News for February 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 2/29/12


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Cloud Nine” by Mongo Santamaria

The song was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong and originally recorded by The Temptations. This recording was released as a single back in 1969 by Cuban-born Latin Jazz percussionist, Mongo Santamaria and featuring some blazing sax work by Grant Reed. Mongo was most famous for his recording of Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” and for writing the John Coltrane standard “Afro Blue.” He also played with the legendary Fania All-Stars, Tito Puente, Cal Tjader and Perez Prado. He was a purveyor of boogaloo music fusing soul and Latin jazz also made famous by Ray Baretto’s “El Watusi.”

Edited: February 29th, 2012

Song Of the Day by Eric Berman – 2/28/12


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Seam Crooked Sam” by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band

As if it wasn’t enough that last year finally saw the release of the great lost “Smile” album by The Beach Boys, this year we get the original “Bat Chain Puller” by the good Captain Beefheart. The story in a nutshell involves financial finagling back in 1976 by Herb Cohen, the manager of both Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart. Zappa and Beefheart had just finished a joint tour in 1975 that resulted in the “Bongo Fury” album. Zappa resumed touring while Beefheart went into the studio with Jeff “Moris” Teper and Denny Walley on guitar, John Thomas on keyboards and John “Drumbo” French on drums. While Zappa was out touring Europe, Herb Cohen rented out Zappa’s PA system to another band. He used the finances from the rental combined with Zappa’s publishing income to finance the Beefheart recording sessions. When Zappa found out, he was livid. Herb Cohen then proceeded to change the locks to the recording studio and blocked Zappa’s access to all of his recordings including the tapes for “Bat Chain Puller.” A long court battle ensued resulting in the tapes reverting back to Frank Zappa several years later. By this point, Beefheart and a different iteration of The Magic Band went into the studio and re-recorded some of the “Bat Chain Puller” tracks along with several new songs resulting in the 1978 album “Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)” while the original “Bat Chain Puller” tapes languished in the vaults. So here we are in 2012 and we finally get to hear the original “Bat Chain Puller” including this song that did not make the “Shiny Beast” album. It was worth the wait…Captain Beefheart lives!

Edited: February 28th, 2012

Song Of the Day by Eric Berman – 2/27/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “So Like Candy” by Elvis Costello

By 1991, Elvis Costello released “Mighty Like A Rose,” his second album for the Warner Bros. label. It was the follow-up to the critically hailed yet relatively flat album “Spike” and hits big hit song “Veronica” co-written by Paul McCartney. Costello and McCartney had also written a clutch of songs that turned up on Macca’s “Flowers In The Dirt” album from around the same time. For album number two on the contract, Costello once again teamed with producer Mitchell Froom for an ornate collection of songs. Whatever he was going though in his personal life didn’t bode well for the record, and what we got was a decent collection of songs that suffered from too much production and arrangements that were as bloated as our beloved bearded Elvis himself. But like every Elvis record, there were gems like this one also co-written by Paul McCartney. Here he is performing the track on Saturday Night Live.

Edited: February 27th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 2/26/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Feel It All Around” by Washed Out

The genre is known as “chillwave” which is a dreamy kind of lo-fi instrumental based music perfect for chilling out with. Ernest Greene, a Master Of Library Science holder from Georgia who could not find a job, is the recording artist known as Washed Out. The song, “Feel It All Around,” was pulled from the 2010 EP “Life Of Leisure” and is also known as the theme to the Fred Armisan/Carrie Brownstein TV show, “Portlandia.” His first full-length album called “Within and Without” was released last July and should be in everybody’s record collection (or at least in your Spotify queue). Nuff said…

Edited: February 26th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 2/25/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Wounded” by The Cookies

