally) - Gilbert O’Sullivan https://youtu.be/7Z2hmz2NlYQ

3.) American Pie - Don McLean https://youtu.be/y5ecvBaqHBk

4.) Without You - Nilsson https://youtu.be/OpdFmZFge5g

5.) Candy Man - Sammy Davis Jr. https://youtu.be/fq7WX5oINAQ

6.) Gotcha - Joe Tex https://youtu.be/jEhFKSa674E

7.) Lean on Me - Bill Withers https://youtu.be/gOZgo8gMIoM

8.) Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me - Mac Davis https://youtu.be/vtamk3rcShc

9.) Brand New Key - Melanie https://youtu.be/-mXlW9LytYo

10.) Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast - Wayne Newton https://youtu.be/U5EESSLuzqA

11.) Let’s Stay Together - Al Green https://youtu.be/XXx6RDzR6eM

12.) Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl) - Looking Glass https://youtu.be/DVx8L7a3MuE

13.) Oh Girl - Chi-Lites https://youtu.be/OCLxVG2E7mo

14.) Nice to Be with You - Gallery https://youtu.be/4uvI2DSCgU0

15.) My Ding-A-Ling - Chuck Berry https://youtu.be/wiCSSIEUukk

16.) If Loving You Is Wrong I Don’t Want to Be Right - Luther Ingram https://youtu.be/FvJj7SN9EWI

17.) Heart of Gold - Neil Young https://youtu.be/A8t2cXYLuag

18.) Betcha By Golly, Wow - Stylistics https://youtu.be/HxZ83WxhMnU

19.) I’ll Take You There - Staple Singers https://youtu.be/qXvirzznSn4

20.) Ben - Michael Jackson https://youtu.be/i7TTSzfs2kw





Posted 8/7/22.....

This mix ain’t just climactic...it’s climatic.  Yet another direct result of climate change.

1. Here Comes The Flood - Peter Gabriel https://youtu.be/3C23LikPhWs

2. Louisiana Flood - Paul Butterfield’s Better Days https://youtu.be/X_SrBHDAA8c

3. Texas Flood - Stevie Ray Vaughan https://youtu.be/OQuY7dHfWrM

4. Hot ‘Lanta - Allman Brothers Band https://youtu.be/UrMBNZ0RiJY

5. Hot Hot Hot - Buster Poindexter and His Banshees of Blues https://youtu.be/bKP18BpvX_o

6. Heat Wave - Joan Osborne & The Funk Brothers https://youtu.be/PTKFR3ra2ts

7. Wildfire - Michael Martin Murphy https://youtu.be/HU-qoSAATfA

8. Fire - Etta James https://youtu.be/ayE1buH-h9k

9. Fire and Rain - James Taylor https://youtu.be/N4E9MKbOFAY

10. Buckets of Rain - Bob Dylan https://youtu.be/jGsOmKZXDvo

11. Four Days of Rain - The Flying Burrito Brothers https://youtu.be/aLIBwCXbrvA

12. Stormy Sky - The Kinks https://youtu.be/EgIRDWI16kk

13. Stormy Weather - Echo & The Bunnymen https://youtu.be/CcejW7XcVo8

14. Mighty Storm - The Duhks https://youtu.be/Wd313wmCB_U

15. Chain Lightning - Steely Dan https://youtu.be/m3_9MuEMwAs

16. Lightning Crashes - Live https://youtu.be/qlbW9mlm7io

17. Waiting for the Wind - Spooky Tooth https://youtu.be/pvYBaYcrMG0

18. Into the Wind - Freddie Jones Band https://youtu.be/TYBJsn4OPYk

19. Four Strong Winds - Conor Oberst, Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings Machine https://youtu.be/_ZSm2jSvVh0

20. Blow The House Down - Darlingside https://youtu.be/r8qCxyiItnE





Posted 7/24/22.....

In a July 12, 2022 article on Axios.com, writer Emily Peck reported on the current popularity of music in terms of the decades between 1950 and 2020.  A survey was conducted this past February with 3,006 music listeners in America who are age thirteen and older.  The findings?  Music from the 1990s is more popular than music from any other decade right now--even current tunes.

So that Musicasaurus can keep in step with current trends such as this, I have created a playlist of twenty songs from the 1990s.  The songs have been plucked from the debut albums of singer-songwriters and bands who began their recording careers in that particular decade.  Enjoy...

1. Black Crowes - “She Talks to Angels” from the 1990 album Shake Your Money Maker https://youtu.be/B_8fDDIxbgs

2. Pearl Jam - “Black” from the 1991 album Ten https://youtu.be/qgaRVvAKoqQ

3. Spin Doctors - “Two Princes” from the 1991 album Pocket Full of Kryptonite https://youtu.be/QF7GYyfmtGs

4. Tori Amos - “Silent All These Years” from the 1992 album Little Earthquakes https://youtu.be/qt9IkhdRK30

5. PJ Harvey - “Sheela-Na-Gig” from the 1992 album Dry https://youtu.be/FgoC15Lom-M

6. Rage Against the Machine - “Wake Up” from the 1992 album Rage Against the Machine https://youtu.be/4lzqUe1Qfec

7. Björk - “Human Behaviour” from the 1993 album Debut https://youtu.be/S-avr1pAbJU

8. Porno for Pyros - “Pets” from the 1993 album Porno for Pyros https://youtu.be/mFkRvF8MeYM

9. Liz Phair - “Never Said” from the 1993 album Exile in Guyville https://youtu.be/m1tMfKl5b8M

10. Counting Crows - “Mr. Jones” from the 1993 album August and Everything After https://youtu.be/-oqAU5VxFWs

11. Toni Braxton - “Seven Whole Days” from the 1993 album Toni Braxton https://youtu.be/oKtWdgx_Yq0

12. Sheryl Crow - “Leaving Las Vegas” from the 1993 album Tuesday Night Music Club https://youtu.be/91lXPuhj7T8

13. Jeff Buckley - “Last Goodbye” from the 1994 album Grace https://youtu.be/IpA4C38D0p8

14. Dave Matthews Band - “Ants Marching” from the 1994 album Under the Table and Dreaming https://youtu.be/GhswH1bLMy8

15. Garbage - “Stupid Girl” from the 1995 album Garbage https://youtu.be/A-_sRoCab2M

16. Jewel - “Who Will Save Your Soul” from the 1995 album Pieces of You https://youtu.be/Y5bIc3MvPvA

17. Fiona Apple - “Criminal” from the 1996 album Tidal https://youtu.be/yPEkzupLMMg

18. Third Eye Blind - “Semi-Charmed Life” from the 1997 album Third Eye Blind https://youtu.be/jILAu6pftT8

19. Lauryn Hill - “Doo Wop (That Thing)” from the 1998 album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill https://youtu.be/KVldr2dk9_E

20. Dido - “Thank You” from the 1999 album No Angel https://youtu.be/HB7XnlvUtko





Posted 7/10/22.....

From Billboard Magazine, the once-upon-a-time leader in the music business’ tabulation and publication of the most popular songs in the USA, here are the #1 and #2 songs for each year of the decade 1960-1969.  

This ten-year period in particular marked a historic shift in popular music, and a few factors jet-fueling these changes included the emergence of The Beatles and the tidal wave of creativity that followed in their musical wake, and the fact that growing numbers of the younger generation were engaging in and championing political, societal and cultural causes including equal rights, civil rights and the anti-war movement.  Still, the latter didn’t prevent The Archies’ “Sugar, Sugar” from reaching Number One in 1969, the year of the Manson murders, Woodstock, Altamont, the Stonewall Riot, Chappaquiddick, and the trial of the Chicago Seven.  Go figure…now go listen. 

1960 = The year’s Top Two hits 

Theme from a Summer Place - Percy Faith https://youtu.be/zV0SuwqOTY4

He’ll Have to Go - Jim Reeves https://youtu.be/FPBtqvljEFw


1961 = The year’s Top Two hits

Tossin’ and Turnin’ - Bobby Lewis https://youtu.be/zK4Yg-737So

I Fall to Pieces - Patsy Cline https://youtu.be/xLEuq2spx5o


1962 = The year’s Top Two hits

Stranger on the Shore - Acker Bilk https://youtu.be/h2xvKqaZI_w

I Can’t Stop Loving You - Ray Charles https://youtu.be/eZNgVW0lD_k


1963 = The year’s Top Two hits

Surfin’ U.S.A. - The Beach Boys https://youtu.be/ibHLTH2icVw

The End of the World - Skeeter Davis https://youtu.be/IqvEIlINDwY


1964 = The year’s Top Two hits

I Want to Hold Your Hand - The Beatles https://youtu.be/KjSy6hNwFno

She Loves You - The Beatles https://youtu.be/nGbWU8S3vzs


1965 = The year’s Top Two hits

Wooly Bully - Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs https://youtu.be/3UttAR8DnFY

I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) - Four Tops https://youtu.be/4ZShJG5N050


1966 = The year’s Top Two hits

California Dreamin’ - The Mamas & the Papas https://youtu.be/XJIAvpqwJJU

96 Tears - ? and the Mysterians https://youtu.be/im6dMLdXI28


1967 = The year’s Top Two hits

To Sir with Love - Lulu https://youtu.be/EV1qmmMwc9M

The Letter - The Box Tops https://youtu.be/lk4DJIss1Oc


1968 = The year’s Top Two hits

Hey Jude - The Beatles https://youtu.be/RhfHed14cNc

Love is Blue - Paul Mauriat https://youtu.be/Y_tPE3o5NWk


1969 = The year’s Top Two hits

Sugar, Sugar - The Archies https://youtu.be/Lk-GJz7D1mo

Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In - The 5thDimension https://youtu.be/6c7Q4hjcBjA





Posted 6/26/22.....

A “CITIES AND TOWNS” MIX…populated with songs with the word “city” or the word “town” in them.  Duh.

1. As You Watch the City Fall (part two) - Robin Trower https://youtu.be/WevFsWW_-Fw

2. Her Town Too - James Taylor with J.D. Souther https://youtu.be/nYHgv4e1KJo

3. Angel City - Rhiannon Giddens https://youtu.be/XjMsLLEkt2E

4. I’m Going to Move to the Outskirts of Town - Ray Charles https://youtu.be/FWgD2lyVyQ0

5. Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City - Bobby “Blue” Bland https://youtu.be/38OOUDTsqM0

6. Streets of Your Town - Ivy https://youtu.be/uEPRH8-36S4

7. City of New Orleans - Chet Akins https://youtu.be/SQJ9RAm3CZw

8. This Old Town - Nanci Griffith https://youtu.be/yZun1eC_dQY

9. Make This City Ours Tonight - Sarah Vaughan https://youtu.be/ksO-I1qId7Y

10. The Whole Town’s Laughing at Me - Teddy Pendergrass https://youtu.be/1_Ewm2tx0qs

11. The City - Mark-Almond (Jon Mark & Johnny Almond) https://youtu.be/7xkoiODV1ZE

12. New Town Velocity - Johnny Marr https://youtu.be/SXEc9WZ1bkY

13. Goodnight My City - The Dunwells https://youtu.be/lQvdoUCIH08

14. Welcome to the Boomtown - David & David https://youtu.be/c3st4AD69-0

15. Living for the City - Stevie Wonder https://youtu.be/ghLWjyOOLno

16. Talk of the Town - Pretenders https://youtu.be/aX-NNhBWNdc

17. Sidewalks of the City - Lucinda Williams https://youtu.be/-2iHKxTCqXE

18. Out of Town - Zero 7 https://youtu.be/1ScwFbQT9Wk

19. Kansas City - Jay McShann https://youtu.be/wpl5PVKCzdQ

20. Home Town - Joe Jackson https://youtu.be/ZAe0zatt4hY





Posted 6/12/22.....

Okay, I don’t know how many of you will like this mix, but let’s look at the numbers…

  For No One - Emmylou Harris https://youtu.be/_xFIGlMFEhE​​

  Two of Us - Aimee Mann and Michael Penn https://youtu.be/QOsiX1cHNRc

  Three Little Birds - Bob Marley & The Wailers https://youtu.be/NOyRsPDPfMM

  Game of All Fours - Kate Rusby https://youtu.be/5LKCy1UQCXc

  Take Five - Dave Brubeck https://youtu.be/ryA6eHZNnXY

  Six Blocks Away - Lucinda Williams https://youtu.be/81gOkVG9NbM

  The Magnificent Seven - The Clash https://youtu.be/dj1Nf850Lys

  Figure of Eight - Paul McCartney https://youtu.be/aVik87zUZEc

  Cloud Nine (live) - Meshell Ndegeocello & The Funk Brothers https://youtu.be/356dEAVdBPs

  My Big Ten-Inch - Bull Moose Jackson https://youtu.be/j06DQAkBUQc

  Thirteen - Big Star https://youtu.be/DWk0r8L29z0

   Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford https://youtu.be/B7ru6PV3-xI

  At Seventeen - Janis Ian https://youtu.be/ESS0eKJpEZQ

  Eighteen - Alice Cooper https://youtu.be/m5ZL94cdiuU

  Hey Nineteen - Steely Dan https://youtu.be/oJ11Vq6N7rk

  Twenty Miles - Deer Tick https://youtu.be/mXEFs4K3fnU

  Twenty One - The Cranberries https://youtu.be/fcKbIQQIkAo

  Twenty Four Hours - Athlete https://youtu.be/X0DNkn4SIpA

  Twenty-Five Miles - Edwin Starr https://youtu.be/82YC-p9ko6s

  30 Days in the Hole - Humble Pie https://youtu.be/cLTZavs4WAo





Posted 5/29/22.....

Here’s a themed mix that makes sense because sometimes we just need a good cry--or at least a good cry mix.

1. Cry Baby Cry - The Beatles https://youtu.be/8Zeyej5bfZE

2. Big Girls Don’t Cry - Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons https://youtu.be/zRZpaxBMJRU

3. No Woman No Cry (live) - Bob Marley & The Wailers https://youtu.be/r8RoUOW8ma0

4. Please Don’t Make Me Cry - UB40 https://youtu.be/Q8wRWxBeED8

5. Everybody’s Cryin’ Mercy - Bonnie Raitt https://youtu.be/6bzAkFK5gY8

6. Might Have to Cry - Boz Scaggs https://youtu.be/kcNNo1s6BpI

7. You Don’t Have to Cry - Crosby, Stills & Nash https://youtu.be/PmduVX7_-kE

8. Why Are You Crying - Flying Burrito Brothers https://youtu.be/iDi77nET3Bk

9. (I’m Gonna) Cry Myself Blind - Primal Scream https://youtu.be/urdEB42ryGU

10. It Takes A Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry - Bob Dylan https://youtu.be/SN1ACh8lzHg

11. It’s All Over But The Crying - Garbage https://youtu.be/hV5Y_ZNdAW8

12. Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile) - Gato Barbieri https://youtu.be/TjYvw3hzDNE

13. Fool To Cry - Rolling Stones https://youtu.be/tX-g65P9vZo

14. I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying - Sting https://youtu.be/LI8khooPyJk

15. Cry Tough - Nils Lofgren https://youtu.be/1ZDhPTJ8ao0

16. Cry Freedom - Dave Matthews Band https://youtu.be/C9BFYmDtc_E

17. The Sky is Crying - Albert King https://youtu.be/4l5IdDb2Xxs

18. I’m Crying - Savoy Brown https://youtu.be/7mfNUeb_7JM

19. Cry To Me - Solomon Burke https://youtu.be/h1U2GfCGIEs

20. Cry Baby - Janis Joplin https://youtu.be/VfGSd-tikH4

21. When Doves Cry - Prince https://youtu.be/zp200BFqyBc

22. To Cry You A Song - Jethro Tull https://youtu.be/S5vto70Q23E

23. Had to Cry Today - Blind Faith https://youtu.be/Z4Yo_VbGdMg

24. Cry Me A River (live) - Joe Cocker / Mad Dogs & Englishmen https://youtu.be/GH10FN2RETU





Posted 5/15/22.....


Here is the perfect outdoor party mix for the month of May.  Musicasaurus.com just recently beta-tested this--so rest assured, there WILL be much movin’ and groovin’.

(You’ll note that for this particular mix there are none of the usual YouTube links provided per song…but on the plus side, there ARE one hundred and sixteen songs here for you to harvest!)

  1. I Can't Help Myself (Sugarpie Honeybunch) (cover of The Four Tops’ original) - Taj Mahal 
  2. Reach Out I'll Be There - The Four Tops 
  3. Like A Rolling Stone (live cover of Dylan’s original) - Rolling Stones 
  4. All Along The Watchtower - Bob Dylan 
  5. Smiling Faces Sometimes (the original was done by The Temptations but popularized by the Undisputed Truth) - Joan Osborne with Isaac Hayes 
  6. Love Plus One - Haircut 100 
  7. Wonderful World, Beautiful People - Jimmy Cliff 
  8. You Know I'm No Good - Amy Winehouse
  9. Little Sister - Ry Cooder 
  10.  We Gotta Get Out of This Place - The Animals 
  11.  The Reaper (cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s original) - Alana Davis 
  12.  Fisherman's Blues - The Waterboys 
  13.  Beat 70 (instrumental) - Pat Metheny Group 
  14.  Born to Run (cover of Bruce Springsteen’s original) - Big Daddy 
  15.  Spirit in the Night - Bruce Springsteen 
  16.  What a Man - Linda Lyndell 
  17.  Baby I Love You (cover of Aretha Franklin’s original) - B.B. King featuring Bonnie Raitt 
  18.  Take It Easy (co-written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey) - Jackson Browne & David Lindley 
  19.  Mercy, Mercy, Mercy (music written by Joe Zawinul and first recorded by Cannonball Adderley; lyrics subsequently added by The Buckinghams) - The Buckinghams 
  20.  Mercy - Duffy 
  21.  Tired of Waiting for You - The Kinks 
  22.  Tired Of Waiting For You (cover of The Kinks’ original) - Dwight Yoakam 
  23.  I Knew the Bride (When She Use to Rock and Roll) - Nick Lowe 
  24.  Runaway (cover of the Del Shannon original) - Bonnie Raitt 
  25.  Drive My Car (cover of The Beatle’s original) - Bobby McFerrin 
  26.  Got To Get You Into My Life - The Beatles 
  27.  A Hard Way to Go (instrumental cover of the Savoy Brown original) - Tim Weisberg 
  28.  Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell 
  29.  Smoking Gun - The Robert Cray Band 
  30.  Funky Broadway - Wilson Pickett 
  31.  When You Were Mine - Prince 
  32.  Cantaloop (includes a sample of Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island”) - Us3 
  33.  Peaches En Regalia (instrumental) - Frank Zappa 
  34.  Can't Help Falling In Love (cover of Elvis Presley’s original) - Lick the Tins 
  35.  I'll Be Around - The Spinners 
  36.  New Coat of Paint - Tom Waits 
  37.  The Weight (with The Staple Singers) - The Band 
  38.  Once In a Lifetime (cover of Talking Heads’ original) - Big Daddy 
  39.  Psycho Killer - Talking Heads 
  40.  Out of Sight - James Brown 
  41.  My Back Pages (live cover of Dylan’s original) - Bob Dylan, Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Eric Clapton & George Harrison 
  42.  Wild Night (cover of Van Morrison’s original) - Martha Reeves 
  43.  Wakafrika (instrumental) - Manu Dibango 
  44.  Memphis (live cover of Chuck Berry’s original) - Johnny Rivers 
  45.  Hey Jack Kerouac - 10,000 Maniacs 
  46.  I Know You Rider (live version of a traditional blues tune) - Grateful Dead 
  47.  I Don't Need No Doctor (cover of the Ashford & Simpson-penned song that was originally popularized by Ray Charles) - New Riders of the Purple Sage 
  48.  The Wonderful Sea Voyage (of Holy St. Brendan) (instrumental) - Alison Brown Quartet 
  49.  Your Good Thing (Is About to End) (cover of Mable John’s original) - Lou Rawls 
  50.  King of the Road - Roger Miller 
  51.  Clean Up Woman - Betty Wright 
  52.  Shiny Happy People - R.E.M. 
  53.  Because the Night (co-written by Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith) - Patti Smith 
  54.  I Got a Line On You - Spirit 
  55.  Send Me On My Way - Rusted Root 
  56.  Eldorado Cafe - Billy Price and the Keystone Rhythm Band 
  57.  Omaha - Counting Crows 
  58.  That Old Black Magic (co-written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer for the 1942 film Star Spangled Rhythm) - Frank Sinatra 
  59.  Having A Party - Sam Cooke 
  60.  Natural Thing - Poi Dog Pondering 
  61.  Burning Down the House (cover of Talking Heads’ original) - Tom Jones & The Cardigans 
  62.  This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) (live) - Talking Heads 
  63.  Take Me to the River (live cover of Al Green’s original) - Eva Cassidy 
  64.  Spill the Wine - Eric Burdon 
  65.  Fat Man In the Bathtub - Little Feat 
  66.  Good Rockin' Daddy (cover of Etta James’ original) - Marcia Ball, Angela Strehli & Lou Ann Barton 
  67.  Daddy Don't Live In That New York City No More - Steely Dan 
  68.  Memphis In the Meantime - John Hiatt 
  69.  Rock & Roll Woman - Buffalo Springfield 
  70.  Super Freak (cover of Rick James’ original) - Big Daddy 
  71.  Daydream Believer (written by John Stewart of The Kingston Trio; first recorded by The Monkees) - The Monkees 
  72.  You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want) - Joe Jackson 
  73.  Purple Haze (cover of Jimi Hendrix’s original) - The Cure 
  74.  Back In the U.S.A. - Chuck Berry 
  75.  Back In the U.S.S.R. - The Beatles 
  76.  The Ballad of Jed Clampett - Flatt & Scruggs 
  77.  Ooh Las Vegas (live) - Gram Parsons with Emmylou Harris 
  78.  Dead Flowers - The Rolling Stones 
  79.  Spooky (original version was an instrumental; popularized the Classics IV) - Dusty Springfield 
  80.  Bye Bye Love (cover of the Everly Brothers’ original) - David Lindley 
  81.  Love Train - The O'Jays 
  82.  Cajun Moon (cover of the J.J. Cale original) - Herbie Mann featuring Cissy Houston 
  83.  Feeling Good (originally written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse for the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint-The Smell of the Crowd) - Nina Simone 
  84.  Train In Vain (cover of The Clash’s original) - Dwight Yoakam 
  85.  Should I Stay or Should I Go - The Clash 
  86.  Young Americans - David Bowie 
  87.  The Beat Goes On - Sonny & Cher 
  88.  Tramp (co-written by Lowell Fulson and Jimmy McCracklin; popularized by Otis Redding & Carla Thomas) - Steve Miller Band 
  89.  Diamonds On the Soles of Her Shoes - Paul Simon 
  90.  Feel Like Breaking up Somebody's Home (cover of Ann Peebles’ original) - Etta James 
  91.  Tainted Love (cover of Gloria Jones’ original) - Soft Cell 
  92.  End of the Line - The Traveling Wilburys 
  93.  Something In the Air (cover of Thunderclap Newman’s original) - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 
  94.  Stand By Me (cover of Ben E. King’s original) - John Lennon 
  95.  My Babe - Little Walter 
  96.  Legend In My Living Room - Annie Lennox 
  97.  I'll Take You There - The Staple Singers 
  98.  City of New Orleans - Steve Goodman and John Prine 
  99.  After the Gold Rush (cover of Neil Young’s original) - Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris
  100. Get a Groove - Thomas East 
  101. Lies - J.J. Cale 
  102. Mustang Sally (original version by Mack Rice; popularized by Wilson Pickett) - The Commitments 
  103. I Got a Woman (cover of Ray Charles’ original) - The Honeydrippers 
  104. Ain't That a Shame - Fats Domino 
  105. Rich Girl (cover of Hall & Oates’ original) - Lake Street Dive 
  106. You Got Me Hummin' - Cold Blood
  107. Danny's All-Star Joint - Rickie Lee Jones 
  108. My Old School - Steely Dan 
  109. Ooh Child (cover of the Five Stairsteps’ original) - Valerie Carter 
  110. People Gonna Talk - James Hunter 
  111. Angels - Flora Purim 
  112. Peter Gunn (instrumental) - Henry Mancini and His Orchestra 
  113. Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream) (live) - Roy Orbison & friends 
  114. Walking In Memphis - Marc Cohn 
  115. Baby's In Black - The Beatles 
  116. The Last Time - Rolling Stones





Posted 5/1/22.....


1. Quicksilver Messenger Service - Fresh Air https://youtu.be/7ejj81Y2ZlM

2. Grateful Dead - Jack Straw (live) https://youtu.be/9NqggeXq6ms

3. Santana - Black Magic Woman https://youtu.be/9wT1s96JIb0

4. Big Brother & The Holding Company (with Janis Joplin) - Piece of My Heart https://youtu.be/SCngPse1iiI

5. Janis Joplin (solo) - Me and Bobby McGee https://youtu.be/8LaHPmD8nuc

6. Steve Miller Band - Living in the USA https://youtu.be/BfD7y9t-mx4

7. It’s A Beautiful Day - White Bird https://youtu.be/zqGl_Di8ucE  

8. Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit https://youtu.be/pnJM_jC7j_4

9. Country Joe & The Fish - The “Fish” Cheer / I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag https://youtu.be/KqeLZ-oDc8g

10. Moby Grape - Omaha https://youtu.be/MVhJ7cIriyk

11. Sly & The Family Stone - Dance to the Music https://youtu.be/Jn2PNlhvy8E

12. Sons of Champlin - Rooftop https://youtu.be/19R3RKiOMrg

13. Blue Cheer - Summertime Blues https://youtu.be/o4vIlg4alz8

14. Cold Blood (from the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area) - You Got Me Hummin’ https://youtu.be/_quMD61F43I

15. Tower of Power (from the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area) - What is Hip https://youtu.be/Pfim3SKTNkw





Posted 4/17/22.....

ORIGINALS VERSUS COVERS: There are a dozen songs below to explore.  In each case, which version do you find more satisfying to your musical tastes?  The original OR the cover?


1. We Can Work It Out:

The Beatles https://youtu.be/Qyclqo_AV2M

Stevie Wonder https://youtu.be/ELzBzerPE1k


2. Burning Down the House:

Talking Heads https://youtu.be/bgJ-hyzl6jg

Tom Jones and the Cardigans https://youtu.be/bWhotBO4l4Y


3. Papa Was A Rolling Stone:

The Temptations https://youtu.be/dKutL4yTrEk

David Lindley https://youtu.be/Dnbav8hd3jQ


4. Wild Night:

Van Morrison https://youtu.be/PkYTW23BVPk

John Mellencamp & Meshell Ndegeocello https://youtu.be/1aoywIHLqbs


5. Roxanne:

The Police https://youtu.be/3T1c7GkzRQQ

George Michael https://youtu.be/QnhNwcfZPpg


6. I Don’t Need No Doctor:

Humble Pie https://youtu.be/mSyrf-FYKVE

The New Riders of the Purple Sage https://youtu.be/7DCSHkh1rHo


7. Born to Run:

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band https://youtu.be/Wu4_zVxmufY

Big Daddy https://youtu.be/IXPnz6cFAVM


8. (What’s So Funny Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding:

Elvis Costello and The Attractions https://youtu.be/QwN2fG4wcqU

Lucy Kaplansky https://youtu.be/bKmfquw-iM4


9. Little Wing:

Jimi Hendrix Experience https://youtu.be/KzmLdI_VC9s

The Coors (live, unplugged) https://youtu.be/_dQgBz3WGKs


10. Train in Vain:

The Clash https://youtu.be/zqZSONJYNGI

Annie Lennox https://youtu.be/LGI0SyrBaZw


11. After the Gold Rush:

Neil Young https://youtu.be/gGEhbRvfNS4

Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris https://youtu.be/gGEhbRvfNS4


12. Drive My Car:

The Beatles https://youtu.be/kfSQkZuIx84

Bobby McFerrin https://youtu.be/e4Vw4i7Y10w





Posted 4/3/22.....



This mix brings you signature tunes from the following artists who are explored in this website’s other section, A DAY IN THE LIFE: Funkadelic, Yes, Was (Not Was), Meat Loaf and Linda Ronstadt.

1. Funkadelic - One Nation Under a Groove https://youtu.be/nmjUvgdzimo

2. Funkadelic - Who Says a Funk Band Can’t Play Rock? https://youtu.be/9KkGkr6N0rk

3. Funkadelic - Maggot Brain https://youtu.be/JOKn33-q4Ao

4. Yes - I've Seen All Good People (consisting of two parts: I. Your Move / II. All Good People) https://youtu.be/WfgPEh2J9aI

5. Yes - Roundabout https://youtu.be/cPCLFtxpadE

6. Yes - And You and I (consisting of four parts: I. Cord of Life / II. Eclipse / III. The Preacher, the Teacher / IV. The Apocalypse) https://youtu.be/IwpB6b6mhUM

7. Was (Not Was) - Walk the Dinosaur https://youtu.be/zYKupOsaJmk

8. Was (Not Was) - Spy in the House of Love https://youtu.be/k8PjjxJ7v78

9. Was (Not Was) - Zaz Turned Blue…guest vocalist: Mel Tormé https://youtu.be/FwAmHWaHdLI

10. Was (Not Was) - Shake Your Head (Let’s Go to Bed)…guest vocalist Ozzy Osbourne https://youtu.be/4AEVzWXkedE

11. Was (Not Was) - Wedding Vows in Vegas…guest vocalist: Frank Sinatra, Jr. https://youtu.be/RtDBfLwbH-w

12. Meat Loaf - You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night) https://youtu.be/2t11CwlG444

13. Meat Loaf - Two Out of Three Ain't Bad https://youtu.be/HVvXWUAKtus

14. Meat Loaf - Paradise by the Dashboard Light (consisting of three parts: I. Paradise / II. Let Me Sleep on It / III. Praying for the End of Time) https://youtu.be/a136H5K3OKw

15. Meat Loaf - I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That) https://youtu.be/8mDWI84FlEg

16. Linda Ronstadt - You’re No Good https://youtu.be/e0vJNp5asqc

17. Linda Ronstadt - Tracks of My Tears https://youtu.be/GwjUekr9vQY

18. Linda Ronstadt - That’ll Be the Day https://youtu.be/E4O_iA-nR1U

19. Linda Ronstadt - Poor Poor Pitiful Me https://youtu.be/9No14pP_IKY

20. Linda Ronstadt - Back in the USA https://youtu.be/ZrtMQ3N4OyI





Posted 3/20/22.....



1. Jewel - Hands https://youtu.be/1rGlqV79xFA

2. Si*Se - Slip Away https://youtu.be/_PwHJQtRm_A

3. Badi Assad - Waves https://youtu.be/RYf0m-8-Plo

4. Carly Simon - You’re So Vain https://youtu.be/cleCtBP0o5Y

5. Jane Siberry - Bound By The Beauty https://youtu.be/QoXL_JEXGKc

6. Dianne Reeves - I Remember https://youtu.be/ZkoneNquuSM

7. Mary Chapin Carpenter - Stones In The Road https://youtu.be/C6VpuEzgMDY

8. Shannon McNally - Now That I Know https://youtu.be/FW02KtsakoU

9. Toni Braxton - Seven Whole Days https://youtu.be/3MM5Jfjt0DE

10. Laura Nyro & LaBelle - Spanish Harlem https://youtu.be/xb6db0UM0nY

11. Juliana Hatfield - Until Tomorrow https://youtu.be/fF3WjFTaoro

12. Lou Ann Barton - You Can Have My Husband https://youtu.be/qYGE4XYUc-U

13. Macy Gray - Do Something https://youtu.be/wCIBYk870BQ

14. Julie Driscoll (with Brian Auger & the Trinity) - All Blues https://youtu.be/gGjS9nJ2Y80

15. Sarah Vaughan - Obsession https://youtu.be/PXDU0ertETA

16. Tina Turner - What’s Love Got To Do With It https://youtu.be/1avX1lX7gSs

17. Alana Davis - Murder https://youtu.be/8dS-7kOnqj0

18. Bonnie Raitt - Spit of Love https://youtu.be/vGlfN-GZ1gI

19. Randy Crawford - Rio De Janeiro Blue https://youtu.be/xWOlPYIvaKw

20. Angelique Kidjo - Voodoo Child (Slight Return) https://youtu.be/GV1qoJLcrOk





Posted 3/6/22.....

The CLIMATE CHANGE mix…severe weather patterns, etc....What a fun mix to play at a party where you are casting all cares to the winds, right?!!

1. Louisiana Flood - Paul Butterfield’s Better Days https://youtu.be/X_SrBHDAA8c

2. A Hard Rain’s a-gonna Fall - Bob Dylan https://youtu.be/T5al0HmR4to

3. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel https://youtu.be/4G-YQA_bsOU

4. Drowning in the Sea of Love - Joe Simon https://youtu.be/08t_uHnm_nc

5. Landslide - Fleetwood Mac https://youtu.be/k4M53xndqiU

6. Swept Away - Steve Hunter https://youtu.be/F4snY-UBIKQ

7. Black Muddy River - Grateful Dead https://youtu.be/beooZL0V9vM

8. Turning of the Tide - Richard Thompson https://youtu.be/oLv8wwTy26s

9. Nature’s Way - Spirit https://youtu.be/qvQa04JP73o

10. The New Pollution - Beck https://youtu.be/uxugaMpt1vU

11. Something in the Air - Thunderclap Newman https://youtu.be/T59hsln7nlc

12. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) - Marvin Gaye https://youtu.be/ocYRCOUtz00

13. Save the Country - Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity https://youtu.be/cJjtVbWAAHI

14. Smoke from a Distant Fire - Sanford-Townsend Band https://youtu.be/QlczHHBqRFI

15. Burning Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash https://youtu.be/1WaV2x8GXj0

16. Eruption - Van Halen https://youtu.be/M4Czx8EWXb0

17. Hot Hot Hot - Buster Poindexter https://youtu.be/bKP18BpvX_o

18. I Melt with You - Modern English https://youtu.be/f95RSHIlTYw

19. Waitin’ for the Wind - Spooky Tooth https://youtu.be/pvYBaYcrMG0

20. Mighty Storm - The Duhks https://youtu.be/Wd313wmCB_U

21. Full Force Gale - Van Morrison https://youtu.be/mTCrVydBAqo

22. Stormy Weather - Etta James https://youtu.be/9jDpI5-NzXI

23. Like a Hurricane - Neil Young https://youtu.be/Z6qzeHSq7bk





Posted 2/20/22.....

(Next post: Sunday, March 6, 2022)

“THAT’S LIFE”…That’s what all the people say…and here is a mix that is full of it.

1. Life During Wartime - Talking Heads https://youtu.be/jLwZvg46jms

2. Life is Better with You - Michael Franti & Spearhead https://youtu.be/1XEOVl875d0

3. Life Goes On - The Kinks https://youtu.be/-CBRYqsUn54

4. In My Life - The Beatles https://youtu.be/YBcdt6DsLQA

5. Life, Love and You - Phil Keaggy https://youtu.be/xd9gvnM1T60

6. Life in a Northern Town - Dream Academy https://youtu.be/TrlSMkxn0c8

7. Escalator of Life - Robert Hazard and The Heroes https://youtu.be/o-DVPl69y7I

8. Dream of Life - Patti Smith https://youtu.be/Bl93aKyDGZo

9. Back in the High Life Again - Steve Winwood https://youtu.be/ojcSy6kXciI

10. Semi-Charmed Life - Third Eye Blind https://youtu.be/jILAu6pftT8

11. Private Life - The Pretenders https://youtu.be/SOEq5JeWDnQ

12. Isn’t Life Strange? - The Clientele https://youtu.be/mAox1h5Bajs

13. A Day in the Life (live) - Jeff Beck https://youtu.be/6XLl-ZG-i3U

14. Life on Mars - David Bowie https://youtu.be/E7taBfKJjUw

15. Life is a Carnival - The Band https://youtu.be/PT1k4W0mQYM

16. It’s My Life - The Animals https://youtu.be/fx_ccpYv6Bc

17. It’s My Life - Talk Talk https://youtu.be/QTQAoqxEYuA

18. Trying to Live My Life Without You (live) - Alex Chilton https://youtu.be/0jW3kKsdeTo

19. Life’s Greatest Fool - Gene Clark https://youtu.be/P_XOAxrutqw

20. The Glamourous Life - Sheila E. https://youtu.be/1Whgun28BYg

21. Life is a Rubber Rope - Horse Flies https://youtu.be/-oOF0wzk4-Y

22. South Side Life - Minus the Bear https://youtu.be/xfV8HFJn_YQ

23. I Love the Life I Live (I Live the Life I Love) - Van Morrison https://youtu.be/p8WlNhGpU4o  

24. For Once in My Life - Stevie Wonder https://youtu.be/l3qi3E40aWE





Posted 2/6/22.....


Calm down, Em.  It’s sax and violins.  Musicasaurus.com presents an alternating mix of songs that feature a sax, then a violin, then a sax--and on down the line.

1. Passport - Bahia Do Sol https://youtu.be/gnn4PaqybLE

2. Solas (live) - On a Sea of Fleur De Lis https://youtu.be/WyQ87Oaww9w

3. Charles Lloyd - Days of Wine and Roses https://youtu.be/x-9Yk2Q6Xb0

4. Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà (live) - Einaudi: I Giorni https://youtu.be/kTWCfD0jpJQ

5. Femi Kuti - Wonder Wonder https://youtu.be/OLkYg1TLLTY

6. The Waterboys - Fisherman’s Blues https://youtu.be/UmnPerZBSsY

7. Gato Barbieri - Milonga Triste https://youtu.be/M5D9nZQoue4

8. Stephane Grappelli with Philip Catherine, Larry Coryell & Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen - Oriental Shuffle https://youtu.be/BLEVbX8cDSM

9. David Sanborn - Señor Blues https://youtu.be/U1smV94q4Pg

10. Lili Haydn (featuring DaKah Hip Hop Orchestra) - Maggot Brain https://youtu.be/oVM9YoOAPoU

11. Bruce Springsteen - Jungleland https://youtu.be/l6IwxpL-ZDk

12. It’s A Beautiful Day - White Bird https://youtu.be/C93KTq26Y7U

13. Kenny Garrett - Song For DiFang https://youtu.be/a0TedavXExE

14. Dexy’s Midnight Runners - Come On Eileen https://youtu.be/GbpnAGajyMc

15. Ronnie Laws - Always There https://youtu.be/TDZeimhYdEI

16. Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention - Directly from my Heart to You https://youtu.be/KB3HdC-Iums

17. Joni Mitchell (live) - Black Crow https://youtu.be/W4a7qZCXTOs

18. Jean-Luc Ponty - New Country https://youtu.be/d_7yblIEq3A

19. Manu Dibango - Wakafrika https://youtu.be/lc7AbWdxKIo

20. Black Violin - Dreamer https://youtu.be/jol1da3hjxg

21. Tom Scott - Cruisin’ Bayou https://youtu.be/qmfPJk2NMhA

22. Tristan des Prés (with Jerry Goodman) - Angelique https://youtu.be/BW8h8UQXNK8





Posted 1/23/22.....


1. Walk on the Wild Side - Lou Reed (from Transformer )https://youtu.be/MxixFZZUBwE

2. I’ll Play the Blues for You, Pts. 1-2 - Albert King (from I’ll Play the Blues for You) https://youtu.be/RznyMS6lYFw

3. You Got to Know How - Bonnie Raitt (from Give It Uphttps://youtu.be/TDE-eYE121k

4. My Head is my Only House Unless it Rains - Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band (from Clear Spot) https://youtu.be/I4om-_xkrxg

5. Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile) - Van Morrison (from St. Dominic’s Previewhttps://youtu.be/TY0_1VN7h8c

6. Sail Away - Randy Newman (from Sail Away) https://youtu.be/HCRGrnhdNQE

7. Rock Steady - Aretha Franklin (from the album Young, Gifted and Black) https://youtu.be/0NOlKiGuFfg

8. All the Young Dudes - Mott the Hoople (from All The Young Dudeshttps://youtu.be/2jqyWI9Au-M

9. Soul Makossa - Manu Dibango (released as a single in the U.S. in 1972) https://youtu.be/R6YQcbx5jDU

10. Blonde in the Bleachers - Joni Mitchell (from For the Roseshttps://youtu.be/I3sHVM0rX40

11. Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues - Danny O’Keefe (fromO’Keefe) https://youtu.be/ROXtgjasUQo

12. Willin’ - Little Feat (from Sailin’ Shoeshttps://youtu.be/zcrEWRLk3CE

13. You Can’t Judge a Book - Long John Baldry (from Everything Stops for Tea) https://youtu.be/exANll1Mk7o

14. Big Brother - Stevie Wonder (from Talking Bookhttps://youtu.be/17JjYrBqrho

15. Clean Up Woman - Betty Wright (from I Love the Way You Love) https://youtu.be/XFQXMc60kc0

16. Road - Nick Drake (from Pink Moon) https://youtu.be/jpk32L8Bb4c

17. It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference - Todd Rundgren (from Something/Anything?https://youtu.be/YvO4_2QXjFo

18. Pure and Easy - Pete Townshend (from Who Came Firsthttps://youtu.be/J9-IyAqsn9k

19. You’re So Vain - Carly Simon (from No Secretshttps://youtu.be/cleCtBP0o5Y

20. Many Rivers to Cross - Jimmy Cliff (from The Harder They Come (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)https://youtu.be/HwzJeB9OawA





Posted 1/9/22.....


1. Ends of the Earth - Lord Huron https://youtu.be/-MH-UmYkXiM

2. Hickory Wind - The Byrds https://youtu.be/4D8-5w1gQHA

3. Light my Fire - Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger & The Trinity https://youtu.be/JBij9_ar6uM

4. Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile) - Gato Barbieri https://youtu.be/TjYvw3hzDNE

5. Candle in the Wind - Elton John https://youtu.be/MYU3F8uUGiw

6. Set the Fire to the Third Bar - Snow Patrol with Martha Wainwright https://youtu.be/bfa9yxCpWoA

7. Earth Song - Rufus https://youtu.be/xQoqvaqy9fw

8. Midnight Wind - John Stewart https://youtu.be/f-PKdDLhIi0

9. Fire in the Hole - Steely Dan https://youtu.be/sB966py-nfQ

10. Earth Jam - Bela Fleck and the Flecktones https://youtu.be/0RSBxddO2pg

11. Walking in the Wind - Traffic https://youtu.be/KRXkapzf7fQ

12. Love -> Building On Fire - Talking Heads https://youtu.be/KRXkapzf7fQ

13. The Earth Is in the Sky - Tom Verlaine https://youtu.be/_p_9hHpUhKo

14. Into the Wind - Freddie Jones Band https://youtu.be/TYBJsn4OPYk

15. Hands on Fire - The Stills https://youtu.be/kMroNZmQFPc

16. Holding on to the Earth - Sam Phillips https://youtu.be/jKxWQntd_VU

17. Four Winds - Bright Eyes https://youtu.be/ETdDMHx7oGU

18. Get Started, Start a Fire - Graham Parker https://youtu.be/HUb_1rFWZag





Posted 12/26/21.....

BUTTON UP…IT’S A COLD ONE (a mix of songs with the word “cold” in the titles).

1. Cold, Cold Heart - Charlie McCoy https://youtu.be/5p_Nh6HP7nU

2. A Cold, Rainy Morning in London in June - Matraca Berg https://youtu.be/UX_hA25qy5s

3. Out of the Cold - Amos Lee https://youtu.be/O3AEDcbFkoY

4. Cold Wind Across My Heart - Night https://youtu.be/fMyJNM4FNa0

5. Don’t Let the Cold - Tanita Tikaram https://youtu.be/Ea0X1rgzFRA

6. A Long, Cold Night in Minneapolis - Dead Man Winter https://youtu.be/j1wtY2j0BpA

7. Ten Degrees and Getting Colder - Nanci Griffith https://youtu.be/pmkzDVSwqYY

8. Cold Nights - The Subdudes https://youtu.be/64-H0al9WY0

9. Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire - Joni Mitchell https://youtu.be/JH_G5cog134

10. Cold - Post Malone https://youtu.be/oT1QGzb96y4

11. Cold - Annie Lennox https://youtu.be/S5S8kH5OxM4

12. Cold Girl - Phil Keaggy Trio https://youtu.be/eDWhFPGxrJ0

13. Cold Roses - Ryan Adams & The Cardinals https://youtu.be/4v-MPOLlMGw

14. Cold Shot - Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble https://youtu.be/cuYDKUz9gjY

15. Cold, Cold, Cold - Little Feat https://youtu.be/H29UNZCYQbg

16. Out in the Cold - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers https://youtu.be/19Z06genVX8

16. She’s So Cold - Rolling Stones https://youtu.be/oBaRvt777Qw

17. Cold Sweat - James Brown https://youtu.be/zOl4icFiI14





Posted 12/12/21.....


1. Good Morning, Good Morning - The Beatles https://youtu.be/sjb9AxDkwAQ

2. Morning - Beck https://youtu.be/z_j25z5zwT4

3. From the Morning - Nick Drake https://youtu.be/xPe5ZQx0OpQ

4. When the Morning Comes - Daryl Hall & John Oates https://youtu.be/V1hkCoZcmB4

5. Morning Has Broken - Cat Stevens https://youtu.be/jwI1j2DyRJc

6. Cold Morning Light - Todd Rundgren https://youtu.be/AzVoZXopGdQ

7. Morning Rain - Fleetwood Mac https://youtu.be/O1HoLcWkU98

8. Beautiful Morning Light - Fruit Bats https://youtu.be/07F_0HF6eLs                  

9. Chelsea Morning - Joni Mitchell https://youtu.be/mw6BjAYDmCQ

10. Silver Morning - Kenny Rankin https://youtu.be/7jqqLgZ-Qgk   

11. Holy Night - *NSYNC https://youtu.be/XXCJAWUWS-s

12. (Night Time Is) The Right Time - Ray Charles https://youtu.be/x21B-TqOk7I

13. It's the Nighttime - Josh Rouse https://youtu.be/ghEYoiLbnzI

14. Night Train - James Brown https://youtu.be/l0hcjUkXUmQ

15. Night Train - Rickie Lee Jones https://youtu.be/XIZIAmzC_nk   

16. Such A Night - Dr. John https://youtu.be/fj9lG30WzcA   

17. Stay While the Night Is Young - Savoy Brown https://youtu.be/mC0fOJ7BxK4

18. Night Ride Home - Joni Mitchell https://youtu.be/qf3Mjlkj8uk     

19. Night by Night - Steely Dan https://youtu.be/0cxFzHO9lfI                      

20. Good Night - The Beatles https://youtu.be/Qp_djIuQ2Cw





Posted 11/28/21.....

A mix with an allegiance to certain colors: THE OL’ RED, WHITE & BLUE…

1. Red Red Wine - UB40 https://youtu.be/UidFA-dP8GQ

2. White Winter Hymnal - Sonos https://youtu.be/DrQRS40OKNE

3. Tangled Up In Blue - Bob Dylan https://youtu.be/WJ8GUwNaboo                       

4. Red Streamliner - Little Feat https://youtu.be/mqiaVAQIFSU        

5, White Line Fever - The Flying Burrito Brothers https://youtu.be/t0ER5H0VYts  

6. Bluebird - Buffalo Springfield https://youtu.be/yKHY8MXgiz0

7. Deep Red Bells - Neko Case https://youtu.be/QK2LfWAzDIY       

8. White Boots Marching In a Yellow Land - Phil Ochs https://youtu.be/VLLLsbAPNIQ

9. Baby Blue - Badfinger https://youtu.be/STEFxSPO5L0      

10. Redwood Tree - Van Morrison https://youtu.be/32wqK06GtF4   

11. White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane https://youtu.be/pnJM_jC7j_4           

12. Blue Telescope - John Hiatt https://youtu.be/slevJq0FM3w        

13. (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes - Elvis Costello https://youtu.be/pS8oaMFsBEk            

14. White Honey - Graham Parker & The Rumour https://youtu.be/3Cerr6jI_1o    

15. Come and Go Blues - Gregg Allman https://youtu.be/2t4EOp22W8c

16. Little Red Corvette - Prince https://youtu.be/D_2a_a2j5jc            

17. Weasel and The White Boys Cool - Rickie Lee Jones https://youtu.be/8XFqDhxr7MI           

18. Big Blue Ball - Peter Gabriel, Karl Wallinger and Manu Katche https://youtu.be/8XFqDhxr7MI      





Posted 11/14/21.....


1. Drive My Car - Bobby McFerrin https://youtu.be/e4Vw4i7Y10w

2. God Made the Automobile - Iron & Wine https://youtu.be/99yUdF-f55s

3. Mercedes Benz - Janis Joplin https://youtu.be/-H7YULkiLIA

4. From a Buick 6 - Johnny Winter https://youtu.be/DZes9-dadVg

5. Stolen Car - Beth Orton https://youtu.be/cR4k4bxnhaE

6. Christian’s Automobile - The Dixie Hummingbirds https://youtu.be/meKv47cMrDE

7. Mustang Sally - Wilson Pickett https://youtu.be/OLSgNhce4VY

8. Chevrolet - Robben Ford & The Blue Line https://youtu.be/JS-56WH5qFk

9. Fast Car - Tracy Chapman https://youtu.be/IJ8i49EqgYI

10. Crazy ‘Bout an Automobile (Every Woman I Know) - Ry Cooder https://youtu.be/SS1NBJd670c

11. Pink Cadillac - Bruce Springsteen https://youtu.be/Wk5cIUI6Zac

12. Jaguar and Thunderbird - Chuck Berry https://youtu.be/gGx4cWDQD5U

13. Keep the Car Running - Arcade Fire https://youtu.be/Jvrp2bM4FpE

14. She Loves My Automobile - ZZ Top https://youtu.be/q_J4wZ-ldN4

15. Little Red Corvette - Prince https://youtu.be/OUZyb7YeEYA

16. ’92 Subaru - Fountains of Wayne https://youtu.be/Vj41MVB1DvU

17. Car on a Hill - Joni Mitchell https://youtu.be/P6sFSDpp7IU

18. Automobile - John Prine https://youtu.be/hnT5Vr08_So

19. Brand New Cadillac - The Clash https://youtu.be/xsL_8Oyx_So

20. Hot Rod Lincoln - Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen https://youtu.be/868DSi85odQ

21. Drive My Car - The Beatles https://youtu.be/kfSQkZuIx84





Posted 10/31/21.....

On this mix, WE GO HIGH…

1. Rocky Mountain High – John Denver https://youtu.be/eOB4VdlkzO4

2. High & Dry – Jamie Cullum https://youtu.be/wnZQfE6oFkM

3. High Temperature – The Nighthawks https://youtu.be/s5fXRdLIbUQ

4. Ridin’ High – Robert Palmer https://youtu.be/S-bKO4Sut6I

5. High Hopes – Frank Sinatra https://youtu.be/A_HvBDorpzE

6. Back in the High Life Again – Steve Winwood https://youtu.be/jq40GsxIDBI

7. Natural High – Joan Osborne https://youtu.be/LjM3tQhTHQo

8. Too High – Stevie Wonder https://youtu.be/UvtYEdYjkJM

9. High on a Mountain – Seals & Crofts https://youtu.be/MCcKjyhBCm8

10. High – The Cure https://youtu.be/dbF0yyP7XpQ

11. Because I Got High – Afroman https://youtu.be/WeYsTmIzjkw

12. Eight Miles High – The Byrds https://youtu.be/J74ttSR8lEg

13. 500 Miles High – Chick Corea & Return to Forever https://youtu.be/PPkznRvpHwg

14. The High Road – Broken Bells https://youtu.be/gWBG1j_flrg

15. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell https://youtu.be/ABfQuZqq8wg

16. High – Sir Sly https://youtu.be/Zrck6SV6T4M

17. I Must Be High – Wilco https://youtu.be/ciSOoQTp0bM

18. High Time We Went – Lou Ann Barton https://youtu.be/RdVPayBkHYM

19. I Want to Take You Higher – Sly & The Family Stone https://youtu.be/6fjZaSRoWG0

20. (You’re Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher – Jackie Wilson https://youtu.be/Gn6SNbTD0_Q





Posted 10/17/21.....

Songs with “rock” in the title followed by those with the word “roll” in ‘em.  “It's been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time” since I rocked and then rolled.

1. Elijah Rock – Ollabelle https://youtu.be/strEND2xQ3c

2. Belly Roll – Count Basie https://youtu.be/R4Ux9vRmFVE

3. Rock Me on the Water – Jackson Browne https://youtu.be/J2wnzm8LoJY

4. Roll Um Easy – Little Feat https://youtu.be/v-x-YQN3yBY

5. Rock This Town – Stray Cats https://youtu.be/4xmLyPZVaXQ

6. Roll to Me – Del Amitri https://youtu.be/BSEnw-WZ_jA

7. Rock On – David Essex https://youtu.be/vV_Wqomv8QU

8. Let Me Roll It (live) – Paul McCartney & Wings https://youtu.be/QMcOsziFRds

9. Cool Rock Boy – Juliana Hatfield https://youtu.be/9Tr9hWHodYg

10. Roll Away Your Stone – Mumford & Sons https://youtu.be/TFUoyz5l4aM

11. Rock Around the Clock – Bill Haley and his Comets https://youtu.be/hzYBEJgKjv0

12. Let the Good Times Roll (live) – B.B. King and Bobby “Blue” Bland https://youtu.be/79GTeeJjjKU

13. Rock Steady – Aretha Franklin https://youtu.be/0NOlKiGuFfg

14. Good Times Roll – The Cars https://youtu.be/Ki6xHnDAwHw

15. Seven Nights to Rock – Moon Mullican https://youtu.be/blJ9mWwISXc

16. Roll Your Own – Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen https://youtu.be/FHhpa_XqOcE

17. Rock the Casbah – The Clash https://youtu.be/0pCFVX6lzHU

18. Roll Over Beethoven – The Beatles https://youtu.be/Hz5jXwOXgKQ

19. Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley https://youtu.be/A99sV18J0mk

20. Come On (Let the Good Times Roll) – Jimi Hendrix Experience https://youtu.be/0npz_OYWZXI

21. I Was Born to Rock – Joe Grushecky https://youtu.be/GNbJlqlWVCI

22. Roll Away the Stone – Leon Russell https://youtu.be/-k8HCUexXUs





Posted 10/3/21.....


A mix of songs—some vastly underappreciated album tracks; others really hammered home on radio—from the year 1984…

1. Dance Hall Days – Wang Chung https://youtu.be/Jm6S9niyKbA

2Sunset Grill – Don Henley https://youtu.be/JRIKNINTFls

3. 7 Chinese Brothers – R.E.M. https://youtu.be/XXXQA31GBO8

4. Bobby Jean – Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band https://youtu.be/iGR_Rk74tOk

5. I Got Loaded – Los Lobos https://youtu.be/hHrRhZAPI9k

6. You Can’t Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want) – Joe Jackson https://youtu.be/qjUwoALt2qI

7. Show Me – The Pretenders https://youtu.be/-ZeRy-r7Hzc

8. On My Mind Tonight – Difford & Tilbrook https://youtu.be/oQyvqu7QQYo

9. Each and Every One – Everything But The Girl https://youtu.be/gJ4mSmfF0nM

10. Purple Rain – Prince https://youtu.be/S6Y1gohk5-A

11. Foolish Heart – Steve Perry https://youtu.be/JT0-iTFLqYw

12. What’s Love Got To Do With It – Tina Turner https://youtu.be/1avX1lX7gSs

13. It’s My Life – Talk Talk https://youtu.be/yWQezjGjiqs

14. Bad – U2 https://youtu.be/LCdltGg4EzM

15. Why Can’t We Live Together – Sade https://youtu.be/iQI2-BJPA3I

16. Heartbeat City – The Cars https://youtu.be/vfAgfSBmi9k

17. Sister of Mercy – Thompson Twins https://youtu.be/FvzDsotfaFA





Posted 9/19/21.....


1. If the Rain Comes - Julian & Roman Wasserfuhr with Lars Danielsson and Wolfgang Haffner https://youtu.be/vEfN88RCdx8

2. Here's That Rainy Day - Kenny Rankin https://youtu.be/bId_H6eQSlo            

3. Comin' Down In The Rain - Nanci Griffith https://youtu.be/kNBVGrOwlCU     

4. Here Comes the Rain Again - Miles to Dayton https://youtu.be/ru4BOquTrqU                       

5. My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains - Captain Beefhart and the Magic Band https://youtu.be/jM7A2B8BJhA              

6. Early Morning Rain - Eva Cassidy https://youtu.be/s840rbHSwOQ                  

7. Singin' In The Rain - Jamie Cullum https://youtu.be/aCS3P1Ayqio      

8. It's Raining - Lou Ann Barton https://youtu.be/2MFwYaC01sc               

9. Four Days Of Rain - The Flying Burrito Brothers https://youtu.be/aLIBwCXbrvA        

10. Buckets Of Rain - Bob Dylanhttps://youtu.be/jGsOmKZXDvo   

11. Mandolin Rain - Bruce Hornsby https://youtu.be/PUWZB5Uoi90                       

12. Sit & Listen To The Rain - Whiskeytown https://youtu.be/L0HUuGZakgM      

13. Surrender The Rain - Lindsey Buckinghamhttps://youtu.be/KZjbWSq9_UY   

14. Ringing Doorbells In The Rain - Valerie Carter https://youtu.be/1CdW4J3U-WM     

15. Who'll Stop the Rain - Creedence Clearwater Revival https://youtu.be/obv6wkMBXt0         

16. Save It For A Rainy Day - The Jayhawks https://youtu.be/QpUw0nCm_oQ    

17. Rain Street - The Pogues https://youtu.be/rlwVcIla1VE               

18. Rain - The Beatles https://youtu.be/cK5G8fPmWeA                     

19. Heavy Cloud No Rain - Sting https://youtu.be/WLDlIw2J9EQ                

20. Red Rain - Peter Gabriel https://youtu.be/WVnsXwBtD78                       

21. Rain King - Counting Crows https://youtu.be/FEL48-0xRAA





Posted 9/5/21.....



1. Summertime - Aaron Neville  https://youtu.be/OwRs0MvF-D8

2. Indian Summer - Chris Botti https://youtu.be/y8nTYNcrh4I

3. Suddenly Last Summer - The Motels  https://youtu.be/u3lalyrPzS0

4. Hot Summer Nights - Walter Egan https://youtu.be/7oZyT9z9Fmc

5. Hot Fun In The Summer Time - Sly & The Family Stone  https://youtu.be/ATHEDskhI84

6. Summer Wine - Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood https://youtu.be/791z7Nb985Y

7. The Sound of Summer Running - Alison Brown https://youtu.be/uRazPLpvA34

8. Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer - Nat "King" Cole  https://youtu.be/MRmEZMAfD3Y   

9. Summertime (Live) - Miles Davis & Quincy Jones  https://youtu.be/mzWJFKye-Ns

10. Summer Breeze - Seals & Crofts https://youtu.be/ywL6tMQdG4c

11. Summer In The City - Lovin' Spoonful https://youtu.be/U7ofnHmxE-I

12. So Nice (Summer Samba) - Astrud Gilberto & Walter Wanderley Trio  https://youtu.be/K-QHu0qIyzw

13. In the Summertime - Mungo Jerry https://youtu.be/vW79f3efFnU

14. Long Hot Summer Nights - Wendy Waldman https://youtu.be/fqRzWItKJi0

15. Summer Wind - Lyle Lovett  https://youtu.be/5QoXToQjbNs

16. Summer Nights - John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John (from Greasehttps://youtu.be/A_J2bcNx3Gw

17. Cruel Summer - Bananarama  https://youtu.be/bO5mu4xLJbk                          

18. Heart of the Summertime - Charlie Mars https://youtu.be/efhcOG00LQQ

19. Summertime - Sam Cooke  https://youtu.be/dXrf83Qyc3w





Posted 8/22/21.....

In the A DAY IN THE LIFE section of this website, Musicasaurus.com digs into the beginnings of MTV and its eventual, very significant impact on our culture…Here in BUILDING A MIXTERY, we provide you links to sample some of the most compelling songs from the early days of MTV (1981-1986)…Enjoy!

