New Music for Old People: Leslie West, Big Head Todd, Noah Gundersen, Charles Bradley and More

By , Columnist

Noah Gundersen

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.

Feb282014 by Willow on Grooveshark

1. "Friday on My Mind" — Me First & The Gimme Gimmes (2:27)

The only way to make fun of the original Easybeats version is to do a speed metal version of it. That’s what these guys do for a living. Only it’s more potent than humorous. I kinda like it taken seriously. As usual, great chords and guitar figures, just a little peppier this time. The original record was co-written by George Young, who produces AC/DC and is the elder brother of AC/DC band members Angus and Malcolm Young. Great lineage rools!

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2. "Hey Delila" — Big Head Todd & The Monsters (2:38)

Shades of the original Steve Miller Band! This is rockin' in a '60s-'70s way, but it’s brand new in a tribute to its ancestors — and there's even an old-fashioned organ solo! How could I resist?

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3. "Poor Man's Son" — Noah Gundersen (3:58)

Although born in the state of Washington in 1989, this guy’s been around already. Fronting a band called Courage, which included his sister, he made some local noise around the turn of the millennium. This is from his brand new solo album and reeks of folk-rock that happened way before he was conceived. So he's got good roots and strays from pure folk rock elsewhere on the album. What we have here is a strong singer-songwriter who picked excellent people to listen to when he was younger. His album, released earlier this month, is called Ledges; after listening to it I can tell you there is no need for Noah to ever be standing on one.

4. "I Believe in Your Love" — Charles Bradley (2:54)

I believe that hip hop/rap ended the existence of classic soul and I personally hold it responsible for this. Ergo, I barely listen to those genres, but delve deeply into “old soul” as Sam and Dave used to call it. Charles Bradley, a newer artist, has seen fit not to breach new fashioned “neo-soul,” but steadfastly plays it like it was. How about a warm welcome for Charles?

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5. "Still Crazy After All These Years" — Robert Ellis (3:49)

There are actually four covers on this week's list, among them the very first track and now this. This is my first listen to Robert and he done good with this comparatively sophisticated piece of Simon and Nobody. Great singing and a fab guitar solo, if in fact that is Robert playing it. I vote thumbs up for this and we all should investigate what other goodies are on Ellis Island.

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6. "Broken" — Daley (3:09)

Daley is actually Gareth Daley, an English lad born in 1989. He got his big break when Damon Albarn had him sing lead on a Gorillaz UK hit called "Doncamatic." From there he put EPs and singles out and stayed in the public eye in the UK. He toured in the states in 2013 and his first album, called Days & Nights, was released five weeks ago, This track jumped out at me. It was a single in Britain but did not chart. It’s on MY chart here and I love the drum track that starts a minute in. He does have a great commercial voice and with luck he will break here. If I knew how, I’d be rich...

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7. "Devil's Got My Secret" — Mieka Pauley (3:05)

This young lady kinda slipped through the cracks and I am just now discovering her for myself. Born in Boston in 1980, her family moved around to Ohio, Kentucky, Florida and Colorado, until she returned to Boston to eventually study at Harvard. She jumped into the local music scene, playing all around the area. Through Pledge Music she was able to finance her first album, Elijah Drop Your Gun, in 2007. This track is from that album and it sure doesn’t sound like someone starting out. Her latest was released in 2012—The Science of Making Choices—also completely funded by fans. What am I doing wrong here?

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8. "Santa Fe" — Virginia Coalition (3:12)

This is from 2008 and an album called Home This Year. I downloaded it back then and was waiting for the right time and place to use it. This must be the right time and place. The playing on this is very tasteful and all the little fills and ensembles fit perfectly. Stuff like this gets to the arranger and producer in me and I hope it gets to the listener in you. John Boylan, if you’re listening — you are partially responsible...

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9. "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" — Straight No Chaser feat. Elton John (2:32)

The opening intro is SNC all by themselves. When the first verse starts, the unmistakable sound of Elton’s voice takes over the lead and what a great combo they all are together. If you liked this song before, this may be the best version of it. How great that Elton accepted the invitation to join them! Many others have as well. Off the top of my head, Dolly Parton sang "Jolene" with them a couple of years back. They are great in person if you ever get the chance.

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10. "Feelin' Good" — Leslie West (4:12)

I saved this for last because I was really touched by it. The original version was written by Brits Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse for the stage musical The Roar of the Greasepaint - The Smell of the Crowd in 1964. The best known version was Nina Simone’s from 1965. Other notables who have covered this are Traffic, Michael BublĂ© and Muse. The reason this reaches me so much is because of the pain and suffering Leslie went through with the loss of his leg and the way he came out the other side with his voice and guitar-playing better than ever. The lyrics to this chestnut fit his situation perfectly and I am even a bigger fan than before because of his vocal performance and that unmistakable guitar sound. This is from Leslie’s current release Still Climbing and is a real treat for those raised in 'The West', as well as a great finale for this week’s column.

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