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. "I'm a Road Runner" — Albert Lee (3:27)
I needed to start this week’s column with a fellow white-haired 70-year-old just to balance everything out. Albert Lee is in the pantheon of country-rock pickers, acknowledged by fellow greats Rodney Crowell, James Burton, Eric Clapton, and Scotty Moore. Albert is additionally a big R&B fan, so it was no surprise to me when he covered this Junior Walker chestnut all heated up in a bluegrass recipe. Don’t miss his jaw-dropping solo on the ride-out.
2. "(Love is Like A) Heat Wave" — Lamont Dozier (2:28)
It’s always fascinating when a songwriter plays their version of their song that was made famous by others (i.e. Carole King). Lamont was part of the Holland-Dozier-Holland unstoppable songwriting triumvirate at Motown; many of their songs are legendary and timeless. A few years ago he put out an album of some of those songs done with very different arrangements and styles than the ones we grew up with. I think it’s a great look inside the soul of Lamont Dozier and I thought I’d share one with y’all.
3. "Treasure" — Bruno Mars (2:56)
The latest in the line of blue-eyed funksters was asked to play in the half-time show at the Super Bowl last week. When you consider one of his biggest influences, Prince, headlined it a few short years ago, it’s quite a compliment. Because of his fancy footwork and clever staging, Bruno has jumped out into the forefront of these white wonders and plans to stay there as long as possible. Here’s a track from his recent top-selling album Unorthodox Jukebox that should convert you if you’re a first timer.
4. "Ashes and Diamonds" — Andy Fairweather-Low (3:13)
A Welsh lad with a staggering resume, he's a well-known guitarist/singer-songwriter in the UK. He has toured as a sideman with Clapton, The Who, Ronnie Lane, Bill Wyman, etc. He started in the '60s band The Amen Corner and his journey from there is not dissimilar to mine on stages, recording studios, etc. This is from his 2007 album Sweet Soulful Music and I have to admit it certainly is.
5. "Caro Padre" — Deaf Havana (3:24)
If you’re reading this before listening, be assured it’s all in English and rocks quite hard after the intro. Another UK product, this is the third album by this band that has moved on up to supporting Springsteen and Muse on gigs in 2013. This is the closing track from the album Old Souls, released last month.
6. "Gimme Little Sign" — Brenton Wood (2:15)
Jimmy Vivino and I will perform this every now and then as it’s a great song and really fun to play and sing. Brenton, born Alfred Smith in Louisiana in 1941, was best known for this tune and its predecessor "Oogum Boogum" way back in 1967. I find both of them timeless and they both rate quite high in my book. I wish they still made records like this, especially with that Farfisa organ solo in the middle!
7. "Wave Pool" — 1,2,3 (3:36)
This band was started by long-time Pittsburgh pals Nic Snyder (vocals, guitar) and Josh Sickels (drums). According to their Facebook page, the group is now rounded out by Mike Yamamoto (guitars, keyboards) and Chad Monticue (bass, vocals). This track is from their 2011 album called New Heaven. They've just finished recording a double-LP called Big Weather that's being prepared for release as of this writing.
8. "Hurt My Baby" — John Hiatt (3:09)
I’ve ALWAYS been a Hiatt fan. I think he’s one of the cleverest lyricists around and I have enjoyed many of his songs over time. This is from 2008’s Same Old Man album, and the title song was also included a couple of years ago in these pages. I think he deserves more than he’s gotten, but like Randy Newman, I KNOW he’s a lifer and will just keep getting better and better. But maybe he and I should have a l'il chat about ties, shirts, jackets, hats, etc...
9. "Are You There with Another Girl" — Dionne Warwick (2:50)
This was from Dionne’s fifth album from 1965 called Here I Am. It was produced by Burt Bacharach and Hal David who also wrote all the songs. The first two singles bombed and this was the third. It made the Top 40 but most folks don’t recall it. I have included it because it’s one of my favorites. I also have the backing track without the vocal in my never-ending collection. I have included Burt’s backing tracks twice before but they were ones that were top ten hits. This time I am including the original single first followed by the backing track next because I feel some of you might not have heard the original. I’m sure you will enjoy both of them.
10. "Are You There... " (backing track) — Burt Bacharach (2:55)
As you can hear, this is take 21 and no wonder. This is some complicated hoo-doo by 1965 standards. I STILL don’t understand some of the chords, but over the years I learn to translate and understand more and more of Burt’s mysticism and it always make me a better musician and songwriter. What a great way to end this week's column!