1. Pittsburgh rock band The Silencers (1981…in fact, on August 1, 1981—the first day that MTV started broadcasting) - “Peter Gunn Theme / Remote Control / Illegal”  https://youtu.be/5jwT4SllZzg

2. David Bowie (1981) - “Ashes To Ashes”  https://youtu.be/HyMm4rJemtI   

3. The Clash (1982) - “Rock The Casbah”  https://youtu.be/bJ9r8LMU9bQ    

4. Duran Duran (1982) - “Hungry Like The Wolf”  https://youtu.be/oJL-lCzEXgI

5. Billy Idol (1982) - “White Wedding”  https://youtu.be/AAZQaYKZMTI

6. Eurythmics (1983) - “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)”  https://youtu.be/qeMFqkcPYcg    

7. Michael Jackson (1983) - “Beat It”  https://youtu.be/oRdxUFDoQe0     

8. Talking Heads (1983) - “Burning Down The House”  https://youtu.be/_3eC35LoF4U  

9. Cyndi Lauper (1983) - “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”  https://youtu.be/PIb6AZdTr-A    

10. The Police (1983) - “Every Breath You Take”  https://youtu.be/OMOGaugKpzs

11. Van Halen (1983) - “Jump”  https://youtu.be/nJfYX6yItXA

12. ZZ Top (1983) - “Sharp Dressed Man”  https://youtu.be/7wRHBLwpASw

13. Prince (1983) - “Little Red Corvette”  https://youtu.be/v0KpfrJE4zw

14. Bruce Springsteen (1984) - “Dancing in the Dark”  https://youtu.be/129kuDCQtHs

15. Tina Turner (1984) - “What’s Love Got To Do With It”  https://youtu.be/oGpFcHTxjZs

16. The Cars (1984) - “You Might Think”  https://youtu.be/3dOx510kyOs

17. Herbie Hancock (1984) - “Rockit” https://youtu.be/GHhD4PD75zY

18. Madonna (1984) - “Borderline” https://youtu.be/rSaC-YbSDpo

19. Tom Petty (1985) - “Don’t Come Around Here No More”  https://youtu.be/h0JvF9vpqx8     

20. Dire Straits (1985) - “Money For Nothing”  https://youtu.be/wTP2RUD_cL0    

21. Whitney Houston (1985) - “How Will I Know”  https://youtu.be/m3-hY-hlhBg

22. A-Ha (1985) - “Take On Me”  https://youtu.be/djV11Xbc914

23. Peter Gabriel (1986) - “Sledgehammer”  https://youtu.be/OJWJE0x7T4Q     

24. Robert Palmer (1986) - “Addicted To Love”  https://youtu.be/XcATvu5f9vE    





Posted 8/8/21.....

A mix of 1970s Southern California musicians and singer-songwriters…originally recorded 7-29-09.

1. Late for the Sky – Jackson Browne https://youtu.be/n3SJz9jujEA

2. Ooh Child – Valerie Carter https://youtu.be/4H32jFWceWI

3. Tequila Sunrise – Eagles https://youtu.be/1K0N7UaZpz8

4. Tell Me – Terence Boylan https://youtu.be/RkhkjjERQE4

5. Long Time Gone – Crosby, Stills & Nash https://youtu.be/nS3l_TwPNRY

6. Tenderness on the Block – Warren Zevon https://youtu.be/KPyotCPHZu0

7. Mexico – The Souther-Hillman-Furay Band https://youtu.be/RBNKKori7Oc

8. You’re No Good – Linda Ronstadt https://youtu.be/e0vJNp5asqc

9. Bye Bye Love – David Lindley https://youtu.be/6uqZLXcLX4I

10. 5D (Fifth Dimension) – The Byrds https://youtu.be/dKAc9MRq28w

11. The End of the Innocence – Don Henley https://youtu.be/ICfWt1bMBgU

12. Help Me – Joni Mitchell https://youtu.be/edUhlRxyGOY

13. Lonely Boy – Andrew Gold https://youtu.be/OsSNdNuRbRA

14. Lotta Love – Nicolette Larson https://youtu.be/lHLr5dT4XHc

15. For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield https://youtu.be/80_39eAx3z8

16. Return of the Grievous Angel – Gram Parsons with Emmylou Harris https://youtu.be/h_Iz0iVvhEc

17. You’re Only Lonely – J.D. Souther https://youtu.be/quglprlSQ8k

18. Someone to Lay Down Beside Me – Karla Bonoff https://youtu.be/LzafPUvfwQ0

19. Only Love Can Break Your Heart – Neil Young https://youtu.be/364qY0Oz-xs

20. Nothing Seems to Matter – Bonnie Raitt https://youtu.be/nlzFMVdBE0c

21. Hot Summer Nights – Walter Egan https://youtu.be/7oZyT9z9Fmc





Posted 7/25/21.....

A mix of some of Musicasaurus.com’s favorite female artists, and a choice cut from each…This mix was originally recorded in August of 2002.

1. My Songbird (live) – Emmylou Harris & Spyboy https://youtu.be/yQ5q7ODwhHo

2. Hands – Jewel https://youtu.be/_jRMg3mTgDk

3. Am I Worthy – Sue Foley https://youtu.be/EbojzktxivE

4. Working Late – Kris Wiley https://youtu.be/W_JP0ah9Z7c

5. Nick of Time – Bonnie Raitt https://youtu.be/odJEsYjcHbg

6. Slip Away – Si*Se https://youtu.be/_PwHJQtRm_A

7. Waves – Badi Assad https://youtu.be/RYf0m-8-Plo

8. You’re So Vain – Carly Simon https://youtu.be/cleCtBP0o5Y

9. Bound by the Beauty – Jane Siberry https://youtu.be/QoXL_JEXGKc

10. I Remember – Dianne Reeves https://youtu.be/ZkoneNquuSM

11. Stones in the Road – Mary Chapin Carpenter https://youtu.be/C6VpuEzgMDY

12. Now That I Know – Shannon McNally https://youtu.be/FW02KtsakoU

13. When You Became King – Alana Davis https://youtu.be/fMfmZ3bLmfk

14. Seven Whole Days – Toni Braxton https://youtu.be/dKGioHEfirU

15. Spanish Harlem – Laura Nyro & LaBelle https://youtu.be/xb6db0UM0nY

16. Until Tomorrow – Juliana Hatfield https://youtu.be/fF3WjFTaoro

17. Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor https://youtu.be/UZKDs4AEhU4

18. Yellow House – Susan Werner https://youtu.be/S7SiVCLoHig





Posted 7/11/21.....

TEN TUNES FOR YOUR EXPLORATION…Dreamy, spacey, luscious, lush, folky, funky—lil bit of everything…

1.) Lose You – Pete Yorn.....Not too long out of Syracuse University, Yorn headed to L.A. in 2000 where he began to write music for film & television.  One of his compositions from the Farrelly Brothers film soundtrack Me, Myself & Irene filtered into some modern rock radio playlists, which led to his signing with Columbia Records.  The downbeat yet very appealing “Lose You” is from Yorn’s 2011 debut Musicforthemorningafter, an album showcasing his blend of alternative-skewed pop songwriting, nicely brought to form through a combination of guitar-bass-drums and occasional piano & strings.  https://youtu.be/OdLPePKLx4E


2.) Beauxsong – The Mandrake Project.....This is a tune you might imagine hipsters of all ages playing some Sunday morning over their lattes and New York Times…Like a lot of the material produced by this band, “Beauxsong” is an instrumental exploration, a soothing swarm of lush textures and varied instruments (in this particular case, violin and electric piano) that take off on short solos that puzzle-fit perfectly rather than detract from the enveloping, hypnotic wash.  The Mandrake Project is a musical collective first formed by ringleader Kirk Salopek in Pittsburgh in 2002.  They pull inspiration and ideas from prog-rock, jam, jazz, and electronic & ambient works as well.  A year-and-a-half or so after the release of their 2007 album A Miraculous Container they got on the radar of John Diliberto, host of the nationally syndicated radio show Echoes, and snagged a live performance slot of this song on Echoe’s Livingroom Concert Series.  Here is the studio version of “Beauxsong” … https://youtu.be/16wjSKu8b-0  


3.) Poison & Wine – The Civil Wars.....Folk-rock-and-pop duo John Paul White and Joy Williams comprise The Civil Wars, who first pricked up ears and picked up fans via a digital album entitled Live at Eddie’s Attic in 2009.  Two years afterward, their first full-length studio album Barton Hollow was released.  If you like amazing harmonies woven into the purest of tapestries—and you like your relationships on the rocks—you’ll love this particular track from that album. Some critics dubbed this duo America’s own Swell Season because of the music’s beautiful restraint and hushed, mesmerizing vocal blends, but things didn’t go so swell for them as the end of 2012 rolled around.  Those damn “irreconcilable differences” led to an official split of White and Williams in 2014.  https://youtu.be/uz6-SKGCrnQ


4.) Work To Make It Work – Robert Palmer.....Crank this one up.  The opening to this tune is like some kind of funky chain gang chant, with vocalist Palmer layering his own harmonies over top of his lead.  The song kicks in with Palmer’s always passionate blue-eyed-soul testifyin’, and crisp horns nip at the chorus.  “Work To Make It Work” is a song from British-born Palmer’s second album called Pressure Drop (1975),and the album is quite a feat overall; Lowell George and the rest of Little Feat provide solid backing the whole album through.  https://youtu.be/L1Uqq0QE7mA


5.) The Man In Love – Nick Lowe.....Lowe is a singer-songwriter and producer who’s travelled the musical miles as solo driver, carpool coordinator, and shotgun-seat producer.  He’s been in formative bands such as the rockabilly-leanin’ Rockpile (with Dave Edmunds) and in gloriously-regarded one-offs like the sole album from the cult superstar concoction Little Village (with Ry Cooder and John Hiatt).  Lowe also helmed as producer some pivotal releases across genres including Elvis Costello’s My Aim Is True and Armed Forces, Graham Parker & The Rumour’s Howlin’ Wind, UK punk band The Damned’s Damned Damned Damned (my circuitry didn’t stick there, don’t worry), step father-in-law Johnny Cash’s Rockabilly Blue, and John Hiatt’s Riding With the King.  The song included here, “The Man In Love,” is from Lowe’s 2007 solo album At My Age.  https://youtu.be/DdjPfGGxMSQ


6.) Miles Away – Fleetwood Mac.....This track is from the Bob Welch-era Fleetwood Mac (1971 through 1974) when this American guitarist contributed mightily to the band’s repertoire prior to the general public feeding frenzy that began with the Big Mac (the Buckingham & Nicks era, beginning in 1975).  At its best, the Welch incarnation of the band adds driving rock and wily, weaving lead-guitar lines over the band’s longstanding solid rhythm section of John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.  “Miles Away” is from the 1973 album Mystery To Me, and it is a perfect “deep cut” (like that album’s other highlight, “Hypnotized”) that is a sheer pleasure to hear on any self-respecting terrestrial or extraterrestrial radio station. https://youtu.be/Hjlu3K-VnGM


7.) World Of Two – Cake.....The recipe for Cake: Take alternative rock and sprinkle it liberally with bits of other genres; add in lyrics that are laden with sarcasm, non sequiturs and pop-culture nuggets; and then top it off with the sometimes spoken, sometimes sung vocalizations of frontman John McCrea.  The band formed in 1992 in Sacramento and by 1995-1996 were topping college and commercial alternative station charts with songs from two of their most recent albums, Motorcade of Generosity and Fashion Nugget.  The song “World of Two” from 2001’s Comfort Eagle release is a clever and catchy alt-ballad with a slight circus feel; something akin to sleigh bells show up amidst the usual guitar-bass-keyboards combination, and there’s a chorus that repeats “You...There’s only room for you...in your world of two…”  https://youtu.be/ErcKR1zKiGM


8.) Chalkhills and Children – XTC.....This British band formed in the mid-late 1970s and early on had that herky-jerky edge of new wave.  That wave gave way to more ambitious explorations into pure pop, rendered on record through superior arrangements and production.  Chief songwriters Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding channel bands like The Beatles (circa their most adventurous periods), The Kinks and The Beach Boys to produce sonic concoctions that are almost CDC-level infectious.  The track “Chalkhills and Children” comes from the double album Oranges and Lemons released in 1989, and it is crystalline and layered with harmonies—intelligent, quirky, lush and luscious.  https://youtu.be/OYU4CE2WQmA


9.) Bring Me My Queen – Abigail Washburn.....What a gem.  Singer-songwriter and banjo player Washburn has produced in this one lone tune a beautiful alt-folk classic, crafted with intelligence and performed with quiet assurance.  This is a small triumph of composition, arrangement, execution, and production. Washburn’s vocals are occasionally gravelly and hushed, but always “spot on” to serve the song.  Through her instrument and in her song arrangements, she is bold in her steps to artfully incorporate a wide range of influences—folk, rock, jazz, bluegrass and blues, and also mixing into this melting pot some touches from the British Isles, the Far East, and beyond.  “Bring Me My Queen” hails from Washburn’s 2011 release City of Refuge.  https://youtu.be/F44LtKJ_O5c


10.) The Kingdom – Icehouse.....Australia’s Icehouse never really “broke big” in the United States.  They were most prominent and active in the 1980s, yet listening to this particular track today doesn’t necessarily evoke ‘80s excesses; it still sounds fairly fresh and not locked into that decade.  “The Kingdom” is a nice little slice from Icehouse’s 1987 release Man of Colours, and features the warm Paul Carrack-like voice of lead singer Iva Davies; the electric guitar accents are quite appealing as well.  Caveat: I’m only recommending this particular track, mind you; the rest of the band’s output may not settle in with you nearly as well.  https://youtu.be/P_n5CoTQQ0U





Posted 6/27/21.....

The “Hey! Give ME Some of the Covers!” Mix…originally recorded on August 17, 2002.

1. Flying Burrito Brothers do Dylan (To Ramona) https://youtu.be/n7zijSFW0Ok

2. Hendrix does Dylan (All Along the Watchtower) https://youtu.be/TLV4_xaYynY

3. The Cure does Hendrix (Purple Haze) https://youtu.be/KS89YojeFoM

4. Sinead O’Connor does Prince (Nothing Compares to U) https://youtu.be/UZKDs4AEhU4

5. Gregg Allman does The Allman Brothers (Whippin’ Post) https://youtu.be/Mqp05ay370o

6. Lick the Tins does Elvis Presley (Can’t Help Falling in Love) https://youtu.be/Of-8o4WPt24

7. Julie Driscoll/Brian Auger & the Trinity do The Doors (Light My Fire) https://youtu.be/JBij9_ar6uM

8. Gene Parsons does Little Feat (Willin’) https://youtu.be/t2mbXSku7Gw

9. Emmylou Harris does Chuck Berry (You Never Can Tell) C’est La Vie https://youtu.be/-7S6XVoIVDI

10. Taj Mahal does Bob Marley (Slave Driver) https://youtu.be/AQM31tyUCsc

11. Grateful Dead does Merle Haggard (Mama Tried) https://youtu.be/PWKwTkL-gvY

12. Buddy Guy does Marvin Gaye (Trouble Man) https://youtu.be/a1-HqFoAfUI

13. Dianne Reeves does Joni Mitchell (River) https://youtu.be/37VLxFM66ic

14. Dwight Yoakam does The Rolling Stones (The Last Time) https://youtu.be/8cdWL5n4zWc

15. Alana Davis does Third Eye Blind (I Want You) https://youtu.be/BvMc9IstWpM

16. Aaron Neville does Randy Newman (Louisiana 1927) https://youtu.be/zEqiKpQte4c

17. Gato Barbieri does Santana (Europa/Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile) https://youtu.be/2ZY9oSRKCA8

18. Angelique Kidjo does Hendrix (Voodoo Chile/Slight Return) https://youtu.be/36bGFi1U_vw





Posted 6/13/21.....


The Stoner Mix…or, just a mix of songs with the word “stone” in the title...originally recorded on September 17, 2010.

1. A Stone’s Throw Away – Valerie Carter https://youtu.be/JdP1vjQRduY

2. Let’s Go Get Stoned – Ray Charles https://youtu.be/qqW-UkejKAs

3. Stone – Cibo Matto https://youtu.be/BLYVSkrJCv8

4. Heart of Stone – Rolling Stones https://youtu.be/VTiYp85yK0o

5. Stone Love – Ruthie Foster https://youtu.be/IPYW9znbr3Y

6. Like A Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan https://youtu.be/XOtw_GVEcOU

7. Stoned Soul Picnic – Laura Nyro https://youtu.be/2Nfc_J7qlhQ

8. Stoned Out of My Mind – The Chi-Lites https://youtu.be/4WVZPMgrD3c

9. Stone – Stereophonics https://youtu.be/ckLF8RiABMc

10. Papa Was A Rolling Stone – David Lindley & El Rayo-X https://youtu.be/Dnbav8hd3jQ

11. Let’s Go Get Stoned – Sublime https://youtu.be/cRKve-cdjxE

12. Stoned – Blackie and The Rodeo Kings https://youtu.be/as4I-A-H7vQ

13. Throwing Stones – Grateful Dead https://youtu.be/rbiqeqYk_V4

14. Stoned Love – The Supremes https://youtu.be/KXGabuGle1A

15. Stoned – Duke Robillard https://youtu.be/sbis51wsDuo

16. Heart of Stone – Joan Osborne https://youtu.be/IcJ69tPZw8U

17. And It Stoned Me – Van Morrison https://youtu.be/AYqJtqyeilE

18. Roll Away Your Stone – Mumford & Sons https://youtu.be/TFUoyz5l4aM

19. Stoned At The Jukebox – Hank Williams Jr. https://youtu.be/Hrri09Vo44o





Posted 5/30/21.....

A COLOR FULL MIX…originally recorded on October 19, 2005.

1. White Line Fever – The Flying Burrito Brothers https://youtu.be/t0ER5H0VYts

2. Pink Bullets – The Shins https://youtu.be/3XBabozrPGA

3. Raspberry Beret – Prince https://youtu.be/l7vRSu_wsNc

4. Sweet Burgundy –Tommy Bolin https://youtu.be/qako94KrCV0

5. (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes – Elvis Costello https://youtu.be/pS8oaMFsBEk

6. Orange Crush – R.E.M. https://youtu.be/j12kusJqDQs

7. Yellow – Coldplay https://youtu.be/9qnqYL0eNNI

8. Heart of Gold – Neil Young https://youtu.be/X3IA6pIVank

9. Brass in Pocket – The Pretenders https://youtu.be/KiGyk4B7-jA

10. Green Earrings – Steely Dan https://youtu.be/iHSnt9BTJbM

11. The Blue Train – Emmylou Harris/Linda Ronstadt/Dolly Parton https://youtu.be/987iPhplnO0

12. Touch of Grey – Grateful Dead https://youtu.be/aEKmbDbFMI8

13. Mood Indigo – Jimmy Smith https://youtu.be/BwX9XVLZBqg

14.Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix https://youtu.be/WGoDaYjdfSg

15. Brown Sugar – The Rolling Stones https://youtu.be/Jusuz5IHxKs

16. Baby’s in Black – The Beatles https://youtu.be/TJFpUb7JGYo





Posted 5/16/21.....

I AM ONE WILD & CRAZY MIX…originally recorded 12-21-09.

1. Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones https://youtu.be/OPfG2aU1MpI

2. Crazy – Pat Green https://youtu.be/XJvnuDuc3QQ

3. We Can Get Wild – Mark Knopfler https://youtu.be/TyhelMyQXwU

4. Somewhere Down the Crazy River – Robbie Robertson https://youtu.be/4KP9PNSUME4

5. Wild Mountain Honey – Steve Miller Band https://youtu.be/Qc47OScSW3M

6. The Crazy Cries of Love – Joni Mitchell https://youtu.be/8b_7OqRx1b8

7. Walk on the Wild Side – Lou Reed https://youtu.be/MxixFZZUBwE

8. Still Crazy After All These Years – Paul Simon https://youtu.be/JrzmW-zmPl0

9. Wildflowers – Tom Petty https://youtu.be/AldoDm2bV04

10. Crazy Love – Poco https://youtu.be/7Ki7f4g9X9g

11. Wild World – Cat Stevens https://youtu.be/rBA1jocMvnc

12. Crazy About You – Whiskeytown https://youtu.be/anZCedQS2Tg

13. Wild – Stroke 9 https://youtu.be/qDZTcXVZwMA

14. Crazy – Alana Davis https://youtu.be/nVfJUDSuvkE

15. Something Wild – John Hiatt https://youtu.be/r6JvzYmeFbY

16. Crazy – Gnarls Barkley https://youtu.be/4awyKrjzCg0

17. Wild Wild Life – Talking Heads https://youtu.be/kKdOEwy_tLY

18. Crazy – Seal https://youtu.be/JK7MBGjgGTg

19. Wild Night – Van Morrison https://youtu.be/bXoBnmJtqhY





Posted 5/2/21.....

Head out on the highway, lookin’ for adventure—or, couch potato yourself with earbuds in…Either way, you’ll enjoy the ride.  It’s THE HIGHWAY MIX…

1. Highways and Cigarettes - Son Volt  https://youtu.be/JocvNFihE44

2. Kings Highway - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers https://youtu.be/-h3gXKArWyw        

3. Highway Warriors - Shona Laing https://youtu.be/xX1ejXxoYCI  

4.Going Down This Highway - William Clarke  https://youtu.be/w3FYiHyW5zg     

5. Key to the Highway - Eric Clapton with B.B. King https://youtu.be/zDCXXSasyoo

6. Take the Highway - Marshall Tucker Band https://youtu.be/dJoON2SEk5w                             

7. Highway - Eliza Gilkyson https://youtu.be/UqM7AgLMeT8

8. Strolling Down The Highway - Bert Jansch https://youtu.be/kfCawPPlgYA       

9. Highway In the Wind - Arlo Guthrie https://youtu.be/QovY2HTWijs          

10. The Newry Highwayman - Solas https://youtu.be/AFldXbABFBw          

11. Human Highway - Neil Young https://youtu.be/FY4an-1GqwU   

12. Highway 28 - Paul Butterfield’s Better Days https://youtu.be/3X0bOCFS7ao  

13. Highway Patrol - Junior Brown https://youtu.be/PR9ViPdGEaU

14. Ghost Towns Along the Highway - John Mellencamp https://youtu.be/f-i_QMUkKc8           

15. Freedom Highway - Brian Auger & Julie Tippetts https://youtu.be/96MsubjygXo       

16. Ventura Highway - America https://youtu.be/tnV7dTXlXxs          

17. Highway Song - James Taylor https://youtu.be/Mv4pYbRK9tg

18. Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan https://youtu.be/i9IX_o4Xa4M         

19.Hillbilly Highway - Steve Earle https://youtu.be/0BxFfAxJYvw      

20. Highway Patrolman (live) - Bruce Springsteen With The Sessions Band https://youtu.be/2jRRixWzhiM





Posted 4/18/21.....

A very worldly mix…Songs with the word “WORLD” in the title! (originally compiled 3-19-10)​.

1. Vicious World - Rufus Wainwright  https://youtu.be/5eDe2okxnUg

2. World Turning - Fleetwood Mac  https://youtu.be/eKw2h_ZFFfY  

3. World Spins Madly On - The Weepies  https://youtu.be/7RWgjy9CAeQ            

4. This is the World Calling - Bob Geldof  https://youtu.be/6uaEmjt-2rI                              

5. (What A) Wonderful World - Sam Cooke  https://youtu.be/VzlLi5jX_C4

6. Waiting On The World To Change - John Mayer  https://youtu.be/pquX7Ya4-wE

7. Singing Joy to the World - Fruit Bats  https://youtu.be/-lnrkscsJPg        

8. Troubles of the World – Ollabelle  https://youtu.be/ZCSyzMg_NoM

9. Wander This World - Jonny Lang  https://youtu.be/rH5bDW3bnQg        

10. Everybody Wants To Rule The World - Patti Smith  https://youtu.be/CZYFt0Zwmnk

11. Harvest For The World - The Isley Brothers  https://youtu.be/dUxiKQXxGR8  

12. Back Into Your World - Son Volt  https://youtu.be/salUViy2uoA

13. Sweet Old World - Lucinda Williams  https://youtu.be/BwGMJYszLMY

14. Sitting On Top of the World - The Pogues  https://youtu.be/0V5F8xpjI4w       

15. It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World - James Brown  https://youtu.be/hK97cdbbsQw

16. So Much Trouble in the World - Bob Marley  https://youtu.be/Az11r3EKmbg

17. Out Of This World - Boo Hewerdine & Darden Smith (this track starts at the 19:27 mark of this full album video)  https://youtu.be/VWalbDxGAEk

18. No World Like the World - Kelley Stoltz  https://youtu.be/4CIocnNpTL4

19. It's A Big Ol' Goofy World - John Prine  https://youtu.be/pAfFnB7Yxn8                         

20. The World We Live In - The Killers  https://youtu.be/8EqBVO0eYOI

21. You’re The World To Me - David Gray  https://youtu.be/rA7_o2r-1LU

22. What a Wonderful World - Kenny Werner & Toots Thielemans  https://youtu.be/sHdITynB1iU





Posted 4/4/21.....

Ten songs that are intriguing covers—the Cure does Jimi Hendrix, Sinead O’ Connor does Prince, Lick The Tins does Elvis Presley, and on down the line…

1. Purple Haze – The Cure does Jimi Hendrix.....This haunting rearrangement is from a 1993 multi-artist tribute album entitled Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix.  The original song was on Jimi’s 1967 release Are You Experienced, and Jimi maintained that his composition wasn’t drug-related, but rather a love song inspired by a dream of his that he was walking under the sea.  The track also generated one of the most frequently misheard lines in rock history—“Excuse me while I kiss the sky” is often instead audibly ingested as “Excuse me while I kiss this guy.”  https://youtu.be/KS89YojeFoM


2. Nothing Compares To U – Sinead O’ Connor does Prince.....This Prince cover from Sinead’s 1990 album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got was an MTV hit and a worldwide success.  The first version of Prince’s composition appeared not on his own album, but on one by Prince protégé The Family (with Prince appearing all over the track, of course).  When Sinead’s version hit the heights, Prince began performing the song live on his tours and the song finally surfaced officially by Prince on a 1993 compilation of his entitled The Hits / The B-Sides.  https://youtu.be/UZKDs4AEhU4


3. Can’t Help Falling In Love – Lick The Tins does Elvis Presley.....This Celtic folk-rock band turned this Elvis Presley song upside down on their album Blind Man on a Flying Horse (1986), armed with plenty o’ tin whistles, a suitably accented female lead vocal and a sprightly jig at the end.  The London-based quartet wasn’t well known at all prior to this song piercing the UK song charts in 1986 and they then settled back into the bog of musical unknowns shortly thereafter.  The band’s version did perk up a few ears again, however, when American film director John Hughes chose it for the soundtrack album of his 1987 teen drama Some Kind of Wonderful.  The original version of the song was crooned by Elvis Presley and released on his Blue Hawaii album in 1961, and it went to #3 nationally in the U.S. and #1 in the UK in January of that year.  https://youtu.be/y-__OdJ5b6A


4. Light My Fire – Julie Driscoll / Brian Auger & The Trinity do The Doors.....In the mid-late 1960s before he launched his Oblivion Express, British keyboardist Brian Auger was teamed up with a dynamic front-woman who had a set of pipes like no other.  On a number of songs with Auger and his Trinity, singer Julie Driscoll alternately rumbled, growled, and soared often within the space of a few seconds—amazing stuff.  Driscoll toured and recorded with Auger and his Trinity for the three-year period 1967-1969 and then departed for more eclectic musical pursuits.  The track listed here is from the group’s 1969 double album Streetnoise.  The original song of course is by The Doors, and it hails from the group’s eponymous debut album released in 1967.  https://youtu.be/I7cNeaVByOw


5. Slave Driver – Taj Mahal does Bob Marley.....Born in Harlem and raised in Springfield, MA, Taj Mahal (real name: Henry St. Clair Fredericks) is a blues and world music purveyor who covered this Bob Marley tune on his reggae-based album entitled Mo’ Roots.  This 1974 album from Taj was my first real exposure to reggae music; somehow a few of my nineteen-year-old peers and I missed the initial wave of Jamaican music coming our way beginning with 1970’s Soul Rebels, Marley and the Wailer’s second album but their first to be released outside of their native country.  Marley, the widely recognized ambassador of Jamaican music and the Rastafari movement, wrote and recorded “Slave Driver” for the Wailers’ fifth album Catch A Fire which hit record stores in the U.S. in 1973.  https://youtu.be/AQM31tyUCsc


6. River – Dianne Reeves does Joni Mitchell.....This song appeared on Reeves’ Bridges album from 1999.  Born in Detroit into a musical family (her cousin is keyboardist George Duke), Reeves is a jazz vocalist who has worked mainly in that realm with musicians like Clark Terry (an early mentor), Kenny Barron and Toots Thielemans.  The singer signed with the primarily jazz artists’ label Blue Note in 1987 and spent a little over two decades there.  Her cover of “River” on her Bridges album is beautifully executed by her intuitive band of musicians but it is Reeves’ reverent slow pacing and tone control that are the real ear caresses here.  It helps of course that the original is such a well-known and beloved classic; it is a masterful bit of “confessional” singing and songwriting from Joni Mitchell, a tune from her 1971 album Blue written after her relationship breakup with Graham Nash.  https://youtu.be/37VLxFM66ic


7. Tired of Waiting for You – Dwight Yoakam does The Kinks.....On his 1997 release Under the Covers, country music upstart Dwight Yoakam does a finger-snapping, horn punctuated big band version of this early Kinks classic.  It may be too jarring for early 1960s rock fans who revere the original British Invasion bands, but Musicasaurus.com likes the Vegas nightclub/Bill Murray lounge singer feel of it—especially at high volume.  On this his first album of cover songs, Yoakam also tears into The Clash, The Stones, The Beatles and Roy Orbison with, respectively, “Train in Vain,” “The Last Time,” “Things We Said Today” and “Claudette.”  One has got to give a tip of the cowboy hat to Yoakam for his bravado here.  https://youtu.be/F0I__ecdUiQ


8. Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile) – Gato Barbieri does Santana.....Argentinian Barbieri, a tenor sax player, started out with off-the-mainstream free jazz in the 1960s but then moved more into accessible Latin rhythms and pop influences by the mid-late 1970s.  His style on the latter records was hailed by critics as both warm & sensual (note that he did the 1972 film score for Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris) and hot & gritty (on mid-tempo-to-faster tracks like “Milonga Triste” from 1974’s Chapter Three: Viva Emiliano Zapata).  On “Europa,” from 1976’s Caliente produced by Herb Alpert, the artist infuses this mid-tempo excursion with his trademark finesse; as critic Jon Pareles of The New York Times once wrote, “Even in ballads, he works up to a hefty, throbbing tone that sounds like it could burst at any moment.”  The original version of the song, co-written by Carlos Santana and Tom Coster, is on Santana’s seventh studio album Amigos which was released in 1976.  https://youtu.be/2ZY9oSRKCA8


9. Goldfinger (main title) – Petra Haden does Shirley Bassey…..Bassey did the brassy original, which was a bombastic John Barry song that played during the opening credits to the 1964 James Bond film of the same name.  Haden grabbed a hold of this tune for her 2013 release Petra Goes To The Movies, where she wraps her golden, overdubbing throat around such eclectic material as the main title songs from the films Psycho, Cool Hand Luke, Cinema Paradiso, and A Fistful Of Dollars.  The setting is usually Haden without instrumentation, multi-tracking her marvelous voice on these audacious pop experiments that get to the essence of the material but subvert it as well.  Nice reinventions one and all, especially “Goldfinger” which is sonorously slinky—and a lot less cheesy, of course, than the original.  https://youtu.be/y5wTxp66ojA


10. Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home) – Paul Young does Marvin Gaye.....I hadn’t heard the Motown-produced original back in late 1962 by Marvin Gaye; the song finally reached my ears twenty-one years later when English singer Paul Young included it on his debut album No Parlez (1983).  Young had been gifted with a powerful voice and a knack for song selection; part of his success in the UK and across the pond throughout the 1980s—beyond his good looks—was his choice of cover material.  Two of his record label’s priority singles initially pushed to “hit radio” stations from No Parlez were received lukewarmly by listeners, but that changed when third single “Whenever I Lay My Hat” hit the airwaves.  In a September 18, 2018 interview with London’s The Guardian, Young reflected on his decision to seek out Gaye’s original that he had heard back when he was fourteen years old: “Because that version of ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)’ hadn’t been a hit, I effectively had a blank canvas.  When we slowed it down, I saw there was more to the song.  Marvin was singing from the perspective of a singer on the road, a love ’em and leave ’em, Jack-the-lad type.  But, while this started off as fun, he realised there was an emptiness to what the character was doing.  I tapped into that and put more melancholy into the vocal.”  Give a listen to Young’s stellar reinterpretation here:  https://youtu.be/_iFnBRcHJw4





Posted 3/21/21.....

Recently I found this Maxell UDXLII C90 cassette mix in a search through basement keepsakes—things that a handful of years ago I had deemed essential to still have in my possession.  Now that I can stream a bajillion songs anytime day or night, I thought it might be high time to just…let…go.  The cassette’s going into the trash heap of history—but first I wanted to share it to let you know where my musical head was at, in that spring of 1982…


1.   U2 - Into the Heart  https://youtu.be/vLlllKuuVrQ

2.  U2 - Out of Control  https://youtu.be/n_4GDE_38So

3.  The Tazmanian Devils - Dirty Bop Party  https://youtu.be/C91vizv6VqM

4.  Wreckless Eric - Broken Doll  https://youtu.be/PwjKyI_oDS8

5.  Larry Carlton - Rio Samba  https://youtu.be/gFIQjWtd2A4  

6.  Mott the Hoople - All The Way From Memphis https://youtu.be/UFw69zmIkL4

7.  Robert Palmer - Work to Make it Work  https://youtu.be/_WuPItK647g

8.  Pretenders - Talk of the Town  https://youtu.be/Mqq0LEsNTSk

9.   Gong - Expresso  https://youtu.be/2NEH3UCXklg

10.Gong - Night Illusion  https://youtu.be/lGzux6VyIpk

11.The Clash - Somebody Got Murdered  https://youtu.be/_do6miBfrm8  



1.   Supertramp - Easy Does It  https://youtu.be/jPSX4D5DH6s 

2.   Neil Young - Human Highway  https://youtu.be/FY4an-1GqwU

3.   Gene Parsons - Willin’  https://youtu.be/t2mbXSku7Gw

4.   Gram Parsons - Return of the Grievous Angel  https://youtu.be/h_Iz0iVvhEc

5.   Al Jarreau - Thinkin’ About It Too https://youtu.be/NgKk_dg9vOU

6.   Bruce Cockburn - Creation Dream https://youtu.be/2jRj8LrjlAo

7.   The Kinks - Stormy Sky  https://youtu.be/6FDzcb0O0G0

8.   Sly & The Family Stone - Family Affair  https://youtu.be/xag5RKD0VHk

9.   Valerie Carter - Da Doo Rendezvous https://youtu.be/woNQNmEqISk

10. Keith Jarrett - Country (amazingly, this particular performance of the song from my 3/4/82 cassette mixtape—which was recorded off the 1978 Keith Jarrett album Your Song—is not available on YouTube.  This is one worth seeking out elsewhere, so go merrily down the streaming until you find it).

11. Tom Petty - The Wild One, Forever  https://youtu.be/US-pEqevjvc

12. Steve Hunter - Sea Sonata  https://youtu.be/uwZQFHNk2X4 





Posted 3/7/21.....


1. Is It For Me – Toad The Wet Sprocket.....This band from Santa Barbara, California took their name from a Monty Python skit, and their style is largely alt-pop and mostly unpredictable.  The track listed here comes from Toad’s third album entitled Fear that was released in 1991.  Also, you might want to hop on this Toad tidbit: Lead singer Glen Phillips is blessed with one of the smoothest voices in rock, so do check out other Toad tunes but also ones from his solo albums; 2005’s Winter Pays For Summer, for instance, contains the voluptuously voiced gems “Courage” and “Cleareyed.”  https://youtu.be/3zvnQ28aE8w


2. Not Dark Yet – Bob Dylan.....For my money, this song from Dylan’s 1997 release Time Out Of Mind is one of his very best works.  It is a confluence of powerful forces including Daniel Lanois’ production, Dylan’s world-weary vocals, and the song’s thematic punch.  Dylan has (but of course) an undisputed place in history as one of the leading voices of the Sixties Generation, and at age 79 now has way less years in front of him than behind: I was born here and I’ll die here, against my will / I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still / Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb / I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from / Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer / It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.”  Producer Lanois’ keen ear for serving the song adds incredible weight to Dylan’s meditation.  https://youtu.be/RZgBhyU4IvQ


3. Foolish Thing – Julia Fordham.....Fordham is a British singer-songwriter who gained the most press and prominence in the very late 1980s and early 1990s.  Her full-bodied, smoky-jazz-club vocals sound a bit like Alison Moyet, in song settings that are similar to the slightly jazzier works of Joni Mitchell.  “Foolish Thing” is from Fordham’s seventh album overall, 2002’s Concrete Love, but rather than send you there to hear the song as recorded in the studio, musicasaurus.com instead points you to a truly hypnotic, enveloping version that is on Fordham’s 2005 live-in-concert CD/DVD entitled That’s Live.  Fordham in this setting is backed up by a truly stellar band of players including Dean Parks on guitar, Larry Klein on bass, and Mark Isham on trumpet.  https://youtu.be/mjS4THZNUsQ


4. Spit of Love – Bonnie Raitt.....This track is from Raitt’s Fundamental album released in 1998.  The song has a sonic atmosphere of suspicion and dread, and my Bonnie flies over the motion with slithering slide-guitar work that perpetuates the spell. The song is a sinuous pleasure, with lyrics addressing the temptations of passionate yet misguided love; hard not to rate this slice of Raitt as simply great.  https://youtu.be/vGlfN-GZ1gI


5. Yalla Yalla – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros.....Post-Clash, Joe Strummer banded together his Mescaleros in 1999 and produced three albums of fiery yet fanciful free-associative lyrics and fetching world beats.  “Yalla Yalla” hails from Strummer’s 1999 release Rock Art and The X-Ray Style.  The album contains a number of mid-tempo excursions that are uniquely late-era Strummer—characteristically passionate vocals set amid world music that is less punk and more funk.  https://youtu.be/DECYCThvMWU


6. Jealous – Sinead O’Connor.....This talented Irish lass burst on the scene in 1987 with a groundbreaking feminist alternative rock record called The Lion and The Cobra.  She is an artist who fearlessly pursued her own muse and also courted controversy along that path; check out her 1992 Saturday Night Live appearance where she rips into the Pope!  Whether O’Connor is pushing boundaries or just settling back into Celtic songs and covers, she is always compelling; her voice is a thing of beauty—witness this track from her Faith and Courage album, her fifth studio record, released in 2000.  https://youtu.be/DTmyTzJEoCE


7. Christmas in Washington – Steve Earle.....By its title this tune may seem seasonal but it’s evergreen, really, as Congress remains perpetually and stubbornly mired in partisanship.  The song was actually written years ago, however, and was the leadoff track on Earle’s 1997 album El Corazon.  It is an acoustic protest song featuring Earle’s inviting drawl, and the lyrics are a poignant appeal for a return to values: “So come back Woody Guthrie / Come back to us now / Tear your eyes from paradise / And rise again somehow...”  https://youtu.be/3Jk4JmIuFes


8. Dreams Today – Efterklang.....Beckye Levin Gross, a music-biz friend from Houston, Texas, turned me on to a fascinating NPR piece some years back about a certain alternative/electronica band from Copenhagen, Denmark.  Efterklang had just released a new album at the time, and the background story was captivating—the songs were the product of an initial nine-day stay on a deserted Arctic island where the enterprising trio sampled, collected, and coaxed out a myriad of sounds from the industrial fragments and leftovers of an abandoned Russian coal mining settlement.  The soundscape tidbits were then subtly integrated into the band’s album Piramida,released here in the States in September 2012.  The song “Dreams Today” lends the listener clues to the larger canvas; it’s an album awash in elegance and imagination.  https://youtu.be/KNpr9XdbRx0


9. Every Ship Must Sail Away – Blue Merle.....Blue Merle is a Nashville-bred rock band whose time together spanned only three years, yet they managed a fine debut album and cool opening slots on some mid-level tours (Guster, J.J. Cale and Badly Drawn Boy, among others).  The aforementioned album, released in 2005 and entitled Burning In The Sun, contains this mid-tempo ballad that calls to mind Chris Martin and Coldplay without the keyboards.  The group also has been compared to Counting Crows, and to complete this round of rock connections, it could also be noted that the band’s name comes from a line in Led Zeppelin’s “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”: “Tell your friends all around the world / Ain’t no companion like a blue eyed merle” (the latter a reference to a border collie dog).  https://youtu.be/BHZJ0mVDZ34


10. Lucy Was In Trouble – Wet Willie.....Musicasaurus.com first encountered Wet Willie in the early 1970s when the band was touring small venues throughout the Northeast, including a Pittsburgh-area stop in a club whose name is lost in my own personal haze.  Frontman Jimmy Hall killed with his soulful vocals and harmonica riding overtop the Southern Rock-flavored core of the band’s best material, and I continued for a long stretch to keep tabs on Wet Willie’s periodic album releases.  In later years I spotted Hall in supporting roles, including his stint in the early/mid ‘90s with Hank Williams Jr.’s touring band that played amphitheaters, and then again in 2015 at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg, PA when he provided the vocals for select songs as part of Jeff Beck’s band.  The song listed here, “Lucy Was In Trouble,” comes from Wet Willie’s 1974 album entitled Keep On Smilin’.  It is soul-drippin’ and satisfyin’ all the way through, including the back-up singers’ very fine flourishes at the song’s conclusion.  https://youtu.be/ULuWsif-d2E





Posted 2/21/21.....

A BLUES MIX.....The following is my current Top Ten of blues tunes with a twist: The single criterion was that they needed to have the word “blues” in the title; I wasn’t hell-bent on the tune itself being pure blues.

Use these ten selections to springboard into your own lovingly crafted mix of the blues and related hues.  And with these that I’ve dealt you, you’ll find a couple of kings…

1. I’ve Got The Same Old Blues – Freddie King.....Part of the appeal of digging into bluesmen like Freddie King—who spun out a mix of Texas-style and Chicago blues in the late 1950s through the early 1970s—is to find out who their mentors and eventual disciples were.  King early on revered the likes of Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Howlin’ Wolf and T-Bone Walker; his own recorded works subsequently inspired—among others—Stevie Ray Vaughan and guitar-slinging sibling Jimmie Vaughan, Jerry Garcia, Eric Clapton, and formative Brit guitarist and Fleetwood Mac-founder Peter Green.  “I’ve Got The Same Old Blues,” written by JJ Cale, comes from King’s release Burglar which came out in 1974, two years before his death at the age of 42.  https://youtu.be/1nBdMJp2hj4


2. Fishin’ Blues – Taj Mahal.....The original version of this song comes from Taj Mahal’s 1969 studio release Giant Step/De Ole Folks At Home, but actually the version listed here I’ve plucked from a killer live album entitled The Real Thing which came out in 1971.  This latter album also contained a joyous nine-minute instrumental called "Ain't Gwine to Whistle Dixie (Any Mo')" which like the rest of the record featured the swinging, organic, and beautifully loose playing of supporting musicians including John Hall (later of the band Orleans) on guitar and accomplished jazz player Howard Johnson on tuba and baritone sax.  Taj is a multi-instrumentalist (blues harp, harmonica, National steel-bodied guitar) and in his songwriting and cover-song selections he successfully melds the blues with African and Caribbean influences.  https://youtu.be/JPF485guOH0


3. New Walkin’ Blues – Paul Butterfield’s Better Days.....One of the formative Chicago Caucasian blues masters from the 1960s, harmonica wielding Butterfield first fronted The Butterfield Blues Band (’65-’71) before departing to create two masterpiece recordings with his Better Days ensemble—Paul Butterfield’s Better Days and its follow-up It All Comes Back, both released in 1973.  This group somehow plumbed the depths of authentic blues and managed to create powerful songs that are timeless because of the level of musicianship, the material, and the track engineering/production.  True gems.  “New Walkin’ Blues”—a Robert Johnson composition—is the leadoff track from the album Paul Butterfield’s Better Dayshttps://youtu.be/SV-aqZXlhDI


4. I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues – Toots Thielemans with Beth Hart.....This one is more blues inflected than straight blues, with jazz and swing as part of the thing.  Belgium-born Thielemans is a harmonica virtuoso.  Born in 1922, he played with the top legends of jazz over the many decades and veered a bit into jazz tributaries as well.  “I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues” is from his 2006 release One More From The Road which features the songs of Harold Arlen and guest vocalists on key tracks.  Los Angeles blues rocker Beth Hart lends her pipes to a pleasing treatment of this classic which has also been covered by Billie Holiday, Sinatra, Lena Horne, Satchmo and many more.  https://youtu.be/RVjifqmCZHg


5. Statesboro Blues – Allman Brothers Band.....For musicasaurus.com readers of a certain age, this leadoff track is the first song we soaked in as our turntables spun the brand new Allman Brothers Band album At Fillmore East in July of 1971.  All these years later, the effect is the same—there’s sizzlin’ slide from Duane Allman and, speaking of the whole album here, it is one of the tightest rock band workouts ever captured in a live setting.  It brims over with energy, road experience, discipline, and intuitive playing; often the musical boundaries blend into a hypnotizing amalgam of blues and rock, and even some adventurous jazz.  This crew, all in their twenties, were at the absolute peak of their prowess.  Duane Allman, however, died in a motorcycle accident just three months after this double-live album was released.  He was twenty-four years old.  https://youtu.be/UovEQyL-csA


6. She Left Me With These Blues – Billy Price.....New Jersey born Billy Price (real name William Pollak) settled in Pittsburgh in the mid 1970s and fronted a band called the Rhythm Kings, later becoming very well known on a national level as the lead singer for guitarist Roy Buchanan’s band from 1972-1976.  Price provided vocals on one studio release and one live album in the Buchanan canon, 1974’s That’s What I Am Here For and 1975’s Live Stock.  For decades to follow, Price used Pittsburgh as his musical home base as first he fronted Billy Price & the Keystone Rhythm Band and then the Billy Price Band.  Two years after retiring from his day job as manager of communications for Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute, Price moved to Baltimore in the spring of 2018 out of his and partner Mary’s desire to get closer to family members and to East Coast connections.  “She Left Me With These Blues” hails from his 2006 East End Avenue release. https://youtu.be/s0MznE8GU5o


7. Señor Blues – Judy Roberts.....Looks like musicasaurus.com definitely hopped the boundary on this one.  It’s more cool jazz in the vein of a tamed Return To Forever than really representative of the blues.  But this Horace Silver composition in the hands of Roberts is a pleasant flashback to the “Quiet Storm” radio format that was born in the mid-70s—“adult contemporary” music that found its source points in a slow and soulful blend of rhythm & blues and jazz.  Chicago-based keyboard player and singer Roberts hits a groove here that is very well sustained by sensuous sonic touches and a cool, crisp execution; the tune comes from the artist’s 1980 release The Other World.  https://youtu.be/rFlIle1DMqI


8. Runnin’ Blue – Boz Scaggs & Band.....Out of the chute this Scaggs tune is brassy and bold, and sets the tone for this rollicking & rolling bit of the blues.  Scaggs’ first blip on our radar screen was as an early member of the Steve Miller Band, but he always had a penchant for the blues and especially blue-eyed soul.  On his first solo record in 1969 Scaggs covered the Chicago blues artist Fenton Robinson via an extended jam called “Loan Me A Dime;” this song famously featured 22-year-old guest guitarist Duane Allman.  On this his third solo outing, the artist stretched out a bit in song styles but it is clearly this tune on which Boz hews to the blues; it really swingswith great rhythm and high-class brass.  https://youtu.be/F03_r6sjzz4


9. All Blues – Julie Driscoll / Brian Auger & The Trinity…..This British band covered Miles Davis’ 1959 composition “All Blues” on their 1969 double-album Streetnoise, and it is a marvel on several levels—the musicianship of the quartet featuring Auger on piano, but especially in the startling range of vocalist Driscoll.  She takes pure possession of this bluesy vamp, alternately purring, growling and soaring.  And she infuses this tune with way more than a feeling; it is an incredible vocal tour de force.  https://youtu.be/fT5kStOBH1U


10. I’ll Play The Blues For You – Albert King.....Mississippi-born guitarist King came to prominence in the mid-Sixties with a move to Memphis, Tennessee and some groundbreaking releases on the Stax record label (the song included here is the title track of a 1972 Stax release by King).  His weapon of choice was a Gibson Flying V and a stinging, soulful tone that he peeled off always in service to the song.  His work along the way influenced an incredible number of musicians including Clapton, Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Walsh, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, and more.  Although King popularized for the masses the tune “Born Under A Bad Sign” via an album he released in 1967, it’s this seven-minute-plus “I’ll Play The Blues For You” that stands head and shoulders above the rest.  King on guitar is alternately smooth and slicing, and the icing on the cake is his backing support from members of the Bar-Kays and the Memphis Horns.  https://youtu.be/RznyMS6lYFw





Posted 2/7/21.....

A GRAB BAG OF SORTS…Some instrumental jazz, a jazz vocalist covering Simply Red, a sultry soul song, a classic rock classic about free love, a ubiquitous-on-radio 1998 ballad that at the time wore out its welcome, and some songs riding the new wave including ones by The Motels, Style Council and Johnny Marr of The Smiths.

1. In A Silent Way – Mark Isham.....Isham is a talented musician/composer who has scored mightily with his film scores, and in the past he’s also produced solo recordings as well cropped up on tours of adventurous musical explorers like Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell.  His work is majestic and straddles boundaries; he first gained notice as a trumpeter and synth player on early 1980s solo releases on the Windham Hill record label, and began his film scoring success with the 1983 Disney film Never Cry Wolf.  “In A Silent Way” is a Miles Davis composition and is taken from Isham’s 1999 tribute album Miles Remembered: The Silent Way Project.  https://youtu.be/o7OwEwJeLdQ


2. Holding Back The Years – Gretchen Parlato.....California-born Parlato is a jazz vocalist who is sensual in her self-restraint; she softly sails through jazz covers and self-penned compositions, usually weaving in and around a stellar batch of backup musicians.  The song listed here was originally a huge radio hit by the band Simply Red hailing from their 1985 debut album Picture Book.  Other artists have covered this tune—among them, the Isley Brothers and Randy Crawford—but Parlato really gets to the essence and masters the flow.  The performance is gentle, and rippling, and multiple listens reveal deeper pleasures stemming also from the intuitive work of her band of jazz journeymen.  “Holding Back The Years” comes from Parlato’s 2011 release The Lost And Found.  https://youtu.be/HccPfkdgR0s


3. Voyage to Atlantis – The Isley Brothers.....Some might rather hastily confine this tune to the category of “stellar make-out music.”  I look at it—or listen to it, rather—as a sonic achievement, blending silken lead vocals with soulful instrumentation.  The Isley Brothers are best known for their 1969 pop hit “It’s Your Thing,” but in the mid-late 1970s they fluidly embraced rock music and weaved it throughout their soul and funk.  Guitarist Ernie Isley is a key component of this successful meld; his style is reminiscent of a somewhat tamed Jimi Hendrix in terms of atmospheric accents and tones.  The ballad included here, “Voyage to Atlantis,” comes from the band’s 1977 release Go For Your Guns.  https://youtu.be/BQ4jWVon4iE


4. Telling Stories – Tracy Chapman.....Cleveland, Ohio folk-rocker Chapman steered a “Fast Car” to fame in 1988 through the release of a self-titled debut album that was hailed for its stripped down and passionate approach to pure and powerful political folk music.  The track “Telling Stories” is from Chapman’s 2000 release of the same name, and in the on-going style of this accomplished singer-songwriter, it deals with the truth—both the seeking and the telling: “There is fiction in the space between / the lines on your page of memories / Write it down but it doesn’t mean / you’re not just telling stories / There is fiction in the space between / you and me.”  https://youtu.be/ruZjjXGCKC0


5. Love The One You’re With – Stephen Stills.....Some early Seventies message songs such as 1970’s “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young stirred the conscience, but Stills on his own produced one that stirred loins.  “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with” was reportedly often uttered by musician Billy Preston, and his friend Stephen Stills borrowed the line for a song on his 1970 self-titled solo album debut.  The tune is a rollicking sing-along with percussion, organ swells and energetic back-up vocals from Stills’ compadres Crosby and Nash alongside singers John Sebastian and Rita Coolidge.  The song has been covered through the years by everyone from the Isley Brothers and Aretha Franklin to Luther Vandross and Bobby Goldsboro (hmmmm…maybe I’ll save that Goldsboro version for a special edition mix to be entitled “Blown Covers”—stay tuned).  https://youtu.be/cZyj6GECjZ0


6. Lullaby – Shawn Mullins.....Time to revisit this tune, even though it was ubiquitous on radio playlists in the late 1990s and thus you might have burned out on it back then—or worse yet, you might have somehow skipped right by it.  “Lullaby” is a nicely sketched piece about a girl’s disenchantment with her Hollywood upbringing, and Mullins’ delivery—spoken-word verses and sung choruses—stands out from the crowded pack of other singer-songwriters’ efforts from that particular era.  The tune comes from Mullins’ 1998 major-label debut Soul’s Core which was released after ten years of musical dues payin’ by this talented storyteller.  https://youtu.be/NUNk386EArw


7. I’ve Turned You To Stone – George Jones.....Country music star George Jones passed away in 2013, and musicasaurus.com has been late in diving into his catalogue overall, but now has managed to pull up one of his memorable duet efforts from the artist’s 1979 album My Very Special Guests.  “I’ve Turned You To Stone” features Linda Ronstadt, who at the time was absolute Queen of the Heap in terms of rampant solo album success on an international level. The blend of the two singers’ voices is mesmerizing, and you get such a nice taste here of the buttery baritone flutter of Mr. Jones.  https://youtu.be/9ZxSS7oW-Og


8. Suddenly Last Summer – The Motels.....Maybe it was the game-changing impact of the then fledgling MTV, but some of the predominant memories of ‘80s music that persists to this day include bad haircuts and yelping song sirens (for example, A Flock Of Seagulls and Missing Persons).  True, the ‘80s sometimes seemed to sail along on breezy, cheesy synthesizers, but to give that all a rest you should check into the Motels.  This L.A. new wave and pop unit first bubbled up in 1979 and, aided by a mix of strong songwriting, crisp production and seductive lead vocals by Martha Davis, the band scored at least a couple of songs with pure staying power.  One of ‘em is right here—“Suddenly Last Summer” is from the group’s fourth album Little Robbers which was released in 1983.  The track briefly broke into a number of radio stations’ Top Ten playlists, one of only two Motels’ songs to do so during the band’s eight-year career.  https://youtu.be/B4Hfh6Fi4hE


9. The Story Of Someone’s Shoe – The Style Council.....In the 1970s I was a bit into The Jam, not wildly collecting all of their LPs and EPs but certainly aware of songs including “Town Called Malice” and “That’s Entertainment.”  Their music was at first in the general realm of The Clash but towards the end The Jam delved, still with attitude, into some R & B and Motown-inspired rockers.  The driving force behind The Jam was vocalist/guitarist Paul Weller.  After the group disbanded he formed The Style Council in which he then unapologetically pushed ahead with his inner R & B/soul instincts.  “The Story Of Someone’s Shoe” from The Style Council’s 1988 release Confessions Of A Pop Group is almost a cappella, save for a few sprinklings of vibes in the midsection.  Largely this is Weller’s show with an impassioned lead vocal and a Manhattan Transfer-type backing chorus piping in to propel the song along.  https://youtu.be/nRavD6Egnjg


10. New Town Velocity – Johnny Marr.....Guitarist Marr was the chiming, ringing, propulsive musical heart of The Smiths.  Though lead singer Morrissey was front and center with biting wit and unrepressed confessionals, Marr was the lynchpin of the band’s rhythmic thrust.  Since the dissolution of The Smiths in 1987 Marr has released only occasional solo efforts and the guitarist rarely reaches Smiths-level pinnacles of power and pomp.  “New Town Velocity,” though, from the artist’s 2013 release The Messenger comes close.  It rides his previous band’s melodious new wave, his vocals (not a strong suit) don’t mar the proceedings, and his guitar work is full and rich in accents throughout.  https://youtu.be/gOHJAaUK6_M





Posted 1/24/21.....


1. First Winter At Plymouth Colony – Sumner McKane.....Atmospheric beyond belief, this is mind-on-vacation music; lovely, evocative and—best of all—unpredictable.  McKane is Maine-based and describes himself as a “composer, multi-instrumentalist and filmmaker.”  Indeed, this cinematic track from 2008’s What A Great Place To Be helped bring that CD to # 2 in the annual “Top Twenty Essential CDs” list as ranked by NPR’s ambient music program Echoes.  John Diliberto, that program’s longtime host, said that “McKane's landscapes are tinged in ambient atmospheres and pulled by an undertow of psychedelia that makes them some of the most unassumingly mind-bending music of the decade.”  https://youtu.be/xndJHH7WAv4


2. Dreamville – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.....Petty had always been on the battle lines with regard to artists’ rights, starting over three decades ago when his record company at the time wanted to raise the list price of his upcoming album Hard Promises from the standard $8.98 to $9.98.  Petty threatened not to release the record at all, and then vowed to make the title $8.98 if it was released at the higher price.  The record company capitulated, and the album eventually hit the stores with the name Hard Promises instead.  Flash forward a couple of decades, and Petty was at it again in 2002, releasing a themed album entitled The Last DJ.  With songs like “Money Becomes King” and the title track, Petty seemed to be pondering modern life where corporate avarice was running rampant, radio stations were further restricting playlists, and musical expression was increasingly stifled, gagged & bound.  “Dreamville” from that record, though, is a pretty and contemplative piece, a mid-tempo ballad about being young during the 1950s and 1960s—living the small town life, buying guitar strings at the local music store, and listening to the radio where, as the song says, “there was rock ‘n’ roll across the dial.”  https://youtu.be/ViczcWEHgaY


3. A Long Cold Night In Minneapolis – Dead Man Winter.....from the 2011 album Bright Lights.....Dave Simonett is Old Man Winter here.  He is a singer-songwriter and guitarist for an alt-bluegrass assemblage called Trampled by Turtles, and Dead Man Winter is an offshoot enterprise of his, a sidebar project, and it’s a fine blend of folk and rock.  The tune listed here is a mid-tempo affair with some lazy fiddle, a bit of harmonica, and a “Neil feel” (as in Mr. Young)--not in the vocal department, really, but in the country-folk flavor of the songwriting.  https://youtu.be/j1wtY2j0BpA


4. Hollywood – Kasey Chambers.....At the time of her third album’s release in 2004—Wayward Angel, from which this track is taken—Chambers was 28 years old and already a major star Down Under.  She’d grown up literally on the land with parents who were hunters and trappers and country music lovers, who picked & sang ‘round the campfires under Australian night skies.  Wayward Angel furthered her inroads with American audiences courtesy of Adult Album Alternative (triple A) stations across the country, as well as occasional touring (at one point opening up for Lucinda Williams).  “Hollywood” is a soft and enveloping little gem; Chambers’ little-girl voice evidences big passion, and the acoustic accompaniment (with lightly chiming guitar work) is simple yet sublime.  https://youtu.be/1of2aWId2lc


5. Funky Broadway – Wilson Pickett…..This African American soul artist was nicknamed “Wicked” Pickett for a reason—his hellacious growl and howl of a vocal style was accompanied by a fantastic bed of funk in songs that skittered across the top of the pop and R&B charts for a lot of the mid-late 1960s and early 1970s.  Even today I can’t sit still, listening to some of his limb-twitchin’ masterpieces like the one listed here, and earlier gems like “Midnight Hour” and “Land of 1,000 Dances.”  https://youtu.be/U9BGGrfkTQg 


6. Spanish Moon – Little Feat ... "I heard about this place they call the Spanish Moon" ... So sings principal vocalist Lowell George, who along with keyboardist Bill Payne started up this Los Angeles-based band in 1969.  George was long the master and commander, contributing the best songwriting in Little Feat’s most revered period of 1972-1977—songs like “Willin’” and “Dixie Chicken”—and in August of 1977 the band recorded their first live album, Waiting For Columbus.  Recorded that month, with songs culled from performances at London’s Rainbow Theatre and George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium in D.C., Waiting For Columbus captured the band in full-throttle funk, backed up by the sizzlin’ horns of Oakland, California’s legendary band Tower Of Power.  Feat fans were sated; finally they had on record—actually on TWO records, as this was a double-album release—the preserved magic of a band that expertly weaved together rock, rhythm & blues, boogie, gospel, funk and even jazz into a captivating stew.  “Spanish Moon” was originally recorded in the studio for the band’s 1974 album Feats Don’t Fail Me Now, but here in the live setting, it’s explosive…propulsive…spine-tingling. https://youtu.be/RhmNK-ANKIw


7. Hacienda Motel -- Pickwick…..On Halloween night 2016 a small “war party” of my family members, all in Seattle because of an October 29thwedding, dressed up in costume as various Snapchat options and then Ubered downtown to a club for some music.  The band that evening was named Pickwick, who daughter Moira had earlier picked up on from an NPR station back home.  According to Wikipedia, reviews of their next-to-recent album Can’t Talk Medicine (2013) said that the band sounds similar to, or could be a brew of, The Black Keys, Alabama Shakes and Sam Cooke.  And Allmusic.com describes them as “a blue-eyed soul troupe for a new millennium.”  https://youtu.be/yULM3MMe1mo


8. Gettysburg – The Brandos.....The band formed in New York City in 1985 and the subsequent MTV adoption and radio embrace of the tune “Gettysburg” propelled them onto critic’s lists—and onto cassette mix tapes like mine!  The song, from the band’s debut album Honor Among Thieves (1987), was one of those power-chord rock anthems that sounded refreshing—at the time, at least—as it served as a nice break from the dominant synth and new wave-ish stuff that was being pumped out by a lot of other ‘80s outfits.  https://youtu.be/72SPIVTphtk


9. Welcome To The Boomtown – David & David.....David Baerwald and David Ricketts were L.A. musicians who came together for just one album, 1986’s Boomtown, which featured this electrifying rock song that brought a bit of fresh air to FM stations across the country.  It sounded like little else on the radio back then; sonically the song’s a churner with rich, atmospheric layers of guitars and keyboards, and lyrically, it spins a tale of the moneyed malcontents of 1980s Los Angeles—perhaps once well-heeled, now soul deprived and artificially fueled.  The chorus: “I say welcome, welcome to the boomtown / Pick a habit, we got plenty to go around / Welcome, welcome to the boomtown / All that money makes such a succulent sound / Welcome to the boomtown.”  https://youtu.be/c3st4AD69-0


10. Representing Memphis – Booker T. Jones (with Sharon Jones and Matt Berninger).....Booker T & The M.G.’s were the house band in Memphis for all of the Stax Records’ studio recordings—a ton of pivotal pop hits, mostly soul and rhythm & blues—from the beginning of the 1960s into the early 1970s.  On this particular track from keyboardist Jones’ 2011 solo album The Road From Memphis, the late Sharon Jones (of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings) and Matt Berninger (lead singer of The National) dish out a soulful duet, aided by Booker T’s characteristically rich and sweet sounding Hammond organ.  https://youtu.be/doDeHol_m2s





Posted 1/10/21.....

