Program #599

NELSON RIDDLE ORCHESTRA . . . . . Route 66 Theme (opening theme) . . . . . Route 66 and Other Great TV Themes/More Hit TV Themes
THE YOUNG FRESH FELLOWS . . . . . New Day I Hate . . . . . I Think This Is
THE BUZZCOCKS . . . . . I Don’t Know What To Do With My Life . . . . . Operators Manual
BRENDAN BENSON . . . . . I’m Easy . . . . . Lapalco
SUPERGRASS . . . . . Rush Hour Soul . . . . . Life on Other Planets
ARLO . . . . . Too Sick To Tango . . . . . Stab the Unstoppable Hero
EELS . . . . . What’s A Fella Gotta Do . . . . . Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire
R.E.M. . . . . . Living Well Is The Best Revenge . . . . . Accelerate
DEER TICK . . . . . Easy . . . . . Born On Flag Day
THE SEEDS . . . . . Pushin’ Too Hard . . . . . Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968

THE THREE DEGREES . . . . . When Will I See You Again . . . . . When Will I See You Again: Best of The Three Degrees
JENS LEKMAN . . . . . Sipping On The Sweet Nectar . . . . . Night Falls Over Kortedala
THE TOYS . . . . . A Lover’s Concerto . . . . . The Best of the Girl Groups, Vol. 2
STUART MURDOCH . . . . . Come Monday Night . . . . . God Help The Girl
THE CURE . . . . . Friday I’m In Love . . . . . Galore
THE POSTMARKS . . . . . Go Jetsetter . . . . . Go Jetsetter
CAMERA OBSCURA . . . . . Swans . . . . . My Maudlin Career
PETER & GORDON . . . . . A World Without Love . . . . . The British Invasion: History of British Rock, Vol. 1
MOJAVE 3 . . . . . Breaking The Ice . . . . . Puzzles Like You
THE BEAU BRUMMELS . . . . . Laugh Laugh . . . . . Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968

WILCO . . . . . Sonny Feeling . . . . . Wilco (The Album)
THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND . . . . . Blue Sky . . . . .
RYAN ADAMS . . . . . Rosalie Come And Go . . . . . Gold
ROBYN HITCHCOCK & THE VENUS 3 . . . . . Up To Our Necks . . . . . Goodnight Oslo
THE BAND . . . . . Rag Mama Rag . . . . . Rock of Ages
PROFESSOR LONGHAIR . . . . . Hey Now Baby . . . . . New Orleans Piano
LONG JOHN BALDRY . . . . . Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock & Roll . . . . . It Ain't Easy
BOOKER T. . . . . . Hey Ya . . . . . Potato Hole

THE MINUS 5 . . . . . The Lurking Barrister . . . . . Killingsworth
WARREN ZEVON . . . . . Lawyers, Guns And Money . . . . . Excitable Boy
THE BOBBY FULLER FOUR . . . . . I Fought The Law . . . . . Son of Frat Rock { Various Artists }
THE CLASH . . . . . Police And Thieves . . . . . The Clash (U.S. Version)
WILLIE WILLIAMS . . . . . Armagideon Time . . . . . The Best of Studio One, Vol. 2: Full Up
BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS . . . . . Redemption Song . . . . . Uprising
BOB DYLAN . . . . . When The Ship Comes In . . . . . No Direction Home: The Soundtrack (The Bootleg Series Vol. 7)
BETTYE LAVETTE . . . . . A Change Is Gonna Come . . . . . Change Is Gonna Come Sessions

It doesn't get much better than two guitars, a bass and drums, and the new Young Fresh Fellows disc is swimming in just that. From there we traveled down a path full of high-energy stuff, with the Buzzcocks from the glory days leading to a Brendan Benson track that always recalls the punk-pop pioneers from Manchester. Supergrass added a retro touch of glam to the mix, and then Arlo snapped us right back into the guitar pop. The energy kept rolling out with a new one from Eels followed by one of the many excellent rockers from R.E.M's last one, which led to Deer Tick and a track that builds to a great release before the Seeds took us home with their big hit from 1966. That also enabled us to bid farewell to Sky Saxon, the man who wrote that tune and also sang lead vocals, who passed away a few weeks back.

