New Music for Old People: Joan Osborne, Dave Matthews, Elbow, Darondo and More

By , Columnist


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.

June062014 by Willow on Grooveshark

1. "Shake Your Hips" — Joan Osborne (2:55)

Good enough for Slim Harpo or the Rolling Stones? Joan will take it on and maybe dish up the best version yet with the advantage of hindsight. Can’t complain about anything here, it rocks from head to toe. A nod to Jack Petruzzelli (of the Fab Faux) for tasty co-production.


2. "Blood Sweat Tears" — Shaliek (2:46)

Wonder what made me listen to this? Whatever it was, I was rewarded with a a tasty track from a new soul artist who leans toward old-style soul — so rarely done nowadaze and always appreciated by yours newly.


3. "If Only" — Dave Matthews Band (3:57)

It took awhile for this aggregation to catch my ear but this current album more than made up for that. In some ways it reminds me of middle-period Doobie Brothers. At any rate, I am now tuned into Dave and the gang for the duration. More of this, please!


4. "Fly Boy Blue" — Elbow (3:05)

This English band has been making albums since 2001. On this track they're kinda reminiscent of 10CC in concept and delivery. And that’s not a bad thing. It grows on me with each play and I really enjoy the brass interludes.


5. "I Am Not Afraid" — Owen Pallett (3:22)

Here's a brash 35-year-old Canadian composer-violinist-keyboardist-vocalist and film scorer who commands one’s attention instantly. Using electronica methodology, Owen plays the violin into loop pedals onstage and creates an entire string section through thought-out programming. This is a nice composition, well sung and played with tasty production. Oh, I forgot to mention that Owen was nominated for a freaking Academy Award (!) this year for the score he and William Butler wrote for the film Her. I don’t think this guy has anything to be afraid of at this moment.


6. "See You When I Get There" — Avery*Sunshine (4:08)

In a recent interview Avery said two of her biggest inspirations were The Clark Sisters and Donny Hathaway. I had already selected this track before I read that, but at that moment I truly understood why I liked it so much. I share that inspiration with her and I had the thrill of Donny recording one of my songs. This woman is mighty fine and I am an instant fan of her writing, singing and especially her piano-playing. Check it out.


7. "Ain't It Fun" — Paramore (3:22)

This is their second appearance in the column and just as unlikely as the first time. They are a platinum-selling band and do good live business as well. The records are extremely well produced and on this one it was the arrangement that really got to me. It’s like sticking your toes in the water, succumbing to ankle-deep, and then you just give up all abandon and jump in. At least that’s how it was with me and Paramore on this one. On the right track, they can travel very seductively.


8. "Love Someone" — Jason Mraz (3:09)

This is another one that seduced me with production and arrangement. This is from the easy-listening school. My guard is way more up on something like this. The builds are quite good in the verses, and then the chorus rhythm is the final sugar. I just admire producers and arrangers who can truly lure me in. I am TOUGH, but with certain intellectual tricks of the trade, I become a reluctant, but willing, musical lemming.


9. "Didn't I" — Darondo (2:39)

This is a failed relic from 1974 brought back to life by the great, comparatively new reissue label Omnivore. This was a guy convinced he was Sly Stone, but he was actually one notch down. His conviction carried him over the finish line for me. Sometimes one can pull that off; God knows I did it once or twice circa 1968-69.

10. "Skinny Woman/Poor Black Maddie" (live medley excerpt - board mix, Somerville Theater, 4/16/2000) — North Mississippi Allstars feat. Al Kooper (4:31)

The first winter of the new millennium had me completely flipped out over the debut album of this Memphis band. They were a blues band that had studied hard and it showed. They were playing right down the street from where I lived in Boston. I went down to sound check 'cause I had never met the Dickinson brothers Luther and Cody, sons of fellow record producer and keyboardist Jim Dickinson. There were a lot of coincidences: in the late ‘80s, Jim and I were both considered to produce the LA band Green on Red. They came to my house to ‘audition’ me, but brought the competition (Jim) with them. I was shocked when I opened the door, but decided I would consider it a chance to meet and hang with Dickinson and forget about producing Green on Red. So I got my Jim Dickinson album out and asked him to sign it for me and emptied my beer stash from the fridge. It was a great night and a few years later they came back without Jim and I produced them eventually.

Now back to the kids. I introduced myself and watched their sound check and shared their backstage catered meal with them. Over dessert, they asked me if I wanted to sit in. I told them they shouldn’t ask unless they meant it, because their album was my current #1 favorite and I knew ALL the songs on it. They were dead serious, and with the cooperation of the headlining band, I got access to a Hammond organ. So... no rehearsal, no setlist, but a great deal of fun. In later years (recently) my email jam band-expert friend Peggy sent me a board tape of the show and I edited this down for the column. It’s a great way to go out and I hope you enjoy what sounded at the time like the next Allman Brothers. And hats off to the late, great daddy Jim Dickinson — one of the original musical wild horses.


"I gotta say we had a much better dressing room 'til we mentioned A l Kooper was playing with us!"

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