The Cookies began life in the 1950s consisting of Margie Hendrix, Ethel “Earl-Jean” McCrea and Pat Lyles and recording for Atlantic Records. Their work as backup vocalists on the label led them to become members of Ray Charles’ Raelettes. By 1962, Hendrix began working with a new version of the group featuring Dorothy Jones and Margaret Ross taking the place of Hendrix and Lyles. It was this version of the group that recorded the Carole King/Gerry Goffin hits “Chains” (later covered by The Beatles) and “Don’t Say Nothin’ (Bad About My Baby)” for the Dimension label in the early 1960s. By the time they were brought to Warner Bros. Records by The Tokens in 1967 to record this great single, the only member left of the early ’60s lineup was Dorothy Jones. Jones died in December 2010, but this great slice of Power Pop that wouldn’t have felt out of place on a Bangles album still lives on. You can find this track on Andrew Sandoval’s wonderful “Come To The Sunshine” compilation of Soft Pop Nuggets from the Warner vaults that was released as a limited edition Rhino Handmade CD back in 2004. It’s a collection that is well worth seeking out!

Edited: February 25th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 2/24/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Our Dream” by The Munx

The Munx was a true one hit wonder from the late ’60s…but oh what a hit it was! Comprised of brothers Denny and Billy Earnest on guitar and keyboards respectively, and Bob Bensick on drums, the band recorded two local singles for the tiny Clevetown Records label in 1967. With perfect close harmonies and ornate arrangements, the Cleveland Ohio foursome found themselves on the charts in 1967 with this record. The chart action was such that it was picked up nationally by Jubilee Records where a follow up single was cut and released to no action. During their moment in the spotlight, they did open for The Velvet Underground and it is said that Lou Reed was duly impressed by their acumen. By 1969, the group changed their name to “Sheffield Rush” before disbanding.

Edited: February 24th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 2/23/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Andrew In Drag” by Magnetic Fields

Stephin Merritt is one of today’s greatest songwriters. Whether solo or with Magnetic Fields, The Gothic Archies, The 6ths or Future Bible Heroes, Merritt has given us hundreds of great songs over the years with a Broadway sensibility, deadpan delivery and a droll sense of humor. He’s even released a soundtrack to the “A Series Of Unfortunate Events” books with none other than author Lemony Snicket. This one comes from Magnetic Fields’ upcoming March release called “Love At The Bottom Of The Sea.” Beginners should start with his three CD magnum opus, “69 Love Songs,” although you really can’t go wrong with any of his releases.

Edited: February 23rd, 2012

Song Of The Day – 2/22/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Ooh Poo Pah Doo” by Jessie Hill

Mardi Gras may be over, but the music keeps rolling on. Jessie Hill was originally a drummer who backed both Professor Longhair and Huey “Piano” Smith before turning to vocals striking and out with his own group, The House Rockers. To further heighten his New Orleans pedigree, this track was produced by none other than Allen Toussaint. After its success in 1960, Hill went on to record more records under his own name while backing fellow New Orleans artists like Mac Rebennack (Dr. John) and Harold Battiste. He also wrote songs recorded by Sonny and Cher, Willie Nelson and Ike and Tina Turner. Hill died at the age of 63 in 1996. His grandson is Troy Andrews better known to most as Trombone Shorty.

Edited: February 22nd, 2012

Song Of The Day – 2/21/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Ay-Tete Fee” by Clifton Chenier

Every Tuesday is Fat Tuesday when I look in the mirror…bada-bum! Yet, today is Fat Tuesday which in some cultures is a religious holiday. Fat Tuesday is Mardi Gras. “Gras” is French for fat and “Mardi” is French for Tuesday. The annual festivities start on January 6, the Twelfth Night Feast of the Epiphany, when the three kings are supposed to have visited the Christ Child. The festivities build to a climax on Mardi Gras which always occur on the day before Ash Wednesday. The parties and parades will continue until Lent begins at the stroke of midnight on Tuesday. Mardi Gras is a legal holiday in New Orleans. It is scheduled to occur 46 days before Easter. For the rest of us who don’t treat it as a religious holiday, there’s great music like this 1955 track Chenier cut for Specialty Records and those Polish donuts they call Pączki. The Pączki technically should be eaten on the last Thursday before Fat Tuesday, but they are more commonly eaten on Fat Tuesday. Confused? Yup!