Another recent music world death to acknowledge was that of Fayette Pinkney, who was one of the Three Degrees from their beginnings in 1963 up through the late '70s. At their peak in the early and mid-'70s they were one of the prime examples of the Gamble & Huff Philly Soul sound; we heard their big hit from 1974 and followed it with Jens Lekman, who clearly is a Philly Soul fan. After that it was the Toys with their big 1965 hit based on a Bach minuet, which fed nicely into an R&B infused number from Stuart Murdoch's latest project. Then we heard the Cure explaining why Friday is their favorite day of the week, and followed it with a new track from the Postmarks that has a similar forward momentum. Camera Obscura offered one of the poppier tracks from terrific recent release, which segued quite nicely into Peter & Gordon doing a Lennon/McCartney tune that was their first big hit in America. Then we had Mojave 3 reaching back to those British Invasion days followed by the Beau Brummels first big hit—they really only had two, but the timing  was such that it earned them the label of being the first American band to crack the British hegemony of the American charts in 1964.

Although the lyrics to both songs have little in common, the sound of the new Wilco track that opened this section conjured up the Allman Brothers Band classic that followed, so we went with it. From there stream of consciousness took over and brought us Ryan Adams with a nice roots rocker followed by Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3 adding a bit of the Bo Diddley beat accented by a horn section. Therefore it only seemed natural to bring in the Band from New Years Eve 1971, who were followed by the one and only Professor Longhair. Rhythm having firmly taken over, we finished with Long John Baldry letting the boogie woogie flow followed by Booker T. accompanied by the Drive-By Truckers and Neil Young covering Outkast to put the capper on.

In addition to the new Young Fresh Fellows disc that opened this show, Scott McCaughey also has a fresh Minus 5 release that's just come out; the litigious mood of that one worked just fine with the favorite from Warren Zevon that followed. Then it was the Bobby Fuller Four with their classic, a tune the Clash also recorded, although here we heard them covering one originally done by Junior Murvin. The mood edged closer to the Apocalypse with Willie Williams before Bob Marley offered some hope and positivity with a song that has always sounded to me like it could have been written by Bob Dylan. A track from Dylan followed with a vow to the narrow-minded many that they will get what's coming to them one day, and then it was Bettye LaVette covering Sam Cooke's powerful vision of what the future would bring to end this one in a stirring fashion.

Here's another one from the Postmarks


Program #598

NELSON RIDDLE ORCHESTRA . . . . . Route 66 Theme (opening theme) . . . . . Route 66 and Other Great TV Themes/More Hit TV Themes
LUNA . . . . . 4th of July . . . . . Luna Live
SONIC YOUTH . . . . . Anti-Orgasm . . . . . The Eternal
NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS . . . . . We Call Upon The Author . . . . . Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
TALKING HEADS . . . . . Warning Sign . . . . . More Songs About Buildings and Food
GRIZZLY BEAR . . . . . Ready, Able . . . . . Veckatimest
ST. VINCENT . . . . . The Strangers . . . . . Actor
THE WIZARD OF OZ . . . . . Optimistic Voices . . . . . The Wizard of Oz: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

WILCO . . . . . You Never Know . . . . . Wilco (The Album)
GEORGE HARRISON . . . . . My Sweet Lord . . . . . All Things Must Pass [BOXED EDITION]
M. WARD . . . . . To Save Me . . . . . Hold Time
THE MINUS 5 . . . . . I Would Rather Sacrifice You . . . . . O Brother, Where Art Thou?
THE SOGGY BOTTOM BOYS . . . . . I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow . . . . . O Brother, Where Art Thou?
THE BYRDS . . . . . You Don’t Miss Your Water . . . . . The Byrds
THE ROLLING STONES . . . . . Far Away Eyes . . . . . Some Girls
JOHN DOE & THE SADIES . . . . . Help Me Make It Through The Night . . . . . Country Club

BOB DYLAN . . . . . Spirit On The Water . . . . . Modern Times
A BAND OF BEES . . . . . This Town . . . . . Sunshine Hit Me
ALL SMILES . . . . . The Ones I Want To Live . . . . . The Ones I Want to Live
NEIL FINN . . . . . Rest Of The Day Off . . . . . One All
SQUEEZE . . . . . If I Didn’t Love You . . . . . Argybargy
EELS . . . . . In My Dreams . . . . . Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire
ROY ORBISON . . . . . In Dreams . . . . . Black & White Night

THE WATSON TWINS . . . . . Only You . . . . . Fire Songs
ANDRE ETHIER . . . . . Easiest Game . . . . . Born of Blue Fog
BETTYE LAVETTE . . . . . ’Round Midnight . . . . . Change Is Gonna Come Sessions
JOE HENRY . . . . . Love Is Enough . . . . . Civilians
ELVIS PERKINS . . . . . How’s Forever Been Baby . . . . . Elvis Perkins in Dearland
VAN MORRISON . . . . . Almost Indepence Day . . . . . Saint Dominic's Preview

