News for August 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/30/11

Song Of The Day – “I Don’t Want To Hear It Anymore” by Dusty Springfield

This record has a complete feel to it…the production values really make this Randy Newman-penned track come alive. And that voice…smoky…sultry…Dusty! Matching Dusty with the talents of Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin, not to mention the Memphis mob, was genius. From one of the greatest pop albums of all time, “Dusty In Memphis.”

Edited: August 31st, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/30/11

Song Of The Day – “Ever Present Past” by Paul McCartney

Macca has had a bit of resurgence in the albums department over the last few years. This one comes from his 2007 album “Memory Almost Full,” which to my ears is one of his best albums in years…and maybe one of the top five in his illustrious catalog. That’s saying a lot when that catalog includes albums like “Ram” and “Band On The Run.”

Edited: August 30th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/29/11

Song Of The Day – “Second Wind” by Todd Rundgren

This is the title track from Todd’s 1991 offering that was recorded live in front of an audience. Todd had just finished composing his musical, “Up Against It,” and many of the songs on this album have a Broadway bent to them. The lyrics to this song are inspirational and made me think of the survivors of this weekend’s weather fiasco.

Edited: August 29th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/28/11

Song Of the Day – “A Road Song” by Fountains Of Wayne

The studio version of this song appears on their brand new album called “Sky Full Of Holes.” Apparently it’s been around for a while as evidenced by this live version from 2009. Fountains Of Wayne hail from New Jersey. Their name derives from a fountain store they used to see in the town of Wayne, New Jersey.

Edited: August 27th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/27/11

Song Of the Day – “The Best Is Yet To Come” by Tony Bennett

At 85 and in fine form…the best is still surely yet to come indeed. Just saw him tonight at Ravinia in Highland Park, Illinois…same band as this video…even the same jacket! The artistry and the voice is still intact and still going strong! See him when you can!

Edited: August 26th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/26/11

Song Of The Day – “Half A Man” by Willie Nelson

Right from the outset everything was in place…timbre of voice…unique phrasing…clever lyrics…it was all there back in 1965…everything perhaps, except his beard was fully formed. The arrangement was standard for Nashville at the time with heaping helpings of strings and anonymous female background vocals. It still works for me.

Edited: August 26th, 2011

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 8/25/11

Song Of The Day – “It’s Not The Same, Girl” by Memphis Goons

They were the missing link between The Velvet Underground and Guided By Voices. They recorded hundreds of low-fi opuses during the late ’60s, none of which got a proper release until their first album “Teenage BBQ” in 1996. Member, Xavier Tarpit is Robert Hull who once wrote for CREEM magazine and worked with me at Time Life Music.

Edited: August 24th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/24/11

Song Of The Day – “There Stands The Glass” by Webb Pierce

Along with Hank Williams, he was the epitome of Honky Tonk music in the 1950s. With his Nudie suits, garish guitars and guitar-shaped swimming pools, he provided a window into the high life of a Country star of his day. In the early ’50s he formed a band with then-unknown Floyd Cramer on piano and Faron Young on guitar…now that’s something!

Edited: August 24th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/23/11

Song Of The Day – “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” by The Robins

Jerry Lieber has died at the age of 78. He was the lyricist on countless classics including “Stand By Me,” “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Yakety Yak,” “Youngblood,” “On Broadway,” “Kansas City,” “Love Potion No. 9,” “Charlie Brown”… the list goes on and on. With his partner Mike Stoller he introduced a host of black artists to the masses.

Edited: August 23rd, 2011

Song Of The Day – “Jane Jane” by Peter, Paul and Mary

Song Of The Day – “Jane Jane” by Peter, Paul and Mary

PP&M were one of the first prefab groups made to order – one blonde female, two bearded bards – by their manager Albert Grossman. They predated the Monkees by several years, and like The Monkees, turned out to be much more than just a made-to-order group. This track originally hails from their 1965 album “See What Tomorrow Brings.”

