New Music for Old People: Rotary Connection, Walter Becker, The Magic Numbers, and More

A weekly tip sheet for Boomers and Zoomers.

By , Columnist

Rotary Connection

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. The reason I am writing this column is to make sure others don't miss this. These are not top ten items; but they SHOULD be!

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. "The Sunshine of Your Love" - Rotary Connection (5:04)

On occasion I will include OLD music for old people if I feel it was overlooked in its time. This Chicago group that included the ultra-sonic vocal meanderings of the late Minnie Ripperton were surely aided and abetted by the arrangements and production of Chess Records staffer Charles Stepney and the psychedelic guitar noodling of Phil Upchurch. Timeless.

2. "Book Of Liars" - Walter Becker (3:17)

Donald Fagen, the other half of Steely Dan, probably doubled the solo album output of partner Becker. This has always stuck out to me as a Dan-worthy track that Walter did beautifully on his first solo album.

3. "Mornings Eleven" - The Magic Numbers (5:33)

A first as far as I recall - a brother and a sister join an unrelated other brother and sister and form a pop group in the UK. First album released in 2004; latest in 2010. They have become one of the major hit groups in the UK and here is one of the reasons why. A refreshing fresh sound vocally and instrumentally.

4. "Crush" - MaiMou (4:13)

I found this on iTunes about seven years ago,. It got me from the first line: "That was quite a mouthful, eloquent as you are wild," sung by a relaxed female voice with a fabulous jazzy accompaniment.

It's become a favorite but the band has seemed to disappear. As I recall, they were Texas-based. Fortunately I downloaded two other tracks by them, which I'm sure will turn up here in the coming weeks. See if this doesn't light up your life a little meanwhile.

5. "Gone" - The Black Crowes (5:08)

Their finest moment as far as I'm concerned. This catchy rocker starts innocently enough with a rhythm guitar and percussion but then metamorphisizes into a swaggering rocker equal to Led Zep or Free.

Perfectly executed on EVERY level.

6. "Stoned, Pt 1" - Lewis Taylor (4:51)

The first time I went to London in 1968 I bought about 40 vinyl LPs.

One of them was The Edgar Broughton Band. This lad was born in the UK around that time and his first pro gig was as a member of that band in the '80s. He went solo shortly after and released a few items in the '90s while touring away. He started in psychedelia and then morphed magnificently into neo-soul. This track shows both influences equally. It sounds Brian Wilson AND Sly Stone-influenced. By 2006, he hung it up - retired the Lewis Taylor moniker - but remained in the biz as music director of Gnarls Barkley (no mean feat) under the name Andrew Taylor. Nowadays he can be seen live as a member of The Drivers, and - you guessed it - The Edgar Broughton Band!

7. "With A Little Help From My Friends" - Easy Star All-Stars (3:13)

This loose collection of male and female characters have reggae-fied three classic albums: Dark Side Of The Moon, OK Computer (?!^%) and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Easy Star is a New York-based indie label and they were from various bands that had releases on that label. They are masters of the reggae sound and this is a great start if you haven't heard them before. Their first album of original music came out in April.

8. "Where The Bluegrass Grows" - Greg Garing (3:17)

The epitome of alt-country, Greg came to Nashville in the '90s and easily assimilated an audience that grows larger every week. This is from his first album where he displayed his amazing country voice along with some DJ sampling and tech FX. People scratched their heads back then, but I believe they're ready for it now.

9. "Sweet Gospel Music" - PreFab Sprout (4:24)

This band has 20 years plus in its history, maybe 30. This is from their last album in 2009. Easy on the ears, they basically advertise the wonders of gospel music. Based on the other tracks, I don't think they'll be a Christian band on their next effort. Nevertheless, this is a tasty track.

10. "Get Right Church" - Martha Scanlan (4:24)

Another mis-functioning artist website leaves me out in the cold. Coupla sentences on Wiki say that Martha is originally from Minneapolis and is a respected bluegrass gal. Here she takes a Staple Singers staple and gives it a bluegrass interpretation. In keeping with the track before, this is a tasty track that IS actually gospel music and a perfect way to close this week, assuming you get to it by Sunday.

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