New Music for Old People: Jimmy Cliff, John 5, Explorers Club, Mable John and More

By , Columnist

Jimmy Cliff

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.

TMR0817 by Lisa on Grooveshark

1. "Wayne County Killer" — John 5 (2:48)

This is an instrumental by the Eddie Van Halen of Marilyn Manson’s band. He makes solo albums to keep sane, I guess. I like his tone and comparative restraint and most of all I like his volume setting — eleven. Judging by this photo, looks-wise he doesn’t seem to emulate Joe Satriani as much as a young, vampyric Duane Allman. Really fine-lookin’ guitar there as well, John...

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2. "Stay Outta the Kitchen" — Mable John (2:27)

I love Mable’s voice and the songs they gave her at Stax/Volt back in the day. Booker, The MG’s and The Memphis Horns are in fine fettle here. This lyric has always been way overlooked. Wives should play this for their husbands. Husbands should delete this from their wives' iPhones.

3. "Cry No More" — Jimmy Cliff (2:50)

I admit I got a wee bit excited when I saw there was a brand new album from the living King of Reggae. I have many favorites from his past, i.e. "Many Rivers to Cross," "Viet Nam," etc. Now there are a few new favorites. This is one of them. What a great falsetto.

4. "Ain't It Enough" — Old Crow Medicine Show (3:31)

Lawdy, the intro sounds like a vintage Dylan track although the organ’s not as good... Just kidding! This is a good song well done by the lads and I love that they can Dylanize anytime they get ready but still keep their own thing goin’ on.

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5. "The Lesson" — Among Wolves (3:55)

Band from Philadelphia moves to Baltimore and things get better. Sounds like a bad movie — but it worked for these guys. Actually sounds Neil Young-influenced musically, and Twilight-influenced lyrically. A great little track.

6. "Run, Run, Run" — The Explorers Club (2:36)

I remember this band. They put out two albums that were virtual tributes to Brian Wilson song-wise and production-wise. On their latest tome, they abandoned the Wilsons, and went for a combo of The Spiral Starecase and The Casinos with a dollop of the horn sound from the Buckinghams' records. So they’re still very '60s-influenced, but they moved on from The Beach Boys. They’re very good at what they do. This sounds like it was written and recorded in 1965. We LIKE that, don’t we?

7. "Spilt Milk" — Kristina Train (3:04)

This is about three years old. Girl from Savanah, Georgia moves to New York, gets a record deal, and records her first album in the UK. And what a great album it was. Label releases it the same time as Norah Jones's follow-up album and Kristina AND Norah both get ignored by press and radio. I went berserk over this album and had Kristina open for me at my 65th birthday show at BB King's in NYC. Herbie Hancock swept her up and she sang in his touring band all over the world after that. The thing that kills me about her is she’s the first one to REALLY have the Dusty Springfield influence — and yet not sound like she’s IMITATING Dusty. I won’t mention the others, but you all know who the guilty ones are. They got more attention than Kristina and that’s a shame. This track really got to me. She wrote it as well. It STILL sounds great, but I’m hoping her next album sells better so she can buy some pantyhose (see photo).

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8. "Old and Gray" — Maps & Atlases (3:41)

Their bio says they were influenced by jam bands Hella and Don Caballero. I don't hear as much of them as I do David Byrne and Moby. But the point is they are achieving their own sound finally after almost ten years of existence and that’s a good thing. I miss Talking Heads but now I can listen to this band, although they look like one of the local monthly Apple user groups from the '80s.

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9. "Crate of Gold" — Alberta Cross (2:49)

Now this is PRIMITIVE in a good way. Lyrically it reminds me of that YouTube video where they took Joe Cocker's live performance from Woodstock and put subtitles of what it sounded like he was singing lyrically. I really can't make out the real words to this but this what it sounds like to 68-year-old me:

Track, sing, hammer
Wish I could ski
Anytime I I wake up wish I was me
But I’m not high
There’s too much else
Gazed out my window
Sabbath Day to me

And that’s just the first verse. Get the idea? So needless to say, I haven’t a clue why it’s called "Crate of Gold." But I like their spirit and I’m hoping someone sends me the REAL words. I’m damned curious about this gate of mould...errr... crate of gold.

10. "My First Night Alone Without You" — Ray Charles (3:42)

I always leave the most loved for last as I believe in a proper finale.This is a great song written by deceased songwriter Kin Vassy (1943-1994, lung cancer) and was also recorded by Bonnie Raitt in 1975. It’s a great combination of music and lyrics and with the addition of the Genius’s voice and electric piano fills, will always be a classic to me. I KNOW you will enjoy THIS...

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