Posts Tagged ‘Classic Rock’

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Electricity (Drugs)” by Talking Heads

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Electricity (Drugs)” by Talking Heads

One of the musical highlights of our 16 hour car trip from The Outer Banks of North Carolina back home to Chicago was listening Talking Heads’ live double album entitled The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads. The second half of the album features recordings from the 1980-81 Remain In Light tour when Talking Heads expanded from a quartet of David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz to a 10-piece band adding Adrian Belew on guitars, Busta Cherry on bass, Bernie Worrell on keyboards, Joe Rossy on percussion and Dolette McDonald and Nona Hendryx on vocals.

By 1979, Brian Eno’s influence was felt all over the Heads’ music, especially on more atmospheric songs like today’s Song Of The Day originally from their Fear Of Music album. Eno’s input was beginning to create a chasm within the band because the rest of the group felt that he was monopolizing David Byrne’s attention. Today’s song’s title was changed from “Drugs” to “Electricity” by the time it was released on the album in 1979. Whatever tension Eno’s presence created also resulted in the band taking off in a far more interesting direction with a brand-new funkified line-up. The video portion of today’s posting shows the expanded Heads in action (particularly Belew) from a show broadcasted on TV from Rome in 1980. (Today’s Song of The Day begins at 20:00 into the 64-minute clip.) Having seen this version of Talking Heads several times in concert, it is well worth watching if you have the time.

By the time we got around to hearing the The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads album at the tail end of our trip it was as a follow-up to a most-enjoyable spin of XTC’s Black Sea. And it was just the tonic we needed to wield our way through Saturday night Chicago city traffic and back up to the northern suburbs. Home Sweet Home!

Edited: August 10th, 2014

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

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

This is not exactly the “Footstompin’ Music” that Grand Funk Railroad were known for in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

But once they lost the Railroad in their name and came under the aegis of Todd Rundgren and Jimmy Ienner, the hits started to come fast and furious including “We’re An American Band,” “The Loco-Motion,” “Shinin’ On,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Some Kind Of Wonderful” and today’s Song Of The Day which climbed to #4 on the pop charts in 1975!

The song was on the group’s ninth album All The Girls In The World Beware!!! and was the follow-up single to their huge hit “Some Kind Of Wonderful.”

Pair this song with “Go All The Way” by The Raspberries and you’ve got pure pop nirvana!

Edited: July 15th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #97 – America: “I Need You” b/w “Riverside” – Warner Bros. 7580

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #97 – America: “I Need You” b/w “Riverside” – Warner Bros. 7580

Like most of my contemporaries, the first time I heard the group America it was from their chart-topping single “A Horse With No Name” as it came pouring out of the AM radio. And like most people, I thought the single was the latest release from Neil Young.

Here’s what the song’s composer, Dewey Bunnell had to say about it: “I know that virtually everyone, on first hearing, assumed it was Neil. I never fully shied away from the fact that I was inspired by him. I think it’s in the structure of the song as much as in the tone of his voice. It did hurt a little, because we got some pretty bad backlash. I’ve always attributed it more to people protecting their own heroes more than attacking me.” (“Wikipedia”) Adding insult to injury, “A Horse With No Name” replaced Neil Young’s “Heart Of Gold” at the top spot on the charts as well in 1972.

The song was America’s calling card and it introduced fans around the world to their acoustic three part harmony sound. But the song wasn’t even on their debut album when it was initially released in Europe. After the album came out and didn’t sell well, the group reconvened in the home studio of Arthur Brown (of “Fire” fame) and began to work on a Dewey Bunnell song that had been kicking around since he was 19 years old called “Desert Song” which ultimately morphed into “A Horse With No Name.”

America consisted of Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley on guitar and Dan Peek on bass, and contrary to what you may think, the group didn’t form in America at all. Each member of the group came from a military family and they met each other and formed the group in London where they all lived and attended London Central Elementary High School. Their debut album wasn’t recorded in America either; it was recorded at Trident Studios in London. For their debut album, the group was augmented by the likes of Ray Cooper on percussion and David Lindley on electric guitar. The album topped the charts and spawned two hit singles; the aforementioned “A Horse With No Name” and “I Need You” which climbed to the #9 position on the charts.

But it was the album’s opening track (and flip of today’s jukebox single) that was the real stunner on the record. With its lengthy jovial fireside acoustic guitar intro and plush three-part CSN-inspired harmonies, the song set the stage for the sound that America would take to the top of the charts over and over again during the first four years of the group’s existence. The Dewey Bunnell-penned song wasn’t the A-side of the single it appeared on, but it’s the reason I purchased it for the jukebox. “Riverside” was released as the flip side of the group’s second single “I Need You.”

“I Need You” was composed by Gerry Beckley and while it was one of the big hit singles from their debut album, it’s not one of the album’s best tracks with its trite lyrics (“I need you / like the flowers needs the rain…”) and ultra-repetitious chorus. That said, the group can be forgiven since the album does include great songs like “Three Roses,” “Sandman” and the plush “Here,” making it their very best release.

America would go on to team up with producer George Martin and score numerous hits including “Ventura Highway,” “Tin Man,” “Lonely People,” “Sister Golden Hair” and “Daisy Jane” before the hits began to dry up. Peek left the group in 1977 to become a contemporary Christian recording artist leaving the remaining members to carry on as a duo. He died in July of 2011 of a heart disease, and the group continues to tour as a duo to this day.

“The Jukebox Series” focused on the 80 records that currently inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within. Over the years, records have come and gone out of the ranks of the juke, but they were all at one time juke-worthy. I’ve decided to expand “The Jukebox Series” to include many of the “juke-worthy” records that are no longer currently in the mix, but at one time inhabited a coveted slot.

Edited: April 8th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/1/13

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Take A Giant Step” by Taj Mahal

There is no rhyme or reason as to how I come up with the songs I choose to write about every day. They usually spring out of something I’ve been listening to or something I’ve read. So, if you regularly follow this column, you’ll get a pretty good idea of some of the stuff I listen to on a daily basis.

