Jesse obviously red a few photo-design textbooks.
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.
I don’t claim to cover ALL types of music from this era, but there are things I remember well and recent records that take me back there. There’s a good chance you won’t know any of these, but they will take you back to that particular decade, even if some were just released last week....
1. "On the Mend" — Eye to Eye (3:09)
American Deborah Berg met visiting Brit keyboardist Julian Marshall at an improvisational dance performance that Berg was involved in vocally. Taken with her voice, he invited her to the UK to write with him and they quickly got a record deal and put out a single. Steely Dan producer Gary Katz heard it and signed them to Warner Brothers and produced two excellent albums with them. The first, self-titled, was released in 1982. Deborah and Julian wrote all the songs together and sang all the vocal parts. This song was the closing track on that album. Their follow-up Shakespeare Stole My Baby came out in ‘83 but a lack of promotion on both LPs cost audiences a chance to hear two great albums. Wounded Bird Records released both albums on one CD in 2002. If you can still get it and you like Steely Dan, I think it would be worth your while.
2. "I Don't Care" — Shivaree (2:53)
This band formed in the San Fernando Valley in California in 1999. They were able to achieve a very early ‘80s sound whenever they chose, and they chose on this track. The singer is EVERYTHING here although I kinda like the pedal steel. This reminds me of Madeleine Peyroux and her inspiration, Billie Holiday. Ambrosia Parsley will have her first solo album out in a few months. I eagerly await it; meanwhile I’ll just use my old recipe for Ambrosia Parsley...
Fishnet stockings, sitting on a bed? What is this, 2014?
3. "Brown Eyes" — Larsen-Feiten Band (2:59)
This has Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan influences, but brought to everyone’s attention two New York sidemen who had already made a lot of friends. Buzz Feiten and I hooked up early and he will be represented on my box set of unreleased tracks coming in a year or two. I also hooked him up to gigs with the Butterfield Band and The Rascals. He’s a wonderful guy and an amazing player. Neil Larsen played on various tracks for me, and his sister and my wife are good friends. This is a favorite track of mine that best displays the ‘75-’85 sounds.
Neil Larsen and Buzzy Feiten back in the day
4. "The Bluest Eyes" — Storyville (3:06)
This was a great, bluesy Austin, Texas band in the mid-’90s. In the band were Stevie Ray Vaughn’s bassist and drummer Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton, a double-barreled, double-David guitar section of David Grissom and David Holt, and the great vocals of blond-haired Afro-American singer Malford Milligan. This was the title song of their debut album and I still give it a good listen every now and then. There are some great live videos of them on YouTube as well.
5. "Depot Street" — Chris Daniels and The Kings (2:25)
This starts a three-song set of some tracks I was involved with in the ‘75-’85 time period. Chris asked me to produce his Boulder, Colorado band around 1985. They were one of the biggest bands in the area and had a great horn section as well. I did this arrangement of an early Tom Petty song I had heard when I worked with TP on demos for his first album. I just added the horns to it and Chris, as always, did a great job on the vocals.
When you have a band this large it sounds freakin' great but the funds are not as high as for quartets. Still, it's great to be onstage and play with a great large band, something only a musician and his audience understand.
6. "Turn My Head Towards Home" — Al Kooper (3:57)
This is from the album Act Like Nothing’s Wrong, recorded in 1976-77 and produced by me and John Simon. This is one of the collections I am happiest with in retrospect. For me, this is one of the best songs I ever wrote and, with John Simon’s assistance, a track I’m quite proud of. Sort of a tribute to Thom Bell AND Burt Bacharach back in the days when they were blazing in the studio and blaring out of radio speakers everywhere.
A hairy remembrance from 1977 captured by classic ace photographer Norman Seeff
7. "Don't Make Me Wait" — Johnny Koonce (3:48)
From the 1983 album Got My Eye on You which I produced and arranged back in the day. It was never released on CD so I had to take it from the LP here and it sounds it. This was the lead singer of Portland, Oregon locals Johnny and The Distractions. I played rhythm guitar on this and Buzz Feiten played the guitar solo. I love the vocal and the way the horns fit in. Not a bad LP if you can get your hands on it.
8. "Never Even Thought" — Colin Blunstone (4:05)
The original recording of this song by the author, Murray Head, came out first. Murray was an amazing singer-songwriter and made a couple of great albums for A&M during the time period concerned here. But Colin’s cover was assisted superbly by uber-Brit arranger Paul Buckmaster on an album bearing the same title as this track released by Epic in 1978. A great song, a great voice, and a one-of-a-kind arrangement. This stands up admirably to time.
9. "She Don't Love Me Now" — Jesse Malin (2:14)
A strong presence in the New York proto-punk scene of the new millennium, he hung with one of his big influences, Ryan Adams, and they made music together. This is new and falls into the simplification syndrome that comes out of New York City/Brooklyn every few years. Personally, I love this kind of simplicity if done right (Ryan Adams again for example and now this track).
10. "Run Quicker" — Boxed In (3:42)
This has interesting figures and breaks out of its boundaries at just the right times. Right after the intro, Marvin Gaye could’ve come in singing, but they went the white way... not that there’s anything wrong with that. This is really growing on me, which is bizarre as I was hoping for the Marvin direction after the intro. London-based producer-musician Oli Bayston is at the helm here. See ya next week after I have passed over all the food and psychedelic-lookin’ hard boiled eggs.
BEWARE! LOW CEILING WARNING! NO TRUCKS OVER 3 FEET, 7 INCHES!!
You can sign up for Al Kooper's mailing list right here.