Edited: February 21st, 2012

Song Of The Day – 2/20/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Going Home” by Leonard Cohen

Sometimes when bad things happen to people, other people benefit. Case in point is the story of Leonard Cohen. The Canadian musician/poet spent a good portion of his 77 years amassing a fortune off of such classic songs as “Hallelujah,” “Suzanne,” “Bird On A Wire,” “So Long Marianne,” “Sisters Of Mercy,” “Famous Blue Raincoat,” and countless others. Several years ago he found out that his manager embezzled his entire life savings away. This unfortunate event resulted in two critically hailed world tours over a two year period for Leonard and an album of brand new songs released several weeks ago called “Old Ideas.” Leonard’s droll sense of humor is on parade in the album’s kickoff song “Going Home,” in which God calls him “A lazy bastard in a suit.”

Edited: February 20th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 2/19/12


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Our Day Will Come” by Ruby And The Romantics

The magical ingredient of this song that sets it apart from all others is the swirling roller rink organ. Ruby And The Romantics’ million seller “Our Day Will Come” was their first hit back in 1963. While many think they were a one hit wonder, their follow-up single, “My Summer Love,” rose to #16 on the charts. They were also responsible for the original version of the song “Hey There Lonely Boy” which became a hit for Eddie Holman as “Hey There Lonely Girl,” and “Hurting Each Other” which became a big hit for The Carpenters. The group featured Ruby Nash on lead vocals with Ed Roberts, George Lee, Ronald Mosley and Leroy Fan on support vocals. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons brought “Our Day Will Come” back to the #11 position on the charts in 1975 with their remake of the song.

Edited: February 19th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 2/18/12


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Thin Line Between Love And Hate” by The Persuaders

Although they were best known for this 1971 million seller, The Persuaders also recorded the original versions of classics like “The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” (later covered and brought to the charts by Gladys Knight & The Pips) and “Some Guys Have All The Luck” (covered and charted by Rod Stewart). In fact, The Pretenders remade a super soulful version of “Thin Line” on their debut album in 1980. The Persuaders original lineup included Douglas “Smokey” Scott, James Holland, Willie Holland, Thomas Hill Sr. and Charles Stoghill and they formed in New York in 1969. They continued to score hits through 1973 and record through 2006 with an ever-changing lineup. Here they are in the early 1970s performing the song on “Soul Train.”

Edited: February 17th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 2/17/12


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Block Rockin’ Beats” by The Chemical Brothers

Along with Fatboy Slim, The Crystal Method, Groove Armada, The Propellerheads and The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers introduced the world to an influential dance oriented “Big Beat” music driven by heavy breakbeats in the early 1990s. The duo of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons called themselves “The Dust Brothers” after the influential U.S. producers of early Beastie Boy records. Once they began to become famous with their own records, they were forced to change their name to The Chemical Brothers after their early hit “Chemical Beats.” In the mid-1990s they released an album called “Exit Planet Dust” referencing the name change. They were asked by mega-fan Noel Gallagher of Oasis to work on a track together that became the U.K. #1 single “Setting Sun” landing them at the forefront of the British music scene. Which brings us to the 1997 album “Dig Your Own Hole” and its lead single “Block Rockin’ Beats” that broke them in America. It is not only a landmark dance record, but it is also one of the greatest albums for a workout in the gym. By the end of the 1990s, the Brothers were headlining the Glastonbury Festival in England. They still tour, produce other artists and release records today.

Edited: February 17th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 2/16/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “The Windmills Of Your Mind” by Noel Harrison

He was perhaps best known for his acting role as Mark Slate in the TV series, “The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.,” but Noel Harrison had a fruitful recording career in the 1960s culminating in three long out-of-print albums for Reprise Records. This 1968 Academy Award winning song was composed by Michel Legrand (music) and Alan & Marilyn Bergman (lyrics) for the film “Thomas Crown Affair” starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. Legrand adapted Mozart’s “Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra” for the opening melody. Harrison’s also graced the pop charts with his covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” and Charles Aznavour’s “A Young Girl.”