Ten tunes, all from talented women (solo artists or front women) who were recording some of their best works in the first decade of the 2000s…

1.) From 2001.....When You Became King – Alana Davis.....This Greenwich Village singer-songwriter was born in 1974 and I first caught wind of her through 1997’s Blame It On Me, which sported an Ani DiFranco cover (“32 Flavors”) and a couple of killer, far-from-filler tunes in “Murder” and “Crazy.”  In the summer of 1998 I was the general manager of Pittsburgh’s Star Lake Amphitheater (now S&T Bank Music Park) and I ran into Davis backstage at the H.O.R.D.E. Festival, a Blues Traveler-led event that toured the amphitheater circuit through most of the 1990s.  We stood in the dressing room hallway and there I confessed my love of her debut album from the year before.  I told her I also liked the keenly placed piano touches in her song “Murder” and she volunteered later in the exchange that her songwriting leads her to view her voice more as a horn than any other key instrument.  Davis’ second album Fortune Cookies from which this track is taken was released in 2001, and when this record didn’t commercially catch fire the way she had anticipated, the artist then ditched her lame-at-the-game record label Elektra and formed her own label Tigress to issue her future releases.  https://youtu.be/fMfmZ3bLmfk


2.) From 2002.....Stinging Velvet – Neko Case.....Alt-country queen Case released her third album Blacklisted in 2002 and it was an ever-so-slight departure from the country-influenced records that preceded it.  “Stinging Velvet” is a great intro to her talents if you have never stumbled across her before; if you are already on the case, however, you know that she’s also renowned for her contributions to the recorded works of Vancouver-based indie band The New Pornographers.  https://youtu.be/F8ZRqGpdwLw


3.) From 2003…..Night After Sidewalk – Kaki King…..King is an American guitarist and composer who from the age of four was musically inclined, and she first tackled guitar but then drums in high school, returning to guitar as she entered New York University in the late 1990s.  At the age of 24 King was signed by the record label Velour and in 2003 released her debut all-instrumental album that featured her all-acoustic guitar compositions.  The track listed here is a meditative representation of her acoustic fingerpicking style that in some ways hearkens back to artists like John Fahey and Leo Kottke. Since her debut, the questing King has explored more fleshed-out band settings and has branched out in terms of the potential soundscapes that the guitar (both acoustic and electric) is capable of producing in the right hands.  In 2014 King even stretched into performance art, and created a music-centered multimedia show which featured innovative screen projections on and around her instrument as an intriguing storyline unfolded.  This show, dubbed The Neck is a Bridge to the Body, debuted in a Brooklyn venue and then toured theaters in cultural districts across the country over the next handful of years; she appeared at Pittsburgh’s August Wilson Center in August 2017.  Here is a link to “Night After Sidewalk”  https://youtu.be/JK40ENsCVa4… and a link to one of King’s performances from her multimedia show The Neck is a Bridge to the Body  https://youtu.be/ziPD16xCBBg


4.) From 2004.....Jolene – Mindy Smith…..I first heard Smith on a local Pittsburgh indie station doing a hellacious tune called “Come To Jesus” that forced me to the curb to crank it up and soak it in with 100% focus—the song was that powerful.  This was 2004, and as it turned out, this Nashville resident had just released a debut album entitled One Moment More from which this heavenly track hails.  I bought the CD soon thereafter, and as I made my way through the songs I came to “Jolene,” another track of significance—it turned out to be a song that, one year earlier, Smith had recorded as a one-off for an upcoming Dolly Parton tribute album. Parton was impressed—and Smith soon moved on to clinch her own record deal.  https://youtu.be/fhBECqryY1c


5.) From 2005.....Don’t Let The Cold – Tanita Tikaram.....German-born Tikaram, now solidly a Brit, is a folk-and-pop singer-songwriter with a fascinating tone.  I first ran across her via a largely instrumental album from new-agey electronica artist Mark Isham, who in 1990 had reached out to Tikaram to sing on his warm, jazz-tinged cover of the classic 1934 Rodgers & Hart song “Blue Moon.”  Tikaram may best be known for her 1988 song “Twist In My Sobriety” from her debut album Ancient Heart, though the latter seemed to be a hit everywhere except, it seems, in the good ol’ USA.  On “Don’t Let The Cold” Takiram is joined on the chorus by Nick Lowe, and here they’ve churned out a breezy, quirky pop song that is quite infectious (in a non-CDC way, of course).  The track hails from the artist's 2005 release Sentimental.  https://youtu.be/Ea0X1rgzFRA


6.) From 2006.....I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight – Maria Muldaur.....The original version of this tune was written and performed by Dylan and appeared on his eighth studio album John Wesley Harding (1967).  Muldaur’s cover here is actually from an album that is full of ‘em: In 2006 the singer released Heart Of Mine: Maria Muldaur Sings Loves Songs Of Bob Dylan, and throughout this album you can feel Muldaur’s jazz and blues passions percolate as she plies the songs of Bob.  Other songs on the record include “Buckets Of Rain,” “You’re Going To Make Me Lonesome When I Go,” and “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.” … This is a YouTube clip of the entire album, so for “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” go on over to the 36:54 mark and begin there.  https://youtu.be/aosYU_aWJ4A


7.) From 2007.....Into The Sunset – Abra Moore.....“Into The Sunset” is a shimmering reflection of smart pop sensibility and a bold, full, layered sound.  I have glommed on to certain songs by this artist over her spotty recording career, always fascinated with the songwriting and the obvious care, and creativity, that she injects into the production end of things. Moore was born into a musical household in Hawaii in 1969 and her first real foray was joining Hawaiian rock band Poi Dog Pondering at that band’s formation, but she eventually ended up in Austin, Texas to earnestly pursue a solo career.  Moore had one quick brush in 1997 with airplay success, a song called “Four Leaf Clover” that was adopted by public radio and/or adult-alternative stations in a number of cities across the U.S.  The song listed here comes from the singer-songwriter’s 2007 album On The Way.  It is the opening track of the record, and pulls you right into her world of lush intelligence.  https://youtu.be/e5qxYwfgwL0


8.) From 2008.....Bruises – Chairlift.....Tech titan Apple had used a number of new artists’ songs in the first decade of the 2000s to promote their products in television ads, and in most cases this linkage led to a subsequent and most immediate $pike in the particular artist’s career (Feist with “1234” from 2007, for example, but also the Ting Tings, Jet, The Vines, and other fortunate souls).  The track listed here is a zippy, altogether infectious slice of synth-pop fueled bewitchingly by lead singer Caroline Polachek, and it stems from the group Chairlift’s 2008 debut entitled Does You Inspire You.  Each song on the album is a rich stew of the past (1980s), present (contemporary flavors), and future (spacey spicings).  Originally from Boulder, Colorado, the trio comprising Chairlift then moved to New York City where the big Apple took note of their debut album in the fall of 2008, serendipitously plucking “Bruises” for the company’s upcoming iPod nano television ad.  https://youtu.be/w8HRCacAQ-4


9.) From 2009.....Lights Out – Santigold.....Philadelphia-bred Santi White is an African American singer-songwriter who recorded her first album in 2008 in a duo setting with musician/producer John Hill entitled Santogold, the name of the duo and the debut.  Singer White has been likened to M.I.A., but largely in the sense of approach rather than musical style, as the two women are both multicultural females who blend almost disparate genres of music to create exciting new sounds.  To gain more exposure for their initial release in 2008, Santogold hopped on dates as the show opener for artists including Coldplay, Jay-Z, Bjork, M.I.A. and the Beastie Boys.  In early 2009, Santogold changed their name by a single letter—Santogold to Santigold—to avoid a potential lawsuit from a producer plying a sci-fi/wrestling film entitled Santo Gold’s Blood Circus.  The track included here, “Lights Out,” is from the duo’s self-titled debut.  It is a perfect pop pastiche of dub, rock, hip-hop and ‘80s new wave, guaranteed to get under your skin and travel down to your tappin’ toes.  https://youtu.be/-RA_M33fQxo


10.) From 2010.....Tulip – Jesca Hoop.....The scoop on Hoop: This Northern Californian is the offspring of folk-singing Mormons; she reportedly nanny’ed at one point for Tom Waits; and she toured between 2007-2011 with the likes of Peter Gabriel, Polyphonic Spree, Andrew Bird, Matt Pond PA, British alternative band Elbow, and Mark Knopfler.  My daughter first alerted me to Hoop in 2011 when she happened to catch the artist warming up a local Pittsburgh club audience in front of headliners The Punch Brothers (mandolin player Chris Thile’s post-Nickel Creek band).  That night in the club, Hoop and The Punch Brothers tackled “Tulip” together.  Here in Hoop’s studio version of the song from her 2010 release Hunting My Dress she comes charging out of the gate, her slightly Celtic-sounding voice floating confidently above a wonderfully arranged, sonically rich tapestry that is reminiscent of Kate Bush’s or Bjork’s more pop-centric stuff.  https://youtu.be/yvr8K9Jclpw





Posted 12/27/20.....

TEN TUNES FROM 1971…This mix dovetails nicely with the current posting in the A DAY IN THE LIFE section of this website, which centers on a culture-clash tale from the late 1960s/very early 1970s…

1. Sometimes – Fleetwood Mac.....This isn’t the “Big Mac” with Lindsey and Stevie; Mr. Buckingham and Ms. Nicks didn’t join the band until 1975’s self-titled commercial blockbuster Fleetwood Mac.  Back in 1971 the band was anchored by founders Mick Fleetwood (drummer) and John McVie (bassist), and also consisted of guitarist Danny Kirwan and new full-time members keyboardist Christine McVie and guitarist Bob Welch.  Future Games, from which this track is taken,was the final step away from the band’s original blues leanings and the start of a sound that soon settled into more of a rock and pop vein.  https://youtu.be/07ZVC4rgSpg


2. Sam Stone – John Prine....Illinois-born Prine was a wry singer-songwriter who straddled folk and country, and his self-titled debut record came out in 1971 (Prine passed away in April 2020).  The album includes the track listed here, a tale of a returning vet caught up in drugs and addiction.  The most memorable line: “There’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes / Jesus Christ died for nothin’ I suppose.”  Two other notable songs are on this album as well: “Angel From Montgomery” (since covered by everyone from Bonnie Raitt to the Dave Matthews Band), and a tune with a title to treasure, “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore.”  https://youtu.be/Yxgrl1yx8tg


3. You’ve Got To Earn It – The Staple Singers.....The southern-styled spiritual-singin’ Staples had been around since 1951 as a family affair with Pops leading the band, and daughters Cleotha and Mavis and son Pervis all on board.  In the late 1960s the band gravitated to Stax Records in Memphis and there started a wave of solid R & B hits for the label including “Respect Yourself” and “I’ll Take You There,” both of which hail from the group’s 1972 album Be Altitude: Respect Yourself.  The song listed here is from 1971’s The Staple Swingers, the first of their albums produced in the Muscle Shoals recording studio and the one that welcomed in sister Yvonne in place of the departing Pervis.  “You’ve Got To Earn It” is a funky treat, with Mavis’ lead vocals, crisp horns and a nice skittering harmonica—not a breakout hit for the band, but a harbinger of the success to come.  https://youtu.be/o04aQX6Mr8U


4. After Midnight – J.J. Cale.....This Oklahoma singer/songwriter has a wealth of laidback, slow-movin’ tunes dotting his catalogue that ooze out blues nicely blended with touches of country music and rockabilly.  The track listed here appears on J.J. Cale’s debut album Naturally that was released in late 1971.  Cale actually wrote the tune in 1966 but it was Eric Clapton who kick-started its popularity by borrowing the song—still unrecorded by Cale at this point—for his eponymous solo album debut in 1970.  Cale then finally committed the song to wax for Naturally, which is on the whole a low-key, underappreciated masterwork.  This album also includes “Call Me The Breeze” and “Crazy Mama,” songs that were eventually covered by Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Band, respectively.  https://youtu.be/2x0JK8vhmcc


5. Your Move– Yes.....This 3-minute sliver from The Yes Album is “Part A” of the longer composition “I’ve Seen All Good People,” and it was originally released on a 45-rpm single by the band back in 1971.  The band at this third-album juncture consisted of Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, Tony Kaye, and newcomer Steve Howe.  Writer Bruce Eder noted in an incisive review on Allmusic.com that with this release, Yes became more cohesive as a band and coalesced around a sound that then carried forward into future releases.  “Suddenly,” wrote Eder, “between new member Steve Howe’s odd mix of country- and folk-based progressive guitar and the suddenly liberated bass work and drumming of Chris Squire and Bill Buford respectively, the group's music became extremely busy.  And lead singer Jon Anderson, supported by Squire and Howe, filled whatever was left almost to overflowing.  Anderson’s soaring falsetto and the accompanying harmonies, attached to haunting melodies drawn from folk tunes as often as rock, applied to words seemingly derived from science fiction, and all delivered with the bravura of an operatic performance—by the band as well as the singer—proved a compelling mix.”  https://youtu.be/QlEH63m7HQI


6. Feel Flows – Beach Boys.....By the latter half of the 1960s, the Beach Boys had shifted gears and surrendered their sand pails—no more preoccupation with cars, sun, surf and sand.  Experimentation then ruled the day, in the band’s music and—unfortunately—in Brian’s bloodstream as well.  As Brian went on trips without ever leaving his house, brother Carl emerged as a strong bandleader and producer.  The lead-off song on the album Surf’s Up from 1971, “Feel Flows,” has crystalline harmonies, lush production, and a reverse echo utilized in the recording of Carl’s lead vocal.  The song has a strong Sixties hypnotic “wash” to it and provides the listener with a pleasant aural rush, making me not so sure that Carl didn’t perhaps dip into Brian’s chest of drawers for a little bit of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.  https://youtu.be/OzFQV5rhrb0


7. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) – The Temptations.....Tempting to say that Motown was a 1960s phenomenon, but some great works by Berry Gordy’s stable of soul stars came from the early 1970s as well.  This song was featured on the Temptations’ 1971 release Sky’s The Limit and was written by Motown’s producer/songwriter Norman Whitfield with lyricist Barrett Strong.  The aforementioned duo had written the tune in 1969 but shelved it due to the Temps’ sudden success with more “psychedelic” singles like “Cloud Nine” and “Ball of Confusion.”  When “Just My Imagination” was delivered to Hit Radio in 1971 as the second single off the new album, it quickly became a #1 hit (the band’s career-third).  FYI, the Stones memorably covered this song on their 1978 album Some Girls.  https://youtu.be/1g3e3cgktZU


8. I’ll Be The One – Badfinger.....Badfinger is a Beatlesque band who were actually signed to the Beatle’s Apple Records label in 1968.  Better known for their hits “Come And Get It,” “No Matter What,” “Day After Day,” and “Baby Blue,” Badfinger originally intended the tune listed here to be included on their 1971 album Straight Up, however it didn’t make the final cut and only just appeared via the 2010 remastered CD version.  “I’ll Be The One” doesn’t help them shed the Beatles comparisons, but that’s not a slam—the band produced some infectious power pop songs along their own path.  Sad footnote: Beginning in 1972 troubles assailed the band members over the next handful of years—deepening personal debts, lawsuits because of an untrustworthy business manager, and wrangles with record labels—and two out of the four musicians committed suicide as a result of this unending turmoil.  Pete Ham took his own life in 1975 and Tom Evans followed suit in 1983.  https://youtu.be/D4S9b9r6cGk


9. I’m Eighteen – Alice Cooper..... “Eighteen” is from Love It To Death, the third album from Cooper and the one that brought him a much wider teen fan base based on this anthemic tune.  1971 was also the year that Cooper’s shock-rock concert performances started to gain significant traction which also then fueled album sales.  I remember seeing the band live in concert at Pittsburgh’s Stanley Theatre in March of that year, and my friends and I were filled with anticipation as word had already spread about the band’s live shows (no internet, no duh; this was gleaned largely from some of the rock magazines of that era).  The son of a preacher man, the theatrical-minded Cooper incorporated props like guillotines, straitjackets, and live boa constrictors into his riff-crunchin’ sets.  https://youtu.be/AZ1MdRgU7Hw


10. Just Like A Woman (live performance) – Bob Dylan.....Dylan’s first live appearance since 1969 took place at George Harrison’s August 1971 Concert For Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden.  He had been sporadic at best in terms of onstage appearances/performances since his 1966 motorcycle accident which at the time had cut short his own Blonde On Blonde tour.  According to a 12/14/12 flashback piece in Rolling Stone magazine by Andy Greene, legend has it that Harrison had asked Dylan to perform as one of his numbers “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and feisty Bob shot back, “Are you going to play ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand?’”  On the track listed here as part of this 1971 ten-tune mix, Dylan is joined by Harrison and Leon Russell on backing vocals, and there are two paths to pleasure should you wish to partake—the soundtrack CD, or the concert film on DVD which was released via a two-disc special edition in 2005.  https://youtu.be/kIBxQ1SAXe0





Posted 12/13/20.....

Southern California Mix…Most of the following tracks are from the fertile wellspring that was the Southern California music scene of the 1970s—singer-songwriters who were often backed up by fellow SoCal musicians who revolved around each other’s album releases, and who en masse delivered to us all a lasting library of recorded achievements.

1. Late For The Sky – Jackson Browne (from Browne’s 3rd album of the same name, released in 1974).....This wasn’t the album that put Browne on top of the heap and on the tip of all tongues; that was still to come with his commercial breakthrough record The Pretender, released two years later.  On Late For The Sky, Browne dealt with love, fragility, and the striving for hope and balance, and he did so through beautifully honed lyrics that have resonated with listeners of all ages, through the ages.  Another fine track on this album, “For A Dancer,” is a near-perfect meditation on mortality.  https://youtu.be/n3SJz9jujEA 


2. Ooh Child – Valerie Carter (from her 1977 solo debut, Just A Stone’s Throw Away).....Carter had an avid supporter in the form of Feat founder Lowell George, who first heard of the young woman while she sang with the L.A. country-folk outfit Howdy Moon in the early-mid 1970s.  George not only produced her debut, but also squired her into other meaningful orbits including those of James Taylor and Jackson Browne (with whom she later toured as a key back-up singer).  “Ooh Child” is a song from 1970 first recorded by Windy City soul band The Five Stairsteps.  The song’s since been covered by Laura Nyro, Beth Orton, Nina Simone and many more, but in musicasaurus.com’s book, the definitive version is Carter’s—your spine and the back of your neck are in for pleasure ripples as Carter wails and wraps her essence completely around this tune.  https://youtu.be/4H32jFWceWI


3. Tenderness On The Block – Warren Zevon (from the artist’s 2nd album, 1978’s Excitable Boy).....Zevon had a real gift for leavened lyrics of wit and dark humor, set in solid-rock song format and executed by his musically muscular band of brothers—Southern California’s Jackson Browne, Waddy Wachtel, Leland Sklar, Russ Kunkel, and many others.  Critics generally seem to go gaga over his first album—his 1976 self-titled debut—but Excitable Boy also contains some masterpieces of the Zevon canon, especially “Lawyers, Guns and Money.”  https://youtu.be/KPyotCPHZu0


4. Mexico – Souther-Hillman-Furay Band (from the trio’s Trouble In Paradise, released in 1975).....The song is a John David (J.D.) Souther composition, and your ears may hear Eagles—it’s got that easy-goin’ country-tinged flow with similar-sounding and soothing harmonies behind Souther’s lead vocals.  The three principals in this band—Souther, Chris Hillman, and Richie Furay—were urged into their musical partnership by record mogul David Geffen, but the band crumbled after this second album (trouble in paradise, indeed).  The three did have amazing credentials, though.  Souther had written songs adopted by The Eagles and Linda Ronstadt; Hillman had just come out of The Flying Burrito Brothers after playing with The Byrds; and Furay had previously played with The Buffalo Springfield and then Poco.  This was a great convergence of SoCal talent, but this particular triumvirate was not meant to be.  https://youtu.be/RBNKKori7Oc


5. You’re No Good – Linda Ronstadt (from 1974’s Heart Like A Wheel).....This song is a cover of a tune first recorded by Betty Everett in 1964, though this particular artist was a lot better known for her performance of “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss).”  Heart Like A Wheel turned out to be a great commercial and artistic success for Ronstadt, as she was expertly aided by the song arrangements of producer Peter Asher who coaxed passionate and forceful vocals out of the artist and also surrounded her with stellar support (including the multi-instrumentalist Andrew Gold).  The track listed here has an extended, minute-plus instrumental ending with atmospheric strings over a moderately paced, majestic fadeout.  https://youtu.be/e0vJNp5asqc


6. Bye Bye Love – David Lindley (from Lindley’s 1981 album El Rayo-X).....This talented slide guitarist is best known as “prime side man” to Jackson Browne, on tours and in the studio, and thus he’s an essential ingredient of some of Browne’s finest efforts including Late For The Sky, The Pretender, and Running On Empty.  Lindley’s solo efforts are quirky wonders that feature a blend of rock ‘n’ roll, reggae, blues, Cajun, zydeco and more.  Here, he covers the Boudleaux & Felice Bryant composition “Bye Bye Love” in a genre-busting version of the 1958 Everly Brothers hit.  https://youtu.be/6uqZLXcLX4I


7. The End Of The Innocence – Don Henley (from Henley’s 3rd solo album of the same name, released in 1989).....Eagle Henley wasn’t nesting on his laurels on this album; he’d already soared to solo success but this is arguably his finest effort, exemplified by the title tune that is a beautiful evocation of moving on from childhood into middle age and thus into the complex, confounding realities of the larger world.  As an added shot at 1980s Reaganism, Henley included the lyrics “O’ beautiful for spacious skies / but now those skies are threatening / They’re beating plowshares into swords / for this tired old man that we elected king.”  https://youtu.be/giZ2tSSojxo 


8. Lonely Boy – Andrew Gold (from the album What’s Wrong With This Picture from 1976).....For whatever reason, Gold wasn’t on my radar very much back in the mid-1970s when he hit it big with this one particular chart-topping song.  I’ve since learned that this multi-instrumentalist was instrumental in a few of Linda Ronstadt’s pivotal records like Heart Like A Wheel and Prisoner In Disguise, and he also contributed to works by James Taylor, J.D. Souther, Carly Simon and Loudon Wainwright III.  Though “Lonely Boy” was played to death by soft-rock radio back in the 1970s, some distance between the years gives it a freshness to these ears (p.s.  Gold was the perpetrator of the song “Thank You For Being A Friend,” a snippet of which eternally adorned the opening of the successful television program Golden Girls).  https://youtu.be/OsSNdNuRbRA 


9. For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield (from their self-titled debut album from 1966).....This band is one that holds a special place on rock genealogy charts, as three key members spun out of the band’s total two-year existence into other pursuits and projects: Richie Furay, who went on to form Poco, and Stephen Stills and Neil Young, who both went on to forge CSNY and established solo careers as well.  “For What It’s Worth” deals with the Sunset Strip youth riots in L.A., which bubbled up through the early-to-mid ‘60s because of local curfew and loitering laws that inhibited the club-goers flocking to that scene in greater and greater numbers.  https://youtu.be/1eD-8NTwP9I


10. You’re Only Lonely – J.D. Souther (from the solo album of the same name, released in 1979).....This song was crafted and crooned in the ‘70s, but it would sound right at home on a Roy Orbison record from the late-50s/early-60s.  As mentioned in the Track #4 listing above, Souther was a SoCal singer-songwriter who had tunes scooped up by The Eagles—“Best Of My Love,” “New Kid In Town” and “Heartache Tonight” among them--but “You’re Only Lonely” was the only hit record he had on his own.  (Postscript: Souther turned to some acting opportunities in the late ‘80s and had a small recurring role in the television program thirtysomething.)  https://youtu.be/quglprlSQ8k


Posted 12/13/20.....



Posted 11/29/20.....


1. The Pipes Are Calling – Glenn Phillips.....New Englander Phillips and his family moved to Atlanta in the early 1960s when he was twelve, and by the age of seventeen the young guitarist had already co-founded a regional group there called the Hampton Grease Band.  The latter’s 1971 recording debut on Columbia Records didn’t make enough noise for the label’s taste, and the band went asunder in 1973.  Phillips embarked two years later on a solo path, and with D.I.Y. projects and small labels along the way he has continued his indie efforts to this day.  He has always been an artists’ artist (meaning, in this instance, having tremendous talent but never cracking through to commercial success).  He’s electric and eclectic, and has a solo catalogue worth surfing through…“The Pipes Are Calling,” from Phillips’ 1996 album Walking Through Walls, opens gently with a pipe organ and a minute-plus later is joined by an electric guitar seemingly possessed by bagpipes.  From there the song majestically builds to a pipe-and-drum-style mighty march that seems quite cinematic; see what this song brings to your mind’s eye.  https://youtu.be/U8aM2fUwiIs


2. The Clash – Charlie Don’t Surf.....If you only know this British band through the radio-exposed “Rockin’ The Casbah” or “Should I Stay Or Should I Go,” you should also know that the Clash were a foursome that fiercely and consistently pushed musical boundaries.  Their third album London Calling (1979) is generally regarded as their best, most consistent offering, but Musicasaurus.com loves their next release Sandinista! (1980) which is a triple-album set and a smorgasbord of styles.  It is delightfully all over the map, incorporating punk, funk, blues, reggae, dub, rockabilly, folk and more.  The track on Sandinista! that soothes my rock ‘n’ roll soul the most is one that is softer-edged, an insinuating little beauty entitled “Charlie Don’t Surf.”  The song was named after a phrase uttered in the 1979 film Apocalypse Now by Robert Duvall’s war-happy, wave-riding American army general that reminds his troops that “Charlie don’t surf.”  https://youtu.be/3ZXOnkgZR00 


3. Elton John – Come Down in Time.....From the album Tumbleweed Connection released in 1970, this song is still a pinnacle of Elton John’s songwriting and arranging.  Other songs throughout his career stand the test of time but “Come Down In Time” is Elton’s masterpiece mix; it has evocative lyrical depth courtesy of Bernie Taupin and a sensitive, sweeping orchestral accompaniment that stays so well away from excess.  The track is also aided by musician Skalia Kanga’s stringed harp which she had previously employed to subtle, sweet effect on the song “Sixty Years On” from Elton’s 1970 eponymous album.  Rolling Stone magazine’s David Fricke wrote at the time of Tumbleweed’s release that the album “needs no improvement; it is one of the best country-rock albums ever written by London cowboys.”  Indeed the album was originally designed by Elton and Bernie to reflect Americana themes and most songs do, but “Come Down in Time” seems to inhabit its own unique world irrespective of time and place.  It’s a beautiful thing.  https://youtu.be/ZdkvZhsrtM8


4. Tim Buckley – Buzzin’ Fly.....Buckley was a 1960s era folkie who spun out a total of nine studio releases in his tragically short lifetime; he died of a heroin overdose at the age of 28 in 1975.  Along the way, his recorded output reflected a restless creative spirit who strayed from his initial folk leanings toward jazzier, semi-psychedelic longer-form pieces.  “Buzzin’ Fly” is a six-minute dream piece from 1969’s Happy Sad that features Buckley’s fetching falsetto and flutter, aided by band member David Friedman’s entrancing vibraphone that lends this tune a timeless and tantalizing effect.  Thus even readers in their 20s or 30s can freely plunge in here, though if they want much of the same kind of spark from a more contemporary artist, there is of course Buckley’s son Jeff.  He certainly shares his father’s incomparable gifts as evidenced by his own recorded compositions as well as covers like Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”  Son followed Father, however, in too early of a passing.  While on tour in 1997 Jeff died by accidental drowning in Memphis, Tennessee at the age of 30.  https://youtu.be/yUmK7rgiMM4 


5. Marvin Gaye – Distant Lover.....Musicasaurus.com has his college roommate Gene to thank for this one: In 1973 I entered my junior year at PSU’s main campus in State College, having just transferred from a smaller liberal arts/teacher’s college in Clarion, PA.  I had elected to go into the dorms as a way to transition to the new and larger student pool, and Gene and I were a good fit—I had brought along my Acoustic Research turntable and speakers, and he brought out his cool CTI-label jazz albums and R&B records to place on my platter, including Gaye’s Let’s Get It On album which I grew to love.  “Distant Lover” from this particular record shows the genius of Gaye—swirling, practically trance-inducing multi-tracked vocals, a sophisticated song arrangement and, above it all, Gaye’s pleading, pleasing and impassioned tenor.  Let’s Get It On, which also contained the radio hit “Sexual Healing,” hit radio and record stores about two years after Gaye’s career-defining What’s Going On album.  https://youtu.be/KJoeTh00gjk 


6. Frank Sinatra – Witchcraft.....“Those fingers in my hair / That sly come hither stare / That strips my conscience bare / It’s witchcraft.”  Croon led to swoon in 1957 when Sinatra first released this Nelson Riddle-arranged composition as a single; it then appeared on a compilation album of Sinatra’s singles and B-sides from his years with Capitol Records entitled All The Way (1961).  The Chairman of the Board dawned on me early in life; he was a big deal around my parents’ house in the late 1950s along with Ella Fitzgerald and Stan Getz.  Like any self-respecting pre-teen though, my musical compass pointed me toward peers not parents, and it wasn’t until much later on that I found, and subsequently gave in to, The Voice.  “Witchcraft” is just one of Musicasaurus.com’s favorites from Sinatra; it showcases like most of his catalogue the amazing phrasing and vocal command of this gifted interpreter of modern pop music.  https://youtu.be/_RCtDnfYPGo  


7. Weather Report – A Remark You Made.....Weather Report’s most commercially successful album was Heavy Weather (1977) which housed the tune listed here as well as the snappy jazz classic “Birdland.”  Heavy Weather was also the first of the band’s albums to fully employ the talents of new bassist Jaco Pastorius, who had played on just a few of the songs on the band’s previous release Black Market.  “A Remark You Made” is almost seven minutes in length but do not let that deter you from diving right in.  But do yourself an immense favor and crank this up on a decent sound system to uncover its full delights.  At this stage of its career arc, Weather Report was a quintet consisting of Joe Zawinul on synthesizers and electric & grand piano; Wayne Shorter on tenor and soprano saxes; Jaco Pastorius on electric bass; Alex Acuna on drums and percussion; and Manolo Badrena on percussion (the latter sitting out on this particular tune).  The sum total effect of “A Remark You Made” is not quite jazz, not really fusion, and not really grounded in any one style.  But clearly it will feather-dust your pleasure centers and all the corners of your creative mind.  https://youtu.be/2wN8x2atefg 


8. Todd Rundgren – Wailing Wall.....Philadelphia-born rock artist, multi-instrumentalist and album producer Rundgren started out in the 1960s as a member of the Nazz who had a one-hit wonder called “Open My Eyes” in 1968 (the song appears on a great compilation from 1972 called Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968).  Rundgren then went on to a solo career of quirky, captivating and sometimes commercially successful albums, especially through the 1970s.  On his second solo album from 1971 entitled Runt / The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren, the artist put forth some beautiful mid-tempo pop songs including the wondrous “Wailing Wall.”  This tune features Rundgren on piano, lead vocal and all background vocals, and there is more than a hint of a Beach Boys’ approach to the layered harmony choruses therein.  https://youtu.be/o7ZMA_aIBf4


9. Third Eye Blind – I Want You.....This San Franciscan alternative rock band formed in the early 1990s and by 1996, its songwriting duo of Stefan Jenkins (vocalist) and Kevin Cadogan (guitarist) secured a label deal with Elektra Records.  The band’s 1997 self-titled debut was full of swagger, hooks, alternative music flourishes and great pop instincts, and terrestrial radio glommed onto the track “Semi-Charmed Life” which became a rip-snorting success (as much as any song about crystal meth could, I imagine).  The track from this debut record that really mesmerizes, however, is “I Want You,” which is not one of the three or four songs that entered various rock radio playlists upon this album’s release.  This tune is more of an album “deep cut” that has to be sought out and savored; it is awash in ear caressing production touches and atmosphere, and Jenkins’ vocals are his characteristic slightly sped-up mix of rock and hip-hop.  The lyrics are somewhat inscrutable and dark, and somehow this all adds up to a bewitching listening experience...Enjoy.  https://youtu.be/4O94icUAfgM 


10. Finley Quaye – It’s Great When We’re Together.....This song is a mid-tempo amalgam of funk, smooth jazz, reggae, indie-pop, trip-hop, and soul—or something like that.  For certain, it is a hypnotic stew with string backing and Quaye’s pleasing tenor anchoring it all.  The artist was born in Scotland but grew up in London immersed in jazz through blood relations and musical apprenticeships, and in 1997 Quaye released his debut album entitled Maverick A Strike (from which this track is taken).  The album sped up the British charts and garnered a lot of U.K. awards but for whatever reason Quaye’s initial shot of fame didn’t cross the pond to find the same rampant success over here in the States.  Quaye in the years since has only sporadically released new material and the only other song that has reached Musicasaurus.com’s ears thus far is “Dice” from the artist’s 2004 album Much More Than Much Love.  “Dice,” a collaboration with Beth Orton and William Orbit, was a bit of a hit in the U.K.and in the USA, especially on college and public-supported radio stations.  But back to “It’s Great When We’re Together:”  https://youtu.be/R3-sLfRkH8Y





Posted 11/15/20.....

A THEMED MIX…With things in the shape they’re in right now—disease and disruption seeming to prevail—it’s time to concentrate on our world.  Here are ten songs with “world” in the titles... 

1. What a Wonderful World – Toots Thielemans and Kenny Werner…..As a young man I first heard this song in 1967 on one of my parents’ 45 rpm singles as performed by the incomparable Louis Armstrong.  This version from a 2001 album entitled Toots Thielemans / Kenny Werner is an all-instrumental soul soother, meditative and quite gorgeous.  Harmonica master Thielemans, almost 80 years old at this juncture, skitters and floats with ease above the synthesizer strings and occasional piano of Kenny Werner and this is, notably, a live performance captured from one of a handful of onstage duo concerts that the pair collaborated on in 2001.  The album is chockfull of standards, and beyond “What a Wonderful World” you’ll find songs borrowed from Sinatra, Michel Legrand, Bach, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock—and even a Disney mini-medley.  https://youtu.be/sHdITynB1iU


2. What If The World Stops Turning – Mindy Smith....This is a country rock gem that veers toward pop music, delivered with poise and purity by Long Island-born singer-songwriter Mindy Smith.  She shares the track with longtime Nashville music-man-about-town Buddy Miller who guests on guitar and co-lead vocals.  Miller’s impressive resume includes lead guitar stints with Emmylou Harris’ Spyboy band and with Robert Plant on some of the latter’s outings (a record and tour with Alison Krauss in 2008 and with Band of Joy in 2010/2011).  Mindy Smith had first perked up the ears of musicasaurus.com with the stunning gospel-rock song “Come To Jesus” from her 2004 debut album One Moment More.  The track listed here is no less compelling, just a bit breezier in style and execution; it hails from Smith’s second album, 2006’s Long Island Shores.  https://youtu.be/6ik2IRmv5lY


3. It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World – James Brown.....The Godfather Of Soul really shines on this string-laden funk ballad from 1965; it’s full of Papa James Screech and high drama, and the song became a # 1 Rhythm & Blues hit and a Top Ten success in the Pops realm.  Brown’s albums from around that stretch of time usually consisted of an anchoring, currently charting tune with a backfill of singles—individual songs released on 45 rpms—that were shoehorned in before each compilation album’s release.  That was the case with this tune as well which ended up on Brown’s identically titled compilation album released in 1966.  The song itself has been covered live by a world of artists through the years including Christina Aguilera, Joss Stone and the Grateful Dead, and on record by Tom Jones, The Residents, Seal, Concrete Blonde and many more.  Also, Brown teamed up with Luciano Pavarotti in a sizzling live performance of the tune in 2002 which has over 26 million views on YouTube since its posting in April 2019.  https://youtu.be/hK97cdbbsQw


4. Peaceful World – John Mellencamp…..Indiana native Mellencamp headed to NYC at the age of 24 in an effort to break into the music business.  From an early age he was a real scrapper and spent years in the somewhat torturous trenches of the music business with forced-upon-him “identity crises.”  His first manager insisted that Mellencamp go on record only as Johnny Cougar (1976).  The artist then jettisoned “Johnny” to become John Cougar (1979-1982).  Then with growing success and the release of his 1983 album Uh-huh, Mellencamp felt confident enough to tack his real last name on the back of that Cougar (becoming John Cougar Mellencamp) and finally four years later dropped the catty stance altogether to become simply John Mellencamp.  AND…enough of the name game.  In 2001 Mellencamp released his seventeenth album Cuttin’ Heads which bears this infectious mid-tempo rocker that examines race and prejudice.  It is a duet with R&B singer-songwriter India Arie and also features a cameo on the bridge of the song from Public Enemy’s founder Chuck D.  https://youtu.be/mPy50aadwGc


5. The New World – X.....This American punk rock band formed in L.A. in 1977, the year punk exploded here and abroad with debut releases in the USA by Talking Heads, Television, the Dead Boys, Johnny Thunder and the Heartbreakers and Richard Hell and the Voidoids, while across the pond hitting record store bins were the first albums from Elvis Costello, the Clash, the Buzzcocks, Sex Pistols, the Damned, the Stranglers, the Jam and more.  X was punky from the git-go but by their fourth album, 1983’s More Fun in the New World, the band was already mixing their usual explosives with folk and rockabilly influences.  Doors founding member Ray Manzarek produced this album as well as its three predecessors, and feisty, right-on rock critic Robert Christgau from the famous alternative newsweekly The Village Voice had this to say about the record and the two vocalists/songwriters who propelled the band, bassist John Doe and Exene Cervenka: “Aimed at the no-future generation, X's passionate reconstruction of musical (and marital) tradition is salutary, and this is their most accomplished album.”  https://youtu.be/450snxo-32g


6. In World – Television.....Television, like the band X mentioned immediately above, was one of the bands that first formed back in the punk explosion days of the mid-to-late 1970s.  But unlike X who was born in L.A., Television was a product of NYC.  They were part of the fabric of legendary Manhattan club CBGB, where on various nights of the week one might walk in and find bands on stage such as Talking Heads, the Ramones, Blondie or Patti Smith Group, or lesser known but equally intriguing punkers like Richard Hell & The Voidoids or the Cramps.  Television’s distinction was their two-guitar attack and the made-for-punk vocal style of lead singer-songwriter Tom Verlaine.  The ace second guitarist in the band was the incendiary Richard Lloyd and the two were interweaving specialists.  None of this really translated into much commercial success for the band back in the punk heyday, but in 1992 the group reformed (some say because of the early ‘90s Seattle scene with Nirvana and the like) and issued this self-titled, admirable outing.  “In World” is leavened with the spunk of punk, a good example of how deliciously this band could float along on intertwining guitars and Verlaine’s genre-appropriate vocals.  Infectious stuff.  https://youtu.be/ZJdLwcJrXCk


7. Back into Your World – Son Volt.....In 1994 famed alternative-country band Uncle Tupelo split up, and two of the principals veered off in different directions to form their own units—guitarist Jeff Tweedy went on to hatch Wilco and guitarist Jay Farrar formed Son Volt.  The latter band’s debut album Trace came out in 1995 and proved to be a reliably intoxicating mix of roots rock, country & folk.  Their second release, Straightaways (1997), followed suit and according to Allmusic.com reviewer Jack Leaver, there are “plenty of threads to connect Straightaways to Trace, such as the expressive playing of multi-instrumentalist Dave Boquist on guitars, fiddle, banjo, and lap steel, and Farrar’s forlorn vocal delivery, which could give even the weakest song emotional power.”  The tune listed here, “Back into Your World,” is straightaway one of the best in the band’s catalogue.  https://youtu.be/salUViy2uoA


8. One World – Dire Straits.....Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits is another of the esteemed group of British rock guitarists like Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page that were weaned on American black musician elders like B.B. King while awakening their own talents.  Knopfler, though, was also a fan of Duane Eddy, the Everly Brothers (who had Chet Atkins playing guitar on some of their songs) and Elvis Presley, and so he crafted quite a unique lead guitar style that in 1978 propelled Dire Straits’ self-titled debut album onto American radio stations through its lead-off single “Sultans Of Swing.”  It was the band’s 1985 release Brothers in Arms, though, that really sent this unit into the stratosphere aided by MTV and the hit song “Money For Nothing.”  The song “One World” comes from this particular album.  https://youtu.be/nlL_ORdbMpY


9. When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around – The Police…..Late in 1978 Ihad a lightning bolt moment in the old National Record Mart flagship store in Market Square, downtown Pittsburgh.  I was about eight months into my new record company job of fashioning displays in music stores throughout Western PA, and I was up on a ladder stapling some priority Warner Brothers artist posters along the ceiling line.  Suddenly I heard over the store’s stereo system some muscular, incredibly rhythmic, and reggae-tinged power pop that had me spinning around immediately to see what the store manager had slapped on the turntable.  “It’s The Police” Maurice the store manager informed me, and he handed me the Outlandos d'Amour album while “Roxanne” and then “Hole in My Life” spilled out from the speakers above.  Something about this Police album really resonated, and I became a dedicated follower through their unfortunately somewhat abbreviated six-year career.  Among my favorites is the track “When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around” from the group’s third album Zenyatta Mondatta, released in 1980.  https://youtu.be/YC8vxXC0UMc


10. World Of Two – Cake.....The recipe for Cake: Take alternative rock and sprinkle it liberally with bits of other genres; add in lyrics that are laden with sarcasm, non sequiturs and pop-culture nuggets; and then top it off with the sometimes spoken, sometimes sung vocalizations of frontman John McCrea.  The band formed in 1992 in Sacramento and by 1995 were beginning to top the college and commercial alternative radio station charts with songs from two of their most recent albums, Motorcade of Generosity and Fashion Nugget.  The song “World of Two” from 2001’s Comfort Eagle release is a clever and catchy alt-ballad with a slight circus feel; something akin to sleigh bells show up amidst the usual guitar-bass-keyboards combination, and there’s a chorus that repeats “You...There’s only room for you...in your world of two…”  https://youtu.be/ErcKR1zKiGM





Posted 11/1/20.....

A VARIETY OF ARTISTS’ MIX…Some classic rock, Icelandic ethereal pop, and jam-based blues…some light on the ears funk-fusion…some scintillating soul, and more…

1. Of Angels and Angles – The Decemberists.....To state the obvious, pretty much everything’s gone niche and everyone’s the better for it (meaning the end-user music consumer).  We used to be more in that mass consumption mode, led and fed by mass media.  Now with years under our belt on the net we get our satiation from a million musical directions, and skittering about out there in the musical maw are the Decemberists.  This Portland, Oregon band formed in the year 2000 and proved to be fetchingly peculiar; they ably wield the accordion, guitar and Hammond organ, and blend their alternative flourishes with British folk, often spinning tales that reveal a deep appreciation of world history obscurities.  “Of Angels and Angles” comes from the group’s 2005 release Picaresque.  https://youtu.be/B02QfNV-66g


2. Poison Whiskey – Lynyrd Skynyrd.....The seeds of Skynyrd started in Jacksonville, Florida as early as 1964, but by 1973 they had their line-up solidified and a new band name courtesy of their disciplinarian high-school Phys-Ed teacher Leonard Skinner.  “Poison Whiskey” is a little over three minutes of Southern-style rock ‘n’ roll with lovely layers of guitar, and organ courtesy of musician/producer Al Kooper.  The latter had signed the band and literally put them on the road to success—and on the heels of this debut album, Pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd, the group garnered the opening-act slot on The Who’s Quadrophenia tour of the U.S.  This is also the album that foisted “Free Bird” upon the land.  It is likely sacrilegious to say this, but musicasaurus.com has long been burned out on that tune and part of it is guilt by association; there were just way too many stoners clinging to classic rock and orbiting my social circles in the 1970s, most of them ineloquent and unconvincing champions of the song who merely threw it up on the pedestal while ignoring Skynyrd’s finer, tighter tunes—like “Poison Whiskey.”  https://youtu.be/pVkZo4ytM_E  


3. Boy Lilikoi – Jónsi.....Jón Þór Birgisson (Jónsi) is the vocalist/guitarist for Iceland’s ambient export Sigur Rós, who at this point have been a band for over twenty-five years.  There oughtta be a picture of the group under “ethereal” in dictionary.com—the music is full of space, savagery and beauty.  Lead singer Jónsi rose up out of Rós to debut his first sans-Sigur album Go in 2010, and “Boy Lilikoi” (from that record) traverses much the same terrain—fetching falsetto, strings, muscle and majesty.  Musicasaurus.com caught the full band at a Byham Theatre/Pittsburgh concert-tour stop in March 2003, and posted a while back in this website that the band was “cool and elegant…mixing fury and finesse” and that the concert itself was a “devastatingly beautiful evening of crushing volume and captivating soundscapes” (Musicasaurus.com isn’t above a self-referential quote; it balloons my importance but sadly, only to me).  https://youtu.be/hZi42PqmcL8


4. Reasons For Waiting – Jethro Tull.....Tull’s album Stand Up stood out to me.  When it hit record stores in 1969 I was a sixteen-year-old music sponge devouring the new sounds that were cascading their way across the pond from England.  That year of 1969 brought a lot to our shores including Abbey Road from The Beatles, Led Zeppelin’s first and second albums, Cream’s Goodbye and Blind Faith’s one and only, The Who’s Tommy, Jeff Beck Group’s Beck-Ola and many more.  The Tull album was decidedly different from much else out there; wild-eyed, high-stepping lead singer & flautist Ian Anderson and his mates were unafraid to venture forth from their previous blues-based rock to more tantalizing turf, leavening their still firmly-rooted rock sound with a mix of classical, Celtic, and English folk.  “Reasons For Waiting” is a mid-tempo, string-enhanced ballad with Anderson’s pleasing baritone and gentle acoustic guitar and flute.  Other highlights from the album include the hard-charging “Nothing Is Easy” and the fine instrumental “Bourée" which is based on a work by Johann Sebastian Bach.  https://youtu.be/exXKfGPgW00


5. Regarding Steven – Blues Traveler.....This band is a tight blues-jam unit that I’ve seen at a few festivals through the years, and it is fronted by showstopper John Popper, a towering force as harmonica wielder and lead vocalist.  Blues Traveler breached pop radio playlists a few times in the 1990s with songs “But Anyway” and “Run-Around,” and they are largely revered by the jam-band crowd for none-too-chintzy set lengths and improvisational lift-offs during song performances.  “Regarding Steven” is a mid-tempo slice with a slinky, sweet harmonica solo; this studio track is taken from the 2002 compilation Travelogue: Blues Traveler Classics though the song first appeared as one of five tunes on a CD single release coinciding with the arrival of the band’s 1994 album Four.  Two quick trivia notes: 1) Popper and his band were the genesis of the live music festival called H.O.R.D.E. (Horizons Of Rock Developing Everywhere) which hit U.S.A. amphitheaters to solid success from 1992-1998.  2) He and the group also dressed up as an Amish band, playing their hit song “But Anyway” as the closing credits rolled on the destined-not-to-be-a-classic Farrelly Brothers film Kingpin (though the film did sport some amazing stand-up by bowler Bill Murray’s hair). https://youtu.be/Kv9BaW5tMeg


6. Voodoo Woman – Lonnie Liston Smith.....By the mid-1970s, a number of jazz musicians who had schooled with trumpeter Miles Davis in the late 1960s/early 1970s were branching out and taking wing, like Joe Zawinul forming Weather Report and Chick Corea launching Return To Forever.  One of the other musicians who also took the cues from Davis in his turn toward electric jazz and fusion was Lonnie Liston Smith, an accomplished jazz pianist and electric keyboardist who went the post-Davis route with his ensemble Lonnie Liston Smith and The Cosmic Echoes.  “Voodoo Woman” from this group’s third album Expansions (1974) is prettily parked midway between innocuous smooth jazz and sophisticated fusion.  It is a spacey, dreamy four-and-a-half minutes of soft fusion with funk underpinnings, and sprightly flute and electronic keyboards that will lull you with its loveliness.  https://youtu.be/JjflHF1oGgM


7. A Long Walk – Jill Scott.....Vocalist Scott is a Philadelphian who turned from plans to teach toward a life in music.  Her full recording career blossomed with 2000’s Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1 though she had been a local spoken-word artist prior to that, as well as had contributed to an album by the Roots and toured Canada in the cast of Rent.  What strikes musicasaurus.com is the suppleness of her voice, as evidenced by this track from the then 28-year-old’s debut album.  Two other points of interest: 1) Scott appears on a Chris Botti DVD entitled Chris Botti Live With Orchestra & Special Guests and she performs just one number with Botti and his band—but it’s Billie Holiday’s “Good Morning Heartache” and Scott just pulverizes any semblance of a doubt about her passion and vocal prowess; and 2) Scott dips a bit into acting as well.  She appeared as Mma Ramotswe in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, the BBC-produced series based on the Alexander McCall Smith novels.  The pilot episode debuted on HBO in the States in 2009 and ran for six more episodes before falling to the ax due to low ratings.  https://youtu.be/pO4zzgFAsxQ


8. The Long Road – Eddie Vedder and Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn.....This is a rapturous tune from the 1996 album entitled Dead Man Walking: Music From And Inspired By The Motion Picture.  “The Long Road” is a hypnotic aural experience, with famous Pakistani singer Kahn—international “poster boy” for Qawwali, the devotional music of the Sufis—joining Vedder on vocals.  The song is buoyed by an enticing weave of harmonium and tabla, two instruments that are popular throughout certain regions in Pakistan and India.  “Dead Man Walking: Music From And Inspired By The Motion Picture” contains only four songs from the 1995 Tim Robbins-directed film and “The Long Road” is one of them.  The other eight tunes were coaxed into contribution by the director, who actively solicited a number of socially conscious artists for song donations to this particular album.  The artists who came through for Robbins included Springsteen, Johnny Cash, Steve Earle, Patti Smith and Tom Waits.  https://youtu.be/FmzT_wb6Dlo


9. Joy – The Sundays.....This four-piece unit from England developed sizeable cult followings on both sides of the Atlantic in the early-mid 1990s.  Their alternative-style songs featured pristine lead female vocals and instrumentation that was ringing and chiming—quite the effective blend, as it turned out, for some serious chart climbing (especially in the UK).  “Joy” is taken from the band’s 1990 debut album Reading, Writing And Arithmetic.  The track floats and flutters with vocalist Harriet Wheeler and guitarist David Gavurin playing off each other quite well.  Chicago Sun-Times writer Don McLeese reviewed their debut album in May 1990 and tried to peg the band’s unique sound this way: “On initial exposure, Britain's latest musical rage sounds like a preposterous hybrid, as if Rickie Lee Jones somehow found herself fronting the Smiths or the Sugarcubes.  Repeated listenings render comparisons and categories less appropriate, as the music reveals an internal logic that is all the band's own, and the insidiously seductive songcraft of ‘Reading, Writing and Arithmetic’ practically re-invents the ABC's of rock.”  https://youtu.be/mwEakHWFiSU


10. Where Does The Good Go – Tegan & Sara.....Canadian twin sisters Tegan and Sara Quin (born in Calgary in September 1980) had talent and timing on their side, first winning a hometown music competition in 1998 and subsequently being scooped up for Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair tour that same year.  Their music alternately straddles and blends folk and alternative and the tune listed here is, from its very opening, a compelling example of their magical mix of girlish twin-vocal leads and harmonies, and musical heft.  The song, from 2004’s So Jealous, sounds a little similar to something that Tom Petty might have written.  It is an intriguing, purposefully “loping” type of opening that draws you in, followed by an explosion of anthemic hooks and chorus.  A great tune to be played loud, so turn these twins all the way up to eleven.  https://youtu.be/VFLzZY3w3vg





Posted 10/18/20.....


1. Raoul and the Kings of Spain – Tears for Fears…..Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith formed Tears for Fears in Bath, England in 1981, the same year MTV burst into being in living rooms and dorm rooms across the USA, and the two were simpatico in the bands’ evolution into smart-pop superstars.  The group’s second album in 1985, Songs from the Big Chair, was the one to gain solid footing in America with tunes like “Shout” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”  The duo then parted ways in the early 1990s and Orzabal gained custody of the Tears for Fears name, producing a couple of elaborate solo albums including 1995’s Raoul and the Kings of Spain.  The title track is dense and delicious; a power surge so melodious and forceful that it practically laps at and leaps over the brain wall to settle right into the pleasure centers—whoa!  https://youtu.be/WJ4VHlluYnw


2. Queen Bee – Taj Mahal…..Singer-songwriter/musician Taj Mahal was born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks in NYC in 1942 of musically-oriented parents, one with Jamaican roots (his father) and the other a South Carolinian teacher into gospel music.  Taj Mahal has championed blues and all of its hues and origins throughout the past almost six decades.  High school musical mentors of mine in Butler, PA, David and Gary Kleemann, turned me on to him through 1969’s Giant Step album, but it was the freewheelin’ double-live album from 1972 The Real Thing and 1974’s reggae-filled Mo’ Roots that cemented my reverence.  The song included here for this Kings & Queens mix, “Queen Bee,” actually shows up on two Taj releases—1977’s Evolution (The Most Recent) and 1997’s Señor Blues.  It’s the kind of mid-tempo Calypso-tinged tune that cries out for an umbrella drink (or two or three) in some kind of ocean-side open-air café.  https://youtu.be/QCN4_dDysQ4


3. Kings Highway – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers…..Into the Great Wide Open from which this track is taken was released in 1991 and was the band’s eighth studio record, chronologically coming on the heels of Petty’s first solo venture Full Moon Fever (1989).  Petty had worked with musician/producer Jeff Lynne (formerly of Electric Light Orchestra) on that earlier release, and continued on with that partnership for Great Wide Open.  “Kings Highway” is yet another of Petty’s riveting, rocking and fan-revered songs that he had seemingly effortlessly churned out since his band’s eponymous debut album in 1976.  I remember seeing a Petty & Heartbreakers concert at Star Lake Amphitheater in 1991, the first of his several visits to the venue over the next couple of decades, and I had at least two tingling revelations while soaking it all in—1) the band was truly a non-rock-cliché powerhouse, and 2) the songs, one after the other, were familiar hits and recognizable cherished deep tracks.  I was simply amazed at how many songs I knew and how many classics this band of brothers had produced over the first sixteen years of its existence.  https://youtu.be/-h3gXKArWyw


4. Bring Me My Queen – Abigail Washburn.....What a gem this singer-songwriter and banjo player has produced in this beautiful alt-folk song from 2011’s City of Refuge—but the whole record is really a boundary stretcher thanks in part, says AllMusic reviewer Thom Jurek, to album producer Tucker Martine.  “In Martine,” says Jurek, “Washburn found the perfect collaborator: he understands implicitly how far-reaching her songs are; he assists her in cracking wide the conventions of traditions while showcasing their influence with reverence and grace.”  Through her instrument and her song arrangements, Washburn here always proves bold in her steps to artfully incorporate a wide range of influences—folk, rock, country, jazz, bluegrass and blues, even mixing in some touches from Asia, the British Isles and beyond.  https://youtu.be/O316-4khIWE


5. King For A Day – XTC.....This British band formed in the mid-late 1970s and early on keyed in on the herky-jerky edge of New Wave.  That soon gave way to more ambitious explorations into pure pop, rendered on record through superior arrangements and production.  Chief songwriters Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding channel bands like The Beatles (circa their most adventurous periods), the Kinks and the Beach Boys to produce sonic concoctions of their own that are almost CDC-level infectious.  The track “King For A Day” comes from the double album Oranges and Lemons (1989), and it is a fetching slice of intelligent pop, lushly produced.  https://youtu.be/EVASP83kjT0


6. Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run) – Billy Ocean…..Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Leslie Sebastian Charles had moved to England in 1960 with his family at the age of ten and by his early twenties was singing, recording and releasing singles that melded R&B and soul with a nice shot of calypso.  He “became” Billy Ocean at twenty-five, a bona fide hit machine in the U.K. with chart-topping songs and album sales beginning in the mid-1970s.  But this didn’t ripple across the pond to America right away.  When Ocean released his fifth album Suddenly in 1984, his lead-off single “Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)” penetrated radio stations across the USA and the infection spread.  The singer had two subsequent Top Ten hits roll out of this particular album, and radio listeners and record buyers across the country flocked to this Ocean in staggering numbers through the rest of the decade.  Also of note: A smart marketing tool was employed by Ocean’s record label with “Caribbean Queen” upon its initial release; the song was re-recorded by Ocean for certain markets around the globe, so in Europe, for example, the radio waves carried a tune now called “European Queen” and a similar appropriate tweak was made for the African continent.  https://youtu.be/uxX2gA18grk


7. When You Became King – Alana Davis.....This Greenwich Village singer-songwriter was born in 1974 and I first caught wind of her through 1997’s Blame It On Me, which sported an Ani DiFranco cover (“32 Flavors”) and a couple of killer, far-from-filler tunes in “Murder” and “Crazy.”  In the summer of 1998 I was the general manager of Pittsburgh’s Star Lake Amphitheater (now S&T Bank Music Park) and I ran into Davis backstage at the H.O.R.D.E. Festival, a Blues Traveler-led event that toured the amphitheater circuit through most of the 1990s.  We stood in the dressing room hallway and there I confessed my love of her debut album from the year before.  I told her I also liked the keenly placed piano touches in her song “Murder” and she volunteered later in the exchange that her songwriting leads her to view her voice more as a horn than any other key instrument.  Davis’ second album Fortune Cookies from which this track is taken was released in 2001, and when this record didn’t commercially catch fire the way she had anticipated, the artist then ditched her lame-at-the-game record label Elektra and formed her own label Tigress to issue her future releases.  https://youtu.be/fMfmZ3bLmfk


8. Queen of the Silver Dollar – Emmylou Harris…..Music lovers can sometimes recall the first time they heard one very special album and so yeah, I couldn’t help but fall deeply in love with country artist Emmylou Harris’ Pieces of the Sky one night back in 1975.  I was glued to a small clock radio in a D.C. apartment where I was lodging with a friend of my parents’ for a few days, hunting for my first job out of college.  The deejay apparently played a brand new album at midnight on this particular night of the week, each week, and though the sound quality was tinny and nuthin’ but treble, the voice of Emmylou swept me away as only a true angel can do.  “Queen of the Silver Dollar” was just one of the treasures on this album and what I did not realize at the time was that this song was penned by Shel Silverstein.  I became aware of Silverstein in the mid-1980s by virtue of his children’s books but he was also an accomplished songwriter, illustrator, playwright, musician and so much more.  “Queen of the Silver Dollar” was first recorded by Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show (perpetrators of the 1972 novelty hits “Sylvia’s Mother” and “The Cover of ‘Rolling Stone’”).  Emmylou’s 1975 version is straight-ahead country with sweet pedal steel, piano, and fiddle, and harmony vocals provided by Linda Ronstadt.  https://youtu.be/zEzx3Fcrh_Q


9. King Of The World – Angelfish.....Scottish band Angelfish formed in 1991 out of an earlier incarnation called Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie, and both bands had as an active member the sultry redheaded singer Shirley Manson.  In Mackenzie, Manson was not significantly in the limelight with her keyboard playing and background vocals, but in Angelfish she wriggled into the spotlight as front woman and lead vocalist.  “King Of The World” is an up-tempo alt-rock tune from Angelfish’s one and only album (their eponymous debut) which hit record stores in 1994.  One of the band’s videos was then featured on MTV’s alternative music preview show called 120 Minutes and Manson was spotted there by American studio musician/record producer Steve Marker.  Marker and fellow musician/producers Butch Vig and Duke Erikson were coincidentally in the process of forming a band, and they all were smitten by Manson’s style.  The call went out to her and the four then formed the alt-rock band Garbage in 1995.  https://youtu.be/vsEmgZIT3xw  


10. Queen of Hearts – Gregg Allman…..The Allman Brothers Band released their fourth studio record Brothers and Sisters in August 1973, the first ABB album that was Duane-less.  Two months later organist/singer Gregg Allman released his debut solo album Laid Back, which yielded up that very soulful-beyond-his-years voice in a number of song settings that didn’t hew to the usual ABB formula.  Most of the tunes were indeed more laid back than what the Brothers had usually churned out; some gospel touches here, a swamp-music feel there, some mid-tempo R&B, honky-tonk and more.  Upon the album’s release most ABB fans and music critics embraced the effort, though Robert Christgau of the Village Voice demurred.  “Gregg still doesn't know the difference between drawling slowly and singing soulfully,” wrote Christgau in one of his Consumer Guide reviews, “and it isn't tragedy that makes him sound so doleful, it's a limited formal imagination.”  I disagree; this man’s voice at age twenty-six was a mighty fine thing to behold.  https://youtu.be/2jiInCL6dMo





Posted 10/4/20.....


