not everybody listens to music, but for those who do, everybody's tastes are different, curiously so.
the last few days i've been struck by two pieces of music that i cannot get out of my head. i drive a truck for 10 or 12 hours a day, can't get out, can't stop, can't do anything else. so the stuff i think about has a long time to work.
i don't see how these two pieces of music could be so different, and yet both have affected me strongly. so this is what i'm listening to, at the moment. what about you?
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2021 wrap-up, here are some songs that caught my ear over the course of the past year. Buncha good stuff here, go grab a f*ckin beer and sit with me a spell.
Natalie Hemby- Heroes. I love her vocal phrasing, sounds so confidently casual. I need to dig in a bit on her, seems she's a Grammy winning songwriter from around Nashville and has this record out now which is supposedly very solid top to bottom. OK WHOA! we've probably all heard her songs already. On the radio performed by some of the top performers on the country charts if not elsewhere.
Brandi Carlile seemingly came out of nowhere a couple years ago at least to me, and continuously gets my attention, each time as if for the first time. Couldny think of or find any specific songs, so here's a Tiny Desk Concert that sums her up pretty well. A current driving force, a strong womanly presence on the US music scene. She's been round for like ever and the TDC is from 2012. It gives a good sense of where she's come rom musically.
And here's a latest release from 2021. Her songwriting is super strong, and oh that voice!
Allison Krauss & Robert Plant released a new record in 2021 and all I've heard is fantastic- although I believe there's only one original. The 1st release was this cover the great Randy Weeks song, Can't Let Go. Stand out stuff, Robert Plant just keeps on keepin on! first the studio version:
And another Tiny Desk Concert, live version that's somewhat more "electric" with great guitar work & some blazing solos by none other than JD McPherson, adding a real authentic feel to this awesome music- elevating it somewhat dramatically IMO from the more down tempo studio versions of these songs!
"The session was filmed at Nashville’s Sound Emporium, where the Led Zeppelin frontman and famed vocalist recorded Raise The Roof as well as portions of their 2007 debut collaborative album, Raising Sand. Plant and Krauss were backed by Viktor Krauss on electric bass and electric guitar, multi-instrumentalist Stuart Duncan, upright bassist Dennis Crouch, guitarist JD McPherson and percussionist Jay Bellerose for their Tiny Desk (Home) Concert."
OK now I have no idea where The Felice Brothers came from but I feel like I've known them a while. Just a feeling tho. I loved this tune straight out of the gate. I mean, how often does any song feature a coronet? Great recording, sounds like it was recorded in a gymnasium or at a poll or s someplace really "live", acoustically. I love the way the song builds as the guy almost talks his way through it... and that horn floating around as if on a raft somewhere nearby... maybe my favorite song of 2021, I hope the rest of their record is as good!
Seems "Jazz" is the lead-off track here- if ya feel it, dig the whole album, From Dreams To Dust
When I 1st heard Neil Francis' Can't Stop The Rain, I felt like it was a song I'd always known. Kinda gospel-y & bluesy, with a joyous vibe, good stuff here.
The Black Keys put out a record in 2021 that's a straight up cover record of a bunch of Blues Tunes called Delta Kream- name taken from a William Egggelston photo of Mississippi Ice cream stand he photographed back in the late 60s or 70s? Anyway the record kills with a pile of great old songs brought to new life by these amazing guys!
Here's some background on the photographer for anyone interested- you may know some his photos as he's been around. Let the album roll and read a while
Spinning off into another direction, back to the feminine side of things... Goat Girl is a UK (London) based post-punk group and this song got some airplay this year around my radio world... It comes and goes, alternately soaring and grounded with a driving guitar base and fine harmonies. Nice textures here, I like it
Here's young band andI mean high school age. These guys had planned to quit after graduation but their record got such attention that it seems they're going to stick it out, it seems. Here's a NYT article on them as that's where they're from
So all that is well & good n stuff, BUT the outstanding song of the year for me and many many others it seems- is the breakout tune from the English girl duo, Wet Leg. Their song Chaise Longue is fun, snappy, sarcastic & wry, astute & poppy & cool, just so much fun!
Seemingly very self aware, they've captured the World's heart and seem to know it. They're doing a US tour this spring and as far as I know all shows are SOLD OUT. They've moved the Philly gig to a larger venue and additional tix go on sale this Friday (tomorrow)!
Good for them!
Wet Leg is
Rhian Teasdale – lead vocals, rhythm guitar Hester Chambers – lead vocals, lead guitar
along with three session and touring musicians they picked up this year,
The deaths of most people in Show Business don’t usually get to me. Hell death doesn’t usually make me too emotional until it’s somebody REAL close. Call me jaded or whatever. After so many people in my life have died, I’ve come to view it as the same as birth. Just one of the three parts of living: birth, life, & death, in which birth and death are interchangeable and life is what you make it.
