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.
1. "Oh Susannah" — Neil Young (3:42)
I walked into the Americana album blindfolded — didn’t know the concept, hadn’t read anything, etc. I was startled at first, then highly amused, and on the second go-round, I was in the right frame of mind. I don’t like ALL of it, but what I do, I REALLY like — especially the conversation at the end of this rehearsal-that-made-the-album. This is real with not much studio fabrication. Sadly, not too much of that around nowadaze.
2. "Hard Times" — Heritage Blues Orchestra (3:13)
This is the second inclusion from their recent debut album, And Still I Rise. I like the quasi-classic approach and the shift of gears halfway through this track. And I ALWAYS like the horns (heh-heh).
3. "Seems So Long Ago" — Carl Wilson (3:58)
Always the best singer in the BB’s fold and a tragic loss at such a young age. I knew him a wee bit and he was one of the nicest people I ever met. I visited one of his solo album sessions once, and during a break he sat at the piano and accompanied himself singing my favorite Bacharach song, “In The Land of Make Believe.” Stunned that he knew it AND could traverse the complicated chord changes on a second instrument, I held that memory for the rest of my life. They foolishly didn’t record it on that album or EVER. This is a self-write about growing up in Hawthorne and how far he had ventured from there. P.S. His mom was at the session I attended and I was told that was not unusual.
4. "Nathan Jones" — The Supremes (2:48)
The first single after Diana ankled the group. VERY Supremish and full of sonic cookies to hold your interest. Didn’t do comparatively well unfortunately, and sadly began sounding the death knell for this Detroit institution. Curiously covered (not badly) shortly thereafter by Nicolette Larsen (!).
5. "Is Anybody Out There in Love?" — Boy Meets Girl (3:40)
This is obscure as hell. George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam, eventually wed then divorced, were a hit songwriting team (Whitney Houston, Deniece Williams) which earned them a recording contract. They made four albums and had one big hit on the second one called “Waiting For a Star to Fall” in 1988. This was an album track I always liked. It now sounds very mid-'80s. I think it was the production that captured me back then.
6. "Groove Me" — Hobex (3:24)
This is what happens when you grow up in the Carolinas with soul-filled beach music as your constant aural companion. Greg Humphreys still juggles playing Hobex gigs alongside Dillon Fence (his prior band) gigs, and solo gigs mostly in the heart of the Southeast where he is best known. We met when I lived in Nashville and I still get his newsletter every now and then. This is my fave Greg track and, like the great soul music he and I both grew up with, it never ages. It originated in the late '90s.
7. "I May Never Get Over You" — David Lasley (2:57)
This lad was born in Detroit in 1947 and has one of the strongest falsettos I have ever heard. Transcending his white face and long blond hair, it conjures up images of The Stylistics and others of that ilk. No wonder James Taylor, Roxy Music, Aretha, Chic, and Luther Vandross hired him for backups in the studio and on the road. Don Was produced one of his three solo albums, none of which, unfortunately, got a fair shake on the radio in the '80s and '90s. A strong songwriter as well, he is still out there singing and writing. This is about 30 years old.
8. "Not Your Year" — The Weepies (3:00)
So this folksinger in Cambridge, Massachusetts based herself out of local upscale folky Club Passim there. She played there and built up a following. A debut album was released. She had been listening to some guy’s debut album from NYC and saw he was playing at Club Passim. She went to the show, they stayed up all night and are still together and are The Weepies. With three successful albums on Nettwerk Records, they are planning on more touring and have just exited Nettwerk amicably. They are Deb Talan and Steve Tannen, and this is from their current album Be My Thrill.
9. "The Road to Hell" — Chris Rea (3:57)
In 1978 Chris Rea came to our attention with a top 20 singles hit, “Fool (If You Think It’s Over).” Slowly he changed his persona and his voice got deeper and Dire Straits sent him in another direction (Dire-Rea??). He became huge in his native UK and I was extremely influenced by everything in this track from 1989. I became a strong fan and wrote a song from his influences called “Keep It to Yourself.” It was on my last album White Chocolate and I couldn’t have done it without my Rea list of songs. Thanks, Chris.
10. "Never Even Thought" — Colin Blunstone (4:11)
As much as you all know I love The Zombies, I also enjoy the solo work of lead singer Colin Blunstone. This is in my top five of solo Colin. It's from a rare album he did for Rocket Records, Elton John’s label in the mid-'70s. It’s a cover of the great Murray Head song with a dynamic arrangement, great playing, and of course, great singing. I had to perform a Colin-oscopy (removal of program from vinyl to digital), so please forgive the clicks and pops — I’m not the audio surgeon I wish I were, but I’m still firmly enrolled in Stereo School.