Edited: February 16th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 2/15/12


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Cowboy” by The Neon Philharmonic

There’s nothing like the kaleidoscopic sound of West Coast Pop Music from the late 1960s. Groups like The Neon Philharmonic could have only happened in a world nurtured by an artist-friendly record label like Warner Bros. and its sister label Reprise with label mates like Randy Newman, Van Dyke Parks, Harpers Bizarre, the Association and Mason Williams. The group consisted of producer and music publishing executive, Don Gant, and advertising man, actor, writer, session musician and classical composer, Tupper Saussy. They scored only one top twenty hit with 1969′s “Morning Girl,” and released only two albums and a clutch of 45s. This song is from their 1969 debut album called “The Moth Confesses – A Phonographic Opera.” I first became aware of The Neon Philharmonic from those wonderful $2.00 “Loss Leader” double albums that Warner Bros. Records used to sell off of their inner sleeves to promote their catalog. As a kid, I discovered all kinds of cool music from those records and I cherish the almost complete set I still possess to this day.

Edited: February 15th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 2/14/12


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Cupid” by Sam Cooke

I had to go there…it is Valentine’s Day and Cooke’s voice was as smooth as the finest of chocolates. So how did a holiday associated with romance and love have so much death, despair and martyrdom at its core. St. Valentine was a Christian martyr who was beheaded in AD 269 for trying to convert the Roman Emperor Claudius II to Christianity. His head (or at least his skull) is on display in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. The rest of him was buried on February 14th. The holiday became associated with romantic love during the time of Geoffry Chaucer in the High Middle Ages. His poem, “The Love Birds” states “For this was seynt Volantynys day, whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make,” or “For this is Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.” The holiday was deleted from the General Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul IV. Draw back your bow on that one!

Edited: February 14th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 2/13/12


Song Of The Day and Grammy Recap by Eric Berman – “Holocene” by Bon Iver

OK…time for a rant. After spending 3 1/2 abysmal hours with our friends at NARAS last night watching them trade awards for record sales and publicity, I think I have a right to complain a little about some of the stuff that passed for music that I sat through. Nicki Minaj…WFT was that? While she adds much needed novelty to tracks she makes guests appearances on, this had to the most head-scratching-devoid-of-any-musical-value “performance” of the night…and that’s a night that included “performances” by Katy Perry and Chris Brown. Then we had some of the tried and true stalwarts like Bruce Springsteen who has been regurgitating the same song for the last ten years, Paul McCartney who was redeemed by appearing twice, the second time with a Beatles medley. He was pleasant enough if you overlook the fact that on this night his voice was pretty well shot. Bonnie Raitt and Alicia Keys paid a well-deserved and well received tribute to Etta James that did not disappoint. There were a few other artists who like Keys and Rait got up there and performed without much fanfare and let their music speak for them including Taylor Swift, who was channeling The Beverly Hillbillies with her look (thanks Deb), Cary Underwood and Kelly Clarkson who actually gave American Idol some credibility, The Foo Fighters who while out of place in today’s world of processed music, managed a full-on assault without looking like a dinosaur act and, of course, Adele who earned every award she received with a record full of real songs performed with a real voice. Jennifer Hudson had the near-impossible task of paying tribute to Whitney Houston whose death hung over the entire proceedings. While she has one of the best voices out there today, her rendition of “I Will Always Love You” only pointed out what a great loss the death of Whitney Houston really is. Nobody could sing that song like she could. This brings us to today’s Song Of the Day. I don’t get Bon Iver. I’ve seen Justin Vernon/Bon Iver twice in person (albeit during festivals) and he’s never impressed. I have the two albums and find them to be rather dull affairs. I do, however, give him credibility for the most humble down to earth acceptance speech of the night.

Edited: February 13th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 2/12/12


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston

While I was never a huge fan of Whitney Houston, it’s hard to deny that she was superbly talented. Once again, the star making machinery brought someone to the highest of highs and then seemingly jettisoned her to the gutter when the world was through with her. Whether it was Elvis, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and now Whitney Houston, the combination of super stardom, substance abuse and the tell-all tabloid culture we all live in, led to their undoing. With Houston, the decline was slow and steady after the hits stopped coming. Even though Clive Davis seemingly stood by her and was behind numerous attempts at a comeback for her, the world was not having it…and she was not having it either. Whatever her demons were, it is a shame that another bright talent has left the building too early. It kind of leaves me feeling empty and disgusted…

Edited: February 12th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 2/11/12


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Dour Percentage” by Of Montreal

Kevin Barnes and his collective known as Of Montreal released their eleventh album called “Paralytic Stalks” a few weeks ago. Once again, the group has created a collection of songs that are both ethereal, proggy and funky at the same time. While most of their records celebrate life as a hedonistic party that never ends, this one grounds us with a collection of songs full of remorse and regret. Of course, with the ghost of Prince floating around the musical ether, you’d never know it without a lyric sheet. Here they are on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” from earlier this week. Click the link below to watch the video.

