So today, Kim asked us to share “Songs where a particular instrument has moved you – whether it’s a favorite vocal sound, bass line, drumming/beats, piano, guitar solo…” I never quite follow the instructions here, because there are a few places where I named more than one instrument or instrumentalist. But, you know what? I like these, and all of them move me, and that’s what counts.
Blood, Sweat & Tears, “Snow Queen/Maiden Voyage” Maybe the only reason to own BS&T’s 1972 New Blood album is the almost 12-minute final track (two tracks, really, but they blend so nicely together) matching Carole King’s “Snow Queen” with Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage.” The horns are on fire here (Lew Soloff and Chuck Winfield, trumpet; Dave Bargeron, trombone; Lou Marini, saxophone), Larry Willis’s keyboard work anchors the rhythm section throughout, and he does a tremendous solo starting at about 2:45, and Georg Wadenius does an extended voice-and-guitar solo during the “Maiden Voyage” section. This is what jazz-rock should sound like.
Django Reinhardt, “Limehouse Blues” How Django Reinhardt did all that he could do with the ring and pinky on his left hand essentially unusable blows me away.
Toots Thielemans, “Bluesette” Having played guitar all those years ago, I can tell you that one of the hardest things to do is try to solo and sing the notes along with your soloing. Georg Wadenius did it in “Maiden Voyage,” above, and now we have Jean “Toots” Thielemans, not singing, but whistling as he plays guitar. He originally wrote it for the harmonica, by the way.
Chase, “Open Up Wide” Bill Chase was a jazz trumpeter who decided to put together a rock band with four trumpets up front. This is the first track off of their 1971 eponymous debut album. There is some incredible trumpet in this, but listen to the job Dennis Johnson and Jay Burrid are doing on the bass and drums. That’s what’s incredible here.
Vince Guaraldi Trio, “Samba de Orpheus” Monty Budwig, on bass, starts this one by playing the melody, and when Vince comes in, he seamlessly makes the transition to supporting player. Listen to what he’s doing behind Guaraldi. It’s incredible.
Julie London, “Cry Me A River” Julie has this voice, you know? But it’s the tasty accompaniment by Barney Kessel on guitar and Ray Leatherwood on bass that makes this track unforgettable.
June Christy with the Ernie Filice Quartet, “Taking A Chance On Love” Arlee Bird used this in a Battle of the Bands a while back, and I think my exact words were “damn, that quartet behind her swings!” Now, there are five guys there, but I always heard that they don’t count the bass player, which, as a former bass player, I think that sucks. June is just lovely, isn’t she? And what a voice…
Chicago, “Poem 58” The jam between Terry Kath on guitar, Peter Cetera on bass, and Danny Seraphine on drums that takes up the first five minutes of this is … I don’t have the words. Just, wow.
Bachman-Turner Overdrive, “Blue Collar” From their debut album, this is the largely-forgotten single that only reached #68 on the Hot 100. It has some of the jazziest guitar work in a rock tune I’ve heard, especially the last minute and a half.
Paul Jackson Jr., “It’s A Shame” Paul Jackson Jr. takes a song written by Stevie Wonder and originally done by The Spinners and works his guitar magic. Listen especially at 2:45, the way he transitions out of solo mode and back into doing the melody.
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for April 15, 2019. Hope you got your taxes done…
It’s a freebie day! So I’m back to look at the bottom of the Silver Dollar Survey to see what happened to the #40’s at the end of each month in 1966. I had to use the next-to-last survey for December, because the one from December 30 was a partial survey. But it’s the same idea. Most of these songs I don’t remember hearing back then.
January 28: Sonny & Cher, “What Now My Love” This spent eight weeks on the survey and ping-ponged in the 20’s until it fell off the survey on my 10th birthday.
February 25: Bobby Goldsboro, “It’s Too Late” This song crept slowly (one position a week) up the chart until it peaked at #36, then vanished.
March 25: Roger Williams, “Lara’s Theme (Somewhere My Love)” Peaked at #23 on April 8, then spent two more weeks on the survey and disappeared.
April 29: Paul Peek, “Pin The Tail On The Donkey” Made just the one appearance and was gone the next week.