The opener from Luna seemed a reasonable way to kick off a program that was available on Independence Day. That tune always reminds me of fellow New Yorkers Sonic Youth, who then gave way to Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds searching for answers to some big questions. The slightly ominous tone in the refrain of that one was echoed in the Talking Heads track that followed, which led to Grizzly Bear trying to stay positive and St. Vincent full of anger on a tune that opens and closes with etherial choral voices. From the very first listen they brought to mind the short piece from The Wizard of Oz that ended this set, which was played for Iz the Wiz (Michael Martin), a legend in the New York City graffiti world who passed away recently. He died a few days before Michael Jackson, who played the Scarecrow in the film version of The Wiz; it was a poster for the original Broadway production that provided Martin with inspiration for his at one time ubiquitous tag.

The next section opened with a track from the new Wilco disc that gives a big nod in the direction of George Harrison, who was followed by M. Ward wondering whether or not his Day of Reckoning will eventually come. From there we heard the Minus 5 unwilling to let anything prevent them from finding the way, and the country flavor of that one brought on the Soggy Bottom Boys flowing nicely into the Byrds with Gram Parsons on lead vocals during the peak of their immersion in that sound. The Rolling Stones offered a sardonic take on your typical country ballad, and we finished with John Doe & the Sadies providing an appealing version of an old Kris Kristofferson song.

Bob Dylan's softly swinging shuffle set the tone for much of what followed in this section, with A Band of Bees slowing the rhythm down followed by a new one from All Smiles that features some spare yet carny-like keyboards. Neil Finn offered one with a relaxed feel that reflects its title, and then it was Squeeze adding a bit of syncopation leading to Eels with a lovely ballad and Roy Orbison on the same subject to finish up.

The final set began with one from the Watson Twins that seems to be about obsessive love, and then it was Andre Ethier adding a bit of urban evening atmosphere to the sound followed by Bettye LaVette doing up Thelonious Monk's old tune. Joe Henry hoping for the best led to Elvis Perkins in a decidedly less upbeat mood and then Van Morrison took us to the end with one of his mystical specialties that happens to have a title that brought the whole shebang full circle.

Here's another one from George Harrison (and friends)


Program #597

NELSON RIDDLE ORCHESTRA . . . . . Route 66 Theme (opening theme) . . . . . Route 66 and Other Great TV Themes/More Hit TV Themes
THE JACKSON 5 . . . . . I Want You Back . . . . . The Ultimate Collection
THE JACKSON 5 . . . . . ABC . . . . . The Ultimate Collection
THE JACKSON 5 . . . . . The Love You Save . . . . . The Ultimate Collection
JAMES BROWN . . . . . I Got You (I Feel Good) . . . . . Star Time (4CD)
THE MIRACLES . . . . . Going To A Go-Go . . . . . Motown: The Classic Years
MARVIN GAYE . . . . . Too Busy Thinking About My Baby . . . . . The Best of Marvin Gaye (Motown Anthology Series)
THE TEMPTATIONS . . . . . Ain’t Too Proud To Beg . . . . . The Ultimate Collection
STEVIE WONDER . . . . . He’s Mistra Know-It-All . . . . . Innervisions
MICHAEL JACKSON . . . . . Rock With You . . . . . Off the Wall

RANDY NEWMAN . . . . . A Wedding In Cherokee County . . . . . Good Old Boys
THOSE DARLINS . . . . . Glass To You . . . . . Those Darlins
THE MINUS 5 . . . . . Dark Hand Of Contagion . . . . . Killingsworth
THE ROLLING STONES . . . . . Dear Doctor . . . . . Beggars Banquet
THE LEMONHEADS . . . . . I Just Can’t Take It Anymore . . . . . Varshons
THE BYRDS . . . . . I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better . . . . . The Byrds
TEENAGE FANCLUB . . . . . Save . . . . . Man-Made
JOHN DOE & THE SADIES . . . . . Husbands And Waves . . . . . Country Club
NICK LOWE . . . . . Bygones (Won’t Go) . . . . . The Convincer
CAMERA OBSCURA . . . . . Forests And Sands . . . . . My Maudlin Career

THE BEATLES . . . . . When I’m Sixty Four . . . . . Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Remastered)
THE REAL TUESDAY WELD . . . . . I Loved London . . . . . The London Book of the Dead
THE CLIMAX BLUES BAND . . . . . Mole On The Dole . . . . . All You Are Is A Human Sir
ALL SMILES . . . . . All You Are Is A Human Sir . . . . . All You Are Is A Human Sir
ELLIOTT SMITH . . . . . A Passing Feeling . . . . . From a Basement on the Hill
VIC CONRAD & THE FIRST THIRD . . . . . Enough Of This . . . . . Vic Conrad and the First Third
JARVIS COCKER . . . . . Leftovers . . . . . Further Complications

