Songs I never get tired of

“Some days are diamonds, some days are rocks.”

O Brother Where Art ThouThe songs I never get tired of is a very long list. Fortunately, I’m learning not to overthink this meme.

Taking It To the Streets – Doobie Brothers. The first Doobies hit I recall with Michael McDonald on lead vocal. It appears on the Cook Book Loss Leader, “focusing on Warners’ black acts.”

Man of Constant Sorrow – Soggy Bottom Boys, from O Brother Where Art Thou, my favorite soundtrack of a movie I have never seen.
My wife and I saw Alison Krauss and Union Station in 2003. Dan Tyminski told how much his wife loved watching her husband’s voice come out of George Clooney’s lips.

Sail On Sailor – Beach Boys. The most rocking BB song, from the 1972 Holland album.

Walls – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers from the She’s The One soundtrack. “Some days are diamonds, some days are rocks.”

Something in 4/4 Time – Daryl Hall. The Sacred Songs album, produced by Robert Fripp, was recorded the summer of 1977 but not released until 1980. I’d love to hear some college a Capella group take a shot at this, especially the off-kilter bridge.

Barabajagal – Donovan (With The Jeff Beck Group). Love IS hot. In my early blogging days, put this on a mixed CD exchange with a couple songs by other former Yardbirds guitarists, Page (some Zeppelin track) and Clapton (surely a Cream song).

I Can’t Get Next to You – the Temptations. The second of four #1 pop singles by the group that is STILL touring. But it’s the first one with the shared lead vocal in the era produced by Norman Whitfield. This was after David Ruffin left the group and Dennis Edwards had joined.

Tempted -Squeeze. Beyond the Paul Carrack growl, I also love the Sly Stone/Temps shared vocals in the second verse.

Fame – David Bowie. Bowie, John Lennon – that’s enough. Not incidentally, I know of know version of a song designated with a year that I like better than the original. Thus this, NOT Fame 1990.

My Randy Newman Story

When I heard When Somebody Loved Me [which he wrote] in Toy Story 2, I practically cried.

I made a cryptic comment about Randy Newman the other day. It was supposed to be something I’d bring up when I wrote about it at some future date, maybe in November, on Newman’s birthday. But my friend Rocco, who I’ve known since our FantaCo days in the early ’80s, asked about it, as well as confirming that I went with him to see that dismal Joe Jackson concert in ’89. And since today is Rocco’s birthday, I’ll tell the story now.

I was in the Poughkeepsie, New York train station, coming home from a conference c. 1999. Poughkeepsie’s about halfway between Albany and New York City, along the Hudson River.

I see walking into the ticket area a guy, a woman and a couple kids. That’s Randy Newman. Isn’t it Randy Newman? I LOVE Randy Newman!

If it’s Randy Newman, I know what I’m going to say to him. Continue reading “My Randy Newman Story”

Stevie Wonder is 60


Stevie Wonder is 60 years old today. Only 60? Seems that he’s been around forever. I guess that’s what happens when you’re dubbed the “12-year-old genius.” Wish I had the time to indicate all of his significance in my musical life. Among other things, I’ve stated that he and Paul Simon were THE two most important artists in my record collection in the 1970s. Here are just some highlights.

Really don’t remember the earlier singles, such as “Fingertips, Part 2”, except as an oldie. The first song I recall listened to, on the radio, was Uptight (Everything’s Alright) in 1966. I loved it! Later, I got an album from my sister’s godfather, of all people, of Bill Cosby called Silver Throat, where he sings a parody of Uptight called Little Old Man.

My sister owned the 1966 album Down to Earth, containing the title track and A Place In the Sun, the latter a song written by Stevie that everyone at the time seemed compelled to cover. I owned 1970’s Signed Sealed Delivered.

Possibly my favorite Wonder song in the early years was 1967’s “I Was Made to Love Her”

I owned the so-so 1967 Someday At Christmas, though it contains THE great secular Christmas tune, “What Christmas Means to Me.” Continue reading “Stevie Wonder is 60”

Music Meme

Pete Seeger, Justin Bieber, Bobby Goldsboro, John Sebastian, Joe Jackson, Seals & Crofts, Boz Scaggs, Bobby McFerrin, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Droge, Randy Newman and Blotto are all mentioned in this post, at least one of them for no good reason.