For instance, today’s Song Of The Day came about after reading a review of the first of three Rolling Stones concerts in Chicago this week. Now, I’m not planning on attending any of their shows here in town as I believe they’ve not only totally priced themselves out of the concert market, but have also priced themselves out of this world. And besides, I’ve seen them several times in the past when they were much younger and probably much better.

But the astronomical price of their tickets hasn’t diffused my interest in what their set list looks like and how people say they sounded. Each show on the tour so far has had Mick Taylor as a special guest coming out to play “Midnight Rambler,” but there’s usually a “surprise” guest at every show as well. While some markets have lucked out by getting guests like Tom Waits to take a star turn with the Stones, others have seen the likes of Katy Perry and Gwen Stefani “grace” the stage.

So far, Chicago is one of the luckier markets on the tour because blues legend, Taj Mahal was the Stones’ guest for their show the other night, and together they played “Six Days On The Road.” The song was one that Mahal originally cut for his 1969 double album Giant Step/De Ole Folks At Home.

This led me to pull out my copy of the record which I haven’t listened to in many years. The title track of the album is a radically revised version of the Carole King/Gerry Goffin classic “Take A Giant Step,” which most people know by The Monkees’ recording of the song from their 1966 debut album.

Henry Saint Clair Fredericks took the name Taj Mahal, which came to him in a dream, while in college studying agriculture and animal husbandry in 1959. As a child, he was as passionate about farming as he was about music, and there was a time when he considered following his interests in farming over music. Fortunately, he chose music but his love of farming has led him to perform at numerous Farm Aid concerts over the years.

Mahal relocated to the West Coast in the early 1960s and established a name for himself playing solo blues in clubs. He soon met Ry Cooder, and along with Jesse Lee Kinkaid formed the group, The Rising Sons. The Rising Sons recorded for Columbia in 1964 resulting in the release of a single. The group cut an album’s worth of material for the label, but Columbia didn’t know what to do with an interracial group in the early 1960s, so the record languished in the vaults unreleased until 1993.

Between the Rising Sons debacle and Mahal’s self-titled first studio album for Columbia in 1968, he worked with the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Muddy Waters. He also played on sessions (along with Ry Cooder) for the Rolling Stones and even appeared in The Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus. (Hence, the reason he was the special guest at their show the other night.)

Giant Step/De Ole Folks At Home is Taj Mahal’s third Columbia release from 1969. The double album is half electric and half acoustic and it features a freewheelin’ and eclectic selection of originals, traditional blues tunes and pop covers.

The electric half features Mahal backed by Jessie Ed Davis on guitar and keyboards, Gary Gilmore on bass and Chuck Blackwell on drums. Together they create a beautiful noise as they run through a selection of blues-flavored covers including today’s Song Of The Day, Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Good Morning Little School Girl,” Dave Dudley’s “Six Days On The Road,” Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Farther On Up The Road,” Leadbelly’s “Keep Your Hands Off Her” and Blind Willie Johnson’s “You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond.” The album’s final track is “Bacon Fat” which is attributed to Garth Hudson and Robbie Robertson, but more likely stems from pen of Andre Williams’ who scored a #9 R&B chart hit with the song in 1956.

The stripped down rural acoustic blues of De Ole Folks At Home features solo performances by Mahal on vocals, guitar, harmonica and banjo performing a mix of his own songs like “Light Rain Blues,” “Blind Boy Rag,” “A Little Soulful Tune,” “Cajun Tune” and “Country Blues #1,” and covers of “Candy Man,” “Stagger Lee” and “Linin’ Track.”

All in all, Mahal recorded 12 albums for Columbia through 1976, and then moved on to Warner Bros. for three more. He also wrote the score for the films Sounder and Brothers.

Later years found him moving to Hawaii, forming the Hula Blues Band and recording numerous records for Gramavision and the Private Music record label that incorporated his love of West African and Caribbean music, Americana, Blues, Zydeco, Rock and R&B. He’s also recorded several popular children’s records. His album, Señor Blues won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 1997, and he won another one in 2000 for his album Shoutin’ in Key.

Edited: May 31st, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 11/11/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Just A Song Before I Go” by Crosby, Stills & Nash

The release of 1977’s “CSN” album signaled a comeback for the trio during a time when like-minded artists like Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, America and many others of that ilk were seeing their biggest successes. The airwaves were chock full of mellow singer-songwriter rock, and the group’s now-matured hippie idealism put the trio right back on top. It didn’t hurt that they came up with a pretty strong collection of songs including Stills’ “Dark Star” and “See The Changes,” Crosby’s “Shadow Captain” and “In My Dreams,” and this gem by Nash, plus his classic “Cathedral.” Sadly, it would be the last time that Crosby, Stills & Nash would fashion a collection this solid.

Edited: November 11th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 10/6/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Love (Can Make You Happy)” by Mercy

This slice of easy listening splendor hit the number two slot on the Billboard charts in 1969. At the time Mercy consisted of artists signed to the small Sundi Record label from Florida, and centered around member Jack Sigler, Jr. Once the song began to take off on the charts, Sundi rush-released an album with this song as the title track credited to “The Mercy” that featured none of the original members of the group. Such was the stuff of record companies in the 1960s. The record was quickly withdrawn due to litigation and Mercy was signed to Warner Bros. Records where another group centered around Jack Sigler, Jr. was formed. The Warner Bros. album managed a respectable #38 chart placing on the Billboard Album Charts. Another Sigler-led group still tours today and released an EP back in 2009. On a side note, I’ve been single-handedly trying to bring the expression “Mercy” back into popularity. I have been using it to show exasperation and surprise since the beginning of the summer, but it doesn’t seem to want to gain traction amongst my circle of influence…mercy…

Edited: October 5th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 9/3/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Summer Highland Falls” by Billy Joel

