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 Pin Drop" — Steven Wilson (3:31)
This UK lad is extremely talented and a pillar of prog rock overseas. He started a band in the '90s that didn’t actually exist and played all the parts on their first two albums as well as engineering and producing! They are world-famous now as Porcupine Tree and specialize in jazzy psychedelia although they are now a firm quartet with keys, bass and drums added. Steven himself has just released a new album, The Raven That Refused to Sing, and this track is from that album. This is an amazing piece of musicality and I especially enjoy the soprano sax and guitar solo. I have now become his listening fan and perhaps so will you — although there is a huge contingency of audiophiles who already worship at Porcupine Tree's vinyl cache.
2. "Anything to Get Your Attention" — Van Hunt (2:25)
I believe this was from Van’s first album of a few years ago in the modern R&B field. He is deeply indebted to The Family Stone and it shows here. That’s what really got MY attention.
3. "I'm Living Once Again" — Brad Love (3:03)
This is an undiscovered beauty produced in California in the early '80s. Brad did most of the work on this and John Hug produced. John gave me a copy back then and I was blown away — but it never made a dent outside my living room. But now through the miracle of the Internet, it is now living once again for your eyes and ears. There are about five more killer trax on that album. Amazingly, MP3s are available at Amazon.
4. "I Found Somebody" — Sera (3:16)
This singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was born in Mississippi (1976) to musician parents. Her birth name is Sarah Buras, and she has performed variously as Sera, Sera Buras, and is currently known as Serabee. She's been performing since she was a small child, starting out in her family's gospel band and was a contestant on The Voice during the 2011 season. This song is from her second of four studio albums, released in 2004, titled Open on Sunday. It was produced by Gary Katz (Steely Dan), although the title track was mixed and co-produced by Peter Gabriel. Jeez, this girl was luckier than I was!
5. "Have Pity on Me" — Tommy Roe (3:29)
So he sang pop hits like "Sheila," "Hooray for Hazel," "Everybody," etc., in the '60s. Here he tackles an R&B ballad with Muscle Shoals-type backup and does a fine job. This is an obscure track however. My favorite part is that every time he sings the title it sounds like he’s saying, “Have A pity on me.” So, Tommy, next time ya buy a drink — have a pizza on ME.
6. "Born Again" — The Christians (4:08)
Somehow this doesn’t seem like a religious track to me. And the lyric “I thank the Lord that you rescued me” makes me think a spiritual man is thanking his woman. At any rate, this was an English record from maybe the early '90s that did well over there, but was pretty unknown here. I think it's a very well-made track with great organ and harp playing. It didn’t help that they were called The Christians, however. Whatever... good music is good music.
7. "Fine China" — Andy Davis (2:57)
Yet another track from one of my faves in the singer-songwriter category. He is one of the most consistent artists in this genre and that is NOT an easy task. I am very comfortable with 80% of his work and that's quite high for me. Complicated but catchy...
8. "The City" — Ed Sheeran (2:49)
Ed, I think she ran to the city. Capitalizing on many late night TV appearances at which he excelled, Ed has become nearly viral. Mostly playing acoustic guitar and stomping on a sea of pedals beneath his feet, he has charmed many seeing him for the first time. There are many men and women in this category now. Does it have a title I don’t know? Leave a comment if you know more on this. Ed’s from the UK (of course).
9. "Brownsville/Mockingbird" — Joy of Cooking (3:59)
This band, fronted by two women, shot across the sky in the early '70s but slowly came down to earth after three albums on the Capitol label. Toni Brown on piano and vocals teamed with Terry Garthwaite on guitar and vocals and fronted J of C admirably, especially live. This is a rare recording of them in person on the West Coast from whence they came (Berkeley, CA), shaking out a medley of "Goin’ to Brownsville" and "Mockingbird." This is a good example of what this band did. The women could seamlessly swirl vocals around each other as if they were raised as twin sisters. The rest of the band knew how to apply skill and dynamics to that mix and what we have here is hippie blues captured live in its infancy and in its birthplace, San Francisco.
10. "Your Real Good Thing" — Bonnie Raitt (4:20)
As she ages gracefully, it becomes apparent that Bonnie is indeed one of the remaining Queens of the Blues. Blessed with a strong voice initially inherited from her Broadway star patriarch John Raitt, she spent her early years mingling with the singers that inspired her and learning valuable lessons from all of them. If that wasn’t enough, she learned many of the secrets contained in Lowell George’s unique electric guitar approach, and after his early, untimely passing, appropriated his exact sound eerily, so that in some way, Lowell’s touch lives on in her able hands. This often covered blues standard is given an exemplary turn here by Bonnie and her always first-rate band and may even be my favorite version of this chestnut. At any Raitt, nobody else was edging Bonnie out of her rightful closing spot here this week!