New Music for Old People: Carl Hall, Brandi Carlile, Lieutenant, Marcus Miller and More

By , Columnist

Joe Pug

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.

Mar20_2015 by New Music on Grooveshark

1. “Prepared Remarks” — Lieutenant (2:29)

Everything but the vocal kinda took me back to vinatge Cobain … and I liked that. I couldn’t make out the lyrics here, however … and I didn’t like THAT. This was just released; it's a solo project by Foo Fighters bassist Nate Mendel. I do really like the musical flavor and the guitars and bass; it’s very back-then Seattle. By the way, I thought the Foo Fighters set at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was GREAT last year (saw it on cable)!


2. “I’m Trapped” — Carl Sims (3:56)

Born in 1949, Carl got lucky and toured as part of the Otis Redding/Barkays package. In an eerie replication of the 1959 crash that claimed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, Carl and James Alexander (one of the Barkays) took a commercial flight with the equipment on December 10, 1967 and sidestepped the crash that took the lives of Otis Redding and three fifths of the Barkays. With the encouragement of soul songstress Denise LaSalle, Carl began recording and touring and had a few big hits. Later in life he teamed with Kenny Wayne Shepherd and released House of Love in 1995. This is from that collaboration and it still sounds mighty fine today — 20 years later!


3. “Waitin’ on You” — Katie Love (3:44)

This is Katie’s second track from her new album Ready Or Not. I like her voice and the arrangement a lot. There’s a nice guitar lick going into the lead vocal from the intro. Generally speaking, pretty tasty.


Katie is incredibly excited to be the first recipient of the Singer Black Leather Sewing Machine (shown forefront). Soon we'll ALL want one, huh?

4. “Stay and Dance” — Joe Pug (3:08)

A grass-rootster originally from Greenbelt(!), Maryland, he went to a college or two, worked a a carpenter, and eventually became a folk singer for lack of a better description. I like this track for its basicness, a couple of guitars and a vocal recorded pristinely and sung well. The lyric is a play on the phrase “dance with the one who brung ya” and all in all, it’s a pleasant listen and a well-written song.

5. “Strum” — Marcus Miller (2:03)

This is the first of two instrumentals in a row from guys known primarily as jazzers. Marcus is a virtuoso bassist as you can hear right from the top here and ALWAYS has a standout live band. We’re both from Queens, New York and get along quite well. This is edited down a bit to fit the column. If you like this, check out the elongated version. Mucho fonky!


6. “Goin’ Out of My Head” — Bill Frisell (2:42)

This is a very clever arrangement for guitar trio (bass and drums) with the bass playing the melody quite a bit. Bill’s playing is wonderful and his tone control is perfect. It was originally recorded by Little Anthony and The Imperials in the mid-‘60s and has won songwriters’ awards for being one of the most played songs in history. But I’m kinda diggin’ Bill’s version here myself lately and hope you’ll join me.


Small dog, gigantic feet and hands, many guitars and CDs. That's what it takes to play like Bill here.

7. “Alibi” — Brandi Carlile (2:56)

I just like the utter simplicity of this — rockabilly groove and attitude and damn good lyric. I don’t think this is what Miz Seattle is known for, but it goes down just fine for me.


8. “My Days Are Numbered” (Live, 1994) — Al Kooper (4:26)

This begins a trilogy of tracks that are oddly connected. This was from my 50th birthday celebration that consisted of three nights at The Bottom Line, where I played three sets — one with The Blues Project (all original members but Steve Katz wouldn’t allow his performances to be used which worked out well for the album with Jimmy Vivino in his place), a band to play my BS&T tracks featuring Fred Lipsius, Katz/Vivino again, myself, Will Lee on bass, Anton Fig on drums, and a horn section that highlighted trumpeteers Lew Soloff and Randy Becker. I wrote a special trumpet battle at the end of the arrangement where the two consummate musicians jammed masterfully in each other’s faces. As you can hear, the crowd went nuts! So this track is now my tribute to Lew Soloff who we sadly lost last week to a heart attack. This is the way I like to remember him.


A rare shot playing the ondioline during the original BS&T sessions, 1967.

9. “Where Jesus Is the Light” — Raymond Rasberry Singers (2:10)

This is a gospel track I have always loved. Originally, I went berserk over the lead vocal by this amazing woman. I also “borrowed” the title of the previous track from the lyric of this one. One day in the ‘60s, ├╝ber R&B producer Jerry Ragovoy and I were discussing this very track and I asked him if he knew the woman’s name. He laughed at my 20s ignorance and told me that it was a MAN singing the lead and that the singer had just moved to New York and that Jerry was signed to produce him. His name was Carl Hall and Jerry cut a few singles with him and two of them were SPECTACULAR. The next track is one of them.


10. “The Dam Busted” — Carl Hall (3:18)

There is another Carl Hall track better than this, but I have used it in the column a few times. This one? Just one other time. It has one of my favorite lyric couplets in it:

You were just like a piece of good meat to a starving dog
Just one look at you I knew I had to have it all…

And then there is that voice. There are few in history who could sing like Carl. I could not find his birth date online, but I recall he passed away in the late ‘80s if my scarred memory serves me well here. I hope you enjoyed these last two tracks. They have sustained me most of my life since my early 20s and Carl sang backup on many tracks I produced before his passing.


You can sign up for Al Kooper's mailing list right here.

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