I revisited the “Turnstiles” album by Billy Joel today. It was the first time I’ve given the record a spin in at least a decade and it fit me like a glove. I often marvel at how music has the power to bring you right back to what you were doing when you first experienced it. As I listened to the record, memories of my awkward 15 year old self came rushing back and instead of remembering the misery of being that age, it made me feel good. My friend, Gary Theroux, used to always say that “Nostalgia is the past with the pain removed” as we went about the business of putting together music collections for Reader’s Digest, and his words never rang truer. Listening to “Turnstiles” brought back memories of some of the other records I was listening to at the time: Bruce Springsteen “Born To Run,” David Bowie “STATIONTOSTATION,” Wings “Venus And Mars,” Patti Smith “Horses,” Stevie Wonder “Songs In The Key Of Life,” Bob Dylan “Desire,” Genesis “Trick Of The Tale,” Gentle Giant “Free Hand,” Joni Mitchell “Hejira,” Tom Waits “Small Change,” Led Zeppelin “Presence,” ELO “New World Record,” Steve Miller Band “Fly Like An Eagle,” Steely Dan “The Royal Scam,” Al Stewart “The Year Of The Cat,” Boz Scaggs “Silk Degrees,” 10cc “How Dare You,” Lou Reed “Coney Island Baby” – the list goes on and on. I still harbor a deep emotional connection with most of these records. What are your favorites from the class of 1975-76?

Edited: September 2nd, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 8/24/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Me And The Wind” by XTC

They were a band with two very distinct songwriters…Colin Moulding wrote some of their biggest early hits (“Making Plans For Nigel,” “Life Begins At The Hop”) that were typified by stop-start rhythms, big drums and infectious melodies, while Andy Partridge was the guy who was responsible for some of their prettiest, most pastoral recordings (“Summer’s Cauldron,” “Dear God,” “Love On A Farmboy’s Wages”). XTC’s sixth album, “Mummer,” where this song hails from, was the first album the band released after giving up touring for good. Andy Partridge began experiencing stage fright due to extreme anxiety attacks, and after the first date on their US tour behind “English Settlement,” he could no longer perform, forcing the band to cancel the rest of their performances. This was indeed a shame, since I saw them in 1980 on the “Black Sea” tour and they were a force to be reckoned with on stage. “Mummer” was also the last album with original drummer Terry Chambers, who left during its recording due to the band’s decision not to tour anymore. Fortunately, the anxiety attacks didn’t diminish Andy Partridge’s songwriting prowess as exemplified by this song.

Edited: August 23rd, 2012

8/19/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Silver Train” by The Rolling Stones

“Goats Head Soup” is one of the most maligned albums in the Rolling Stones’ catalog, and I’ve never really understood why. Certainly, its proximity as the follow up to the mighty “Exile On Main Street” has something to do with it, however “Exile” was not well received upon its release either. But while “Exile” has risen to the top of the Stones’ pops in critical acclaim, “Goats Head” still remains the black sheep of the family. I do believe my age has much to do with my affection for this album, since it was the first Stones album I purchased as a new release. Most folks older than I generally dismiss the record as pretty awful, however any album that includes this songs, “Dancing With Mr. D,” “Star Star,” “100 Years Ago,” “Coming Down Again,” “Heartbreaker,” “Winter” and “Angie” can’t be all bad. This song was also used as the B-side to the aforementioned single “Angie” and was originally worked up as a demo during the “Sticky Fingers” sessions in 1970. I have also provided the demo version here for your listening pleasure. I’m not sure where this clip comes from, but it looks like it was prepared for “The Midnight Special” TV show.

Edited: August 18th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 8/4/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath – Lollapalooza Recap – Day 1

The Black Sabbath that headlined the first day of Lollapalooza wasn’t your grandparent’s Black Sabbath…well, actually ¾ of it was…and they had all of the power and command of the stage like it was 1971 all over again. Sabbath blew all of the other acts I saw out of the water today, and it was an unexpected pleasure to see these veterans do their thing especially Tony Iommi on guitar. Tonight’s lineup featured Ozzy Obourne, Tony Iommi , Geezer Butler on bass and the replacement drummer for Bill Ward who could not reach a suitable financial agreement to come aboard for this tour, Tommy Clufetos. The set consisted strictly of early Sabbath tracks like “Fairies Wear Boots,” “Sweet Leaf,” “Paranoid,” “Black Sabbath,” “Snowblind,” “Children Of The Grave” and this scorcher that was accompanied by some pretty gruesome war imagery on the screens behind them. Curiously, none of the Lollapalooza posters or t-shirts listed Black Sabbath on them…it’s as if they weren’t there at all, however, if you were in the vicinity of the “Bud Light” stage tonight, you couldn’t…and shouldn’t have missed them. Other top-notch acts today included the reformed Afghan Whigs featuring Greg Dulli on lead vocals, Texas psychedelic band “The Black Angels” and the somewhat experimental rock of “thenewno2” (aka The New Number Two) with Dhani Harrison (son of George) on guitar and vocals. We headed out over to “Perry’s Stage” for a spell to hear some choice EDM (electronic dance music), and it is at Perry’s Stage, named for Perry Farrell founder of Lollapalooza and Jane’s Addiction, where the most interesting music scene unfolds all day long with non-stop DJ sets and alluring light shows even during the middle of the afternoon. Onward to day two!

Edited: August 4th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 8/3/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Sweet Leaf” by Black Sabbath

OK, so I am a little more than intrigued about the prospect of seeing Black Sabbath at Lollapalooza tomorrow night. I was never a huge fan of the group, but I always loved this track and the Butthole Surfer’s song based on it called “Sweat Loaf.” Originally, it was to be the original lineup of Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler, Tommy Iommi and Bill Ward as heard on this track from the “Masters Of Reality” album that were to appear on tour this summer and at Lollapalooza. But, right out of the gate infighting between the band and management over contracts resulted in Ward dropping out of the tour before it ever started. Nevertheless, I’ve never seen Ozzy…or Iommi…or Butler, so now’s the time to see the mighty Sabbath before it’s too late. In the heartbreaking world of “Sophie’s Choices” within festival schedule, I guess I’m just going to have to miss the set by The Black Keys who are playing at the same time as Sabbath.

