Eels (aka Mark Oliver Everett) says, "Tell Elvin Bishop I found a place for Superman to change in Hyde Park."
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. "Old School" — Elvin Bishop and Charlie Musselwhite (2:34)
This is a great composition in terms of humor and honesty. Elvin has always been a wise guy, while at the same time, he’s just really saying what he’s all about now. Charlie is a perfect mate for this, flawless harmonica in tow and second banana for the jokes. Also, what a great opener for y’all.
2. "Shine" — Marc Broussard (4:34)
Yet another song with this ubiquitous title. A ballad from Marc’s latest album, A Life Worth Living, it’s arranged beautifully, and he has plenty of room to display his writing and vocal abilities. Tom Bukovac, who plays lead guitar on this track, kinda paid tribute to studio master Dean Parks' licks on Lyle Lovett’s “She’s Already Made Up Her Mind.” Please ignore this unless you listen to sometime gentle lead guitarists.
3. "Juicebox" — The Strokes (2:34)
I don’t know how I missed this the first time around last year. I love this band. Julian Casablancas understands loud music better than most and there are specific Doors and Nirvana moments in this but they are overshadowed by the actual Strokes. Hope they stay together and continue playing loud.
"This place is GREAT! They got the exact shade of tufted leather walls we asked for in the rider for the dressing rooms!!"
4. "I Lay Down" — Zucchero & Co. (2:46)
This is a world famous Italian blues guy who’s not that famous in the USA. This is from an interesting album where he meshes with an all-star cast featuring John Lee Hooker, Clapton, Paul Young, Sheryl Crow and more — even even Miles Davis! This track features him trading vocal licks with John Lee Hooker in 2000, a scant month before Hooker passed away. The lyric seems to foretell his passing and there is great piano playing credited to Vanessa Carlton (!). Z’s vocal sounds a great deal like Clapton to me on this track. Without full credits I’m kinda punching air in the dark, but no matter who’s performing, it’s a great listen.
IMHO, his jacket matches his couch.
5. "Perfect" — P. Hux (3:04)
And perfect it is in this Beatle-esque track of hat-tipping. P started out as Parthenon Huxley and then shortened it after a couple of albums. He is methodical about unashamedly playing his influences right in your face. That works when your skills are as highly developed as his are.
6. "I Want You Here" — Plumb (3:18)
This is from her latest album Need You Now which is a couple of years old. I have been a fan from the start but I lose track of her sometimes. She makes great records and has a memorable voice. I like her take on pop music and she uses great arrangements and production along with her self-written dramas. Hope you like her as much as I do; there are many albums to go back and choose from... for now.
"Ms. Plumb? Congratulations! You've landed the role of early Ann Wilson in the Heart biopic for CNBC!"
7. "Am I Wrong" — Nico & Vinz (2:53)
So two guys from Africa (not a bad name right there!) got together and moved to Oslo (!) in 2009 and started a group called Envy. They had hits almost immediately and became Norwegian chart-toppers. In January of this year, they changed their name to the above as they are actually Vincent Dery and Nico Seraba. In April, this single came out in the US and soared to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is #1 on Shazam's Top Worlwide 100. I think they’re doin' okay at the moment. Let’s see what happens next.
8. "The Only Thing I Care About" — Eels (2:04)
Short, to the point, and perfecto — like most Eels songs. This guy is the Randy Newman of the underground.
9. "Alone" — George Tandy Jr. (3:32)
Born in Norfolk, Virginia and discovered in Florida, he’s just released his first album (The Foundation) after having a hit R&B single. This is not the single, but an album track that caught my attention.There’s a lot of early Prince in here, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Sounds a little like Prince and looks like the essence of early Donny Hathaway here. None of this is detrimental.
10. "Chained" — Marvin Gaye (2:38)
Every day I see a commercial on TV that uses this rare album track as the score. I keep thinking to myself I should put it in the column for people who aren’t necessarily cognizant of Marvin tracks that weren’t singles and are wondering what this glorious music is. Marvin’s ALBUM called I Heard It Through the Grapevine starts out with three killers in a row: "You," "Tear It On Down" and this great track. Maybe you should download this entire Motown Masterpiece of Marvin at his best. Tell 'em Al sent ya...
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