May 27: Johnny Sea, “Day For Decision” The Friday before Memorial Day (which was still on May 30, which just happened to fall on a Monday in ’66), we were graced with this patriotic speech. It shot up to #9 on June 10 and promptly disappeared.
June 24: The Del-Vetts, “Last Time Around” This early psychedelic record was on the survey this one week, then vanished. Guess it wasn’t time for psychedelic music yet.
July 29: Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces, “Searching For My Baby” Shot up to #25 the following week, then couldn’t be found.
August 26: The Standells, “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Always Wear White” Followup to their huge hit “Dirty Water,” and it didn’t fare as well. It was gone the following week.
September 30: The Rolling Stones, “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?” By the time the DJ’s read the name of the song on the air, it was gone. Seems odd, but there you go.
October 28: Barbra Streisand, “Free Again” Peaked at #24 n November 11 and had fallen off the survey two weeeks later.
November 25: Ronnie Dove, “Cry” Jumped to #20 the following week, rose to #16 the week later, spent three weeks at #17, fell to #23 and vanished.
December 23: Tommy Roe, “It’s Now Winter’s Day” Stayed on the survey through February 17, peaking at #15, as you might expect.
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for April 8, 2019.
It’s Monday! And we have a new guest conductor: Kim from The Reinvintaged Life. Her first assignment for all of us is to play songs about spring, flowers, rain, and anything else “springy.” Before we start, though, I’ve done a playlist with 28 of my favorite “rain” songs (it used to be 30, but two vanished), so I’ll probably stay away from those. Anyway, here we go…
The Cowsills, “The Rain, The Park, and Other Things” The Cowsills were a family band, like The Partridge Family (i fact, The Cowsills were the basis for the Partridges) that had a few hits in the ’60’s. This reached #2 in 1967.
Neil Diamond, “Sweet Caroline” Not a “spring” song per se, but there is that line “’twas in the spring, and spring became the summer.” It reached #4 in the US (#3 on the Adult Contemporary chart) in 1969.
Tom Lehrer, “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” A frighteningly cheery song by the master of songs like this one, former Harvard professor Tom Lehrer. From the album An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer.
Jason Donovan, “Rhythm of the Rain” Jason won a Battle of the Bands on this one back in 2015. I have another Battle that just started today that pits two foreign versions of the song against one another that you might be interested in participating in. It’s in the post immediately preceding this one, so feel free.
Bing Crosby, “Easter Parade” Easter is the quintessential spring holiday, and 1942’s Holiday Inn, with Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Marjorie Reynolds is the quintessential holiday movie. This song is from that movie. But you probably already knew that.
The Statler Brothers, “Flowers On The Wall” My brother Kip would like to remind you that this was played at an interesting juncture in the 1994 movie Pulp Fiction, which I haev yet to see in its entirety. Title track from their 1965 album, it reached #2 on the Country chart, #4 on the Hot 100, and #1 in Canada.
Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, “April In Paris” I always marvel that these two sound so good together. This recording features Oscar Peterson on piano, Ray Brown on bass, and Buddy Rich on drums.
The Beach Boys, “Graduation Day” Late spring is the time of year for graduations at all levels, so this fit the theme. It’s been sung by a number of acts where harmony is key, such as The Lettermen, The Four Freshmen, and The Arbors, who reached #19 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1967.
Lynn Anderson, “(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden” This turned out to be a crossover hit for Ms. Anderson, reaching #1 on the Country chart, #3 on the Hot 100, and #5 on the Adult Contemporary chart in the US and #1 on both the Country and Pop chart in Canada in 1970.
The Beatles, “Rain” Always good to get a song by The Fab Four in whenever possible. This was the flip side of “Paperback Writer” and hit #1 just about everywhere in the English-speaking world in 1966.
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for April 1, 2019.
It’s another Freebie day on Monday’s Music Moves Me, when we can do whatever the heck we want. I’d do that today, anyway, because it’s my birthday!
Last week, we did March birthdays. This week, in honor of the day, I’m doing more March birthdays, starting out with a few that are celebrating brthdays with me.
Anita Bryant, “Paper Roses” I get it, nobody likes Anita Bryant, but it is her 79th birthday, and I like her voice. “Paper Roses” was a #5 hit for her in 1960.
Bonnie Guitar, “Dark Moon” Bonnie died this past January, so she’ll be celebrating her 96th in heaven, right next to the “Dark Moon” that she sang about in 1957. She took this to #6 on the Pop chart and #14 on the Country chart.
