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. "Next to Me" — Emeli Sandé (3:08)
Well, I admit her photo got me at first. But this is a great CURRENT pop record and she shows signs of lasting if the songs and production remain at this level and she steers waaaayy clear of Chris Brown.
2. "Unconsolable" — X Ambassadors (3:35)
This is eerie at first but it rises up at the chorus and stays there. I also love words that people may have never used in songs before and the title may qualify. I also love the way “false start” is used in the lyric. There are other songs on this EP you will hear in the future. The group is currently on tour with Imagine Dragons.
3. "Remember Me This Way" — Edie Brickell & Steve Martin (3:29)
He is as good a banjo player as he is a comedian but he’s been banjo-ing longer. Well, we KNEW she was a good singer, but up to now maybe being Mrs. Paul Simon was a full-time job for the last 21 years. She sounds great on this — actually they both do. It’s rare to hear a banjo play seductively, but the comedian matches the subtlety of the vocal. A sympathetic duo with nary a backward glance to Victoria Tennant or Carrie Fisher.
4. "Change" — Churchill (2:38)
Other than the guitar squeaks in the quiet first verse, this is pretty much a perfect hit single including mandolin leads. They seem to have figured out how to sell records and be musically rewarding as well. There are three existing EPs and an album from 2011 (Happy Sad). Hopefully they can follow up the momentum of this hit single with a breakout new album in 2013. Bethany Kelly has a fine commercial voice and mandolinist Mike Morter knows exactly what to do. They’re from Denver, by the way.
5. "Blown Away" — Jeff Lynne (3:23)
Not the alpha, BUT the beta Beatle shows off what he can do anytime he gets ready. I think this is about 20 years old, but for understanding and replicating Lennon and Harrison, this is pretty damn good. Heard it again by accident the other day and just wanted to share it. Besides, it’s raining (and snowing) all over the world.
6. "Satisfied Woman/Satisfied Man" — Meg Love/Vernon Garrett (2:35)
It took me a few minutes, but Google says the maniac bassist on this vintage mid-'70s track is Billy Ray Charles. Never heard of him but I have heard this bassline in my dreams many times. This is a classic soul record and it takes me back instantly with each listen. While young and old are seduced by hit hop and rapped, I like to occasionally throw in old men’s sounds. Wadda ya expect from a grandparent?
7. "Fly" — The Child of Lov (3:11)
If you like "Gnarls Barkley meets sedated Sly Stone" you will surely enjoy this. The lyric is pretty gospel but the groove is basically un-religious and historical. This is one guy who shuns publicity, so I’ll judge him just by this track. He is GUILTY of reaching me before I knew it with some old tricks. Hope you share that experience with me. GREAT production, methinks...
8. "With Any Sort of Certainty" — Streetlight Manifesto (3:09)
I’m in it for the horns and the enthusiasm. This is new.
9. "Some Other Man Instead" — Spin Doctors (4:08)
They’re back! The good news is they’re stripped down and sticking with the basics. This is tasty and worthy of a weathered welcome.
10. "A Change Is Gonna Come" — Rick Vito (3:53)
In the early '90s I became aware of a comparatively new genre called Sacred Steel. The trademark guitar seemed to be vocalizing and it required skilled slide playing and a little knowledgeable foot pedal action. It was primarily limited to the black gospel field and its foremost practitioners were The Campbell Bros. and Robert Randolph. There is a compendium CD on Arhoolie of selected tracks from that era you may enjoy if you like this. Rick Vito is a bluesy white man who’s been around this wacky business for decades. We were friendly when we both lived in Gnashville. This is his belated nod to Sacred Steel and is beautifully performed in an understated manner. A great way to close.
I will try and return next week but I am still toiling away on the Mike Bloomfield box set. / AK