Jeb Loy Nichols
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.
1. "Stone of Sisyphus" — Chicago (3:50)
Somebody in this band has been perusing ancient history — infinitely more ancient than Chicago. This is a great example of what they do best, better than anyone in their genre (why, there’s even a mention of Blood Sweat & Tears in the lyric!). I think it was unreleased for awhile and they put it on a recent album to liberate it and I’m really glad they did. Love this!
2. "Here, There and Everywhere" — Memphis All-Stars (4:11)
Keyboardist Robert Clayborne takes front and center here as they Southernize this Beatles chestnut in Memphis fashion. This is a great band that can take any kinda music and make it their own. This is from 2008.
3. "Enjoy Yourself" — Shades of Soul (2:59)
Three veterans of soul and jazz got together to play for the sheer joy of it and, in my opinion, easily succeeded. Famed keyboardist Jeff Lorber flanked himself with Marion McClain on guitar and bassist Nathaniel Phillips, late of the soul band Pleasure from Portland, after Lorber guested on one of their albums. In 2000 they released their self-titled album with guests including Chris Botti, Art Porter, and singer Terry Stanton. It is well-executed, old style soul music which is in danger of becoming extinct. I will support this style of playing all my life.
4. "Painted My Dream House Blue" — Jeb Loy Nichols (2:24)
I have followed this lad since 2003 and he is a major singer-songwriter amazingly overlooked in America. He has a unique voice that is instantly recognizable and he writes comfortably in the country, folk, and R&B genres. This is a country classic that begs to be covered by George Jones or someone younger that conveys what Jeb and George Jones can so easily do. This is masterful musical minimalism and lasting lyrical longevity!
5. "Together As One" — Albert Cummings (4:21)
This is Albert’s second appearance in the column — the first was a snappy uptempo item. This is more laid back but still retains his love of the blues. I love the way the organ and the guitar interplay as well.
6. "Beautiful Now" (rehearsal) — James Maddock & Al (4:40)
James is a favorite of mine and we have since become friends. His band played at my 68th b’day gig at BB King's in NYC last February. They played a full set and I sat in on organ on four songs. James sent me a recording of each song so I could practice and learn them. When I felt I knew each song, I recorded an overdub in my home studio and sent it to James for his approval. This is one of those tapes. My time is a little sloppy in places, but hell, this wasn’t meant for but one person to hear. Guess I just screwed THAT up! Thanks to Pete Townshend for the inspiration for the organ part!
7. "A Distant Light" — Alex Lloyd (2:54)
From the land of AC/DC, The Easybeats, and Rolf Harris, in from the outback comes Alex Lloyd, who had great success in the first five years of the millennium. He won all the Australian music awards, especially for this album and its title song. So here he is and you don’t have to take a 20-hour flight to hear him (or see him, below).
8. "She's Lookin' Good" — Rodger Collins (2:19)
Ahhh... back to the amazing soul sounds of the ‘60s. Rodger, based in Oakland, set everyone back on their heels with this self-written romp. Wilson Pickett jumped right up and covered it instantly, but there’s something about Rodger's original recording that is magic. Mike Bloomfield and I used to really enjoy the idiosyncrasies of the snare drum part and when I went to my first Electric Flag rehearsal, they played this so Mike could show off how Buddy Miles could easily reproduce said snare parts. This track is timeless; I also smile from Rodger's lyric snippet:
Mama get your mojo
Poppa get your gun
I’m gonna steal your daughter
And I’m gonna be your son!
9. "Mama, Don't You Treat Your Daughter Mean" — Ry Cooder (4:46)
Well, this is what he does best and he does it often enough to remain the best. For some reason I think this is unreleased, but I could be wrong as I’m getting older and a wee bit forgetful. Sounds like Crazy Jim Keltner on drums as well. Really like the guitar breakdown towards the end. This is classic Cooder.
10. "Wait" (Live) — J Geils Band (3:43)
Wolfie leads his troops straight at this Boston crowd and they really can’t get enough. This is my favorite Geils track and I love the studio version but I had never heard this before and they acquit themselves admirably in front of this swirling mass of wild Bostonians. A special shout-out to Magic Dick for his stellar live harp work. Hell, a special shout-out to him just for his great stage name!