New Music for Old People: Jimmy Webb, Keb' Mo', Television, Ben Sollee and More

By , Columnist

Ben Sollee

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.

TMR0824 by Lisa on Grooveshark

1. "Get Up, Get Out" — Rhett Walker Band (3:01)

Well, this is loud enough to rattle the dishes and get your attention and that makes a good opener. Rhett WAS a wild man, but switched to Christian music (!). Listen as I may, I can’t REALLY find any of THAT in this track. This just simply ROCKS! No bible necessary.

2. "Down in the Hole" — The Soul of John Black (2:56)

John catches my interest more often than not, and I consider him an easy-listening Sly & The Family Stone. Nuttin’ wrong wid dat as you will quickly ascertain from one listen. I’ve had more than a few myself... listens, that is. Plus, he has excellent taste in church entrances (see below).


3. "Anybody Seen My Girl" — Keb' Mo' (2:49)

His first album was playing nonstop for its first year in my house. To me, he is the Taj Mahal of this generation and I ain’t talkin’ about the building, my friends! A blues authority, he is just not content to play traditionally; he pushes boundaries all the time. The chord sequence in this song is a great example. His guitar, voice, and songwriting skills are all displayed on this track which is devoid of accompaniment. In this case it’s more than enough for him to qualify for more of an audience. He is a national treasure.


4. "Take Me For a Little While" — Evie Sands (2:28)

I’m guessing perhaps a few of you might NOT have heard the original version of this pop icon from the '60s and '70s. Poor Evie got side-splashed by the amount of covers on her original and tried again. Her next release was “I Can’t Let Go” which was immediately covered successfully by The Hollies. Poor Evie NEVER got the attention she deserved all along. Y'all can go back and listen to her body of work. There are quite a few gems in there. To me she’ll always be the Sands of Time and I’d Trade Martin for her (inside joke for old music biz veterans). And speaking of music biz veterans, thanks to Gregg Geller, a gentleman and fer sure a scholar, who provided this comparatively clean copy.

5. "See No Evil" — Television (3:29)

If you were conscious during September of 1977, you eventually heard this. Tom Verlaine’s avant-garde singing and Richard Lloyd’s down-your-throat guitar playing pulled many into their debut album Marquee Moon. The problem was more people listened than coughed up to buy it. I know THAT problem myself, by heart. In retrospect, this track now fits in somewhere between Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield’s early efforts although TV was ten years after them. Sooo, they didn’t just listen to other punxters. It stands the test of time for me.


6. "Diamonds In the Dark" — The High Dials (2:47)

Years later, this band proudly spat out songs heavily influenced by The Byrds, Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield, Television, and Moby Grape for all to hear. I am trying to increase their listenership. They have a few great tracks that were influenced by a few great tracks. Here comes one now.

7. "Love Schedule" — Pat McLaughlin (3:12)

One of my heroes who will invariably turn up from time to time in these whereabouts. This was a standout on his 1989 album Get Out and Stay Out and brought me into the club. Since then we have performed and written at least one song together and I like to think we’re soul brothers. Here’s a small taste of what makes Pat so special.

8. "Bible Belt" — Ben Sollee (4:35)

This was my first experience with this artist and it couldn’t have been much more interesting. Right off the bat, Jacob Duncan's horn arrangement gave me chills and took me back to Ornette Coleman's early work; and that is no mean feat for a new artist. This indicates great and strange taste — an asset to ANY artist. This is an interesting lyric as well in that the song concerns itself with a girl Ben wants to like but is put off by her religious beliefs — she just won’t take off her Bible belt. The whole conception is brilliant and so original in today’s vast wasteland. He’s now got my full attention. The photo at the top of this page could be the cover of his next album if it's titled Songs From the Dockside.

9. "Somebody New" — Matt Wertz (3:51)

Two years ago, just before the Gotye madness, someone else had the same idea. Who does this track remind YOU of? Matt has been puttin' the discs out since 2001. He’s got the right sound and songwriting; now he just needs the luck. I love the sound and feel of this track and his falsetto is in the real realm. Just a matter of time for Matt, in my opinion. An electric razor, along with his acoustic guitar, might speed things up, however.


10. "What Does a Woman See In a Man" — Jimmy Webb (4:09)

Indeed. What DOES she see? Nobody could lay this out better than Jimmy Webb. Songwriter of scads of hits over the years, this time he puts on his Irving Berlin hat and shows the true depth of his lyricism. THIS is amazing songwriting and should be a lesson for the rest of us wannabes. Jimmy is a good friend but I will always be intimidated by his many skills. And this is soooo fine — a perfect concluding 4:09.

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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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