New Music for Old People: The National, Jack Nitzsche, Chilly Gonzales, Howard Tate and More

By , Columnist

Chilly Gonzales

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.

TMR0614 by Lisa on Grooveshark

1. "The Lonely Surfer" — Jack Nitzsche (2:11)

Sadly, this is the only top-tenner under his own name. Jack was a persuasive, cognitive wheel in the studio antics of Phil Spector and the early to mid-period Rolling Stones. His arrangements adorned many hits by Jackie DeShannon, Gene Pitney, Darlene Love, The Crystals, The Righteous Brothers, Neil Young, etc. This was a sweeping instrumental, worthy of a better title, that raised the quality of the hits of 1963. Later, he would win an Oscar for co-composing "Up Where We Belong."

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2. "Fireproof" — The National (2:33)

There is something about lead singer/songwriter Matt Berninger's voice that reminds me of the softer side of Jim Morrison’s work. So far, I haven’t heard him employ the cutting slash ‘n’ burn that Morrison had tucked in for whenever it was appropriate, but it’s comparatively early in this band’s career. His soothing baritone adorns this piece well. It's from their sixth studio album, Trouble Will Find Me. Keep your eyes and ears on this band.

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Lead singer Matt Berninger of The National

3. "Lowlands" — Gillian Welch (2:43)

A favorite of mine from the start, Gillian has the sotto voce of country-influenced folk music woven into her artistic make-up. She can wail when she wants to as well, but here she is captive to the appropriate low-key delivery. A basic, tasty listen.

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4. "Train of Fools" — John Fogerty (3:43)

Mr. Clearwater is back again with catalog duets and a few new tunes on his latest release, Wrote a Song for Everyone. I prefer the new tunes and here’s one, albeit devoid of his trademark snarling vocal sound.

5. "Amnesia" — Chilly Gonzales (2:19)

Pardon me for this intrusion of modern classical music, but I was immediately taken by the composition and touch of this solo piano-playing artist and composer. If this gets to you like it did to me, Google will return MUCH more in the way of other tracks and video (!). This is a unique artist who deserves more recognition.

6. "Fire We Make" — Alicia Keys & Maxwell (3:06)

It was a great idea for these two singers to duet. The song was co-written by Alicia, and it's well-suited to Maxwell’s sometimes female-sounding falsetto. This track is well done and a treat for the ears.

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7. "Come Go With Me" — North Mississippi All-Stars (3:30)

The first time they played Boston, I went to soundcheck as their debut album was my fave listening experience at the time. I knew the Dickinson brothers' dad, Jim, but had never seen the lads in person. Over dinner they invited me to sit in for the whole set and I asked them to be sure, because I DID know all the tunes. They were sure and I had the time of my life playing with them. I have been a big fan ever since and await a second chance to organ-ize with them!

8. "Up on the Bandstand" — Al Kooper feat. Mickey Thomas (4:19)

This is from the rarely heard jam album I cut in the ‘80s, Championship Wrestling. A Randall Bramblett tune I always loved, it gave me a rare chance to employ the vocal skills of Mickey, who gave Elvin Bishop a big hit with his vocal on "Fooled Around and Fell In Love." No such luck for me, but great fun playing baritone guitar and clavinet alongside guitars by Jeff Baxter and the rest of the studio players gang! This was produced by Bill Szymczyk, who coincidentally produced the Elvin Bishop single.

9. "(These Are) Some of the Things" — Howard Tate (2:15)

A rare non-Jerry Ragovoy-produced track helmed by multi-hit artist Lloyd Price on his signature Turntable label in 1970. It was part of a full album they collaborated on entitled Reaction. This followed a string of hits supervised by Ragovoy from 1966-68 on Verve. Jerry and Howard reunited again in 1972 on Atlantic. This was the best track from the Lloyd Price album. In hindsight, Tate’s best work was when he was partnered with Ragovoy. His last three albums (all without Jerry) are comparatively non-listenable and yielded no sales or airplay. This track contained signature Tate spark and stands up nowadaze.

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Vintage Tate, circa 1970

10. "Whatcha Lookin' For" — The Styletones (2:30)

This is their second appearance in the column. This San Diego revivalist soul/funk band owes their foundation to Tower of Power stylistically. Ain’t nuthin' wrong with that as you will hear when ya push the play button. See ya next week!

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