John Prine tho. His first album came out in 1970 or so. I’ve felt all along as though I’ve known him- having friends in Nashville, I’ve gotten to hear stories lately- recently, of his hanging out in town, of his being right in there as an active and socially engaging and totally accessible member of the local music scene and their community.
John Prine has some special stuff going on without a doubt. Yet remained humble and acted as if even he wasn’t 100% sure where his words came from or how he even managed to get them all together to form songs. I’ve been listening to his songs, to interviews, and reading articles about him. Fortunately I got to see him perform definitely on 2 occasions, decades apart- and I FEEL like I saw him a third time in there somewhere between the 2. Although maybe it’s just because he’s always been in my head? Been a significant part of my life’s music? The most recent time I saw him perform was just 2 years ago. Maybe 1/3 or more of his performance was songs from that first record! They still had the exact same impact as they did when I first heard them, when I was 16. I laughed, I cried, my heart soared! I rejoiced in wonder at how a set of songs could have that kind of lasting impact. That touches you the same after all these years, after hearing them hundreds and hundreds of times.
No other musician’s work does that to me- with the possible exception of Jackson Browne whose first few records came straight at me in a more deeply personal way. John Prine’s songs are far more accessible to everybody because his folksy way of writing is so naturally.... all inclusive? Straightforward? Down-home-y? The magic of John Prine’s songwriting is that his words cut across all barriers of time and aging and place. They are written in such a way that your great grandmother can relate to them as easily as your 14 year old son would. Some songwriters write from within; their songs, as a result, can only be felt by those who’ve experienced similar things. John Prine’s songs come to us, through him, from the entire universe, seemingly from all human existence.
I feel like I’ve lost a brother. We have lost an American Treasure. This ARTICLE is great and seems so typical of the guy I thought I knew all these years, all these DECADES, all my life.
John Prine: turns out he is exactly the guy you always wanted to believe he was. Sweet. Humble. Loving. An accidental genius. I hope he Rests In Peace, where ever he is now.
A singing friend who also happens to ride bicycles and I have been getting out for social distanced rides -- and there is an old Railroad tunnel in the middle of nowhere on our route -- about a 900 foot of tunnel. Nine seconds of natural reverb is hard to pass up for choral singers. We go to the center and set up the zoom digital recorder with a Dead Cat Cover* and in between the other riders, passing airplanes and crow or two, we get recordings. They are not perfect but they have had an effect on people who are stuck indoors. Here is one of those recordings from what we call The Tunnel Tunes Project. When I can get a Bass and an Alto to join us I'll post an updated version.
...hi Ricochet; as you know I am more into the parallel World of music than the mainstream: also I prefer the music; sound and concepts than the lyrics based songs but this artist seems good; specially "mustang"where music and lyrics are working together to have a high quality level of song. Thank you
tom hope you are safe/well in july 1970 an up and coming group called the allman brothers performed at the Love Valley Rock Festival in the cowboy town of Love Valley, NC near Statesville around 100,000 people showed up including me i was 18 years old......some school teachers from florida camped next to me i was sleeping in my 1960 chevy they invited me over to their campfire and got me stoned for the first time i can still hear "Tied to the Whippin Post" like it was yesterday http://www.shelbyinfo.com/anniversary-of-ncs-woodstock-is-here-cms-16427
I love Pharrell Williams and all his happy happy music!
I OTOH am listening to the Allman Brothers Band Fillmore East Concerts extended release with all sorts of additional material on it, stuff not featured on the original Live At Fillmore East album. Some of the songs were, however, featured on Eat A Peach.
So freakin great, so timeless- energetic and joyful noises indeed. Some of my all-time favorite music right here.
Wow man thanks for this. I’ve been a John Zorn fan for many years and I’m always surprised to find another live set from Naked City with stuff Ive not heard yet- or a studio release I hadn’t known of. What a fantastic band! Amazing dynamics and just an excellent and very deep rapport within the band. They really had a long moment together.
I saw Bill Frisell with Charles Lloyd a couple years back- and Lucinda Williams sat in on vocals- this in a Lincoln Center venue with windows overlooking Columbus Circle. It was nice but of course nothing at all like Naked City.
I’ve got some other John Zorn stuff too- him covering Ennio Morricone- among other things.
Wonder what he is doing these days? I’m actually in New York fairly often but his name doesn’t come up.
Day 7 since Charlie passed away, Seven days into my Rolling Stones library (much more to go). Just got home from a long stay with an ill family member. Kinda shocked not to see more mention of Mr. Watts here. Maybe everyone is still in shock, the Brits have lost a National Treasure and the rest of the world has lost a very fine, talented, true gentleman.