Jeff Healey, “Roadhouse Blues” Blind most of his life due to retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of the eyes, Jeff passed away in 2008 at the age of 41. He’d be celebrating his 53rd birthday. “Roadhouse Blues” is from the 1989 movie Road House starring Patrick Swayze. Jeff was in the movie and did a lot of the soundtrack.
Johnny Burnette, “Rockabilly Boogie” Best known for “You’re Sixteen,” Johnny was quite the rockabilly star in his day. Johnny died in 1964, but he’d be celebrating birthday #85 today. 1957’s “Rockabilly Boogie” didn’t chart, but it was a great song nevertheless.
Aretha Franklin, “I Say A Little Prayer” Today would be the First Lady of Soul’s 77th birthday had she not died last August. “I Say A Little Prayer” was the B side of “The House That Jack Built,” and reached #10 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart in 1968.
Elton John, “I’m Still Standing” Ironic that we started the list of today’s birthdays with Anita Bryant and are ending it (this part of the list anyway) with Elton John, who’s 72 today. “I’m Still Standing” reached #12 on the Hot 100 in 1983 and seems oddly appropriate today.
The Monkees, “Last Train To Clarksville” For many of their early hits, The Monkees were backed in the studio by LA’s famous Wrecking Crew. Carol Kaye, who has played bass and guitar on more hits than anyone can count, including “Last Train To Clarksville,” celebrated her 84th birthday yesterday. Everything I learned about playing bass guitar I learned from her.
Nena, “99 Luftballons” Gabriele Susanne Kerner, also known as Nena, sang this while a member of the band named after her. She turned 59 yesterday. “99 Luftballons” was a #2 hit in the US and a #1 in most of the rest of the world, and the English translation, “99 Red Balloons,” went to #1 in the UK and Canada, all in 1983.
Diana Ross, “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” The lovely Ms. Ross celebrates her 75th birthday tomorrow. This is the theme song from the 1975 film starring Diana, Billy Dee Williams, Jean-Pierre Aumont, and Anthony Perkins. It reached #1 in early 1976 and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Robert Lockwood Jr., “Sweet Home Chicago” Robert learned to play guitar from blues great Robert Johnson (and called himself “Robert Jr.” throughout his career) and he does a killer job of Johnson’s “Sweet Home Chicago” here. He passed in 2006, but would have been 104 this Wednesday.
Reba McEntire, “Fancy” Okay, I admit it, I have a thing for Reba McEntire, who turns 64 on Thursday. Maybe it’s the red hair, maybe it’s that she covers Bobbie Gentry’s “Fancy” so well. From her 1990 album Rumor Has It, she reached #8 on the US and Canadian Country charts in 1991.
Frankie Laine, “Mule Train” Francesco Paolo LoVecchio, born in the Italian neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, became Frankie Laine early in his career and had a ton of hits, such as “Mule Train,” which reached #1 for him in 1949. Frankie died in 2007, but he would be 106 on Saturday.
Shirley Jones, “‘Til There Was You” Shirley was a huge star long before her days as Shirley Partridge on The Partridge Family and has one of the great voices of our time. You might remember she played Marian the librarian in the 1962 film The Music Man, with Robert Preston and little Ronny Howard, which is where this comes from. She’ll be 85 on Sunday.
Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, “Mexican Shuffle” Some of you might remember this as “The Teaberry Shuffle”, but trumpeter, composer, arranger, songwriter, singer, record producer, record executive, painter, and sculptor Herb Alpert recorded this with the Tijuana Brass for the TJB’s 1964 album South of the Border. Herb turns 84 on Sunday.
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for March 25, 2019.
Patrick, our guest conductor for this month, has given us an easy one this week: Musicians who celebrate a birthday in March. I found this list and started, and had to stop myself at 14 because I kept seeing musicians that I wanted to include. Finally, I said “save some for next week!” Since the playlist is a wee bit long, you might want to click this link and save it for later. Anyway, Happy Birthday to…
Harry Belafonte, who celebrated his 92nd birthday on March 1. The song I chose for him is “Jamaica Farewell,” from his 1956 album Calypso. My aunts used to play this one all the time and it about drove me nuts…
Larry Carlton, session guitarist extraordinaire who has done some amazing solo albums. He turned 71 on March 2. “Bubble Shuffle” is from his 1989 album On Solid Ground. Larry is known as “Mr. 335,” because his guitar of choice is generally a Gibson ES-335, though he’s playing a Les Paul Studio here.