Edited: August 22nd, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/21/11

Song Of The Day – “Run Run Run” by The Who

Back when Pete Townshend and company had credibility. Their “A Quick One” album is still killer 45 years later and when played today it still sounds fresh. It’s a shame about Keith and The Ox…it’s more a shame for what they left behind with their faux reunion tours. Does anyone really care about “The Two” anymore?

Edited: August 21st, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/20/11

Song Of the Day – “Me And My Arrow” by Harry Nilsson

From the 1971 animated TV special “The Point.” The main character was Oblio whose head was round while everyone else had pointed heads. Arrow was his dog. While Ringo Starr supplied the voice of the narrator on the home video, it was Dustin Hoffman’s voice in the original telecast. The voice of Oblio was supplied by Bobby Brady of the Brady Bunch…

Edited: August 19th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/19/11

Song Of The Day – “Save It For Later” by Pete Townshend

I don’t really like Pete Townshend anymore. Too many Who (or is that “Two”) reunions and self-important concepts (“Iron Man”) have muddied the waters for me over time. But there was a time when he was the essence of rock ‘n’ roll. Here’s Petie basking in the ever dimming light of relevance with a great cover of an English Beat classic. Sadly…it was all downhill from here.

Edited: August 19th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/18/11

Song Of The Day – “Close Your Eyes” by The Five Keys

Here’s the original 1955 hit version of a song later brought to the charts in 1967 by Peaches and Herb. The Five Keys hailed from Newport News, Virginia and featured the angelic vocals of Maryland Pierce and Rudy West. They found controversy with the cover of their “On Stage” album where it looked like Rudy West’s (far left) finger was something else…

Edited: August 18th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/17/11

Song Of The Day – “Up The Neck” by Pretenders

This song exudes pure sexuality in its imagery although the lyrics tell a different story…”Lust turns to angers, a kiss to a slug…” Chrissie Hynde was just amazing during this era and their debut album remains a solid 5-star classic to this day. Here is the original line up of the band in Paris featuring the essential guitar work of James Honeyman-Scott.

Edited: August 17th, 2011

Song Of The Day – “No Blues” by Miles Davis Quintet

It’s all here on display…the fabulous and legendary quintet with Wayne Shorter on tenor sax, Ron Carter on bass, Herbie Hancock on piano, Tony Williams on drums and Miles Davis on trumpet. This clip is reportedly from The Tonight Show in 1964. I’d sure love to see Jay Leno give 9 minutes of air time to Jazz today….

Edited: August 16th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/15/11

Song Of The Day – “You’re Still A Young Man” by Tower Of Power

They took us to “Down To The Night Club” in “Bump City” and showed us “What Is Hip”…and it doesn’t get much more soulful than this! TOP was the East Bay horn-fueled brain child of such great musicians as Emilio Castillo and Lenny Pickett as renowned for their own recordings as for the horn work they’ve done for everyone from Santana to PIL.

Edited: August 14th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/14/11

Song Of The Day – “Isn’t It Nice To Be Home Again” by James Taylor

Just got back from vacation this evening after a 19 hour car ride and this classic from the album “Mud Slide Slim And The Blue Horizon” came to mind. I’m working on little sleep and a lot of driving…but the vinyl-centric video that accompanies this song really caught my eye…

Edited: August 13th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/13/11

Song Of The Day – “The Goin’ Gets Tough From The Getgo” by WEEN

One of my all time favorite bands hands down. Started seeing them in the early ’90s, once in a bookstore in New Brunswick, NJ on the evening before their classic “Chocolate And Cheese” album came out. This one originally hails from its predecessor, “Pure Guava” which is a masterpiece.

Edited: August 12th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/11/11

Song Of The Day – “Rock Minuet” by Lou Reed

Here is one of Lou’s very best songs culled from one of his later albums, 2000′s “Ecstasy.” The best version of this song appears on the first season of Elvis Costello’s interview TV show “Spectacle” where it was being recited by Reed’s good friend and film maker Julian Schnabel.