They interviewed Jeannie Lewis on the Music Show last week & can't get Fasten Your Wings With Love out of my head so have had her first 4 albums ( on tape ) for the week, First heard her at Uni when they did Childheads Doll She sang the fiballie then the lights came up but not a single person in the 2oo audience moved or said a word we were all mesmorised . An amazing powerful voice Unfortunately only available as used vinal & not on You Tube AFAIK.
Thanks a million for that Don't know why my search failed Even better there was a clip from the Kinsellas Show when Saddo who was sitting a couple of tables away in the audience got up and did a jam. Kinsellas was an abandoned funeral parlor from the time when the big US funeral companies moved in & took over the local funeral industry. It was right in the middle of the Gay section of Darlinghurst and had so many fabuluos shows but was just not big enough to be profitable The Red Symons who led the band was already in Skyhooks by then which is where some of you may recognise the name they were big in the US in the early 90's . The down side with all of jeannie's recordings is they were through EMI who for some strange reson shifted all of there recordings down scal so her voice was substantially higher than in the clips
I've heard a few interesting things lately, mostly on various radio programs or stations. YES!! Radio is ALIVE & well. Here are a few things I've culled off the radio in the past days, weeks, or months
Today I heard a rock solid tune from rapper Common.Tthis is pretty great actually- you should give it a listen. It features son of African great Fela Kuti and has a bumpin, energetic afro-pop vibe. When We Move
Next up... listening to WRTI the jazz & classical station out of Philly on their Friday Night jazz program last week I heard Brandee Younger- she's an American Harpist who is doing quite a lot of different stuff on her instrument! Listening to this I actually thought I was hearing piano- nope. Yes there's some piano in this but by & large the harp is the dominant instrument! VERY cool stuff here- YES! jazz is alive & well and tere are a load of super talented youngrmusicians carrying the ball in the 21st century.
Love & Struggle
Speaking of afro pop, I heard again recently, Angelique Kidjo's killer version of Jimi Hendrix's Voodoo Child (Slight Return)- from 2018. Always great this is absolutely worth a listen, even if it's a "golden oldie" - but forget Jimi, this is pure Angelique.
meanwhile over on another public station up at the left end of the dial a guy named Michael Kiwanuka has been getting some airplay & I've liked what I've heard from him
One More Night
A late night drive home yielded this gem some time back, in the Saturday Night Blues Show's side bit, Blue Dimensions. Not quite Blues, not quite... able to nail it into any particular category, I just call it good music.
Adia Victoria's down tempo Magnolia Blues
Finally, the young English woman Yola has been getting serious airplay locally. Produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach this album keeps delivering solid tunes. For being from England it's as if she grew up somewhere in the U.S. South
Diamond Studded Shoes
Chers everyone! Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all.
Going back through 10+ years of this thread, if you add up all the votes for "Best" (or "Your Favorite") "Rock Songs of all Time", this one probably takes the #1 slot ... or at a minimum, is no doubt in the top 5 as voted by Britbikers, so we've heard it a thousand times.
But it's more interesting with the backstory. The Stones were in Los Angeles to record some music, and were preparing to do this song. Someone said "It'd be really great to have a woman to sing the backup vocals on this", and one of the studio dudes said "I know JUST the one", and got on the phone at midnight and called Merry Clayton, a 21-year-old gospel singer who lived just down the road. He read off the lyrics on the phone, and she and her husband said "I don't want to be doing no songs about rape and murder." But when they realized the overall context, as a song decrying the evil that humans do to each other as well as the good, she agreed.
She hopped into the car in her pajamas and hair curlers, 4 months pregnant, and was at the studio in 15 minutes under a set of headphones and a mike in front of her.
The rest is her place in history; her background vocals and her ferocious, off-the-chain lead on "...it's just a shot away, it's just a shot away" will live as long as vinyl and bits and bytes last. Ignore Mick and boys ... listen to Merry.
Merry has had a lot of high and low spots since then (she had a miscarriage the day after the recording, and lost her legs in a car crash 8 years ago) but she's still performing and still an amazing and upbeat personality.
Sorry, no links. I was in a thrift store today. Some old hippie must've died and left his CD collection to them. I got Low Spark of High Healed Boys, Harvest, Electric Warrior, Ten Years After, and I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die for $1 each. They also had the first Captain Beyond and some Zappa, but I already have them.
Matter of opinion but i always preferred the stones when they played good time stuff. Entertaining rather than messaging. We get too much music to top yourself to. They even looked they were having a good time playing it. Lovely clean old sound from those fender amps.
You're right about all that ... but I'll add that Bo Diddley never got enough credit for starting almost anything that got started in original rock and roll .... Those guitar licks and Mick's dance steps are pure Bo D. ......