News for November 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/30/11






Song Of The Day – “Party Doll” by Buddy Knox

Buddy Holly wasn’t the only rockabilly artist to come out of Texas in the late ’50s. Buddy Knox and his Rhythm Orchids featuring Jimmy Bowen on bass also sprang forth from the Lone Star State with this classic in 1957. Like Holly, Knox also wrote his own material…and like Holly, Knox’s early recordings including this one were produced by Norman Petty. Knox also scored hits with “Hula Love,” “Devil Woman,” “Swingin’ Daddy” and “Rock Your Little Baby To Sleep.”

Edited: November 30th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/29/11

Song Of The Day – “Femme Fatale” by Aloe Blacc

You may already know who Aloe Blacc is if you watch the HBO series “How To Make It In America.” It is his “I Need A Dollar” that is used as its theme song. Or perhaps you were a fan of the hip-hop group Emanon in which he was a member. If not, perhaps his soulful take on this Lou Reed/Velvet Underground classic from his 2010 album “Good Things” will make you a fan.

Edited: November 29th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/28/11

Song Of The Day – “We Found Love” by Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris

Robyn Rihanna Fenty is one sexy-hot island girl…and she can spin a pretty good tune too! She is one of the most successful recording artists of all time landing eleven records on top of the Billboard singles chart while selling more than 60 million singles and 20 million albums over the last five years. Her latest album, “Talk That Talk,” where this song was culled, is sure to add to her lofty totals.

Edited: November 28th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/27/11

Song Of The Day – “5:15″ by The Who

Since it recently received the deluxe reissue treatment, I revisited the Who’s “Quadrophenia” album on Spotify for the first time in years. I’ve got to admit that the album holds up better than most of the other Who albums and this clip from Top Of The Pops just before its 1973 release shows the band when they were indeed a powerhouse. The two discs of demos that augment the reissue not only show how Townshend had the whole thing worked out before he ever delivered it to The Who, but that there are several songs that didn’t make the cut that would’ve pushed the story along in different directions.

Edited: November 26th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/26/11

Song Of The Day – “Freeway” by Gerry Mulligan Quartet

Some of the greatest Jazz the West Coast had to offer from the very first release by Pacific Jazz Records. I’ve got this one on a 10″ heavy vinyl microgroove record from 1952: catalog number PJLP-1! What a line up: Gerry Mulligan on the tenor sax, a young Chesney (Chet) Baker on trumpet, Chico Hamilton on drums and Von (Bob) Whitlock on the bass. The boys on this album cover look pretty strung out…but their playing couldn’t be tighter…

Edited: November 25th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/25/11

Song Of The Day – “Shop Around” by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles

As for me…I am in no rush to get to Target, Best Buy or the Mall. You can keep Black Friday, I think I’ll pass. Except tomorrow is also one of two Independent Record Store Days per year where you’re supposed to show your support by buying some limited pressing of a record only available for a limited time. Guess I’ll sniff around and see what I can find to put up on eBay. In the meantime, this is one of Motown’s and Robinson’s earliest singles chock full of the lyrical cleverness we’ve all come to expect.

Edited: November 24th, 2011

Thanksgiving Song Of The Day – 11/24/11

Thanksgiving Song Of The Day – “Surfin’ Bird” by The Trashmen

Yes, I’ve played the “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” by Arlo Guthrie every Thanksgiving ever since I was a little kid…and I will force my family to sit through it again tomorrow. However, aside from, perhaps, “Bye Bye Birdie,” I can’t seem to think of a more appropriate song for Thanksgiving…so as we give thanks, think about what you’re eating…Bird is the Word.

Edited: November 24th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/23/11

Song Of The Day – “Easy To Slip” by Little Feat

This Lowell George classic comes from Little Feat’s 1972 album “Sailin’ Shoes.” Lowell had been a session musician playing oboe and baritone sax on several Frank Sinatra recordings. He formed the band after a stint as a member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention along with ex-Mother Roy Estrada . This song was covered by Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead on his 1977 album “Heaven Help The Fool.

Edited: November 22nd, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/22/11

Song Of The Day – “I Think I Love You” by The Partridge Family

They were loosely based on the real-life family group, The Cowsills, but the Partridge Family had one thing they didn’t…a TV show. They scored a #1 hit right out of the box with this Tony Romeo-written song, yet the only actual “family” members on the record were David Cassidy and Shirley Jones. Backing tracks were provided by members of The Wrecking Crew including Joe Osborne, Hal Blaine and Larry Knechtel.

