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. "Showdown" — The Isley Brothers (3:16)
They started in the '50s with a timeless #1 hit ("Shout!"), had another huge hit in the '60s ("Twist and Shout"), and I think all of you probably know the rest of their history by heart. This was from the '70’s and is another amazing groove by the Isleys as well. After all, it’s their thing — they do what they wanna do. I never tire of this track 'cause I still can’t solve the mystery of what’s going on here individually on each instrument. But, in the privacy of my own home I can dance up a storm to this and convulse my wife at the same time.
2. "One of These Mornings" — Charlie Musselwhite (2:35)
A blues transplant from Memphis to Chicago (there were many), he fell in with the correct crowd (Bloomfield, etc.) and made a name for himself as a harp player and singer. I saw him on TV the other night performing at The White House for the Prez. He is one of the great survivors and is probably on the road right now as I am typing. This is from his latest album Delta Hardware and it still has that authentic original spark goin’ on. Cheers, Charlie.
3. "Long Nights" — Crack the Sky (3:16)
This was a talented band that formed in the '70s in West Virginia and played around the Baltimore area. Their sad tale of success was a dope opera of huge proportions — and I’m not using dope as another word for drugs. Distribution-wise, their record company sank the ship by not having records in the stores when radio was wailing on their product. They toured and toured, opening for Heart and ZZ Top, and got great crowd response but fans couldn’t reciprocate in the stores where it counted. If one goes back and listens to their vintage work, it’s as good as the acts they opened for. Here’s one of my favorites — a sad tale of an old man who lost direction when his wife died — but it’s a sadder tale of a great band that died too soon without the obituary they deserved.
4. "Ride and Sway" — The Greencards (2:28)
Hopefully, this will elevate your mood from the last track. This band is a newgrass trio originally composed of two Australians and an Englishman who all emigrated to Austin, Texas and got off to a great start. Their name choice is explained by the last sentence. They put out an independent album originally and quickly garnered attention. The Englishman left in 2009 and was replaced by a fiddler from Tennessee, where they had settled in Nashville after leaving Austin. They are now Kym Warner and Carol Young, the original Australians, Tyler Andal on fiddle, and Carl Miner on acoustic guitar. They have toured extensively all over the globe and recently opened for Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson.
5. "The Name of the Game" — ABBA (3:58)
This is one of my musical pleasures filed under "guilty." I love this song, especially the lyric: I was an impossible case / Nobody could reach me / But I think I can see in your face / There’s a lot you can teach me. Wish I’d thought of that. I don’t think this was as big as their monster hits so I’m throwin' it out here in case you missed it.
6. "Come Together" — Brandon Boyd (3:09)
This is NOT the Beatles tune but an original from his latest solo album, Sons of the Sea, which I am really enjoying. This is a well-written and well-produced track with a fine arrangement and great vocals.
7. "Sitting on a Mountain" — Simplified (2:37)
This is from their 2011 self-financed album Brighter Days and shows off what this band can do pretty amazingly in two and a half minutes. They have struggled since their formation in 2002 in North Carolina. Original members Clee Laster (good last name, considering) and Chris Sheridan have now recruited Justin Powell on bass and Pat Gerasia on drums. They add two more players for touring and are now opening for Train on their latest tour. If you like this, try and catch them on this tour.
8. "Every Passing Day" — Denison Witmer (3:33)
This singer-songwriter has been out there recording and touring since 1995. This is the first time he has crossed my path and I am quite impressed with this track and have some catching up to do. He is from Lancaster, Pennsylvania and has performed all over the world. Hopefully, there will be more tracks in this space forthcoming...
9. "Medicine Man" — Band of Heathens (3:21)
Got a great response in comments on this band so I thought I’d bring them in for even more scrutiny. I’d love to see them live myself.
10. "She's Already Made Up Her Mind" — Lyle Lovett (4:05)
From the Joshua Judges Ruth album of 1992 (has it been THAT long?), this gem emerged 21 years ago. I thought it was a perfect song AND recording. I was especially fixated on studio ace Matt Rollings piano-istics here. Lyle always had a great sense of dynamics and this track is a perfect example of that — a masterpiece on every level.
A photo of Lyle with that "I've been with Julia Roberts " Lovett look