Edited: August 10th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/10/11

Song Of The Day – “Tough Mama” by Jerry Garcia Band

This post was written on the anniversary of Jerry G’s death but posted the day after, his music has managed to live on throughout the years. Here’s a version of a Bob Dylan tune originally from his album “Planet Waves.” Garcia was one of the preeminent coverers of Dylan tunes…

Edited: August 9th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/9/11

Song Of The Day – “Rosie Won’t You Please Come Home” by The Kinks

From their finest album, 1966′s “Face To Face,” where Ray Davies really began to report on life in middle class England. The proof is all in the lyrical detail in this song and many others between 1966 and 1975. Hangin’ with a dog named Rosie this week which is why this song came to mind…

Edited: August 8th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/8/11

Song Of The Day – “Midnight Cowboy Theme” by John Barry

One of the great losses of this year was the death of film composer John Barry. His scoring credits included such films as “Goldfinger,” “Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” “From Russia With Love,” “Born Free” and “Midnight Cowboy.” This song captures the mood of the film perfectly.

Edited: August 7th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/7/11

Song Of The Day – “Secret Agent Man” by Johnny Rivers

 Today is my son, Charlie’s birthday. Growing up, this was and still is his favorite song in my jukebox. When he was small he used to think the lyrics were “Secret Asian Man.” He’s 14 today and proud to admit he now knows better…

Edited: August 6th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/6/11

Song Of The Day – “The Warmth Of The Sun” by The Beach Boys

This song is as close to perfection as it gets. Gossamer harmonies…incredible lyrics…music that superbly captures the mood. One of their best recordings reflecting a simpler time for the band…and the world.

Edited: August 5th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/5/11

Song Of The Day – “Springtheme” by Ween

Ween raised the bar on low-fi stoner weirdness with their masterpiece LP “Pure Guava” back in 1992. One of the all-time great bands when it comes to adeptness in all genres of music…certainly in a league with Frank Zappa. Here they are from my alma mater, Rutgers University, in 2000. The bass-drum groove is insane! Too bad I had already graduated…

Edited: August 4th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/4/11

Song Of The Day – “You Hung The Moon” by Elvis Costello

This track from Elvis’ latest album “National Ransom” is one of his best intimate ballads. I’m not a big fan of recent T Bone Burnett productions for Jakob Dylan, Robert Plant and Elton John/Leon Russell where he’s rendered them all dull. Elvis’ latest is a good collection of songs, but also suffers from its claustrophobic production.

Edited: August 4th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/3/11

Song Of The Day – “Diamonds Are Forever” by Shirley Bassey

James Bond themes written by John Barry from the ’60s and early ’70s pack a powerful wallop of equal measures of drama and kitsch. This 1971 Bond theme is no different especially when in the hands of Bond chanteuse, Shirley Bassey. It was her second time at bat with a Bond theme following the classic “Goldfinger.”

Edited: August 3rd, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/2/11

Song Of The Day – “Summer Wind” by Frank Sinatra

It’s all about the groovy organ work in this song…and, of course, that voice! This classic originally from the 1966 album, “Strangers In The Night,” features lyrics by the great Johnny Mercer. It was originally a chart hit by Wayne Newton…but the song is most closely identified with Sinatra…and Bart Simpson…

Edited: August 2nd, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/1/11

Song Of The Day – “Turn My Life Down” by Jefferson Airplane

The 1969 album “Volunteers” is guitarist Jorma Kaukonen’s finest album with the band. This record has his best guitar work on it and features his arrangement of the traditional “Good Shepherd” and this self-penned classic. Special kudus go out to Nicky Hopkins whose organ floats this exceptional recording, and of course vocalist Marty Balin.

Edited: August 1st, 2011