Of Montreal Plays “Dour Percentage” – Music – Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Edited: February 10th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 2/10/12


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison

Some songs are forever changed by the movies that they appear in. For instance, one can’t help but feel the pain and helplessness of the police torture scene in the film “Reservoir Dogs” when listening to the Stealers Wheel hit “Stuck In The Middle With You.” Roy Orbison’s rather innocuous “In Dreams” also took on a more sinister tone when it was used by David Lynch in the film “Blue Velvet” forever changing the hue of the song for all of those who saw the movie. That said, one can’t deny the majestic beauty of this Roy Orbison classic. I was fortunate enough to see him in the late ’80s in concert and he had one of the most amazing operatic baritones capable of soaring over several octaves right up to the end of his life. What other songs have been changed for you by their use in the movies or on TV?

Edited: February 10th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 2/9/12


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Work Song” by Cannonball Adderly Quintet

The “Cannonball” in Julian Edwin Adderly’s name stood for “cannibal” and was given to him by his high school friends due to his robust eating habits. Adderly was one of the most talented and in-demand saxophone players of the ’50s and ’60s. He participated in the recording of two of the most heralded records in Jazz, “Kind Of Blue” and “Milestones” by Miles Davis before striking out on his own with his brother Nat on coronet. This recording of “Work Song,” written by brother Nat, features Joe Zawinal on piano, Nat Adderly on coronet, Cannonball on alto sax, Sam Jones on bass and Louis Hayes on drums. It was recorded live at Auditorio RSI, Lugano, Switzerland on March 24, 1963.

Edited: February 9th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 2/8/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “The Free Design” by Stereolab


Stereolab’s sound melded European lounge pop with progressive rock to form some of the most pleasurable music of the 1990s. On stage, they were capable of fierce extended psychedelic wig-outs which moved them into early Pink Floyd territory, except they always had the smooth emotionless voices of Laetitia Sadier and Mary Hansen floating above the din to ground the sound. Stereolab formed in 1990 around keyboard and guitar players Tim Gane and Laetitia Sadier (also vocals). Other longtime members included Mary Hansen (guitar/keyboard/vocal) and Andy Ramsay (drums). In 2002, Mary Hansen was killed after being hit by a truck while riding her bicycle. The group continued until going on indefinite hiatus in 2009. This song comes from their exceptional 1993 album called “Cobra And Phases Group Play Voltage In The Milky Night.” The song’s title pays homage to one of Stereolab’s greatest influences, the 1960s Sunshine Pop group, The Free Design, who scored with the hit “Kites Are Fun” in 1967.

Edited: February 8th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 2/8/12


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress” by The Hollies

By the time this song had hit the charts in 1972, The Hollies were already on their second career having survived the setback of having two key members leaving the group. Throughout the sixties, they released indelible singles like “Bus Stop,” “Stop Stop Stop,” “Look Through Any Window,” “Carrie Anne” and “Jennifer Eccles” before original member Graham Nash left to join David Crosby and Stephen Stills. By the time of this #2 single in 1972, the band changed record labels after original member Allan Clarke left. As was standard practice back then, their old record label dug up “Long Cool Woman” from the album “Distant Light” resulting in yet another chart renaissance with hits like “The Air That I Breathe” (featuring Elton John on piano) to follow. Allan Clarke would soon rejoin the group in 1973 in time for this 1975 clip is from the British TV show “Supersonic” featuring Marc Bolan of T. Rex introducing the band.

