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. "Home" — Seasick Steve (3:06)
A big hit in the UK, Steve is actually an American senior citizen born in Oakland, California in 1941. He is a roughshod man who had a ramblin’ life as a carny worker, a cowboy, and migrant worker. He dabbled in audio engineering in the 1980s and actually produced Modest Mouse’s first album. A blues and folk musician at heart, he built his own instruments and got discovered in Paris and London when busking. He began the full musician’s life in 2006 with the release of his first album, A Dog’s Life. To my ears he is a combo of Billy Gibbons and Ry Cooder and that’s certainly not a bad thing. I have become a fan of his singing and guitar playing and this is a track from his latest album, Hubcap Music, and a great opener for this week.
Seasick Steve sits on the porch of his new condo at 2002 East 3rd Dazz
2. "Love Is Thicker Than Water" — Paul Carrack (3:19)
Paul Carrack was born in 1951 and bounced from group to group starting in the '70s. In the band Ace he warbled their big hit “How Long” and got people’s attention while in Squeeze with “Tempted.” His best stint was in Mike and The Mechanics, which showed him off on “Silent Running,” “The Living Years,” and “Over My Shoulder.” He then played and sang with Roger Waters (post-Floyd) live and on his albums Radio K.A.O.S and The Wall Live in Berlin. After that, the solo albums began and they can be cherry-picked to expose some wonderful singing and writing. As a writer his songs have been recorded by Diana Ross, Tom Jones, Michael McDonald and Jools Holland. This is from his 2010 album, I Know That Name. Love this...
Sung to the tune of Cream's "I'm So Glad":
"I'm so bald, I'm so bald,
I'm bald, I'm bald, I'm bald..."
3. "You Can't Make Old Friends" — Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton (3:37)
These two voices, memorable from at least “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” and “Jolene,” blend effortlessly on this clever lyric from Kenny’s latest album. He lost me in his "Gambler" period, but before that I was a big fan of the sound of his voice with just that tiny touch of gruffness. I still listen to Dolly’s latest albums and will never tire of that woman. This is unexpectedly pleasant and well done, while the epitome of unhip in 2013. So what?!
I hope there are more lines at their concerts than on their faces...
4. "If I Could Change Your Mind" — HAIM (3:08)
They are simply the Haim sisters, Alana, Danielle and Este, from Southern California. Picked out at 2012’s SXSW Fest in Austin, they got a record deal with Polydor UK. Their first full album was released last month, produced by guys who worked with Usher and Florence and The Machine. And just as we watch the Jonas Brothers disintegrate into a family feud, the Haim sisters, sounding not dissimilar, are happy to fill the void. Over-produced? Of course! All over the charts? Why, yes — obvious family talent here although obviously not identical triplets (see below). Lessee wot happens, mate...
5. "Nightcall" — London Grammar (2:51)
Wait! Not so fast — New Brits prevail overseas! This band, formed at the University of Nottingham, is basically two guys and a gal. Dan Rothman plays all the cool guitar licks, Hannah Reid is the singer, and Dot Major plays keys and drums. If the guitar wasn't so prominent in most of their tracks, they would be classified immediately as electronica. But they hold back enough to be more flexible all around. I am partial to Hannah’s voice on their first album If You Wait. But Dan gets me too with the guitar licks swirling around Hannah. Dot holds it all together. They are huge in the UK and Australia as well. I see no big push here other than unbiased Al...
6. "If" — Heston (2:43)
Heston is an R&B singer from the West Indies. There’s a little of that still in his music, but much more Motown nowadays. This is from his debut album in 2008 amazingly called Heston. I love the groove on this track and, of course, the rhythm guitar playing. It’s a good song and Heston CAN sing as well as write. His third album, Love Junkie, just came out if you like this.
7. "Brother (Never Let You Go)" — X Ambassadors (2:42)
There's something I like about this group. This is the second track I’ve selected for the column. I think they’re on to something. I'm waiting for their next release because only time will tell.
"Our dads have long hair and wear shirts and ties. This is how we make OUR statement!"
8. "Scarecrow" — Between the Trees (3:12)
It’s a sad tale. Based in Orlando, this band debuted in 2006, made a little noise and got signed to Motown. After about a year, Motown changed their mind and back they went to the indies. Their second album, Spain, which this track is from, came out in 2009. In 2010, they made an announcement they were disbanding. Lead singer Ryan Kirkland has a future if he wants it. There's really nice vocalizing on this. Too bad I’m not famous enough to be a judge on The Voice (hahahaha).
Uhhh, guys? This is not what we meant by performing on the road!
9. "Love Illumination" — Franz Ferdinand (3:17)
From their latest album with a way too long title to mention, this is kinda punchy in a good way. It reminds me of the Jefferson Airplane’s big hit “Somebody to Love” and even mentions it in the lyric. It is, however, NOT an Airplane sound-alike — just a tip of the hat. Very '70s lead guitar sound for those who care.
10. "Gone Under" — Snarky Puppy feat. Shayna Steele (3:51)
This is the Puppy’s second column entry and they are in my top ten at the moment pending an in-person look. The YouTube stuff is right up my alley (horns, love of soul music, great vocals) but I just missed them a few weeks ago locally. Meanwhile I’m listening away happily. They deserve the vaunted final position this week.