We Are Augustines
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. "She's a Fast Persuader" (single edit) — Jamiroquai (2:43)
Yes, they’re still around AND I bought the entire album — something I do maybe eight times a year! It just sounds great and on this track the ensemble playing is amazing, especially the bass. They can just go on and on if they keep putting out product like this. This track is really fun to listen to and if you’re younger than me, dancing is a strong possibility.
2. "Live with Me" — The Twilight Singers (3:55)
Greg Dulli’s (Afghan Whigs) ‘personal band’ began in 2000. This is a track from a 2008 EP called A Stitch In Time. This has a Doors/Stones vibe in a ballad format with swaggering tendencies. It sorta just rolls right over you before you know it. Good charismatic vocal way out front where it belongs. Hope they keep recording; ya never know nowadays...
3. "Can't Survive Without My Sweets" — New York City (3:07)
Speaking as a diabetic, this could be my theme song. But it’s about a woman, not ice cream and cake. From the early '70s, this is a Thom Bell production that unfortunately got overlooked. I have included two other tracks in past columns from their amazing album, and besides this gem, there’s one more left to hear that I will sneak in sometime this year. Thom was the writer/producer/arranger for The Spinners, Delfonics, Stylistics, etc. These guys should've made it as big. His work is a major influence on mine.
4. "Down So Low" — Tracy Nelson & Mother Earth (3:42)
The Sarah Vaughn of classic rock sings her self-written debut here and it is still timeless. Recorded by many others, there’s nothing like the writer’s original, especially when sung like THIS on Mother Earth’s debut album, Living With the Animals from 1968. I’ve never heard another song constructed like this — this is truly original, time-tested songwriting that deserves to live forever. I’m just doin’ my part. God bless ya, Tracy.
5. "Watchin' the Sun Go Down" — Kevin Gordon (3:01)
One of the foremost worshipers of Keef, Kevin struts his stuff here in total abandon, even telling the band it’s time to end. I understand the following Keef has; I’m a follower myself and it is refreshing when the vocals DON’T sound like Mick. Enough is enough, ya know? Tasty guitar playin' with the great vintage sound as well, from his sophomore 2005 album, O Come Look at the Burnin’ — after which he abandoned his Keef sound. Methinks that one”ll be a hard album to top.
6. "Get Through This" — Art of Dying (2:43)
This is a Canadian band formed in 2004 with various personnel changes resulting in a debut album from 2011, Vices & Virtues. This song was written by lead singer Jonny Hetherington upon hearing the news that his father was battling cancer. If you know this, it really helps understand the song as opposed to thinking it’s the usual couple-breaks-up lament. And maybe that’s why the passion of the whole thing got me right off the bat, before I knew what the song was about. Hope I didn’t ruin it for ya...
7. "Ohio" (iTunes Sessions) — We Are Augustines (2:54)
This is amazing — if you like this sort of thing. I think each band is recorded playing live in the studio; there doesn’t seem to be an audience present. This is sensitive — a perfectly crafted lyric that blew me away, coupled with a convincing vocal performance and a calm restraint from the entire band. Excellent acoustic guitar played by lead singer/guitarist, Brooklyn’s Billy McCarthy; wish it was louder.
8. "White Flag" — Dave Barnes (3:04)
And yet ANOTHER song with this title. Dido’s pissed. This is a good track nonetheless. Very well put together and mixed. Sounds a little Peter Gabriel Biko era-ish. This has been out a couple of months and is the lead-off cut on his new album, Stories to Tell. He came out of the box a seasoned singer/songwriter. He can only get better... well, he could get worse, but I doubt that will happen.
9. "Get Your Buzz On" — The Cadillac Black (2:42)
A three-piece from South Carolina that obviously worships vintage Lynyrd Skynyrd — not that they sound like them, but they dropped two LS song titles in this lyric alone. This is pretty good southern rock as well, ‘cept the drums are too bassy (for me).
10. "Why Don't You Play the Organ, Man?" — Memphis Black (2:31)
This is how I like to get MY buzz on. I can’t see these bands on the same bill, can you? See ya next week.