1. The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore – Jules Shear.....Born in Pittsburgh in 1952, pop rocker Shear moved to L.A. in the mid-1970s and has had a career characterized by blips of success within various areas of the music business.  Although some of his solo releases from the early 1990s were critically acclaimed, they never engendered widespread fame; some of Shear’s songs, though, did strike a chord with the public through other artists—Cyndi Lauper had a hit with Shear’s “All Through The Night” and the Bangles covered his tune “If She Knew What She Wants.”  Shear also waded into MTV back in 1989, becoming the host of the first 13 episodes of the music channel’s program MTV Unplugged.  The track listed here—a cover of The Walker Brothers’ 1966 chart-topper—is from Shear’s 1994 release Healing Bones.  This album and 1992’s The Great Puzzle both have some gems to be mined by pop-rock fans who want to dig past the usual pop pablum.  https://youtu.be/Ri-mMuQNmnM


2. Moonlight Mile – The Rolling Stones…..This is a plain gorgeous six minutes from the Stones from their 1971 album Sticky Fingers.  One of its most famous lines is at the song’s outset when Jagger sings “When the wind blows and the rain feels cold / with a head full of snow / with a head full of snow”—and I believe Mick now disputes that those lyrics carry the meaning that things go better with you-know-what.  The song is just plain beauteous.  A major contributor to its overall impact is British composer/conductor/arranger Paul Buckmaster who orchestrates the song’s midsection and close, a buildup of stirring, sweeping strings.  Buckmaster was renowned at the time for a few other orchestral arrangements he had concocted for singer-songwriters David Bowie (“Space Oddity”) and Elton John (“Border Song” and “Levon”).  https://youtu.be/Bq4Q69_mdZw


3. Stars All Seem To Weep – Beth Orton.....Born in England in 1970, singer-songwriter Orton first notably teamed up at various points with electro-pop purveyors such as William Orbit and The Chemical Brothers.  Her first works as a solo artist came in 1996 with an EP and then a full album entitled Trailer Park.  The song listed here is from her Central Reservation record which came out in 1999.  “Stars All Seem To Weep” retains a bit of electro-pop though overall this particular album drifted away from such influences and served to reignite her original folk-leaning instincts.  Blessed with a clear and strong voice, Orton is a savvy songwriter and arranger as well. https://youtu.be/eMM9qhabMds


4. Tequila Sunrise – Eagles…..“Tequila Sunrise” is a sweet tonic of a tune any way you slice it, with the group’s trademark country lope, harmonies, and pedal steel.  Written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey, the song is on the Eagles’ second album Desperado (1973) which generally isn’t regarded as one of the band’s best efforts.  “Tequila Sunrise” and the title track were the only true standouts and yet the band was still methodically building a fan base, which of course reached just plain ol’ preposterous proportions when they checked in with Hotel California just three years later.  https://youtu.be/1K0N7UaZpz8 


5. Painted Moon – The Silencers.....Hailing from Scotland, the Silencers had Celtic and folk leanings and punkish beginnings—two former members were with a late-‘70s/early ‘80s doomed-to-obscurity group called Fingerprintz.  The Silencers' “Painted Moon,” from the group’s 1987 debut album A Letter From St. Paul, was hit in the UK and spread well beyond those borders to several other countries including the USA.  In The States it became a cult audience favorite on some alternative-leaning radio stations and made a bit of a splash on MTV as well.  Stylistically the band has been compared to their fellow nationals of that era, groups such as Big Country, The Proclaimers and Simple Minds.  https://youtu.be/FJC_cuAL1us 


6. Sea of Stars – Valerie Carter…..The first time I heard Carter’s self-titled debut album was when I was a part-time record store clerk in 1977 in Butler, PA and my boss’ girlfriend Karen ripped off the cellophane and gingerly laid the platter down on the store’s turntable.  The opening track “Ooh Child”—a tantalizing cover of The Five Stairsteps’ 1970 soul original—took my breath away.  Carter’s voice was angelic but the real power & glory rested in the moments when her uncorked soul took flight—the woman could wail!  Carter’s recorded output was spotty through the years, with solo album releases in 1977 and 1978, and then nothing until 1996’s The Way It Is, from which this track is taken.  This album was Carter’s last full-fledged release and featured guest appearances from some of her longtime music business buds including James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Lyle Lovett and Phoebe Snow.  https://youtu.be/N1FojEMolXk


7. In The Sun – Michael Stipe with Coldplay.....This track is from a 2005 Austin City Limits performance of R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe joining Chris Martin and Coldplay.  It is taken from a six-song EP (“extended play” record) entitled In The Sun.  The EP was released in 2006 exclusively through the iTunes Store, and its sales benefited the victims of Hurricane Katrina.  All six songs on the EP are versions of “In The Sun” with Stipe in collaboration with a) just Chris Martin, b) all of Coldplay, or c)the song’s originator, singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur.  The version listed here is the best of the six; it’s live and lyrically quite moving.  https://youtu.be/ffD6TP16ZFQ


8. The Girl Who Fell In Love With The Moon – Boo Hewerdine.....Folk-pop singer-songwriter Hewerdine is a Brit who’s been flying well below the radar of widespread fame since the late 1980s.  Critics lined up to praise Hewerdine’s 1989 teaming with Texas native Darden Smith on an album called Evidence, and the track “All I Want Is Everything” was a great tune that got passed around amongst the critics and the more perceptive members of the public.  “The Girl Who Fell in Love With the Moon” is a pleasing mid-tempo ballad from Hewerdine’s 2006 release Harmonograph, one of various solo albums that began surfacing only sporadically during the time period between 1992 and 2017.  https://youtu.be/3pfra46d1Rw


9. Stars – Dan Fogelberg.....I can’t explain why I’ve now come to actually like a couple of numbers by Fogelberg.  Older?  And maybe mellower?  It’s not nostalgia, because I was never really into this particular singer-songwriter’s music.  When I co-managed a record store in Wexford, PA in my relative youth, I pushed across the counter a good number of the artist’s Netherlands album plus a few others from his catalogue.  But his music never really made a dent each time my co-managing compadre Gary grabbed it from our set-aside stack of records and played it over the in-store stereo system.  These days, this track from the artist’s 1972 debut album Home Free and one other—“The Last Nail” from Captured Angel—are quite easy on the ears and even mesmerizing in a soft ‘70s kind of way.  “Stars” picks up mellow steam about a minute into the track, and at that point really kind of converts you.  https://youtu.be/Xjc15i_T8mI


10. Baobab Sunset – Manu Dibango.....Cameroon-born Manu Dibango is a talented multi-instrumentalist and arranger, which really shines through on this seven-minute odyssey taken from the artist’s 1976 album Afrovision.  “Baobab Sunset” is a simmering stew, understated yet majestic and buoyed by Dibango’s various turns on soprano sax, marimba and synthesizer.  I can personally attest that this song unfolds like an open road, as I once placed it on a road-trip cassette mix back in 1981 for a solo journey to Toronto, and the tune unfurled just as the sun came up on I-79 N headed toward I-90 E.  The track was perfect for the occasion; no jarring musical speed bumps, just grooves both sinuous and slinky, while my eyes took in a wide, beautiful vista that stretched out ahead.  https://youtu.be/NA51_h6kZwc


11. Jupiter or the Moon – Los Lobos.....Though musically tight and often thrilling in a live setting, Los Lobos can also surprise with their sophistication when churning out their blues-infused works on an album.  Tin Can Trust, their fourteenth studio record released in 2010, is a prime example of this.  Allmusic.com reviewer Mark Deming explained it this way: “Tin Can Trust captures this exceptional band in truly great form—the guitar interplay between David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas shows both men are playing at the top of their game, bassist Conrad Lozano and drummer Cougar Estrada are a strong and soulful rhythm section, and Steve Berlin’s keys and sax add just the right coloring.  These performances are low on ego-driven flash but high on exciting, emotionally compelling music.”  https://youtu.be/zW56SAQlbMo


12. Northern Star – Ollabelle.....Musicasaurus.com has touted this under-appreciated band before.  The group’s roots are in NYC, and they had an organic birth around 2001-2002 in bar jam sessions that drew upon influences including gospel, very old soul, traditional folk and dusted-off blues.  Their live performances and recorded efforts are both revelatory—the band’s five members are all adept at lead vocal turns, and the depth of musical talent brought forth to bear on their original songs and older roots material is wayyy impressive and soul satisfyin’.  One of the band’s two female founders is Levon Helm’s daughter Amy, though all are skilled players and their usual song-to-song arsenal includes acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, mandolin, accordion, dobro and mandola (ancestor to the mandolin).  “Northern Star” (voiced by Amy) comes from the band’s second studio album from 2006 entitled Riverside Battle Songs.  https://youtu.be/TJuBNOo26ts








Thanks to Stacy Innerst (www.stacyinnerst.com) for the design and creation of the Musicasaurus.com logo and the Tunes for Tables logo.
And...The "Tunes For Tables" fundraising campaign was created and conducted in memory of Margot Gloninger Jones (1952-2007).  With family and friends alike, she was a true knitter of the bonds that hold us together.





Posted 9/6/20.....

Ten tunes including one from an obscure late-‘70s Southern California singer-songwriter…and a massively popular female artist whose debut album hit stores and public consciousness twenty-five years ago…and a sax player that really Getz to you…and more…

1. Tell Me – Terence Boylan.....At Bard, Buffalo-born Boylan ran into fellow students Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, and the two soon-to-be Steely Dan chiefs produced Boylan’s first solo album Alias Boona, released in 1969.  After Boylan moved to California he was picked up by Asylum Records (label home of Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, and others), and he pushed out his second album—this one self-titled—in 1977.  “Tell Me,” though, is a pretty ballad from Boylan’s third record Suzy which was also on Asylum and released in 1980.  Like Boylan’s second, this one featured a number of Southern California musicians including three of the Eagles, Steely-then-Doobie guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, and session guitar ace Larry Carlton.  https://youtu.be/RkhkjjERQE4


2. Hand In My Pocket – Alanis Morissette.....Canadian Morissette stormed into our consciousness back in 1995.  She’d been a bit of a Britney at first, becoming a dance-pop phenomenon in the Great White North before she had turned 18.  Then in a fortuitous move she left Ottawa and met up with producer-songwriter Glen Ballard in Toronto to collaborate on her third album, Jagged Little Pill.  The song “You Oughta Know” from that album was the first single released and the first song that caught fire in the USA, but the loose and shufflin’ “Hand In My Pocket” is Musicasaurus' favorite track on the album.  In 1996 Alanis set out on an 18-month tour that brought her to Pittsburgh’s Star Lake Amphitheater where she sold out the venue and played to a crowd of 23,000.  She never hit those heavenly heights again with subsequent album releases, but she did at least get to play God in Kevin Smith’s 1999 film Dogma; she was featured in a scene filmed on Star Lake’s little lake, which is nestled nearby on the right-hand side as you drive down the four-lane roadway entrance toward the parking lots.  https://youtu.be/CUjIY_XxF1g


3. California – Low.....Husband-and-wife Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker are the core of this “slowcore” band that formed in Duluth, Minnesota in 1993.  Their longstanding minimalist approach to songwriting and hushed harmonies—in the alternative pop vein—helped them cobble together a following through almost annual releases beginning in 1994.  Ten years down the road they turned toward a new producer that steered them toward more sonic depth, and this resulted in an album—2005’s The Great Destroyer—that captured their essence yet fleshed out the sound via this more full-bodied approach.  “California” is from that album, and it is a great textured piece with the Sparkhawk-Parker vocal blend and a commanding grunge-lite approach to the guitars and overall production.  https://youtu.be/FNI3tnnu2IM


4. The Girl From Ipanema – Astrud Gilberto, Joao Gilberto & Stan Getz.....This very early version of the song is synonymous with bossa nova, samba and the Sixties, and it comes from the one of the most famous and bestselling jazz albums of all time, 1963’s Getz/Gilberto.  Over the past almost-five decades the tune has almost been cocktail-hour’ed to death in cafes and clubs around the globe, trod on by myriad musical lounge lizards and various sultans of schmaltz.  Hearkening back to this definitive 1963 version brings a new appreciation for the cool sophistication of this worldwide classic...The players: Stan Getz on tenor sax, Joao Gilberto on acoustic guitar and vocals, Antonio Carlos Jobim on piano and Astrud Gilberto on vocals.  The latter is the wife of singer-guitarist Joao, and before the recording session for this song, reportedly she had never sung outside of her home.  https://youtu.be/Nim7Xs41UJo


5. Carry Me Ohio – Sun Kil Moon.....You need to just give in to this long flow-of-a-song.  It is six-and-a-half minutes of chiming guitar, a melodic alt-drone that features guitarist/singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek and his distinctive vocal style and world view.  The latter two are on excellent display in this tune from Sun Kil Moon’s first release, 2003’s Ghosts Of The Great Highway.  Kozelek formed this Bay Area band in 2002 after disbanding Red House Painters, another group who managed to cultivate cult worship instead of mass embrace.  No matter the setting, Kozelek’s always trafficked in deep confessional outpourings, largely set within his own atmospheric ballads.  But occasionally he crafts an unorthodox cover of another artist’s material as well, as he has done with the Cars’ “All Mixed Up” and some Bon Scott-era AC/DC songs, Yes tunes, and John Denver selections.  https://youtu.be/2bFCNJx-BpM


6. Summer Song – Yellowjackets.....“Summer Song” is a collaboration between this crisp and tuneful jazz-fusion band and guest star Bobby McFerrin (oft recognized in jazz circles as the El Supremo of wordless vocals).  The track “Summer Song” hails from the 1995 release Dreamland which is the Yellowjackets’ twelfth album.  Interesting to note: The criminally underappreciated guitarist Robben Ford was an original member of this group when it issued its R&B-oriented debut in 1981, but he departed the band two years afterward.  Over the span of their currently 39-year career the Yellowjackets have had only a few personnel shifts, and gradually moved from R&B more into jazz.  They are not for all tastes but within their expansive catalogue these Yellowjackets do have some buzzworthy tunes.  https://youtu.be/dB-C3LrAodk 


7. Win Or Lose – Paul Butterfield’s Better Days…..Butterfield is a blueblood—a member of the aristocracy of “blues greats”—who worshipped Muddy Waters and the genre’s other forefathers while pushing out some really passionate blues recordings of his own in a variety of settings throughout the 1960s and 1970s.  Although I treasure Butterfield’s late ‘60s blues material, I tend to gravitate to the two recordings he did with his assembled band Better Days in 1972-1973; here, the music is a bit more expansive to include folk and roots music influences.  The track “Win Or Lose”—from the Better Days’ unit’s second album It All Comes Back (1973)—still has the man’s trademark harmonica at the forefront, and he peels off some mighty powerful licks as he barrels through this blues-rock gem.  https://youtu.be/zWBTCV6bBGA


8. Missing – Beck.....This persistent indie artist is such a wonderful sonic adventurer.  He is perpetually hard to pigeonhole and each release has gems in store for the curious traveler who stays on course with him.  “Missing” starts out with a sinewy beat (with nice wood block percussion and acoustic guitar) that for an instant seems like the start of an alternative spin on “The Girl from Ipanema”(!).  Sitar-like strings soon slide into play, though, and above it all is a very warm and occasionally layered Beck vocal.  Atmosphere abounds...great stuff.  This song hails from the artist’s Guero album which saw the light of day in March of 2005.  https://youtu.be/Z-mUIWqIn6o


9. Roxanne – George Michael.....Michael has redefined this tune by stripping the reggae-pop feel of the Police and slowing it to a sensual, jazz-cushioned excursion into Coolsville.  His vocals perfectly suit the sweet and polished jazz accompaniment, and it is all the more remarkable because an approach such as this could have easily veered into schmaltz or parody.  It is a fine line that Michael has walked here and he has done it with ease.  “Roxanne” comes from the artist’s 1999 release Songs From The Last Century.  https://youtu.be/QnhNwcfZPpg


10. Rock Steady – No Doubt.....If you’re dismissive or just plain disinterested in this band, you should park your ‘tude and give this song a chance.  It is a bewitching number from their 2001 album of the same name, and it is also unlike a lot of their other material.  The band ended up with a number of outside producer-collaborators on this record, and electronic keyboard sound effects reigned (reportedly described by the band’s bass player as a lot of “Devo-y bleeps and Star Wars noises”).  That sonic approach is really what adds to the appeal of this mid-tempo dub-style tune, and lead singer Gwen Stefani’s intuitive vocals polish it all off–it is simply mesmerizing.  https://youtu.be/Ac2YHgLSDio 





Posted 8/23/20.....

Ten tunes including a slow funk jam…one of the first horn-fueled ‘60s rock hits on the radio…electronica meets trip-hop…a Motown classic song covered by an ex-Motown classic singer…Bewitching European jazz from a recording studio in Norway…and more.

1. Didjital Vibrations – Jamiroquai.....Though this band sports a dazzling soul singer in the form of frontman Jayson Kay (a.k.a. J.K.), Jamiroquai also occasionally cuts some fetching instrumentals such as this one.  The band formed in London in 1992 and their style is a mix of house music and classic soul.  “Didjital Vibrations”—a slow, stewing bit of funk with slinky bass, synthesizers, and the Australian instrument didgeridoo (a.k.a. didjeridu)—comes from their third album, 1996’s Traveling Without Moving.  This is the album that also contained the band’s worldwide smash “Virtual Insanity” and reportedly it received a Guiness World Record for becoming the best-selling funk album in history.  https://youtu.be/TXah7y6XVxg


2. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is – Chicago Transit Authority.....This song dates back to the late ‘60s when this brand new band emerged with a sound considered cutting-edge.  They broke new ground in combining electric guitar and solid rock rhythms with a powerful brass section and jazz-laced horn arrangements—quite a breakthrough back in 1969.  “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is” hails from the band’s self-titled debut album Chicago Transit Authority; they subsequently dropped the “Transit Authority” portion of the band’s name from all albums that followed due to protests from the city of Chicago’s real transit authority.  https://youtu.be/9FzCWLOHUes


3. Everybody Loves A Loser – Morcheeba.....This British trio that came together in 1995 was originally comprised of musician-producers and brothers Paul and Russ Godfrey and female lead vocalist Skye Edwards.  Their music was a melding of electronica, pop, psychedelia and trip-hop for their first four forays into recording, but 2005’s The Antidote—the band’s fifth studio record—featured front-woman Daisy Martey in what turned out to be a one-time shot.  Allmusic.com reviewer David Jeffries summed up this bit-of-a-departure album this way: “Conjuring the spirits of Bill Withers, Shirley Bassey and Grace Slick while retaining that Morcheeba cleverness, The Antidote is both a total curveball and pleasant surprise.”  Future recordings featured other vocalists and eventually the wayfaring Edwards returned to vocally helm the band’s seventh release in 2010.  https://youtu.be/OsMAr_aNhNc


4. Ain’t That Peculiar – Martha Reeves.....This 1965 Motown classic originally performed by Marvin Gaye was covered by Reeves on her first solo album in 1974.  This eponymous release came out on the MCA label because Reeves had decided to leave Motown after founder Berry Gordy announced all label operations were moving from Detroit to L.A.  Reeves then aligned with in-demand music producer Richard Perry, who labored for more than a year on the album while balancing other current recording commitments to Carly Simon and Ringo Starr.  Perry’s high-gloss production never overpowers the intensity of Reeves’ sweet and soulful performance.  https://youtu.be/vNOLvDsGINs 


5. This Old Dark Machine – James Vincent McMorrow.....Irish balladeer McMorrow is a contemporary singer-songwriter who holed up in 2010 in a cottage on the coast of his native land to produce his debut album Early In The Morning.  The record is replete with sweet, layered vocals and acoustic guitar, all the more tantalizing as the artist basically used one microphone and no other professional recording equipment to craft the entire album.  Sounding at times a bit like Fleet Foxes and/or Bon Iver, McMurrow reportedly was influenced by the 1970s output of artists including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Donny Hathaway.  https://youtu.be/JJmN1cxWRt0


6. Witchi-Tai-To – Jan Garbarek-Bobo Stenson Quartet.....This thing of beauty hails from Norway, from inside a recording studio nestled in Oslo where through the years a lot of similar soundscapes were recorded for the European jazz label ECM.  The tune is from the 1974 album of the same name, and it is in my Top Ten for Eternity (should I live that long).  It is a superbly played and masterfully recorded composition, and the four musicians (on sax, piano, bass & drums) are exquisitely in sync in eliciting from the listener a flood of emotions.  It may not be for every taste, but give it a few attentive listens and you’ll be better (and broadened) by the experience.  https://youtu.be/6XVvOcyHDI8



7. Use To Be A Cop – Drive-By Truckers.....This song is a groove from start to finish—and what flows through it is the heart of rock ‘n’ roll, Southern-style.  The Drive-By Truckers first largely lassoed in fans and critics with 2001’s Southern Rock Opera, a concept double album set below the Mason-Dixon that explored Southern Rock history via a young musician’s odyssey, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s legacy, and more.  The Drive-By Truckers formed in Athens, Georgia in 1996 and since that time band members have come and gone except for mainstays Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood.  “Used To Be A Cop” from the band’s 2011 release Go-Go Boots is a first-person narrative of a former police officer who’s had bad luck and is bad luck; the song’s driven by multiple guitars in sinister parallel patterns and has drumming that’s pure whack-attack.  This is one great propulsive pleasure.  https://youtu.be/bsACioUPrgw


8. Brand New Cadillac – The Clash.....This fearless punk-rock foursome formed in London in 1976 and was comprised of a lead guitarist, a bass player, a drummer, and a Strummer.  The latter was a joe who was a vocalist from the “spit and snarl” school of rock, and the band itself was dynamic, irrepressible, and musically quite venturesome.  They blended political messaging with punk, ska, rock, reggae, rap and third world beats to produce an inspirational stew that ended up inspiring a number of questing alternative bands, both peers and progeny.  “Brand New Cadillac” is from The Clash’s landmark double-album London Calling which hit record stores on both sides of the Atlantic in late 1979/early 1980.  https://youtu.be/uqTpZXcTc_s


9. My Own Face Inside The Trees – The Clientele.....I first came upon these indie-pop purveyors with 2005’s Strange Geometry, the album from which this track is taken.  The band formed in London in 1999 and released a number of singles that were eventually spun into an album compilation in 2000, followed by their first full-fledged album The Violet Hour in 2003.  Strong reviews and critical buzz followed these efforts but mass acceptance never materialized, which is a shame; the music sounds a little like mid-tempo R.E.M. filtered through 1960s American pop.  There’s a literate approach to the lyrics, a chiming-guitar production sheen, and lead vocals that aurally caress.  https://youtu.be/aiUXvEnJ2dc


10. Lotta Love – Nicolette Larson.....I fell in love with Larson when her 1978 debut album Nicolette was released, mostly because I had 25 life-sized cardboard figures of her at my apartment.  Lest you think me some kind of perv, I shall explain: At that time I was a Warner Brothers Records’ field merchandiser and my job was to cover a ton of Western PA record stores with new-album display materials—including the aforementioned Larson cardboard stand-ups.  “Lotta Love” from Larson was a solid radio hit upon release, and the song’s composer Neil Young had already employed Larson on his own album released that very same year, Comes A Time.  In addition to good looks and a youthful exuberance, Larson had a strong set of pipes and she shines on this great little pop gem.  Tragically she passed away in 1997 at the age of forty-five.  https://youtu.be/aMpUMBfrkeE





Posted 8/9/20.....

Ten tunes including pop-rock from Todd Rundgren, a dialed-down cover of a classic Elvis Costello song, a compelling British jazz-pop cover of Miles Davis’ classic “All Blues”—and more.

1. Can We Still Be Friends? – Todd Rundgren.....Pop music auteur Rundgren’s first foray of any consequence was in The Nazz, a late-1960s American group who followed the musical paths of the British Invasion.  In 1972 he released his third solo album, a double-record set entitled Something/Anything, ¾ of which was ALL Rundgren; he had sung every vocal part, played every instrument, and produced the entire album.  This record also contained his most significant hits “I Saw The Light” and “Hello, It’s Me” (the latter a do-over by Rundgren from his Nazz days).  In 1978 Rundgren released the album from which this track is taken, Hermit of Mink Hollow.  Like Something/Anything, Hermit was entirely Rundgren on vocals, instruments, and studio production, and song-wise it nicely blended his idiosyncratic exercises with his pure pop instincts.  “Can We Still Be Friends” was covered by British singer Robert Palmer one year later after he palmed the piece for his upcoming album Secrets.  https://youtu.be/YtmrHm6Yxv0


2. (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes – Hem.....Ahem, what is THIS?  A lounge version of an Elvis Costello classic?  Actually it’s a quite respectable cover of this tune from Hem, a folk assemblage from the New York area who traffics in traditional American music—meaning, traditional sounding songs played with traditional instruments (no studio tricks, no sampling, etc.).  On this track, lead songstress Sally Ellyson laments and lazes her way through, while banjo, slide guitar, and cymbals & brushes lilt alongside.  The track is from a 2002 tribute album entitled Almost You: The Songs of Elvis Costello, and in addition to Hem this album features Okkervil River, Mendoza Line, Matt Pond PA, and others of the indie ilk.  https://youtu.be/RUZ68eQLaT8 


3. All Blues – Julie Driscoll / Brian Auger & The Trinity…..In its original form this song was an instrumental and appeared on one of jazz’s best known classics Kind of Blue (1959) by trumpeter/composer Miles Davis.  Soon after the tune’s debut the singer, songwriter, poet and black activist Oscar Brown Jr. added lyrics, and about a decade down the road a British jazz-inflected pop-rock band led by keyboardist Brian Auger and singer Julie Driscoll covered the song on their 1969 double-album Streetnoise.  This version of “All Blues” is a marvel on several levels, chief among them Auger’s work on the ivories and vocalist Driscoll’s truly startling range.  The latter takes pure possession of this bluesy vamp—alternately purring, growling and soaring—and she infuses this tune with way more than a feeling; it is an incredible vocal tour de force.  https://youtu.be/Kx2YxTk_i-g 


4. Louisiana 1927 – Aaron Neville.....This tune is on Neville’s second major label solo release entitled Warm Your Heart which came out in 1991.  He is most famous for his 1966 chart topper “Tell It Like It Is” which became an oldies staple, and apart from solo projects and collaborative efforts with artists such as Linda Ronstadt he often musically resides within his family band the Neville Brothers.  Here, his cover version of a Randy Newman song is remarkably poignant, with full orchestra in beautiful restraint atop Neville’s fluttering vocal style.  Like some other Newman compositions it is a lovely evocation of time and place; in this case, the tune tells the tale of the Great Mississippi Flood which in 1927 left over 700,000 homeless in the states of Louisiana and Mississippi.  The song also became strongly identified with Hurricane Katrina in September 2005, after Neville performed it during NBC’s televised Concert for Hurricane Relief.  https://youtu.be/zEqiKpQte4c


5. Sun Touch – Herbie Hancock.....Master keyboardist Hancock has for decades immersed himself in jazz and fusion, and in collaborative projects that have helped obliterate the boundaries between set genres of music (the aforementioned jazz and fusion, but also rock, hip-hop, and classical).  He is primarily known for his time spent with jazz legend Miles Davis, and also for his subsequent 1970s fusion period with landmark releases such as Head Hunters from 1973.  “Sun Touch” is a tune taken from his 1975 release entitled Man-Child and it is a spacey, synth-driven piece with deeper currents of sophistication and precision that belie the surface noodlings.  Good cobweb-clearing music for ears open to aural exploration.  https://youtu.be/i79YGW9Ihz0 


6. On My Mind Tonight – Difford & Tilbrook.....Steely Dan has their Becker and Fagen; Squeeze has Difford & Tilbrook, the driving creative forces behind this UK band that first formed in 1975.  The song listed here is from the one and only album that they ever produced together outside of Squeeze—the self-titled Difford & Tilbrook, released in the middle of a three-year band hiatus (1982-1985).  “On My Mind Tonight” is a song that deepens the listener’s appreciation with each subsequent visit; there’s simply so much there in the songwriting and execution that it is really worth the search when scouring for non-formulaic power-pop bliss.  https://youtu.be/oQyvqu7QQYo


7. My Girl – Otis Redding.....This song is a triple threat—co-written by Smokey Robinson, forever branded as a chart-topping hit by the Temptations, and then exquisitely covered by the incomparable Otis Redding.  This version of “My Girl” comes from an extremely solid collection of Redding powerhouse covers that also includes “Wonderful World” (written by Sam Cooke and popularized by Herman’s Hermits), “A Change Is Gonna Come” (another song by Cooke), and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (from The Rolling Stones).  The latter three songs along with “My Girl” reside on Redding’s 1966 album Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul.  This was also the album that sported the Redding-penned composition “Respect” which later gained stratospheric recognition through a sizzling ’67 cover by Otis admirer Aretha Franklin.  https://youtu.be/tjDwzDyULvI


8. The Gardens Of Babylon – Jean-Luc Ponty.....Classically trained violinist Ponty was initially inspired by idols Miles Davis and John Coltrane, but veered into actual musical team-ups with Frank Zappa and The Mahavishnu Orchestra, then ending up a cult favorite of jazz-rock enthusiasts especially through his recorded solo works from the mid-late 1970s and early 1980s.  In concert back then—always with a commanding group of musicians in tow—he was one of the few performers who drew not only the jazz crowd but the in-the-know rock ‘n’ rollers as well, the ones who prided themselves on stretching their musical boundaries.  Some of the shows I saw from that time period—in Pittsburgh venues like the Stanley Theatre and the Syria Mosque—were transcendent.  “The Gardens Of Babylon” hails from Ponty’s 1976 album Imaginary Voyage.  https://youtu.be/R2ENEnxZQL0


9. Giving Me A Chance – Gotye.....This tune is the handiwork of Belgian-Australian multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Gotye.  His real name is Wally De Backer, notable in some circles as a member of the Australian indie trio The Basics.  Beginning in the early 2000s the artist latched onto his Gotye moniker in order to have a public platform outside of the band to produce smart and appealing electronic pop music.  The sound of Gotye is reminiscent of the lush layering sometimes employed by Peter Gabriel and Sting on their solo releases, and the track itself comes from this artist’s 2011 album Making Mirrors.  https://youtu.be/KkoDyRJCeRg


10. Angels Walk – Paul Westerberg.....Westerberg led the influential Minneapolis punk band The Replacements from 1979 until their disbandment in 1991.  He released his first solo album in 1993 and his next one, Eventually, followed three years afterward.  The latter album from which this track is taken doesn’t proffer punk; Westerberg left that largely behind with The Replacements and instead crafted a path toward solid, still slightly-skewed songs that are a mix of Rolling Stones-style rockers (with an alternative edge and attitude) and non-cloying ballads.  Other notable tracks on Eventually include “Good Day,” “Love Untold,” and “Time Flies Tomorrow”.  The link to “Angels Walk:”  https://youtu.be/7TdWt0CaoLs





Posted 7/26/20.....

Six days on from this July 26th post will be the thirty-ninth anniversary of the debut of MTV Music Television.  On August 1st, 1981 MTV videos began airing on cable stations across the country, and this upstart music channel on television—revolutionary at the time—regalvanized the music business.

Which singer/songwriters and musicians had videos back then that were plugged into that historic first day’s broadcast?  There were 116 total videos that aired on MTV during its first 24 hours of life, some of which received multiple airings due to their perceived popularity.

Musicasaurus.com pored over the whole list of 116 and came up with its own Top Twenty from that riveting first-day peek at the future…For some this may constitute a genuine flashback; for others it may be simply a sound history lesson.  Either way, delights are in store—enjoy!

 Video Killed the Radio Star – The Buggles – This was the first video ever played on MTV, and a shot across the bow!  https://youtu.be/W8r-tXRLazs


 Peter Gunn Theme/Remote Control – The Silencers – This new wave/power pop Pittsburgh band featured the talents of Frank Czuri on vocals and Warren King on guitar.  https://youtu.be/fgO9MlgZoKY


 Turning Japanese – The Vapors – There was widespread scuttlebutt that this song was about orgasm after masturbation, but the band won this one hands down—they insisted it was simply about teen angst in general.  https://youtu.be/dx3HA-F8iVE


 Brass in Pocket – The Pretenders – This ¾ British, ¼ American band’s debut album was released in the U.S. in December of 1979; the song is also known as “Brass in Pocket (I’m Special).”  https://youtu.be/-7Hy7uAb_eU


 In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins – This tune was Collins’ first ever radio single, from his 1981 debut solo album Face Value; the song was also utilized in the debut episode of NBC’s 1984-1989 television series Miami Vice, accompanying detectives Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs on their drive through a Florida evening looking for criminals and more pastel colors.  https://youtu.be/YXa_mPXE9Vk


 Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around – Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Written by Petty and guitarist Mike Campbell, this song was originally intended for the Heartbreakers but given to Nicks instead for her 1981 debut album Bella Donna.  https://youtu.be/H5i7j0VhEHw


 (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding – Elvis Costello and The Attractions – Costello nicked this Nick Lowe composition for his third studio album Armed Forces.  https://youtu.be/Ssd3U_zicAI


 Little Sister – Rockpile with Robert Plant – This December 29, 1979 performance is from the Concerts for the People of Kampuchea (aka Cambodia), which spanned December 26-29, 1979 at London’s Hammersmith Odeon; this superstar run of shows benefited the victims of the Khmer Rouge communist regime.  https://youtu.be/Q5XJX8sjYDE                        


 Rapture – Blondie – Deborah Harry and her band with special guest sax player Tom Scott churned out this dance-floor delight, a mix of pop, disco, funk and hip-hop.  In the video, there’s a cameo by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat as a night hotspot deejay.  https://youtu.be/pHCdS7O248g


 Looking for Clues – Robert Palmer – This song from the artist’s sixth album Clues sported more new wave-ish material than preceding Palmer albums (it had guest musicians including Chris Frantz from Talking Heads and early electronica pioneer Gary Numan).  https://youtu.be/92wCPfqyVbg


 Too Late – Shoes – Two brothers from Zion, Illinois John and Jeff Murphy formed a pair in Shoes along with friend Gary Klebe.  The song is from their major-label debut album Present Tense which was released in September 1979.  https://youtu.be/1Opz_drg1O8


 Rough Boys – Pete Townshend – This tune hails from Townshend’s second solo album Empty Glass (1980).  The song is Who-like in its power and swagger, and in interviews at the time Townshend tap-danced around the sexual ambiguity that critics had picked up on.  https://youtu.be/dkT8W6u81Ks


 Fashion – David Bowie – Although Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes” video had already been created in support of the artist’s 1980 album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), it was the video for “Fashion” (the album’s second single released to radio) that got the nod for airing on MTV’s first day.  https://youtu.be/F-z6u5hFgPk


 Once in a Lifetime – Talking Heads – This song from the band’s fourth album Remain in Light (1980) is about being pretty much on autopilot throughout your Life and then waking up to that fact: “And you may find yourself in a beautiful house / With a beautiful wife / And you may ask yourself, well / How did I get here?”  https://youtu.be/5IsSpAOD6K8


 Cruel To Be Kind – Nick Lowe – This was British singer-songwriter Lowe’s one and only “hit single” in America from his 1979 album Labour of Lust.  The video centered on the wedding ceremony of Lowe and new bride Carlene Carter (daughter of June Carter Cash and her not-Johnny first husband), and it contained actual footage as well as reenactment scenes taped the same day.  https://youtu.be/b0l3QWUXVho


 Wuthering Heights – Kate Bush – All the rage in the UK especially back in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, singer-songwriter-soprano Bush was only nineteen when this song rocketed to #1 on the English song sales charts.  In America this alluring and eclectic artist unfortunately has always had to settle for a fervent cult instead of mass recognition.  https://youtu.be/Fk-4lXLM34g


 A Message to You, Rudy – The Specials – This interracial British band trafficked largely in 2 Tone music (Jamaican reggae melded with new wave and punk music).  Part of their appeal besides the riveting, rhythmic drive of their songs was their onstage attire which included pork pie hats and mohair suits.  https://youtu.be/cntvEDbagAw


 Prime Time – The Tubes – Fee Waybill was the lead singer and provocateur of The Tubes, an early purveyor of music blended with satire and outrageous stage antics.  They were a must-see rock extravaganza with Waybill the onstage ringleader of song skits that skewered everything from rampant consumerism, game shows, beach movies, S&M, and more.  “Prime Time” was from the band’s fifth release Remote Control.  https://youtu.be/Jm6HQDKzImQ


 Let’s Go – The Cars – MTV really helped rev up this Boston band’s success through airings of “Let’s Go,” a song from the band’s second album Candy-O.  The New York Times and Rolling Stone magazine critic Robert Palmer described their sound as an appealing blend of “punk minimalism, the labyrinthine synthesizer and guitar textures of art rock, the ‘50s rockabilly revival and the melodious terseness of power pop."  https://youtu.be/-gr4QhKt8XY


 Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio? – The Ramones – These punk legends met up with gun-toting, wall-of-sound producer Phil Spector for their fifth album End of the Century (1980) in a bid for more mainstream acceptance—or at least that was Spector’s goal, and the band begrudgingly went along with the plan.  This song name-checked musical icons including deejays Murray the K and Alan Freed, John Lennon and T. Rex, and TV shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show, Hullabaloo and Shindig!  https://youtu.be/Gi9a7IdRiBI





Posted 7/12/20.....

Songs from ’79….These were on my cassette mixes that year, and ran the gamut of power pop to R&B, country to classic rock…Enjoy.

1. You Can’t Be Too Strong – Graham Parker & The Rumour..... English pub rocker Parker carved out a nice niche for himself in the New Wavy 1970s, forming his band The Rumour in 1975 and releasing two albums in quick succession the following year (Howlin’ Wind and Heat Treatment).  He beat by a year or two the emergence of somewhat similar British New Wave artists like Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson yet the latter two pretty much eclipsed Parker over the long haul with regard to popularity, name recognition and press coverage—a shame.  Parker’s songwriting is strong, never more in evidence than on his 1979 release Squeezing Out Sparks which featured tunes like“Passion is no Ordinary Word” and the track selected here for the mix, “You Can’t Be Too Strong.”  The latter song deals very frankly with the realities of abortion, and is well articulated in poetic yet disturbing lyrical imagery.  https://youtu.be/B1wQGsKblPQ


2. It’s Different For Girls – Joe Jackson…..Jackson’s second album I’m The Man (from which this track is taken) was released in 1979 hot on the heels of, and in the same year as, the artist’s debut album Look Sharp!  According to Billboard Magazine, Jackson’s latter album spawned an almost Top 20 hit in the USA with “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” but “It’s Different For Girls” from the follow-up didn’t quite crack the magazine’s Top 100 at the time of its release.  Jackson was interviewed back in June 1979 by CMJ College Media Journal’s Madeline Bocaro, who asked how he felt about a rising tide of comparisons to fellow Brit musicians Elvis Costello and Graham Parker.  “When people first started comparing me to Elvis Costello, I thought it was fair enough—they’ve got to compare me to someone,” replied Jackson.  “But then it continued a bit too long and I got really pissed off.  Then I got bored with it, and now I’m getting annoyed with it again.  It’s just that there’s no one else they can compare me to.  It’s a very superficial comparison, I think.  If you’ve ever met Costello, you’d see that we’re two totally different people.  I find him pretty offensive.  Graham Parker I really like.  I think he’s very genuine.  I don’t think Costello is.”  https://youtu.be/hSJpM_YQwro


3. Rock With You – Michael Jackson.....This song from Jackson’s fifth solo release Off The Wall (1979) entered and then clung tenaciously to the airwaves of pop rock radio all across the country.  For those of us who may have heard it 1,000 times too many over the years—in the background in retail stores or in passing on car radios, etc.—it seriously bears revisiting.  It is a gorgeous, gloriously produced song with sweet strings, layered harmonies and handclaps.  Songwriter Rod Temperton had offered it to Jackson only after Karen Carpenter had passed on it for her own solo album that was in the works at the time.  Producer Quincy Jones came on to helm Off The Wall and then kept up his journey with Jackson through Thriller (1982) and Bad (1987).  Off The Wall was Jackson moving beyond Motown; here he was venturing very confidently into a mix of pop, rhythm & blues, rock, and post-disco, proving he really had a nose for this stuff.  https://youtu.be/QtHRyy5LODE


4. The Very Thing That Makes You Rich (Makes Me Poor) – Ry Cooder.....Ry Cooder has always kind of lived outside the boundaries of conventional music making, and always has championed roots music above all else.  He started out as a session player and his slide guitar appears on a variety of late 60s/early 70s records by Captain Beefheart, Little Feat, Taj Mahal, Randy Newman, and even the Stones (on Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers).  Cooder has a cauldron that he pulls from, and he covers a number of styles—rock, folk, blues, R & B, Tex Mex, Hawaiian, gospel and soul.  This particular track is from Cooder’s 1979 album Bop Till You Drop, which was the very first major-label rock album to be recorded digitally.  The sound of it, just like Cooder’s soulfulness, is clear and captivating.  https://youtu.be/OTJ3RQSa1PU


5. Girls Talk – Dave Edmunds.....This track is from Edmunds’ 1979 album Repeat When Necessary, cut at the exact same time as Nick Lowe’s album Labour of Lust.  Both Edmunds and Lowe were members of the UK band Rockpile along with Billy Bremner and Terry Williams, and these four musicians populated both albums.  The song “Girls Talk” was actually given to Edmunds by Elvis Costello, who was part of that late ‘70s West London artist scene with Rockpile, Squeeze and others.  Costello had not even recorded the song yet, and handed over a cassette of it to Edmunds to record for Repeat When Necessary.  The lyrics were reworked slightly beforehand, according to Edmunds in a June 24, 2015 interview with writer Carl Wiser of songfacts.com.  But the thing that grabbed Edmunds’ attention initially was the song’s opening.  “What I did like about it,” Edmunds said, “I've always thought that a really good song has a really great first line.  And that one does.  ‘There are some things you can't cover up with lipstick and powder.’  I went, ‘Wow.  Now there's an opening line for you.' ”  https://youtu.be/sa3l3Ei0tdg


6. Bartender’s Blues – George Jones (with James Taylor).....Country music legend Jones released an album 1979 that featured a number of other musicians helping out in duet pairings and harmonies.  My Very Special Guests featured, among others, Waylon, Willie, Emmylou Harris, Mavis & Pop Staples, Linda Ronstadt, Elvis Costello and James Taylor.  “Bartender’s Blues,” a James Taylor song originally on his 1977 JT album, is a nice enough stab at country music with Taylor on lead vocals and Linda Ronstadt supplying harmony on the chorus.  But in the hands of Jones, the song becomes a must-hear classic.  On My Very Special Guests, “Bartender’s Blues” is exquisite with Jones taking the lead with his velvet pipes and signature phrasing intact while Taylor provides the background harmonies.  This version could not be sweeter.  https://youtu.be/qPeufdxNm80


7. A Fool For Your Stockings – ZZ Top.....Musicasaurus.com was never a full-tilt fan of this little ol’ band from Texas, but a few select songs through the years have made it onto various cassette, CD and Spotify mixes of mine because of the sheer power behind the performances and the keen production touches achieved in the recording studio.  From a somewhat undervalued album released in 1979 entitled Degüello, “A Fool For Your Stockings” is a deep-bottomed, deliciously doled-out track that oozes the blues.  The usually caustic music critic Robert Christgau (most famous for his “Consumer Guide” album reviews in The Village Voice) said about this album “I’ve hear a shitload of white blues albums in the wake of Belushi & Aykroyd.  This is the best by miles.”  https://youtu.be/xbhUK9Loi1E


8. Driver’s Seat – Sniff ‘n’ the Tears…..A whiff of success never led Sniff to success.  The song “Driver’s Seat” from 1979’s Fickle Heart was a catchy late-‘70s hit for this six-man British band in the UK, the USA, Canada and a few other hot spots around the globe.  On the heels of the album’s release, though, half the original band quit and went on to musical pursuits elsewhere.  With shifting personnel Sniff ‘n’ the Tears soldiered on but any and all subsequent releases failed to register with the record-buying public.  While looking up their output, however, I noted that their record company issued a compilation album in 1991 entitled A Best of Sniff ‘n’ the Tears (really?  How many alternate versions of “Driver’s Seat” can be crammed onto one record?!!)…Also noteworthy: The song was used in the 1997 film Boogie Nights as background music for a party scene.  https://youtu.be/9SCzVEUlqqA 


9. I Wanna Be Your Lover – Prince.....This track is from Prince’s self-titled second album from 1979, and his falsetto here is funkin’ fantastic.  Essentially a dance tune, the song gives little hint that this Artist Then Known As Prince would a) produce something as groundbreaking as Purple Rain in 1984 and b) in 1993 become a symbol of....of....well, just become a symbol, period.  Of course he started takin’ names again (i.e., reverting back to being called Prince) by the year 2000.  In May of 2013 the Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Star Tribune printed an interview by the publication’s writer Jon Bream with internationally known music man Dick Clark.  Clark was asked about his own interview with Prince on American Bandstand, which took place in January 1980 (around three months after the release of the aforementioned second album).  Bream writes, “Clark asked the musician how many instruments he played.  Prince answered, ‘Thousands.’  Asked how long he'd been playing, Prince merely raised four fingers.  Clark remembered it vividly.  ‘He didn't talk to me,’ the Bandstand host said 15 years after the fact.  ‘I've always said that was one of the most difficult interviews I've ever conducted, and I've done 10,000 musician interviews.’ "  https://youtu.be/MtFnAbgd2lU


 10. Life During Wartime –Talking Heads.....Follow this recipe: Take spunk...add a dash of punk...and leaven with funk.  You’ll then have “Life During Wartime,” a tune from Talking Heads’ third album Fear of Music (1979).  This track is dense and driving, and its lyrics reflect the unease that exists in facing some of the threats of this modern age: “This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco / This ain’t no fooling around / No time for dancing, or lovey-dovey / I ain’t got time for that now.”  We’ll wrap up this 6/12/20 post of songs from 1979 by providing you with TWO YouTube links: The first one takes you to the studio version from the Fear of Music release, and the second one is a live version—and not just any live version.  It is from the Jonathan Demme-helmed 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense, which was shot over several nights in 1983 at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater.  The film upon release was lauded by rock critics and film critics alike, and is widely acknowledged by critics and music fans as one of the best concert films ever made. (studio version from Fear of Music)  https://youtu.be/_NywTcGOUkE  (live version from Stop Making Sense)  https://youtu.be/jShMQw2H2cM





Posted 6/28/20.....

Ten songs including one from the duo who transported Fleetwood Mac to new levels of success…a pop music classic from collaborators Cee-lo Green and Danger Mouse…a New Age instrumental featuring one of jazz-rock’s finest violinists…a Sixties pop classic with mighty horns…and more.

1. Frozen Love – Buckingham Nicks…..Those who love Rock and don’t live under one know all about Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, the two talented Californians who joined a reconstituted Fleetwood Mac in 1974.  The Mac then released their eponymous 11th album one year later and snagged major radio play and dizzying in-store sales success for the first time in its eight-year history.  Prior to joining Fleetwood Mac, though, Buckingham and Nicks produced an album—and only one album—as a duo.  For those who haunted the new-release sections of record stores back then, flicking their fingers through bin after bin in search of new discoveries, this album was a real find.  Buckingham and Nicks were formidable talents even before they were plucked into instant fame by Mac’s founder/drummer Mick Fleetwood—and the song he first stumbled upon which prompted his invitation to the duo was “Frozen Love.”  (this YouTube clip contains the full album; proceed directly to the 28:42 mark of this total 36:03 video)   https://youtu.be/E1kHeix-55c


2. Crazy – Gnarls Barkley.....This song seized the collective consciousness of music lovers circa the mid 2000s, especially fans of savvy pop, sampling, and vocals with a whole lotta soul.  “Crazy” came out of a collaboration of artist/producer Danger Mouse and soul singer Cee-Lo Green, and it hails from Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere album that was released in 2006.  Producer Danger Mouse was also the mastermind behind the internet-sprung Grey Album, the 2004 bootleg mash-up of The Beatles’ White Album and Jay-Z’s Black Album.  https://youtu.be/-N4jf6rtyuw


3. Wake Up – Arcade Fire.....In 2004 Montreal unit Arcade Fire sparked instant devotion with their first full-length release Funeral which featured the rousing-as-hell anthem “Wake Up.”  It was that particular song that smacked me in the breastbone the first time I encountered it, which was at U2’s October 22, 2005 Vertigo Tour show in Pittsburgh.  The tune was part of a pre-recorded music mix that the band had playing over their mammoth sound system prior to the start of their performance, and the song—at top volume, and crystal clear—nearly overwhelmed me.  I sought out Arcade’s album soon thereafter, and found it to be a stirring blend of styles including (but certainly not limited to) post-punk, pop and baroque.  https://youtu.be/z6R4DDuno5o


4. When We Were Children – Tristan Des Pres (with special guest Jerry Goodman).....This instrumental bobs right along in a kind of new-agey stream, but thankfully is quite spirited as well.  “When We Were Children” comes from Tristan Des Pres’ 2000 album Altered States.  Des Pres is a French multi-instrumentalist (on keyboards, guitar, bass and drums) and in addition to recording albums he’s spent well over twenty years composing and producing music and sound effects for major players in the videogame industry.  The star of “When We Were Children,” however, is Jerry Goodman.  His violin zips through the tune with great tone and a lyric sweetness, and near the end, the song ramps up to a breakaway stretch that features excellent speedster bow-work from this former Mahavishnu Orchestra band member.  https://youtu.be/yR8SkEejGCA


5. Down In Hollywood – Ry Cooder.....On “Down In Hollywood” we get to hear both the Pro and the Khan.  Singer/songwriter and guitarist Ry Cooder, already a 16-year music veteran when starting work on his 1979 album Bop Till You Drop, brought in R&B songstress Chaka Khan to help deliver this slinky, funk-fueled treat.  The song never abandons its steamy, slow sizzle and interestingly features a half-spoken/half-sung approach by Cooder as well as a couple of “downtown street character interludes” (as Stevie Wonder had done five years previously with his song “Living For The City” from the album Innervisions).  Here is “Down In Hollywood” ... https://youtu.be/d4lmMBHlAS4 


6. Long Way Home – Enter the Haggis.....This tune is from Enter the Haggis’ third album Soapbox Heroes released in 2006.  This five-piece Toronto unit blends Celtic influences with rock and world fusion, and above the swirl the lead vocals sound a bit like the Gin Blossom’s Robin Wilson.  “Long Way Home” is a straightforward ballad with bookending bagpipes, though other material on the album (like “The Apothecary” with its nicely wielded tin whistle) picks up the pace yet doesn’t abandon the Celtic thrust.  The band is named after the traditional Scottish dish haggis, which is a pudding made of sheep’s organs—the heart, liver and lungs.  Bon appétit!  https://youtu.be/QYqUMliOJIA 


7. Serenade To A Cuckoo – Jethro Tull.....This song was originally written and recorded by American jazz multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, ending up on his 1964 album I Talk With The Spirits.  For rock fans, though, this is really a Tull tale.  “Serenade To A Cuckoo” was reportedly the first song that Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson learned to play on flute, and the band recorded the track for their 1968 debut album This Was.  Anderson also adopted a bit of Kirk’s distinctive flute-playing style—the practice of humming, and even a bit of mild muttering, while playing the instrument.  https://youtu.be/bq4bponfj2E


8. One Fine Morning – Lighthouse…..Lighthouse was a late ‘60s/early ‘70s Canadian band whose success was dwarfed by their similar-sounding and more successful mates to the south, the USA’s Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago Transit Authority.  Lighthouse formed in Toronto in 1968 with the idea of melding rock, jazz and classical music, and initially sported thirteen members—eight of ‘em on horns or strings, and the remaining five holding down the more traditional slots of guitarist, bassist, keyboard player, drummer and vocalist.  The band played a few festivals back then including Newport and Monterey, and even pulled a bit of a coup in 1970 at Isle Of Wight: They were the only other artist besides the electrifying Hendrix who were asked to perform a second night, an honor not accorded to other more prominent bands at the festival like Miles Davis, The Who or The Doors.  “One Fine Morning” is the title track of the band’s fourth album that was released in 1971.  https://youtu.be/RLdqe8idpFw


9. King Of The World – Angelfish.....The Scottish band Angelfish evolved from an earlier incarnation called Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie, and both bands had as an active member the sultry redheaded singer Shirley Manson.  In the former, Manson was not as much in the limelight with her keyboards and background vocals, but in Angelfish she wriggled into the spotlight as front woman and lead vocalist.  “King Of The World” is an up-tempo alt-rock tune from Angelfish’s one and only album (their eponymous debut) which hit record stores in 1994.  One of the band’s videos was soon featured on MTV’s alternative music preview show called 120 Minutes, and Manson was spotted there by American musician/producer Butch Vig and a couple of his peer producers who were all at the time contemplating forming a band.  The call went out to Manson and she eventually teamed up with the three to form the alt-rock band Garbage in 1995.  https://youtu.be/vsEmgZIT3xw


10. Fences – Phoenix.....This band from Paris, France formed in 1995 and after a bit of “feeling their way” arrived at a fetching formula of rock and pop laced with electronica and dance music.  Their fourth album, from which this track is taken, was entitled Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009).  It pushed the band onto many more fan playlists in France and well beyond its borders (p.s. If you have a slavish desire to tie your daily satisfactions to celebrity news updates, then here you go: In case you hadn’t heard, Phoenix’s lead singer Thomas Mars is husband to filmmaker Sophia Coppola, and they’ve collaborated to produce offspring as well as film scores).  https://youtu.be/0vqQYC0jqdc





Posted 6/14/20.....

Ten tunes that hew to the blues, and/or to rhythm & blues…

1.Everytime I Roll The Dice – Delbert McClinton…..McClinton’s a Lubbock, Texas native with a bit of a raspy Southern twang to his voice, and he always surrounds himself on record and on tours with crackerjack musicians that deliver punched-up and provocative blues numbers, most of which are—as one would hope—toe tappers and head bobbers.  This particular song hails from McClinton’s 1992 album Never Been Rocked Enough.  If you have heard of this artist before, it may be due to his 1980 crossover hit “Giving It Up For Your Love” which back then ultimately climbed to #8 on Billboard Magazine’s Hot One Hundred chart.  https://youtu.be/p8Pia-wz7ts


2. Hold On, I’m Comin’ – Sam & Dave.....This duo delivered gospel-fired soul music and did so through the famous Stax studio and Stax record label which was Atlantic Records’ subsidiary based in Memphis, TN.  House musicians Booker T. & The M.G.’s and the Mar-Key Horns gave their soul support, and producers Isaac Hayes and David Porter were the songwriting team who fed the duo hit after eventual hit including “Soul Man,” “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby,” and “I Thank You.”  The track listed here is from a Sam & Dave album of the same name which was released in 1966.  https://youtu.be/6JElrEbAcwY


3. Bad Luck Situation – Johnny Winter…..It took until his fifth album—1973’s Still Alive And Well—for this Texas-born blues singer/guitar slinger to really dent the collective rock consciousness.  The follow-up to that popular album was 1974’s Saints & Sinners—from which this track is taken—and critics seemed to like it but the public a bit less so.  In addition to “Bad Luck Situation” (an energizing rocker flaunting the artist’s yowl and his git-tar’s growl), the album also features Winterized covers of the Rolling Stones (“Stray Cat Blues”) and 1950s rocker Larry Williams (“Bony Moronie”).  https://youtu.be/RCUjVA7vN4k


4. Fire – Etta James.....The song listed here comes from an incendiary collection of soul scorchers and blues tunes all performed by James in the mid-to-late 1960s.  At the time, she was sort of a “blues queen in residence” at the famed Muscle Shoals, Alabama recording studio where her powerful vocal performances were always backed by an amazing core band of house musicians.  The compilation, entitled Tell Mama - The Complete Muscle Shoals Collection, was released in 2001 and contains twenty-two classic performances from James during this particularly fertile and unfettered period of her largely troubled life.  On this song in particular, the brass and background singer sass both add a nice dimension, but every song on the album is rooted by that deep and passionate wellspring of a voice that courageously cried the blues.  https://youtu.be/ayE1buH-h9k


5. Devil With A Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly – Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels.....Ryder is a truly soulful, rasp ‘n’ roll white singer from Detroit who sounds, in retrospect, like the love child of Bob Seger and James Brown.  Ryder and his Wheels rolled out some passionate, live-sounding classics over a couple-year period in the Sixties, including the song listed here (from his 1966 release Breakout…!!!) and others pulled from his soulful kitbag like “Jenny Take A Ride” and “Sock It To Me Baby.”  https://youtu.be/RAClxmXqX0M


6. New Walkin’ Blues – Paul Butterfield’s Better Days.....One of the formative Chicago Caucasian blues masters from the 1960s, harmonica wielding Butterfield first fronted the Butterfield Blues Band (from ’65-’71) before departing to create two masterpiece recordings with his Better Days ensemble—Paul Butterfield’s Better Days and follow-up It All Comes Back, both released in 1973.  This group somehow plumbed the depths of authentic blues while also managing to create powerful songs that are timeless because of the level of musicianship and the pristine production.  “New Walkin’ Blues,” a Robert Johnson composition, is the leadoff track from the Better Days unit’s first album.  https://youtu.be/SV-aqZXlhDI


7. Wild Night – Martha Reeves.....Reeves romped high on the Pop and R & B charts in the 1960s as part of the Motown stable of acts and as leader of her girl group The Vandellas.  They scored big with “(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave,” “Nowhere To Run,” and “Dancing In The Street” in that breadbasket of talent that was the Motown label.  When Motown left Detroit to set up business in L.A. in 1973, Reeves parted ways with the company and went solo in 1974 with a self-titled release produced by then in-demand producer Richard Perry.  It was on this record that Reeves covered Van Morrison’s boisterous rocker “Wild Night,” wrapping her fiery pipes all around it and layering on some fuel-injected funk.  https://youtu.be/qxziDdrsD14


8. Born Under A Bad Sign – Robben Ford…..Ford is an explosive guitar talent, amazingly still a cult figure even today.  He and various support musicians have toured through the Pittsburgh area periodically through the years, playing places like the now-defunct club Graffiti in the Oakland section of town, and the Rex Theater on the Southside.  Ford in concert is pretty much reliably eclectic and electric, frettin’ over blues, jazz and rock in all sorts of combinations.  Many years back on the national scene he played with ensembles like Tom Scott’s L.A. Express and jazz fusion band The Yellowjackets, recorded with Joni Mitchell, and toured with Miles Davis.  I like him best, though, when he hews to the blues.  Here is “Born Under A Bad Sign” from his 1988 album Talk To Your Daughter: https://youtu.be/Ii3V4-tJAEU


9. ‘Fore Day Rider – Jay McShann.....Blues, jump & swing were McShann’s thing.  He was a pianist and bandleader who was born in Oklahoma in 1916 and then moved to Kansas City in his early twenties, forming a big band which at one point counted Charlie Parker as a member.  McShann’s career ebbed a bit after the 1940s but perked back up in the 1970s (his appeal at that point was based on jazz circuit appearances as a much-in-demand pianist/singer).  I first found out about McShann while leafing through the “M” section of a record store in the mid-80s, happening upon his 1978 release called The Last Of The Blue Devils.  This particular album includes treasures like “ ’Tain’t Nobody’s Bizness If I Do,” Count Basie’s “Jumpin’ At The Woodside,” the Leiber-Stoller classic “Kansas City,” and the track listed here, “’Fore Day Rider.”  https://youtu.be/-ao2_u3sFLY


10. Stop On By – Rufus.....One of the most talented musical ensembles of the 1970s and early 1980s, the interracial band Rufus defied easy categorization because they successfully straddled the genres of rhythm & blues and rock, while lacing in some heartfelt funk and soul.  On several fronts they excelled: The musical sophistication at the heart of the band, the songwriting, and the seemingly boundless talent of lead vocalist Chaka Khan.  The track listed here is their cover of a Bobby Womack song taken from Rufus’ third studio album entitled Rufusized (1974).  A few other praiseworthy releases: 1977’s Ask Rufus and 1978’s Street Player.  Here is “Stop On By” … https://youtu.be/Be6RyTPT9fI





Posted 5/31/20.....