Edited: February 7th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 2/6/12


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Had You Told It Like It Was (It Wouldn’t Be Like It Is)” by Albert King

Like Jimi Hendrix after him, Albert King had a unique guitar sound due to his playing of a right handed guitar upside down with his left hand. In King’s world, he was pushing up on the strings a righty would normally push down on. His style was an inspiration to the likes of Robert Cray, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton. While he’s best known for his late ’60s STAX Records classics like “Born Under A Bad Sign,” “Cross Cut Saw” and “Laundromat Blues,” this song is from much earlier in his career. He began recording under his own name for the Bobbin Record label whose recordings were leased to King Records for release. In 1962, King released the album “The Big Blues” that featured this R’n’B classic. While sales were meager and the hits were slim, his recordings from this period are every bit as good as the ones he cut for STAX.

Edited: February 6th, 2012

Super Bowl Song Of The Day – 2/5/12


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Giant For A Day” by Gentle Giant

By 1978 when Gentle Giant released the “Giant For A Day” album, they were trying to score a radio hit. Their previous “Missing Piece” album was also radio ready, but Punk Rock was burgeoning and Gentle Giant found themselves irrelevant to that fan base. With their new radio friendly material, they were becoming irrelevant to their fan base as well. It’s a shame, because in retrospect, the “Giant For A Day” album is not a bad one. But that’s not the reason I chose this song for Super Bowl Sunday Song Of The Day. I’m a NY Jets fan, but since they didn’t rise to the heights they should have this season, I guess I’m just a Giant fan for a day…let the game begin…go Big Blue!

Edited: February 5th, 2012

Bonus Super Bowl Song Of The Day – 2/5/12


Bonus Song Of The Day – “The Patriot Game” by Liam Clancy

Liam was a member of the Irish folk group The Clancy Brothers whose recording of this song was one of their most popular. The song was later adapted by Bob Dylan for his song “With God On Our Side.” But today, the song is highlighted because the Super Bowl is a Patriot game…one a Patriot fan hopefully will not like the outcome of…unless God is on their side…

Edited: February 5th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 2/3/12


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Russian Lullaby” by Jerry Garcia

Like his first solo album, Jerry Garcia’s second solo album was plainly title “Garcia.” When promo copies were shipped to reviewers upon its release in 1974, the cover came with a “Compliments” sticker on it and reviewers believed the record was titled “Compliments Of Garcia,” hence the record became known by that title. When it was re-released on CD in the 1990s, the title was officially changed to “Compliments.” I always liked going to see the Jerry Garcia Band in concert more than seeing the Dead. While I love the Dead repertoire, a Garcia show always promised a more interesting set of material featuring many covers that you wouldn’t think would be associated with the lead guitarist of the Grateful Dead. “Russian Lullaby,” written by Irving Berlin, was one of them. The song was written in 1927 and performed at the opening of The Roxy Theater in New York on March 11, 1927. The clarinet on this track was played by none other than Geoff Muldaur.

Edited: February 3rd, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 2/2/12


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Mr. Dieingly Sad” by The Critters

Although their name was inspired by another ’60s group, The Animals, the similarities end there. The Critters were far more easy listening than their rough and tumble contemporaries. They formed in New Jersey in 1964 around singer/songwriter and guitarist Don Ciccone. Their three top forty hits included a cover of a John Sebastian song, “Younger Girl,” “Don’t Let The Rain Fall Down On Me” which charted at #39 in 1967 and this song, their signature slice of pop ennui, reaching #17 on the charts in 1966. After the original group’s demise in 1967, Ciccone went on to join Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and later toured with Tommy James and the Shondells.

Edited: February 2nd, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 2/1/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Bond Street” by Enoch Light and the Light Brigade

Shagadelic indeed! Literally hundreds of records were released during the 1960s carrying the Enoch Light name. Light was born in Ohio and was a vice president of easy listening record label, Grand Award, before founding Command Records in 1959. Light’s stock in trade was state-of-the-art mood music records that took full advantage of the capabilities of stereo hi-fi systems of the day by featuring ping-pong stereo effects. The packaging on his records, like the classic “Persuasive Percussion” album, featured minimalist modern art on the covers designed to stand out in record bins with heavy cardboard gatefold sleeves. This song comes from Light’s 1969 album “Spaced Out” with some of the coolest period graphics I’ve ever seen on any record cover.

Edited: February 1st, 2012