Edited: August 2nd, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 7/18/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Wind Up Working In A Gas Station” by Frank Zappa

In 1976, the year that the album “Zoot Allures” was released, Frank Zappa was tied up in legal issues. His manager, Herb Cohen, began renting Zappa’s studio out while Zappa toured and allegedly pocketed the money for himself. This led to Cohen making off with tapes for a proposed Zappa three LP set called “Lather” and tapes from sessions for Captain Beefheart’s “Bat Chain Puller.” This, in turn, permanently mothballed Zappa and Cohen’s Diskreet record label. It was in this atmosphere that Zappa released his only record on Warner Bros. records. When Zappa took test pressings of the album to radio stations, it was originally a double album including tracks that would later turn up on “Sleep Dirt.” Somewhere in the interim, it was trimmed down to a single record. The album’s title is a pun on the French expression “Zut alors” which roughly translates to damn it. While tracks like “Black Napkins” and “The Torture Never Stops” became concert staples for the rest of his touring career, this crunchy little ditty was seldom, if ever, performed. It’s a shame, too, since it’s got some killer guitar work all over it.

Edited: July 17th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 7/5/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Thank You Girl” by The Beatles

Pretty good song…I think this band has a future…

Edited: July 5th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 7/3/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Funtime” by Iggy Pop (Repeated from the Song Of The Day vault – October 27, 2010)

 “FUN! We want some! We want some!” Words to live by from the Iggster with an assist from David Bowie. Bowie came along to offer a little career rehab for Iggy whilst meanwhile rehabbing his own addictions of the time. “The Idiot” was recorded at their getaway retreat… in Hansa, Germany, and was sandwiched in between the recording of Bowie’s “Low” and “Heroes.” This track sounded modern at the time of its release back in 1977 and it still does today, capturing the Teutonic Krautrock sound of German bands like Can and Kraftwerk, and mixing it up with the drug-fueled exuberance of a late-’70s night on the town clubbing.

Edited: July 3rd, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/30/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Red Tide” by Foxboro Hot Tubs

“The only difference between Green Day and Foxboro Hot Tubs is that we are the same band,” said Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong when queried about the band and their 2008 “debut” album called “Stop, Drop and Roll.” The Hot Tubs started out as an excuse for Green Day to get together, drink some wine and bash out some garage rock. Once they got going, the alter ego became an easy way to escape the celebrity that surrounds Green Day and allow the group to play tiny clubs. However, before the record was released and shortly after they started posting songs online, their cover was blown. So now, Green Day perform Foxboro Hot Tub songs as a mini set during their concerts. Many of the Tubs’ songs reference the riffage of groups like the Yardbirds, the Stones, the Monkees and dozens of others ‘60s groups. This one pays homage to the Kinks’ classic “Tired Of Waiting For You.” And as for the mother band, Green Day will be releasing three separate albums (called “Uno,” “Dos” and “Tres”) over a six month period starting this September.

Edited: June 29th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/29/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “That Time Is Gone” by The db’s

Like manna from the heavens, the Gods of rock ‘n’ roll have bestowed upon us a brand new album from The db’s, their first in 25 years, called “Falling Off The Sky.” Writing concise jangly pop tunes with hooks that grab you and keep you coming back is not an easy feat, yet these veterans make it seem easy. This album is no different; it is stuffed to the brim with great songs performed to power pop perfection by guys who have been doing this for a lifetime. With the exception of their last studio album, The db’s always were, and still are Peter Holsapple on guitar and keyboards, Gene Holder on bass, Chris Stamey on guitars and Will Rigby on drums, with an assist by power pop producer extraordinaire Mitch Easter on guitars. On this record, it’s like the last 25 years never happened, and that’s a good thing! Not only that, but after a few spins the hooks begin to grab you…and they don’t let go! Here’s a live version of the album’s lead track.

Edited: June 28th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/28/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Clementine” by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Man, the balls on this guy. For years he’s been following his muse by foisting every type of music onto his unsuspecting public with the expectation that his audience is going to eagerly lap it up. We’ve had the faux rockabilly of The Shocking Pinks, the somewhat Republican country of “Old Ways,” half-baked concepts like “Greendale,” the inspired electro-pop of “Trans,” the “Metal Machine Music of “Arc,” the ham-bone “T-Bone” of “Re-Ac-tor,” the smooth soul of “Are You Passionate?,” the juxtaposition of excruciating kiddie choruses with left wing political views on “Living With War,” not to mention his numerous films…some good and some really dreadful. Which brings us to “Americana” and it’s concept of taking old public domain folk and children’s songs and electrifying them. As an audience we’ve been with him for every turn…and the reason for this is that even when his concepts are really misguided, they are still worth a listen and more importantly, his records are always INTERESTING! “Americana” is no different…the concept sounds really awful on paper, and the initial spins bared mixed results. But with repeated listening, Neil’s latest is one of his better records…one I keep coming back to and probably will as time goes on.

Edited: June 27th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/27/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air” by Jimmy Fallon (as Neil Young)

I always thought the greatest Neil Young impression was National Lampoon’s spot on song parody “Old Maid (Southern California Brings Me Down)” by Tony Scheuren from the 1975 Lampoon album “Goodbye Pop,” until this one came along by Jimmy Fallon. It was originally performed on his TV show “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” and now it has surfaced on his just released second album called “Blow Your Pants Off.” The new record also features another Neil parody (with special guest the real Bruce Springsteen) doing the song “Whip My Hair,” plus duets with Paul McCartney (“Scrambled Eggs”), Justin Timberlake (“History Of Rap”), NBC News’ Brian Williams (“Slow Jam The News”) and others with Dave Matthews, Eddy Vedder and Stephen Colbert. While I wouldn’t say the album is essential listening…it is a indeed a hoot!

