News for February 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/28/11

Song Of The Day – “Conquistador” by Procol Harum

Along with label-mates The Moody Blues, the classic Harum lineup featuring Gary Booker on piano and Robin Trower on guitar put the “prog” into progressive music!  Their first single, “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” based on a Bach Aire, was an out of the box number one hit. At the time of its release, it was the only song they had in their repertoire, so they were forced to go back into the studio and whip up an album.  This is the original 1967 version of the song from their debut album which would later be a hit in a 1971 live version backed by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

Edited: February 28th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/27/11

Song Of The Day – “Tiger Rag” by The Mills Brothers

This is a performance clip from the “Big Broadcast Of 1932″ showing the Mills Brothers in action. Yes, it is true…they really were brothers…and the only instrument used on this track was a guitar…all other instruments were played by the human voice. What started out as a novelty act that mixed the Gospel Jubilee style of singing with Dixieland Jazz in the early 1930s utilizing only voice and one guitar, morphed into one of the longest vocal group careers of all time lasting until 1999 when the last Mills Brother died.

Edited: February 26th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/26/11

Song Of The Day – “The Sidewinder” by Lee Morgan

When an edited version of this song was released as a single in 1964, it became the song that resuscitated Blue Note Records literally saving it for bankruptcy. By this point, Morgan’s hard-bop trumpet playing figured prominently on sides by Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, trombonist extraordinaire Granchan Moncur, king of the Hammond B3 Jimmy Smith, bebop legend Dizzy Gillespie and as a sideman to John Coltrane on his classic album “Blue Train.” He lived his adult life on the stage…and unfortunately was murdered by his common-law wife on stage at a New York City club called Slug’s on February 19, 1972 at the age of 33.

Edited: February 26th, 2011

Song Of The Day – “What’s My Name?” by Rihanna feat. Drake

Song Of The Day – “What’s My Name?” by Rihanna feat. Drake – plus – “Shy Ronnie” feat. Adam Samberg

With a semi-auto tuned voice reminiscent of Ronnie Spector, flaming red hair and great dance moves — love that move she does with her legs! — “What’s My Name?” with its infectious melody and opening cameo by Drake is clearly the highlight of Rihanna’s fifth album “Loud.” Hailing from Barbados, Rihanna’s ascent to supremacy of the pop charts began in 2005 when she was signed by Jay-Z to Def Jam records. Her long list of hits includes “Umbrella,” “Only Girl (In The World),” “S.O.S.,” “Disturbia,” “Take A Bow,” and many others, but this song tops the chart toppers. For further enjoyment, check out one of her SNL “Shy Ronnie” digital shorts with Adam Samberg.

Edited: February 25th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/24/11

Song Of the Day – “Catfish John” by Grateful Dead

Here we have the Grateful Dead studio outtake version of “Catfish John” from the 1976 sessions for their album “Terrapin Station.” This song was originally recorded by the Jerry Garcia Band and released on their 1976 album “Reflections.” This version has a more upbeat feel and features a solo Jerry vocal rather than the Jerry/Donna Godchaux vocal on “Reflections,” reflecting the commercial direction producer Keith Olsen unsuccessfully attempted with the Grateful Dead. You can lead a horse to water…

Edited: February 24th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/23/11

Song Of The Day – “Dance Of The Inhabitants Of The Palace Of King Phillip XIV Of Spain” by John Fahey

This song comes from John Fahey’s second album, 1963′s “Volume 2: Death Chants, Breakdowns & Military Waltzes.” I can hear the roots of Led Zeppelin in this 1963 recording…I bet Jimmy Page did too! John Fahey started his recording career by pressing up his first few releases himself on his own Takoma Records label. In fact, his first album was only a pressing of 100 copies, several of which were delivered damaged.  If you’ve got one…I’ll give you $10.00 for it! If you don’t, get yourself Rhino’s 1994 2 CD “Return Of The Repressed Anthology,” it’s well worth it to hear the recordings of this amazing guitarist.