Sink deep into the covers…Some you’ll find are the stuff that dreams are made of…Others might be lead to nightmares if you’re zealously protective of the original artists’ recordings…

1. The Flying Burrito Brothers cover Bob Dylan: “To Ramona”– The song listed here is from the 1971 self-titled third release from The Flying Burrito Brothers, a formative country rock band that had just then emerged from a significant personnel change.  Gram Parsons left to pursue a solo career and so the Burritos warmed up singer-songwriter and guitarist Rick Roberts to take his place.  If Roberts’ name doesn’t spark recognition, you may know him as the voice behind country rock band Firefall who churned out a few radio hits later in the 1970s like “You Are The Woman” and “Just Remember I Love You.”  Roberts ended up bringing a lot to the game for this 1971 Burrito platter; the album stands as probably the best arranged and most masterfully executed work by the band in their entire patchwork-of-players existence.  And the song?  “To Ramona” hails from Bob Dylan’s fourth album Another Side of Bob Dylan (1964), and here the Burritos’ version is beautifully lush and layered, with sweetly skittering pedal steel guitar work from band member Sneaky Pete Kleinow.  https://youtu.be/n7zijSFW0Ok


2. Travis Tritt and Patti LaBelle cover Sam & Dave: “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby”– Credentials are flyin’ all over this one: A) The song was co-written by Isaac Hayes of “Shaft” fame; B) It first aired as a 1967 chart-topping hit for the electrifying soul duo Sam & Dave; and C) It was covered with reverence and unrestrained passion by Travis Tritt and Patti LaBelle in 1994.  Their version of this classic tune comes from a high-concept album entitled Rhythm Country & Blues, an eleven-song experiment that in each case marries a prominent soul singer with an established country music star in the hopes that each collaboration collapses mistaken impressions of barriers between the genres.  Not all of the pairings on this album work—“high concept” sometimes just means someone was high when they thought of the concept—but on this track Tritt is a real fit and jells well with LaBelle, who takes this tune to an incredible climax with her laser-like precision on the emotional core of the song.  https://youtu.be/IWaP6H_n0qw


3. The Sundays cover The Rolling Stones: “Wild Horses”– The Sundays are a four-piece unit from England who developed cult followings on both sides of the Atlantic particularly in the early-mid 1990s.  Their alternative-based approach featured pristine female lead vocals and instrumentation that was ringing and chiming though none of that unfortunately led to chart climbing.  Critics gave their output a lofty review, but overall embrace by the public at any one point was muted. “Wild Horses” is taken from the band’s 1992 sophomore release Blind, and the track floats and flutters with vocalist Harriet Wheeler and guitarist David Gavurin playing off each other quite adeptly.  The Stones’ version from their 1971 release Sticky Fingers is a classic, but try The Sundays’ for some nice celestial seasoning.  https://youtu.be/wscB1ckO_Ew


4. The Aluminum Group covers Guns N’ Roses: “Sweet Child O’ Mine”– Slowed to a meditative pace, this cover by The Aluminum Group is a cool reinvention that will likely piss off Axl and Slash worshippers, but it supplies grandeur in a chamber pop setting and the result is quite lush and lovely.  This Chicago band led by brothers John and Frank Navin originally trekked within hardcore music circles under another band name, but then in 1995 indulged their love of 1960s pop schmaltz to form The Aluminum Group, releasing the album Wonder Boy from which this track is taken.  The original version of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” comes from Guns N’ Roses searing debut album Appetite For Destruction which was released in 1987.   Here is the video of the tune from YouTube, but I’m not sure why Stephen King’s killer clown Pennywise is at the beginning of it; the song actually starts about 45 seconds in… https://youtu.be/vNktzEYQlO0


5. Martha Reeves covers Van Morrison: “Wild Night”– Reeves romped high on the Pop and R & B charts in the 1960s as part of the Motown stable of acts and as leader of her girl group The Vandellas.  They scored big with “(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave,” “Nowhere To Run,” and “Dancing In The Street” in that breadbasket of talent that was Motown.  When the label left Detroit for L.A. in 1973, Reeves parted ways with the company and went solo in 1974 with a self-titled release produced by then in-demand producer Richard Perry.  It was on this album that Reeves covered Van Morrison’s “Wild Night” and she wrapped her fiery pipes all around it, laying her fuel-injected funk on top of the bedrock rock ‘n’ roll.  Morrison’s original version appeared on his very fine 1971 release Tupelo Honey.  https://youtu.be/qxziDdrsD14


6. David Lindley & El Rayo-X cover The Temptations: “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”– The original version of this song as performed and recorded by The Temptations appeared on their 1972 album All Directions, and it is a magnum-sized opus clocking in at over 12 minutes in length.  It was pared down to a more manageable seven minutes to garner hit-radio play for The Temps and in the cover version by Lindley included in this mix, the song settles in at just five.  Lindley’s a master of all things with strings—guitar, banjo, lap steel, mandolin, bouzouki, oud and others—and he’s also a lively spirit in a recording studio setting, fashioning songs (with his band El Rayo-X) like this one that brim over with rhythm and joie de vivre.  His “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” appears on his 1988 album entitled Very Greasy.  https://youtu.be/Dnbav8hd3jQ


7. Prince covers Joni Mitchell: “A Case Of You” – In 2007 an album entitled A Tribute to Joni Mitchell was released, featuring a myriad of musicians all sufficiently moved to muster up some quite compelling covers.  The artist line-up included, among others, Prince, Sufjan Stevens, James Taylor, Bjork, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang, and Cassandra Wilson.  Prince does a beautiful take on Mitchell’s “A Case Of You” solely for this tribute release (it hasn’t appeared elsewhere in Prince’s repertoire that I know of).  He excised some of the lyrics to tighten up the tune, and the result reveals a breathtakingly intuitive vocal by Prince and arresting musical accompaniment.  The original version of “A Case Of You” hails from Mitchell’s 1971 album Blue.  https://youtu.be/9lJ0f75oSL4


8. Big Daddy covers Rick James: “Super Freak”– Big Daddy is delightfully incorrigible.  They found their calling—satiric treatment of popular songs—back in 1988 on their first album What Really Happened To The Band of ’59.  The album cover for their debut was modeled after the front page of the National Inquirer—our nation’s forerunner of fake news?—and on that news-rag style album cover in a sub-headline, it reads: “Early Rock Group Held Captive for 24 Years Releases Album of Current Hits Performed in 1950s Style.”  That about sums it up.  The album is a doo-wop-like delight as Big Daddy gleefully deconstructs and reassembles the popular hits of the ‘70s & ‘80s with grin-inducing and twisted treatments of songs such as “Betty Davis Eyes,” “Whip It,” and “Hotel California.” Rick James’ “Super Freak” is covered here as well.  The original by James was on his 1981 album Street Songs but get a load of this loony and charming re-do.  https://youtu.be/kaufhdtVCJ8


9. Julian & Roman Wasserfuhr instrumentally cover The Who: “Behind Blue Eyes” – This is a totally satisfying reinvention but faithful fans of The Who are likely to pooh-pooh.  “Behind Blue Eyes” in the hands of German musicians Julian and Roman Wasserfuhr becomes a meditative jazz experience that is fulfilling as a new work of art, yet you’ll also love the wisps of recall you’ll experience as you reflect back on the original.  The Who banged out this classic rocker in 1971 as part of Who’s Next, and who-da-thunk that 42 years later two young and talented German brothers—Julian (age 28) on trumpet and Roman (age 31) on piano—would lay claim to it with heartfelt respect and then masterfully spool it out instrumentally into the world for all jazz lovers and connoisseurs.  The song hails from their fourth album on the German record label ACT entitled Running which was released in 2013.  https://youtu.be/WwC3YQ4JYKI


10.  Durand Jones and the Indications cover David Bowie: “Young Americans”–  Thanks to musicasaurus.com reader Jason Argenas for the introduction to this tantalizing cover…According to the band’s label’s website deadoceans.com, “The Indication’s 2016 self-titled debut was the product of friends who met as students at Indiana University in Bloomington, In., recorded for $452.11, including a case of beer.”  What better way to fuel the start of a new musical union? In 2017 as part of an appearance on Howard Stern’s SiriusXFM radio show, the band covered Bowie’s classic song from his 1975 album of the same name, and earlier this year finally released it for streaming and mass consumption.  Why this song?  Again, from the website, band member Blake Rhein: “The entire Young Americans album is an incredible piece of soul music history with brilliant flares gospel, funk, and disco. The way Bowie is able to use these ingredients and apply them to his own brand of weird-o pop is just amazing.” Durand Jones & the Indications’ music largely hearkens back to early 1970s soul music, something they blend nicely with their own contemporary spin.  https://youtu.be/Mt6v4AfGGsQ





Posted 5/17/20.....

Ten singer-songwriters that all creatively—if not all commercially—blossomed during the 1970s…

1. Canned Music – Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks.....If Hicks and his Licks are in your stable of Top Picks, then I’d bet you tend to like quirky, honest, and acoustic-based artists that don’t fall easily into categorization.  In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Hicks brought to college campuses and clubs across the country a freewheelin’ style of music sometimes called “hippie acoustic swing.”  Some may find him an acquired taste, but tracks like “Canned Music” and “Walkin’ One and Only” from 1972’s Striking It Rich are full of playful vocal harmonies, wry lyrics and fine acoustic strumming.  On Allmusic.com, writer Jason Ankeny labels him “one of contemporary music's true eccentrics.  While steeped in folk, his acoustic sound knew few musical boundaries.  He drew on country, call-and-response vocals, jazz phrasing, and no small amount of humor to create a distinctive, albeit sporadic, body of work that earned him a devoted cult following.”  https://youtu.be/lExwJ27A7m8


2. Don’t Hang Up Those Dancing Shows – Terence Boylan.....Buffalo-born singer-songwriter Boylan attended Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York in the late 1960s, and through these years of higher education and summertime breaks played Greenwich Village clubs in NYC before permanently migrating west to Los Angeles.  In L.A. he was welcomed into the burgeoning music scene via his brother John who was beginning a recording production relationship with Linda Ronstadt and her new back-up band (the future Eagles).  He also bumped into old Bard mates Donald Fagan and Walter Becker, who were in the process of forming Steely Dan.  Boylan thus had the cream of the L.A. crop of session musicians to record his self-titled 1977 debut, which featured Dan-like pristine production on smooth, sometimes sophisticated jazz-pop compositions that sported great players and Eagle-like harmony vocals on top.  https://youtu.be/M8QfnBszP0A


3. Night Train – Rickie Lee Jones.....In 1978 I began working as a “field merchandiser” (truer definition: a poster stapler-upper )for a group of record labels consisting of Atlantic, Elektra/Asylum, and Warner Brothers.  The latter had two major releases that year that they deemed a priority for my in-store record displays—Van Halen’s debut album, and the self-titled first release by Rickie Lee Jones.  The song “Chuck E.’s In Love” bounced happily all over the airwaves back then, but it only hinted at the depth of this record.  Jones’ supple soprano, her sometimes suite-like approach to songwriting, her cast of song characters, her creative vision in arrangements and execution—the blend of all of this was truly mesmerizing.  “Night Train” is one of musicasaurus.com’s favorite songs from this decade or any other; it’s that magical and moving.  https://youtu.be/XIZIAmzC_nk


4. Incident On 57th Street – Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band…..This song was the opening track on side one of the artist’s second album entitled The Wild, The Innocent & the E Street Shuffle (1973).  This was Bruce’s first with the E Street Band, a follow-up to his debut album which was more of a lyric-stacked, almost modeled on Dylan type of solo effort.  The Wild, The Innocent & the East Street Shuffle left the folkie Bruce behind, and explored more expansive, complex, almost cinematic songs that were rooted in romance and life in the streets of urban America.  I first saw Springsteen live in February 1975 while attending college at Penn State main, and this was the very first song that he played that night.  It began unceremoniously on a darkened stage with two far-apart single spotlights; one illuminating a female violin player in a shimmering green dress, the other trained on Bruce, by himself, at the other end of the stage, standing before a single floor-stand microphone.  Just a violin and a voice, for the entire unfolding song-story…mesmerizing.  https://youtu.be/ioQcvijom28


5. Gone – Jerry Williams.....This Dallas/Fort Worth singer-songwriter released an album on Warner Brothers in 1979 entitled Gone and this title track is a real find, literally.  The album’s been long out of print, but luckily YouTube currently has the video for savoring.  It’s a catchy funk-rock tune and just might sound right at home on a Stevie Wonder record from the 1970s like Talking Book or Innervisions.  Also known as Jerry Lynn Williams, this artist wrote songs that were picked up and popularized by other artists, like Delbert McClinton (“Givin’ It Up For Your Love”) and Eric Clapton (“Running On Faith,” “Pretending,” and “Forever Man”).  https://youtu.be/N8PctxEASu4


6. Someone To Lay Down Beside Me – Karla Bonoff.....Bonoff was part of the Los Angeles 1970s scene, slugging it out at the famed singer-songwriter haven the Troubadour.  Before she even set about recording her own works, three of her songs were picked up by compadre Linda Ronstadt for the latter’s 1976 Hasten Down The Wind album—“Lose Again,” “If He’s Ever Near,” and “Someone To Lay Down Beside Me.”  Bonoff’s self-titled debut came out the following year and also featured the latter tune; the overall album featured support from Ronstadt as well as L.A. area denizens Leland Sklar, Russ Kunkel, Waddy Wachtel, Don Henley, and J.D. Souther.  https://youtu.be/rCurPh_ee28


7. Let The Rough Side Drag – Jesse Winchester.....Louisiana-born singer-songwriter Winchester skirted his country’s call to action in the Vietnam era and so in 1967 this draft dodger became a Montreal lodger, eventually gaining Canadian citizenship.  That move didn’t necessarily sully his name but might have crimped his fame; due to his inability to tour the States, Winchester couldn’t build upon the generally good reviews of his album releases through the late 1960s and mid-1970s until President Carter granted him amnesty in 1977.  The track listed here is the title track from Winchester’s fourth album Let The Rough Side Drag (1976).  His expressive voice and songwriting call to mind—not entirely, mind you—a mix of James Taylor and Lyle Lovett, and one of his better-known and commonly covered compositions is “The Brand New Tennessee Waltz.”  Here is “Let The Rough Side Drag:”  https://youtu.be/QRz1f8_tQ98


8. Hot Summer Nights – Walter Egan.....Egan was in the D.C. area in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s around the same time as other striving regional musicians were plying their trade, including Nils Lofgren & Grin, Roy Buchanan, and Emmylou Harris.  Egan and Harris then went westward to Los Angeles, and eventually his area appearances (including one at the famed Troubadour in West Hollywood) led to a recording contract.  Egan’s musician friends Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham became highly involved in both of his first two albums on Columbia Records, Fundamental Roll and Not Shy.  “Hot Summer Nights” from 1978’s Not Shy is a good example of Egan’s infectious Southern California pop ‘n’ roll, with background vocal assistance from Nicks and both production duties and sweet lead guitar lines provided by Buckingham.  https://youtu.be/7oZyT9z9Fmc


9. Heart Like A Wheel – Kate & Anna McGarrigle.....In the mid-to-late 1970s Canada’s the McGarrigle sisters were worshipped widely through the provinces but pretty much confined to cult status in the USA, even though they gained some traction courtesy of American pop-rock star Linda Ronstadt.  The latter had borrowed their classic composition “Heart Like A Wheel” as the title track of her 1974 blockbuster release, and through this exposure the McGarrigles got their shot two years later on the USA’s major record label Warner Brothers.  Aside from golden-throated folk tunes like this one from their eponymous 1976 debut, the duo also produced musical progenies—well Kate did, anyway—in the form of son Rufus Wainwright and daughter Martha Wainwright.  The latter were “co-produced” by renowned folksinger Loudon Wainwright III.  https://youtu.be/zcmy9KFsLYo


10. In The Eye Of The Storm – Michael Franks.....California native Franks was the consummate smooth pop-jazz balladeer in the mid-to-late 1970s and early 1980s who, on the generally-embracing FM radio stations of the era, gained a nice foothold with his “Popsicle Toes” in 1976.  The track listed here is from Franks’ second Warner Brothers’ release Sleeping Gypsy (1977).  His formula:  A smooth cocktail-hour voice with serious jazz backing, Brazilian flavors and strings that all jelled to become a perfectly sophisticated “lite bite” for the musical cognoscenti and open-minded rock fans as well.  He had wry and sly lyrics and sumptuous production on his records, and stellar players including—on this particular release—Larry Carlton on guitar, Joe Sample on keyboards, and David Sanborn and Michael Brecker on saxophones.  https://youtu.be/m1MmK9y9W8k 





Posted 5/3/20.....

SIXTIES CURIO MIX.....Ten tunes from the 1960s that run the gamut from class-doomed love to patriotic fervor…from society’s awakenings to silly pop nonsense…Enjoy.

1. The Ballad Of The Green Berets – Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler.....A rare patriotic hit that struck a chord and scaled the pop music charts in 1966, before the waves of war resistance significantly lapped at Middle America.  Sample lyrics:  While back at home a young wife waits Her Green Beret has met his fate He has died for those oppressed Leaving her this last request Put silver wings on my son's chest Make him one of America's best He'll be a man they'll test one day So have him win the Green Beret Have him win the Green Beret / Silver wings upon their chest These are men, America's best One hundred men we'll test today But only three win the Green Beret.”  https://youtu.be/BugBwt2ESpo


2. I Ain’t Marching Anymore – Phil Ochs.....This is the flipside (not literally, of course) of “The Ballad Of The Green Berets”—a pure anti-war song written and recorded by Texas-born Ochs, a renowned and revered 1960s protest singer.  Originally influenced by early rockers Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley and country music legends like Ernest Tubb and Hank Williams Sr., Ochs then followed the musical and political paths of artists such as Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie.  “I Ain’t Marching Anymore” is a track from the singer’s 1965 album of the same name, and it is basically a first-person soldier’s look at the senselessness of war: It's always the old to lead us to the war It's always the young to fall Now look at all we've won with the saber and the gun Tell me is it worth it all.”  https://youtu.be/uRU_ruqnR6Q


3. Dang Me – Roger Miller.....Much better known in the Sixties for his song “King Of The Road,” Nashville country singer Miller put forth this “man ode” on his debut record Roger And Out released in 1964.  It’s a country-pop flavored down-home delight about a husband who believes more in carousin’ than marital maturity: Well here I sit high gettin' ideas / Ain't nothin' but a fool would live like this / Out all night and runnin' wild / Woman's sittin' home with a month old child / Dang me, dang me / They oughta take a rope and hang me / High from the highest tree, woman would you weep for me?”  https://youtu.be/BJQyiL-7NUc


4. Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini – Bryan Hyland.....I was only seven years old when this song hit the radio airwaves in 1960, but I remember my mom shimmying around the kitchen as this played over the transistor radio that was above the sink.  Not having the most discerning of musical tastes at that age, I ate it up.  It’s certainly worth inclusion here because this novelty song is such an innocuous slice of early ‘60s innocence, and some point to its overwhelming popularity as leading to a more widespread acceptance of two-piece swimsuits across the USA.  Parting note: Repetitive listens may be harmful and as “proof” of this, I cite the song’s use in the 1961 Billy Wilder-directed comedy One, Two, Three which is set in Berlin just before the wall was built.  In the movie, East German police use the song—play, repeat, play, repeat—as a very effective means of interrogating a young man who ultimately cracks and confesses.  https://youtu.be/n56E3kScoN8


5. Down In The Boondocks – Billy Joe Royal.....This song by Georgia-born Royal was a hit in 1965 and it had that ‘50s “teen angst” feel to it, via lyrics about a lower-class boy in love with a better-side-of-the-tracks young woman: Every night I will watch the light from the house upon the hill / I love a little girl that lives up there, I guess I always will / But I don't dare knock on her door / Her daddy is my boss man / So I'll just have to be content / To see her whenever I can / Down in the boondocks, down in the boondocks / People put me down 'cause that's the side of town I was born in”...The song was written by singer-songwriter Joe South, who on his own released a couple of interesting tunes that particular decade including “Games People Play” and “Walk A Mile In My Shoes.”  https://youtu.be/v4CeR9Mkjs4


6. In The Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus) – Zager and Evans.....This sci-fi pop-rock oddity hit the top of the national song charts in July 1969 when men first walked on the moon and 400,000 people were a month away from straggling into an Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music in Bethel, New York.  Zager and Evans were never again able to make a dent in the national song charts with any future recordings, but this unique and far-flung warning shot was welcomed by those concerned with the path that humanity was treading in dealing with technology and signs of our own destruction.  The song starts out with this: In the year 2525 / If man is still alive If woman can survive / They may find In the year 3535 Ain't gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lies Everything you think, do and say Is in the pill you took today.”  https://youtu.be/cVnU9HMX8xg


7. The Name Game – Shirley Ellis.....This is one of those pop tunes that crosses generations in appeal, with its naming rhymes and the zesty party feel of the original Ellis recording.  The single became a Top Five hit upon its release in 1964, so Ellis indeed found a formula—and it went a little somethin’ like this: “Shirley!  Shirley Shirley bo-birley, Banana-fana fo-firley, Fee-fi-mo-mirley...Shirley.”  Followed by “Lincoln!  Lincoln Lincoln bo-bincoln, Banana-fana fo-fincoln, Fee-fi-mo-mincoln...Lincoln.”  With funky punched-up horns in the background, Ellis rolls out the rules of the game and trots out various names; listeners of all ages ended up embracing this tune, whether the setting was alcohol-impaired adults at a backyard barbecue or a classroom of school kids at recess.  Warning: Avoid the names “Bart” and especially “Chuck.”  https://youtu.be/Ez8fEJ86hGI


8. Okie From Muskogee – Merle Haggard.....An absolute pearl from Merle.  Musicasaurus.com remembers watching the David Steinberg-hosted program called Music Scene, an ABC-TV show which ran from 1969 through 1970 and featured the era’s top performers and their chart-topping hits.  On October 20, 1969 Merle appeared on the program to perform “Okie From Muskogee,” but not before left-leaning guest host Tommy Smothers provided a tongue-in-cheek “suitable” introduction.  He said that due to other “hip” artists’ appearances on the program—like Lennon performing “Give Peace A Chance”—the show must make adjustments and adhere to equal time provisions by giving voice to the other side.  Then Smothers none-too-subtly puffed on an imaginary joint, and while half holding his breath, wheezed out “Ladies and gentlemen, Merle Haggard, and ‘Okie From Muskogee’!”…Sample lyrics: “We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee / We don’t take no trips on LSD / We don’t burn our draft cards down on Main Street / We like livin’ right, and bein’ free /  I’m proud to be an Okie from Muskogee / A place where even squares can have a ball / We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse / And white lightnin’s still the biggest thrill of all.”  https://youtu.be/kSsJc3W8gXg


9. Eve Of Destruction – Barry McGuire.....McGuire released this prophetic and political piece of pop music in 1965 (from his album of the same name), and it resonated with the younger generation who were just then cluing into the rising tide of social changes in civil rights, the nascence of women’s liberation, etc.  The song was written by a Los Angeles musician/songwriter named P.F. Sloan, who was also churning out material for Jan & Dean, Herman’s Hermits, Johnny Rivers and others at that time.  McGuire gruffed out a lead vocal apparently in one take, a radio station jumped on it, and the song zoomed to national consciousness.  The song begins: The eastern world it is explodin' / Violence flarin', bullets loadin' / You're old enough to kill but not for votin' / You don't believe in war, what's that gun you're totin' / And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin' / But you tell me over and over and over again my friend / Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.”  https://youtu.be/_38SWIIKITE


10. Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out) – The Hombres.....This song is truly a thing of wonder—uh, of the “one-hit” variety.  It is just a little over two minutes in length and featured a Dylan-spoofing lead vocal and inscrutable tossed-off lyrics over three descending chords.  It was also everywhere on radio and on 45rpm turntable spindles throughout 1967.  The “classic status” that is sometimes accorded this tune is kind of mystifying, but I can testify to being more than sufficiently under sway as a fourteen-year-old music lover.  It was a perfect pop-radio summertime song; a cool, mostly spoken vocal over an insistent rhythm, and lyrics that were tongue-in-cheek deep:  “No parking by the sewer sign / Hotdog, my razor broke / Water dripping up the spout / But (hey) I don’t care, let it all hang out”...The Hombres hailed from Memphis, Tennessee and this is their sole claim to fame, a successful single from their one and only album.  https://youtu.be/5nVAkvHTRB8





Posted 4/19/20.....

(Next post:  Sunday evening, May 3, 2020)

1. Drift Away – Dobie Gray.....Many years down the road, this pop song still sounds fresh.  Texas-born Gray was an African American singer who followed his muse to Los Angeles in the early 1960s, and navigated a career that veered from soul to pop to country through the next decade-and-a-half.  “Drift Away” hails from Gray’s 1973 album of the same name; it has been covered by a number of others through the years including Rod Stewart, Humble Pie, Ike & Tina Turner, and in more modern days (the early 2000s) by Uncle Kracker, with Gray actually guesting on the last verse of the song.  https://youtu.be/OnDu1HHOo78


2. Maiden Voyage – Brian Auger.....This tune was written and originally recorded by jazz keyboardist and composer Herbie Hancock for his 1965 album of the same name, and the personnel on this particular recording consisted of Hancock, Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Ron Carter (bass), Tony Williams (drums), and guest George Coleman (sax).  The version of the song included in this mix is from British-born keyboardist Brian Auger who normally hews to jazz/pop but gives this tune a bit of rock muscle as well.  From Brian Auger & The Trinity’s 1970 release Befour, this “Maiden Voyage” features lilting chord work from guitarist Gary Boyle and heavenly Hammond B-3 from bandleader Auger. https://youtu.be/Z9NpaIQSKgM


3. Sing A Song – Earth, Wind & Fire.....From the double album Gratitude released in 1975, “Sing A Song” is a catchy, crisply-delivered bit of pop funk from this legendary Los Angeles band who first formed in 1969.  Gratitude was the band’s seventh release and the first to document the band’s prowess live in concert.  “Sing A Song” is one of the in-the-studio selections that were sandwiched into this overall live album along with the equally hypnotic “Can’t Hide Love.”  Here is “Sing A Song:”  https://youtu.be/X4dsPZmeTys


4. Swallowed By The Cracks – David and David.....Listen to this; I double Dave ya.  This sophisticated rock duo had their collective fifteen minutes of fame in 1986 with the release of the album Boomtown, which featured the FM hit “Welcome To the Boomtown,” an L.A.-based tale of excess and lifestyles of the rich and shameless.  “Swallowed By The Cracks” is another solid pop-rock tune from that particular album.  The Daves’ last names were Baerwald and Ricketts: The former went on to a solo music career kept way above life support by adult alternative stations across the country as well as by TV and film score work; the latter largely disappeared from the musical horizon.  https://youtu.be/L68CgF8sQC4


5. Runnin’ Blue – Boz Scaggs & Band.....Silk Degrees was the hugely successful 1976 album that brought Scaggs scads of airplay and fame, but prior to that record he had been producing some incredibly rich material since his solo career began back in 1969 with a self-titled debut on Atlantic Records.  The track listed here, “Runnin’ Blue,” is actually from Scaggs’ third album of blue-eyed soul entitled Boz Scaggs & Band (1971).  It’s a track that sounds just as fresh now, forty-nine years down the line—great R & B fused with big-band swing. https://youtu.be/F03_r6sjzz4


6. So Nice (Summer Samba) – Astrud Gilberto and Walter Wanderley Trio.....Gilberto is the soothing samba mama from the 1964 worldwide hit “The Girl From Ipanema,” a craze-inducing classic that was culled from the album Getz/Gilberto.  This milestone album included Gilberto and her musician-husband Joao Gilberto, plus guitarist Antonio Carlos Jobim and saxophonist Stan Getz.  Two years after that Astrud released an album with Brazilian organist-arranger Walter Wanderley and his trio, and this album—A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness—failed to produce a song that achieved world dominance like “Ipanema.”  It is, however, a very fine release of bossa nova and samba selections.  https://youtu.be/0hB5F972QUk


7. Asleep – The Smiths.....This is one of The Smith’s B-sides originally released as the flipside of the band’s 1985 single “The Boy With The Thorn In His Side.”  Sometimes a bit of a cranky crooner, lead singer Morrissey floats above some wind wisps and melodic piano (versus the band’s usual jangling guitars) for this strangely calming tune about a better world waiting for someone who’s had just about enough.  The song was eventually captured for an album when the band released their collection of B-sides & singles, Louder Than Bombs, which was issued in 1987. https://youtu.be/KbuGWgYLqWk


8. Wonder Wonder – Femi Kuti.....Afro-beat artist Femi Kuti, son of the pioneering Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, released his self-titled debut album in 1995, from which this track is taken.  It’s a rollicking tune about African unity peppered with sprightly horns; a melding of funk and jazz stirred into an irresistible stew.  Kuti’s debut was widely heralded across Africa and Europe, but it was some years later before American audiences began to catch up with him.  He was helped out by high critical praise from the likes of The New Yorker and Rolling Stone magazine in the late 1990s, and he snagged the opening-act slot on a Jane’s Addiction U.S. tour shortly thereafter.  https://youtu.be/OLkYg1TLLTY


9. I’m Lucky – Joan Armatrading…..British singer-songwriter Armatrading started recording in the early 1970s and was largely folky for a while, serving up songs such as 1976’s “Love And Affection.”  In 1981 she released her Walk Under Ladders album containing the track listed here and it’s a sonically rich slice of ‘80s music produced by famed U2 producer Steve Lillywhite and powered through by Armatrading.  Reviewer Dave Connolly of AllMusic.com once noted on that site that Armatrading has “a wonderfully expressive voice that can capture the shades between song and speech like a sweeter version of Ian Anderson.”  Hear for thyself:  https://youtu.be/HxQSfuGTCdM


10. Trader – The Beach Boys.....The years 1971-1973 were experimental for The Boys, who began incorporating rock and suite-like textures into their music, stepping away from their former Weltanschauung of surf, sand, and sun.  “Trader,” from the 1973 album Holland, was written and voiced by Carl Wilson and it is a lovely, loping tune about interlopers—the traders and explorers who find new lands and push out the current populace.  The song is really rich in the ebb & flow “wash” of beautiful background harmonies; that alone is worth the price of admission. https://youtu.be/cmS-H3M6Zg8





Posted 4/5/20.....


1. My Sky At Twilight – Peter Maunu.....Call it New Age if you wish, but Maunu is a bit more than meets the ear here.  The electronics-based instrumental ballad “My Sky At Twilight” comes from the only solo album yet recorded by this majestic guitarist, 1990’s Warm Sound In A Gray Field (on the Narada record label).  Maunu has contributed to film scores including Food, Inc. as well as participated in session work on recordings by Jean-Luc Ponty, Bobby McFerrin, The Commodores, and Mark Isham, the trumpeter/composer whose overall synth-laden, cinematic approach is similar indeed.  Isham and Maunu actually recorded together with additional musician Patrick O’Hearn in an early 1980s unit called Group 87, a trio that trafficked in hard-to-pigeonhole progressive music—electronics soaked in New Age with sprinklings of jazz fusion, all part of satisfying if occasionally sleepy explorations.  https://youtu.be/mZElDc718Kk


2. A House Is Not A Home – Stan Getz…..I have my father to thank for me getting into Getz.  Around my parent’s house when I was a wee one, our stereo console in the living room was littered with my mom’s 45 RPMs (then called “singles”) and a lot of show tune albums, but I eventually uncovered a few Ella Fitzgerald albums in the bottom of the bookcase that my father had stored there for safekeeping.  There were some Stan Getz records there as well, but it wasn’t until years later that I fully surrendered to the warm sound of this brilliant player.  “A House Is Not A Home” hails from Stan Getz’s 1968 album What The World Needs Now: Stan Getz Plays Bacharach and David.  The song was originally written for and recorded by Dionne Warwick in 1964 for a film of the same name, but in this case please go with my suggestion for this sax man’s instrumental version—it Getz no better than this.  https://youtu.be/TjkPD3xQ7Ic


3. Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City – Bobby “Blue” Bland.....I was streaming the 2011 movie Lincoln Lawyer recently and became reacquainted—while the credits were giving way to the film—with this soulful tune from Bobby “Blue” Bland’s 1974 album Dreamer.  This Memphis-area artist was prolific and also quite successful, albeit largely on the Rhythm & Blues touring circuits and national R&B music charts of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s.  He churned out tunes that blues die-hards today will still recognize, songs like “Farther Up The Road” (sometimes called “Further On Up The Road”), “I Pity The Fool,” “Turn On Your Love Light,” and “Stormy Monday Blues.”  Back to the featured tune: Though musicasaurus.com prides itself on musical knowledge, somehow the Whitesnake version of “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City” slithered right past me when that hard rock band’s debut EP hit record stores in 1978.  Just as well; I would have recoiled.  https://youtu.be/38OOUDTsqM0


4. Sweet Soul Dream – World Party.....This beautiful ballad is from perhaps World Party’s best record, Goodbye Jumbo, which was released in 1990.  World Party auteur Karl Wallinger (he’s a one-man band) was weaned on Revolver-era Beatles and Motown, and he artfully incorporates these influences into pure pop nuggets like this particular track.  The song is immediately fetching, and just as sweet upon repeat.  https://youtu.be/NJcop92PPT0


5. If I Were A Carpenter – Tim Hardin…..from Tim Hardin 2, released in 1967…..Hardin was a late ‘60s/early ‘70s American folk singer-songwriter who had a troubled personal life including a stint in Vietnam that led to a monkey on his back.  But he also produced at least two very memorable tunes, “If I Were A Carpenter” (on 1967’s Tim Hardin 2, and covered by Dylan & The Band, Bobby Darin, The Four Tops, Robert Plant and others), and “Reason To Believe” (indelibly crooned by Rod Stewart, and part of Rod’s 1971 album Every Picture Tells A Story).  Hardin even netted a Friday evening slot at Woodstock in 1969—but back to that monkey.  Heroin claimed him in 1980, about seven years after his last record was released.  https://youtu.be/2RrRajjlo6M


6. Dolores – Freedy Johnston.....Kansas-born singer/songwriter Johnson had a well-deserved brush with fame in the early-mid 1990’s with some highly regarded albums that were critics’ and fans’ favorites.  With some concentrated FM airplay on adult alternative stations at the time, Johnston pervaded public consciousness with tunes from his 1994 album A Perfect World like “Bad Reputation” (not the Joan Jett song) and the track listed here.  A witty, insightful writer and style blender who clawed out his own unique voice, alt-folk rocker Johnston is one that deserved more than the Warholian fifteen minutes he was accorded.  https://youtu.be/SBUOt6A3WMs


7. You Got Me Humming – Cold Blood.....This is a propulsive funk number from pint-sized Lydia Pense and her band Cold Blood from their 1969 self-titled debut album.  Pense has been compared to Janis Joplin with regard to her intensity and raw & rippin’ vocal delivery, and in fact Joplin was the one who referred the fledgling band to San Francisco promoter and rock club entrepreneur Bill Graham, who ended up signing them to his own Fillmore record label.  “You Got Me Humming” is a blistering, flat-out funked-up phenom, first popularized by the R&B stars Sam & Dave in 1966. https://youtu.be/_quMD61F43I


8. Half Moon – Blind Pilot.....A folk-pop unit from Portland, Oregon led by guitarist/singer-songwriter Israel Nebekes, Blind Pilot in a live setting really delivers; the songs come alive with a captivating combination of acoustic guitar, upright bass, organ, vibes, dulcimer and banjo.  I can directly testify to this, as back in February of 2012 my twenty-seven year old daughter Moira and I stood riveted—no choice; general admission floor—at Mr. Small’s, a continuously busy little gem of a club in Pittsburgh that had just brought the band into town for their first area appearance.  This track comes from the band’s second album entitled We Are The Tide, released in 2011.  https://youtu.be/PfZKwjPjlW8


9. Pursuit of Happiness – Lissie…..Lissie was Annie in Annie at age nine in a high school play in her native Rock Island, Illinois, and so from an early age found her calling in music.  Her career trajectory includes opening for Lenny Kravitz and Tom Petty and recording with Snow Patrol, as well as releasing her own albums beginning in 2009.  But it is her dynamic interpretations of other people’s material that really shakes the rafters including this song plucked from a performance from 2010, a cover of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness.”  This live treatment was included on Lissie’s 2011 release Covered Up with Flowers. https://youtu.be/lmsbHGEB6UU


10. Dissatisfied – Fleetwood Mac....Originally a blues band in Britain, the Mac majorly changed members from 1968 through 1975 with the only constant being the rhythm section—Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie on bass.  This tune is taken from the group’s 1973 album Penguin and the upfront drivers within the unit at that time were Christine McVie (keyboards, vocals) and Bob Welch (guitars, vocals).  Christine wrote the song and sings lead, and it’s one of her greatest pop tunes but is often overshadowed by her later works when the band achieved mega success starting in 1975.  A quick sidebar here: Vocalist Dave Walker was also in the band at this juncture, having just completed a three-album tenure with Savoy Brown—Street Corner Talking, Hellbound Train, and Lion’s Share.  He didn’t last long, and departed during the sessions for the Mac’s follow-up album Mystery To Me.  https://youtu.be/tHxa7wSezC8





Posted 3/22/20.....


1. Spanish Harlem – Laura Nyro and LaBelle.....A gifted singer/songwriter and daughter of a jazz trumpeter, Nyro started writing songs at the age of eight.  At twenty, she issued her debut album More Than A New Discovery, which served to perk up other performers to her songwriting craft.  Her tunes filled the radio airwaves as covered by a host of others: “Stoney End” by Streisand, “Wedding Bell Blues” by Fifth Dimension, “And When I Die” by Blood, Sweat & Tears, “Eli’s Comin’” by Three Dog Night, and more.  The track “Spanish Harlem” is from the 1971 album Gonna Take A Miracle that Nyro recorded with LaBelle (i.e., Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx, and Sarah Dash).  The album is an evocative masterpiece of Motown, rhythm & blues and doo wop, with heavenly harmonies weaving in and around Nyro’s sailing soprano.  https://youtu.be/3hg_sKIJzRQ


2. This Love Is Real – John Prine.....Prine is a gem if you have for some ungodly reason not yet discovered him.  He has been recording since the 1970s in the folk-and-country vein, with atypical, insightful lyrics often trafficking in human foibles and preoccupations.  On the track listed here from 1995’s Lost Dogs And Mixed Blessings he duets with Marianne Faithfull to great effect, and if this fuels you to pine for more Prine, check out other signature tunes elsewhere: “Sam Stone” (about a returning Vietnam vet), “Angel From Montgomery,” and the LOL lyrics of his duet with Iris DeMent “In Spite Of Ourselves”.  Here is “This Love Is Real:”  https://youtu.be/96Ai52KJLd8


3. Future People – Alabama Shakes….These individuals do more than shake; they also rattle and roll.  Lead guitarist/vocalist Brittany Howard fronts this band of Alabamans that first reared their heads around 2009.  They went from endless bar and club touring to eventually crafting an independent release, which was then scooped up by ATO Records and re-released in 2012 with more marketing muscle behind it.  The song chosen for this mix is from their second release Sound & Color, which came out in April of 2015.  Howard is a howler and a headbanger, and her band is quite adept at straddling and intertwining blazing rock and blistering soul.  https://youtu.be/vda05lavUi0


4. It's a Man's Man’s Man’s World – Luciano Pavarotti and James Brown…..Pavarotti did a series of benefit concerts (occasionally, and over a decade's worth of time) and invited a slew of interesting guest performers to come aboard, including Sting, Bocelli, Bono, Zucchero, The Eurythmics, and others.  In each case Pavarotti focused largely on each particular guest’s own material and powered his way along, perfectly in synch.  The pairing of Pavarotti with James Brown in a 2002 concert event was heaven sent; the two artists unleash an incendiary yet at times measured version of “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” and—spine get ready—Pavarotti has a few positively electrifying interludes.  This performance can be found on a 3-CD box set released in 2019 entitled Pavarotti: The Greatest Hits.  https://youtu.be/qhtsnFhtIxg


5. Stone Rollin’ – Raphael Saadiq…..This tune is the title track of this “old school” R&B artist’s fourth album from 2011, which critics and fans concurred was an exciting, amped up release compared to his previous effort released three years earlier.  At the end of 2011, the album made a number of music critics’ Top Ten lists, with the Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot saying “He's always written songs steeped in soul and R&B, but now he gives them a progressive edge with roaming bass lines and haunted keyboard textures.  He's no longer a retro stylist – he's writing new classics.”  Plus, the title track “Stone Rollin’” is…smoldering.  It stokes your inner fires.  It’s even guaranteed to get you into debates with friends, especially if you check out the official video that accompanied the release of the album.  One way or another—stirred up by this steamy video or offended by the content—your temperature’s gonna rise.  https://youtu.be/wHyalVRUXrA


6. Outside Of A Dream – The Push Stars.....This track is a lovely little alt-pop song (more pop than alt) by this Boston-based trio, who’s only real dent in the public consciousness came from another song of theirs included in the 1998 film There’s Something About Mary (“Everything Shines”).  The band formed in 1996 and their first major-label record After the Party came out three years later.  In 2003, Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty loved what he’d heard of their fourth album in progress, and took them out on tour with Matchbox as their opening act.  The following year that fourth album progressed to the finish line: 2004’s Paint the Town, from which this track is taken. https://youtu.be/iPUzHtTAqJY


7. That’s Just What You Are – Aimee Mann with Chris Difford & Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze.....Please excuse musicasaurus.com from barking out orders here, but you need to “Mann” up!  Aimee is an underachiever solely in terms of widespread commercial success; she has a great knack for churning out quality alternative-pop songs that are lyrically arresting and melodic as hell.  “That’s Just What You Are” is a perky pop masterpiece from Mann’s second solo album I’m With Stupid, which hit the stores in November 1995.  Difford & Tilbrook, the dynamic duo behind the British band Squeeze, provide instrumental assistance and harmony vocals.  https://youtu.be/ArXL7uEQsEg


8. Angel To Be – The Subdudes.....This largely acoustic band is a hefty stew of influences with Cajun spices and bubblings-up of R&B, the blues, gospel, funk and more.  The group first recorded as a unit in their native N’awlins in 1989, but they have also guested on songs recorded by Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin and Rosanne Cash.  The track listed here is from the group’s third release in 1994 entitled Annunciation and it sports a sprightly accordion, bright harmonies, and fine acoustic pickin’—perfect for roots lovers.  https://youtu.be/dNZfYPwNEmc


9. Homeless – Paul Simon.....One of the first major US artists to immerse themselves quite publicly in the music of South Africa, Simon teamed up with some high-profile musicians from that country to record Graceland, his much-praised melting pot achievement from 1986.  The song “Homeless” features Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a male choral group who found Graceland to be their ticket to international recognition; their performance on this song is hushed, intricate and spellbinding.  https://youtu.be/Cb04PK_oTlM


10. Stranger To Love – Rufus.....One of the most talented musical ensembles of the 1970s and early 1980s, the interracial band Rufus defied easy categorization because they successfully straddled the world of rhythm & blues and rock, laced with funk and soul.  On several fronts they excelled—the musical sophistication at the heart of the band, the songwriting, and the seemingly boundless talents of lead vocalist Chaka Khan.  “Stranger To Love” is from the band’s 1978 album Street Player; it was written by band keyboardist David “Hawk” Wolinski and features Khan righteously sailing above a lightly polished jazz-funk base, sweetened by the horn section from the ‘70s fusion band Seawind.  https://youtu.be/Z5ZsYqx_hLo





Posted 3/8/20.....


1. Poor, Poor Pitiful Me – Linda Ronstadt.....Ronstadt was the reigning queen of country rock throughout the 1970s, an artist who had amazing popularity and girl-gone-wild chart success, and key to her ascension was a number of tasteful, energetic covers of other artists’ material.  “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” a cover of Warren Zevon’s rousing rocker from his 1976 self-titled second album, appeared on Ronstadt’s Simple Dreams released in 1977.  Simple Dreams featured the cream of the California crop of backing musicians—including Waddy Wachtel, Andrew Gold, Kenny Edwards, David Lindley, and Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar—and the album sported two Zevon compositions (the track listed here, plus “Carmelita”) as well as songs originally done by Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison.  https://youtu.be/jpGkn5jbFfA 


2. Heartache – Valerie Carter.....In 1977 Little Feat’s founder Lowell George produced an album entitled Just A Stone’s Throw Away, the solo debut from 24-year-old Valerie Carter, an aspiring L.A.-based singer-songwriter.  George had produced an earlier group effort by Carter called Howdy Moon, but for her solo debut (from which this track is taken) George brought in the heavy artillery.  Just A Stone’s Throw Away features great instrumental and vocal backing from a lot of Little Feat, as well as Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, John Sebastian, Maurice and Verdine White (of Earth, Wind & Fire) and many others.  But it is Carter’s voice that stands above it all; she’s angelic, but has a devil of a bluesy wail.  https://youtu.be/llgnTEEmVBU


3. Talk Walk Drive – Julia Fordham.....Beautiful British songstress Fordham has a distinctive, full-throated voice which she employs in rich sonic settings that are a far cry from formula.  The ballad “Talk Walk Drive” comes from her 1991 album Swept, and although wide public acclaim has long escaped her, she’s a “find” for any playlist.  For music fans who like to dig deep into album credits (where you can find ‘em!), the listing of contributing musicians on Swept is impressive.  There are several sidemen and sidewomen that really help bring the sheen and the spark to this album’s songs, including guitarists Dean Parks (Steely Dan), David Rhodes (Peter Gabriel) and Dominic Miller (Sting); keyboardist David Sancious (early Bruce); bassists Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell) and Pino Palladino (The Who); and background vocalist Valerie Carter (Jackson Browne/James Taylor).  https://youtu.be/KDWGwnea9f4


4. Help Me – Joni Mitchell.....This is Joni at her prime—or, in one of her primes.  This accomplished and visionary singer-songwriter tackles the topic of love and its trials and tributaries, its awe and its angst.  Court and Spark, from which this tune is taken, is as a whole musically quite a treat as well; the arrangements are first-rate fusions of pop, rock, folk and jazz, and Mitchell’s musicians include essential contributor (and saxophonist) Tom Scott and his L.A. Express. https://youtu.be/edUhlRxyGOY


5. Paint A Picture – The Wailin’ Jennys.....Canadian female folk outfit The Wailin’ Jennys came together in 2002 for a performance at a Winnipeg guitar store, and the immediate favorable response to their distinctive weave of alto, mezzo and soprano (courtesy Cara Luft, Nicky Mehta and Ruth Moody, respectively) led them to hit the road officially as a touring trio.  In 2005 Luft left and Heather Masse moved in...“Paint A Picture” is all of a minute-and-a-half, but it is the blend that gets ya.  It is just one of those reminders of the power of the unadorned human voice.  The album—2008’s Live at The Mauch Chunk Opera House—was recorded at the aforementioned theater in Jim Thorpe, PA, which sits in the Allentown/Bethlehem area of the state near the Poconos.  The Jennys spent a lot of time on Prairie Home Companion beginning in the early 2000s, and their name derives—no duh—from country artist Waylon Jennings.  https://youtu.be/LYv8v6gZ8Jw


6. Gasoline Alley – Phoebe Snow.....Contralto singer-songwriter Snow was born in NYC and in the early 1970s did yeoman’s work in Greenwich Village clubs honing her craft.  Her eponymous debut album hit the record store shelves in 1974, and the lilting, scat-tinged tune “Poetry Man” hit soft rock stations and dug deep into their playlists.  Her style straddled jazz, pop, soul and even—as evidenced here—some heartfelt rock ‘n’ roll.  “Gasoline Alley,” originally the title tune of Rod Stewart’s 1970 solo album, appears on Snow’s 1981 Rock Away release.  Though Snow slowed a bit in her recorded output after Rock Away, she occasionally still stepped up to the plate every few years during the ‘90s and early 2000s.  Snow passed away in April of 2011 of complications from a stroke one year earlier.  https://youtu.be/fieA-ZxNdQw


7. Dreams Come True – Marcia Ball, Angela Strehli & Lou Ann Barton.....This trio of Austin treasures teamed up for a dream album of Texas roadhouse rhythm & blues, and cut to cut, it is a loose and inspired gem.  This track is the title cut from the record, which was released in 1990.  Each of these ladies brings a lot to the game—Ball with her barrelhouse piano style; Strehli all wail-y, bringing in a bit of rock bluster to her blues; and Barton a pure gas with her sensuality and sass.  Dr. John leads the studio band of veteran Texas musicians on this album and is the producer of the record as well.  https://youtu.be/sbfX3nV8SqE


8.Hands – Jewel.....A sparkling ballad from Jewel which was, to the artist’s surprise, snatched up by some radio stations across the country in the days immediately following 9/11; these particular disc jockeys found themselves turning toward this meditative, prayer-like number to soothe our jagged collective consciousness.  I saw Jewel in a Greensburg, PA majestic theater setting in 2012, alone with an acoustic guitar and that voice, and she held the audience in her lovely “Hands” as she performed this particular number midway through.  The song comes from Jewel’s second release Spirit from 1998.  https://youtu.be/_R552UFoXaA


9. Bring Me My Queen – Abigail Washburn.....What a gem this singer-songwriter and banjo player has produced in this beautiful alt-folk classic; it is a small triumph of composition, arrangement, execution, and production.  Washburn’s vocals are occasionally gravelly and hushed, but always “spot on” to serve the song.  Through her instrument and in her song arrangements, she is always pretty bold in her steps to artfully incorporate a wide range of influences—folk, rock, jazz, bluegrass and blues, even mixing in some touches from the British Isles, the Far East, and beyond.  “Bring Me My Queen” hails from Washburn’s 2011 release City of Refuge.  https://youtu.be/O316-4khIWE 


10. Nothing Seems To Matter – Bonnie Raitt…..Raitt has a voice that beguiles and bewitches, and oh yes, on some material she just blazes on the bottleneck.  She got her first guitar at age 12 and spent her formative years in the clubs of Boston doing shows with blues mentors Howlin’ Wolf, Sippee Wallace, and others.  Her self-titled release from 1971 included blues in several hues (jazz and folk tinges, and R&B twists), yet this second album from 1972, Give It Up, really stretches convincingly in a number of musical directions and pacings.  Raitt wrote three tunes on this album including the track listed here, and covered other songwriters as well including cohort Jackson Browne, Eric Kaz and Chris Smither.  https://youtu.be/nlzFMVdBE0c





Posted 2/23/20.....

Ten songs including some Dead, percolating snazzy jazz, mellow Buffett, landmark Linkin Park, and more…

1. Bertha – Grateful Dead.....Hitting the record stores a year after the landmark 1970 Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty releases, the Dead’s second live double-album (usually referred to as Skull  & Roses) contained this track that, once recorded, became a staple of the band’s future live shows.  The entire album was recorded in 1971 at various concert venues in San Francisco and New York City, and at this stage of the game, The Dead were a five-some—Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Ronald “Pigpen” McKernan, and Bill Kreutzmann.  Skull & Roses also contains other Dead classics such as “Playing In The Band” and the two-song blend of “Not Fade Away / Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad.”  https://youtu.be/keHWn2c_UDA


2. This Is What You Are – Mario Biondi & The High Five Quintet.....This song starts out with a sinewy bass line...then congas come in...drums & cymbals ease into place...and finally piano chords set the stage before the alluring deep and soulful voice of Mario Bondi kicks off this absolutely swingin’ jazz tune (warning: This tune percolates with such smooth sophistication that a cocktail may suddenly appear in your hand; but relax, and keep the other one free for finger snappin’).  Born in Bitetto, Italy in 1971, Biondi came from a musical family and has recorded or performed with a number of artists from Italy as well as musicians beyond its borders.  “This Is What You Are” comes from the artist’s 2006 release Handful of Soul.  https://youtu.be/8Tc_hj-osEo


3. Pre-You – Jimmy Buffett.....Not too many years back, I had put together a CD mix for a couple of elderly but spry family members who were entering their 80s.  I went the way of a “deep cut” with this particular selection for that mix, and picked a commercially unrecognizable soft and smooth ballad from Jimmy Buffett, from his 1988 album Hot Water (the artist’s seventeenth release).  I purposely avoided Buffett’s overplayed “Margaritaville” and also sidestepped his “Why Don’t We Get Drunk” bar jukebox favorite—I didn’t want to screw up the mix with something that might lead to heart palpitations.  https://youtu.be/ph1-eBG-Rp0


4. What I’ve Done – Linkin Park…..Chester Bennington first broke through to the masses as lead singer on Linkin Park’s 2000 debut album Hybrid Theory, and was renowned for his vocal prowess which could go from anguished whisper to cathartic scream in just a heartbeat.  “What I’ve Done” is from the band’s third album, Minutes To Midnight, which was produced by Rick Rubin and which spotlighted Bennington’s towering vocals alongside the raps and rhymes of Linkin Park’s other vocalist, Mike Shinoda.  Bennington’s suicide on July 20, 2017 came just two months after Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell’s death by similar means.  Bennington had sung Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah” at Cornell’s funeral, and was also the godfather of Cornell’s son Christopher.  https://youtu.be/dpif2shN0vg


5. Memphis – Janis Ian.....Reportedly Ian in the late ‘90s had cast off her accumulated fears about her lack of record sales success and instead just focused on putting together an album that pleased only her.  The resulting album—2000’s God & The FBI—was recorded in a house setting versus a studio with all contributors involved hunkered down in bunker mentality.  “Memphis” from these sessions eventually became a duet with Willie Nelson, with fine pickin’ in the middle from guitar great Chet Atkins.  https://youtu.be/p51e5G6GnuQ  


6. Changes – Charles Bradley…..Bradley’s success was not overnight—for him, it was late in the evening.  His debut album No Time For Dreaming was released in 2011 when Bradley had just turned 62.  He slogged through some tough times earlier on, but soul music was always in his head and heart starting with his life-changing concert experience as a 14-year-old when he saw James Brown at the Apollo Theater in 1962.  Some friends and I were first exposed to Bradley live at the 2016 Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh, where Bradley was testifyin’ to the power of music and the power of The Lord; an incredible mix of passion and gratitude leapt out of that man’s throat at every turn…The song featured here is Bradley’s cover of a Black Sabbath song (you read right); it appeared on Bradley’s third album named for that song which in its original form appeared on Sabbath’s fourth album Vol. 4 (1972).  https://youtu.be/T791POjnzAs


7. Thinkin’ About It Too – Al Jarreau.....Jarreau’s Milwaukee childhood was all church and song, with his father a singer and minister and his mom the piano player in their house of worship.  In the late 1960s he hit L.A. with his hellacious vocal style which playfully braided together pop and jazz in a winning combination, and this helped establish him as a draw in venues like the Troubadour and the Bitter End West.  Television appearances on Merv Griffin, Dinah Shore, Mike Douglas and Johnny Carson then brought him mainstream fame, and in 1975 Jarreau released his first major-label album on Warner Brothers’ Reprise Records entitled We Got By.  The track listed here, though, is the lead-off track of Jarreau’s third major release, 1977’s All Fly Home.  This is the best track on the album, a funky fast-paced jazz-pop pleasure that has Jarreau sailing all around the syncopation and percolation.  https://youtu.be/NgKk_dg9vOU


8. Your Sweet Voice – Matthew Sweet.....Nebraska native Sweet first came to prominence with his 1991 album Girlfriend, a collection of alternative/pop that pointed to a mix of influences, most noticeably the Beatles, the Byrds and R.E.M.  The album was Sweet’s biggest and best; it had great songwriting and inventive guitar work from Robert Quine (who’d worked with Lou Reed, Eno and others) and also from Richard Lloyd (guitar slinger from the band Television).  “Your Sweet Voice” is one of the more lush and layered tracks; an aural cushion, and a beautifully rendered love song.  https://youtu.be/58JFP1oOlqA


9. Blue Moon – Mark Isham (with Tanita Tikaram).....Mark Isham straddles more than a few musical pursuits—solo trumpeter, prolific film and television composer, and a touring sideman of the first caliber.  In 1983 he released his solo debut Vapor Drawings on the prestigious New Age record label Windham Hill and also scored his first film, Disney’s Never Cry Wolf.  He has also toured and/or recorded with jazz greats like Pharoah Sanders and Charles Lloyd, and rock luminaries such as Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, the Rolling Stones, Suzanne Vega, XTC and Springsteen.  His solo records are amazing; in addition to trumpet, Isham adroitly programs and incorporates synthesizers into his work.  The song “Blue Moon”—guest sung here by Tanita Tikaram—is from Isham’s 1990 self-titled album.  https://youtu.be/IpvAJ6cnnbQ


10. China – Red Rockers…..Those of you who were musically weaned on MTV in the 1980s might remember the video of this song from the group’s second full-length album, 1983’s Good As Gold.  Red Rockers formed in 1979 in New Orleans, a band of punk aesthetes who were itching to join the wave of political, in-your-face bands like The Clash.  By the time of their second album, however, they had streamlined their harder-edged attack into the smoother, moodier New Wave (less The Clash and more A Flock Of Seagulls).  Still, “China” was a catchy propulsive tune, now stuck in the ‘80s but back then, an anthem of sorts.  https://youtu.be/MycqOEkUqsA





Posted 2/9/20.....

A hodgepodge…Alt-country, blues, pure pop, reggae that rocks, a bit of a prayer, an ethereal slice from a film’s soundtrack, and more…

1. Gloria – Bryan Elijah Smith.....In 2013 a friend and I saw this artist live in a small, tucked-away club in tiny Thomas, West Virginia called the Purple Fiddle, and I was so enthralled that I reached out to this native of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley to lure him up to Pittsburgh for a private party event in May of 2014.  Smith continues to knock me out with his atmospheric blend of alt-country and folk, and his compositions are hypnotic in the way he manages to work in great “hooks” that blend right in and always serve the song—never overblown; always enhancing and quite entrancing.  The song hails from Smith’s 2019 album In Through The Dark (p.s. This is not the old 1960s classic that Van Morrison’s old group Them originated and the USA’s Shadows of Knight then popularized; this is Smith’s own mesmerizing, moody tune.)  https://youtu.be/CLijV62nkKY


2. (Love Is) The Tender Trap – Robert Palmer.....British singer Palmer is best known through classic ‘80s MTV videos with pale faced, deadpan models mock-playing musical instruments, dispassionately backing up a dapperly dressed Palmer crooning hits like “Addicted To Love.”  He is lesser known for his solid earlier works when he was covering Little Feat tunes and weaving reggae into more of the proceedings...On Ridin’ High (1992), Palmer teamed up for strings and things on an album of popular American songs spanning the ‘20s through the ‘50s, including this one written by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen for the 1955 Frank Sinatra-Debbie Reynolds film The Tender Trap.  The producer of Palmer’s album was the highly revered Teo Macero, who had helmed Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue and Bitches Brew, and Dave Brubeck’s Time Out.  https://youtu.be/OzJr-YhdU-o


3. The Prayer Cycle -- A Choral Symphony In 9 Movements: #1. Mercy – Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Alanis Morissette, Lawrence Schwartz, Linda Ronstadt, Liz Constantine, Martin Tillmann, Ofra Haza, Richard Bona, Salif Keïta, The American Boychoir, English Chamber Orchestra, English Chamber Chorus and Yungchen Lhamo…..The Prayer Cycle is an ambitious and quite stirring blend of prayer, classical & world music, as masterminded by American film-and-television composer Jonathan Elias; the album was released on the Sony Classical label in 1999.  It works on many levels, but it is essentially a nine-part choral symphony utilizing twelve different languages (Swahili, Urdu, English, Italian, Hungarian, Tibetan, Spanish and more); reduced to a word, this long, flowing work centers on faith.  On the track listed here, “Mercy,” Morissette is front and center as well as West African afro-pop artist Salif Keïta, and their reverent wails soar over and through the lush orchestral and choral support.  https://youtu.be/kDpEhqEZoV4


4. Roxanne – The Police.....This is the song that I first remember hearing at the Market Square downtown Pittsburgh location of National Record Mart in 1978.  Chick, the store clerk that always regaled me with new releases every time I entered the store, was raving about this new British band after having cranked up the store’s stereo system to 11.  Punk was in flower right around then, and here was a new mesmerizing mix of punk with pop and reggae—with Sting’s signature voice soaring over all that propulsion.  The Police were three gifted instrumentalists—secretly more steeped in jazz—who had jumped onto the late 1970s new wave band wagon with abandon.  “Roxanne” is an arresting piece of work from The Police from their debut Outlandos d’Amour.  https://youtu.be/xB_BXsz3lTs


5. Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home – Etta James.....African American singer James was most popular in the 1960s as a soulful interpreter of songs, some of which, like her 1961 version of “At Last,” have become classics.  Later in the decade she spun out rhythm & blues belters like “Tell Mama,” then covered by Savoy Brown on 1971’s Street Corner Talking, and “I’d Rather Go Blind,” which Rod Stewart took a turn on for his 1972 album Never A Dull Moment.  “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” (sometimes also labeled “Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home”) is from James’ Seven Year Itch album, which was released in 1989 during one of this troubled singer’s career resurgences.  https://youtu.be/_kF4RUs1ogs 


6. Wakafrika – Manu Dibango.....Cameroonian saxophonist and vibraphonist Dibango, now 86 years old and active in recording since the 1950s, had a bit of an American hit in the early 1970s with a song called “Soul Makossa.”  The track listed here, “Wakafrika,” is a nearly five-minute instrumental culled from the album of the same name released in 1994, and it percolates with a perfect blend of African music, soul and funk.  The album also has guest appearances by Peter Gabriel (on a cover of Gabriel’s “Biko”), Ladysmith Black Mambazo, King Sunny Ade and Youssou N’Dour.  https://youtu.be/lc7AbWdxKIo


7. Wharf Rat – Grateful Dead…..I respect the Dead but concentrate on the living, and by that I mean having a life.  Unlike a few others in my wider circle of peers and compatriots, I made a decision way back in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s not to spend my mini-vacations following the band around the country.  And through the years I’ve also whisked away all thought of ever combing through archives and Dead tracks’ catacombs to possess every audio indulgence.  That said, I do love certain tracks by the band that feature Jerry prominently; to me, Garcia’s a lot more than the cherry on top.  The version of “Wharf Rat” that I’ve always prized is this one, from the second live Dead album commonly called Skull and Roses (1971).  https://youtu.be/P6NDmh86RAI


8. Meltdown – Lisa Gerrard.....Gerrard was one-half of the ambient, ethereal and otherworldly Australian music duo Dead Can Dance from 1984 through 1998 and soon after partnered with Pieter Bourke for a number of film scores, including one for director Michael Mann’s 1999 film with Russell Crowe, The Insider.  Getting lost in a film is a wondrous experience, sometimes expertly aided & abetted by a haunting theme that an intuitive director chooses to layer into the proceedings.  “Meltdown” is just that—an evocative, moody tune featuring Gerrard’s intriguing wordless vocals.  https://youtu.be/yAgtTK7pr2s


9. Bring It On Home – Little Big Town.....A country music quartet of two men and two women, Little Big Town came together as one in Nashville in 1998.  It wasn’t until their second album The Road To Here (2005) that they truly garnered success with two consecutive Top Ten country hits, including the track listed here.  All four band members swap on lead vocals and/or blend in various lead and harmony combinations, and the music isn’t pure country (damn strait!); on a few of the album’s tracks, like one entitled “Bones,” they put a kind of Fleetwood Mac feel over their pedal steel.  Here is “Bring It On Home”… https://youtu.be/69bEFFVaSjw


10. Name Of The Game – Abba.....This is the first and only time an ABBA song has graced a mix of mine.  Between 1978 and 1980 I worked for Warner-Elektra-Atlantic Corporation, the distribution arm of the three aforementioned record labels, and ABBA was a powerhouse for Atlantic in those years so it was indeed top of mind and now stuck in my mind—ABBA has that kind of addictive allure, I’m afraid.  But, no further apologies.  The song is a delicious confection that appears on the band’s 1978 release (their fifth) entitled The Album.  https://youtu.be/FCKMJwfgM4w





Posted 1/26/20.....

