New Music for Old People: Eels, Keb' Mo', Damien Rice, Ziggy Marley and More

By , Columnist

Ziggy Marley

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.

May092014 by Willow on Grooveshark

1. "Oh Well" (live on Morning Becomes Eclectic, WNYC) — Eels (2:57)

I have loved The Eels for many feels for many years. Here they cover this really early Fleetwood Mac track with their usual sense of eelishness.


2. "The Blower's Daughter" — Damien Rice (3:11)

This from O, Damien’s breakout debut album of 2003 that floored me. So far, he has not been able to equal or top it, but I always check to see if there are more masterpieces like this one still lurking in his decade-older head and hands. You’ll be the first to know, but meanwhile…


3. "Mummy Jets" — Pretty & Nice (2:44)

In their tenth year now, they started out in Burlington, Vermont as a duo and then became a Boston band, which they still are. Jerry Mendocino and Holden Lewis are the founders, writers and main singers. This is from their latest release of 2013, Golden Rules for Golden People. Starting out with a "Lady Madonna"-kinda lick on guitar, they immediately transverse and go into Zappa-land searching for something. This is prog because they haven’t invented another word for it yet. It’s the guitars that mostly get me but I respect their lack of boundaries.


4. "Did You Know" — Sarah Macintosh (2:53)

Did you know this is not exactly the love song you thought it was? I didn’t. Then I read up on Sarah. This is modern gospel music, white-style. Without knowing that, I found it to be a well-written (albeit not making out half the lyric) song that seemed personal. So if I wasn’t informed, I would have thought it was a well-done love song with a nice melody and a good hook. Now I do know otherwise but I still enjoy listening to it and hope you will too.


5. "Old Me Better" — Keb' Mo' (2:44)

This is a perfect example of why I am a Kevin Moore fan. What a great lyric. Nice horns. Believable singing and a great hook. This is from his latest presentation BLUESAmericana and as usual I kept a little mo.


6. "Don't Tell Ma" — Frankie & Johnny (3:43)

Just in case you forgot what an influence The Band was on many musics, here is a track from 1972 by my backup band at the time. The album was called The Sweetheart Sampler and was on Warner Bros. I wrote this for them, heavily influenced by my good friends at the time, The Band, The Hawks, The Crackers … whatever. It’s also the only released track of me playing an actual slide guitar solo and one can hear why. I heard this by accident the other day and thought it was reminiscent of its original time period. NOBODY heard this album when it came out — it’s one of those. So naturally, it fits in the column.


Frankie and Johnny and Eddie in 1972 on 44th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues outside the old Record Plant studios.

7. "The Highway Song" — Free (3:49)

Well, they ARE my favorite band of all time. I just like how comfortably they wrote and performed it and it is close to my heart as we also covered it on the aforementioned Frankie & Johnny album. But there is nothing like the original version of any song.


8. "You" — Ziggy Marley (2:22)

A new track by another son of The One. Ziggy has a new album out entitled Fly Rasta and the branch has not fallen far from the tree as usual — maybe a more modern bass sound, but what the hey...

9. "Two Cups of Coffee" — Josh Kelley (2:40)

He doesn’t need anybody’s help. He married Kathryn Heigl from Grey's Anatomy and they have two adopted kids. He sings, she acts, and life have been good to both of them. They’re like two cups of coffee in the morning. DAMN! I just tipped his hat/song. This is from 2005.


10. "The Wailing Wall" — Todd Rundgren (3:05)

Here's another example of Todd’s originality. I think this was from his second solo album, Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren. This is a masterpiece of songwriting and production, primarily understated but able to easily make its point anytime it gets ready. Todd is an all-time great and this is just one of many reasons why and a great closer for this week.

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Al will be on the road this month and isn't very good at doing two things at once, so instead of letting the column suffer from his divided attention, he'll be on hiatus until May 30. Be sure and check back at the end of the month for another great playlist!

You can sign up for Al Kooper's mailing list right here.

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