Here’s the National Lampoon parody:

Edited: June 26th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/20/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Carpet Of The Sun” by Renaissance

I had almost forgotten about Renaissance, a group I loved back in the 1970s and even went to see once at Radio City Music Hall. It wasn’t until a friend of mine posted a song from their 1975 album “Scheherazade,” that they even crossed my consciousness after all of these years, and the first thing that came to my mind was embarrassment. I seemed to remember that their brand of “airy fairy” progressive music hadn’t held up very well over the years…and I wasn’t sure if my 2012 ears could still stomach the saccharine-sweet vocals of lead singer Annie Haslam. Nevertheless, I turned to my trusty record collection and yanked their catalog of records out and decided to give their 1973 album “Ashes Are Burning” a spin. Lo and behold, the warmth of Haslam’s voice enveloped me with the cozy nostalgia that I still harbored for this group. This song in particular brought me right back to the days of hearing WNEW FM DJ, Scott Muni blathering away about how great Annie Haslam was. The band consisted of Annie Haslam on vocals, Jon Camp on bass and vocals, John Tout on keyboards, Terrance Sullivan on drums and Michael Dunford on acoustic guitar. The original lineup of the band, long gone by 1973, included Keith Relf and Jim McCarty originally from The Yardbirds. Michael Dunford was an original member of the British beat group, Nashville Teens who scored a chart hit on these shores with “Tobacco Road” in 1964. Nostalgia is a powerful thing…and as a good friend of mine has always posited, nostalgia is the past with the pain removed. Listening to Renaissance in 2012 wasn’t as painful as I thought it might be, still slightly embarrassing, but certainly worth the time.

Edited: June 19th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/19/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Cry Me A River” by Joe Cocker

Like most people my age, my first exposure to this Arthur Hamilton-penned track was this rocking Joe Cocker version from “Mad Dogs And Englishmen.” So you can imagine my surprise when I later discovered that the song was originally a sultry ballad that had been a top-ten hit in 1955 for Julie London. The song was originally written for Ella Fitzgerald to sing in the 1955 film “Pete Kelly’s Blues,” but it was dropped from that production. Fitzgerald didn’t get around to recording it until her 1961 album “Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie!” By that time, the song became closely associated with London. Which brings us to the “Mad Dogs And Englishmen” version of the song. Cocker and company totally recast the song as a barroom rocker on their 1970 tour. The “Mad Dogs” band consisted of Leon Russell, Chris Stainton, Don Preston, Carl Radle, Jim Keltner, Bobby Keys, Rita Cooldige, Jim Price and many others. The group was assembled by Leon Russell after Cocker found out that instead of a few weeks off after a grueling tour, he was booked for another several months on the road and needed a band. After a few days rehearsal, it was decided that they should film and record the tour for release. The album was recorded over four shows in two days at the Fillmore East in New York City on March 27-28th 1970. Six years ago, Hip-O Select released all four shows in their entirety as a limited edition six CD set.

Edited: June 18th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/16/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Ghetto Defendant” by The Clash

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since The Clash released their last great record “Combat Rock,” and while the record was considered pretty cutting edge upon its release, parts of it haven’t aged well at all. Sure there’s the cheap ‘80s production which can be annoying (but is probably due for some kind of hipster revival in the near future), but tracks like “Overpowered By Funk,” “Death Is A Star” and “Red Angel Dragnet” don’t seem fully realized (and never really did) and sound somewhat clunky today. That said, there is a clutch of classics to be found here: the requisite hits “Rock The Casbah” and “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” that still sound good today, and classic album cuts like “Straight To Hell,” “Car Jamming” and this track. I happened to see The Clash perform five times back in the day, but perhaps the most memorable of the performances was when they played the Pier in New York City in 1982 and were joined by Allen Ginsburg to reprise his role on this song.

Edited: June 16th, 2012

Song Of the Day by Eric Berman – 6/14/12

Song Of the Day by Eric Berman – “Tulsa Yesterday” by Chris Robinson Brotherhood

The ghosts of Grateful Dead and Yes are alive and well with the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Chris Robinson was one of the founding members, guiding force, guitarist and vocalist…and brother of the other founding member Rich Robinson…in The Black Crowes. While the Crowes took The Faces and Rolling Stones as jumping off points, the CRB is firmly influenced by the good old Grateful Dead. The band includes Neal Casal (formally of Ryan Adams’ Cardinals) on guitar, Adam MacDougall (of The Black Crowes) on keyboards, Mark “Muddy” Dutton on bass and George Sluppick on drums. Together, the CRB churn out a heady brew of country-tinged Psychedelia with a hint of prog thrown in for good measure. Their first record, where you can hear the studio version of this song, is called “Big Moon Ritual.”

Edited: June 13th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/13/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “This Is The Girl” by Patti Smith

You would be hard pressed to put into words the seismic influence Patti Smith’s first album, “Horses,” had on me when I first heard it in 1975 at the age of 14. It was like a door opened into uncharted territory and I eagerly walked through it. As it turns out, she had a hard time making subsequent records that even approached the magnificence of her debut. Sure, records like “Easter,” “Radio Ethiopia” and “Wave” had their moments, but none of them were consistently good from beginning to end. Then she laid low for nine years and emerged with “Dream Of Life” with its anthem “People Have The Power” in 1988, which in my opinion was a huge disappointment. The records that followed…”Gone Again,” “Peace And Noise,” “Gung Ho” and “Trampin’” all had their moments, but the hold Patti Smith once had over me was forever lost. What was once mystical and poetic, now made my eyes roll up into my head. I refer to this as the Jim Morrison syndrome. So here we have the new album, “Banga,” which is her most consistent record since her late ‘70s heyday. Some of the questionable poetry still remains, but it doesn’t overpower the proceedings and many of the songs have strong melodies that couch the lyrics. I love the feel of this song…it’s got some old school doo wop and soul in its blood brought out by the camaraderie of her longtime band mates Lenny Kaye and Jay Dee Daugherty from the old Patti Smith Group. They’re augmented by bass and keyboards player Tony Shanahan, who also co-wrote this song.

