New Music for Old People: Todd Rundgren, Mark Selby, Larry Graham, Jeff Beck and More

By , Columnist

Steve Marriott/Humble Pie

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.

TMR1026 by Lisa on Grooveshark

1. "First Day of My Life" — Phil Roy (3:32)

I’ve selected one other of Phil’s tracks in the past. He’s best as an easygoing writer/singer. This is a great lyric with an apropos sincere reading. I fell for it almost instantly. Now we’ll see what YOU do.

2. "Black Coffee" — Humble Pie (3:00)

Hook up Steve Marriott’s voice to an Ike Turner song and you will get a scathing vocal performance. From the ‘73 album Eat It, it’s been overlooked for decades, but not by me. Now it’s your turn. I’m guessing that’s the Blossoms on backup vocals. The mix and balance were always pretty strange. I tried to make it a wee bit more balanced, but probably to no avail.

3. "I Stole Your Love" — Mark Selby (5:07)

Selby, originally from Oklahoma, settled in Gnashville in the early '90s. As a songwriter, his compositions were soon recorded by Trisha Yearwood, The Dixie Chicks and Kenny Wayne Shepherd to name but three. He made solo albums, two for Vanguard, then switched to a German label for 2008’s Nine Pound Hammer from which this great song/jam is from. Love this clever lyric and Mark’s tasty guitar playing and sound.

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4. "Nothing Ever Hurt Like You" — James Morrison (2:32)

If these were the old days of the music biz, this track and a few of James’s earlier ones would have been top tenners, but there’s too many releases and no more quality top 40 rock ‘n’ pop radio. Well, some of us are listening and buying and I’m a fan of this artist. Great voice, great songs, great production, although I suspect on this track they were trying to ape an older vinyl sound and it sounds a little too crackly today. But other than that this is the real deal.

5. "Cry Me a River" — Jeff Beck (4:02)

This is from Jeff’s recent album with a string section and reminds me so much of Les Paul, an early hero of Beck’s and mine. Julie London had the classic version but this warms the heart whereas Julie warmed other parts as well. I like Jeff doing stuff like this once in awhile; it certainly shows his debt to Les Paul and he’s never been shy about expressing that debt ... or displaying his shaved underarm.

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6. "More and More" — Little Milton (2:38)

I brought this into BS&T when I was still in the band but DCT inherited it and became associated with this title. Right here is the source track and maybe you can see how the ‘new’ BS&T missed the groove boat on this one. The original rhythm guitar and drums are amazing but nobody played those parts on their cover and it seems painfully missing to my ears. Milton was a very influential artist and here’s a small reason why.

7. "It's Alright" — Larry Graham (2:38)

The inventor of the slap bass and bottom guy for The Family Stone and Graham Central Station returns with every musical hair still in place. A great singer with both of the above bands, he is still in perfect voice and time stands still on this album as he parades what he does best and avoids any modernization at all costs. It sounds like it came out at the same time as the Little Milton track above it. Larry will ALWAYS roooool and is ALWAYS welcome at Al’s Place...

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8. "My Future Ex-Wife" — Smash Mouth (2:11)

As a man four-times married (but who finally got it right on the fourth one — 15 years and counting), I could’ve used this song three times in the past. Now it just reminds me of the bad old days, BUT it has a sense of humor and, thankfully, so do I. There IS one mouth I’d like to smash but I’m too mature now for that sort of behavior. I just wrote a song about it like these guys did. It will appear in the future sometime. She won't think it's so funny...

9. "Fifteen Minutes" — Hydrovibe (2:22)

I don’t usually like this sort of thing but there’s no accounting for taste and I fell. Well done but a superb solo is missing. The lyric is a play on the Warhol quote from the '60s.

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10. "Pretending to Care" — Todd Rundgren (3:38)

A masterpiece to close this week from the overlooked A Capella album. I went to that live show in LA — it was amazing. This track is immortal; it will sound great no matter what year you play it. Great chord sequences and vocal arrangements — all Todd as usual. See ya next week!

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And a warning: I am gonna take off November 30 and December 7 as I have had no break since we started in May of 2011. That will be my holiday gift to myself and my web producer Lisa McKay.

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Legendary musician (Bob Dylan, Blues Project, Super Session, Blood Sweat & Tears), producer (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nils Lofgren, The Tubes) and author (Backstage Passes & Backstabbing Bastards), Al is happy to join the staff of The Morton Report in an effort to help his fellow listeners stay in tune!

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