THE DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET . . . . . Take Five . . . . . Time Out -50th Anniversary (2 CD/1 DVD Legacy Edition)
GRIZZLY BEAR . . . . . Southern Point . . . . . Veckatimest
RAYMOND SCOTT . . . . . Powerhouse . . . . . The Music of Raymond Scott: Reckless Nights & Turkish Twilights
THE BONZO DOG BAND . . . . . Mickey’s Son And Daughter . . . . . Cornology [3CD Set]
TODD RUNDGREN . . . . . Onomatopoeia . . . . . Hermit of Mink Hollow
VAMPIRE WEEKEND . . . . . Oxford Comma . . . . . Vampire Weekend
THE 1910 FRUITGUM COMPANY . . . . . 1, 2, 3 Red Light . . . . . The Best of the 1910 Fruitgum Company: Simon Says
DAVE SITEK . . . . . With A Girl Like You . . . . . Dark Was the Night
THE MAGNETIC FIELDS . . . . . I’ll Dream Alone . . . . . Distortion

My initial reaction upon hearing of Michael Jackson's death was one of great sadness—in a complex world his was a particularly complicated life, and it seems another example of the strange ratio that seems to exist in the entertainment world between innate talent and sorrow and pain. However, I was quickly overcome by a strong sense of nostalgia, and that's because generally I'm not particularly fond of Michael Jackson's music, at least his output as an adult. The Jackson 5's music, however, is something else. It brings me right back to a place where my musical tastes were expanding and changing beyond the Top 40, which ruled the airwaves in the '60s and featured most of the best stuff in pop music that came out of that decade (at least until the final years). The Jackson 5 coincides with the end of that era, for me and for Top 40 radio. Motown was a big part of that decade, so we heard a selection of tracks from that label's artists, starting with the first three Jackson 5 singles; I still find them irresistable, and all went to the top of the charts in first six months of 1970. The one ringer in the group was James Brown's second big hit from 1965; even back in the day it was clear to me that eleven-year-old Michael Jackson was doing a killer James Brown imitation. And we finished with the one Michael Jackson tune from his solo work that has always worked for me; for some reason it hooked me in from the first time I heard the track, and I still enjoy it to this day.

The next section began with Randy Newman and my favorite love song ever, which led to new music from Those Darlins with a tune that's set in similar environs. The Minus 5 followed with another new one that immediately conjured up an old Rolling Stones track when I first heard it. From there we heard the Lemonheads covering a Gram Parsons tune followed by the Byrds from their early days (before Parsons joined them) into one from the last Teenage Fanclub disc that has a bit of that old Byrds feel. John Doe & the Sadies covering Roger Miller fed nicely into Nick Lowe on pretty much the same subject, and then it was Camera Obscura from their excellent recent disc with one that has a slight country touch, which made it fit in quite well with all that preceded it.

Even though he passed by 64 several years ago, Paul McCartney's recent birthday was the inspiration for the Beatles track that opened this set. The Real Tuesday Weld followed with a tune that shares an old-time music hall sensibility, and then we had the Climax Blues Band with a kind of shuffling blues with a clarinet that wouldn't have sounded out of place on either track that preceded it. A new one from All Smiles had a similar beat even as JIm Fairchild's vocals brought to mind Elliott Smith. The mood grew more meloncholy with Vic Conrad & the First Third before Jarvis Cocker indulging his fondness for mixing science with rock 'n' roll finished up.

The 50th anniversary of Dave Brubeck's masterpiece has seen a re-release of the disc with added tracks from various Newport Jazz Festivals as a bonus. Here we began with the tune that for a time was ubiquitous 50 years ago, which seemed to feed quite well into one that's become a favorite from the new Grizzly Bear disc. From there we went back even further in time, some 70 years to the period when Raymond Scott was recording with his quintet. If the track we heard sounded familiar, it probably means you're a fan of Warner Brothers cartoons; the studio licensed Scott's music and used it for decades in many of its classic shorts. The Bonzo Dog Band followed with what sounds to me like a cartoon in musical form, and then it was Todd Rundgren with another track that always makes me think of my favorite animated bits, even if it really is a love song at heart. The English grammar aspect of that one led to Vampire Weekend, and something about the keyboards in that track brought to mind the '60s bubblegum music of the 1910 Fruitgum Company. Dave Sitek offered his remake of an old Troggs tune from around the same time period, and then the Magnetic Fields brought down the curtain with one from their last disc.

Here's another one from James Brown


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