Edited: June 12th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/9/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “That’s Why God Made The Radio” by The Beach Boys

So yesterday it was Neil Young…today it’s the Beach Boys. Perhaps, I’m getting old when it’s the music from my childhood heroes that still turns me on. That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty of current music that I like, I just don’t see the point in ignoring my heroes because they’re old…besides it’s them that are getting older, not me. So here we have a new release by the remaining members of rock’s first dysfunctional family, The Beach Boys. A group who’ve had their share of drama…much of it played out in the media over the past 20 or so years. For a bunch of old guys, they sure do act like babies. Like yesterday’s Neil Young album, my expectations were mighty low for this record, with “the boys” not being able to stay in the same room over the years unless that room was in a law office, how much camaraderie could we expect on their first long player together in 20 years? And let us face the facts, Brian has pretty much been a spent musical force releasing Disney and Gershwin records and such over the last few years and with Mike Love consistently acting like the jerk in the media…heck he still can’t cop to the fact that “Smile” is indeed a masterpiece…certainly there wasn’t much to go on. But surprise, surprise…there’s some good stuff on this record. The harmonies are intact, and some of the songs, though inconsequential, are pretty good. The intended track for today’s Song Of the Day was “From Here To Back Again” a gorgeous track from the new album, but it seems The Beach Boys are pretty good at protecting themselves and there were no audio samples of the track on YouTube. In that song and on “Pacific Coast Highway” and “Summer’s Gone,” the two songs that follow this on the record, the boys revisit the essence of their “Pet Sounds” days with a pretty good approximation of that sound which shows that Brian still has some musical mojo left after all. There are goodtime vibes harking back to their glory days on standouts like the title cut, “Strange World,” “ Isn’t It Time” and “Spring Vacation.” Some of the songs are corny and a bit hackneyed, but overall this record is not the embarrassment I thought it would be. Major kudos go out to Jeff Foskett who has been the guiding force toward making Brian’s solo concerts over the last decade sound as good as they do due to his vocals and guitar playing. It kind of makes me sorry I didn’t go see them when they came to town last month.

Edited: June 8th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/3/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Brooklyn Roads” by Neil Diamond

This was Neil Diamond’s first single after signing with MCA records back in 1968. Diamond had already scored numerous hits for Burt Burn’s Bang record label and was now ready to debut on the MCA distributed UNI label. The song highlighted a far more personal side of Neil Diamond with its autobiographical lyrics and adult oriented orchestral arrangements. It appeared on the album “Velvet Gloves And Spit” which also included the singles “Two-Bit Manchild,” “Sunday Sun” and a remake of the song “Shilo.” The album also included the most unhip and embarrassing song in the entire Neil Diamond canon, the anti-drug “Pot Smoker’s Song” in which drug addicts share their bizarre stories.

Edited: June 2nd, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/1/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Graduation Day” by The Beach Boys

The Four Freshman took this song to the top twenty back in 1956 and the Wilson brothers were listening. And while The Beach Boys certainly were influenced by the Freshmen, the Freshmen were in turn influenced by vocal groups of the Big Band Era like The Pied Pipers and The Modernaires, as well as the close harmonies employed by numerous Barbershop Quartets that came before them. The song celebrates a rite of passage that many are embarking upon as we speak. I was torn between choosing this vocal group gem, or to let it all hang out and go with “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper.

Edited: May 31st, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 5/30/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Ram On” by Paul & Linda McCartney

“Ram” is one of my all-time favorite albums…pretty close to the top of the heap in my estimation. I just listened to the newly released vinyl mono mix of this record today for the first time. The mono mix hasn’t been in circulation since its original release as a radio station promo back in 1971. It has now been reissued as a limited edition 180 gram vinyl pressing to as part of McCartney’s ongoing “Archive Collection” re-releases. It’s like meeting a friend that you are totally comfortable and intimately familiar with only to realize that there are nuances to their personality you never knew anything about. The differences between the stereo and mono mixes of this record are minor, however if you’ve listened to it pretty consistently over the last 40 years (like I have), you can feel them without being able to put your finger on what they actually are. As for this song, it’s still one of my favorites by Sir Paul. Its title was a bit of a pun since Paul used to go by the pseudonym Paul Ramon (Ram On) when he stayed at hotels, etc. He began performing this song on stage for the first time during his 2010 tour.

Edited: May 29th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 5/26/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Outside Now” by Frank Zappa

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with Frank Zappa’s “Joe’s Garage” records. As usual, Zappa’s heart was in the right place when it came to issues like government control, censorship and organized religion, and he certainly could play guitar. But I never really got off on Zappa’s scatological and somewhat immature lyrical side. “Joe’s Garage” highlights the best and worst of what Zappa had to offer. For amazing guitar work and musically challenging material, you didn’t have to look much further than tracks like “Watermelon And Easter Hay,” “Packard Goose” and this one. Even though some of the lyrics are a little wanting, they work because the music is so good. Just one listen to this track proves out the fact that Zappa was one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Then there are songs on the record that are perverted and immature like “Crew Slut,” “Keep It Greasy” “Wet T Shirt Night” and “Catholic Girls” that offer little in the realm of enlightenment. Now, I do have a sense of humor and I get Zappa’s brand of satire, but unfortunately many who listen to this stuff take it seriously and that’s where things get a little sticky for me. Anyway, here’s a live version of “Outside Now” from Paris in 1980 featuring Ike Willis and Ray White on vocals and guitar, Tommy Mars on keyboards, Arthur Barrow on bass, David Logeman on drums and, of course, Frank on lead guitar.

Edited: May 25th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 5/25/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “L.A.” by Neil Young

A song from what has become the great lost Neil Young album, “Time Fades Away.” The album was recorded on the 1973 tour that followed Young’s biggest album “Harvest,” but as usual Young did not give in to fan expectations and performed mostly new rock’n’roll material on the tour that had little or no connection to the country sound of “Harvest.” He has said in interviews that “It was recorded on my biggest tour ever, 65 shows in 90 days. Money hassles among everyone concerned ruined this tour and record for me but I released it anyway so you folks could see what could happen if you lose it for a while.” Young was so dissatisfied with the murky sound of the record and what was going on with him and the band personally, that he never released it on CD. It has been completely out of print for many years, yet it contains some of his greatest songs including “Don’t Be Denied,” “Journey Through The Past,” the title track and this song.

