New Music for Old People: Bahamas, Allen Toussaint, Linda Ronstadt, Max Frost and More

By , Columnist

Allen Toussaint

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.

Sep122014 by Willow on Grooveshark

1. "As Long As You Love Me" — Caleb Johnson (2:10)

Caleb makes his farewell appearance for his current album and shows his pop-metal demeanor in full tilt. I don’t watch charts or anything so I don’t know if he’s being supported by his American Idolatory, but he is a good singer and his album was produced well.

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2. "Big As the Sky" — A.M. Sixty (2:48)

The trail of this band seems to peter out about ten years ago. Chris Root started a band called The Mosquitos in 2001 and played shows in the US and Japan and the UK. He sent demos to the UK of another band he dreamed up and they caught on big. That would be THIS band. The single "Just a Dream" made big points charting in the UK and they toured stadiums in the UK and Japan. The US label V2 signed them shortly thereafter and put out an album with the same title as this tune. Tracks were used in TV shows and films and commercials (primarily for Schwinn bicycles) and then the trail gets cold in 2005. I always liked this track, however, so let's keep it alive at least here.

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3. "Glow Long" — Max Frost (2:01)

The first Max Frost was the protagonist in the 1968 teen movie Wild In the Streets. The second Max Frost was born in Austin, Texas in 1992. He started musically when he was eight and started sitting in around Austin when he was 12. It was a hobby til it forced him to leave the University of Texas as an English major to dive in headfirst. His first single “White Lies” on Atlantic was a big hit and spawned the EP this track is on. If you can wade through the hip-hop electronica you can glimpse a bit of Frost’s fire here.

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Rub-a-dub-schlub, Max Frost in a tub — beggin' for the ice water challenge.

4. "Your Smile" — Angela and RenĂ© (3:12)

This goes way back to 1985 and I’m guessing not many here know it. RenĂ© Moore and Angela Winbush were a team from 1980-86. They were also songwriters and producers involved with Rufus, The Isley Brothers, and Ron Isley. Angela sang backup for The Brothers Johnson and Dolly Parton (!). This track was a #1 R&B hit back in ‘85 and mostly features Angela. I think there’s something here for everyone. Approximately 30 years later, it still fits right in to my listening palette.

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Sigh... most people don't dress like 1985 anymore these days...

5. "Go 'Way From My Window" — Linda Ronstadt and Ann Savoy (2:47)

This folk standard from the pen of John Jacob Niles reminds us of the extraordinary tone and richness of Linda’s now-lost singing voice. Her tone was one of a kind and instantly recognizable as she moved many of us through our formative years. So let’s just take a moment and fondly recall those gorgeous vocal chords. Here’s to ya, Linda.

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6. "The 101" — Albert Hammond Jr. (2:38)

A member of The Strokes, Albert has amazing lineage. His same-named dad was a singer-songwriter of great note back in my day. He co-wrote "When I Need You," "It Never Rains in Southern California," "99 Miles from LA," and "The Air That I Breathe," to name but a few. So it’s not really a surprise that the son followed the dad in subject matter as Junior takes on the numeric highway that runs around LA on one of his recent solo albums. Junior also designs three-piece suits for Ilaria Urbinati and usually wears one for his solo shows. I like the Pete Townshend-style breakdown in the middle of this.

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Albert! Send me one of those suits — 46 long if they make 'em that big!

7. "Nothing to Me Now" — Bahamas (3:14)

Here's a current favorite of mine, with various tracks in recent past columns. He is playing in the 'hood here on September 13 and I hope to be there. A tasteful, original singer-songwriter-player, his guitar playing is particularly perfect on this track.

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8. "South Side" — Grady Champion (2:32)

Born in Mississippi, the youngest of TWENTY-EIGHT children, that would make him born into the blues. He released albums in 1998 and 1999 and a live one in 2010. This is from his recently released latest one Bootleg Whiskey on Malaco, a label associated with blues and soul music. And that, my friends, is what you are about to hear—old-fashioned as well—the way we like it around these parts.

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Grady, you gotta big harp and a big watch and a big photo... must be your publicist!

9. "Thank You" — Carla Diamond feat. Allou April (2:51)

This music is from South Africa, but all in English and extremely influenced by American soul music. Carla, she sings, and Allou, he plays soulful lead guitar. I believe they are from Cape Town and that this song is a tribute to Nelson Mandela. Really well done from 2007.

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10. "Lover of Love" — Allen Toussaint (3:14)

Allen Toussaint is one of my heroes. I had not heard this track before but it is kind of a perfect example of his songwriting, singing, style, and his great, influential piano-playing. A great way to close.

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