Karen Carpenter, one half of the Carpenters, who would have been 69 on March 2 had bulimia not shortened her life to just under 33 years. “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” is from their 1977 album Passage. In the words of one commenter, this song proves that Karen Carpenter could sing the phone book and get an emotional response.
Arthel “Doc” Watson, who would be 96 on March 3 but who died in 2012. He is a legend in bluegrass, folk, country, blues and gospel guitar, blind since before his first birthday, who could also play the banjo, harmonica, and probably anything else you gave him. I heard Howlin’ Wolf’s version of “Sittin’ On Top Of The World” years ago, but Doc’s is amazing.
British blues-rocker Chris Rea‘s celebrated his 68th birthday on March 4. He’s now doing more straight-ahead blues, but he recorded “On The Beach,” in 1986 for the album of the same name. He re-recorded it in 1988 and it reached #9 on the US Adult Contemporary chart. Great song no matter what.
The late Andy Gibb‘s would have been 61 on March 5. Sadly, he died just after his 30th birthday in 1988 of natural causes brought on by years of drug and alcohol addiction. “I Just Want To Be Your Everything” was a #1 hit in the US and Canada in 1977.
Wes Montgomery died of a heart attack in 1968 when he was just 45, but we celebrated his 96th birthday on March 6. “Bumpin’ On Sunset” is from his 1966 album Tequila, his last album for Verve Records, and features a string section conducted by Claus Ogerman. Wes’ unusual approach to the guitar was particularly conducive to playing octaves, which he does almost all the way through this piece.
Micky Dolenz, drummer and sometimes front man for The Monkees as well as a former child actor who starred in the series Circus Boy, turned 74 on March 8. “Randy Scouse Git,” a 1967 composition by Micky that was released under the name “Alternate Title” in the UK because the original title was deemed to be taboo for British audiences (despite the fact that Micky heard it on a British TV show) nonetheless became a #2 hit there. It was also released on the US album Headquarters and is on a number of compilation albums. The late Peter Tork said it was one of his favorite Monkees songs.
Mark Lindsay, former lead singer for Paul Revere and The Raiders, turned 77 on March 9. “Arizona” was his greatest solo hit from 1970. Shoulda stayed with The Raiders, Mark… He now lives in Maine.
Moving up a little further into March, Jerry Reed would turn 82 on the 20th if he hadn’t died in 2008. A fantastic guitarist (he was honored as a Certified Guitar Player by his buddy Chet Atkins), singer, songwriter and all-around funny guy, Jerry starred in the Smokey and The Bandit movies and provided the music for them, including the song “East Bound and Down,” which reached #2 on the US and Canada country charts in 1977.
The incredible Sister Rosetta Tharpe, singer and guitarist who was influential in blues, rock, and gospel, would be 104 the same day as Jerry. “Didn’t It Rain” was recorded live in 1964 in Manchester, England as part of The British Tours of “The American Folk Blues Festival”. I don’t know what the second song is, but it rocks pretty heavy, too.
Christian rocker and fantastic guitarist Phil Keaggy turns 68 on March 23. “In The Light of the Common Day” is from his 1991 album Beyond Nature, a collection of instrumental guitar pieces. It’s a great album that I recommend highly.
The lovely Chaka Khan, who started with Chicago’s The American Breed, which morphed into Rufus in the ’70’s, shares a birthday with Phil Keaggy. She’ll turn 66 this year. “I Feel For You” is the title track from her 1984 solo LP. A song written and originally done by Prince, it features Stevie Wonder’s harmonica and Grandmaster Melle Mel’s rapping. This song reignited her career, reaching #1 in the UK and on the R&B and Dance charts and #3 on the Hot 100 and was certified gold in the US and UK.
Finally, a very, very happy 102nd birthday on Wednesday to Dame Vera Margaret Lynn, DBE, better known as just Vera Lynn, whose version of “The White Cliffs of Dover” was a huge hit with the troops during World War II.
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for March 18, 2019.