Friday, October 20, 2017

2017-10-20 (One of These Nights - Eagles)

As I went through the Eagles' catalog today, I realized my Mom had most of their albums and their Greatest Hits collections. Nowadays I consider most of their stuff to be soft and cheesy. It was pop music, even back then. But, I guess there's something to be said for accessibility. I listened to these guys a lot. I remember playing this record over and over around 8th or 9th grade. There's a lot of good stuff there.

Going through and finding the right song was not that easy. I wanted to pick an Eagles song for Mom's birthday, today. They started in the early 70's with a sound more like the Byrd's or the Flying Burrito Brothers. That was probably their best years. But, as the 70's went in LA, so did their sound. It became more influenced by the social scene and their popularity. By 1975, this album was picking up on some early disco sounds. The big change happened just after this album, when Joe Walsh replaced Bernie Leadon and brought his cantankerous guitar sound and East Coast vocals into the mix (not a huge fan). It was subtle on Hotel California, but the driving force on The Long Run's title track and "Heartache Tonight".  

I have a specific memory of my freshman year - Don was a senior and we were both playing soccer. Practice started about 45 minutes after school and we lived about 5 minutes away. We would head home after school, grab a snack and sit in the living room to kill off the half hour or so, before practice. We would spin the Eagles - mostly their 'Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)' record, with "Take It Easy", "Desperado", "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and others and sing along. It's a damn shame that neither of us are great singers. Don has his moments and at least he continues to put himself out there. But, we cut our vocal teeth on some of the best stuff and worked out the parts and really listened to ourselves. I felt pretty comfortable on the Eagles' material, with the exception of  "Seven Bridges Road".

Anyway, I thought "One of These Nights" was a good choice. I never asked her, but I imagine this is the type of song that drew Mom to the Eagles. I can also see how she might relate to it's main theme. One of these nights.......

Thursday, October 19, 2017

2017-10-19 (Mother's Little Helper - The Rolling Stones)

Mother's Little Helper - The Rolling Stones (1966)

Wiki - about the song

When I was about 14, Willie's sister (Daphne) let us cruise around with her. The playlist in her car was The Rolling Stones. The song I remember (of course) was "Satisfaction". As soon as I could, I bought a tape with that song, called "Hot Rocks (1964-1971)". It is another one of those tapes that I wore out. It was a regular in the walkman I used when I mowed the yard.

This is not one of my favorites from that collection. But, it always hit hard. There was something reminiscent of the Beverly Hillbillies (to me). The punch and pace and guitar tone -- they give you that anxious feel of uppers. I'm sure my mom would never have eaten pills, but I wonder what the pressure was like back in that time. Did her friends use? Were drugs like this more innocent? How many housewives used "diet pills" for a little pep?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

2017-10-18 (Do Right Woman, Do Right Man - Aretha Franklin)

Carolyn, Erma, and Aretha Franklin with Aretha's husband Ted White at Atlantic Studios (NYC) in 1967.

It helps to turn the volume up before - Do Right Woman, Do Right Man - Aretha Franklin (1967)

There's a great story of how this recording came to be. Wikipedia - Do Right Woman....

It was the B-side to another great perfomance. I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

2017-10-17 (Lay Down Your Weary Tune - Bob Dylan)

Lay Down Your Weary Tune - Bob Dylan (1963)

Lay Down Your Weary Tune - Tim O'Brien (1996)

Poetry about Autumn, Music, Life and how we live it... maybe God. Bob Dylan did it best! One time in Morehead, Tim O'Brien played it because I asked him to. This is another one that passes the test of "songs I've listened to on repeat and sung like they're my own."

Dylan wrote it for his album "The Times They Are a-Changin'", but it didn't make it on there. He said he was trying to capture the feel of a Scottish ballad. I first heard it on his box set "Biograph", which, unfortunately, is not on Spotify.

Monday, October 16, 2017

2017-10-16 (Add It Up - Violent Femmes)

Add It Up - Violent Femmes (1983) or 1988 for me

This is the music I listened to the first time I got high... not the first time I smoked pot, but the first time I actually got high. It was in Cliff Stewart's shed. I can still smell the smell of relighting the joint. We didn't yet know how to lick your finger and tap the side to stop a run. This wasn't because we wanted to be cool. If most of our friends knew, they would disown us. But, we were ready to check it out. I mean, listen to this music. Being a freshman in high school was not totally awful but it was the most dissatisfying episode of my life. I almost picked this song (Prove My Love). It really captures the feeling of that time. The whole album is right there in that pocket.

Anyway, I knew every little sound on this tape (album). Many times I have sung them all, especially the vocals and bass lines. To me, this is punk rock, acoustic guitar and xylophone.

A few years later, another first time I got high. Not the first time I had done LSD, but the first time I got high... I was at Buckeye Lake waiting on the Grateful Dead to play and they were playing every song from this album over the PA. I said something to Alex about it and he said, in his meek and matter-of-fact voice, "oh yea, shall we scoot up close where we can see them?" It was actually them. They were the opening band. How did I not realize this, yet. It wasn't on the ticket. I had wanted to see them for awhile... but not like this.