Ten songs including an import from Canada, two from California (early 1970s San Fran funk & early 2000s Orange County alt), two singer-songwriters from Austin, and more…

1. Talkin’ Bout A Revolution – Tracy Chapman.....Cleveland-born Chapman bubbled up to commercial and critical success via the song “Fast Car,” which was on her eponymous debut album released in 1988.  That song is Springsteen-like in sentiment, about a life bottled up by circumstances with a ray of hope (or at least acceptance) perhaps down the road a ways.  “Talkin’ Bout A Revolution” is also from her ’88 debut and though it didn’t speed up the charts like “Fast Car,” it was the song (in demo form) that first got her noticed by eventual signer Elektra Records.  Sample lyrics:  “While they’re standing in the welfare lines / Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation / Wasting time in the unemployment lines / Sitting around waiting for a promotion / Poor people gonna rise up / And get their share...Finally the tables are starting to turn / Talkin’ bout a revolution.”  https://youtu.be/721JQZw6Spg


2. Jane – Barenaked Ladies.....Toronto musicians Ed Robertson and Steven Page started out as an acoustic duo in the late 1980s, opening shows on college campuses for headlining comedy groups—which may explain the origin of their winning in-concert formula of solid rock-pop songs mixed with comedic commentary in between.  The full band came together in 1990 and recorded their debut album Gordon in 1992, which contained the Ladies’ now well-known and well-regarded songs “If I Had A Million Dollars” and “Brian Wilson.”  The track listed here, “Jane,” is actually from the guys’ second release, 1994’s Maybe You Should Drive.   It wasn’t until 1998 that this Canadian band really broke big in the USA, a result of constant touring and a smash hit in the form of the song “One Week” from BNL’s fourth album Stunt.  https://youtu.be/XDbl6l_lofQ


3. What Is Hip? – Tower Of Power.....No windup here—the song’s opening riffs set limbs to twitching from the outset.  This is five minutes of broiling funk from a tightly rehearsed and highly skilled set of musicians, including five horn players.  Oakland, California-based Tower of Power were in that swirl of late 1960s/early 1970s Bay-area bands, but it wasn’t until their third release—1973’s self-titled album—that the band really broke through to national consciousness.  In addition to the riveting workout listed here, the album also included the band’s highest-charting single “So Very Hard To Go.”  (Here is “What Is Hip?” https://youtu.be/Pfim3SKTNkw)


4. Little – Something Corporate.....I first came upon Something Corporate in the early 2000s through the playlist pleadings of my oldest daughter Moira (then a teen) who wanted to expose me to a band she’d begun championing to her local peer network.  The band had formed in Orange County, California in 1998 and the song listed here stems from their extended-play release entitled Audioboxer, which came out in 2001.  A year after that, the band was invited to jump aboard the Warped Tour, the successful primarily punk-fueled music fest that annually trekked to outdoor concert venues across the U.S., and so I saw them “live” at Post-Gazette Pavilion where I worked as general manager at the time.  Something Corporate (no longer active as a band) was fronted by pianist, chief songwriter and vocalist Andrew McMahon, and the unit had great pop sensibilities that they blended with melodic, roaring guitars and piano accents. https://youtu.be/R_1eOlTbyrE 


5. The Bringdown – Bob Schneider......Austin-based Schneider flies a bit under the radar but by all rights should be soaring and on everybody’s screens.  “The Bringdown”—from Schneider’s 2009 album Lovely Creatures—is a slinky, slightly-jazzy slide ‘n’ strut.  His vocals are appealing; his guitar accents well placed.  Schneider weaves together country, folk and rock, and couples a 1970s singer-songwriter feel with indie-alternative flourishes.  https://youtu.be/fdSOfYmemyU 


6. Always There – Ronnie Laws.....Ronnie Laws, the younger brother of jazz flautist Hubert Laws, didn’t follow his older sibling into the jazz world; instead, he delved into a more of a rhythm & blues-based approach to his instrument via the tenor saxophone.  Arguably the best Ronnie record is his 1975 debut album Pressure Sensitive, from which this track is taken.  “Always There” is a pleasing bit of pop-funk that’s a pleasant head-nodder; it is not too challenging, but at the same time it has a decent-enough distance from the smooth jazz that used to haunt elevators. https://youtu.be/TDZeimhYdEI


7. Four Leaf Clover – Abra Moore…..Here is a find for you: An Austin, Texas-based female singer-songwriter who writes great pop songs that are far from formulaic—she mixes styles, blending an alternative sensibility with folk-rock leanings, all topped off by that caress of a voice.  Her handiwork also usually reveals a perceptive touch of atmospheric production.  “Four Leaf Clover,” from Moore’s 1997 album Strangest Places, was a mini-hit in Midwest radio markets back in that year of release, and landed on VH-1 and MTV2 for a spell as well.  https://youtu.be/AgWCX3fJSi8


8. You – Nils Lofgren.....This is a tune from Lofgren’s 12th solo album released in 1992 entitled Crooked Line.  The song is a quick folkie shuffle with some fine Nils pickin’ and harmonies and harmonica supplied by Neil Young.  For those who need schoolin’ on Lofgren, he was—at the age of 17—hired by Young to play guitar and piano on the latter’s classic 1972 release After The Gold Rush.  Since 1984, Lofgren has been an integral part of Springsteen’s E Street Band for albums and tours.  https://youtu.be/YTf09_C611U  


9. Lather – Jefferson Airplane…..This San Francisco psychedelic rock band formed in 1965 and then dotted the festival landscape throughout the late ‘60s, appearing at Monterey Pop, Isle of Wight, Woodstock AND Altamont.  Grace Slick replaced original female lead singer Signe Toly Anderson in 1966 and the band subsequently soared to great success on the newly-birthed FM Radio and on AM radio's hit-song countdowns as well.  Overall their albums were spotty in terms of great material, but 1968’s Crown of Creation, from which this track is taken, is an exception.  The band featured two lead, occasionally intertwining singers, Grace Slick and Marty Balin, and the musician lineup was a powerhouse with Jorma Kaukonen on guitar and Jack Casady on rumbling bass.  Here on “Lather,” it is Grace in the vocal spotlight—and near the end, Jorma on something called the electric chicken (you’ll know it when you hear it).  https://youtu.be/3VYDBZzM-g0


10. Portions For Foxes – Rilo Kiley.....Alt queen Jenny Lewis and fellow musician Blake Sennett formed the band Rilo Kiley in Los Angeles in 1998, and combined a lot of influences to craft a sound dappled with folk, country music, torch songs, alternative and pop.  The song “Portion For Foxes” stems from the group’s third album entitled More Adventurous (2004).  Lewis started out her pursuit of the arts in acting—in pre-teen-and-teen guest stints in television shows and in a few films—but graduated to musical performer full-time with the advent of Rilo Kiley.  https://youtu.be/Hn7Ldn7liGU





Posted 1/12/20.....

A variety mix of ten songs that take you into classical-meets-jazz, dreamy pop, folk-flavored pieces, ‘80s electronica and more…

1. Avenging Annie – Andy Pratt.....Boston-born Pratt was a singer/songwriter and Harvard English grad whose voice was a bit unusual, and whose songs were off kilter and wildly fascinating; he may have been the male Fiona Apple of his time in terms of talent, audacity, and idiosyncrasy.  In the fertile period of the early 1970s this self-titled, second album by Pratt was a real find, and the absolute gem was the lead-off track “Avenging Annie,” a song reportedly based on Woody Guthrie’s “Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd” and featuring an amazing lead vocal of astonishing range, sung by Pratt in the first-person character narrative of a woman outlaw.  The artist toured a bit in support of this album and “Avenging Annie” snuck onto the Billboard Magazine Hot One Hundred charts, but the Pratt fall was coming—his record label dropped him, and though he continued off and on recording elsewhere, he never again broke through to the masses nor topped this 1973 artistic achievement.  https://youtu.be/DZI-DraC0o4    


2. (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes – Elvis Costello.....Just before the year 1978 hit and a number of “new wave” artists like The Police, The Cars, Devo and Dire Straits emerged on record, there appeared in the USA’s record store bins a checkerboard album cover with a Buddy Holly-lookin’ Brit in the center named Elvis Costello.  Musicasaurus.com’s elder community will remember dropping the needle on side two of Costello’s debut My Aim Is True, where cymbals crashed, guitars chimed, and an edgy pop vocal erupted with the words “Oh I used to be disgusted / Now I try to be amused. / But since their wings have got rusted / you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes.”  Costello’s been a mainstay of cool ever since; from his early punkish snarling to becoming Diana Krall’s darling, the guy is simply an abundant, tireless talent.  https://youtu.be/DMRM2AWzAXU 


3. Stacy – Chico Hamilton.....I remember a few years back snaring this 1973 release, Hamilton’s The Master, via a single seller on Amazon located in Japan. Surfing that night it was the only place I could find this largely out-of-print compact disc of jazz drummer Chico Hamilton playing not with a raft of peer musicians, but instead with five young pups from a rock band—Little Feat’s Lowell George, Paul Barrere, Kenny Gradney, Bill Payne and Sam Clayton.  I am not sure how Hamilton—born in 1921 and schooled in Duke Ellington, Count Basie and others of that ilk—ever latched onto Little Feat, but the latter brought a nice bit of funk, R & B feel, and fusion to the recording.  “Stacy” has a great mid-tempo groove aided especially by George’s sinewy slide guitar and Payne’s fluid keyboards.  The track may not be a masterwork, but it’s certainly a feat of accomplishment.  https://youtu.be/R_sNJC7XrO4


4. Ain’t No Rules – Farewell Milwaukee.....Musicasaurus.com reader and performing arts venue operator Bob Klaus from North Carolina first turned me on to Farewell Milwaukee, who have been on the Minneapolis music scene since 2008. Their music has been described by one critic as “folk rock with a head and a tail”—not exactly sure what that means, but I’m going to guess that it points to their willingness and ability to blend soft-rock, folk and a hint of country in their overall approach to songwriting and execution.  On the band’s website it reveals they have released five albums since 2009, and one can sample tunes from all of them at https://www.farewellmilwaukee.com/music.  Or if you just want to YouTube Musicasaurus.com’s current favorite, it is the song “Ain’t No Rules” from 2011’s When It Sinks In:  https://youtu.be/9LtphJjNieE 


5. Corfu – Claus Ogerman & Michael Brecker…..Ogerman was born in Germany in 1930 and at the age of 29 moved to the U.S. where he blossomed into a ceaseless arranger, composer and conductor.  Through the years he’s had his fingerprints on classic albums like the Sinatra-with-Antonio Carlos Jobim collaborations in the 1960s, George Benson’s immensely popular Breezin’ album (1976), and Diana Krall’s The Look Of Love (2001).  He also worked on countless arrangements for a multitude of artists’ recordings on the Verve and CTI jazz labels.  On his own, he has released a few albums of his original compositions which strive to marry the formidable force of jazz with a full classical music orchestra.  One of these successes is “Corfu,” a track from a 1991 album entitled Claus Ogerman Featuring Michael Brecker, which is an almost eight-minute voyage with sweet, sensitive strings and a host of “A+” session players that populate the whole album.  The musicians include the co-featured primary artist Michael Brecker on tenor sax, Brecker brother Randy on trumpet, Abraham Laboriel, Sr. and Marcus Miller on bass, Robben Ford and Dean Parks on guitar, and Vinnie Colaiuta and Steve Gadd on drums.  https://youtu.be/r9srxfk1Ync


6. Tainted Love – Soft Cell.....In the early ‘80s British synth-pop duo Soft Cell took note of a huge club hit in the U.K., a song performed by American gospel-rooted soul singer Gloria Jones.  For their first album, 1981’s Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, the duo chose to approach this song with a complete ‘80s-style overhaul, messin’ with the tempo and nixin’ the traditional sounding guitars, bass, etc. in favor of just synths and rhythm machines.  Love or loathe the tune, it is a great ‘80s timepiece.  https://youtu.be/ZcyCQLewj10


7. Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It – Stars..... Canadian group Stars’ shining lights are the principal vocalists Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell.  Originally from Toronto, this indie rock-and-pop band migrated to New York City and then up into Montreal, where they reached the apex of the local indie scene upon the release of their debut album in 2001.  “Hold On...” is from the group’s sixth album The North (2012), and they’re still only simmering in this country in terms of cooking up massive popularity, but they are continuing to build up a loyal and lasting fan base.  https://youtu.be/2SYO6a6PaTs


8. Don’t Dream It’s Over – Crowded House.....New Zealander Neil Finn formed the band in 1985 after his former group Split Enz dissolved, fomented by the departure of his brother Tim.  The new group then migrated to Los Angeles for the purpose of label shopping, and ended up cultivating a sweet and sophisticated pop sound for growing audiences in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  Interestingly, their 1986 self-titled Capitol Records debut (from which this track is taken) came out of the stalls somewhat...stalled.  The band felt that Capitol was delivering insufficient promotion and attention, so they “worked it” themselves for the next six months straight, doing industry acoustic gigs, record store appearances, song sessions in key markets’ restaurants, and appearances on talk shows. After this barrage of self-promotion, the album climbed into the Top Forty charts, and “Don’t Dream It’s Over” became, eventually, an international hit.  https://youtu.be/H7UMRkp7m80


9. Had I Known You Better Then – Hall & Oates.....This song from 1973’s Abandoned Luncheonette album was side one/track two, and while never considered a Hall & Oates hit, it is pure pop that captures the essence of this Philly-bred blue-eyed soul duo.  It has those distinctly different yet eminently compatible lead voices, the weaving harmonies, and the sophisticated musicianship—a perfect blend of rock sensibilities and rhythm & blues.  This album also contained the classic song “She’s Gone” (side one/track four of this platter, if you’re waxing nostalgic) which as a pop single—re-released a couple of years after Abandoned Luncheonette had come out—broke the band into wider circles of acclaim and eventually boosted the album to platinum sales status.  https://youtu.be/YOHIe5fRKhc    


10. Home – Barenaked Ladies.....This sly, cerebral party band from Canada achieved a wave of USA fan fervor in the 1990s, as their constant touring and legendary live shows which featured the between-song wit and witticisms of frontmen Steven Page and Ed Robertson brought them converts galore.  Their career apex seemed to be 1998’s Stunt album which contained the radio hit “One Week,” but the band had sewed these seeds years before, with the aforementioned relentless touring and the releasing of cult-building compositions like “Brian Wilson” and “If I Had A $1,000,000.”  “Home” is a sweet, straight-ahead ballad from the Ladies’ seventh studio album Barenaked Ladies Are Me (2006).  https://youtu.be/8IK23JE8KFg





Posted 12/29/19.....

Here are ten tunes that tie to some of the classic album covers mentioned in the A DAY IN THE LIFE section of this website (the 12/29/19 post).  The first five songs are from there and the remaining ones have just been plucked from the wider universe of inspired, artistic album covers.  

1. Long Time Gone – Crosby, Stills & Nash…..from their self-titled debut released in 1969.....“Long Time Gone” is lyrically a lament about the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, and Crosby wrote the tune on the night RFK died.  This song also opens up the famed film Woodstock, playing behind the scenes of the furry freak-brother types who are building scaffolding and generally prepping Max Yasgur’s farmland for the imminent Three Days of Peace & Music.  “Long Time Gone” by the way is also the name of Crosby’s 1988 autobiography, a great tale of music, brotherhood, passion—and of course guns, drugs and jail.  Glad he’s still with us.  https://youtu.be/nS3l_TwPNRY


2. Tangled Up In Blue – Bob Dylan.....from the 1975 album Blood On The Tracks.....Back in ’75 my circle of friends (at college and on the homefront) were ravenous devourers of all types of new music.  Though Dylan loomed large with critics and the cognoscenti, some of us (due to the sheer volume of listening options) quite honestly lost sight of him in the early ‘70s until Blood On The Tracks was released to radio stations and record stores.  “Tangled Up In Blue” was the song that personally turned me around.  I didn’t start genuflecting at the turntable but the artist did creep more into my consciousness overall, and I stayed tuned to future efforts as well as dipped my ears earnestly backward to the artist’s earlier works.  https://youtu.be/QKcNyMBw818


3. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles.....the title track from the band’s 1967 game-changer.....This song is in fact the album’s two-minute opener which sets the stage for the wonders to come by seamlessly segueing into “With A Little Help From My Friends,” “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and so on.  McCartney is the lead barker on this particular track, enticing listeners along for the ride.  The chatter and cheers of an “audience” are prerecorded embellishments from the minds of the Fab Four and producer George Martin.  https://youtu.be/VtXl8xAPAtA


4. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking – The Rolling Stones.....from the group’s eleventh American release, 1971’s Sticky Fingers.....The album cover is a design from the mind of Andy Warhol, and the original release had a working zipper on the male model’s tight jeans.  “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” from that album is one of the Stones’ best grooves, over seven minutes long and featuring the sax appeal of Bobby Keys and the guitar work of newly full-fledged band member Mick Taylor; both of these musicians slay on the song’s exit jam.  https://youtu.be/Gz5mI6tqm_Q


5. Piece Of My Heart – Big Brother & The Holding Company.....from the band’s second album Cheap Thrills--the last with Janis Joplin--which hit record stores in 1968.....The original version of the tune was recorded by Aretha Franklin’s sister Erma in 1967, but it pervaded public consciousness on a much grander scale the following year with Joplin’s searing treatment aided by Big Brother's muscle.  The Cheap Thrills album cover was courtesy of underground comics artist Robert Crumb, and arguably it is the crème de la Crumb.  Originally supposed to be the record’s backside—bearing song titles and band member credits—it then reportedly was flipped to become the cover when the band’s original nude-photo-in-bed concept was nixed by nervous sorts at the label.  https://youtu.be/SCngPse1iiI


6. Time – Pink Floyd.....from the band’s eighth studio Dark Side Of The Moon, released in March of 1973.....For those of you who are stat-obsessed, Dark Side was on Billboard Magazine’s album sales chart in the “Top 200” for more than 14 consecutive years after its initial release and it has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.  According to Glenn Povey, author of Echoes: The Complete History of Pink Floyd (Mind Head Publishing, 2007), one in every fourteen people in the United States under the age of 50 is estimated to own, or to have owned, a copy.  Dark Side is truly the band’s masterwork, spilling its secrets without the slightest Floydian slip.  https://youtu.be/pgXozIma-Oc


7. Peaches En Regalia – Frank Zappa.....from the artist’s 1969 solo album Hot Rats.....The mother of all zippy, trippy, psychedelic-circus tunes, “Peaches En Regalia” is a fun and frenetic piece of jazz and classical fusion infused with a rock ‘n’ roll playfulness—and you can ruminate on that for a while or just call it indescribably delicious.  The album also sports one of the coolest album covers that ever came out of the ‘60s.  It is an infrared photo of Miss Christine of the L.A. groupie band The GTOs, rising up to eye level in an empty lily pond at an abandoned house somewhere in Beverly Hills.  https://youtu.be/t-uSUXw6ABU


8. Chelsea Morning – Joni Mitchell.....from her 1969 album Clouds.....Mitchell reportedly wrote this song while living in the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC and watching the morning sun roll in and through the stained-glass mobile hanging in her window.  The tune has been covered through the years by artists such as Fairport Convention, Jennifer Warnes, Judy Collins and Neil Diamond.  Also, Bill and Hillary Clinton were sufficiently inspired by Judy Collins’ 1969 version of the song to bestow half of its title upon their newborn daughter in 1980.  https://youtu.be/nWDyA4S-geg


9. Perfect World – Talking Heads....from the band’s sixth album Little Creatures (1985).....Alabama-born folk artist Howard Finster fed the Heads the cover artwork, and the music is typical Talking Heads with an occasional country music tinge to things.  The commercial radio stations of that era missed an opportunity here; “Perfect World” should have been a hit because it is accessible yet intelligent pop music.  Byrne even gives a vocal nod to John Lennon about 20 seconds into the song when he pulls a Beatlesque move—you’ll pick up on it.  https://youtu.be/y9dxOBzzJq0


10. Can’t Find My Way Home – Blind Faith.....from the band’s one and only album, the eponymous release that came out in 1969.....Fresh outta Cream, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker joined up with ex-Traffic member Steve Winwood and another Brit, bassist/violinist Ric Grech, to form Blind Faith in 1969.  The original cover of the album was a waist-up view of an eleven-year-old naked girl holding a silver winged aerospace-lookin’ thing.  The U.S. record company, fearing and experiencing some controversy, released the album with an alternative cover as well (this more traditional band photo approach).  “Can’t Find My Way Home” is the long-enduring classic from this record, with Winwood’s haunting vocal and deft percussive moves from Ginger Baker.  https://youtu.be/OU6iplEflzs





Posted 12/15/19.....

From 32 years ago…in 1987…ten songs that leapt out of their respective artist’s new albums and made their mark on musicaurus…

1.) If I Had A Boat – Lyle Lovett.....This charming mystical slice graced the album Pontiac,the second release from this Texan that twisted up his country roots and nourished them—and us—with folk, blues, swing and pop.  The song’s lyrics perhaps reflect a bit of his family horse ranch upbringing:  “And if I had a boat / I'd go out on the ocean / And if I had a pony / I'd ride him on my boat And we could all together Go out on the ocean /Me upon my pony on my boat”...A couple of parting trivia notes here, especially for those casual followers who don’t exactly covet Lovett: 1) This singer-songwriter had his film acting debut in director Robert Altman’s 1992 movie The Player...and 2) There was a 1993 merging of Lyle and The Smile.  In a surprise move, Lovett married actress Julia Roberts just 3 weeks after they had met.  The union lasted a mere 21 months; no children, but Lyle was indeed husband and fodder—the tabloids took him to a whole new level of fame.  Gotta Lovett.  https://youtu.be/TKKcNjvxhns


2.) Touch Of Grey – Grateful Dead.....This was the Dead’s moment in the sun, in terms of a song reaching the mainstream pop charts.  It was in fact the band’s only Top Forty hit, and it also served to sate the Deadheads since it essentially captured in a studio setting the real style and tone of the live concerts.  To those who spurn or ignore the Dead, this is the album to check out; in addition to “Touch of Grey,” In The Dark contains other scintillating selections like “When Push Comes To Shove,” “West L.A. Fadeaway” and “Black Muddy River”.  Garcia is in fine form here on guitar and vocals; this was also the time, however, when he was occasionally “goin’ down the road feelin’ bad”—and just 8 years further down the line, he died at the age of 53.  https://youtu.be/80USYpvvF1M


3.) Weak In The Presence Of Beauty – Alison Moyet.....British-born singer Moyet has a robust blues-worthy voice and started gaining fans with the band Yazoo (called “Yaz” in the USA) in the early 1980s.  The latter band may be remembered for one of their typical synth-driven songs which happened to make a few alt-rock playlists back then, “Only You”.  Moyet then moved on to a solo career in 1983, and her first decent stateside success came four years later with the release of 1987’s Raindancing album.  “Weak in the Presence of Beauty” from that particular record is a great 80s ballad that holds up very well, overwhelmingly due to the passion in the bluesy, ballsy delivery from Moyet.  https://youtu.be/e5oSrmYZZtM


4.) Cherry Bomb – John Mellencamp.....Indiana native Mellencamp headed to NYC at the age of 24 in an effort to break into the music business.  From an early age he was a real scrapper, and spent years in the somewhat torturous trenches of the music business with forced-upon-him “identity crises.”  His first manager insisted that Mellencamp go on record as Johnny Cougar (1976).  The artist then jettisoned “Johnny” to become John Cougar (1979-1982).  Then with growing success and the release of his 1983 album Uh-huh, Mellencamp felt confident enough to tack his real last name on the back of that Cougar, and finally four years later dropped the catty stance altogether.  1987’s The Lonesome Jubilee, from the newly rechristened John Mellencamp, is a clean-sounding, uncluttered and compelling mix of classic rock and Appalachian folk & country; the album leans heavily on a sprightly combination of fiddle, accordion and acoustic guitar—check it out!  https://youtu.be/8jsUAfDa_nA


5.) Kiss And Tell – Bryan Ferry.....Ferry might well be called the “Synthesizer Bunny” for his strong and consistent output of solo releases—especially during the 1970s, while helming his full-time band Roxy Music.  His solo work is characterized by his cool romantic croonings and a musical palette dominated by synthesizers, guitars and insistent bass—all nudging the listener toward the nearest dancefloor.  1987’s Bete Noire was co-produced by Madonna confederate Patrick Leonard, who also co-wrote a number of the tracks.  Also contributing to the record on select tracks: Guitarists David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) and Johnny Marr (The Smiths).  “Kiss and Tell” is an impossible-to-resist dance tune, but it’s not merely that—the song is slickly produced, churning and hypnotic, and masterfully straddles the line between dance pop and alternative.  https://youtu.be/ys9g6wNSesA


6.) Hysteria – Def Leppard.....British band Def Leppard formed in 1977, and wove into their sonic assault the musical styles of some of their mentors—T Rex, Queen, Mott The Hoople, Zeppelin, and other such masters then on the British scene.  The ingredients on their climb to success included timing (MTV was nascent, attentive, and loved the Lep); touring (in their homeland as well as in The States), and tutelage (for 1983’s Pyromania, and again for 1987’s Hysteria, these pop-metal thoroughbreds turned to a Mutt---Lange, that is).  Revered music producer Lange proved invaluable in helping to craft the mighty sonic sheen that is the hallmark of the two aforementioned albums.  Pop charts today don’t mean diddly-squat, of course, but back then Def Leppard crouched and sprang onto the USA Hit Lists, holding on tight for a string of six straight Top Twenty songs, all from Hysteria.  https://youtu.be/vUXJEoa1yR4


7.) Hey Jack Kerouac – 10,000 Maniacs.....The band formed in 1981 in Jamestown, New York, cobbled together by co-founders Natalie Merchant (vocals) and John Lombardo (guitar).  Their major-label debut on Elektra Records was released in 1985, and shortly thereafter Lombardo left the band.  Carrying on as a quintet, the group released another record in 1987—and this one was the nexus for Natalie and band.  In My Tribe had fine production from Peter Asher (who had already helmed popular albums by James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt) and the socially-driven songs on the album resonated with the group’s increasing fan base, especially those on college campuses.  Radio stations and MTV fully embraced this outing as well, and In My Tribe bounded up the Billboard Magazine pop charts and nestled there for well over a year...Two postscripts about fame, fortune and fate: 1) Natalie departed the band in 1993, embarking on a string of strong solo releases through the rest of that decade. The Maniacs who were left (would that have made it 9,999?) decided to soldier on with different personnel, one of whom was returning co-founder Lombardo...2) Another founding Maniacs member Robert Buck—lead guitarist and co-writer with Merchant of “Hey Jack Kerouac” and “What’s the Matter Here” from In My Tribe—passed away in 2000 at the age of 42.  https://youtu.be/mJXZFo3kTiY


8.) Just Like Heaven – The Cure.....British band The Cure formed in 1976, all ghoulish-lookin’ and goth-like; you should check out their early stuff (black lipstick optional).  Their first album came out in 1979, and they reigned over the British pop charts for years to come.  Their first real stateside success came with 1987’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, from which this track emanates (it was the band’s first Top Forty hit in the USA).  This period of the late 1980s turned out to be a pivotal stretch for the band.  They had pierced mainstream consciousness outside of the UK, become popular on the concert circuit, and proved inspirational to a new wave of similar-styled bands.  The ringing, rousing "Just Like Heaven" shows off the band's great blend of alternative & pop, and it's made to be played LOUD. https://youtu.be/Xmf5ct3rOSc


9.) Memphis In The Meantime – John Hiatt.....Hiatt’s first record came out in 1974, and this prolific singer/songwriter kept churning out albums to great acclaim from critics, yet he never seemed able to spark any momentum with the masses.  Though other artists covered his songs—Bonnie Raitt, Ronnie Milsap, Iggy Pop, Bob Dylan, and even Three Dog Night—Hiatt remained under the radar in terms of his own output all the way up to his 1987 release Bring The Family.  This VERY fine album was cut in just four days, and it features a quartet of seasoned players: Hiatt on guitar and vocals, Ry Cooder on lead guitar, Nick Lowe on bass, and Jim Keltner on drums.  There are a number of outstanding tracks on Bring The Family including the classic ballad “Have A Little Faith In Me,” but it’s “Memphis In The Meantime”—the album’s lead-off track—that is a full-on groove, blending rock ‘n’ roll with country swagger and a shot of rhythm & blues.  https://youtu.be/eaqH3HqhWls


10.) Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses.....Derailed by a bad Axl in their later years, Guns N’ Roses in the beginning was a band that mattered.  They first rolled out of Los Angeles slowly in 1985-1986, touring heavily and generating word-of-mouth and industry buzz.  Then the band fired up their debut album in 1987, Appetite For Destruction, and surprisingly it languished for almost a year.  MTV then added “Welcome To the Jungle” and on its heels “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” and this sent Guns a-blazing into massive popularity and notoriety (the latter due in equal parts to the raw, almost vicious hard rock of the album and the on-and-offstage antics of the band—in particular, lead singer Axl Rose).  “Sweet Child O’ Mine” especially paved the way to their firestorm of success; it had relentless MTV play, that killer riff from Slash, and Axl’s unique screech-and-howl approach that sounded so deliciously demented and liberating that you just knew they couldn’t be denied a riotous run-up to rock stardom.  https://youtu.be/BFKHBX7yhGc





Posted 12/1/19.....

A mix of songs from the 1970s...

1. I Met Him On A Sunday – Laura Nyro and LaBelle.....A gifted singer/songwriter and daughter of a jazz trumpeter, Nyro started writing songs at the age of eight.  In 1967 at the age of twenty she released her debut album More Than A New Discovery, which served to perk up other performers to her songwriting craft.  Her tunes filled the radio airwaves as covered by a host of others: “Stoney End” by Streisand, “Wedding Bell Blues” by the Fifth Dimension, “And When I Die” from Blood, Sweat & Tears, “Eli’s Comin’” by Three Dog Night, and more.....The short, sweet track “I Met Him On A Sunday” is from the 1971 album Gonna Take A Miracle that Nyro recorded with LaBelle (i.e., Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx, and Sarah Dash).  The album is an evocative masterpiece of Motown, rhythm & blues and Doo Wop, with LaBelle’s harmonies weaving in and around Nyro’s sailing soprano.  https://youtu.be/BhM7x3o75DQ


2. You and I – Dennis Wilson.....This is the Beach Boy that should have STAYED on the beach—he perished by drowning in 1983, after mixing alcohol with diving.  Wilson was one of the founding members of the group, and was the brother of band members Brian and Carl.  His one solo effort, Pacific Ocean Blue, was released to critical acclaim in 1977 and was out of print for a number of years before resurfacing in a deluxe Sony Legacy treatment in 2008.  The song “You and I” from the aforementioned album sounds like a Beach Boys tune, but better—the harmonies are superb (courtesy of brother Carl, fellow Beach Boy Bruce Johnston, and Dean Torrence of the surf duo Jan & Dean), yet it’s the lead vocal by Dennis which is especially captivating—rich, full-bodied, and very soulful.  https://youtu.be/2BgCvyCyqXg


3. Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers – Jeff Beck.....You don’t have to be a guitar zealot to love this track; you just have to allow yourself the time and space to sink into this almost-six-minute master class on wringing sweet sighs and war cries out of an earthbound instrument that plumbs the musical cosmos.  Beck is King, and this track (which he dedicated to Roy Buchanan) is from his 1975 jazz-rock masterpiece Blow By Blow.  If you have not experienced this song before, it is an eye (and ear) opener to the possibilities of making the soul sing through music; in this case, through a guitarist of unlimited gifts which fortunately for us he still shares with the world.  https://youtu.be/xiOPvOBd8IA


4. Broken English – Marianne Faithfull.....British-born Faithfull was well known in the 1960s as the longtime paramour of Mick Jagger, but in the States was better known for her 1964 pop-chart success “As Tears Go By.”  In the 1970s she split with Jagger and delved into drug use; in 1979 she surfaced in the music world once again with a bold new album entitled Broken English.  Her voice was an octave lower, but the praise couldn’t have been higher for this new direction; this turned out to be a great career jumpstart and a galvanic reemergence.  https://youtu.be/blH0DJ0pg-Q


5. Mellow Yellow – Herbie Mann (with Stephane Grappelli).....This swinging instrumental cover of Donovan’s late-1960s hit record hails from Mann’s 1974 album London Underground, a showcase album featuring British musicians teaming up with the musically adventurous Brooklyn-born jazz flautist.  The addition of Grappelli sumptuously sweetens this tune, and it hearkens back to the unique sound once performed by Grappelli and guitarist Django Reinhardt in Paris of the 1930s-1940s, and their Quintette du Hot Club de France.  https://youtu.be/qC_fxmkNvY0


6. Alchemy – Richard Lloyd.....This man’s talent and rock credentials are enough to give you the CBGBs.  Along with Tom Verlaine, Lloyd was a guitarist in the band Television, a staple in that New York City’s Bowery club that was both haven and incubator to the punk scene in the mid-late ‘70s (other fledgling bands that found a home there included Patti Smith, the Ramones, Blondie and Talking Heads).  Television split in 1978 and Lloyd—renowned for his angular, propulsive guitar style—moved on to a stop-and-start solo career beginning the very next year with the Elektra Records release Alchemy.  https://youtu.be/zxQlKMvpQmo


7. You’ve Got Me For Company – Martha Reeves.....Reeves launched a solo career after her few years of fame as leader of the Vandellas in the immensely popular stable of Motown performers in the 1960’s.  For her first self-titled solo album in 1974 she teamed up with lush producer Richard Perry (“lush” is a comment on his production style, not on his drinking habits) and birthed a great-sounding record which proves to be a fine showcase for Reeves’ soulful vocals.  The mid-tempo track listed here for the mix was co-written by Billy Preston; elsewhere on the record is a top-notch cover of Van Morrison’s “Wild Night.”  https://youtu.be/33hUgWH73gk


8. Room 335 – Larry Carlton.....Carlton first loped into the lobes of rock ‘n’ rollers’ consciousnesses as a session guitar player who cropped up on 1970s albums like Joni Mitchell’s Court & Spark, Linda Ronstadt’s Don’t Cry Now, Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall and others.  It was his blistering solo on Steely Dan’s “Daddy Don’t Live in That New York City No More” (Katy Lied; 1975) and especially his pickin’ for posterity on “Kid Charlemagne” (The Royal Scam;1976) that brought him wide acclaim in hero-worship circles.  “Room 335” (named after Carlton’s private recording studio near Burbank, California) is from his self-titled first major-label release that came out in 1978—and it exemplifies the fluid, rhythmic rock approach that Carlton cornered back then in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.  https://youtu.be/PeXIWyhB4F8


9. Lost In The Supermarket – The Clash.....London Calling (1979) was the third album from UK punk innovators The Clash, and it creatively leapt head and shoulders above their two preceding releases, cutting a punk-edged swath through reggae territory, rockabilly, hard rock, and even lounge jazz.  Politically charged, musically adventurous, and rebellious as hell, The Clash were often called “the only band that matters” (though this phrase actually started out as their record company’s suggested promotional slogan).  This particular London Calling track bears some cool anti-materialistic lyrics as well: “I’m all lost in the supermarket / I can no longer shop happily / I came in here for that special offer / A guaranteed personality.”  https://youtu.be/FwNVTYwFXS0


10. Young Blood – Rickie Lee Jones.....Jones’ self-titled first album in 1979 was a stirring and exhilarating debut.  Her unique vocal style and songwriting, reflecting a refreshing brew of folk, rhythm & blues and jazz, had everyone at Warner Brothers Records harboring closely held hopes that success would soon follow.  This album indeed was critically acclaimed and commercially successful, and on subsequent releases Jones followed her muse with little or no regard for expectations from fans or the record company—but that’s kinda what we hope for from artists. (p.s.  Check out “Night Train” from Jones’ debut album as well.  It’s a heart-melter and a thing of beauty.)  Here’s “Young Blood” https://youtu.be/GdKqICmMCvI





Posted 11/17/19.....

Girls! Girls! Girls!, a mix dedicated to women—and no, you won’t find the Mötley Crüe song of that same title in THIS mix.  The inspiration actually comes from a campy 1962 Elvis Presley movie of the same name.

1. Angie – The Rolling Stones.....This song is from Goats Head Soup, the Stones’ album chronologically sandwiched between the band’s Exile On Main Street (1972) and It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (1974).  The Stones’ album output by 1973 was staggering (a word which we could also apply to Keith Richards during that timeframe).  1973 was the tenth year in a row that the band had released at least an album a year, beginning with their 1964 debut with the teen-titillating title of The Rolling Stones (England’s Newest Hit Makers).  Goats Head Soup is a fairly dark record overall with songs like “Dancing With Mr. D” and “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)” but the beautiful “Angie” was on every FM radio playlist back then and stands as one of the Stones’ best bittersweet ballads.  https://youtu.be/aVLBF-UKevY


2. Amie – Damien Rice.....This track is one of the simple yet sweeping tunes from Irishman Rice’s 2003 debut album O, which is a masterful work among the multitude of folk singer-songwriter releases.  Rice’s formula is emotionally stirring—voice & acoustic guitar gently nudging these tunes along, with sensitive orchestration that’s in a word “swell,” pulling you along by the heartstrings.  Irish singer/songwriter Lisa Hannigan joins Rice as vocal partner on some of the other fine songs on this album.  https://youtu.be/ibUpX-mZayQ


3. Sandy...official title: Fourth of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) – Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band.....In 1973 Springsteen released his second album The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle which was sweeping in its ambition and evocative as hell.  There was poetry and pageantry in both the suite-like song arrangements and the band’s execution of Springsteen’s vision.  His vocals alternately hushed and then growl-yowl in the style of Van Morrison, Springsteen also lyrically captured the themes of life on the city streets of dreams.  Springsteen’s whispered, impassioned plea to Sandy is that she join him in leaving this place where “this pier lights our carnival life forever”, and eventually he confesses “For me, this boardwalk life is through / You ought to quit this scene too”... https://youtu.be/EiGfB0QBTV4


4. Christina – Patty Griffin.....With her alto and her alternative bent, Griffin has a song style that is pretty and pretty forceful.  She played around Boston in the mid-1990s and her unadorned demo became her debut record on A&M in 1996 followed by Flaming Red, a more fleshed-out, mesmerizing album released in 1998.  “Christina” comes from this great collection of tunes from Flaming Red, which also includes the track “One Big Love,” subsequently recorded by Emmylou Harris.  Griffin is noteworthy as well for having joined Robert Plant’s Band of Joy in 2010 as a singer and guitarist for the resulting album and tour.  https://youtu.be/G0VuRV1fSFo


5. Cecilia – Simon & Garfunkel.....Proof of the theory of evolution can be found in the seven-year journey of Simon & Garfunkel through the 1960s.  In the 1964-1970 time span this duo morphed from their simple Everly Brothers-inspired folk through the full flowering of folk-rock to their fully realized ambitions that were ultimately pressed to wax including the classic Bridge Over Troubled Water album released in 1970.  In addition to “Cecilia” and the grand title song, Bridge includes the classic “The Boxer.”  https://youtu.be/Ftgk_tkU-eY


6. Dolores – Freedy Johnston.....Kansas-born singer/songwriter Johnson had a well-deserved brush with fame in the early-mid 1990s with some highly regarded albums that were critics’ and fans’ favorites.  With some concentrated FM airplay on adult alternative stations at the time, Johnston pervaded public consciousness with tunes from his 1994 album A Perfect World like “Bad Reputation” (not the Joan Jett song) and the track listed here.  A witty, insightful writer and style blender who clawed out his own unique voice, alt-folk rocker Johnston is one that deserved more than the Warholian fifteen minutes he was accorded.  https://youtu.be/SBUOt6A3WMs


7. Michelle – The Beatles.....Arguably 1965’s Rubber Soul album was the one that first fully mined the unique talent confluence that was Lennon, McCartney and Martin (as in George Martin, their hands-on producer at Abbey Road Studios).  "Michelle" was mostly McCartney’s, the song with the French feel that was influenced, says Sir Paul, by the guitar style of Chet Atkins.  This tune from Rubber Soul won the Grammy Award for Song of The Year in 1966—the first win for the Beatles in that category—beating out four other songs in a move that may have signaled a bit of the changing of the guard: “Michelle” swept to the side the other more mainstream 1966 throne contenders "Born Free," "The Impossible Dream," "Somewhere My Love" and "Strangers in the Night.”  https://youtu.be/WoBLi5eE-wY


8. Evangeline – The Band with Emmylou Harris.....This song is from the soundtrack to The Last Waltz, the farewell concert by The Band filmed on Thanksgiving Day, November 25th, 1976 at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom.  Two songs from the movie—The Band with The Staple Singers on “The Weight,” and The Band with Emmylou Harris performing “Evangeline”—were actually filmed after the concert on a soundstage at M-G-M Studios in Culver City.  According to The Last Waltz’s CD soundtrack notes, Harris had been invited to participate in the Thanksgiving Winterland concert but was unavailable due to a touring conflict.  “At M-G-M,” the liner notes continue, “Harris shimmered like an Appalachian angel in an ice-blue chorister’s gown, her voice radiating chastity and sensuality in equal measure.”  The performance of “Evangeline” is a highlight of the film (lo, there are many) and thankfully the song lives on as well in the soundtrack’s CD boxed set which was released along with the DVD in 2002.  https://youtu.be/HYXv8uQbzA8


9. Lola – The Kinks.....The early 1960s British Invasion brought the Kinks’ music to America and the first big hit off their 1964 self-titled debut album was “You Really Got Me.”  As that song more than suggests, the band could really come up with some killer chords and memorable rock riffs which they certainly repeated here with “Lola,” a song from the band’s 1970 release Lola Versus Powerman and The Money-Go-Round, Part One.  Yes, this song is pretty Kinky; it’s the story of a man who meets a transvestite in a Soho club, and at first encounter he wonders aloud “Well I’m not dumb but I can’t understand / Why she walked like a woman and talked like a man / Oh my Lola.”  Besides bearing one of the most famous opening riffs in Rock ‘n’ Roll, the song was also included in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and—perhaps the ultimate accolade—Weird Al Yankovic paid tribute to it on his 1985 album Dare To Be Stupid, by way of the song “Yoda” (“y-o-d-a, Yoda; yo yo yo yo Yoda”).  https://youtu.be/ZDxwAyjKKls


10. Angelene – PJ Harvey.....British born Polly Jean Harvey released a string of idiosyncratic, challenging alternative-rock records throughout the 1990s, with intelligent not always cogent lyrics and—earlier in the ‘90s—an off-beat theatrical approach to performing.  Her third album, 1995’s To Bring You My Love, is the one that brought her some significant Stateside buzz with the help of a key track (“Down By The Water”) that resonated on college radio and MTV.  Three years later Harvey released Is This Desire?, the album from which “Angelene” is taken.  https://youtu.be/hsuV75k0lig





Posted 11/3/19.....

Various Artists’ Mix.....Before the advent of iTunes, Musicasaurus.com was still putting playlists together for burning onto CDs, and this one hails from September 2000.  It’s got the blues, new wave, folk, R & B, and I remember it well; it was a mishmash, and I was making a splash, ‘long about a Saturday night.

1. Love Is Stronger Than Pride – Herbie Hancock.....from the 1996 album The New Standard.....Jazz keyboardist Hancock was early on a Miles Davis disciple (1963-1968) and continues to be musically adventurous to this day.  Like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, Hancock is a pioneering spirit who pushes boundaries, blends genres, and occasionally courts collaborators in the process.  On The New Standard, Hancock offers a mixed bag of signature rock and pop tunes that he pries apart, injects with pure jazz, and then reassembles for his smokin’ band to tackle.  The players:  Hancock on acoustic piano, Michael Brecker on saxes, John Scofield on guitar, Dave Holland on bass, Don Alias on percussion, and Jack DeJohnette on drums.  The songs include Don Henley’s “New York Minute,” Stevie Wonder’s “You’ve Got It Bad Girl,” Peter Gabriel’s “Mercy Street,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair,” Nirvana’s “All Apologies”, and the best of the lot, Sade’s “Love Is Stronger Than Pride.”  https://youtu.be/66twZeBB1r8


2. Making Contact – Bruce Cockburn.....from the 1984 album Stealing Fire.....I became aware of this Canadian folkie in the late ‘70s through an album called Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaws, and songs like “Creation Dream” and the modest U.S. hit “Wondering Where The Lions Are.”  But it was Stealing Fire that gained Cockburn more widespread attention due to his politics, with songs like “If I Had A Rocket Launcher” (I know the title sounds like one-upmanship of “If I Had A Hammer,” but it is about the plight of Guatemalan refugees in Mexico).  The album is consistently fine, and includes less politically overt tunes like “Peggy’s Kitchen Wall” and the track listed here for this mix.  https://youtu.be/LlUhsPMa5BQ


3. Trouble Man – Buddy Guy.....from the 1993 album Feels Like Rain.....Louisiana-born Guy moved to Chicago in 1957 and made his early mark as a guitarist for Muddy Waters, and then he began a stretch of recording his own albums for the Chess record label.  Though deep blues aficionados have always known about the guy, his popularity eventually widened from constant touring but also from his move to Silvertone Records in the early ‘90s.  On these early Silvertone releases some of his idol-worshiping musician friends began jumping aboard to collaborate.  Damn Right, I’ve Got The Blues (1991) included Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits on select tracks, and 1993’s Feels Like Rain—from which “Trouble Man” is taken—featured guests like John Mayall, Travis Tritt, Bonnie Raitt, and Paul Rodgers (ex-Free and Bad Company).  I’m a little hazy on the following personal recollection, but I swear I saw Guy in the very late 1970s in McKees Rocks, PA (just outside of Pittsburgh) in a club called Mancini’s Lounge.  The memory is of Guy leaving the stage and—courtesy of a longgggg guitar cord—jumping up on the barkeep’s counter and strutting the entire length of it, peeling off hair-raising riffs left and right.  Damn right, I loved those blues.  https://youtu.be/a1-HqFoAfUI


4. How Could You Want Him (When You Know You Could Have Me) – Spin Doctors.....from the band’s 1991 release Pocket Full Of Kryptonite.....A pop-savvy jam band who toured incessantly in the early ‘90s to build its fan base, the Doctors basked in well-earned success but only a full year after the album’s release, when there was a sort of “good fortune cosmic convergence”—MTV was on ‘em, radio was picking up tracks, they played on SNL in late ’92, and then they made the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in early ’93.  I worked at the time at Star Lake Amphitheater in Pittsburgh and remember having to convince their booking agent that the time was ripe for a play at our 23,000-capacity outdoor venue.  He rolled the dice with us, and the June ’93 headlining gig at Star Lake pulled in over 15,000 fans.  The album has a lot of treats like “Two Princes” and “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong,” but it is the track listed here that I found myself spinning quite a bit.  https://youtu.be/HOGBcYN1Hu4


5. Sweetest Decline – Beth Orton.....from Central Reservation (1999).....Through WYEP, the public-supported AAA (adult album alternative) station here in Pittsburgh, I learned of Beth Orton at the time of this album’s release.  Early on, her formative musical experiences revolved around William Orbit, a fellow Brit and ambient music/electronica artist and eventual Madonna producer.  With the release of her second album Central Reservation, Orton eased up on the electronica and put the peddle down on pop, folk and jazz, all anchored by her evocative, mellifluous vocals.  “Sweetest Decline” is very fine; she flutters and sails above a smooth, almost easy-listening instrumental blend of primarily piano and sensitively set-in-motion strings.  This is soothing, sensual stuff.  https://youtu.be/cwrqnSbh91Y


6. The Whole Town’s Laughing At Me – Teddy Pendergrass.....from the artist’s 1977 self-titled solo debut album.....Philadelphian Pendergrass was drumming with a doo-wop/early rock & roll band called The Cadillacs when Harold Melvin plucked him in 1970 to join him and his Blue Notes.  The latter band then found pop and rhythm & blues chart success starting in 1972 with the tune “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” (sung by Teddy, who had given up the sticks).  The artist then split from the Blue Notes in ’76 and a year later released his self-titled debut which oozed soul and self confidence—Teddy was ready.  He could have dubbed himself LL Cool Ted, for the ladies lapped him up and gave him sell-out concerts and incredible album and single sales for the next six years running.  A tragic car accident in 1982 left Pendergrass a quadriplegic, and though he continued to record, he didn’t appear live in concert anywhere until 1985’s Live Aid concert in Philly, reemerging—in his wheelchair—to sing Ashford & Simpson’s “Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand).”  The track included on this mix, “The Whole Town’s Laughing At Me,” is a pure delight with producer-team Gamble & Huff’s sweet arrangement, soulful back-up singers, and Pendergrass’ kinda-gravelly, exquisitely commanding vocal.  https://youtu.be/C8zJvwb0vwM


7. Migra – Santana.....from the 1999 album Supernatural.....Carlos Santana was once upon a time a true rock god though he looked a bit like the devil.  Check him out in the film Woodstock, where he is on-stage and garbed in a black shirt, leading the charge on a song entitled “Soul Sacrifice” (hmmm).  A few months after that in November of 1969, my friend’s big brother took us to see Janis Joplin at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena and the opening act was Santana.  He was even more devilish in appearance then, in black shirt and black leather pants, and once again was a sizzling soul stirrer through his lightning fast guitar runs.  Flash forward to his amazing commercial comeback thirty years later in the hands of Arista Record Company head Clive Davis.  The latter signed Santana to his label in 1999 and set about stocking the planned new album (the artist’s seventeenth) with guest stars in an obvious attempt to scale new commercial heights and sell a shitload of records—and it worked.  The album featured Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas on “Smooth,” The Product G&B on “Maria Maria,” Everlast on “Put Your Lights On,” and Lauryn Hill and Eric Clapton on other selections.  The album did incredibly well and was a #1 top seller in ten countries including the U.S.  The track that holds up for me, though, is “Migra” which takes me back to my earlier days of wonderment over Carlos’ superb tone and his hellacious all-out attack.  https://youtu.be/LFDPqXlGxGE 


8. Ride The Wind To Me – Julie Miller.....from the artist’s 1999 album Broken Things.....Julie and Buddy Miller are an item, as they say, married since ’81 and part of the Nashville alt-country music scene.  Buddy is an unstoppable force, having played powerhouse guitar with the likes of Emmylou Harris (in her four-piece outfit Spyboy) and Robert Plant’s Band of Joy (which also featured Patty Griffin).  Julie started her solo recording career in 1990 on Christian label Myrrh, and then settled in with Hightone Records in 1997 for a few releases (some with Buddy).  “Ride The Wind To Me” is a bit Lucinda soundin’, but really more reminiscent of female folk-rocker Sam Phillips.  The album from which this track is taken features twelve tunes all written by Miller and it boasts some impressive contributors including husband Buddy, Patty Griffin, Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris.  https://youtu.be/H9Q4NHX7L7Y


9. 1880 Or So – Television.....from the band’s 1992 eponymous release.....Television was one of the bands that first formed in the punk explosion days of the mid-to-late 1970s, when the first wave of the New Wave rolled into the Manhattan NYC club CGBG—bands like The Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie and Patti Smith Group, and lesser lights but perfectly named punkers like The Dead Boys, Richard Hell & The Voidoids and The Cramps.  Television’s distinction was the two-guitar attack and made-for-punk vocal style of lead singer-songwriter Tom Verlaine.  The ace second guitarist in the band was the incendiary Richard Lloyd and the two were interweaving specialists.  None of this really translated into much commercial success for the band back in the punk heyday, but in 1992 the group reformed (some say because of the early ‘90s Seattle scene with Nirvana and the like) and issued this self-titled, admirable outing.  “1880 Or So” is simply enchanting, leavened with the spunk of punk, a mid-tempo “best example” of how deliciously this band could float along on intertwining guitars and Verlaine’s genre-appropriate vocals.  Infectious stuff.  https://youtu.be/bv1ntXQTe1M


10. Rock & Roll – Johnny Winter.....from the 1973 album Still Alive And Well.....The same year that his brother Edgar’s band had the smash instrumental pop hit “Frankenstein” Johnny released his Still Alive And Well album, aptly named as he had recently risen from the lows of heroin, having sought treatment and eventually then breaking on through to the other side.  The album was a supercharged victory lap, powered by great song selection (including the self-penned tune listed here) and Winter’s balls-out style of blues-infused rock.  In one of his Consumer Guide reviews, famed Village Voice critic Robert Christgau wrote about the record, “Winter will never be an especially personable singer, but I like what's he's putting out on this monkey-off-my-comeback: two late-Stones covers, plenty of slide, and a good helping of nasty.”  Winter, still active on the touring circuit in his later years, passed away in July 2014.  https://youtu.be/djksTMenRMg





Posted 10/20/19.....


I will rarely trot out a mix that is dedicated to just one artist, but there are certain singer-songwriters that deserve this approach. 

Some artists push on through the years bumping up against boundaries and welcoming change and new stirred passions while staying true to their art, beautifully giving voice to these inner compass swings.  Joni Mitchell is truly one of these.  The singer/songwriter turned 75 this year and if you’re maniacally devoted to Mitchell, you have to check out the all-star 75thbirthday tribute concert that aired in the past year on PBS and is also now available on DVD. For now, though, let’s go with the artist’s own recordings and luxuriate in these nineteen gems plucked from points along her path…


Both Sides Now (1969).....“Both Sides Now” is the bookend piece for this special Mitchell mix and this version is from her 1969 album Clouds (her second release in a long line of startling works that now spans 50 years).  The tune was a charting hit for fellow female troubadour Judy Collins in 1967, but this was the first recorded version by the singer-songwriter/composer.  It is spare and lovely, with just voice and acoustic guitar.  https://youtu.be/7m_t3_1vbX8


Chelsea Morning (1969).....Mitchell reportedly wrote this song while living in the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC and watching the morning sun roll in and through the stained-glass mobile hanging in her window.  Stemming from Mitchell’s album Clouds, the tunehas been covered through the years by artists such as Fairport Convention, Jennifer Warnes, Judy Collins and Neil Diamond.  Also, Bill and Hillary Clinton were sufficiently inspired by Judy Collins’ 1969 version of the song to bestow the neighborhood’s name upon their newborn daughter in 1980.  https://youtu.be/nWDyA4S-geg


Big Yellow Taxi (1970).....This is the song with the famous line “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot,” and there continues to be many occasions out there in our march toward progress where you can hear this line being uttered, or at least muttered.  Mitchell handled all vocals, piano and guitar on Ladies Of The Canyon, the album from which this track is taken (and incidentally, a cool cover version of this song was done by the Counting Crows and appears on their 2002 Hard Candy album).  https://youtu.be/NhxZ8ok3Z2o


The Circle Game (1970).....According to some notes on Mitchell’s website, this song was written in response to  her friend and fellow Canadian Neil Young, who had just penned an ode to childhood called “Sugar Mountain” which contained, among other observations, “You can’t be 20 on Sugar Mountain.”  Neil wrote the song because of turning 19 years old and not being allowed into a favorite local teeny-bopper club any longer.  Mitchell wrote her rites-of-passage answer to this to provide Neil and all twentysomethings a ray of hope that Life continues on, with new dreams replacing the old.  “The Circle Game” (from Ladies Of The Canyon) is a classic coming-of-age song and the background vocals were provided by the Lookout Mountain United Downstairs Choir (rumored to include Mitchell’s good friends Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young).  https://youtu.be/5NEkJhBHh54


Carey (1971).....Stephen Stills guests on guitar and bass on this song from the album Blue.  Mitchell reportedly based this song on her exploits on the isle of Crete in 1970, and her encounters with a cane-carrying chef in the hippie-like community that was nestled there in the village of Matala.  https://youtu.be/wfZJ6sHeA6k


River (1971).....With its opening lines about Christmastime, this ballad ended up being covered by a number of notable singers on their holiday releases, but it is a song for all seasons.  “River” comes from Blue and has been covered—at last count—by over 250 other performers including Bela Fleck, Sara Bareilles, Aimee Mann, Lea Michele, Travis, Bettie Serveert, Sarah McLachlan, James Taylor, and Renee Fleming.  One of Musicasaurus.com’s favorites: Dianne Reeves’ stellar and dreamy jazz-tinged version from her 1999 album Bridges.  https://youtu.be/F8MqF7xEGhs


You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio (1972).....Mitchell reportedly wrote this track for her album For The Roses when a record company type requested that she try and include a radio-friendly song.  Her tongue-in-cheek tune sailed onto the Billboard Magazine charts and hit the Top Forty, a first for Mitchell at that phase of her career.  https://youtu.be/8YVroYzNz60 


Blonde In The Bleachers (1972).....“The bands and the roadies / Lovin' 'em and leavin' 'em It's pleasure to try 'em / It's trouble to keep 'em”...This excellent but largely unheralded tune about the adoration of rock ‘n’ rollers and their lifestyles comes from Mitchell’s album For The Roses, which was an all-star affair including Tom Scott on woodwinds and reeds, Wilton Felder on bass, Russ Kunkel on drums, and contributions from Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, and master session guitarist James Burton.  https://youtu.be/I3sHVM0rX40


Free Man In Paris (1974).....This song from the album Court And Spark was written about a trip to Paris taken by Mitchell and music industry friend David Geffen in the early 1970s, and in it she yearns to be eternally walking down the Champs Elysées instead of back home dealing with her relatively newfound life as a pop star: “You know I'd go back there tomorrow / But for the work I've taken on / Stoking the star maker machinery / Behind the popular song”...This is, in fact, one of the artist’s most popular songs.  https://youtu.be/jQj6h8KpkiQ


Help Me (1974).....I was playing this song a lot back in my junior year at Penn State, deejaying on the college campus station WDFM.  “Help Me” is from Mitchell’s album Court And Spark, and the tune is this artist’s only Top Ten hit (not that she ever aspired to such).  The song was also rated by Rolling Stone magazine in one of their polls as # 282 on the list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Jazz fusion sax player Tom Scott and his L.A. Express were the backup band on Court And Spark,and that musically intuitive ensemble included Joe Sample on keyboards and Larry Carlton on electric guitar.  https://youtu.be/edUhlRxyGOY


Shades of Scarlett Conquering (1975).....Joni was gestating toward jazz and Third World music by 1975 (or at least incorporating these influences into her work). This particular track from that year’s The Hissing Of Summer Lawns release could be considered an album deep cut—not a radio hit, but a beautifully composed and flowing work buoyed by the sensitive playing of her excellent ensemble including Victor Feldman on vibes and electric piano and Larry Carlton on electric guitar.  https://youtu.be/-BcZCV8LQuI


Off Night Backstreet (1977)....This tune comes from Mitchell’s release Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, another innovative boundary pusher from this inspiring and ever aspiring artist.  Though this double album was uneven in its song selection—there were lean and tight successes but just as many wild excesses—there were tracks like the one listed here that were complex and rewarding, and a real joy to jump into headfirst.  The supporting musicians on “Off Night Backstreet” included J.D. Souther and Glenn Frey on quick-cameo harmony vocals on the choruses, and the gifted and galvanizing bass player Jaco Pastorius, whose spidery fingers and harmonics are blessedly all over this record.  https://youtu.be/Ewo2nXlGtiQ


In France They Kiss On Main Street (1980).....The studio version of this song hails from Mitchell’s 1975 album The Hissing Of Summer Lawns but the version listed here is live—and God gimme a high-five, this is incredible stuff.  In 1979 Mitchell toured in support of her just-released Mingus album and her assembled back-up band included Pat Metheny on electric guitar, Jaco Pastorius on electric bass, Lyle Mays on keyboards and Michael Brecker on saxophone.  This band was captured live on tape (and on video as well) at a Santa Barbara County Bowl performance in September 1979, and the audio results were released the following year as the double-live album Shadows And Light.  This album’s a powerful stew; a few of the songs, including the one listed here, call to mind the musical muscle and majesty of other live-in-concert career crowning achievements like the Allmans’ At Fillmore East.  https://youtu.be/89Z_hZarKP0


Snakes And Ladders (1988).....An uptempo tune that features Don Henley as co-vocalist, “Snakes And Ladders” is from Mitchell’s album Chalk Mark In A Rainstorm.  The song is a sonic treat with Mitchell layering on vocal harmonies that help propel the tune and Henley’s right there with her, trading off on the lead.  In a New York Times review of the album that same year, Stephen Holden said “The album extends Ms. Mitchell's longtime interest in developing pop studio collages that have dramatic content. The song ‘Snakes and Ladders’ is a densely textured musical play in which she and Mr. Henley portray ‘an airbrushed angel’ and ‘a young-fogie-financier’ parrying and flirting amid an aural maze of voices chanting fragmentary phrases that portray a couple clawing their way up the corporate ladder.”  https://youtu.be/DhHIO8gviwg 


My Secret Place (1988).....This song is a duet with Peter Gabriel from Mitchell’s Chalk Mark In A Rainstorm.  The duo shine in this intriguing and lovely, layered excursion. Commenting on the song in his 1988 Rolling Stone review of the album, J.D. Considine stated that it “uses its duet format and the similarities between her voice and Peter Gabriel's to illustrate the shifting confidences of shared intimacy, swapping lines or pulling back into separate verses as the balance within the relationship wobbles and shifts.”  What Considine didn’t point out about the track is the absolute ear-caressing beauty of this recorded work, resplendent in its layers and accents.  https://youtu.be/50tn9Es5ORU


Come in From The Cold (1991).....“When I thought life had some meaning / Then I thought I had some choice And I made some value judgments In a self-important voice But then absurdity came over me And I longed to lose control Oh all I ever wanted Was just to come in from the cold”...Mitchell here at the age of 48 weighs in on aging, love and long-held ideals, and the song is from her release Night Ride Home.  This album features at most four musicians per track, but it is also characteristically rich in production and atmospheric arrangement.  Mitchell plays acoustic guitar, billatron, and keyboards; Larry Klein’s on bass; the drummer is Vinnie Colaiuta and the percussionist is Alex Acuna.  https://youtu.be/pOfJ7S9f2LM


Nothing Can Be Done (1991).....Mitchell doesn’t usually feature guest vocalists in more than just a fleeting background scenario, but as she had done with Peter Gabriel and Don Henley for 1988’s Chalk Mark In A Rainstorm, she reached out to another simpatico male singer in 1991 to help boost the emotional impact of a key track for her album Night Ride Home.  “Nothing Can Be Done” features Mitchell’s own very fetching multi-tracked voice in a support role but also employs the complimentary vocals of David Baerwald, whose one main claim to mild fame was in 1986 with the duo David & David. Their album Boomtown yielded the somewhat dark, urban streets-themed slice of Hollywood life entitled “Welcome To The Boomtown” which snagged some considerable FM rock radio play that particular year.  https://youtu.be/cv7XACQeV2w


The Crazy Cries of Love (1998).....Mitchell spins a tale of healthy, romantic lust as two lovers find a place to connect that really frees them: “Every kiss was sweet and strong / Every touch was totally tandem / As the train come a-rumbling along / They sang a lover’s song of wild abandon...No paper thin walls, no folks above / No one else can hear / The crazy cries of love”...The song comes from Mitchell’s sixteenth studio album Taming The Tiger and once again, she aligns with incredible (and incredibly sympathetic) musicians to execute her vision.  On this luxurious jazz-inflected track Mitchell handles all vocals and plays guitar and keyboards; sidemen include Wayne Shorter (a founding member of Weather Report) on sax, ex-husband Larry Klein on bass, and Brian Blade on drums.  https://youtu.be/8b_7OqRx1b8


Both Sides Now (2000).....Thirty-one years after recording “Both Sides Now” for the first time on record, Mitchell at the age of 57 revisited and rerecorded the tune with a world of experience brought to bear.  Her voice here is husky, darker and deeper from the “miles of aisles” she’s traveled (and the ashtrays she’s filled) since 1969, and here she delves deeply from this new vantage point, adding only subtle swells of orchestration that dovetail and never distract.  The song comes from the album Both Sides Now which offers up orchestral versions of classic jazz songs plus two of Mitchell’s own.  This track is her masterpiece, and here it is especially poignant because of the passing of the years; the lyrics are unchanged, of course, but have gained far greater resonance.  If you are of a certain age and are indeed familiar with both versions, listen to them now back to back—it may make you weep.  https://youtu.be/7cBf0olE9Yc




Posted 10/6/19.....









