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. "Broken Heart" — The Moonlighters (2:18)
When I was growing up on rockabilly in ‘56-’58, this was an obscure favorite of mine. I especially liked the lyric "...You have gone and you’ve broken my heart - broken heart ... in so many parts!" There are scant factuals on these lads — the songwriters are Joe Snyder and Curtis Wren (pictured), both obviously guitarists. But it still lives on for me and captures the indie spirit of the mid-’50s perfectly.
2. "Low" — Danny Barnes (2:38)
This is kind of of a slight modernization of the last track — but rockabilly for today. Banjoist Danny Barnes takes a rare whack at electric guitar and you wonder why it’s his second instrument. I love this groove; refined chicken-pickin', some would say.
3. "Work It Out" — Roachford (3:16)
This is the third entry in these columns for this neo-soul UK band. This is from a 2005 album called Word of Mouth; and that’s the only way you would have heard this. It’s strangely relevant lyrically at the moment and could be yanked by someone as an anthem if they liked. Sort of a nod to Stevie Wonder musically. Love this guy!
4. "I'm Shakin'" — The Blasters (2:23)
My favorite Blasters track primarily for its authenticity. It’s a cover of Little Willie John’s original ‘50’s track and Phil Alvin sings about as good as anyone can on this. The band sticks steadfastly to the groove and there is no stepping out on this one other than Phil. A classic for me and equal to the original.
5. "Don't Leave Me Lonely" — King Floyd (3:30)
From Malaco Studios in Jackson, Mississippi came this great soul singer who composed most of his own tracks. Best known for the funk track “Groove Me,” this is an album ballad that immediately caught my attention in the late ’70s. The arrangement by the great Wardell Quezergue is one of his best, especially the string writing in the fade. Floyd’s vocal is filled with sobs and screams. The third ‘sob’ in the intro almost sounds like he sneezed, however. His screaming at the tail end of the fade is amazing. Musically, a great song for a guy named King Floyd to write. I believe there is still a Best Of King Floyd in print on CD, and if you like this, you won’t be disappointed.
6. "Two Trains" — Lowell George (3:35)
Well, I took a stab at the liner notes on Lowell’s last album, Thanks, I’ll Eat It Here, and that had a list of the greatest living musicians at the time (1979) but not who played what on which track. Unhelpful. Not that Lowell EVER played with substandard musicians, but this track has his usual patented groove that I never took it for granted. A rewrite of his Little Feat track of the same name; which is a rewrite of Muddy Waters' "Two Trains Runnin’" lyrically. This was sadly his last album — totally Lowell to the end.
7. "Cut You Loose" — Kylie Auldist (3:20)
And yet another lady soul singer from Australia. Ms. Auldist is/was one of the front singers for a local band called Bamboo that upholds the musical traditions of James Brown and the like. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings down under, if you will. To hear this music played correctly and produced perfectly in this day and age is encouraging to an aging lover of this genre. If enough musicians behave like this, I will be able to depart this mortal coil with a large grin on my face and a snap in my (dance) step as well.
8. "Two Sides to Every Situation" — Valerie Carter & Al Kooper (3:31)
In 1982 I made an album with four different lead singers just to have some fun. It was called Championship Wrestling, produced by Bill Szymczyk. Valerie sang two songs on that album. This one was actually a song someone sent me in the mail back when I still accepted things like that. I loved the song and then saw it was written by Edward Allen Poe and thought someone was pulling a fast one on me. They weren’t, and Valerie liked it as well and so to disc we went. Thirty years later it still sounds pretty good to me. She sings all the vocal parts, I arranged it and played the clavinet solo. Hope you enjoy it as well.
9. "Behind the Painted Smile" — The Isley Brothers (2:23)
Motown was by no means a mistake in the history of these Brothers. They made some amazing tracks there. This is in my top three. I just wish they would have faded it out or come up with a better ending. When you listen you will catch my gist. The Motown studio guys were a perfect match for the Isleys and they did make some great music together. Unfortunately it didn’t chart very well, but that’s why I’m here — to keep these great tracks alive.
10. "Bring on the Wonder" — Sarah McLachlan (2:10)
You would think that a track that glorifies the sun and beach and has massive voices on it would have a shred of Brian Wilson influence. Not this time. As a vehicle for the multi-talented Sarah this is wonderfully original in its composition and arrangement ... and is a perfect ending to this week’s shenanigans. See ya next week.