Edited: February 23rd, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/22/11

Song Of the Day – “Mirror People” by Love And Rockets

Out of the ashes (no pun intended) of Bauhaus rose Love And Rockets comprising former Bauhaus members Daniel Ash, David J and Kevin Haskins. If Peter Murphy had agreed to come on board in 1985, Love And Rockets would have been a full Bauhaus reunion. But that wasn’t to be, and we should consider ourselves fortunate since Love And Rockets gave us a steady stream of T. Rex inspired Gothic-folk-glam-rock to feast on during the late 80s and early 90s. This one is the lead track from their “Earth Sun Moon” album.

Edited: February 22nd, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/21/11

Song Of The Day – “Duncan” by Paul Simon

Paul Simon’ follow-up album to S&G’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was his self-titled debut solo album. Simon took the occasion to open up his music to world influences like this South America inspired song about a fisherman’s son featuring backing by Los Incas. Love this line: “I was playing my guitar, lying underneath the stars. Just thanking the Lord for my fingers…”

Edited: February 21st, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/18/11

Song Of The Day – “Diga Diga Doo” by The Mills Brothers with Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra

Recorded in 1932, this song originally hails from Lew Leslie’s musical “Blackbirds Of 1928″ starring Cab Calloway, Ethel Waters, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Duke Ellington and others. Back in the 1920s and ’30s, Broadway musicals weren’t based on a book with a story to drive the music along. Musicals were music revues featuring many performers coming together on stage for an evening of musical entertainment and dance. This show also featured the hits songs “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “St. Louis Blues.” NOTE: Song Of the Day will be on hiatus this weekend and will return on Monday!

Edited: February 18th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/17/11

Song Of The Day – “Written On The Forehead” by PJ Harvey

This one is from her brand new album, “Let England Shake,” released several days ago. Its quirky use of sample and murky sound reminded me of The Rolling Stones’ “Just Wanna See His Face.” Harvey’s career trajectory has encompassed stripped-down emo punk and hushed piano balladry. Her latest record looks outward and is her most political yet.

Edited: February 17th, 2011


Edited: February 16th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/16/11

Song Of The Day – “The Tennessee Waltz” by Patti Page

One of the greatest songs about being jilted by one of the biggest recording artists of the 1950s! Clara Ann Fowler’s professional career began on a radio show sponsored by Page Milk…hence the stage name Patti Page. She recorded Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King’s song in 1950 after it was already recorded by King himself and Cowboy Copas. Her version topped the country and pop charts where it stayed for 9 weeks; it remained on the charts for 30 weeks.

Edited: February 16th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/15/11

Song Of the Day – “Don’t You Just Know It” by Huey Piano Smith and The Clowns

In a city known for great composer-pianists like Professor Longhair, Fats Domino and Dr. John, Huey Piano Smith carved out his niche with a handful of jovial self-penned hits including “Rockin’ Pneumonia & The Boogie Woogie Flu,” “High Blood Pressure,” “Little Liza Jane,” “Sea Cruise” and this infectious call-and-response gem from 1958. Little known fact: White singer, Frankie Ford, had the hit with “Sea Cruise” after Ace Records stripped Smith’s vocals off of his backing track.

Edited: February 15th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/14/2011

Song Of The Day – “Misty” by Johnny Mathis

For over 50 years, he’s blessed the music world with one of the most ethereal voices of all time…and he still sounds this way today.  “Misty” was written as an instrumental in 1954 by pianist Erroll Garner. When lyrics were later added to the song by Johnny Burke and it was recorded by Mathis sporting a velvet arrangement by Ray Conniff, it became Mathis’ signature song.  Sing this one to your Valentine tonight…watch what happens.