Edited: November 22nd, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/21/11

Song Of The Day – “St. Louis Blue” by Cab Calloway

Here, Cabel Calloway places his own stamp on a Louis Armstrong classic. This was from Calloway’s debut recording session in 1930 and you can hear that his style was already fully formed. While most people associate Calloway with New York’s Cotton Club in Harlem, this track was recorded right here in Chicago where his showbiz career began.

Edited: November 21st, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/20/11

Song Of The Day – “Hold On” by Los Lobos

Just saw Dave Hidalgo and Louie Perez at Old Town School Of Folk tonight. They were promoting their new duo album “The Long Goodbye.” The show also gave them the opportunity to focus on some lesser-known Lobos gems like this one from “The Town And The City” and several great tracks from their two Latin Playboys albums. Hidalgo is still one MF of a guitar player…”Mas Y Mas” indeed…

Edited: November 20th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/19/11

Song Of The Day – “Prologue from West Side Story” from the Original Soundtrack Recording

So the question isn’t whether “West Side Story” is the greatest musical of all time (it is!)…the question is if you’re a Broadway Cast maven or a fan of the film soundtrack. I think most people my age and younger lean toward the film version…and with the 50th anniversary of the film just past, it’s time to view it again.

Edited: November 18th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/18/11

Song Of The Day – “Five Years” by David Bowie

I never get tired of this guy and he’s been a favorite of mine since the early 1970s. Here we have Bowie from 1972 on “The Old Grey Whistle Test” TV show from England performing the opening song from “Ziggy Stardust.” I was fortunate enough to see Bowie in 1976, 1978, 1980 (in “The Elephant Man”), 1983, 1987, 1989 (with Tin Machine), 1994 and 2004 and he’s never disappointed.

 Click Here To Listen

Edited: November 18th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/17/11

Song Of The Day – “NPR Tiny Desk Concert” by Nick Lowe

Over the years, the “Jesus Of Cool” has morphed into a country-tinged Nat King Cole-esque crooner…and he’s still “The Jesus of Cool!” Here’s one of the many great Tiny Desk Concerts sponsored by NPR featuring the songs “The Kind Of Man That I’ve Become,” “Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day,” “All Men Are Liars” and “House For Sale.” He’s been opening for Wilco on tour…what a bill! His latest album is called “The Old Magic.”

Edited: November 17th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/16/11

Song Of The Day – “Too Many Creeps” by Bush Tetras

New York City’s Bush Tetras stock in trade was angular, funky post-punk dance music. While contemporaries like Gang Of Four and Romeo Void scored the hits, the Tetras were resigned to become one-hit wonders. But back in 1980, this song was one heck of a call to the dance floor. Bass player, Laura Kennedy just passed away the other day, so let’s give ‘em some props.

Edited: November 16th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/15/11

Song Of The Day – “Uptown” by The Crystals

I just scored an original 1963 pressing of the Crystals’ album “Twist Uptown” on the Philles label. In glorious mono, the heavy-handed Phil Spector production positively shimmers. As was typical for the era, there is plenty of filler amongst a few gems written by songwriting teams Carole King & Gerry Goffin, Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann and Phil Spector & Doc Pomus.

Edited: November 15th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/14/11

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

This record’s got it all! Insinuating groove that doesn’t quit…otherworldly vocals that spook and caress at the same time…laid bare stripped down production and that stellar harp playing that gave Slim his surname. There’s good reason why ‘60s British Invasion groups like The Who, the Yardbirds, the Kinks and the Rolling Stones borrowed so heavily from him.

Edited: November 14th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/13/11

Song Of The Day – “What A Day That Was” by Talking Heads

This song originally appeared in the Twyla Tharpe production “The Catherine Wheel.” Here we have the expanded Talking Heads performing this on their “Speaking In Tongues” tour which later became the film “Stop Making Sense.” I saw T-Heads several times and was fortunate enough to catch this tour at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in New York.

Edited: November 12th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/12/11

Song Of The Day – “I Didn’t Like It The First Time” by Julia Lee

This isn’t the first song I’ve featured by Kansas City’s own Julia Lee. Lee was a racy double entendre R’n’B artist, or an artist who sang a song about one thing but meant another. Lee had many of these types of records during the late 40s and early 50s including “Snatch And Grab It,” “My Man Stands Out,” “King Size Papa”…you get the picture…

Edited: November 11th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/11/11

Song Of The Day – “Come And Get Your Love” by Redbone

They were true two-hit wonders…their other hit was “Witch Queen Of New Orleans” from 1971 and this song went top five in 1974. Redbone was formed around American Indian brothers Pat and Lolly Vegas from Los Angeles. Before forming Redbone, they both appeared in the 1965 film “It’s A Bikini World.”