Good Feeling  -- This one became my favorite on here. It could be a candidate for this song list for different reasons. It is one I've listened to over and over on repeat. It feels so right to sing along.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

2017-10-15 (Old Home Place - J.D. Crowe & the New South)

Old Home Place - J.D. Crowe and the New South (1975)

J.D. Crowe (38 yrs) -- banjo, guitar on "Rock, Salt & Nails and baritone vocals
Jerry Douglas (19 yrs) -- dobro, guitar
Tony Rice (24 yrs) -- guitar and lead vocals
Ricky Skaggs (21 yrs) -- tenor vocals, fiddle, mandolin, violin and viola
Bobby Slone (39 yrs) -- bass, fiddle

J.D. Crowe became well known in bluegrass music in the mid-50's as part of Jimmy Martin's "Sunny Mountain Boys". In the late 60's he started gigging regularly in and around Lexington, Ky, featuring younger talent in his bands. By the mid 70's he had pulled in two of the hottest young talents in bluegrass - Ricky Skaggs and Tony Rice. By this point, at age 21, Skaggs already had a career many would be envious of (, including playing with Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley. Tony Rice hit the scene a couple of years earlier with the Bluegrass Alliance (along with Sam Bush) and was recognized as a top talent guitar player and singer.

This album created some controversy in the bluegrass world as it saw musicians primed for a great new traditional bluegrass project turn to contemporary songwriters for material and mix in an almost rock'n'roll vibe to some songs. It quickly became one of Rounder Records best sellers, ever. It was a short and precious moment in bluegrass history, though. By the next year, Skaggs (along with Douglas) would go on to form his own band, Boone Creek and Rice would move across the country to join up with the first incarnation of the David Grisman Quintet.

It seemed as though it represented a huge shift in bluegrass and caused people to take sides. Either you were down with where these boys were taking things, or you were not. Even though Donnie Rogers is not always known for taking a progressive stance, he was down. He made it over to the Holiday Inn in Lexington to see them live before the album was released. He left the campers and jam sessions in the fields of Masterson Station Park to head over to the main stage for their performance at the Festival of the Bluegrass. And, he spun the record on occasion in our living room. It was the sound that excited new blood bluegrass fans, my brothers included.

From our vantage point, here in 2017, in the world of WNCW's Saturday bluegrass ear assault radio, it is quite subtle. But, this song is really the perfect place to start. It is a song that is very much from the traditional bluegrass theme. Yet, you can hear this band on the first track of this album, poised to take off and leave that traditional bluegrass sound behind.

Friday, October 13, 2017

2017-10-13 (Your Cheatin' Heart - Hank Williams)

Your Cheatin' Heart - Hank Williams (1952)

The single was released as a B-side to Kaw-Liga the same month of Williams death (January 1953) at age 29. To me, this song is the definitive country song. Williams wrote some of the best including "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry""Hey, Good Lookin'", "Cold, Cold Heart""Honky Tonkin'",  "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" and so many others. He was one of those rare talents that combined near perfect songs with a unique sound and great vocal performances.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

2017-10-12 (Doo Wop (That Thing) - Lauryn Hill)

You may know this one -- Doo Wop (That Thing) - Lauryn Hill 1998

This one may tell you a little more about her at this time -- To Zion - Lauryn Hill (w/ Carlos Santana)

After much success with the Fugees, she became pregnant with the child of Bob Marley's son, Rohan. She took a break. During that time, she worked with CeCe Winans, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston on various projects. She took these influences and an outpouring of newly written songs to Bob Marley's studio (Tuff Gong) in Jamaica to record this amazing album. 

And, this one too! -- Superstar - Lauryn Hill

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

2010-10-11 (Pharaoh's Dance - Miles Davis)

Pharaoh's Dance - Miles Davis (1970) 20:04

There are times when nothing else matches the intensity of your emotions. When this album is the right choice, it is because it is the only right choice... the only friend who understands.. the only thing that will let me feel the way I feel with complete understanding and lack of judgment. In it, I am able to rest with these emotions. It stirs them around and allows them react with each other like ingredients in a cauldron, setting off release.

(I'm sorry this one is so long. This song picked itself today. Part of why it "works" is because it is long enough. If not, there is another hour and a half of it on the album.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

2017-10-10 (Bemsha Swing - Thelonious Monk)

Bemsha Swing - Thelonious Monk (1954)

Monk was born 100 years ago today. New Yorker music critic Whitney Balliett once describe Monk's playing as feeling like, "missing the bottom step in the dark". His uncanny sense of  syncopation, timing and chord changes matched with an ease with familiar sounding melodies made him special.  He heard what others heard. He just heard it differently. And, he was uncompromising in his approach.

He came from the bebop era and refused to go along with the commercial turn of early 50's jazz. He had a resurgence in the mid 50's and became one of the giants of that time. He produced several great recordings through the 60's, but all but disappeared during the 70's. Health and mental health issues kept him sidelined until he died of a stroke in 1982.

"10 things you didn't know about thelonious monk, by his son t.s. monk"