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. "Blowin' in the Wind" — Me First & The Gimme Gimmes (1:45)
According to their name, I guess they have to start the show this week. San Francisco speed metalers like to play songs that shouldn’t be speed metal just to challenge their superior musical abilities. Makes sense to me — I think this may be my fave version of this Dylan tune (other than the original, natch).
2. "Supremacy" — Muse (3:44)
These guys are huge. They are endowed with doses of Zep, Deep Purple, Moody Blues, etc. This one even has some James Bond built in as well. So if ya wanna go back THERE and still listen to a current best-selling band, these are your lads. This is from their latest album, The 2nd Law.
3. "He Said, She Said" — Terry Cummings and ? (2:43)
So what do you do after playing a record-breaking 18 seasons in the NBA? Well, if ya can sing like this, music is not a bad choice and the road trips are a lot easier. This is really tasty but it’s criminal his duet partner is not credited — but she vocally outshoots him at times, so maybe that’s it. With your eyes closed and the correct person next to you, NONE of the above matters.
4. "Rain From the Skies" — Adam Wade (2:47)
This is from the dawn of great Burt Bacharach songs and productions. This was a teenie ‘hit’ released in January of 1963, but if you’re a fan of the songs and the productions, you will enjoy this, as I do. I am told this was the origin of the flugelhorn intros that adorned so many of the Dionne Warwick records Burt made a wee bit later on. It has all the earmarks of what his future would become. The artist does what was needed admirably. Historical, as opposed to hysterical, like MY early records.
5. "All Over You" — Grace Potter (2:50)
It does my heart good to see a female organ player slowly build a fanatical following. Grace sells out theaters now and her band, The Nocturnals, seem to get better and better as well. This is from their latest work, The Lion The Beast The Beat, and it’s her best album yet. Her singing is amazing, but so is everything else here. Popularity-wise, she looks to be headed in the same direction as her long lost brother, Harry...
Al [dialing 911]: Officer? Please get here as soon as possible—there's a woman sitting on my organ!
6. "Seaweed" — The Fruit Bats (2:18)
This is from their early days and it's the first track I ever heard from them. I ‘got’ this immediately — the first verse is highly unusual, lyrically; the instruments play a folky feel with studio musician finesse (except for the banjo); and the drums and bass must have gone out for lunch. Great on the ears — perfect singing and harmonies and the best group name in a decade. However the photo below makes me think that early in college, they were originally booted out of the frat they were in and that's how they got their name. Only conjecture...
7. "Praise His Name" — The Stovall Sisters (2:29)
An often overlooked single from an overlooked album which escaped (as opposed to being released) on Warner Brothers in 1971. Erik Jacobson, who produced the Lovin’ Spoonful and Spirit In the Sky by Norman Greenbaum, helmed this soul/gospel album and did a wonderful job. This is just a taste of what the album is like. I will include other tracks as time goes by but I never tire of this one.
8. "Gretchen, My Captain" — As Fast As (3:06)
This band formed in Portland, Maine in 2003. By 2006 they had a deal with A&M and their first album came out, titled Open Letter to the Damned. This was on it, along with many other goodies. I like the care and time it sounds like they spent on it. The verses remind me of The Police. For something six years old, it still sounds like it came out last week. I’m hoping for more soon.
9. "Rescue Blues" (Al’s remaster/edit) — Ryan Adams (3:05)
So I’m watchin’ a movie on TV about ten years ago and this very listenable song comes on for the close of the film. So I check out the credits to see who is singing it and then I wind it back a little and record just the song. It turns out to be Ryan Adams and I go on iTunes and I can’t find the version from the movie. So I take the first verse from the iTunes version and splice the rest of the song from the movie, make a few other small edits to accommodate all this and remaster the results. I always thought it sounded pretty darn good. I guess the film's composer added a choir and brass to the ending and it’s fairly verbose. As far as I know, there is no audio version of the movie track available but you can listen to my escapade and enjoy. By the way, the film was Behind Enemy Lines (2001).
10. "(No) Happy Ending" — Mika (3:34)
Huge across the pond, but we haven’t seen much about him here. He's released three albums; this is from his first one, Life in Cartoon Motion. This is very Prince/Freddie Mercury-influenced and that is certainly not a bad thing. A very well made track and very cinematic in the last 45 seconds. I respect the work that went into this and the fact that I have two more albums to go through after this. Maybe you will too. See ya next week!