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. "(Too) Many Enemies" — Braid (2:17)
Lately I have taken to opening with a loud blockbuster to get your attention in the fashion that bands that play loud like to employ. This has a great chorus so just bang your head against the wall 'til it gets there and then simply listen to the chorus. Couldn’t be easier!
2. "This Old Stray Dog and Jesus" — Paul Thorn (3:22)
Because he knows I am a rabid fan, Paul sent me an advance of his new album and I fell in love with this track. The title refers to the only two true friends the singer has in this world. Sometimes I know that feeling. I guess that's why this resonated with me, but there are a coupla laughs thrown in for good measure. When it comes to writing a blues song like this—other than Randy Newman—stick me with a Thorn. I’m stickin’ YOU with it now...
"Don't throw bouquets at me Don't please my folks too much "
3. "Love Don't Die" — The Fray (2:26)
The person who wrote this is not old enough yet to have been married four times. I rest my case — love DO die and that can get very expensive. But a younger, unknowing crowd, they can believe this for a few years.
Will the defendants please rise?
4. "It Might Not Be Right" — Ruthie Foster (2:39)
It’s nice to have Ms. Foster back again and even better since she has collaborated with the great Stax soul songwriter William Bell. This is some free-flowing, welcome ‘70s R&B created nowadaze from her new album, Promise of a Brand New Day.
5. "Blackbird" (Live 1974) — Crosby Stills & Nash (2:37)
This is from their voluminous box set also featuring Neil Young (but not on THIS track). There was a previous studio version, but this tops it handily. Great song, great harmonies but one thought — it would have been perfect if Stills had played the lone guitar fingerpicked as opposed to just strummed, or if Crosby had joined him fingerstyle. But believe me, I’ll take this as is.
6. "In Conflict" — Owen Pallett (2:27)
As nearly as I can make out here, a woman he cares about is in the hospital ‘in conflict.’ I can’t make out the rest lyrically. The music is certainly compelling in a prog rock way (as in 2014). And so, while I can’t ultimately make out her condition, I can move along on the arrangement and modern sounds. Please advise in Comments if she survived.
7. "She Has to Come Down" — Peter Bradley Adams (3:29)
This is Pete’s second visit to NMFOP. This is a well done performance and a complicated balanced audio mix as well. As in the previous track there is a damsel in distress, but this one is definitely a partaker of drugs and "she has to come down" to satisfy poor Pete. I wish them both the best. In real life it’s usually 50-50. To satisfy me, they have to make the vocal louder after the first verse and chorus. Please advise in Comments if she survived.
8. "Warsaw" — White Sea (2:17)
And now Morgan Kibby is back with her band for the second time as well. This has X-rated words and thoughts in it, so don’t play it while you’re baby-sitting the grandkids. She is admittedly a great singer but her songwriting weaves in and out of reality and EMD. I will stick with her for now because if she wanted to, she could find a better vehicle for her voice and sell many more records. If she's not trying to do that, then she’s doing fine.
9. "Under the Covers" — Curtis Fields (2:28)
Most known for playing live and playing guitar through his iPhone, Curtis is a man attempting to get to the top. This is a great sounding track and Curt can sing. However, it sounds to my ears that during the chorus, instead of singing the title he sings “up and down the covers.” I think I might be missing some sex routine that was not practiced in Queens when I was growing up. Please advise in Comments...
10. "Please Forgive My Heart" — Bahamas (3:31)
In case you don’t notice things like this, Bahamas is now appearing for a second week in a row here. This may be unprecedented (I’m too old to recall). If so, it’s because I totally get what he’s doing and can tolerate listening to it over and over. My first instinct is to share that with y’all, so forgive me for the repetition, especially if it don’t ring your bell. Please forgive my heart. Please advise in Comments...
Unquestionably, coolest guitar of the week AND a denim suit as well.
11. RIP Johnny Winter, 1944 - 2014: "It's My Own Fault Baby" — Johnny Winter (9:50)
This is a recording from the first night I met Johnny Winter and heard him play. Mike Bloomfield and I were playing the Fillmore East in 1969 and Mike showed up with Johnny in tow and asked me if it was okay if he sat in. I knew of his reputation—a Texas Terror of the Blues—but never actually heard him play. But I certainly trusted Bloomfield’s taste and a slow blues didn’t really need to be rehearsed to get the point across. So Michael introduces Johnny halfway through our show, and the audience obviously has NEVER heard of him and when this long-haired albino walks out, the applause is slight. But after the first four and a half minutes of his playing and singing, Johnny hands it over to Bloomfield, receiving a much more respectful response. Bloomfield plays right back at him for three more minutes, and then Johnny takes the last three minutes home like he was playing for his life. It was pretty incredible. The audience went nuts, as you can hear.
The top brass from Columbia Records were in the front row to hear Mike and me play live and fortunately we were recording the show. Within the next two weeks, they signed Johnny to a big contract and the rest is history. This is the actual start of that history. I am proud to have been a part of it and I am really sad to see him go. He played right to the very end and died on the road like the true bluesman he always was.
You can sign up for Al Kooper's mailing list right here.