1. Paint It Black – The Rolling Stones.....from the album Aftermath...This album was the Stones’ sixth American release and the first to be comprised of all original Jagger-Richards material; all previous releases sported at least 50% cover tunes including their tips of the hat to old blues masters and early rockers like Chuck Berry.  “Paint It Black” features some great drummer wattage from Charlie Watts and sinewy sitar from multi-instrumentalist band member Brian Jones.  https://youtu.be/b1uIM2nPocE


2. Sunshine Superman – Donovan.....from the album of the same name...The opening riffs of this quirky, semi-psychedelic love song kind of conjure up images of television’s Hullabaloo and Shindig go-go dancers.  The track is anchored by the earnestness of Scottish folk-pop singer Donovan, who trafficked largely in songs exhibiting childlike wonder and flower power.  https://youtu.be/YsX2FhBf9nY 


3. Devil With A Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly – Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels.....from the album Breakout...!!!...This truly soulful rasp ‘n’ roll white singer from Detroit sounds, in retrospect, like the love child of Bob Seger and James Brown.  Ryder and his Wheels rolled out some passionate, almost live-sounding classics over a couple-years period in the Sixties, including the song listed here (once a Springsteen favorite for his own concert encores) and others like “Jenny Take A Ride” and “Sock It To Me Baby.”  https://youtu.be/y1PE_YsSNkQ


4. Reach Out I’ll Be There – The Four Tops.....from the album Reach Out...This Motown production was a 1966 # 1 single in advance of this chockfull o’ hits collection which also contained “Standing In The Shadows Of Love” and “Bernadette.”  The original guys hung together for decades after the Sixties, and lead singer Levi Stubbs was the band’s baritone benchmark who also provided the voice for mean green plant Audrey in the 1986 soundtrack to the Frank Oz musical Little Shop Of Horrors.  https://youtu.be/rG1uh4CM_8Y


5. You Can’t Hurry Love – Supremes.....from the album Supremes A’ Go-Go...This was the girls’ first # 1 Pop album, largely a concept record that had the ladies covering a lot of their fellow Motown artists’ songs.  “You Can’t Hurry Love” was a hit written for the Supremes by the gifted Motown production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, but the album also featured covers of songs by The Four Tops, The Temptations, Martha Reeves And The Vandellas—and even Nancy Sinatra (“These Boots Are Made For Walkin’”) and The McCoys (“Hang On Sloopy”).  https://youtu.be/uZj032MNIx4


6. Cherry Cherry – Neil Diamond.....from the album The Feel of Neil Diamond...“Cherry, Cherry” became an established hit before Diamond pushed out his 1966 debut album, and he went on to an illustrious career of chart-topping records and sold-out concert appearances that lasted for decades.  Early on, Diamond was a songwriter in NYC’s famous Brill Building and he first tasted commercial success via his compositions covered by The Monkees—tunes like “I’m A Believer” and “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You.”  https://youtu.be/1nD7fYwnjK4


7. Hold On, I’m Comin’ – Sam & Dave.....from the album Hold On, I’m Comin’...This duo delivered gospel-fired soul music, and did so through the famous Stax studio and record label (Atlantic Records’ subsidiary based in Memphis, TN).  House musicians Booker T. and The M.G.’s and the Mar-Key Horns gave their soul support, and producers Isaac Hayes and David Porter were the songwriting team who fed them hit after eventual hit including “Soul Man,” “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby,” and “I Thank You."   https://youtu.be/Wizc2UC9s0A  


8. Daydream – Lovin’ Spoonful.....from the album of the same name...Back in the day, lead singer John Sebastian could really carry a tune; by the late ‘80s, however, judging from a show I caught, he should’ve leaned on Auto-tune.  Back in the mid-‘60s this blues and jug-band influenced group came together in New York City and in two years’ time amassed seven sizzlin’ chart-toppin’ hits including “Daydream” as well as “Summer In The City,” “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice,” and “Do You Believe In Magic.”  https://youtu.be/sP63Kl_sB5E


9. Sunny Afternoon – The Kinks.....from the album Face To Face...This was reportedly the first Kinks album to contain all original compositions by Ray Davies, chief pilot and tale spinner of the band.  It is kind of a deceptively simple “music hall” sing-along, but the subject matter, like The Beatles’ “Taxman,” centers on the onerous progressive tax situation in Britain at the time.  https://youtu.be/NA88UQXchf0


10. California Dreamin’ – The Mamas & The Papas.....from the album If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears...A signature Sixties song, summing up the Southern California sound and allure like no other, full of electrified folk and a dazzling blend of four voices...The band produced three albums and reigned for two full years with hit after hit, but there was dysfunction--including a Mama makin’ moves on the wrong Papa--and sadly, all that harmony became disharmony.  https://youtu.be/oU6uUEwZ8FM





Posted 9/22/19.....

1. Are You Down – Lucinda Williams…..Originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, Williams spent time in L.A. and Nashville as well, and from early on wasn’t the most prolific cranker-outer of albums.  She released two largely overlooked recordings in 1979 and 1980, and it wasn’t until 1988 that she birthed her third album, the self-titled Lucinda Williams.  This one was followed by 1992’s Sweet Old World and then 1998’s Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, the latter record the one that netted both critical praise and significant over-the-counter sales.  Three years after Car Wheels—which is still perhaps the best blend of this artist’s penchant for rock, blues, country and folk—Williams released the more downbeat and intimate album Essence.  It’s an album to sink into, though, especially with the five-and-a-half minute track “Are You Down,” which is a gorgeous slow ride of slinky, sultry blues...and nuance…and atmospheric organ work and guitar shadings…it’s all there.  Whoa.  https://youtu.be/EWRsTJZdaqk 


2. Time Stand Still – Rush.....Truth be told, I am not a huge Rush fan though I did see the 2009 buddy comedy I Love You, Man, and I would have gladly gone to that concert with Paul Rudd and Jason Segel.  What drew me initially to this tune was the chorus cameo by Aimee Mann, who adds a nice slice of harmony on top of Geddy Lee’s distinctive tenor.  With repeated listenings, I found a true integrity in the stops-pulled-out approach to this driving, rhythmic tune and the unabashedly honest lyrics about the fleeting nature of our lives…The song hails from the band’s twelfth studio album Hold Your Fire, released in 1987.  https://youtu.be/WtkWTh-nn9w


3. Black Violin – “Stereotypes”.....Black Violin is a contemporary duo of hip-hop artists from Florida who are classically trained on their instruments—Kev Marcus on violin and Wil B. on viola.  They have been merging beats & rhythms with classical music and making waves since 2004, and the song listed here is from their third album Stereotypes, their 2015 major label debut.  On October 13, 2017 as part of their Classical Boom tour the duo played the Byham Theater in Pittsburgh, and Post-Gazette reviewer Jeremy Reynolds said in a post-concert piece that their Pitt stop included two shows—a sold-out evening concert, and a matinee performance that day for school children.  About the latter, Reynolds wrote, “The matinee featured the music of Bruno Mars and Imagine Dragons alongside Bach and more.  Marcus performed on an electric violin, and both musicians were heavily amplified to mix with DJ SPS and their drummer Nat Stokes…The pair’s joy is infectious—they kept up a steady banter throughout the 90-minute performance, inviting the audience to take photos and videos, sing along and dance…The musicians spoke to the crowd about thinking outside the box and how classical music had provided them a means to see the world on their own terms.”  https://youtu.be/WYerKidQGcc


4. Dreams – Allman Brothers Band.....This classic Allmans tune was, for me, the highlight of their self-titled debut album which hit record stores in 1969. And damn it, just thinking back on that particular year when I was in high school irks me to no end.  Allow me to explain: One of my Butler (PA) Senior High School classmates Chris Romney reminded me a few years back that I was on the school’s concert committee in ‘69, and I was pestering the living shit out of our teacher-advisor to approve the booking of this brand new band called the Allman Brothers—for just $3,000.  To gain student support, I talked my way onto the morning public address system, and there gave an impassioned plea to the student body, saying things like “Ya know, this is NOT the Osmond Brothers we’re talking about here; it’s the AllmanBrothers.”  Ultimately the concert committee’s teacher-advisor nixed my idea, saying “Nobody knows who they are”—and we ended up with the Jagger instead.  https://youtu.be/ESDqkzZOQCo


5. Throw Down Your Weapons – Caleb…..Sometimes a songwriter brings forth a tune that ends up being the signature slice of an album because of the serendipitous convergence of songwriting + assembled musicians + the touch of a pop-savvy producer.  On this album, Caleb’s a star in his own right, with credits including bass, drums and drum programming, E-Bow, guitar, loops, organ, percussion, piano, electric sitar and synthesizer.  And a couple of his recording studio bandmates are notable as well—Gerry Leonard on guitar (session player, and Bowie guitarist on that artist’s Heathen and Reality tours) and Tony Levin (tall, bald, and a wonder on the electric bass, Chapman Stick and upright bass; also a longtime musical sidekick of Peter Gabriel)…Searching the internet, one can’t find too much on Caleb these days.  I believe he is still in his old haunts of New York City working somewhere in sound production, and trotting out occasional homemade solo efforts.  His one major-label bid for recognition—this album, 2001’s Fear of Success—sold poorly.  Unfortunately, it turns out he had nothing to fear.  https://youtu.be/kpFfAfIiKyQ


6. Dance Away – Roxy Music.....Manifesto, Roxy Music’s seventh album, came almost four years after the release of the band’s sixth one entitled Viva!.  Manifesto seemed to shed in large part some of the art rock influences of the earlier records, and the songs ferried more toward the lead singer’s penchant for soul-pop and disco-pop.  This track is percolating punk-drizzled pop at its best, with great guitar shadings by Phil Manzanera.  https://youtu.be/7lLcZPhTvFE


7. Half Moon – Blind Pilot…..A folk-pop unit from Portland, Oregon led by guitarist/singer-songwriter Israel Nebekes, Blind Pilot in a live setting really delivers; the songs come alive with a captivating combination of instruments including (but not limited to) acoustic guitar, upright bass, organ, vibes, dulcimer and banjo.  My late twenty-something daughter Moira and I stood riveted (no choice—general admission floor) at Mr. Small’s, a continuously busy little gem of a club in Pittsburgh, to see the band back in February of 2012.  This song comes from the band’s second album entitled We Are The Tide, released in 2011.  https://youtu.be/PfZKwjPjlW8


8. Be Still My Heart – Peter Bradley Adams…..There’s somethingabout this song…It’s a bit of country/pop that is quietly insistent and gets under your skin with its loping beauty.  I first discovered it on a compilation CD, the Nashville Indie Spotlight 2014, but I believe a slightly altered, slower version is available on an actual Peter Bradley Adams album.  I’m a fan of the former.  Adams has several things going for him here: An understated and breathy vocal style that really serves this particular song, and smart and luscious production on the tune which gives it a gossamer groove that is sweetly addictive.  https://youtu.be/kbjnF8gHGDU


9. Stéphane Grappelli – “Oriental Shuffle”.....Frenchman Grappelli (1908-1997) mustered a forty-year recording career out of his virtuosity from the mid-‘50s through the mid-‘90s.  To historians and fan-atics, Grappelli is revered most for his 1930s collaborations with Gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt who together founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France in 1934.  By the time the ‘70s and ‘80s rolled around, Grappelli had played on hundreds of recordings including those of Duke Ellington, Paul Simon, Oscar Peterson, David Grisman, Yo Yo Ma, and Toots Thielemans—even on a Pink Floyd record, 1975’s Wish You Were Here, where his handiwork is heard in the title track (but only in the 2011 Experience and Immersion editions of that album).  The track listed here, “Oriental Shuffle,” made its first recorded appearance on 1955’s Le Jazz Hot, a Grappelli and Reinhardt record.  The version that musicasaurus.com has chosen for you here is from 1980's Young Django album, and Grappelli is backed up by guitarists Larry Coryell and Philip Catherine, and bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen.  At a certain juncture Grappelli edges out the ensemble, and for the listener, this sweetens the senses like some celestial caress for the remaining two minutes of the tune.  https://youtu.be/BLEVbX8cDSM


10. Flamin’ Angel – David Mead…..Mead spent years in Nashville after his parents filled his childhood with moves throughout the southern states, and he was an early achiever in music, latching on to his first guitar at the age of 13.  His style is melodic and memorable, owing to influences like The Beatles but also The Police and Rufus Wainwright.  He has logged road miles in support of a number of artists through the years such as John Mayer, Fountains of Wayne, Joe Jackson and others.  Music publications like Mojo and Paste have touted his work, the former calling him “a major tunesmith” and the latter labeling him “one of the best solo crooners such Jeff Buckley.”  “Flamin’ Angel” is the lead-off track to his 2001 release on RCA Records, Mine And Yours.  https://youtu.be/W9PQbkXfk70





Posted 9/8/19.....

Odds are you may not be familiar with most, even all of these...which is a good thing.  Enjoy!

1. Blood And Roses – The Smithereens.....This is a hypnotic and head-bobbin’ example of The Smithereens’ sound, which has that 1980s punk-like swagger with enough rock-bottom melody, though, to leaven it.  The name of the group stems from cartoon character Yosemite Sam’s signature expression "Varmint, I'm a-gonna blow you to smithereens!"  The band has had a neat brush with fortuitous moments through its career—the album from which this track came, 1986’s Especially For You, was reportedly one of Kurt Cobain’s favorites; a cut from it landed on a Miami Vice episode and a track or two leapt onto MTV; and the band even appeared (as themselves) in the low-budget, schlocky Troma film Class of Nuke ‘Em High, playing during an indoor beach party scene.  https://youtu.be/VzSqsoCMl7g 


2. Out Of Time – Sam Phillips.....Sam (real first name: Leslie) Phillips is a singer/songwriter from Glendale, California who started her musical career in Christian music in 1984.  Her first secular release came in 1988 with the album The Indescribable Wow, from which this track is taken...Her voice has a tad of “sixties girl group” in it, and/or a touch of Cyndi Lauper, but her songwriting has depth, her lyrics have bite, and her arrangements and overall album production are first rate.  https://youtu.be/fyQ4GSkgsLo


3. The Cricket's Wicket – Billy Oskay and Mícheál Ó Domhnaill.....New Yorker Oskay and Irish guitarist Mícheál Ó Domhnaill met in 1983 and together crafted a blend of Irish, jazz and classical music.  They also probably then suffered the “New Age” music tag that was applied by critics to a wide swatch of meditative works that floated out to consumers beginning in the 1980s, with the rise—in some circles—of Windham Hill, the record label that scooped up a number of these easy-on-the-ears musicians & recordings.  Oskay and Ó Domhnaill, though, perfected a style that is harmonic and hypnotic, beating back criticism through their instrumental expertise and excellent patient pacing.  “The Cricket’s Wicket, from their 1984 album Nightnoise, is piano, violin, viola, acoustic guitar and harmonium—oh, and the cricket chirps in at the song’s conclusion.  This dreamy Celtic piece cries out for loud volume on a traditional stereo set-up—so ear budders, please dust off that system that probably lays fallow in your living room.  https://youtu.be/sjHG55c0H04


4. Don’t Misunderstand Me – The Rossington-Collins Band…..In October 1977 Lynyrd Skynyrd was flying to a show in Baton Rouge from Greenville, South Carolina and their charted Convair CV-240 crashed over Mississippi near the town of Gillsville.  From the ashes, four of the surviving members—Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Leon Wilkeson and Billy Powell—formed The Rossington-Collins Band in 1979 and released their first album Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere in 1980.  Not wanting to tread Skynyrd waters so that no one would consider this the band reborn, Rossington-Collins added the former .38-Special back-up singer Dale Krantz to the line-up.  Though the band powered through material that was similarly Southern charged, Krant’s vocals lent it an edge with a style and delivery that seemed to, at times, meld Janis Joplin and Cold Blood’s Lydia Pense.  On “Don’t Misunderstood Me,” vocals are shared between Krantz and singer/guitarist Barry Lee Harwood, an Atlanta-based musician who had contributed to a couple of Skynryd albums earlier on.  The song was a sort of a hit on FM radio stations nationwide, with Skynyrd fans embracing these phoenixes who had risen in their new band setting.  https://youtu.be/scnVJFp2ERs


5. God of Loss – Darlingside.....I’ve seen Darlingside three times in Pittsburgh in the last few years, twice in a club but first as part of Calliope’s alt-country/bluesgrass/folk series of shows at the prestigious Carnegie Lecture Hall which adjoins the Carnegie Museums of Art & Natural History.  Their music is hard to categorize; it’s indie-folk with wisps of classical, but includes other weavings as well.  These four Williams College alumni started out as a choral unit, but now play bass, violin, guitar, cello and kick drum while blending all four voices clustered around a single, self-standing microphone.  Mesmerizing stuff…Here, they were recorded live in 2014 by Audiotree, an entity who produces studio sessions and live-streaming concerts and more, and bills itself as “a multi-faceted artist discovery platform.”  The song hails from their 2015 album Birds Say.  https://youtu.be/bAtPeX6Xuxo


6. Directly From My Heart To You – The Mothers of Invention featuring Don "Sugarcane" Harris.....This was straight ahead blues-rock Zappa, integrated into the usual zany and expertly executed hodgepodge of other tunes on this album that sports a surreal, provocative album cover illustration by Neon Park.  Park was an American illustrator who is best known in the small but fervent and smug circle of Little Feat fans who treasure his album artwork on that band’s output through the ‘70s.  Harris, who also gigged with John Mayall, blues legend John Lee Hooker, and others, plays violin and sings on this gritty, tear-out-your-soul tune originally recorded and performed by Little Richard.  This mother of a version appears on the band's 1970 album Weasels Ripped My Flesh.  https://youtu.be/z6bCRqEA_NI


7. Kidding Ourselves – Stabilo…..This Canadian outfit got together in 1999 and produced some indie releases before embracing a larger label deal with record company EMI Canada.  I honestly forget how I was first exposed to the band’s music, but I was definitely hooked by a few songs from this 2006 release entitled Happiness and Disaster, which was their second album for EMI Canada—and as far as I know, their last release ever.  The band originally went by the name Stabilo Boss, which was a brand of highlighter that they reportedly used early on during the initial process of jotting down potential band names.  Success eluded them in the USA, but across Canada particularly in the middle of the 2000s Stabilo was embraced by radio stations and discerning fans who liked their pop music “smart.”  https://youtu.be/m47msn9s8pI


8. Sunny – The Electric Flag.....This song, from Bobby Hebb’s 1966 album of the same name, was a huge radio hit upon release that year.  Amazingly, it became a smash across three national radio formats--Pop, Rhythm & Blues, and Country & Western.  The tune’s since been covered by a number of leading artists—Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Wes Montgomery, The Four Seasons, Marvin Gaye and many others—but for my money it’s the “Sunny” as performed by The Electric Flag.  Drummer and vocalist Buddy Miles, supported by the stellar jazz, blues & soul musicians within this fine 1960s ensemble, injects the tune with unbridled passion that borders on a tour de force.  The Flag’s version comes from the band’s self-titled second album.  https://youtu.be/WVe7nDfbj5c


9. A House Is Not A Home – Stan Getz…..I have my father to thank for me getting into Getz.  Around my parent’s house when I was a wee one, our stereo console in the living room was littered with my mom’s 45 RPMs and show tune albums, but I eventually uncovered a few Ella Fitzgerald albums in the bottom of the bookcase that my father had stored there for safekeeping—and there were some Stan Getz records there as well.  It wasn’t until years later that I fully surrendered to the warm sound of this brilliant player.  “A House Is Not A Home” hails from Stan Getz’s album What The World Needs Now: Stan Getz Plays Bacharach and David.  The song was originally written for and recorded by Dionne Warwick for a film of the same name in 1964, but in this case please go with my suggestion for the sax man’s instrumental version—Getz no better than that.  https://youtu.be/2uQ4bYtJq3Y 


10. The Hard Way – James Hunter…..British musician and singer James Hunter was born in 1962, and in some way seems to be frozen in that time period.  On albums and in concert Hunter kicks out some powerful, polished performances, and some of it seems to hearken back to the pre-Beatles era of rhythm & blues music.  I was lucky enough to catch Hunter in Pittsburgh twice in the last handful of years, the first time as part of the free summer lineup of musical acts at South Park, and the most recent time at Moondog's, the small club in Blawnox, in June of this year.  Hunter and his tight ensemble are a revelation, if you like smooth, insistent soul, blues, and funk all intriguingly melded together…“The Hard Way” is the title track from Hunter’s fourth album, released in 2008.  https://youtu.be/Yyp6NqwaBcw





Posted 8/25/19.....

A variety mix with Celtic influences, a sensitive cover, some post-Traffic Winwood, some classic Band music, and the group with the e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y far from household name Hatfield & The North…

1. Don’t Fear Me Now – In Tua Nua.....This Irish ensemble, sounding a bit like an Emerald Isle 10,000 Maniacs, got their first break in the early ‘80s by signing on with U2’s record label Mother for a radio single.  Nothing much gelled commercially, though, until a few years later after personnel shifts and a signing with Virgin Records; still, the band never really made any kind of dent in the United States.  In the mid-to-late 1980s I was working at Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena, and In Tua Nua was an opening act on a major tour coming through town which then led me to their album The Long Acre.  The particular track listed here is from that 1988 release, and another you can check out on your own is called “The Innocent And The Honest Ones;" they are the picks of that litter.  https://youtu.be/z3geXWCxKY8


2. Running On Empty – Bob Schneider.....Tribute albums that feature a hodgepodge of artists all converging on one artist’s material is sometimes a risky endeavor—for the listener.  If you are a diehard fan of a certain musician or singer/songwriter, you find yourself at the outset scanning the titles and muttering to yourself, “They covered that song? I bet they f*ck it up.”  And sometimes unfortunately you’re right on.  Cover versions of an original artist’s material can often be by the numbers or just disappointingly flat, and more expansive interpretations—like all-out monkeying with the song structure—can be equally upsetting.  But I found a gem on the recent 2014 release Looking Into You: A Tribute To Jackson Browne.  Austin singer-songwriter Bob Schneider turns in a reflective reading of “Running On Empty,” and it is, in his hands, a ruminative ballad that accentuates the lyrics and the wistful beauty within.  https://youtu.be/KD84gZuNlhA


3. Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire.....If you’re looking to switch out a tune on your favorite rock anthems playlist and are looking for a more or less permanent fixture, this is it.  “Keep The Car Running” from the band’s 2007 album Neon Bible has the grandeur and the grit of the best alternative rock, and also evokes the spirit of Springsteen (not a leap to imagine this as one of the Boss’ works).  An apt description of the band, for those who haven’t delved deep or at all, comes from the New York Times’ Jon Pareles in a July 28, 2010 article that centered on their just-released album The Suburbs“The Arcade Fire’s songs, credited to the whole band but largely written by Mr. Butler and his wife, Régine Chassagne, mingle the punky and the symphonic, the cryptic and the heart-on-sleeve, the self-doubting and the anthemic, often with surging crescendos that make the tunes optimistic despite themselves.  It’s both a stomping rock band and a mini-orchestra, complete with string section, accordion or medieval hurdy-gurdy as needed.”  https://youtu.be/Jvrp2bM4FpE


4. Back In The High Life Again – Steve Winwood.....I remember back in the 1980s stewing in righteous indignation when I heard Winwood sold the use of one of his songs to a beer company for a TV commercial.  It wasn’t the tune picked for this mix, though Miller Brewing Company should have pounced on it.  The song sold to suds was actually “Don’t You Know What the Night Can Do?” from Winwood’s 1988 album Roll With It, and it was the artist’s tour sponsor Michelob who had snatched it up for on-air bastardization.  But back to “Back In The High Life Again:” The album from which it came, 1986’s Back In The High Life, was an artistic and commercial triumph for Winwood after years of his struggles to connect on a mass scale with the record-buying public.  The song is an uplifting pop-rock ballad with fine, understated harmony vocals from James Taylor and it is one of Winwood’s finest hours at the microphone.  https://youtu.be/jq40GsxIDBI


5. Situation – Jeff Beck Group.....Jeff Beck, one of the original Sixties guitar gods along with Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton, has continued to produce compelling works to this day, exploring new sonic directions and collaborations to keep him challenged and to keep us fixated, if not outright flabbergasted.  Through the decades, Beck has recorded full instrumental albums as well as anchored group efforts, veering from rock and jazz rock to edgy almost-metal—and then he’ll flex a slightly different musical muscle, switching gears as he did in 2010 to helm a tribute-concert recording session dedicated to Les Paul…Here on the album Rough And Ready from 1971, Beck’s in a fairly typical band setting of that era with guitar, keyboards, bassist, drummer and singer, but his wanderlust is discernible even in the brief but compelling solo turn he takes midway through the song.  Three years later he shed the band and produced what’s perhaps his magnum opus—1975’s all-instrumental jazz-rock masterpiece Blow By Blow.  https://youtu.be/YNxJiu6kirs


6. Painted Moon – The Silencers.....This choice for musicasaurus.com’s latest mix comes from the band’s 1987 debut A Letter From St. Paul.  Hailing from Scotland, The Silencers had Celtic and folk leanings, and punkish beginnings—two former members were with a late-‘70s/early ‘80s doomed-to-obscurity group called Fingerprintz.  The Silencers' “Painted Moon” was hit in the UK and spread beyond those borders to several other countries including the USA, where it became a cult audience favorite on some alternative-leaning radio stations and made a bit of a splash on MTV as well. Stylistically the band has been compared to their fellow nationals of the time, Big Country, The Proclaimers and Simple Minds.  https://youtu.be/G0Eiw5wY2ss


7. Heart of the Summertime – Charlie Mars.....Mississippi-born Mars is an alternative/pop singer-songwriter now in his mid-40s who has been slugging it out for the last twenty-plus years or so on the touring and indie label circuits.  “Heart Of The Summertime” is perfect summertime playlist fodder; it’s a lil bit funky and rootsy, but also pure pop.  The tune comes from Mars’ 2009 release Like A Bird, Like A Plane which was the first of his five albums to really start tongues wagging outside of the Southland.  The artist’s most recent recording (according to Wikipedia) appears to be Beach Town, which came out in 2018 on the Rockingham record label.  https://youtu.be/uBpWIW8iuuY


8. When I Paint My Masterpiece – The Band.....Dylan wrote this song, but The Band recorded it first.  1971’s Cahoots was the group’s fourth album (the one after Stage Fright and right before Rock Of Ages), and this is one of the standout tracks because of Levon Helm’s splendiferous pipes atop a fetching blend of mandolin and accordion.  Cahoots is generally regarded as a lot less than a masterpiece with respect to The Band’s whole catalogue; Robbie Robertson wrote most of the material and arguably only the track listed here and the album’s leadoff track “Life Is A Carnival” (written by Robertson, Helm and Rick Danko) are high praise worthy.  Dylan, by the way, ended up placing his version of “Masterpiece” on a compilation coaxed into life by his record company Columbia, Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Vol. II.  This 1971 collection of his bore some unreleased material in addition to choice cuts from albums past.  https://youtu.be/ahe-n6to3W4


9. Going Up to People and Tinkling – Hatfield & The North.....Hatfield hatched in Canterbury, England during that city’s first and most fertile period of improvisational and progressive rock in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.  The four original members of the group came together from other early-on progressive rock outfits such as Caravan and Gong, and “Tinkling” is a sprightly sprinkling of time signature shifts and stellar musicianship, representative of what this English outfit trafficked in, back in the day.  Confession: I really just love the song title, so maybe I’m not mature but this track sure the hell is.  It is short, celestial and sophisticated, and feels a bit like one of the passages from a Grateful Dead outer space jam except this is more keyboard led.  The tune hails from Hatfield & The North’s self-titled debut album that was released in 1974.  https://youtu.be/uGiew3hgE-o


10.  …If You See California… – Chris Robinson & The New Earth Mud.....This is an affront to the Crowes nation, I know, but musicasaurus.com really, really likes the Crowes reduced to Robinson (or at least his musical steps away from that band, when he gloms onto other musicians to do more of a solo thing).  “…If You See California…” is from Robinson and company’s 2004 release This Magnificent Distance, and this album reflects a greater range and more of a creative spirit than the Crowes’ feats.  Pretty much the whole album is resplendent with moments of shimmering and slow-churning psychedelic/folk music, rock ballads and poetic turns, captivating song arrangements and sparkling production.  https://youtu.be/nJhD0b-le-w





Posted 8/11/19.....

A variety mix featuring a couple of ‘80s acts, some Whiskeytown to let soak in, an R&B nugget from the soulful ‘70s and more…

1. The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades – Timbuk3.....If you HAVE to become a one-hit wonder, then may you be renowned for it eternally in a good light.  Back in 1986 Timbuk3—at the time a Madison, Wisconsin husband and wife AND musical union—came up with this lyrical, satirical pop culture nugget that appeared on their own release Greetings From Timbuk3 and subsequently in CD compilations, films and TV programs aplenty.  Sample lyrics:  “I study nuclear science, I love my classes / I got a crazy teacher who wears dark glasses / Things are going great, and they’re only getting better / I’m doing all right, getting good grades / The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades”.....and.....“I gotta job waiting for my graduation / Fifty thou a year will buy a lotta beer / Things are going great, and they’re only getting better / I’m doing all right, getting good grades / The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades.”  https://youtu.be/7C3FzjIIkEg


2. Easy Hearts – Whiskeytown.....Alt-country band Whiskeytown released their third album in 2001, their swansong, entitled Pneumonia.  The band’s internal driving force was singer-songwriter/guitarist Ryan Adams, and this last Whiskeytown record was a harbinger of his bold and idiosyncratic solo career to come.  Quite simply, “Easy Hearts” is a gorgeous and meditative masterpiece, aided immeasurably by Adams’ co-vocalist and fiddle player Caitlin Cary.  It is a thing of real beauty.  https://youtu.be/7A79RZ8Lr-c


3. After Midnight – Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders.....J.J. Cale wrote the song in 1966 but never recorded it for an album until his 1972 debut Naturally.  Clapton of course killed with it, including the song on his own solo debut album in 1970.  The version here, though, is from the early 1970s archives of Jerry Garcia and keyboardist Merl Saunders, who were quite fond of gigging and recording together and stretching out their selected songs into sinewy, jazz-tinged jams.  The album from which this version of “After Midnight” comes is entitled Well-Matched: The Best of Merl Saunders & Jerry Garcia (2006).  It is a sweet compilation of Saunders/Garcia material that also boasts multi-minute explorations of Dylan (“Positively 4th Street”, clocking in at 7:43), Smokey Robinson (“I Second That Emotion” / 9:45), and Jimmy Cliff (“The Harder They Come” / 6:22).  https://youtu.be/WNvhYmRKZCw


4. All Touch – Rough Trade.....Toronto-based vocalist Carol Pope and keyboard player/guitarist Kevan Staples formed a band in 1968, shifted personnel and redubbed themselves Rough Trade in 1974, and then achieved cross-Canada success starting in 1980 with the release of the song “High School Confidential.”  This tune, from their 1980 album Avoid Freud, was in its day quite controversial with its overt references to lesbian love.  The album For Those That Think Young followed that next year, containing another somewhat explicit song in “All Touch” which became a top radio hit outside of Canada when the once-delayed international release of the album finally happened.  The song hit modern rock stations in the States in late 1982/early 1983, and aided by an MTV video picked up much wider recognition.  Singer Pope was clearly the centerpiece of the band, looking like Grace Slick’s younger, bondage-garbed sister (judging from her concert getup), and “All Touch” was their forever frozen-in-time moment in the sun.  https://youtu.be/GN3NyK8gRQI


5. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight – Maria Muldaur.....The original version of this tune was written and performed by Dylan, and appeared on his eighth studio album John Wesley Harding (1967).  Muldaur’s cover here is actually from an album that is full of ‘em: In 2006 the singer released Heart Of Mine: Maria Muldaur Sings Loves Songs Of Bob Dylan, and throughout this album you can feel Muldaur’s jazz and blues passions percolate as she plies the songs of Bob.  Other songs on the record include “Buckets Of Rain,” “You’re Going To Make Me Lonesome When I Go,” and “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.” … This is a YouTube clip of the entire album, so for “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” go on over to the 36:54 mark and begin there.  https://youtu.be/aosYU_aWJ4A


6. By Way of Love's Express – Ashford & Simpson.....Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson were prolific ‘60s songwriters who really clicked in ’66 and scored with their #1 R& B hit song as written for Ray Charles, “Let’s Go Get Stoned.”  That same year they joined the Motown stable and up through 1973 churned out songs that became label classics including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “You’re All I Need to Get By” and “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” for Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, and “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” for Diana Ross.  The duo left Motown and signed as performing artists with Warner Brothers in 1973, were married in 1974, and spun out some solid soul and R&B albums for the next decade and a half, including 1977’s Send It from which this track is taken.  The song is an irresistible blend of rhythm & blues, soul, and pop.  https://youtu.be/qAzDyqVZdX8


7. On the Wing – Sea Level.....One has to take the time to scour through this Southern-style jazz-rock fusion band’s catalogue, but in there gems do reside.  Born out of the Allman Brothers Band’s initial breakup in 1976, Sea Level absorbed bassist Lamar Williams, drummer Jaimoe and keyboardist Chuck Leavell (the latter lent his name to the outfit, through a phonetic pun).  The personnel shifted a bit from album #1 in 1977 through album #5 in 1980, but consistent aural pleasures abound like the soaring instrumental plucked for this mix.  “On the Wing” is from the band’s On The Edge release from 1978.  https://youtu.be/-LefFQZOREU


8. New Coat Of Paint – Tom Waits.....Waits was in good form here on his second major-label release, 1974’s The Heart of Saturday Night.  A few of the tunes from the previous year’s debut album were showing up on other artists’ records (like The Eagles’ cover of “Ol’ 55”) and thus he was gaining a few more fans on top of the critical acclaim that he had garnered in most quarters.  Some critics didn’t like his approach, however.  Robert Christgau from the Village Voice reviewed this record and stated “...while nostalgia for past bohemias sure beats nostalgia for past wars, it’s still a drain and a drag.  I mean, there might be more coverable songs here if maudlin melodies didn’t merge with neon imagery in the spindrift dirge of the honky-tonk nicotine night.  Dig?”  Musicasaurus.com thinks this song and the title tune are standouts, though.  There is an art to lead-off lyrics like these from “New Coat of Paint:" “Let’s put a new coat of paint on this lonesome old town / Set ‘em up, we’ll be knockin’ em down. / You wear a dress, baby, and I’ll wear a tie. / We’ll laugh at that old bloodshot moon in that burgundy sky…”  https://youtu.be/p7Z-apC912Y


9. A Church Falling Down – Little Feat.....Though long ago Feat lost a founder, they never really floundered.  This musically diverse band (with a bedrock of rock & blues and New Orleans funk) disbanded after the death of Lowell George in 1979, but then reformed in 1987 and continue to this day (after some personnel shifts) to tour and record new material.  This year in fact, the band is celebrating its 50thanniversary…“A Church Falling Down” is from 2012’s Rooster Rag album, and is a contribution from guitarist and mandolin player Fred Tackett who jumped in Feat first in 1988.  https://youtu.be/Bhgf1jHyfoE


10. Searching for a Heart (live) – Warren Zevon.....There is a studio version of this song on Zevon’s 1991 album Mr. Bad Example, but here I went with Zevon’s solo-acoustic performance from 1993’s Learning To Flinch, his second and final live record.  Zevon peaked commercially in the late 1970s with “Werewolves Of London” (from 1978’s Excitable Boy) but all throughout his career he delivered wry, funny, insightful, pointed and poignant observations about Life.  In 2002 doctor-shy Zevon was suddenly diagnosed with inoperable cancer, and he opted not to take on the rigors of medical treatment.  Instead, he set about working on his final release The Wind, and invited longtime friends like Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty, Emmylou Harris and others to take part in the recording.  Also, on October 30, 2002 he said a very public goodbye to his close friend David Letterman by spending a full hour as Dave’s only guest on the Late Show (he’d been a frequent visitor since the program first aired in 1982).  Zevon performed some numbers and freely talked about his illness.  Letterman asked, “From your perspective now, do you know something about life and death that maybe I don’t know now?”  Zevon replied, “Not unless I know how much you’re supposed to enjoy every sandwich.”  Zevon passed away on September 7, 2003.  https://youtu.be/SF4yyvxNLyg





Posted 7/28/19.....


Thanks to my friend Rick for lending me a copy of a book of rock reflections entitled Never a Dull Moment: 1971 The Year That Rock Exploded by David Hepworth…

It gave me the impetus to pull ten of musicasaurus.com's favorite songs from some landmark albums released that year…

1. Feel Flows – Beach Boys.....By the latter half of the 1960s, the Beach Boys had shifted gears and surrendered their sand pails; no more preoccupation with cars, sun, surf and sand.  Experimentation then ruled the day in the band’s music and—unfortunately—in Brian’s bloodstream as well.  As Brian went on trips without ever leaving his house, brother Carl emerged as a strong bandleader and producer.  The lead-off song on the album Surf’s Up from 1971, “Feel Flows” has crystalline harmonies, lush production, and a reverse echo utilized in the recording of Carl’s lead vocal.  The song has a strong Sixties hypnotic “wash” to it and provides the listener with a pleasant aural rush, making me think Carl might have dipped into Brian’s chest of drawers for a little bit of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.  https://youtu.be/bp_8GKcNvdQ


2. Wailing Wall – Todd Rundgren.....Rundgren is a wizard (a true star) in the studio as well as a talented songwriter and performer—a real D.I.Y. kind of guy.  As a producer he’s birthed classics in the rock sphere including Stage Fright by The Band and Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell, and as a musician he’s pushed boundaries with his recorded works including 1971’s Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren, his second solo album. The 23-year-old Rundgren wrote and produced it, played all instruments (including guitar, mandolin, fiddle, piano, organ, clavinet, vibraphone and baritone sax), and sang all vocal parts (the latter pretty much amounts to layered magic).  https://youtu.be/o7ZMA_aIBf4


3. Hidden Treasure – Traffic.....This is the opening track from the band’s sixth album The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.  The album cover itself was die-cut; the top right corner and bottom left corner were sliced off diagonally, which aided the 3-D image of the cube on the cover.  The band didn’t cut any corners on the record, though.  The title tune ran over twelve minutes long, which deejays doubly loved—the song “Low Spark” is arguably the band’s magnum opus and early 70s FM stations embraced it for that reason, but the radio jocks also loved the fact they could hit the bathroom and be back in the chair in time for the next song.  The track listed here, “Hidden Treasure,” is a highmark of Traffic’s hallmark sound.  It is a mid-tempo groove with a beautifully-restrained vocal by Steve Winwood and leisurely paced & placed accents of percussion, acoustic guitar, and flute—a masterful blend of the band’s influences, including English folk, prog-rock and jazz.  https://youtu.be/PUntEk2wuLo


4. Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers.....Whither he goest, so do I.  Blessed with an authentic down-home style and a dynamic voice, Withers produced this smooth rhythm & blues classic as part of his debut album Just As I Am, which featured Stephen Stills on guitar work and Booker T. Jones as keyboardist, second guitarist, and album producer.  And just in case you’re a music stats freak, also know this: Withers sings the two words “I know” twenty-six times in succession in one part of the song, which is really some kind of record.  And it truly made it some kind of record.  https://youtu.be/5PeyzXvvdmw


5. I’m Eighteen – Alice Cooper.....From the album Love It To Death, the third album from Cooper and the one that brought him a much wider teen fan base based on the anthemic tune listed here.  1971 was also the year that Cooper’s shock-rock concert performances started to gain significant traction through word of mouth and the rock press, which consequently fueled more album sales.  The son of a preacher man, the theatrically innovative Cooper incorporated guillotines, straitjackets, and live boa constrictors into his riff-crunchin’ musical sets.  https://youtu.be/AZ1MdRgU7Hw


6. Move Over– Janis Joplin.....Catch Janis in any live situation—like in the concert film Festival Express, or on “Raise Your Hand” from the Tom Jones television variety show DVD collection—and you’ll witness a fireball of passion.  Hailing from Port Arthur, Texas, singer/songwriter Joplin first gained prominence in San Francisco’s Big Brother & The Holding Company before turning toward a solo career with other band mates.  The song “Move Over” is the lead-off track from her acclaimed album Pearl, which was released posthumously in 1971; Joplin had overdosed on October 4, 1970 at the age of 27, only sixteen days after Hendrix (also just 27) heard his train a comin’.  https://youtu.be/h51c50idSRM


7. Done Somebody Wrong (live) – Allman Brothers Band.....There is no finer live rock album than At Fillmore East, the double record from 1971.  “Done Somebody Wrong” cooks with Duane Allman’s wicked slide guitar out front and the band tightly coiled behind him.  At Fillmore East was the third record from the band and the last with the original line-up.  It featured their trademark two guitarists and double drummers, and showcased the band’s adventurous explorations of rock mixed with searing blues and propulsive hints of jazz.  This is one for the deserted island and/or the space station; timeless and essential.  https://youtu.be/CIZr1MQyOqo


8. Tupelo Honey – Van Morrison.....Van the Man was living in Woodstock, NY around the time he was writing songs for his 1971 album Tupelo Honey, but then he headed west to live in Marin County, California and there the record came to life.  It was the fifth solo album from this distinctive Irish singer-songwriter who found his calling in rhythm and blues laced with rock, country and jazz-inspired instrumentation.  Reportedly Dylan once remarked that the title song had always existed, and that Morrison was just the vessel through which it flowed.  A notable cast member in the recording of the album in San Francisco was Ronnie Montrose, a guitarist who quietly dazzled and shone on a number of the album’s songs and who then went on to front his own bands that eschewed sophistication for gritty rock—Montrose (1973-1977) featuring lead singer Sammy Hagar, and Gamma (1979-1983).  https://youtu.be/QGkQ4mPiyoU


9. Sam Stone – John Prine....Illinois-born Prine is a wry singer-songwriter who straddles folk and country, and his self-titled debut record came out in 1971.  The album includes the track listed here, a tale of a returning veteran caught up in drugs and addiction.  The most memorable line: “There’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes / Jesus Christ died for nothin’ I suppose”.  Two other Prine classics are on this album as well: “Angel From Montgomery” (since covered by everyone from Bonnie Raitt to the Dave Matthews Band) and—a song title to treasure—“Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore.” https://youtu.be/Yxgrl1yx8tg


10. Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey – Paul and Linda McCartney.....Ram was the second album released by McCartney after leaving the Beatles and before forming his new band Wings.  It contains some classic McCartney magic like “Monkberry Moon Delight” and “Heart Of The Country,” as well as the sweet and suite-like “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey.”  The latter tune almost seems like two different songs stitched together at the midway point, reminiscent of George Martin’s tinkering with song fragments and sequencing during the recording of the Abbey Road album—but I believe that wasn’t the case here.  One final note:  I never noticed before that the album cover’s backside had a picture of two beetles engaged in sexual intercourse; this is reportedly what McCartney felt the other Beatles were doing to him as the band teetered into final break-up.  https://youtu.be/8Y8fDsU0hX8





Posted 7/14/19.....

Get Your Kicks from Mix Sixty-Six...

1966 was the summer before the Summer of Love, before the true floodgates of the younger generation’s music opened up in full flower.  But the following dozen tunes from ‘66 signaled the shift to come and in many cases paved the way.  All twelve of these songs are under three minutes long, illustrating that this fertile mid-Sixties period produced quite a few bits of compressed artistic brilliance.

1. Sloop John B. (2:58) – The Beach Boys.....from the album Pet Sounds...This is classic early Beach Boys, a seafaring tale with wondrous harmonies where, just shy of the two-minute mark, high-throated Brian and Carl Wilson swoop in with angelic abandon.  The album from which it came—a landmark rock & pop record in the realm of composition, arrangement, and execution—was one that Paul McCartney cited as really raising the bar for him and his mates.  The Beatles then took up the gauntlet and produced Sgt. Pepper’s one year afterward.  https://youtu.be/nSAoEf1Ib58


2. 5D (Fifth Dimension) (2:33) – The Byrds.....from the album Fifth Dimension...Helmed by Rickenbacker rocker Roger McGuinn, the Byrds chimed in with their near-perfect blend of British Invasion and electrified American folk music in the mid 1960s.  This song in particular was daring in its day; it was released to radio stations as the first single from the album, and lyrically it dealt with the planes of perception and various levels of reality.  McGuinn has been quoted as denying it was a paean to drugs; he cites Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and a book by Don Landis entitled 1-2-3-4, More, More, More as his inspirations.  Regardless of the source or substance(s) the song is truly a milestone, sweeping and majestic, with soaring harmonies provided by Byrds band members David Crosby and Gene Clark.  https://youtu.be/l42vmO1LiK0


3. (We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet (2:10) – The Blues McGoos.....from the album Psychedelic Lollipop...This time-capsule tune has perfectly cheesy organ and Sixties-style psychedelic guitar work, all adding up to a rollicking, raucous one-hit wonder that radio stations played to death.  The Blues McGoos hailed from the Bronx and paid their dues in various Greenwich Village clubs throughout the early 60’s; this, their debut album, also contained a notable cover of the J.D. Loudermilk classic “Tobacco Road.”  https://youtu.be/6jNXRr2aINw


4. Homeward Bound (2:30) – Simon & Garfunkel.....from the album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme...This duo in the span of just six years (1964-1970) created a lot of lasting triumphs, including the song listed here.  The album from which it came was their third, and their first to reflect the duo’s full control in the studio.  For those of a certain age Parsley Sage was all the rage, a mainstay on turntables in college dorm rooms from sea to shining sea.  https://youtu.be/7z9wd9bS1FM


5. Last Train To Clarksville (2:44) – The Monkees.....from the album The Monkees...In a nutshell: American television magnates emulated the successful Beatles’ film “A Hard Day’s Night” with a concocted boy-band TV show in September 1966, and the rest is history...The Monkees’ self-titled first album, released a month after the TV program’s premiere, is still one of the most successful debut albums of all time. With Beatle-esque riffs and Micky Dolenz’s memorable lead vocal, “Last Train To Clarksville” is a nostalgic buff’s nirvana.  https://youtu.be/o4FIu4Xj16I


6. Gloria (2:34) – Shadows of Knight.....from the album Gloria...The original version of the song was done by Van Morrison while fronting the Northern Ireland band Them, but it was the USA’s Shadows of Knight from Chicago, Illinois that managed to blanket stateside AM Radio playlists with this blues-hued, garage-style rocker.  The band was very much in step with the sound of the British Invasion groups including The Stones and The Yardbirds. https://youtu.be/NdAezc-RX-o


7. Uptight (Everything’s Alright) (2:54) – Stevie Wonder.....from the album Up-Tight...Blind since shortly after birth, Wonder channeled his inner visions into a string of musical masterpieces beginning in 1962.  His first album on Motown’s Tamla label came out when Wonder was all of eleven years old, and he produced the track listed here—for his fifth studio recording Up-Tight—at the ripe old age of fifteen.  https://youtu.be/ZZK5tH7J_0g


8. Dirty Water (2:48) – The Standells.....from the album of the same name...The band was a one-hit wonder, but what a wondrous one-hitter they had.  An ode of sorts to Boston, Massachusetts, the song was a deliciously endearing, searing, semi-sneering piece of garage rock that populated many a teen dance playlist in ’66.  The Standells were from Los Angeles and when they recorded this song none had ever been to Beantown.  “Dirty Water” was written by their record producer Ed Cobb who based it on his own experiences there, including getting mugged down by the banks of the river Charles: “That’s where you’ll find me / Along with lovers, muggers and thieves”...  https://youtu.be/GZVgNwD14pA


9. It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World (2:47) – James Brown .....from the album of the same name...Brown’s albums from around that stretch of time usually consisted of an anchoring tune that had charted, with a backfill of singles that were shoehorned in before release.  The Godfather of Soul really shines on this string-laden funk ballad, and it became a # 1 Rhythm & Blues hit anda Top Ten charter in the Pops realm.  I have included two YouTube links for you—the first is the 1966 studio version of the song and the second is a live version from 2002 where Brown pairs up with—are you ready?—Luciano Pavarotti.  https://youtu.be/QCdc1YW001Q … https://youtu.be/GaB9F3R9cIY


10. Pushin’ Too Hard (2:38) – The Seeds.....from the album The Seeds...A song that was embraced by radio programmers and caressed by critics, “Pushin’ Too Hard” has long since been labeled as one of the formative Sixties tunes that led and bled into punk.  In fact, the tune was included on the much-revered double-album collection of gestating punk performances that was released in 1972, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965–1968.  https://youtu.be/aKZ1NYmgDHc


11. Secret Agent Man (2:58) – Johnny Rivers.....from the album And I Know You Wanna Dance...Born John Henry Ramistella in NYC and raised in Baton Rouge, the artist later rechristened Johnny Rivers moved to Los Angeles in 1961 and eventually took up residence at a new music club called the Whisky a Go Go.  Rivers’ popularity endured through the latter part of the ‘60s into the early ‘70s, and his specialty was convincingly covering other artists’ material like Chuck Berry’s “Memphis,” Willie Dixon’s “Seventh Son,” and The Four Tops’ “Baby I Need Your Lovin’.”  The tune listed here was birthed in a much shorter version as the theme song for the 1964-1966 CBS television program Secret Agent, but there was such a flood of viewer inquiries that Rivers then stretched the tune to full length and recorded it live at Whisky a Go Go in 1966.  The song hit the Top Five in Billboard Magazine’s Hot 100 that same year.  https://youtu.be/RBHcWvqXUQI


12. 96 Tears (2:56) – ? and The Mysterians.....from the album 96 Tears…Michigan-born Mexican American Rudy Martinez legally changed his name to Question Mark (yes, ?) after joining his brother’s band, and then—no question—produced an enduring garage rock/early punk classic in the form of “96 Tears.”  It was either a Vox Continental or a Farfisa organ that provided that magical swirl that kicks off the song and then powers it along, and the tune became de rigueur for newly-hatched bands and wannabes in basements and attics across the country.  https://youtu.be/Y_Ax2N-VmfQ





Posted 6/30/19.....

An hour’s worth of blues—some down and dirty; others showing different hues…

1. One More Heartache – The Butterfield Blues Band.....from the 1967 album The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw.....At the tender age of fourteen, musicasaurus.com distinctly remembers dropping the needle down on Track One, Side One of this, the band’s third album.  “One More Heartache” captures the essence of horns-and-harmonica driven blues-rock; it is ageless to the ears, and a marvel in the wailing, sailing lead vocals and harp playing from bandleader Butterfield.  Not a note is wasted and it’s a propulsive career cornerstone from an ensemble that, at the time, also included guitarist Elvin Bishop and horn section member David Sanborn.  https://youtu.be/KFOLED9VfVQ


2. Molly O And Dog Boy – Roy Rogers and Shana Morrison.....from the album which is credited to both artists, Everybody’s Angel, released in 2000.....Shana is daughter of Van and grew up in Marin County, California, where she hung out at an early age with Van’s parents who literally ran a mom & pop record store in that area.  By the time of her second recording, Shana had teamed up with fellow Californian and Delta blues slide guitar player Roy Rogers (named after the famous 1950s singing cowboy and early television star).  This melding of musical influences led to an intoxicating album highlighted by the deliciously moody, slow-tempo groove that is included here as part of the mix.  Though the album sports a number of styles, this song in particular is a haunting duet with wry lyrics atop a spooky, almost ominous rhythm.  https://youtu.be/UKtw3zSgHfI


3. I Got Love If You Want It – Slim Harpo.....from the 1961 album Slim Harpo Sings “Raining In My Heart...”.....This song is the flip side (the “B” side) of Harpo’s debut single “I’m A King Bee.”  Both songs were on this 1961 debut album that was recorded in Crowley, Louisiana.  Like other American blues musicians, Harpo’s tunes were soon appearing in the repertoires of congealing ‘60s British rockers like The Stones, The Yardbirds, The Kinks and Them (Van Morrison’s first group).  Although Harpo enjoyed a string of successful R & B singles in the early ‘60s, he maintained a day job running a trucking business and died relatively young from a heart attack in early 1970 at the age of 46. https://youtu.be/EdwWWAUfbo0


4. I’d Rather Be Blind – Curtis Salgado and The Stilettos.....from the aIbum Soul Activated (2001).....Salgado is not and never has been a household name, yet this electric performer was certainly plugged in.  In the late ‘70s he befriended John Belushi during the latter’s filming of Animal House in Oregon, helping to inspire the creation of The Blues Brothers, and then he spent time in the late ‘70s/early-mid ‘80s with Robert Cray’s band and then Roomful Of Blues.  Forming his own band The Stilettos in 1991, Salgado managed a year later to snag the opening act slot for Steve Miller’s 1992 tour.  This is when I first saw the man in full-throated action, onstage at Star Lake Amphitheater belting it out and batting away any preconceptions that an opening act can’t command the stage…The song included here, “I’d Rather Be Blind,” is a nice slice of Salgado and his Stilettos with stinging guitar work amid the blues-funk, but it’s Curtis all the way on the impassioned R&B-fueled vocals.  https://youtu.be/5tB6a5hx72Y


5. Born Under A Bad Sign – Albert King.....from the 1967 album of the same name.....If you’re into the blues, you know that this genre has a lot of royal elders; in fact, there are three kings I can think of right off the bat: B.B., Freddie, and Albert.  Mississippi-born guitarist Albert King came to prominence in the mid-60s with a move to Memphis, Tennessee and some groundbreaking releases on the Stax record label (where the in-house studio band was Booker T & The MG’s).  King’s weapon of choice was a Gibson Flying V, and he had a stinging, soulful tone that he peeled off always in service to the song.  Musicasaurus.com’s first exposure to “Born Under A Bad Sign” was from Cream’s Wheels Of Fire double album back in 1968, but of course the song’s been covered by a host of others through the years.  There have been admirable attempts or clear successes on studio recordings by artists including the Butterfield Blues Band, the Pat Travers Band, Etta James, Robin Trower, Rita Coolidge, Koko Taylor, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan; live, it has shown up on albums from artists like Nina Simone and Widespread Panic.  https://youtu.be/lkzuJzZDFXs


6. Stormy Monday – Eva Cassidy.....from Live At Blues Alley, a 1996 release.....Cassidy was an incredibly talented vocalist and interpreter of other artists’ songs that never in her lifetime (a scant 33 years) appreciably caught on outside of her D.C./Baltimore base of fans.  Posthumously, though, her fame went well beyond the borders.  Her vocals are incredibly emotive in service to the song, whether it is a cover of “Fever” (originally popularized by Peggy Lee) or Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird,” or in this case—in a live setting at D.C.’s Blues Alley—a scorching rendition of the 1947 blues classic originally written and performed by African-American guitarist/singer-songwriter T-Bone Walker.  Other artists have covered this song through the years, but musicasaurus.com ranks Cassidy’s version second only to the one immortalized by the Allmans on 1971’s At Fillmore East—different treatments indeed, but they both soar.  https://youtu.be/KzEL-pVqs3g


7. Little Red Rooster – Sam Cooke.....from the artist’s 1963 album Night Beat.....If you’ve never dipped into the recording career of Cooke, you’re missing some powerful performances that touch on gospel, soul, rhythm & blues and more.  The man knew how to write a snappy pop song as well, for in the late 1950s through the early 1960s Cooke served up one appetizing offering after another—the original radio hits of songs like “Wonderful World” (later popularized by Herman’s Hermits), “Twistin’ The Night Away” (covered by Rod Stewart in 1973), “Another Saturday Night” (on future albums by Cat Stevens and Jimmy Buffett), “Bring It On Home To Me” (covered by practically everyone except you and me), “Cupid” (taken to the top of the pop charts by Tony Orlando & Dawn in 1976), and “Having A Party” (which Springsteen has done live a number of times).  On the song included in this mix, Cooke gets bluesy with this cover of a Willie Dixon song, first charting for Howlin’ Wolf in 1961.  The song absolutely swings, and the artist’s vocals are as always smooth and commanding.  Musicasaurus.com’s advice: Go ahead and confidently load up a number of his songs on any given playlist; too many Cookes don’t spoil anything.  https://youtu.be/lCVg0NsWjmk


8. One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor – Robben Ford and Susan Tedeschi, from Ford’s album Truth (2007).....A great pairing of two blues guitarists, one much better known, of course, due to her marital musical union with slide guitarist Derek Trucks.  On this particular tune, a Paul Simon cover, both Tedeschi and Ford play off each other vocally and instrumentally and it is full of great flourishes and sharp, tight solos.  Lesser known Ford has great credentials from a relatively early age playing with, among others, Joni Mitchell and Tom Scott’s L.A. Express, the Yellowjackets (a group he help co-found in the ‘70s), and Miles Davis (on the master trumpeter’s tours of the ‘80s).  In the ‘90s Ford turned more toward the blues, where he’s largely resided since then. He is an average vocalist at best, but what streams from his head through his fingers to the strings is flat-out amazing most of the time.  https://youtu.be/airEitq4f6g


9. Dear Jill – Blodwyn Pig.....from the album Ahead Rings Out (1969).....English guitarist Mick Abrahams was a founding member of Jethro Tull when the band first landed a recording contract in 1968 and produced their jazz-and-blues-influenced debut album (the record included a reverent cover of Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s “Serenade For A Cuckoo”).  Abrahams split after that album; Tull then followed its inclination toward rock and English folk while the liberated guitarist stayed the course with a new blues-rock unit called Blodwyn Pig.  “Dear Jill” starts off with a fetching slide guitar riff and maintains a relaxed bluesy pace throughout, with acoustic guitars and a brief sultry soprano sax solo in the midst.  https://youtu.be/UbOwmVGFc4k


10. It Hurts Me Too – Angela Strehli Band.....from Strehli’s debut album Soul Shake released in 1987.....Austin, Texas became a true blue mecca in the 1970s.  Musicians like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, and B.B. King consistently rolled through town to play at the new blues club Antone’s, which in turn bred future greats from the Austin area including Kim Wilson (The Fabulous Thunderbirds) and the Vaughan Brothers (Jimmy and Stevie Ray).  Three female artists grew up musically in that fertile blues pool as well: Lou Ann Barton, Marcia Ball, and Angela Strehli.  In the mid-‘70s, Strehli was stage manager for a while at Antone’s, largely continuing, though, her own personal journey as a committed blues belter.  Antone’s the club spawned Antone’s the record label in 1987, and Strehli was one of the first artists on board.  “It Hurts Me Too” is a horn-drenched mid-tempo classic written by Chicago blues legend Elmore James, and Strehli nails it with her vocals, exuding sass and conviction in equal measure.  https://youtu.be/u9VgQCpiXyo





Posted 6/16/19.....