Edited: May 24th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 5/24/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “A Pillow Of Winds” by Pink Floyd

This song’s title was inspired by the games of mahjongg that Roger Waters and Nick Mason would play with their wives during the recording of their 1971 sixth album called “Meddle.” We’re all familiar with the albums that followed this one — the brilliant “Dark Side,” “Wish” and “Animals”…and the colossal turd that is “The Wall.” Everything else after “The Wall” is completely and utterly expendable and disposable. Everything before “Meddle” was a mixed bag with the “Sid” period giving us some classic singles and interesting psychedelia on uneven records like “Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” and “A Saucerful Of Secrets,” a couple of soundtracks that are worth a cursory listen but probably worked better within the context of their films, a couple of compilations like the brilliant “Relics,” and the patchy “A Nice Pair” and “Ummagumma,” and then there’s “Meddle’s” predecessor “Atom Heart Mother,” which has its moments but ultimately was a warm-up for what was to follow. “Meddle” is a record that rightly gets overshadowed by the records that followed it even though it includes a clutch of classics like the side-long “Echoes,” “One Of These Days,” “Fearless” and this mellow masterwork featuring the vocals of David Gilmour.

Edited: May 23rd, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 5/13/12 – Double Mother’s Day Edition!

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Mother People” and “Motherly Love” by The Mothers Of Invention

It’s Mother’s Day and you should always listen to you MOTHERS! Have a Happy Mother’s Day!

Edited: May 12th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 5/10/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “It’s Too Late” Demo by Carole King

The makings of a hit record were all there on the demo. Superb, succinct lyrics that tell a story of heartbreak and disappointment with economy and little melodrama. You can hear all of the instrumentation that ended up on the final “Tapestry” version of the song in the piano accompaniment. Who could argue with her voice…perfect for this song…little drama…pretty matter-of-fact with a dose of resignation. This track is taken from a new Carole King release called “The Legendary Demos” featuring the early versions of songs like “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (The Monkees), “Take Good Care Of My Baby” (Bobby Vee), “Crying In The Rain” (The Everly Brothers), “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (Aretha Franklin) and many tunes that she would take to the charts on her own. It’s a great look into King’s creative process and, especially on the early songs, makes one wonder why she wasn’t a solo hit maker way before 1970.

Edited: May 10th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 5/5/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Long, Long, Long” by The Beatles

One of George Harrison’s most underrated songs and a highlight of “The White Album” for sure. The song was actually recorded by “The Threetles” since John Lennon was not present for any of the sessions. Lennon’s absence kind of illustrates the short shrift that Harrison’s songs were given during Beatle recording sessions, considering that songs like “Something,” “Not Guilty” and “Sour Milk Sea” were left off this album and “All Things Must Pass” “Isn’t It A Pity” and “Let It Down” were left off of “Let It Be” in favor of much weaker material like “Dig It,” “Maggie Mae” and “Good Night.” The rattling heard during the psychedelic meltdown at the end of the track was from a bottle of wine that was left on top of a speaker during the recording. Happy “mistakes” like this were often left in making the recording more interesting and more psychedelic. “Long, Long, Long” is one in a long line of Harrison love songs that can be directed at either his wife or the Lord.

Edited: May 4th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 4/28/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Burnin’ For You” by Blue Oyster Cult

Not my typical fare for Song Of The Day, but a solid FM rock song from the 1970s. Actually, the reason I picked it was that earlier this evening I was making a cup of tea and put a cup of water into the microwave to quickly heat it up. Three minutes later, I reached to get my cup of water and fumbled it resulting in second degree burns on my hand and wrist. One trip to the emergency room later… and a few pain pills…and I’m feeling much better. So here’s your Song Of The Day since earlier tonight I was literally “Burnin’ For You.”

Edited: April 27th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 4/25/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Soul Sacrifice” by Santana

This blazing performance comes to you from the Woodstock Music & Arts Fair, the mother of all rock festivals. It’s amazing to watch a then, mostly unknown, Carlos Santana catch fire in front of the biggest audience he had ever played to at that point…not to mention that he was tripping his face off on acid while doing so. Santana’s appearance was part of a barter deal made by manager Bill Graham – if Woodstock wanted Graham’s premium acts Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead, they would have to take Santana and give them a good slot in the festival. Obviously, Graham already knew what the Woodstock Nation was soon to find out…that they were to be treated to a career-making performance for the ages!

Edited: April 24th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 4/18/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Ice Age” by Dr. John

Whether you know him as Mac Rebennack, “The Night Tripper” or Dr. John, he’s been responsible for healthy doses of New Orleans swamp, Gris Gris and funk for over 40 years…and on the strength of his latest record, The Doctor is most definitely IN! Over the last decade or two, Dr. John has been searching musically for some relevance releasing albums full of standards and light Jazz fare that didn’t do him any favors toward advancing his career at its advanced stage. The pairing of the good Doctor with producer Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys has given him some down-home mojo, bringing the quirk back to his sound not heard since the days of “In The Right Place” back in 1973. The album is solid through and through and surely is a contender for one of the best so far this year. I’m sure you’ll a-Gris Gris.

Edited: April 17th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 4/8/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “5 O’Clock In The Morning” by Godley & Creme

Kevin Godley and Lol Creme were one half of British 70s super group 10cc, along with Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman. After the release of 10cc’s album “How Dare You” in 1976, Godley and Creme decided to leave the 10cc fold in order to record an album to promote an early guitar synthesizer they invented called The Gizmo. While the Stewart-Gouldman version of 10cc went on to score the huge hit, “The Things We Do For Love,” Godley and Creme worked on a three-record set called “Consequences.” The record was a six-sided sprawling curiosity at best, featuring lots of atmospheric instrumental music, a full story disc with Gizmo sound effects narrated by British comic Peter Cook, and a few songs including this, the most 10cc-like song in the collection. Even with assists from guest artists Sarah Vaughan and Mel Collins, and a deluxe box set presentation with booklet, the whole affair was pretty much dead on arrival. In retrospect, there are a few good songs that sound like the Godley & Creme we’d come to know…and while the album and The Gizmo never took off, they did recover over the next decade by producing hit videos for the likes of Sting, The Police, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Duran Duran. They also scored a late 80s hit with their video and song, “Cry.”

