Amadou and Mariam
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. The reason I am writing this column is to make sure others don't miss this. These are not top ten items; but they SHOULD be!
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.
1. "Gearheads" - Danny Gatton & Joey De Francesco (4:48)
If you love Jeff Beck, this is for you. The late Danny Gatton was like a shooting star in the galaxy. Here he interfaces with the greatest living organist in the world, Joey DeFrancesco, and his band. Joey defers to Danny and just gets out of the way ASAP. Here’s why...
2. "Piece Of Clay (1995 Master Version)" - Marvin Gaye (5:11)
This is some chilling stuff and I don’t mean relaxing either. Shortly before his father murdered him, he sang these words to his family about how he was NOT their piece of clay, a great artifact that is rarely heard. I also love the way the guitar in the intro morphs into the organ. What a tragic loss this was.
3. "Make U Move" - Danielia Cotton (3:52)
It’s on my list to go see this woman live. I’ve seen pix, and I’ve enjoyed trax, but I KNOW I’m missin’ the real deal. Hope to see you at her next show.
4. "Batoman" - Amadou & Mariam (4:13)
I won’t push world music very often here but this track got me into African music from the Mali region. The artists are a married couple who are BOTH blind - and dress in wild outfits with matching sunglasses! She sings, he plays GREAT guitar. Give this a try; if you like it, there are myriad recordings to choose from if you get hooked like I did. They live in Oakland, CA now and play a lot in that area, by the way.
5. "Zero Will Power" - Dan Penn (4:52)
The trivial thing I love about this track is that they kept the organ part in, even though the whirling organ speaker was broken and sounded WRONG. They just ignored that and made it part of the record. Dan is a way underrated singer and a famous songwriter (“Do-Right Woman,” “Cry Like A Baby," “Dark End Of The Street,” etc.).
6. "Picture" - Bottle of Justus (4:06)
From the Chicago area and reminiscent of the band Pinback (I actually don’t know who was first) two brothers that get along plus their playing pals get a great sound AND mix their vocals louder than Pinback!
7. "Lord Of The Manor" - The Everly Brothers (4:42)
Two obscure old songs this week. Here’s the first one. This is early '70s towards the end of their first career. It has become my favorite Everlys track and that’s sayin’ something. Hope you enjoy this rarely unearthed gem.
8. "Happiness Is" - New York City (3:17)
Here’s the second old obscure track. Thom Bell is a writer/arranger who is commonly called the Black Bachrach. He wrote for/produced and arranged The Spinners, The Stylistics, The Delfonics, etc. Here is a track from an obscure but magnificent album he did for this vocal group from ‘guess where’. One of my all time favorite old soul arrangements and vocals. This is '70s vintage.
9. "I Know You Don’t Love Me No More" - Roachford (5:41)
African-Americans residing in the UK steeped in American old style R&B. This is some of the best feel-sorry-for-yourself listening one can find nowadays. This is bad mood music at its best - it goes from utter simplicity to swaggering blues and back again. Waaaay underrated.
10. "Strollin’ On The Waterfront" - Cool John Ferguson (4:40)
We started with an instrumental and we’ll now end with one. I found this on iTunes eight years ago. A paean to George Benson or Wes Montgomery, this jazzy guitar instrumental is great hot summer driving with the top down music (if you’re a boomer). I have no clue about Cool John Ferguson other than he is.