Big Data (Alan Wilkis)
Great idea, Alan – I should get MY roadie to push me around in a yellow laundry cart! However, obviously they don't make your outfits in my size.
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. “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” — Dave Stewart feat. Colin Blunstone (3:39)
Right off the bat, it’s not THAT Dave Stewart, but rather an English keyboardist who had a neo-electronic concept for this Motown chestnut and invited the Zombies’ lead singer to participate. I lived in the UK when this came out around 1980 and I went right out and bought this single. It still sounds amazing, but I had to go through some sneaky stuff to get a good digital recording of it. Now YOU can hear it as it was meant to be heard considering it originally came out two years before CDs were for sale.
Dive, Dive, where are ya new? Colin's still in the bloody Zombies, mate...
2. “Homesick” — Catfish and the Bottlemen (2:15)
They’re homesick perhaps for the North Wales they originated in before playing all the European summer festivals of 2014 and having a hit single in some of those places (“Kathleen”). The lead singer and main writer is Van McCann. This track was their first single and caught my ear about a year ago.
Bloody hell, it's the Ramoons! No ... wait! Their pants are pressed. It must be Catfish and the Bottlemen.
3. “Helpless” — k.d. lang (4:00)
This has been around a while. She does a great job on this Neil Young standard (and a few other Neil covers over the years; they’re both originally Canadian). I like this arrangement a great deal and, of course, everyone by now is aware of how wonderful her vocals are.
4. “Unbreakable” — Jamie Scott (2:51)
He probably got the title for this song from his stance in the music business. He wrote and produced more than a handful of One Direction tracks so he’s not hurting financially in any respect (although with record company accounting, one never knows). Many others have recorded his songs as well. His first real album My Hurricane came out this January and is selling extremely well. This is from that album; it's good strong pop music, well written and produced and aimed at today’s teens — not necessarily us guys.
"I ran outta chalk... but do we have to clean the shower as well after the shoot? I kinda like the plaid thing ... maybe the director's wife’ll like it and we can leave now."
5. “Staple It Together” — Jack Johnson (2:38)
If you miss the band The Police or the younger Sting, this is for you. This is from Jack’s 2013 album In Between Dreams if you desire more of this. He always has various clever tracks that stay with you. “Taylor” was another one that remained on the turntable (so to speak) for quite a while. Wonder if it was about THAT ‘swift ‘ Taylor. She should have covered “I Get Around.”
"How about all those idiots who spent this winter in Boston, huh?"
6. “Something You Can Do Today” — Joe Simon (3:26)
Most famous for the original version of “Drownin’ In the Sea of Love” but certainly not just limited to that track, Joe Simon had hits from 1965 to 1981. He then turned his back on it all and joined the ministry, where he still sings today. He was born in Simmesport, Louisiana on September 2, 1943 and is still in the world preaching today. There was always something so smooth and wise in his voice as evidenced by this track from the ‘70s. He has resisted temptation and unlike Rev. Al Green, never returned to soul singing.
7. “You Don’t Know My Name” — Von Hertzen Brothers (2:31)
I love when this happens. I kinda liked this track and then read up on it. It was procuced by an old friend I haven’t heard from in DECADES, Garth Richardson, and it is modern music. Garth calls himself GGGarth now, capitalizing on the fact that he always stuttered. This group is Finnish and has been huge in that area for over 15 years. They just signed to a worldwide deal with Universal and this album seems to be taking off. GGGarth, if you read this, email m-m-me. You DO know MY name.
So, ya think it's the drummer or the bass player that's asleep on the right?
8. “Automatic” — Big Data feat. Jenn Wasner (3:11)
Alan Wilkis IS Big Data. He is a producer and electronica expert. Jenn Wasner is in the duo Wye Oak and Wilkis chose to feature her vocal on this track. Think her name is a play on Jann Wenner? There is all sorts of electronicatrickery going on here, but the vocal comes through and it seems, in retrospect, that Jenn was a good choice by Wilkis.
9. “The Best of You” — Booker T (2:59)
In the history of Booker T (from the MG’s), 1980 may seem pretty late chronologically, but I am a big fan of this track. It was produced by my dear friend David Anderle who passed away last year. Booker has always been a great writer and I think this is a great song with a great groove. Just wanted more people to appreciate it as it is now 35 years old and it is still worthy. In case you’re just an MG’s fan, this is Booker singing as well and pretty darn good. This is a great song and a great track from the past.
10. “Plea” — Say Anything (3:15)
From their 2007 album In Defense of the Genre, Max Bemis takes his band on a begging journey of various dynamics and tempos. This is Los Angeles music and well done LA music at that. No Brooklyn here, folks. Last year this band put an album out called Hebrews and I’ll be listening to that one post haste. Stay tuned
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