Edited: February 14th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/13/11

Song Of The Day – “I Got Love If You Want It” by Slim Harpo

Whether you know him by his real name James Moore, his first stage name Harmonica Slim before it was realized he wasn’t the only one, or his famous name, Slim Harpo, one thing you probably realize is that he possessed one of the most original blues sounds around. Many of his classics…and he had many like “Rainin’ In My Heart,” “King Bee” and “Scratch My Back”…were co-written by him and his wife.  He was oft covered by artists like Neil Young, The Rolling Stones and The Who, who stole this song for their own “original” hit “I’m The Face.”

Edited: February 12th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/12/11

Song Of the Day – “Grey Cortina” by Tom Robinson Band

From their classic 1978 album “Power In the Darkness” comes this great song about a little known car on this side of the pond.  TRB only released two full-length albums in the late 70s before going their separate ways. I was fortunate enough to see them in concert at The Capitol Theater in Passaic New Jersey in 1979. Another TRB classic called “Don’t Take No For An Answer” from the same album goes out to our revolutionary friends in Egypt on their emancipation day!

Edited: February 11th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/11/11

Song Of The Day – “No Rain” by Blind Melon

They made one of the best Grateful Dead songs the Dead never wrote or recorded…matched it with this iconic video…and then went away in the worst way possible. Before recording their self-titled debut album, lead singer, Shannon Hoon, could be heard singing background vocals with Guns N’ Roses on their “Use Your Illusion I” album.  They catapulted to fame quickly…and just as quickly flamed out due to Hoon’s drug abuse and fatal overdose. And what became of the “Bee Girl” from the video? 28 year old, Heather DeLoach, is an actress who has appeared in numerous films and TV shows.

Edited: February 11th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/10/11

Song Of The Day – “Happy Birthday” by Ryan Adams & the Cardinals

There are only a few artists I can think of who are so prolific that they have high-quality songs pouring out of them at all times they never get to release…or never get to release them when they want to.  Prince comes to mind…so does Ryan Adams who is said to have hundreds of unreleased recordings in the vault.  At the end of last year, Adams released the album “III/IV” consisting of leftovers from his 2007 “Easy Tiger” album. If it had been released earlier, this stellar collection of 20 songs would have easily made my top five albums from last year. If this is the caliber of off-cuts he’s got stored away, bring the rest on!  At first listen, this particular song seems like a cool song to add to the canon of Birthday songs…on closer inspection it strikes me as one of the more harrowing entries into the world of addiction.  I’m not sure if he’s singing about a rebirth after he became clean, or if it’s just the opposite…”Happy Birthday…I’m your birthday cake…and I’m lit…”

Edited: February 10th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/9/11

Song Of The Day – “Eggplant” by Michael Franks from the album “The Art Of Tea”

Gotta love songs about vegetables!  We’ve been vegetebled by The Beach Boys (“Vegetables”), Frank Zappa (“Call Any Vegetable”) and Dee Dee Sharp (“Mashed Potato Time”) as well, but my favorite song about vegetables is this one! Michael Franks also scored another food hit with “Popsicle Toes.”  What’s your musical food fetish?  Comment with your favorites below…

Edited: February 9th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/8/11

Song Of The Day – “The Merry Barracks” by Deerhoof

Formed in San Francisco in 1994, Deerhoof have had more of their share of personnel changes. With drummer/keyboardist Greg Saunier their only original member and longtime vocalist/bassist Satomi Matsuzaki, they seem to have finally stabilized the lineup to the point where their sound has become recognizable. That said, you won’t find a more challenging or rewarding album than their latest record, “Deerhoof vs. Evil,” with its amalgam of crunchy guitars, sugary vocals, intricate playing and inventive song forms.

Edited: February 8th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/7/11

Song Of The Day – “Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show 2007″ by Prince

I didn’t think things could get much worse than last year’s Super Bowl debacle “starring” The Who (or was that “The Two”), until I watched last night’s Black Eyed Peas show.  Sure their music is perfect for the event…a bunch of slogans and cheers over repetitive riffs and beats…a great fit for the beer-soaked masses indeed.  If you strip away all the lights, pyrotechniques and costumes, you were left with a pretty empty sounding performance.  This leads me to highlight one of the greatest Super Bowl shows of all time, starring a rain-soaked Prince from four years ago.

