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. "The Mighty Storm" — Peter Bradley Adams (3:12)
I thought this was appropriate for most of us this month. Now I'm waiting for some t-shirt guy to get smart and print up thousands of "AL GORE WAS RIGHT!" product. So admittedly, Peter Bradley Adams did not really encompass a winter storm, but you get the general idea, especially if you lived through the last few weeks. Sometimes ya just have to be topical, even if it was originally tropical.
"Well, I don't think I look ANYTHING like Bob Weir!"
2. "Set That Baggage Down" — David Crosby (3:30)
In his first solo album in eons, Croz (his album title nom de plume) reveals what it was he contributed to the former Byrds in a most succinct manner. Vestiges of “Eight Miles High” and “Renaissance Fair” are easily detected here; but not exact quotes so much as a style he was able to integrate with McGuinn’s 12-string madness. Admittedly, this is all folked-up, but some of the most listenable ingredients are pouring out of the Croz pot. With assistance from his son, they spin a very flattering family plan that makes this perhaps the best solo album he has ever released. He may be old, but now he is musically wiser than ever.
3. "Citizen" — Broken Bells (3:07)
A wandering introduction to this up and coming band from their self-titled debut album which was in many top tens after its 2010 release. A combination of Jamie Mercer from The Shins and musical magician Danger Mouse, this duo laid it down nicely here with lots of mementos from each of their pasts. I’m having much more trouble with their follow-up which just came out. I went back to this album and still enjoyed it and wondered if Danger Mouse was repeating what happened with Gnarls Barkley’s career; i.e. the HUGE hit with his partner Cee Lo and then a second album which comparatively fielded nothing like the first. Let’s hope I’m wrong, but we can enjoy this in the meantime.
4. "Natalie" — Bruno Mars (3:32)
This player, who scored way more than Peyton Manning at the latest Super Bowl, obviously had a great coach growing up — James Brown. There’s none of that on this track, however, from his 2013 triumphant album Unorthodox Jukebox. That’s what it means when someone is described as multi-talented. Without the JB stuff, he has plenty more to dish out. I like this track a lot but it was his stage show that pushed him ahead of the Mayer Hawthorne-Allen Stone contingency. He’s now in the Prince stage two part of his career. With another great coach, he could ascend to the heights of Beyoncé in popularity. I anxiously await what could/might happen.
5. "A Thousand Miles Away" — Otis Redding (2:10)
The King of Soul has a four-CD box set due any day and Atlantic/Rhino is actually unleashing a Queen of Soul matching set by you-know-who at the same time. They could have helped Christmas sales tremendously with this one-two punch instead of relegating it to President’s Day or whenever. Otis was indeed the King of Soul, barely side-stepping the phenomenal sweet-singing Sam Cooke with a down-to-earth, more basic delivery. Both Aretha and Otis ascended to their mutual thrones, but Otis left us at the top of his game, while Aretha ponders what to do in this hip-hop wasteland that virtually destroyed classic soul. I say, "'Retha, go on back to what got you here because virtually no one else around can compete with THAT." But just listen to Otis at his best here with a tip of the hat to Booker T and The MG’s and the Memphis Horns. Guitarist Steve Cropper RULES!
6. "Can't She Try" — Dave Barnes (2:58)
I’ve been listening to Dave since he started a few years ago, as he he’s a good singer/songwriter and sometimes great stuff comes out. After the first four lines in this song, some very catchy guitar parts come in until the chorus. It’s the best part of the record but it only gets a small chance. When it returns it is overshadowed by massive electronica and what was really special about the track is drowned out. As a producer, it sounds like unnecessary overkill and I wish they had played it down. But just the fact that the guitar section was in there at all is why I keep listening to Dave Barnes.
7. "Oblivion" — Bastille (2:37)
This is a track from their first album, Bad Blood. About six tracks have been out as singles in the UK and one by one they moved higher and higher on the English charts.There are two sections in this track where lead singer Dan Smith goes into falsetto that really stand out in the song. That's what got me at first but later I got into the entire track. If you like this you’ll probably go nuts for all the singles.
8. "Pocahontas" — Trigger Hippy (3:01)
This is kind of a '70s track but it pulls you in and keeps you there. This really grew on me and I love the band name. For the life of me I can’t figure out why the song is titled thusly. If you figure this out, clue us all in with a comment. This is a smush of members from The Black Crowes and Widespread Panic with Joan Osborne as an added treat. They have toured a bit and are anticipating putting out their first album and touring that momentarily. It was recorded in San Francisco in 2012-13. This could be good — kinda like Joan Osborne’s Fleetwood Hip.
9. "Feel" — Marié Digby (2:58)
Strangely enough, this track has a great feel. I love the arrangement and the background vocals in the intro and the first verse. Marié co-wrote this and it was from her 2009 album Breathing Underwater. She became an Internet sensation in 2007 when her acoustic cover of Rihanna's "Umbrella" went viral on YouTube. She is from California and is of Irish and Japanese descent, and has a large following in Asia, where she frequently performs and records. Her fifth studio album, Winter Fields, was released in 2013.
"Damn! I have to stay in my bedroom untill the record company recoups the cost of recording my five albums. I can't even go see my family in Asia! So...at the rate of 1/5 of a cent for each song sold, I should be able to write five more albums but my hair will be totally grey by then, dudes! Maybe I should just change my first name to Eleanor DAMN!!"
10. "Darkness" — Leonard Cohen (3:40)
If you’re a fan, I’m sure you know this; if not, take a listen. This is an interesting track and a great song. His visage is so unique, he is really incomparable to anyone else and that is difficult to achieve in the music business today. Just ask Daft Punk. I’ve met him a couple of times and he seems to be a genuine, down-to-earth person. His appearance nowadays is sooooo straight, it’s kinda humorous. He’s usually shirt, tied and suited and appropriately short-haired. He’s nearly 80 and looks it. But put an acoustic guitar in his hand and that strange low voice comes out and takes you right in. This track is a great way to close this week's column.
Leonard, even Frank tossed the hat by his mid-40s