An odd series of circumstances has gotten me writing about music far more than usual. I’d picked this meme for Monday, then needed a Q for Tuesday. I realized that I wanted to do birthday things for Billy Joel, Bono/U2 and tomorrow’s topic. I once said that sometimes the blog pieces write themselves; well, occasionally, the blog ORDER does likewise.

Here’s a meme from SamuraiFrog, also done by Scott and Jaquandor.

1. What are you listening to right now?
The Beatles Mono Box. Specifically the Past Masters, the singles, B-sides, etc.

2. What song(s) make(s) you sad?
Goodness, LOTS of songs make me sad. There are whole categories: requiems (requia?) from Mozart to Faure; certain romantic songs – such as Stay With Me by Lorraine Ellison or Gone Away by Roberta Flack. Sometimes, songs that I love that I hadn’t heard lately make me cry, such as the Blue Moon solo on Cream’s Sunshine of Your Love.

3. What is the most annoying song in the world?
Honey by Bobby Goldsboro. Wait, it’s Dominick the Donkey.

4. Your all time favorite band?
Beatles (all time)

5. Your newly discovered band is?
I don’t know that there is one. The new music I get tends to be the same artists I’ve been buying. For instance, Levon Helm from the Band. indeed, anyone I DO discover tends to be a solo artist, such as Corrinne Bailey Rae, whose album The Sea I recommend.

6. Best female voice?
Julie Andrews. Or maybe Judy Collins.

7. Best male voice?
Nat King Cole.

8. Music type you find yourself listening to most?
Fairly eclectic, but rock mostly.

9. What do you listen to, to hype you up?
Anything with an insistent baseline, such as The Spencer Davis Group’s Keep On Running.

10. What do you listen to when you want to calm down?
Classical music, probably Bach.

11. Last gig/concert you went to?
Springsteen, last year.

12. Band you find yourself listening to the most right now?
Well, RIGHT now, I tend to listen to people whose birthday is in this week in May: Bono (U2), Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, David Byrne (Talking Heads).

13. Most hated band?
I don’t think about bands I dislike. They tend to slip out of my mind.

14. Song that makes you think?
LOTS of songs make me think. Lenten songs, for one group.

15. Band that you think the world should love as much as you do?
I don’t care what other people like; they can do what they want.

16. Coolest music video?
Ever? “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel. But I haven’t watched them in forever.

17. Music video with the most babe watch?
Robert Palmer’s? Have no idea.

18. What do you play/would you play in the bedroom to spice things up?
Mozart.

19. Can you play a musical instrument?
Kazoo.

20. Ever been in a mosh pit?
No.

21. Are you in a band?
No, but I’m in a choir. But in junior high, we tried to form a band called Ralphie’s Moonies. Had a hit song called “Pool Shark” that I still remember.

23. Ever dated a musician?
Yes. My wife played the clarinet in high school. Also, I went out with a singer for a time.

28. Do you wish yourself that you were a musician?
Some days. Or maybe I am.<11–more–>

29. Best chick band you know of?
The Dixie Chicks, I guess.
Continue reading “Music Meme”

Q is for Queen


When I first heard the songs of the rock group Queen in the mid-1970s, I thought it was a very good group with songs such as:
*Killer Queen (#12 on the Billboard charts in the United States in 1975)
*You’re My Best Friend (#9 in 1976)
*Bicycle Race (#24 in 1978) – hey, I ride sometimes
*the rockabilly sensibilities of Crazy Little Thing Called Love (the group’s first #1, in 1980)
*Play The Game (#42 in 1980)
*the bass line-insistent Another One Bites The Dust (another #1, in 1980)
*the goofy fun of Flash (as in Gordon) (#42 in 1981)

Then Freddie Mercury died of AIDS in 1991 Continue reading “Q is for Queen”