Edited: February 7th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/6/11 – Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Halftime Show XXXVIII 2004 – Janet Jackson & Justin Timberlake

Call it a “Wardrobe Malfunction”…call it “Nipplegate ’04″…I choose to call it a brilliant performance by Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson! What I can’t figure out is how Jackson took the rap for this while Timberlake walked away pretty much unscathed!

Edited: February 5th, 2011

Super Bowl Querie????

Tomorrow…will it be The Stealers…

…or will it be The Packers???

Edited: February 5th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/5/11

Song Of The Day – “Floating On A Cloud” by Peter Traberman from the album “Positively Peter”

One of the most articulate and original songwriters I’ve ever experienced, Peter Traberman is a childhood friend of mine from New Jersey.  I’ve had the pleasure of listening to many of his songs shortly after their inception. I’ve also been privy to the creative process, hearing many iterations of some of them as they took shape. This one has been around at least 10 years, maybe more, and it still sounds fresh today.  He has written numerous great songs…songs you’ve never heard…songs you should hear now.

Edited: February 4th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/4/11

Song Of The Day – “North Star” by Robert Fripp featuring Daryl Hall

King Crimson guitarist, Robert Fripp joined forces with Daryl Hall back in 1977.  Hall and Oates had finished recording their “Beauty On The Back Streets” album which was not a pleasant experience for all concerned.  Meanwhile, Fripp had been on hiatus from Crimson and working with the likes of David Bowie and Brian Eno. Hall and Fripp were already acquainted when they set out to record the album “Sacred Songs.” When presented to RCA records, it was rejected and shelved deemed too uncommercial to release by their golden goose.  The record would stay on the shelves for over two years before it was released to critical acclaim.  Fast forward six months and Fripp began working on his 1979 solo record “Exposure.” Daryl Hall is once again invited to record with his new band comprised of Tony Levin, Brian Eno and Phil Collins.  Only two songs are allowed to be included on the record, once again due to record label conflicts and this is one of them.  If things had gone according to plan, Daryl Hall could possibly have been the new lead singer of King Crimson…but it was not to be.  All we have left are some of the best recordings by both Fripp and Hall!

Edited: February 4th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/3/11

Song Of The Day – “The First Girl I Loved” by Incredible String Band from the album “The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion”

I first came into contact with this wistful song via Judy Collin’s version on her “Who Knows Where The Time Goes” album where it was called “The First Boy I Loved.” It makes sense that she would’ve covered this song as they were both label mates at Elektra Records. It literally took me years to get into the ISB. My older sister had the album “The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter” when I was growing up and I found it to be impenetrable.  Now, I really love their rootsy psychedelic instrumentation, whimsical lyrics, terrific vocals and the songs of Mike Heron and Robin Williamson.

Edited: February 2nd, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/2/11

Song Of The Day – “Wishing” by A Flock Of Seagulls

Q: What do you get when you put two songwriting hairdressers together in a synth band? A: A Flock Of Seagulls! If you can get past the silly haircuts, AFOS had a few stellar hits back in the New Romantic 1980s: “I Ran (So Far Away),” “Telecommunication,” “Space Age Love Song” and this one, which is my estimation, was the best of them!

Edited: February 1st, 2011

Song Of The Day – 2/1/11

Song Of The Day – “Enjoy The Silence” by Depeche Mode

This one comes from their 1990 magnum opus “Violator.” While the album brought the band to a new level of superstardom across the globe, it also marked the beginning of a long period of drug abuse, suicide attempts, rehab stints and general bad times. I’ve never seen the video that accompanies this track and it is not the official video which Warner Bros. records won’t let anyone embed in their posts.  I think it’s really cool to see the old WTC again in all its glory.

Edited: February 1st, 2011