Maps and Atlases
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. "Winter" — Maps & Atlases (3:07)
Kind of a quirky song, but I like the track a lot. They met at art school in Chicago in 2005 and released six EPs before releasing their first full-length, Perch Patchwork, in 2010. One of the band members has engineered all their work. I like how long they have endured and they do take chances and get better at the same time. This is off their second album, Beware and Be Grateful, released earlier this year; by now they are all over the place stylistically, and that is a good cure for boring albums.
2. "I Am Dust" — Gary Numan (2:43)
In some circles, his song "Cars" has been heard as often as "Stairway to Heaven" and "Free Bird," but that was 34 years ago and this self-descriptive brand new track is aimed at putting a dent in those "Cars." So I guess it’s up to you folks to keep Gary from becoming the ironic title of this or maybe it’s merely his own declaration.
3. "Gimme Your Love" — Morcheeba (3:21)
Yikes. This basic trio of the Godfrey brothers and female vocalist Skye Edwards began recording in 1995 until musical differences sent Edwards packing in 2003. The band kept going with the vocal chair in front of a personnel turnstile until Edwards returned for a new collaboration in 2010. They’re still at it, God bless 'em, and this is from their latest album Head Up High, just out now. I like this. The derivation of their name is as follows: MOR is short for 'middle of the road' and CHEEBA is slang for pot. I can hear that on this selection...
One of the models at Godfrey Brothers Textiles knows something bad about the twins.
4. "All By Myself" — Jamie O’Neal (4:08)
Go figure. This is an amazing vocal, a very soulful reading of the Eric Carmen chestnut. Go try and find it. It is only on the soundtrack album of Bridget Jones's Diary! Jamie came from Australia and is a country singer. Her bio is like a season of the TV show Nashville where she has lived and worked for many years. When you hear this track you will wonder what the hell a country singer has to do with this recording. Jamie — I hope you’re reading this — you are a great singer; stop making country records and try something that combines pop and some of that great soul singing you do in sections of this song. I'd pick you for MY team but I am virtually retired. Camp out at Cee Lo’s building and just play him this track. You have The Voice he is looking for. He’ll know what to do.
Why do we have to take my publicity photo by the bushes in Central Park?
5. "Shake" — The Head and The Heart (3:52)
A mother folker rocker band from Seattle, Washington in operation since 2009. Their latest album, Let's Be Still, came out last week. Dis is from it.
6. "Troubleman" — Electric Guest (2:39)
This LA band ‘s first album (Mondo, 2012) was co-produced by Danger Mouse. Not a bad way to start! They switch effortlessly from well-thought-out amateur sounds to impeccable production within a span of 30 seconds. That's what I like about ‘em. They’ve had one hit single and this isn’t it — I don’t like EVERYTHING. But I like this.
7. "Let Your Love Shine" — Al Kooper (3:27)
The next two tracks are one of those coincidences that just ... happen. I was first in 1972, when this track was part of my solo album A Possible Projection of the Future. It was really a Neil Young experiment as I was heavily under the spell of his album After the Gold Rush and so wrote and recorded this as a result. I went berserk over Keb' Mo’s debut album and covered "Am I Wrong" on my Black Coffee album. Later we became good friends but I still think he never heard this track when he wrote and recorded "Let Your Light Shine" (next) — just a happy lyrical coincidence. Fortunately, they don’t have much in common musically.
8. "Let Your Light Shine" — Keb' Mo' (3:28)
His song is a second longer than mine if ya know wot I mean. His song came out in 2004 on the album Keep It Simple. His album won a Grammy. My Gramma passed away when I was 15. I just like that we both almost had the same title, but our songs are dissimilar, and both stand up on their own (mine with Neil Young crutches). I won’t even ask how old Keb' Mo' was in 1972, but he is a dear friend and one of my favorite artists.
9. "Swanee River Hop" — Fats Domino (2:45)
I thought maybe we all need a jolt from 1953 by The Fat Man (Antoine — not ME). I love all of Fats’ discography but thought y’all might've missed this beauty as it came out a few years before his first hit. Rock on!
10. "Walk on By" (track only) — Burt Bacharach (2:57)
I put this breathtaking three minutes last because it is un-followable. Don’t ask how I have this, but it is the instrumental track of the actual Dionne record minus the vocals, a chance to really examine what is/was great about Burt. I learned about two years' worth of info from two listens. Exemplary are Vinnie Bell’s guitar chinks and Paul Griffin’s piano playing. Paul once told me that Burt would hire him the day before a Dionne session and teach him exactly how to play the piano part so that Burt could concentrate on conducting and producing. I hired Paul quite a bit on my solo albums 'cause he could play so much better than I could. All that backbreaking Bacharaching surely did not hurt Paul’s skills. WHAT A TRACK!!
P.S. Paul played pretty amazing piano on Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Sooner Or Later One Of Us Must Know,” which in my opinion is the greatest piano-playing on a rock record ... PERIOD!
I might have to take a break next week as I will be on the road for a few days. Hope to see all my friends in Milwaukee (Saturday, 10/26 @The Miramar Theater) and Chicago (Sunday, 10/27 @ S.P.A.C.E. in Evanston, IL) at my solo shows this weekend!