Friday, January 20, 2017

Weekend Mix: Radio Somewhere

Sal's title and mix.

In an email I told him I'd received Bruce's bio, "Born To Run," during the Solstistic festivities.

I admitted that the only Springsteen album I ever bought and played more than once is "Born To Run". I have a largely unheard yardsale copy of "The River".

I bought "Born To Run" when it came out because of the hype, and that's probably why I resisted loving it. Maybe it was an east/west coast thing.  I didn't "get" Hall and Oates either.
The title, "Tenth Ave Freeze Out" and "She's The One" are the songs I remember.

A friend had an extra ticket, so I went to see "The River" tour October 30th 1980, at the LA Sports Arena. Our seats were about 10 rows up behind the stage, a little left of center. It was almost like being in the band, looking out at the crowd. Bruce masterfully played the whole room, and made a point of making sure I witnessed all his solos. He can really play guitar.
One of the best shows I've ever seen. Sitting behind Max was amazing. They played for hours.
I didn't know most of the songs, but I was totally into it.

My admission was an invitation for dialogue. I figured I'd get schooled by an expert.

Sal gave some advice and made me a mix.

I know "Wrecking Ball came out this century, and "Girls In Their Summer Clothes" was a free download on iTunes in 2006, otherwise I have no idea which albums they are from.

Sal's email:

"So many are always clamoring about Brendan O'Brien's production on the last four Bruce records, as if he told Bruce, "This is the way it is and nothing you say will change my mind." I am sure Bruce was responsible for plenty of what made the final cuts. I don't hear a problem, other than the records don't sound like old Bruce records, which probably doesn't sit well with older fans, who think his last good record was "Darkness On The Edge Of Town."
I also think people had a hard time with Bruce trying to make pop music. But not me. I love these records for that very reason. They are filled with great pop songs, as well as some of the thinking man's Bruce tunes, just to keep things honest.
This is a compilation I put together from those records. You can decide if and when you'd like to go in. You may not want to at all."

I'm the guy who thinks the Stones last good one was "Exile", so I get the "Darkness" thing.

I jumped in feet first and was immediately struck by how good the songs are, and the attention to detail in the craft. So full of spirit. Obviously everyone involved gives a shit. According to "Born To Run", Bruce is always fully engaged. I hear that.

All the qualities missing from "A Bigger Bang" for instance.

It's a great mix so I wanted to share it.

I decided not to do any research and let these songs just hang together. I don't know which albums they come from, or when. I'm guessing, based on Sal's email, it's all the last four, late model, 21st century issue.

If any newbie's came along with material this strong we'd all be going nuts over it.


Radio Somewhere

Time to dig out that copy of "The River". And then, of course there's "The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle". My work is cut out for me.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


Here's a rockin' little record that would not have sounded out of place on the "Nuggets" collection.

So, who is it?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Boz Scaggs: Lost & Found

As lead guitarist for the Steve Miller Band, Boz Scaggs appeared on both "Children Of The Future" and "Sailor." In 1968, he signed with Atlantic Records and released his major label solo debut recorded in Muscle Shoals. Boz Scaggs was a major part of three of the coolest records of the 60's.

In 1976, "Silk Degrees" became a colossal smash; a hybrid of funk, soul and disco and one of the coolest records of the 70's, appealing to just about everyone.

In the 80's, Boz took a break, releasing only two records, neither of which was spectacular, though in retrospect, both had some solid material.

But that's not why I am here.

Through sheer happenstance, I found out that two of my favorite CDs of the 90's had both been reissued on vinyl for the first time in 2012.  "Some Change" and "Come On Home," both by Boz Scaggs, were records that seemed to come and go in 1994 and 1997 respectively, at a time when few were paying attention to Mr. Scaggs. The former, a set of originals feeling like an updated and matured version of "Silk Degrees," recorded by Boz and the great timekeeper, Ricky Fataar, with both playing everything, save a horn or a keyboard, here and there. The latter, a sharp collection of R&B and soul covers, created with some of the best guys in the business, including "Hutch" Hutchinson, Jim Keltner, Fred Tackett, and the aforementioned Ricky Fataar. Horns arrangements were handled by the legendary Willie Mitchell.

I played both of these records to death when they were released and I've been wearing out the grooves of the vinyl copies I recently acquired, still finding both to be near-perfect records.