Edited: November 11th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/10/11

Song Of The Day – “Din Daa Daa” by George Kranz

Here’s one for the crate diggers. You may not know this by its title, but if you listen to it you probably will. Kranz was a German-born dance artist and a true one hit wonder. It might not sound like much now with its dated ‘80s production and such, but if you were in a club circa 1983 this song signaled some serious bizness on the dancefloor.

Edited: November 10th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/9/11

Song Of The Day – “Check The Rhime” by A Tribe Called Quest

Along with De La Soul, the trio of Q-Tip, Phife Dog and Ali Shaheed Muhammad emanated from Queens, NY and created a sound that melded Hip Hop with Jazz forming a new laid-back alternative style in Rap. This one comes from their second album called “The Low End Theory” from 1991. Check out Michael Rapaport’s 2011 documentary called “Beats, Rhymes & Life – The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest” for the “Low End Theory.”

Edited: November 9th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/8/11

Song Of The Day – “Iced Honey” by Lou Reed & Metallica

The “Loutallica” album, “Lulu,” doesn’t suck. That doesn’t mean it’s any good either. The culprit isn’t Metallica whose riffage throughout is ripe. Reed is in shock and awe mode here and in the past it has worked (“Berlin”) and it hasn’t (“Metal Machine Music”). Here it doesn’t. The problem is that he’s going on about something…just can’t figure out what…

Edited: November 8th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/7/11

Song Of The Day – “Yellow Bird” by Arthur Lyman

Picture yourself on a balmy Hawaiian island and get your week off to a pleasant start with Arthur Lyman. Lyman was originally a member of fellow Exotica artist, Martin Denny’s group. He left the group and scored this top five hit in 1961. Lyman’s replacement in Denny’s group was none other than Julius Wechter who went on to form the Baja Marimba Band.

Edited: November 7th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/6/11

Song Of The Day – “Det Haster!” by Casiokids

No real animals were harmed in the making of this video! Casiokids hail from Norway and this song comes from their second album called “Aabenbaringen over aaskammen.” Last year, the band was awarded one million kroner by the group a-ha for their musical artistry. I was fortunate enough to catch them in concert when they toured in 2010 behind their debut album.

Edited: November 6th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/5/11

Song Of The Day – “Bad Time” by Grand Funk Railroad

Not exactly the “Footstompin’ Music” they were known for in the late ’60s and early ’70s, but once Grand Funk came under the aegis of Todd Rundgren and Jimmy Ienner, the hits started to come fast and furious! Pair this song with “Go All The Way” by The Raspberries and you’ve got pure pop nirvana!

Edited: November 4th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/4/11

Song Of The Day – “Surf’s Up” by The Beach Boys

After 45 years, the legendary “SMiLE” sessions from 1967 have finally surfaced. The session tapes languished in the vaults due to Brian’s fading confidence in himself and a lack of support from the group. Consisting of hundreds of musical segments, the record became an editing nightmare. For those of us who have coveted our session bootlegs over the years, this is a release of seismic proportions.

Edited: November 4th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/3/11

Song Of The Day – “Harper Valley P.T.A.” by Jeannie C. Riley

This Grammy-winning ditty written by Tom T. Hall topped the Country and Pop charts in 1968, a feat that would not be repeated by a song until Dolly Parton did the trick with “9 To 5″ in 1981. The song catapulted Riley to instant fame resulting in her own variety show on TV. It also spurred a 1978 movie and a 1981 TV series starring Barbara Eden. The song was given to Skeeter Davis first who declined to record it.

Edited: November 3rd, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/2/11

Song Of The Day – “You Don’t Know Me” by Ben Folds feat. Regina Spektor

The piano man heir apparant to Elton John and Billy Joel? Well, he can play piano and write hooky songs with thoughtful lyrics. This one comes from the 2008 album “Way Too Normal.” For the uninitiated, he just released an exceptional 3 CD career retrospective called “The Best Imitation Of Myself” featuring hits, live tracks and rarities.

Edited: November 2nd, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/1/11

Song Of The Day – “Riding For The Feeling” by Bill Callahan

In 2005, Bill Callahan began to record under his real name after almost 20 years of recording under the moniker of “Smog.” Callahan creates epic-length ponderings with densely coded lyrics that seemingly talk about one thing but mean another. His latest record, “Apocalypse,” was recorded in Texas and released a few months ago on Chicago’s Drag City record label.

Edited: November 1st, 2011