Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem
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. "The Closer at Hand" — Field Music (2:18)
As you probably can tell, this is one of my favorite ‘new’ groups; I think this is their fourth entry in the columns in a year. A good point is they have picked up the slack from the dismembering of the band XTC. And that could only be accomplished by blood — two brothers from the UK who have all the right influences. There is already a formidable body of work out there and Al is a big fan. Your turn. May I also suggest “If Only the Moon Were Up” by them as well?
2. "Why Don't You Hear Me" — Freddy Henry (4:17)
Fred has been around awhile. He tried his best to make great records and reach people with his strong singing and writing talents, initially in a band called Jelly on Elektra in the early '70s. Then I snapped him up and produced a solo album with him. After marrying his longtime love and having children, the responsibilities involved forced him to take a real job and sing on the side. To me, this was a big loss for music lovers. But he helped his dad keep the family biz going and remains in Wisconsin today, happily helming the business that bears his family name, Bliffert (I changed it for his solo album), but he’s out there on weekends playing for the joy of it. Go see him if you live there; his voice will give you chills. This is a track he wrote and cut in Wisconsin. Fred is to Teddy Pendergrass what Frankie Miller is to Otis Redding. Check out his TP’ing in the 60-second fadeout of this track.
3. "Travelin' Shoes" — Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem (2:58)
I thought Ruthie Foster had a lock on this song about five years ago when I heard her recording. Well... she still does, but this is quite listenable and not imitative of the Foster arrangement. I have to listen to the myriad catalog of this Boston-based aggregation as they have been under my nose since 2000 and I had no idea. There is obviously a great deal of talent contained therein. See what you think if you like this sort of thing — there are six albums as far as I can tell. This is from Some Bright Morning, released two months ago.
4. "All the Way Down" — Oakley Hall (3:53)
This band has had so many personnel changes they must travel with a damn turnstile! Jeez! I see three albums but none past 2007 which this track is from. I am here for the guitars. The ensemble guitar sections sound like a cross between Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield — "Omaha" meets "Rock 'n' Roll Woman." That’s what got me here and now I’ll have to see if they do this on some other tracks or I just lucked into this one. If I don’t miss my guess, so did you.
5. "Beetle in the Box" — Admiral Fallow (3:29)
Whadda we got here? A booncha Scuts frem Glesgoo? That’ll be it. Musically and lyrically higher learned than most, although I have no idea what this song is about — but it’s very listenable after one or two (listens, that is). It grew on me. Methinks if they backed off the intellectualism a wee bit and got DOWN harder, they’d be a stronger, more dangerous band. Time will tell, won’t it? By the way, isn’t it interesting that the original spelling of beetle looks WRONG to people born after 1950?
6. "I've Got Your Love" — Boz Scaggs (3:38)
One can ALWAYS count on the Bozman to deliver that soul ballad in a definitive way; this time with some meaningful guitar solos by Scaggs himself, I’m assuming. Which reminds me, any special reason why NO ONE at Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, Amazon, eMusic is interested in listeners knowing the full credits for songs? I know that young, continuously texting toddlers could give a damn as they were raised on no credits. But what about the rest of us? Occupy iTunes? Hey, let's go camp out there — I hear the cafeteria is great. Although... OCCUPY SPOTIFY sounds better.
7. "Notified" — The Call (2:32)
I have occupied "Notified" for decades now and still do not tire of it. The late Michael Been’s ‘80s band had everything but a giant following. Too bad; this is still great stuff. Go listen to more of it if you like this. The Call is calling YOU!
8. "Out the Door" — Who Made Who (2:51)
This trio of Danish wastrels sure could conjure up the classic Doors on this puzzling track from their debut self-titled album in 2005. I remember playing it for music-biz blogster Bob Lefsetz in my hotel room back then after failing to ignite him with a handful of other newbies. THIS got to him in a big way. No matter. Probably in the USA we were the two. On their latest 2012 album, they have become hardened electronica Denmarkians and the near-perfect Jim Morrison imitation is long gone. Still a good band with a sense of how to make records. Let’s see what happens now. They should probably find a new publicist, however, who doesn’t moonlight as an illustrator...
9. "The Otherside" — Breaks Co-Op (3:12)
With my 68-year-old senior memory lapses, I swear this is a cover of The Subdudes, Jackson Brown, James Taylor, but I can’t pin it. If it’s NOT a cover these badly-named lads sure understand how to write like they always lived in Laurel Canyon. The occasional lead singer falsetto by Englishman Andrew Lovegrove takes it up a notch or two as well. The songwriters and founders of the band are New Zealanders Zane Lowe and Hamish Clark. So it is possible they wrote this song about as far from Laurel Canyon as one could get. Not to mention this was released in 2006. And what the hell is ‘Breaks Co-Op,’ the ignorant American asks?
10. "She Knows" (Live) — The Band (3:07)
Sounds like it was recorded in a small club like New York’s now-deceased Lone Star Cafe featuring now-deceased Richard Manuel on impassioned lead vocal and acoustic piano. Were the strings and harp synthesized by keyboard genius Garth Hudson or overdubbed later? C’mon, you music suppliers.... give us the damn credits if you have the balls to charge $1.29 for songs now. I would venture to say this is post-Robbie Robertson from my inner knowledge. It is a wonderful track and a great closer. Even more mysteriously, it was written by two of the guys in the band Bread! Comments, PLEASE. I just know it’s a soulful listen and included for your pleasure.