New Music for Old People: Ry Cooder, Mark Knopfler, James Hunter, Blodwyn Pig and More

By , Columnist

Ry Cooder

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.

TMR0920 by Lisa on Grooveshark

1. "See My Way" — Blodwyn Pig (3:50)

Mick Abrahams, original Jethro Tull guitarist, could only tolerate Ian Anderson for their debut album and went right out and started this band with Andy Pyle (bass), Jack Lancaster (sax and flute), and Ron Berg (drums). This track from their first album, Ahead Rings Out, survives for me almost purely on attitude and dynamics. It sure conjures up everything musically about 1969 when it was first released. Alas, there was only one more expedition with this lineup, Getting to This, in 1970. But I do have a good memory for certain music. If you missed this originally, it still sounds as good today as it did in the drug-addled '60s.

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And here they are in their fer sure drug-addled '60s glory ... dilated pupils staying after class.

2. "Dark End of the Street" — Ry Cooder (4:50)

This is from Ry’s brand new live album with a lot of friends from the past as band members and vocalists. This Dan Penn tune was a good choice to re-record, and all parties aboard treat it as a new item. The audience is loving it and gets it back double from the stage. So the question is why does someone yell out my name at the very end? Cracked me up 'cause I knew by the first verse I was gonna put it in the column, but I didn’t expect an audience prompt! And no, I am not hearing someone calling out "Ry Cooder" ... WEIRD! Fortunately this won’t go viral and my name will not join “Whipping Post” or “Free Bird” as a stock humorous catcall...

3. "Go, Love" — Mark Knopfler (3:44)

Our third guitarist today is sorta back in his Dire Straits mentality on this track. And after mucho side roads on many albums, it’s good to have him there. He is tasty as ever, but in the background, the organ sounds unlike a Hammond and more like a toy. I like the concept of the player utilizing a pedal steel mentality in terms of the verse parts and intros, but I miss the real deal in the ending segment. BUT Mark has hit his mark here and I’m glad. This is from his brand new release, Privateering.

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4. "Bomba-Checka" — Erick Turnbull (2:25)

Now this guitarist was unknown to me until I tried this out on iTunes. WOW! Completely skilled in every aspect of acoustic playing and composition, I’m sorta scared to hear more. This’ll hold me for awhile as I hear another amazing thing each time I play it. As a listener, this is pretty close to perfection for my old, yet still discerning ears. Could this be the bastard son of the unlikely union of Larry Graham and Kaki King?

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Well, the Kaki gene is dominant but the Graham gene is invisible except in the brain and the fingers.

5. "Be With Me" — The Beach Boys (2:58)

I’m still trying to figure out how to get a press copy of their recent six-CD box set, Made in California, with many unreleased goodies inside, so I downloaded this from iTunes just to whet my whistle. Without info, I can only guess this is from the Friends album period or maybe just a hair pre-Smile. If you know, leave a comment at the end here. Remember, I’m a lifetime follower of Brian and my favorite album is Pet Sounds in 5.1 — that’s like taking a college course that never ends.

6. "I'd Rather Be an Old Man's Sweetheart" — Valerie Carter (2:51)

A lotta soulmanship from my solo album with guest singers, Championship Wrestling (1983). With Jeff Baxter and Elliott Randall on guitars, Ed Green on drums, Neil Stubehaus on bass and the Tower of Power Horns, what could really be bad? Valerie does a great job in spite of Candi Staton’s great original version. These are people who really loved the original version and wanted to pay tribute to it. Great fun — no sales.

7. "Holding On" — The Beauty Room (3:15)

The key members of this band are Kirk Degiorgio (producer, keyboards, vocals) and Simon Jinadu (lead vocals, keyboards) They are the songwriters as well and there is sophisticated work going on here.It was basically one album in 2006 and then two other versions of it over a two-year period. This is all great work and if you like this track, follow the beats to the rest of their work. Wonder what they’re doing NOW? Lotta great talent involved.

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8. "Baby Don't Do It" — James Hunter (2:53)

He’s been around a few years. He’s had the endorsement of folks like Van Morrison and Sharon Jones. He’s one of the rare people who can summon up the vocal antics of James Brown without breaking a sweat; pretty much unheard of for a white person. Here’s a little teaser to get you started. He has a current album out by The James Hunter Six called Minute by Minute. He’s on tour in the US as I write this. Do NOT miss this guy live if you love R&B and the blues.

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9. "My Kinda Love (Remix)" — Emeli Sandé (4:04)

In less than a year's time, this artist has got me transfixed. She's truly original, with a bizarre hairdo and a voice that just grabs you by the throat. With just one album, she is slowly making many friends for the next one. I really can’t wait. I even like this DJ remix from that album. See what I mean?

10. "Falling" — Bob Carpenter (2:59)

Soooo, back in the late '70s, I was toiling on the production of some album at The Record Plant studios in LA, when my friend Bob Carpenter popped in to say hello. Bob is one of the original members of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and a fellow keyboardist so he is ALWAYS welcome. So I take a break and he says, “Can I play you a song I just wrote?” So I set up a Fender Rhodes piano and a vocal mic, and sit in the booth and tweak the echo and tone controls a wee bit and record it so I can REALLY listen later that night. The song was amazing and very commercial to my ears. So all this time has passed and Michael McDonald STILL hasn’t recorded this gem. So I bumped into it while I was looking for songs for this week and it is the perfect closer for this column. I hope someone else out there feels the same way and jumps on this puppy 'cause I’m still singing it and it’s forever etched in my mind. It’s a little screwed up from being transferred to MP3 back in the day when we didn’t have what we have now, but somehow all that hiss is welcome sometimes. Happy Autumn, everyone, especially Bob “the song” Carpenter. He does GOOD work — not woodwork.

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