Below, you will find both Boz's version of the title track, as well as the original, for good measure, which was written by Willie Mitchell and released as a Syl Johnson b-side. But the track above, is the catalyst for this whole post.

"Lost It" is a Scaggs original that quite frankly, tears me up. This is a heart-rending ballad, beautifully sung, with an arrangement that seems to ride perfectly in that sad, soulful groove without ever crossing the line into schmaltz.

I've been thinking about this song because I had been thinking about an idea that a reader suggested last year. I don't recall how he described it specifically, but it had to do with songs that break your heart, or favorite ballads, or something that had to do with music and tears. "Lost It," is without question, one that does it to me every time.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Songs Of The Week, 2017: 1/8-1/14

Rock N Roll With Me -Donovan
Ace Of Spades- Eli "Paperboy" Reed
I Can't Read- Tin Machine
Last Nite- The Detroit Cobras
Don't Pass Me By- Field Music
I Don't Want To Tie You Down- Bill Lloyd
Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid- Hall & Oates


Thursday, January 12, 2017

We're Having A ...

Having nothing at all to do with the 60 degree January weather here in NYC, I swear, here is the U.K.'s Pama International and their new cover of the Motown monster, "Heat Wave."

As my friend put it, "I think it's pretty good for a ubiquitous 60's song." I agree. I think it's pretty great, actually. Now I must look into what else Pama International have done.

(h/t Lesley H.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Living The Wyldlife

My favorite punks are back! This is the new one from Wyldlife, who continue to brilliantly keep the punk spirit alive with a two and half minute blast of nothing but hooks and a video that makes you want to slap the shit out of them. If that ain't punk, then I'm happy-go-lucky. But singer Dave Feldman and gang have always been more than that. I knew that after loving their first two kick-ass records and Little Steven Van Zandt finally found out, as their new record, "Out On Your Block" drops on his Wicked Cool label on January 20th.

Check out the new single, "Contraband."

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

David Bowie: One Year Gone

A year ago today, David Bowie shocked the world yet again, this time by dying. Then, over the course of 12 months, so did everyone else. Too many literally, and many, many more figuratively. Bowie seemed to fuck up 2016 for all of us.

"Ziggy Stardust" was one of the first records I latched onto that was outside of my little pop circle of The Beatles, Beach Boys and AM radio. This led me to "Mott" by Mott The Hoople, "The Slider" by T.Rex and then, well it all exploded. I went as far ahead as I could, until I had no choice but to go back and discover what I had missed. But it was Bowie, and that opening drum beat of "Five Years" that rattled me in the best possible ways.

I recall a day at my shop, around the time of Bowie's 1997 release "Earthling." My friend had come in before I officially opened the doors. We started listening to "Earthling," he as he shopped, and me as I priced CDs. As each song finished, he would look my way from the floor of the store, and we'd both just shrug our shoulders. By the 4th or 5th song, he finally asked, "What do you think?" I said, "I don't know yet." 20 years later, with a fairly recent release of "Earthling" on vinyl, I paid it a new visit after not hearing it for years. I still don't know yet. I've lived with his final recording "Blackstar" for an entire year. I've played it dozens of times and I still don't know yet what I think.

This is not a bad thing. I do know I enjoy just about every note I hear on all of his records, even if I don't know yet how much.

I've been complaining for years how new music from new artists simply doesn't move me in the ways it used to. When I hear something, when someone says, "You should listen to the new record by....," I know, right away, it ain't happening. I know. I have no desire, there is nothing moving me to go back.

Bowie's music, from the earliest, Anthony Newley pop of his 60's, to the classic recordings of his 70's to the most commercial and biggest seller, "Let's Dance," and even the weakest music he made in the late 80's and early 90's, still wants me to come back to it and I have no problem doing so. David Bowie's records, all of them, including the ill-fated Tin Machine records, and especially the records of the new millennium, which contain some of the man's best work, have something to offer. Bowie's music begs you to pay attention, even if you hate the man. "Earthling" may have tapped into the electronica and jungle beats that had already been popular in the clubs, but Bowie somehow managed to make "Earthling" sound original. That's the key. He made music you can recognize, yet kept it just far enough outside so that you needed to work as hard as he did in order to get inside.

At least that's how I feel about David Bowie's music.