This column is like the title says - its intention is to fill the gap for those of us who were satiated musically in the '60s and then searched desperately as we aged for music we could relate to and get the same buzz from nowadaze. iTunes was the answer for me in 2003 and I have been following the new releases every Tuesday ever since I realized there was an endless stream of music I could enjoy there.
I also include older items that I felt were obscure originally and might not have been heard back then. The reason I am writing this column is to make sure others don't miss this wonderful music. These are not top ten items; but they SHOULD'VE been!
Below is a jukebox containing all the songs I picked this week. After you read about them below, go back and listen to whatever you like by just clicking on that title in the jukebox, or stream the whole playlist by clicking on the "play" icon at the top. It's free and it's the entire song. We're not selling anything. We're just in the business of hopefully making your days better by listening to great music.
We apologize to our readers/listeners who are trying to enjoy the playlists via mobile devices like iPhones/iPads and are finding that they can't; these are, unfortunately, circumstances beyond our control. At present, Grooveshark is not compatible with those operating systems, and in order to stream the playlist, you will need to use a PC or Mac.
1. "Ain't Nothin' You Can Do" — Andrew Strong (4:04)
This is the wowser of this browser! Andrew was the lead singer of moviedom’s soul band The Commitments. Here on his own, he helms an amazing rearrangement of the Bobby Bland hit that actually gives Bobby a run for his money — and that’s sayin’ a lot. This is about nine years old and just layin’ around.
2. "Share Your Love with Me" — Aretha Franklin (4:03)
So Aretha also decided to cover the great Bobby Bland on one of her live albums. She does a great job on this standard, but I still think Andrew held his own, so to speak.
3. "Next to Me" — The Subdudes (3:52)
At least these crawl-ins fron N’awlins composed their own tune here and a good one it is. I have loved these lads from the start and was lucky enough to play on one of their albums back in the day (not this one though). I love the way they play this groove and they are no slouches in the singing department either.
4. "When We Were Golden" — Crush Luther (2:24)
This is a Canadian band that recorded two albums and existed from 2007 to 2010. Kinda reminds me of the spirit of the Chili Peppers. This is from their 2007 self-titled album. It's not that original, but nonetheless well done.
5. "Love Don't Love Nobody" — Eric Clapton (5:46)
This is a strange bird. Originally written and produced by Thom Bell for The Spinners, it is a classic album cut. This just seems to be a tip of the hat from Eric to all concerned. The classic intro is repeated exactly as the Spinners' version and Eric almost entirely copies late vocalist Phillipe Wynne’s phrasing. The guitar solo was a chance for Eric to shine and he takes off for a fraction of a second but then returns to the stock melody again. The first time I heard it, I scratched my head. The more I thought about it, I realized it’s not so easy to sing like Phillipe if you’re white and British and that was probably what was considered the accomplishment here. I wish he had changed more, but it’s still a good listen, although the original is still the Champ.
6. "Back to the Well" — Lee Roy Parnell (2:59)
This is where Clapton could have easily gone, but Parnell has been in this territory his entire career, walking a tightrope of pure country music with an equal major in blues and rock. Owing more to guitarist James Burton than to Clapton’s Albert King tribute, Lee Roy shows here why non-country folks should investigate his catalog, which began in the early '90s.
7. "Five Long Years" — Ike and Tina Turner (3:22)
Sorry — this is the REAL THANG by two giants of the blues genre who later blazed their way onto the pop and R&B charts. This is classic Ike and Tina with great singing and original stinging guitar. I always thought Ike was underrated as a player—a GUITAR player, that is. RIP, Ike — this is a tribute to your improv skills. Tina is still out there and shows no signs of vocal deterioration in her 70s. As I am fond of saying, "I liked the FIRST '70s better..."
Well, you can see the role models Beyoncé and Jay Z had around the time they were BORN!
8. "All About Me" — New Medicine (2:46)
This is a comparatively new band from Minneapolis with a brand new album, Breaking the Model, that is expertly produced and totally up to date. This track is a good example. Lead singer Jake Scherer originally went back and forth from home to Nashville to write with other people and constructed an arsenal of songs about risky women and dangerous drugs. This is a stand-out album I will probably be dipping into again in the next few weeks. Beats dipping into the ACTUAL risky women and dangerous drugs (at THIS age, that is!).
9. "I Pray Everyday (You Won't Regret Loving Me)" — David Ruffin (2:57)
Best known as the middle-period lead singer of The Temptations at Motown, David has an unassailable voice that has always been salable. My favorite thing about his vocals is when he goes into falsetto for one note and then right back to his regular voice. This is a comparatively unknown album track that is an instruction manual for any R&B singer worth his/her salt.
10. "God Blessed Our Love" — Al Green (3:11)
What can one say? Otis Redding passed away and Al Green appeared out of nowhere and God blessed us all. I like this lyric because it seems to be a gospel song at first, but little by little, Al gets down to it until there is no doubt it is an R&B gem, and it's a great closer as well. A tip of the hat to the late producer/arranger Willie Mitchell who put Al on the map in the first place.
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