Edited: April 8th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 4/7/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Fire” by Bruce Springsteen

It boggles the mind the songs that were left on the cutting room floor from Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness On The Edge Of Town” recording sessions. There was a plethora of material to choose from due to the legal problems that resulted in a three year span between “Born To Run” and “Darkness.” As a result, Bruce gave now-classic songs like this one, “Because The Night” and “Talk To Me” away to The Pointer Sisters, Patti Smith and Southside Johnny respectively. Rather than release what would have been a solid double or triple album back in 1978, he chose to leave classics like “Rendezvous,” “Spanish Eyes,” “Outside Looking In” and “The Promise” off the record entirely making fans wait 30 years for their eventual release on “The Promise.” Two years later, he did release a pretty solid double album with “The River” which included the “Darkness” outtakes “Independence Day,” “The Ties That Bind” and “Sherry Darlin’.” I know of at least four CDs of outtakes from those sessions just waiting for eager ears to officially sample in superb fidelity. When it does come down the pike…and I’m sure it WILL come down the pike, “The River” sessions box set will also be superb!

Edited: April 7th, 2012

Song Of the Day by Eric Berman – 3/30/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “We The People” by Garland Jeffreys

Back in 1980, Garland Jeffreys released an album that the record company he was recording for really got behind in an effort to break him big. The record was “Escape Artist” and featured an all-star backing band that included Lou Reed, Roy Bittan (E Street Band), Danny Federici (E Street Band), G.E. Smith (Bob Dylan, SNL Band), Adrian Belew (King Crimson, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Frank Zappa), Larry Fast (Peter Gabriel), plus Reggae stars Lynton Kwesi Johnson and Big Youth. The record was a solid effort that got some radio airplay with its cover of the song “96 Tears.” The record came with an additional 4-song EP that featured a clutch of Reggae tunes including this gem. In the past, I featured another song from this EP called “Miami Beach,” this one is equally as good!

Edited: March 29th, 2012

Song Of the Day by Eric Berman – 3/21/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Get Down” by Gilbert O’Sullivan

You can deride ol’ Gilbert O’Sullivan all you want, but you can’t deny the guy wrote his own hits…and they were indelible. Perhaps, his getup of a floppy hat and short trousers didn’t make you stand up and shout…or maybe ballads like “Alone Again (Naturally)” and “Clair” weren’t to your liking. But his 1973 hit, “Get Down,” made up for all that moroseness (is that a word?) and syrupy drip with its pseudo T. Rex glam slam rhythms and lyrics about a dog. While he hasn’t set the charts on fire since the 1970s, O’Sullivan has not been resting on his laurels…he released an album just last year called “Gilbertville.”

Edited: March 20th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 3/14/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Sailing Shoes/Hey Julia/Sneakin’ Sally Thru The Alley” by Robert Palmer

This is the opening triptych of songs from Palmer’s debut solo album from 1974. But it wasn’t the first time we heard from Palmer since he had been a member of the band Vinegar Joe before this releasing three critically acclaimed albums that were ignored by the public during the early ’70s. “Sailing Shoes” was a Little Feat cover written by Lowell George. The band backing Palmer on this album was indeed Little Feat who would continue working with Palmer on his second album, “Pressure Drop” the following year and backed him on tour. “Hey Julia” was a Palmer original, while the album’s title cut is an Allen Toussaint original. There is a great video on YouTube of “Sneakin’ Sally” that shows where the album cover shot came from, but it does not include the other two songs. (http://youtu.be/ICPAmS1TtIM – Thanks to Mike for pointing this out to me.) Palmer would go on to score numerous hits on the charts, create some of the most iconic music videos of all time and join forces with members of Duran Duran in the group Power Station. Palmer left us too early succumbing to a heart attack at the age of 54.

Edited: March 14th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 3/10/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Man In The Long Black Coat” by Bob Dylan

Selected later songs like this one by Bob Dylan are a slam dunk. Going to see him in concert is total a crap shoot…you never know what you’re gonna get, but if you go with low expectations, you should be fine. Albums by Dylan fall somewhere in between from the sublime like “Love And Theft,” “Blood On The Tracks,” “Street Legal,” “Blonde On Blonde,” “Highway 61 Revisited” and “Freewheelin’” to name a few…to the ridiculous like “Down In The Groove,” “Under The Red Sky” and “Knocked Out Loaded.” Some would put “Self Portrait” in the latter category; by I think it’s a masterpiece! Fortunately, 1989 was a great year for Dylan records with the release of “Oh Mercy” and the pairing of his royal Bobness with producer Daniel Lanois. Lanois gave Dylan the perfect settings for his songs, and on this record the set of songs was exemplary featuring now-Dylan classics like “Most Of The Time,” “What Was It You Wanted,” (later expertly covered by Willie Nelson), “Ring Them Bells” and “Political World.”

Edited: March 10th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 3/4/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Cheese And Onions” by The Rutles

From the 1969 album “Yellow Submarine Sandwich” comes this Nasty classic from the Rutles’ psychedelic period. At this point, the prefab four were at odds with each other. Stig was becoming too bossy in the studio trying to control the group’s sessions. Both Dirk and Barry had both left the group and returned. The end was certainly near due to the boys growing apart and poor business deals set up by Stig’s financial manager Ron Decline. Yet they did managed to squeeze out some earth shakingly great music in those final sessions. After the “Stig Is Dead” rumors began to circulate based on the artwork to their “Shabby Road” album, Barry decided to stay in bed for a year leading to the “Barry Is Also Dead” rumors that swept throughout the music world. After the “Let It Rut” release the next year, the group began to sue each other and Stig accidentally sued himself which was the straw that broke the camel’s back. However, the Rutle legacy lives on…and on…and on…

Edited: March 4th, 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

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