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.
1. "Take This Hurt Off Me" — Don Covay (2:28)
"I been waitin’ at the bus station
'Cause that’s where you left me standin‘
I got my clothes in a twenny-five cent locker
I’ll be here til the Greyhound bring you back again!"
Someday maybe I can write a lyric that doesn’t waste a word and gets directly to the point like the above. Don Covay, whose songs were recorded by Aretha, and whose vocals were imitated by Mick Jagger, is a soul man to be admired. This one is from the early '60s and will stay with you for the rest of your life if you are a soul person. Extra: Great stereo mix.
2. "I Wanna Get Next to You" — Paul Kelly (3:17)
Not to be confused with the folkier, whiter UK Paul Kelly. This is the darker soul man who made an amazing album in the ‘70s, that NEVER came out on CD to my eyes, called something like Cuffed, Collared, and Hogtied. There were at least three spellbinding ballad performances on that album, including this one that I whipped into listening condition just for y’all. This is a prime cut of sizzling soul stakes. Jeez, would ya look at the size of those fingers?
3. "Two Sides to Love" — Goat (2:30)
Online there are over ten bands with this name. Usually this really gets my goat, but not this time. I am conjecturing this is the one from Athens, GA featuring Don Chambers. If I’m wrong I apologize. This track is from 2006 and has kind of a Mark Knopfler thang goin’ on in its guitar-based songwriting that’s pretty catchy.
4. "You've Been in Love Too Long" — Bonnie Raitt (3:04)
This was the life-changer for me with Bonnie Raitt. She took an obscure Motown tune and made a BETTER version than Motown's ... WHOA! No mean feat in those days. With her Freebo-bassed band and Little Feat guys on guitar and keyboards, producer John Hall on lead guitar, and the emerging Jim Keltner on drums, they made short work of this great song that Motown comparatively shoved under the rug. It was the lead track on her 1973 album Takin' My Time and we are ALL so glad she did that. More than holds up today, 39 years later and Bonnie is still the major beneficiary of everything Lowell George ever did with a Fender guitar and an old empty Coricidin bottle.
5. "Follow That Man" — Boz Scaggs (3:55)
After almost two decades recording for Columbia Records, this is a track from Scaggs’ virgin Virgin album of 1994 entitled Some Change. There really wasn’t much, thankfully, and the ship sailed into the future pretty much intact. This stuck out to me and still does, bless his nightclub and restaurant-owning heart!
6. "Hard Livin'" — Railroad Earth (3:33)
This is, from the core, a bluegrass band inspired by The Dead to uhhhh...wander just a wee bit musically and it works for me. As a producer I could use more lead vocal but I get their musical message loud and clear. No surprise this all transpired at the Fillmore East of electrified folk music, Wetlands (now defunct) in NYC, at the dawn of the millennium. The fact that it’s 2012 and they’re STILL folkin’ around, says a great deal about fan support for this milieu. A bluegrass band with a baritone sax player? Get the folk outta here!
7. "Fields of Glass" (Al’s Edit) — The High Dials (2:49)
If you like the 12-string sounds and vocal harmonies of Byrds and Beatles, this is for you. I pasted this together from two different mixes I found that both had their high points. I think it’s a good introduction to this band; however, this is from their first album (2003) and they have mutated a bit since then — BUT there’s always the other great tracks on their debut disc!
8. "Hearts of Everyone" — Magnets & Ghosts (2:52)
Conceptually like a vintage '60s Zombies arrangement but no comparison vocally, just instrumentally. A musically adept band very well produced and mixed. I especially like the overhang of the cymbal after the instrumental in the middle. Great ending as well. Let’s keep an ear on these guys. They are a spin-off band from Collective Soul, by the way.
9. "Buildings & Mountains" — The Republic Tigers (3:16)
Not dissimilar to the previous band in terms of quality although this band is a bit more commercial sounding; also well produced, engineered, and mixed. They hail from Kansas City, MO and this track is from their debut album Keep Color released in 2008. Lotta TV exposure for this track — Gossip Girl, etc.
10. "Light at the End" — Rustic Overtones (3:40)
This group took a leave of absence between 2002 and 2006; and came back stronger than ever with a new album called The New Way Out. From their Portland, ME base, they called in favors from many local musicians to embellish their album with full string and horn performances and this song is a great closer for this week and surely shows, for Rustic Overtones, the light at the end of the tunnel. We can all hear it pretty much as well. R.O.R.O. — Rock On, Rustic Overtones!