New Music for Old People: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Sarah Siskind, Adrian Belew, The Buckinghams and More

By , Columnist

Sarah Siskind

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.

TMR1109 by Lisa on Grooveshark

1. "You'll Be Satisfied" — Johnny Ray Allen (3:15)

Taking an occasional break from the bass chair in The Subdudes, Johnny occasionally flipped out a solo track every now and then. Here’s one now that sounds influenced in a few ways by Steve Winwood and The Spencer Davis Group. This is only about eight years old but so is my granddaughter.

2. "She" — Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (3:52)

A cover of a track from a REALLY obscure album that paired Booker T with his wife at the time, Priscilla Coolidge, sister of Rita. Keyboardist Bob Carpenter uses his soulful voice and puts a nice spin on this great song albeit inexplicably changing some of the original lyrics. It’s great to hear this again as the original was never released on CD and I’ll take a good clean cover over my REALLY scratchy vinyl version of the Booker T original.

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3. "Heartbeat" — Adrian Belew (3:31)

I went nuts over this when it originally appeared on one of Adrian’s solo albums. He covered it again during his stint with King Crimson. As we are friends, I covered it on my live album of 1994, Soul of a Man. A great song all around. Adrian's solo pays a lotta respect to Jeff Beck; the solos on mine are by Uptown Horns leader Crispin Cioe on soprano sax and I pay a lotta respect to Crispin.

4. "Driftin' Into a Woman's Arms" — Randall Bramblett (2:44)

I met Randall when I lived in Atlanta in the early '70s. There was a big buzz about his songwriting and live performances. The Atlanta Rhythm Section took me to one of his solo gigs in Macon, Georgia and I was wowed. I instantly wanted to sign him to my label and soon gave him a $500 advance to seal the deal. I didn't hear from him for the next five years and then a FedEx envelope arrived with $500 cash in it and an apologetic note that was satisfactory for me (along with the $500 cash). Meanwhile he had released two great albums on Polydor produced by (that) Steve Tyrell which were big favorites of mine. This is from the first one. I believe they are both sadly out of print. The lyric is clever as it tells the tale of Moses with great slide playing you won’t find in the Bible. Randall plays piano on the track and sings lead.

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5. "Without You" — Jacob Luttrell (3:24)

This native of Fresno, California is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist. A frequent collaborator (Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, among others), he's currently working closely with Timbaland as a musician and songwriter.

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6. "Proud" — Heather Small (3:56)

What a great sounding voice — she sounds like a cross between Timi Yuro and Toni Childs! She looks a little Donna Summer-ish as well. I wanna hear more but this was an unexplainable non-hit in the US the year it came out (2000). Heather was a member of the huge UK group M People that sold over five million albums in the last dozen years. This was from her first solo album from 2000. I’m gonna go hunting for more tracks. Anyone care to join me?

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7. "To Be With You" — Brad Love (3:04)

A producer I knew gave me a copy of his latest work in the late '70s. I gave it a listen a few days later and was mesmerized. The artist was uninhibited in his vocal delivery in the manner of The Bee Gees' lead vocals on their first three albums recorded more than ten years previous. It was sort of a combo of Gilbert O’Sullivan and Leo Sayer if you can imagine such a thing. But more importantly, it was enjoyable musically. Brad Love is a classical pianist as well and his playing blends perfectly with his singing. There are many more of these tracks in my collection and I will unleash more as time goes by, but I hope you enjoy this starter.

8. "Foreign Policy" — The Buckinghams (3:53)

This is about the man known as James William Guercio in the late '60s. He discovered and produced Chicago. He took over production of The Buckinghams when they signed to Columbia Records and many hit singles were spawned by this combination prior to the introduction of Chicago. But what you might not know is that the horn section from Chicago arranged and played the horn parts on many Buckinghams tracks. This is the most avant garde one from their best album called Time & Charges. I’m including it because I think it’s comparatively rare and was a bit ahead of its time all those years ago. It’s interesting to hear it now, 45 years after it was released, to hear just how futuristic it was back then. And another tip of the hat to Jim Guercio, as he was known to me — without whom this would not have happened.

9. "France Chance" — Kenny Brown (2:40)

Kenny Brown apprenticed with the formidable R.L. Burnside and one can hear shades of that learning period here. They both were signed to Fat Possum Records and this came out in 2003 on that label. It’s a pretty honest track but surely third generation for Kenny. No matter. It shuffles along quite well and I have enjoyed it for years. Now it’s your turn.

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10. "Go/One Step Closer" Medley — Sarah Siskind (4:30)

I originally heard Sarah on iTunes and thought she was a breathtaking combo of the influences of Nina Simone and Joni Mitchell and a wonderful singer/ songwriter as a result. I spliced these two tracks together for you. The first is pretty Simone-oriented; it is a cappella and the tone of her voice and the echo the producer chose are perfection. The second track features Sarah and Duke Levine on electric guitars and again her voice is resplendent but more Joni Mitchell sounding at times (the choruses) and Duke plays a wonderful solo. This is someone you will keep enjoying if you like these two selections. There are plenty more and this is a wonderful closer for this week but an even more magical opener for you into the world of Sarah Siskind.

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