A hodgepodge. Some folk-pop…an ‘80s dose of L.A. debauchery…early Todd Rungren…pop with a tinge of punk…something from the European jazz-and-more record label ECM…and more.

1. Painting By Chagall – The Weepies.....This is a breezy love-fueled slice of folk-pop from a couple who are a unit both onstage and off.  Singer-songwriters Steve Tannen and Deb Talan bonded ‘round Boston and were a mutual admiration society of two before they came together in the early 2000s to lyrically dissect love and spin sweet harmonies.  Their path was from the folk club scene to adult alternative radio to tunes snatched up for teen-and-twenty-something shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Everwood, One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, etc.  “Painting By Chagall,” from the duo’s second album Say I Am You (2006), is not the usual harmonic convergence of the two; it is Deb Talan’s turn front and center for the most part to voice the couple’s unabashed contentment with each other: “Sometimes rain that’s needed falls / We float like two lovers in a painting by Chagall / All around is sky and blue town / Holding these flowers for a wedding gown / We live so high above the ground, satellites surround us…”  https://youtu.be/3PmXpT6ejE4


2. Gettysburg – The Brandos.....The band formed in New York City in 1985 and the subsequent MTV adoption and radio embrace of the tune “Gettysburg” propelled them onto critic’s lists—and onto cassette mix tapes like mine!  The song, from the band’s debut album Honor Among Thieves (1987), was one of those power-chord rock anthems that sounded refreshing—at the time, at least—as it served as a nice break from the dominant synth and new wave-ish stuff that was being pumped out by a lot of other ‘80s outfits.  https://youtu.be/72SPIVTphtk


3. Baby Don’t Go – Dwight Yoakam and Sheryl Crow.....This is a rollickin’, good-timey duet from Yoakam’s 1997 album of covers aptly entitled Under The Covers.  The song features the artist sharing the microphone with Crow; on the original version from 1965, the song’s composer Sonny Bono of course shared it with Cher and it became that duo’s first big hit and the title song of their debut album from that same year.  FYI, Yoakam has some other sleek and satisfying numbers on Under The Covers, including Roy Orbison’s “Claudette,” The Clash’s “Train In Vain,” an imaginative big-band reworking of The Kinks’ “Tired Of Waiting For You,” and a runaway bluegrass romp through the Rolling Stone’s “The Last Time.”  https://youtu.be/Zb8gbcmFPts


4. Heartbeats – Jose Gonzalez.....Reared by Argentinean parents and raised in Sweden, Gonzalez has been branded indie rock but his style could be called intelligent acoustic tranquility—quiet, confessional songwriting shaped by a number of disparate musical influences, flowing through unhurried vocals and a sweet bedrock of acoustic guitar.  The song “Heartbeats” comes from his debut album Veneer, originally released in 2003 overseas and available in the states by 2005.  https://youtu.be/ruQQ5UvICvA


5. Welcome To The Boomtown – David & David.....David Baerwald and David Ricketts were L.A. musicians who came together for just one album, 1986’s Boomtown, which featured this electrifying rock song that brought a bit of fresh air to FM stations across the country.  It sounded like little else on the radio back then; sonically the song’s a churner with rich, atmospheric layers of guitars and keyboards, and lyrically, it spins a tale of the moneyed malcontents of 1980s Los Angeles—perhaps once well-heeled, now soul deprived and artificially fueled.  The chorus: “I say welcome, welcome to the boomtown / Pick a habit, we got plenty to go around / Welcome, welcome to the boomtown / All that money makes such a succulent sound / Welcome to the boomtown.”  https://youtu.be/c3st4AD69-0


6. This Lonely Love – Juliana Hatfield…..I’ve loved Hatfield from afar for years (actually, I got close to her just once at the intimate music venue Club Café in Pittsburgh some years ago).  Boston-bred Hatfield writes on-the-surface simple, almost throwaway pop songs but they are melodic and usually filled with hooks, often laced with a bit of punk energy (check out her song “My Sister” from her 1993 album Become What You Are).  Here for the mix we have a later-on effort from Hatfield, “This Lonely Love,” from the artist’s eighth studio album How To Walk Away (2008).  This could have been and should have been a hit on pop radio stations, a place seemingly reserved for Auto-tuned over-emoters.  A nice addition to this track is Richard Butler from the Psychedelic Furs on harmony vocal.  https://youtu.be/WvKOmpejLno


7. Wailing Wall – Todd Rundgren.....Rundgren’s long been home-schooled in the realm of music, video, and production—a real D.I.Y. kind of guy.  As a producer he’s birthed classics in the rock sphere including Stage Fright by The Band and Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell, and as a musician he’s pushed boundaries with his outsized talent.  For 1971’s Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren, his second solo album, the 23-year-old Rundgren wrote and produced it, played all instruments (including guitar, mandolin, fiddle, piano, organ, clavinet, vibraphone and baritone sax), and sang all vocal parts.  About the latter: Focus on the layered magic on this beautiful ballad; it is mesmerizing.  https://youtu.be/o7ZMA_aIBf4


8. I Won’t Be Here – The Marcus King Band…..King was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, gigging since the age of 8 under the watchful eye of his blues-gospel musician father Marvin.  And young Marcus (he’s now 23) has had more than his share of mentors, including Warren Haynes from Gov’t Mule and the lesser known but no less impactful Steve Watson of Greenville’s Fine Arts Center, who introduced King to jazz.  "I guess you could say we're applying jazz principles on overall just a rock thing, like Southern rock," King said in a 2015 interview in GreenvilleOnline about the band’s debut album Soul Insight.  "It evolved more from blues into what we now call jazz-influenced psychedelic Southern rock.  It's a mouthful, but that's kind of the only way we've found to describe it."  The track here belies that definition, however, as it is more of a slow driftin’ quite soulful ballad.  Set yourself down…and crank it up.  https://youtu.be/a7G9xUYP_jk


9. Create – Alana Davis.....This Greenwich Village singer-songwriter was born in 1974 and I first caught wind of her through 1997’s Blame It On Me, which sported an Ani DiFranco cover (“32 Flavors”) and a couple of killer, far-from-filler tunes in “Murder” and “Crazy.”  In the summer of 1998 I was the general manager of Pittsburgh’s Star Lake Amphitheater (now Key Bank Pavilion) and I ran into Davis backstage at the H.O.R.D.E. Festival, a Blues Traveler-led event that toured the amphitheater circuit through most of the 1990s.  We stood in the dressing room hallway and there I confessed my love of her debut album from the year before.  I told her I also liked the keenly placed piano touches in her song “Murder” and she volunteered later in the exchange that her songwriting leads her to view her voice more as a horn than any other key instrument…For her third album Surrender Dorothy (2005), from which this track is taken, Davis ditched her original label Elektra who were much too hands-on for her taste, and she formed her own label Tigress to issue her releases from that point on.  https://youtu.be/bKvgqcvOb6o


10. The Mother – Ketil Bjornstad.....This track MAY be one of my favorite songs of all time.  The album from which this track is taken, The Sea II (1998), is listed in ECM Records catalogues as a release by the Norwegian pianist Ketil Bjornstad but it is truly an ensemble effort with David Darling on cello, Terje Rypdal on guitar and Jon Christensen on drums.  Save one, all of the compositions are by Bjornstad alone and he is a fluid driving force here, but really it is the mournful, masterful cello of Darling and the powerful yet not overpowering drum thrash of Christensen that put this piece on a pedestal for me.  It is simply heartrendingly gorgeous. (Alas, there is a clip of this on YouTube but it’s apparently held hostage by the channel’s drive to get YouTube premium subscriptions—so try this through Spotify.) https://open.spotify.com/track/41Rw6v88NFZg2DEJMWo0Qq





Posted 6/3/17.....

1967 ... This is the year that Rolling Stone magazine debuted, and Sgt. Pepper’s blew young minds and befuddled old ones…Here are ten classic songs released that year that had a huge impact on me:

1. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds – The Beatles…..Yeah, this epic song could have been inspired by John Lennon’s experiments with LSD or by his young son Julian’s nursery school drawing.  Maybe it was the former; he certainly was a bit acidic during the band’s breakup (Oh No!).  https://youtu.be/naoknj1ebqI



2. Light My Fire – The Doors…..My strongest memories of this song spring from a Lake Erie family vacation.  I was fourteen, on my towel and baking on the beach, lying back with my hands behind my head checking out the swooping gulls, and suddenly I heard this song crackle out of my mom’s nearby transistor radio.  Girl, we couldn’t get much higher—really?!!  Talk about opening up doors of perception… https://youtu.be/jKU74Uns9_0


3. Chain Of Fools – Aretha Franklin…..In the Fall of 1967 this song hit Top Forty radio, blaring out of our kitchen clock radio and causing my mom to sidestep, shuffle and spin on her way through the living room.  Looking back now I admire her spunk but she couldn’t quite inhabit the funk.  Aretha was killin’ that same year with other singles, too, like “Respect” and “Baby, I Love You.”  https://youtu.be/tdr6gKiLLkI


4. Nights In White Satin – The Moody Blues…..This band of Brits was originally rhythm & blues based but changed directions in 1967 at the advice of their record label Decca, practically birthing the meld of classical music and rock ‘n’ roll through their resulting album Days of Future Passed.  This mix of orchestral sweep and British rock lodged in my brain and spurred my search for more things with mellotrons and strings.  https://youtu.be/kx-vy-pmZ4I


5. Somebody To Love – Jefferson Airplane…..This San Francisco psychedelic rock band took off in a big way in ’66 after original female lead singer Signe Toly Anderson left the group and Grace Slick replaced her.  The next year this scorching and propulsive tune, sung by a searing Slick, hit the national airwaves and galvanized attention for that flowering San Fran music scene.  If I had had a pinup girl back then, Slick was the one to have graced my wall next to my Buffalo Springfield pix.  https://youtu.be/a-C9pUGszsw


6. Funky Broadway – Wilson Pickett…..This African American soul artist was nicknamed “Wicked” Pickett for a reason—his hellacious growl and howl of a vocal style was accompanied by a fantastic bed of funk in songs that skittered across the top of the pop and R&B charts for a lot of the mid-late 1960s and early 1970s.  Even today I can’t sit still, listening to some of his limb-twitchin’ masterpieces like the one listed here, and earlier gems like “Midnight Hour” and “Land of 1,000 Dances.”  https://youtu.be/hj0XM92UvHc


7. Whiter Shade of Pale – Procol Harum…..This song by British band Procol Harum sounded like little else when it hit the USA radio stations in May of ’67.  It had classical nods, a rich organ, and literary allusions in the lyrics, and was played at every teen dance across the country for the longest spell.  Word has it that it has been covered by more than 1,000 other artists through the years, including Michael Bolton, The Highwaymen (Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson), Herbie Mann, Annie Lennox, and...well, about 996 others.  https://youtu.be/sblgLwpTNbc


8. Purple Haze – The Jimi Hendrix Experience…..The song hails from Hendrix’s 1967 release Are You Experienced, and he reportedly maintained that his composition wasn’t drug-related, but rather a love song inspired by a dream of his that he was walking under the sea.  The track also has one of the most frequently misheard lines in rock history—“Excuse me while I kiss the sky” is often audibly ingested as “Excuse me while I kiss this guy.”  https://youtu.be/ZGc4TLyr9yc  


9. One More Heartache – The Paul Butterfield Blues Band…..Okay, so I wasn’t even aware that this song was a Motown-bred hit for Marvin Gaye in 1966, because by 1967 I was immersed in a lot of other forms of music which is how I came across the song as performed by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.  I dropped the needle on Side One, Track One of this band’s third album The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw (1967), and was blown away by this blues-infused shot of R & B led by the wailing, sailing Butterfield on lead vocals and harmonica.  Spine-tingling stuff, still, fifty-plus years on… https://youtu.be/KFOLED9VfVQ


10. I Can See For Miles – The Who…..Back when this track from the album The Who Sell Out hit my turntable for the first time, it stunned me.  It was an all-out assault with bashes-full of drumming by the late Keith Moon and power-chord slashes extraordinaire by guitarist Pete Townshend.  I never saw The Who do this song live, but did get to see a number of late 1960s SW Pennsylvania bands pummel out respectable covers.  In particular, a band that’s now lost to the mists of time named Freeport played this tune a lot at regional rock festivals I attended through the late 60s, and even in the hands of a local poser unit, the song still killed.  https://youtu.be/GL8tPJPiZ64





Posted 5/19/19.....

Musicasaurus.com may be a bit long in the tooth, it’s true, but it tries to deliver these ten-tune mixes to you every two weeks with a wide swath of songs from the 1960s all the way through present day.  Below are ten, though, that are all from the 1990s or later (musicasaurus is movin’ on up through the epochs!)

1. White Winter Hymnal – Sonos.....A beautiful a cappella version of a song originally written and recorded by the Fleet Foxes for their 2008 debut album.  This is one to crank to the rafters when testing out a new sound system; you can hear even the faint preparatory breaths taken before these spellbinding voices enter their weavings.  Sonos is three men and three women from Southern California, and the song is from their 2009 release SonoSings (which also sports a cappella covers of tunes by Rufus Wainwright, Imogen Heap, and Bjork).  In 2013, Sonos changed their name to Arora to reflect new directions including an album of all original material called Bioluminescence, released that same year.  https://youtu.be/-Y-zOfpeu5s


2. 6th Avenue Heartache – The Wallflowers.....On the Wallflowers’ second album Bringing Down The Horse from 1996, son-of-Bob and band leader Jakob Dylan brings to life this solid mid-tempo rocker awash in and particularly rich in organ and guitar.  Guests Adam Durwitz of Counting Crows and Tom Petty’s right-hand man Mike Campbell pitch in on background vocals and slide guitar, respectively.  https://youtu.be/XrKzH37BOok 


3. Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm – Crash Test Dummies.....The Dummies, Canadians all, came together in Winnipeg in the late 1980s and won widespread acclaim in their native country with their 1991 debut album The Ghosts That Haunt Me.  Though they won the Canadian version of the Grammy the following year—a Juno for “Group of the Year”—you could still only hear crickets from their neighbors to the south (that would be us—or more properly, U.S.).  But then in 1993 came “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm,” the band’s first single from their second album God Shuffled His Feet, and aided by quasi-mystical lyrics about a few unnamed children’s strange afflictions, and delivered via the deliciously deep-set pipes of lead singer Brad Roberts, the tune was a worldwide curiosity—and a huge hit.  https://youtu.be/t05G0983BcI


4. Better Together – Jack Johnson.....Hawaii-born surfer and singer-songwriter Johnson musically rode a wave into the minds of many a college kid in the early 2000s, as he was an audibly affable twenty-something who epitomized “cool” and laidback charm.  The tune included here is one of Johnson’s best known songs from his In Between Dreams album (2005), and there exists on DVD (and on YouTube) a great version of it performed live with accompaniment from frequent touring sidekick G. Love on harmonica.  That’s the one you’ll hear here:  https://youtu.be/9NoWDrslhm0


5. Fell On Black Days – Soundgarden…..Superunknown, from which this track was taken, was this Seattle band’s blistering, bludgeoning, and quite tuneful fourth album, the one that brought them widespread acclaim critically and commercially in 1994.  It was dense and delicious, sounding a little like the crew of Zeppelin had decided to steer toward sky’s-the-limit alternative rock.  Chris Cornell was the frontman who led the charge here, and then later on, vocally led Audioslave which featured three remnants of Rage Against The Machine—guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk.  Cornell was hugely respected within the industry, by peers and by fans, for his vocal talent but spent periods of his life chased by internal demons (drugs and depression).  He took his own life one evening after a Soundgarden performance in Detroit, on May 18, 2017.  https://youtu.be/UtO-YNBNAL4


6. Your Heart Is An Empty Room – Death Cab For Cutie.....Death Cab is an indie/alternative rock band from Washington state that came together as a four-piece in 1997, fronted by guitarist/pianist Benjamin Gibbard.  Their style is off-kilter in a good way, interesting yet accessible, and the song listed here is from the band’s fifth album Plans (2005).  The group’s name was borrowed from the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, a 1960s-era British collective of music-loving art school grads, who at one point notably wrote and performed a song called “Death Cab For Cutie” for The Beatles’ 1967 film Magical Mystery Tour.  https://youtu.be/pOy1aX8SvE0


7. I Can’t Remember – The Thorns.....A “supergroup” of sorts: Shawn Mullins (he of the one-hit-wonder “Lullaby” from 1998), Matthew Sweet and Pete Droge all teamed up in 2003 to produce a beautiful blend of harmonies for their self-titled debut on Columbia Records.  The album is a paean to the classic rock bands of the 1970s—the lush harmonies of Crosby, Stills & Nash, America, and the Beach Boys; and the jangling guitars of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  https://youtu.be/6OCkcTLIEOI


8. Surface Of The Moon – Del Amitri…..This alt-pop-yet-folkie kind of band originally formed in Scotland in 1983, and in terms of success over here in the States, they penetrated the Top Ten nationally with only one song, “Roll To Me,” from their 1995 album Twisted.  I have dug deeper, though, and there are a few other really compelling bits of songwriting and execution by this band to be savored: The beautiful ballad “Driving With The Brakes On” from the Twisted album, “Kiss This Thing Goodbye” from 1989’s Waking Hours release, and the track included here, “Surface Of The Moon,” from 1992’s Change Everything.  https://youtu.be/eF-6y7xjjQs


9. I and Love and You – The Avett Brothers.....With a melding of country, folk and bluegrass at their core, North Carolinian singer-songwriters and musicians Scott and Seth Avett have toured and recorded for almost twenty years now as the Avett Brothers.  Their music is hard to pigeonhole; they have the finesse and the resolve of old timey folk musicians, but they also rage on stage in Mumford-like bits of fury.  The album from which this song is taken was their sixth, but their first for a major record label.  Entitled I and Love and You, it was produced by the idiosyncratic (and artist sympathetic) outlier Rick Rubin.  https://youtu.be/T0eSpAgqrWo


10. The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore – Jules Shear.....Born in Pittsburgh in 1952, pop rocker Shear moved to L.A. in the mid-1970s and has had a career characterized by blips of success within various areas of the music business.  Although some of his solo releases from the early 1990s were critically acclaimed, they never engendered widespread fame.  Some of Shear’s songs, though, did strike a chord with the public through other artists—Cyndi Lauper had a hit with Shear’s “All Through The Night,” and the Bangles covered his tune “If She Knew What She Wants.”  Shear also waded into MTV back in 1989, becoming the host of the first 13 episodes of the music channel’s program MTV Unplugged.  The track listed here—a cover of The Walker Brothers’ 1966 radio hit—is from Shear’s 1994 release Healing Bones.  https://youtu.be/Ri-mMuQNmnM





Posted 5/5/19.....

Musicasaurus.com loves women artists.  Their combined creativity dwarfs a ton of posers and pretenders of that other sex, whether the genre is jazz or alternative or country, folk or rock. Here is a handpicked ten that you’ll treasure perhaps from your first foray into their worlds…

1. Soviet Snow – Shona Laing.....from the 1988 album South, the artist’s fifth.....Laing is an alternative-pop New Zealander who first made significant headway in America with a song that became a heavy favorite on college campuses back in the late ‘80s, “Glad I’m Not A Kennedy.”  Another song from South, the one featured here on the playlist, is “Soviet Snow” which illustrates Laing’s knack for sometimes writing melodic, powerful, and politically relevant alt-rock songs that have anthem choruses and intelligent spins of lyric:  “Are we wide awake? Is the world aware? / Radiation over Red Square / Creeping on to cross Roman roads / Fear of freezing in the Soviet snow /  One eye on the winter / Oh there's just a hint of Soviet snow”.....and.....“We need something to keep the chill / From freezing our own free will / We're teasing at war like children / Love is the one solution / Seeing ourselves inside / Our enemies' need for shelter / Same winter wind that's blowing Deep down inside we know / We’ve got one eye on the winter...”  https://youtu.be/cbLL5mekc34


2. Help Me – k.d. lang.....The province of Alberta, Canada has produced two of recent history’s most talented female singer-songwriters in k.d. lang and Joni Mitchell, and it is befitting that one covers the other here.  The original version was a pop radio hit when Mitchell’s 1974 Court And Spark was released, and lang acquits herself nicely here in this contribution to the 2007 album A Tribute To Joni Mitchell.  Other notable artists having a go at Joni on this covers compilation include Sufjan Stevens performing “Free Man In Paris,” Prince’s royal treatment of “A Case Of You,” Emmylou Harris’ sensitive reading of “The Magdalene Laundries” and Elvis Costello’s tackling of “Edith And The Kingpin.”  https://youtu.be/6z8CiPHifvw 


3. What Do I Do – Sam Phillips.....This song is one of many satisfying numbers included on Phillips’ second album The Indescribable Wow released in 1988.  Producer T-Bone Burnett puts meat and muscle into all of the songs’ arrangements and production, but on this particular track it is really Phillips’ infectious, layered and occasionally interwoven vocals that clinch it.  Plus the song beautifully swells into being for its first 28 seconds of life and ultimately ends the same way, in an ear-caressing orchestral fade.  A pretty and precious little sonic wonder.  https://youtu.be/P96om77z9hI


4. I Think We’re Alone Now – Lene Lovich.....The original version of this pop song was an inescapable Top Forty radio hit in 1967 from Tommy James and the Shondells, and then twelve years later the Detroit-born, Britain-bred new wave musician Lovich quirkily covered it.  On the basis of a demo of this tune Lovich was signed to the prestigious British new wave record label Stiff, the original recording home to Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Ian Dury and The Blockheads, Wreckless Eric, and other pioneering English pop-punkers.  Her yelping vocals and new wave-y thrust really clicked with fans in the UK and with those in-the-know in our own United States, and Lovich also influenced a number of similar bands in her wake.  But her career in large part only carried forward a few years beyond her 1979 debut Stateless, from which this track is taken.  https://youtu.be/uJRGdQSvwjU


5. What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted (live) – Joan Osborne.....There is an original recording of this song as performed by Jimmy Ruffin, but it is Osborne’s version that is Oz-some (referring to her wizardry here).  She grabs a hold of this tune as a fully flowered artist and interpreter, and never lets go until the spine-skittering conclusion.  This song was recorded live for the 2002 documentary Standing In the Shadows of Motown with Joan fronting the Funk Brothers, the studio musicians who backed up all of the original stars of Motown in recordings from 1959 through 1972.  https://youtu.be/vftsblnJlxg


6. Tulip – Jesca Hoop.....The scoop on Hoop: This Northern Californian is the offspring of folk-singing Mormons; she reportedly nanny’ed at one point for Tom Waits; and she toured between 2007-2011 with the likes of Peter Gabriel, Polyphonic Spree, Andrew Bird, Matt Pond PA, British alternative band Elbow, and Mark Knopfler.  My daughter first alerted me to Hoop in 2011 when she happened to catch the artist warming up a local Pittsburgh club audience in front of headliners The Punch Brothers (mandolin player Chris Thile’s post-Nickel Creek band).  That night in the club, Hoop and The Punch Brothers tackled “Tulip” together.  Here in Hoop’s studio version of the song from her 2010 release Hunting My Dress she comes charging out of the gate, her slightly Celtic-sounding voice floating confidently above a wonderfully arranged, sonically rich tapestry that is reminiscent of Kate Bush’s or Bjork’s more pop-centric stuff.  https://youtu.be/yvr8K9Jclpw


7. Holding Back The Years – Gretchen Parlato…..Parlato is an L.A.-born jazz songstress who has only three studio albums and a live recording under her belt as a solo artist, yet she has collaborated as a guest vocalist on approximately one hundred other musicians’ projects thus far.  Her work is lauded by Downbeat Magazine, Grammy voters, and jazz fans nationwide who, once smitten, never abandon the fetchin’ Gretchen.  The song listed here is a smooth, insinuating piece of work that must be ranked at least equal to the powerful, time-tested original as debuted by British soul and pop band Simply Red on their 1985 debut album Picture Book.  Parlato’s version, dreamy and expansive, comes from her 2011 release The Lost And Found.  https://youtu.be/HccPfkdgR0s 


8. Your Husband’s Cheating On Us – Matraca Berg.....From Berg’s 2011 release The Dreaming Fields, this is a fascinating sung-in-first-person slice about a mistress coming to visit the wife of her current lover, expressly to tell the woman at home that her man is cheating on both of them.  Berg truly inhabits this cool and confident character, with a half-sung, half-spoken vocal that conveys a touch of menace amidst the swamp music feel that is provided by her gifted backing band (in sound and instrumentation, this song would fit right in with a mix of more familiar, somewhat similar fare like Tony Joe White’s “Polk Salad Annie,” John Fogerty’s “Born On The Bayou” and Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode To Billie Joe.”)  https://youtu.be/Jg8KEjg-Mdg


9. Calling My Children Home – Emmylou Harris.....This track is from a live set from Harris, captured for posterity in 1998 for the album Spyboy.  The record features a stellar touring band composed of Daryl Johnson on bass, Brady Blade on drums, and Buddy Miller on guitar (Buddy is an under-the-radar guitar hero; his stints include a couple of Robert Plant collaborations, one with Alison Krauss and then one with Band of Joy).  “Calling My Children Home” is awe-cappella at its finest; just Harris and her three band mates.  This is just one milestone of many in Harris’ long and illustrious career bringing what her mentor Gram Parsons called “Cosmic American Music” to the masses.  https://youtu.be/ggwPUsaBmOk


10. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Petra Haden.....Idiosyncratic vocalist Haden, the daughter of jazz bassist Charlie Haden, took this arena-rock anthem (and Sopranos series ender) and subverted its classic rock stature by supplanting Journey’s instrumental portions with her quirky, alternative-style vocals.  The result may be an acquired taste, but it is a grand a cappella attempt to redefine this 1980s radio staple and elicit new emotions from listeners.  Haden’s remake comes from a compilation album entitled Guilt By Association, Volume I (2007), a mix of indie-rock artists covering well-known pop, rock, and rhythm & blues hits.  https://youtu.be/_P9XWWgN4uc





Posted 4/21/19.....

JAZZ ROCK FUSION (whatever) MIX..... 

If you’ve shied away from jazz fusion in the past, musicasaurus.com advises you to now throw off the shackles of preconception and attune yourself: You’re going to like this heady batch of jazz-meets-rock through ten artists who have blazed trails while blending the genres. 

1. Dark Eye Tango– Al Di Meola......This American-born jazz fusion and Latin music guitarist attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, and then at the age of twenty joined Chick Corea’s band Return To Forever for their high-water mark period of 1974-1976.  Known for his technical mastery and speed, Di Meola rips into this tune with sultry-then-searing guitar work.  “Dark Eye Tango” is from Di Meola’s third solo album Casino, released in 1978.  https://youtu.be/iYr3ixsJl6A


2. Ready For Take-Off– Passport.....Saxophonist Klaus Doldinger is the creative, collaborative auteur who helmed this German jazz-infused progressive rock band through the years, as various members passed on to other ports of call.  Active through the decades but most notably in the 1970s, Passport produced a full-bodied stew of jazz improvisation and relentless rock rhythms.  This track is from the band’s 1974 release Looking Thru.  https://youtu.be/WHFB-ozjNs8


3. Expresso – Gong.....The band Gong formed in the late 1960s and pursued a sound early on that mixed prog rock, psychedelic music, jazz and assorted trippy touches.  Some players came and went, and for this 1976 release Gazeuse!, Gong brought on board guitar player Allen Holdsworth.  Here, Gong coalesced into a juggernaut of percussion, vibraphones, saxophone, glockenspiel and cosmically wailing guitar.  “Expresso” is a percussive dream with Holdsworth’s celestial, cerebral guitar attack leading the charge and floating in and out of the fray.  https://youtu.be/2NEH3UCXklg


4. The Art of Happiness – Jean-Luc Ponty.....French violin virtuoso Ponty started on his instrument at the age of 5, and stayed true to straight jazz until the late 1960s when he ventured to America and stinted with Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, the George Duke Trio, and from 1974-1975, the Mahavishnu Orchestra.  Ponty was the pioneer of the electric violin in the 1970s jazz-rock explosion, and was the first to borrow and bring over to his instrument some of the effects more commonly applied to electric guitars—Echoplex, distortion bars, wah-wah pedals, etc.  This fusion laced with funk track is taken from Ponty’s 1978 album Cosmic Messenger.  https://youtu.be/VGEDgsSXRBM


5. Golden Rainbows– Alphonse Mouzon.....Along with fellow jazz drummer Billy Cobham, Mouzon was instrumental in putting jazz fusion on the map in the early-mid 1970s.  Cobham produced a well-regarded jazz fusion record called Spectrum in 1973, and Mouzon followed in 1975 with arguably his best solo record, Mind Transplant (from which this tune is taken).  The two albums share a common thread: Guitarist Tommy Bolin.  To my ears, rocker Bolin is more riveting on the Mouzon release, especially on this track.  He is front and center with his usual economy of style; not a wasted note, all of them perfectly placed and imaginatively accented so that his guitar carries the song to several emotional climaxes.  Sadly, Bolin overdosed on heroin a year after this record was released, at the age of 25.  https://youtu.be/Kg381P4jCEI


6. Black Market– Weather Report.....This band is the enduring giant of jazz fusion based on the skill of the players and the caliber of the recorded performances.  The band formed in 1970 and weathered some personnel changes through 1976, when founding members Joe Zawinul (keyboards/synths) and Wayne Shorter (saxophone) welcomed in Narada Michael Walden and Chester Thompson on drums, Alex Acuna and Don Alias on percussion, and newcomer Jaco Pastorius on bass.  This song is the title track of their 1976 release.  https://youtu.be/hBtB3QLCP2c


7. Silver Sword– Flora Purim.....Brazilian jazz singer Purim was influenced heavily by Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, and her six-octave voice is a marvelous instrument that is showcased to great effect on the first two early 70s Chick Corea & Return To Forever albums (Return To Forever and Light As A Feather).  The track listed here is from Purim’s second solo release from 1974 entitled Stories To Tell, and it is a breathtaking piece that features Purim’s wordless vocal soaring amid the frenzied fireworks of guitarist Carlos Santana.  A piece of advice: The marvel truly deepens with time, so check back in with this on more than one occasion.  https://youtu.be/_oCno8bGvjI


8. San Lorenzo – Pat Metheny Group.....Missouri-born Metheny started playing guitar at the age of thirteen and taught at both the University of Miami and Berklee while still a teenager.  His style is an almost indescribable mix of jazz, rock, and folk but that doesn’t capture the idiosyncrasy of his approach to this instrument.  Aligned through his early years with European jazz label ECM, Metheny played on albums by vibraphonist Gary Burton and released solo records on the label as well.  In 1978 he formed the Pat Metheny Group and released a self-titled band record that year featuring musicians Lyle Mays (keyboards), Mark Egan (bass), and Dan Gottlieb (drums).  This track “San Lorenzo” opened the album; it is cinematic, majestic, and achingly beautiful in the interplay between all four musicians.  In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I caught the Pat Metheny Group live in concert several times and thought to myself, “I’ve stumbled into the Church of the Truly Transported.”  https://youtu.be/_RrUS2N2MyI


9. Butterfly– Herbie Hancock.....Born in Chicago in 1940, Hancock started on piano at the age of seven and his career path thus far has been a dotted landscape of acoustic and electric jazz, and forays into funk and rhythm & blues.  From 1963 through 1968, Hancock spent formative years with Miles Davis, all the while also issuing classic Blue Note label recordings as a solo artist.  Early in the 1970s Hancock entered his jazz fusion period with the release of Head Hunters in 1973, and Thrust in 1974 from which this track “Butterfly” is taken.  This song is a funked-up mid-tempo masterpiece, and Hancock’s clavinet and synthesizers match up well with Bernie Maupin’s sophisticated and snaking soprano sax.  https://youtu.be/knbmKDUYDXc


10. Crossed Wires– Mike Mainieri.....This track is from Mainieri’s 1981 album Wanderlust, which sports a who’s who of jazz greats including Michael Brecker on sax, Randy Brecker on trumpet, Steve Khan on guitar, Marcus Miller and Tony Levin on bass, and Peter Erskine on drums.  Vibraphonist Mainieri goes electric on this Weather Report-ish tune, and his solo in the latter half of this propulsive number is not just good, it’s great vibrations.  https://youtu.be/aMs6CioUaqg





Posted 4/7/19.....

We’d all like to give the gift of Time.....This is a themed CD mix I used some years back as a birthday present for friends.  I usually wrote a message as well at the top of the song list, especially for folks who were reaching pivotal birthdays (sample: “Tom’s turned 40 / Scary or sublime? / Hey, like this mix, there’s plenty of Time!”).

1. Time – Pink Floyd.....This track is from the band’s eighth studio album Dark Side Of The Moon released in March 1973.  “Time” is famous for bearing that sound-effect-laden opening of chiming clocks that Abbey Road Studios staff engineer Alan Parsons recorded individually in a number of London antique shops.  For those of you who are chart-obsessed, Dark Side was on Billboard Magazine’s album-sales chart in the “Top 200” for more than 14 years straight after its initial release, and it has sold more than 45 million copies worldwide.  Success (most of the time) breeds widespread recognition and a deep reverence; this MAY be the band’s masterpiece, as it spellbinds throughout with nary a Floydian slip.  https://youtu.be/pgXozIma-Oc


2. Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More – Allman Brothers Band.....This song is from 1972’s Eat A Peach album, the band’s fourth overall record and their first without an Allman Brother; Gregg’s older sibling Duane died at the age of 24 in a motorcycle accident the year before the album’s release.  Contrary to some once popular myths about the death of Duane, the guitarist was killed when his motorcycle plowed into a flatbed lumber truck—not a truck full of peaches.  The album title reportedly comes from Duane’s response to an interviewer who once asked “How are you helping the revolution?”  Duane’s answer:  “There ain’t no revolution, only evolution, but every time I’m in Georgia I eat a peach for peace.”  https://youtu.be/7njWAsTkOuM


3. Comes A Time – Neil Young.....This is a feel-good, fiddle-fueled country rock song with the beautiful harmony of Nicolette Larson layered on top.  It is also the title track of this tenth album from Young which came out in 1978, almost six-and-a-half years after the release of Harvest.  The latter album was similarly country-tinged and predominantly acoustic, and like its successor was a Top Ten album for this Canadian musical iconoclast.  https://youtu.be/qxH_4e7W7hc


4. The Last Time – Dwight Yoakam.....The best cover versions are reinventions, not replicas.  The Rolling Stones issued this song originally in 1965 as a single release, but the tune ended up as well on an early live album by the band, 1966’s Got Live If You Want It!, and on an early hits compilation that same year, Big Hits (High Tide & Green Grass).  Yoakam took this Stones tune in 1997 and included it on an album of covers aptly entitled Under The Covers.  He put his heart & soul into it, and even added a bit of locomotive breath; the song is a runaway train with a dizzying, dazzling pace of nonstop country/bluegrass.  https://youtu.be/8cdWL5n4zWc


5. Time Loves A Hero – Little Feat.....By 1977, Lowell George—Feat founder, guitarist, and principal songwriter since 1969—was deeper into drug use and somewhat directionless.  Thus guitarist Paul Barrere and keyboardist Billy Payne stepped in, and on 1977’s Time Loves A Hero, they continued with the band’s recent shift away from their rock/folk/New Orleans funk toward jazzier jams and touches of fusion.  When George finally tired of Barrere and Payne putting that one Feat before the other, he declared the band to be “broken up” in 1979 and left for a solo career.  The track referenced here, Time Loves A Hero, is a mid-tempo piece of polished funk with the usual stellar production, solid anchoring by bassist Kenny Gradney and drummer Richie Hayward, and keyboard flourishes aplenty by Payne.  https://youtu.be/PR8Y07-pALw


6. Not A Second Time – The Beatles.....If you’re fanatical about the Fab Four, you know that this song DID have a second time.  The tune first appeared in 1963 on the band’s second UK album entitled With The Beatles, and then reappeared (as did most of the other songs from that album) on the band’s second American release, Meet The Beatles.  This particular album, released in the United States in January 1964, was the one that changed lives; for most Americans, this was their real introduction to (and induction into!) Beatlemania.  This was the record that was plopped down on parents’ living room hi-fi consoles and on teenagers’ plastic record players all across the country—and a month later, the band debuted on national television on the Ed Sullivan show.  https://youtu.be/Gi8dTDuRCOk


7. The Time Is Near – The Keef Hartley Band…..This song is from the group’s third album of the same name, released in 1970.  Hartley was a Englishman who emerged early in the ‘60s rock scene, starting out as a drummer in Rory Storm and the Hurricanes (replacing Ringo Starr, who was exiting for The Beatles).  Hartley also played with fellow Brit John Mayall for a spell, and then cobbled together a band of his own which produced a not-quite-timeless mix of blues, rock and jazz—but it was adventurous and fresh to the ears back then.  The Keef Hartley Band had its moment in the sun at the original Woodstock festival in 1969, landing a slot between John Sebastian and The Incredible String Band on Saturday afternoon’s line-up.  https://youtu.be/WMaa7TCBiKQ 


8. A Matter Of Time – Los Lobos.....This band first formed in East Los Angeles in 1973, and perfected through the years a rich blend of rock, blues, country, Tex Mex, rhythm & blues, authentic Spanish and Mexican music, and more.  They put in THEIR 10,000 hours in bars, at wedding receptions, and in any other place that would have them; finally in 1984 they released their critically-acclaimed debut How Will The Wolf Survive?, which contains this track (side bar: Check out their 2004 CD/DVD package entitled Live At The Fillmore in order to get a taste of the band in their “natural element;” the band is at its very best in live performance.).  https://youtu.be/X_5J8GETMG8


9. The Times They Are A-Changin’ – Bob Dylan.....“Come senators, congressmen / Please heed the call / Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall / For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled / There’s a battle outside and it’s ragin’ / It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls / For the times they are a-changin’.”  Pretty freakin’ prescient…however, Dylan’s actually referring here NOT to budget impasses and polarizing, paralyzing politicians, but instead to the rising, resounding wave of Civil Rights awareness.  This track from Dylan’s 1964 release of the same name is perhaps the first real anthem of change that a lot of Americans heard back in the early-to-mid-sixties, in that time of turbulence and societal shifts.  https://youtu.be/90WD_ats6eE


10. Come Down In Time – Elton John.....This absolutely beautiful ballad is from Elton’s “kind of a concept album” on the great American West entitled Tumbleweed Connection (1970).  This was Elton’s third release, after Empty Sky (1969) and Elton John (1970).  The songs on Tumbleweed Connection—with all lyrics by Bernie Taupin—were a mix of country, blues and pop, and were very cinematic in nature.  Most were also adorned by very intuitive and song-serving string arrangements by veteran British arranger and conductor Paul Buckmaster.  https://youtu.be/ZdkvZhsrtM8





Posted 3/24/19.....

Various Artists Mix...Some jazz rock, some Americana, a zippy number used in an old iPod television commercial—it’s all here for you!

1. 4 on 6 – Lee Ritenour.....Musicasaurus.com doesn’t usually traffic in the type of jazz that is fairly universally defined as “lite”—i.e., somewhat sprightly but lacking bite (the kind you used to hear boxed in with strangers while looking up at ascending or descending floor numbers).  I do have a soft spot, though, for Lee Ritenour.  I first became aware of him in the mid-late ‘70s when I worked as a merchandiser for Warner-Elektra-Atlantic Corporation, and Ritenour—early in his career here—was releasing some jazz-rock tunes amid the fluff (from fairly solid albums like 1977’s Captain Fingers and 1979’s Feel The Night).  The song listed here, "4 on 6," is a Wes Montgomery cover from Ritenour’s tribute album to the revered jazz guitarist, 1992’s Wes Bound.  Yeah, you’re maybe still on the elevator with this one, but it’s a sweet ride featuring fluid and soft-toned lead guitar, punchy horn accents, and some enticing organ.  https://youtu.be/GoTFokZwRng


2. Curs In The Weeds – Horse Feathers.....This is beautiful bit of Americana from Portland, Oregon.  The song comes from the band’s second album House With No Home, released in 2008 and sporting the talents of singer-songwriter Justin Ringle and accomplice orchestrator of strings and things, Peter Broderick.  It’s certain to call to mind Bon Iver, Damien Rice and other contemplative alternative-folk artists.  House With No Home was released on the terrifically-titled, small independent record label called Kill Rock Stars, which since the early 1990s has been champion of and home to a number of way-under-the-radar, off-mainstream talents from that Oregon and Washington state area. https://youtu.be/RBPO9Kun_9A


3. What A Number – Inara George.....George is the daughter of Little Feat founding member Lowell George, and thus comes from good musical stock (though her father passed away when she was but five years old).  She grew up in Los Angeles county’s Topanga Canyon which was renowned in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a hotbed of then-emerging talent like the adventurous rock band Spirit, Neil Young, Canned Heat, and Emmylou Harris, among others.  Instead of following in the Feat steps of her father’s blues, funk, and rock & roll, George first gravitated toward theatre and then a musical palette of alternative, pop and folk.  “What A Number” has been plucked from the artist’s initial solo album All Rise which was released in 2005.  The year afterward, George teamed up with keyboardist/songwriter Greg Kurstin to form—and start recording as—the electro-pop duo The Bird and the Bee.  https://youtu.be/NG3VM4fOM8Y


4. Bruises – Chairlift.....Tech titan Apple had used a number of new artists’ songs in the 2000s to promote their products in television ads, and in most cases this linkage led to a subsequent and most immediate $pike in the particular artist’s career (Feist with “1234” from 2007, for example, but also the Ting Tings, Jet, The Vines, and other fortunate souls).  The track listed here is a zippy, altogether infectious slice of synth-pop, and it stems from Chairlift’s 2008 debut entitled Does You Inspire You; each song on the album is a rich stew of the past (1980s), present (contemporary flavors), and future (spacey spicings).  Originally from Boulder, Colorado, the trio comprising Chairlift then moved to New York City where the big Apple took note of their debut album in the Fall of 2008, serendipitously plucking “Bruises” for the company’s upcoming iPod nano television ad.  https://youtu.be/w8HRCacAQ-4


5. This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody) – Talking Heads.....This song from the band’s fifth studio album Speaking In Tongues (1983) is doubly insinuating—the lyrics suggest a love song though it is not all spelled out; the music subtly yet surefootedly weaves its way into your pleasure centers.  The year after Speaking In Tongues hit the record stores, the Heads’ concert film Stop Making Sense (helmed by filmmaker Jonathan Demme) arrived in theaters, and there the band’s fans were treated to a live version of “This Must Be The Place,” one of the many highlights of this landmark capture of the group’s polished, deliciously quirky power.  During this particular song, lead singer David Byrne dances and toys with a self-standing floor lamp, perhaps inspired by Fred Astaire’s similar yet more mesmerizing moves with a coat-rack in the 1951 MGM musical Royal Wedding.  The Talking Heads link:  https://youtu.be/JccW-mLdNe0  The Fred Astaire link:  http://youtu.be/VqMI441t2f0


6. Last Call – Jukka Tolonen.....Tolonen is far from a household name, unless your household happens to be in Helsinki.  This electric guitarist from Finland has a technician’s craft and imagination to spare, and he unleashes it in somewhat different settings.  His best works include instrumental tracks like this one from the jazz-rock flavored album Big Time, released in 1998.  “Last Call” is a great rocksong; it has polished production with the bass and drums “up” in the mix a bit, and there is also some breathy flute accents as well, but it is really Tolonen’s show all the way.  The sounds he wrings out of his guitar are astounding; at times he might even skirt heavy metal, but mostly his fingers foment fusion.  Great stuff.  https://youtu.be/YzKfMsPeMsc


7. Hollywood – Kasey Chambers.....At the time of her third album’s release in 2004—Wayward Angel, from which this track is taken—Chambers was 28 years old and already a major star Down Under.  She’d grown up literally on the land with parents who were hunters and trappers and country music lovers, who picked & sang ‘round the campfires under Australian night skies.  Wayward Angel furthered her inroads with American audiences courtesy of Adult Album Alternative (triple A) stations across the country, as well as occasional touring (at one point opening up for Lucinda Williams).  “Hollywood” is a soft and enveloping little gem; Chambers’ little-girl voice evidences big passion, and the acoustic accompaniment (with lightly chiming guitar work) is simple yet sublime.  https://youtu.be/1of2aWId2lc


8. Hate To See You Go – Randall Bramblett.....Musicasaurus.com is bettin’ you don’t know the over-under on Bramblett: He’s an overachiever who’s underappreciated.  This Georgia-born multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter first garnered recognition as a member of the mid-1970s Southern-rock fusion band Sea Level, which also included former Allman Brothers Band members Lamar Williams (bassist), Jaimoe (drummer), and Chuck Leavell (keyboardist and Sea Level’s namesake & bandleader).  Bramblett had spun out two solo albums before arriving at Sea Level, and after that band’s dissolution he later toured and/or recorded with rock legends including Gregg Allman, Robbie Robertson, Steve Winwood, and Traffic (in the latter’s early 1990s reunion period).  His solo output picked up again in the late 1990s and continued on through the next decade. “Hate To See You Go” comes from the artist’s 2006 release Rich Someday, and it is a great place to start for the uninitiated: Bramblett’s soulful voice and folk-rock-blues is better than a lot of other pliers of this trade, and while these others might have scored more handily over the years with radio play and recognition, Bramblett deserves fuller exploration of his very worthwhile solo outings.  https://youtu.be/BiqqjTz9VwI


9. Lights Out – Santogold.....Philadelphia-bred Santi White is an African American singer-songwriter who recorded her first album in 2008 in a duo setting with musician/producer John Hill entitled Santogold, the name of the duo and the debut.  Singer White has been likened to M.I.A., but largely in the sense of approach rather than musical style, as the two women are both multicultural females who blend almost disparate genres of music to create exciting new sounds.  To gain more exposure for their initial release in 2008, Santogold hopped on dates as the show opener for artists including Coldplay, Jay-Z, Bjork, M.I.A. and the Beastie Boys.  In early 2009, Santogold changed their name by a single letter—Santogold to Santigold—to avoid a potential lawsuit from a producer plying a sci-fi/wrestling film entitled Santo Gold’s Blood Circus.  The track included here, “Lights Out,” is from the duo’s debut.  It is a perfect pop pastiche of dub, rock, hip-hop and ‘80s new wave, guaranteed to get under your skin and travel down to your tappin’ toes.  https://youtu.be/-RA_M33fQxo


10. My Girl– Otis Redding.....The song listed here is a triple threat—co-written by Smokey Robinson, forever branded as a chart-topping hit by The Temptations, and then exquisitely covered by the incomparable Otis Redding.  This version of “My Girl” comes from an extremely solid collection of Redding powerhouse covers that also includes “Wonderful World” (written by Sam Cooke and popularized by Herman’s Hermits), “A Change Is Gonna Come” (another song by Cooke), and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (from the Rolling Stones).  All three of these reside on Redding’s 1966 album—the artist’s third—entitled Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul.  This was also the album that sported the Redding-penned composition “Respect” which later gained stratospheric recognition through a sizzling ’67 rendition by Otis admirer Aretha Franklin.  https://youtu.be/0iPtG_O8w8g




Posted 3/10/19.....

Various Artists Mix...

1. Gideon – My Morning Jacket.....This tune is from the band’s fourth album Z, released in 2005, which was to musicasaurus’ ears the best of the batch released up to that point in time.  This album evidenced maturity in production and songwriting, and songs like “Gideon” were an exciting blend of classic rock fervor and new music grit and attitude.  I have seen the band only once in concert, almost ten years ago at the Trib Total Media Amphitheater (originally the I C Light Amphitheater), a 5,000-capacity venue which was tucked right alongside the Monongahela River next to downtown Pittsburgh.  In a live setting My Morning Jacket is incendiary, and is in that coterie of great rock performers such as Pearl Jam and Counting Crows who take their audiences to unexpected highs through their fury and finesse.  https://youtu.be/rJTQDzt3ME4


2. Stinging Velvet – Neko Case.....Alt-country queen Case released her third album Blacklisted in 2002 and it was an ever-so-slight departure from the country-influenced records that preceded it.  “Stinging Velvet” is a great intro to her talents if you have never stumbled across her before; if you are already on the case, however, you know that she’s also renowned for her contributions to the recorded works of Vancouver-based indie band The New Pornographers.  https://youtu.be/QozMJpyZja0


3. Scar Tissue – RedHot Chili Peppers.....A lot of music fans think that the Red Hot Chili Peppers is a funkin’ great band, but musicasaurus.com has found it needs to wade through that forest of funk to find the choicest material.  This L.A. quartet came together in 1983 but it wasn’t until 1999’s Californication that the stars aligned and the band scaled new levels of success.  Part of the ascension was likely due to the return of guitar hero John Frusciante; he’d been a part of the band’s rising success from 1988 through 1992 but then dropped away when “hero met heroin.”  Frusciante returned—all personal demons exorcised—just in time to contribute mightily to Californication.  “Scar Tissue” stems from that release.  https://youtu.be/U7k2qv8KTDI


4. Grits Ain’t Groceries – Little Milton.....Mississippi born Milton was an African American soul, blues, and R & B musician whose first commercial break came from legendary Sun Records producer Sam Phillips, but Milton achieved his widest success after joining up with Chess Records’ subsidiary Checker Records in the mid 1960s.  “Grits Ain’t Groceries” hails from that time period and is also the title tune of Milton’s 1969 album.  It is a kick-ass rhythm & blues song, punched up by horns and some gritty, lived-the-life blues belting by Milton.  There are great opening lyrics as well that set the song in motion: If I don’t love you baby, grits ain’t groceries, eggs ain’t poultry, and Mona Lisa was a man…”  https://youtu.be/BhIUlT3Hy74


5. Rise Up –Parachute Club.....This is a tune from the 1980s, an anthem of empowerment with a whiff of synth, grounded and propelled by an infectious world beat.  Parachute Club were truly all about the ‘80s, forming in Toronto in 1982 and then disbanding in 1989. Their 1983 eponymous debut, from which this track is taken, was produced by Daniel Lanois (who went on to helm production chores on signature albums from U2, Dylan, Emmylou Harris and many others).  Parachute Club was notable in that their music centered on the personal and the political to reflect changing social mores; they also early on incorporated reggae and soca (Afro-Caribbean music) into their musical stew.  https://youtu.be/JcC-SbcihKI


6. Cusp – Goldspot.....This NYC indie band got their initial break—denting the consciousness of avid NPR listeners—through a key public radio station’s embrace.  Santa Monica’s KCRW championed their sound right around the time of their first album’s release, 2005’s Tally Of The Yes Men.  Singer-songwriter/band leader Siddhartha Khosla had been raised on Middle Eastern music but skillfully wove in strands of alternative rock to forge his band’s alluring sound.  There are other standout cuts on Tally as well: Dip your ears into “Motorcade” or “Rewind” or both.  https://youtu.be/Lw-jovRHqOg


7. You Don’t Move Me – Keith Richards.....Richards had two stints without Stones (in 1988 and 1992) when he both recorded and toured with a band he had assembled called The X-Pensive Winos.  The Winos included Richards, drummer Steve Jordan, Southern California session guitarist Waddy Wachtel, keyboardist Ivan Neville (son of the Neville Brothers’ Aaron) and Charley Drayton on bass.  “You Don’t Move Me,” from the Winos’ 1988 release Talk Is Cheap, is a perfect slice of gritty rock ‘n’ roll—no frills, just great steeped-in-Stones guitar chords, rhythmic slashes, and the characteristic and beloved off-kilter vocals by Richards.  https://youtu.be/-AX2NpF3j0M


8. E.M.P.T.Y – The Clientele.....This British band is hard to describe...perhaps indescribably delicious?  They produce intelligent indie pop for discerning ears, yet I believe they are criminally under-exposed.  The album from which this pretty pop nugget comes is called Strange Geometry, the band’s second full album released back in 2005. Most of the material is quite good—great production, inventive song structure, passionate playing, and soothing, somewhat breathy lead vocals by singer-guitarist Alasdair MacLean.  https://youtu.be/INixSWIxWEk


9. Tuesday Morning – The Pogues.....Irish freewheeling band The Pogues formed in London in 1982, and up until 1991 featured the quite charismatic and alcohol addled lead singer Shane MacGowan.  After the departure of MacGowan, the Pogues briefly took on former Clash singer Joe Strummer, and afterward longtime band member Spider Stacy stepped up to the mike for the band’s 1993 album Waiting For Herb.  “Tuesday Morning” comes from this Herb release; the song was the last one by the band to make Britain’s Top Twenty, but also was the group’s most successful single internationally.  https://youtu.be/pcEcmJHhFN4


10. Fake Palindromes – Andrew Bird.....Chicago native Bird is a multi-instrumentalist (violinist, guitarist, and a fine whistler) who produces unique and category-defying music that is a wondrous blend of alternative, pop, Americana, classical, English and Scottish folk, and more.  “Fake Palindromes” is from Bird’s 2005 release Andrew Bird And The Mysterious Production Of Eggs.  For any scorekeepers out there, renowned music website Pitchfork rates this particular album #181 out of the Top Two Hundred best albums of 2000-2009.  https://youtu.be/l01rGqgzHLQ




Posted 2/24/19.....

Various Artists Mix...originally recorded on the evening of January 25, 2006.

1. Urban Strut – Steve Hunter.....This is an instrumental classic-rock strut; a well-produced track that features Hunter’s guitar up front in the mix, rip-roarin’ its way through the bedrock.  Hunter has done session and tour work for a number of artists through the years (Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, Peter Gabriel and others), in addition to occasional solo recordings.  This particular track comes from a 1988 sampler CD entitled Guitar Speak, released by Miles Copeland’s I.R.S label on its subsidiary, No Speak. This series of all-instrumental releases from No Speak featured a number of rock guitarists—most renowned, a few unheralded—and was apparently Copeland’s answer to the late ‘80’s popularity of la-de-da New Age music; “No Speak eats New Age for breakfast” was one of his quotes upon the launch of this specialized line from the I.R.S. brand.  https://youtu.be/evAFBuX1sH4


2. Angry Eyes – Loggins & Messina.....This almost eight-minute rock ‘n’ roll track from Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina appeared on their self-titled second album released in 1972, and it is expansive in scope and generous with band solos that organically flow into each other.  The song doesn’t have a gratuitous bone in its body; the solo turns (sax then guitar then flute) serve to propel the tune to various highpoints until Loggins & Messina enter back in at the finish to tie together this perfectly-punctuated rock odyssey.  https://youtu.be/6U7FFE_c1Ds


3. Over & Over Again (Lost And Found) – ClapYour Hands Say Yeah.....From the opening insistent drumbeat and bass line to the David Byrne-like vocals, this song mesmerizes and playfully unfolds.  “Over & Over Again (Lost And Found)” comes from this Brooklyn band’s eponymous 2005 debut album, which blew up via the internet and word of mouth to grab honors, ears and accolades.  It is “indie” in all the right ways, and the band took a total indie approach to recording, distributing and promoting it as well.  https://youtu.be/phzgoOBKNVM


4. Golden Years – Bowie.....This track hails from Bowie’s 1976 release Station To Station, recorded in Los Angeles in allegedly coke-fueled sessions of the non-soda variety.  The album itself is a significant bridge between Bowie’s Young Americans release from the year before, and the beginning of his Eno-driven Berlin period which started with 1977’s Low album.  “Golden Years” was a Top Five radio hit on both sides of the pond, and Bowie reportedly offered it early on to Elvis Presley to perform but was rebuffed (knowing this, you just might be able to ear-imagine The King doing this song).  https://youtu.be/ApHM1ct4tdM


5. Leather Jacket – Mick Taylor.....Taylor was in the limelight in the fertile Stones period of 1969-1974, when he played second string-slinger to Keith Richards on the classic albums Let It Bleed, Get Your Ya Ya’s Out, Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main Street, followed by Goats Head Soup and It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll.  Taylor departed the band in ’74 and gigged around with other artists until he fashioned his first solo effort, 1979’s Mick Taylor.  The album was a commercial stiff but we’re lucky to have this particular standout track as evidence of Taylor’s self-styled rock ‘n’ roll spirit.  https://youtu.be/YGnkAHXO87k


6. Staple It Together – Jack Johnson.....Johnson stayed true to form for his third album, 2005’s In Between Dreams, from which this track is taken.  The album sports more of his signature blend of champion-level chill, easy funk, and feel-good folk.  Born in Hawaii, he excelled in the surf before staking claim in pop music’s turf, winning millions of college-age fans via his first few records beginning in 2001.  “Staple It Together” is one of the more uptempo songs on In Between Dreams, though his calling card is usually more mellow, moderate fare.  https://youtu.be/uEGbhFUDRhs


7. Blue Bell Knoll – Cocteau Twins.....Someone will have to someday explain to me what lead songstress Elizabeth Fraser is vocalizing here; until then, I’ll just call this particular track bewitching and bewildering.  The Twins’ sound is spacey, mesmerizing and beautiful—almost celestial—concocted out of hovering and haunting guitar, tape loops, and drum machines.  The Twins (actually a threesome) formed in 1979 in their native Scotland, and amassed a body of work through the 1980s and early 1990s that has many fine celestial seasonings anchored by the almost operatic Ms. Fraser. “Blue Bell Knoll” is the title track from their fifth studio release from 1988.  https://youtu.be/m_YT36TvpkE


8. Music For Gong Gong – Osibisa.....Fresh out of high school in 1971, I remember spotting this album in the indie record store bins, and being captivated by the cover—an illustration of an insect-winged elephant by British artist/designer Roger Dean, who soon went on to greater fame for his fantasy-style covers of albums by Yes, Asia, Uriah Heep and many more.  “Music for Gong Gong” is an instrumental, highly-percussive track from Osibisa’s 1971 self-titled debut.  This band of African and Caribbean musicians formed in London in 1969, and were one of the first groups to truly fuse together rock, R & B, and jazz with their native countries’ rhythms and textures; count them as one the earliest bands bringing awareness to the emergence of “world music.”  https://youtu.be/Mh86EoPmD8c


9. Night Train – James Brown..... “All Aboard for Night Train!” sings The Godfather of Soul at the outset, and then his funk-fueled express barrels over his shout-outs to Miami, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; and Raleigh, North Carolina before these loco motions morph into a sizzling instrumental section.  “Night Train” comes from Brown’s 1961 album of the same name, released just two years before his landmark Live At The Apollo album, which catapulted him across the musical racial divide into well deserved and widespread fame.  https://youtu.be/iAeh40tamYc  


10. Burnin’ For You – Blue Oyster Cult.....BOC was born in Long Island, New York in 1967, out of the efforts of a couple of Stony Brook College mates who were literary enthusiasts, sci-fi fans, and eventual rock critics/producers.  The band achieved major lift-off when their fourth studio album was released in 1976 bearing the ubiquitous FM Radio hit “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.”  Commercial success went fallow for a few years, but after three more studio albums the group struck gold again with 1981’s Fire of Unknown Origin, a return to form and to strong sales based on FM Radio swooping in on the track listed here.  “Burnin’ For You” is a solid example of the band’s appealing brand of pop metal steeped in classic rock.  https://youtu.be/KQSkjl6oOF0




Posted 2/10/19.....

In honor of our subzero weather recently here in southwestern Pennsylvania, musicasaurus.com has ice-picked out some chill tunes for you...Create your own harsh weather playlist for enjoying indoors, starting with these:

1. Cold Shot – Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble.....from the group’s second album Couldn’t Stand The Weather (1984).....Call him inspired, in league with the devil, a channeller of the music of the spheres, whatever—Vaughan was one of the Gifted and the Greats.  I was fortunate enough to catch him in his early blues-club-circuit years, playing in places like the Evergreen Hotel in Pittsburgh when his first band Cobra would very occasionally slither into town.  The album from which “Cold Shot” comes was recorded at the Power Station in NYC in January 1984 with executive produc