Thursday, October 23, 2014

Three for the Ride: Chris Whitley.

I'm taking a break from the usual format to focus on one artist today. A good friend and band mate sent me a link to a rough cut of a Chris Whitley documentary. As a result, I feel compelled to share just his music today. If you love music and you don't know who he was, you should. You've been missing out on the most unique talent to come along in the last 30 years. We lost Chris in 2005 to the ravages of his addictions. It's tragic. There is likely to never be anyone like him ever again. As they said in the documentary, "we have his records."

Chris's music goes way beyond just blues or rock as it is often categorized. There's something raw and essential about his music. He released over a dozen records and every one is different from the next. He was an ever-changing artist, but that amazing guitar talent and voice always remained. Take a listen. If you like what you hear, and want to hear more, pick up his debut album, Living With the Law (1991). It's a must for every collection.

Here's three for today:

Chris Whitley: "To Joy (Revolution of the Innocents)"
This is the opening track from 2001's Rocket House, Chris's sixth studio album. Chris added a DJ to his band for this record, so it's a departure from a lot of his earlier work. Other guest artists on the record include Dave Matthews and Bruce Hornsby. It's a very "accessible" record.



Chris Whitley: "Accordingly"
In 1998, Chris had been dropped by Columbia records and signed with a small indie label, Messenger Records. Unlike the high production value of his earlier records, Dirt Floor (1998) was basically Chris with one microphone, singing and playing in a barn. He recorded it in a day. It's a very pure record - an artist exposed and vulnerable. I got to see him play solo like this, years earlier, in a club with about 50 people in attendance. It remains the most impactful performance I have ever experienced.



Chris Whitley: "Dust Radio"
This song evokes an almost spiritual experience. It reaches me in ways that are devastating. I think it's his best work and the production on it is amazing. It's from his debut record Living With the Law (1991), a must-have-on-the-island record.



Until next time...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Three for the Ride: Snow Patrol, Adele, Motorhead

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Snow Patrol: "Chasing Cars"
This video has over 85 million views on YouTube. Chances are, you've heard it. It's been in my head for days, so I needed to hear it. Not so random, but hey... It's a beautiful song from Snow Patrol's fourth album, Eyes Open (2006). It's a long crescendo that eventually is just rapturous. "Those three words are said too much, they're not enough."



Adele: "Skyfall"
This girl has a monster voice. It's bluesy and soulful and powerful. Adele reminds me a lot of Dusty Springfield. This track is obviously the theme song from the 23rd James Bond film of the same name, Skyfall (2012). As Bond theme songs go, it's in my top four (The others being "Live and Let Die," "Casino Royale," and, of course, "Goldfinger").



Motorhead: "Ace of Spades"
I first saw this video/heard this song on BBC's The Young Ones in 1984. The song originally appears on 1980's Ace of Spades.



Until next time...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Three for the Ride: Bruce Springsteen, Cheap Trick, Utopia

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Bruce Springsteen: "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out"
From the ever classic Born to Run (1975) comes this song that was the second single released from the album. It's more of a story kind of song that tells about the formation of the E-Street Band. The third verse says "...the Big Man joined the band" clearly referring to saxophonist Clarence Clemons. Great little ditty. Born to Run is my favorite Bruce album. It should be a part of any serious music collection.



Cheap Trick: "I Can't Take It"
It's strange sometimes how one thing mysteriously flows into another here. This amazing song (songs like this are why I started this theme on my blog) appears on 1983's Next Position Please. Crunch pop just doesn't get any better than this. The cover for this record is a comical version of the cover for Born to Run. The album was produced by Todd Rundgren and there's no denying his influence on the sound.



Utopia: "More Light"
Speaking of Todd, here's yet another great song from Todd Rundgren's band, Utopia. This is from 1985's P.O.V. which is an acronum for Price of Victory, Pillar of Virtue, Point of View, or maybe Persistence of Vision. You choose. P.O.V. is, thus far, Utopia's final record. (Insert sad face here.) The song is huge. Right at about 2:35, the song just melts your face as Todd reminds us all of what an incredible guitar player he is and drums by John "Willie" Wilcox that will give you chills. Layered background vocals on this song just add to its hugeness. Listen over and over.

I couldn't find it on Youtube, but I found this: More Light on rdio

Until next time...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Three for the Ride: Scott Weiland, Burt Bacharach, Chicago

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Scott Weiland: "Missing Cleveland"
Power Crunch Pop Perfection. That's how to best describe this song. I love's Scott's writing. The chorus progression is classic pop stuff. This song is from his 2008 solo release, "Happy" in Galoshes. The drum break coming back in off the bridge gives me chills. And lyrically, it's brilliant. "The lonely thoughts where everybody knows the truth and lets it be." Maybe one day he and the DeLeo brothers will work things out so STP can make more great music.



Burt Bacharach: "This Guy's in Love With You"
Tied for the greatest pop writer of the 20th century, Burt Bacharach has written or co-written some of the most iconic songs ever to grace the AM airwaves. This song is just dreamy. From 1990's Bacharach & David They Write the Songs, this version is mostly instrumental except for a group of background singers on the chorus. The melody is handled by a mix of brass and wind instruments.



Chicago: "Feelin' Stronger Every Day"
This great song is from 1973's Chicago VI. It features Pete Cetera's amazing voice. Not a whole lot more to say about this one, but listen to it.



Until next time...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Three for the Ride, Jughead, Kansas, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Jughead: "C'mon"
Jughead features King's X guitarist Ty Tabor along with Derek Sherinian on keyboards (Dream Theater), Matt Bissonette on bass (David Lee Roth), and his brother, Gregg Bissonette, on drums (David Lee Roth). Their sole release was a self-titled CD in 2002. A lot of the songs are progressive crunch pop stuff written, for the most part, by Ty. I've been asking Ty to make another release happen and maybe even tour with these guys, but they are all very busy fellows.



Kansas: "Song for America"
Here's the rock anthem for the week. Kansas's 10-minute long epic was on the 1975 album of the same name, Song for America. It's a wonderful song, and the first one that comes to mind if anyone ever mentions Kansas to me. It's very symphonic in its structure and has some great melodies and movements. If you can find the time...



Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: "Here Comes My Girl"
There's a reason that 1979's Damn the Torpedoes has sold millions of copies. It has great songs on it that have become part of our cultures lexicon: "Refugee," "Even the Losers," "Don't Do Me Like That," and this gem, "Here Come's My Girl." Mike Campbell's layered guitar textures in this song are perfect. I love the way Tom speaks the lyrics. It sets a great mood. And the vamp at the end, I could listen to for hours. Then, there's the bridge. The bridge is pure magic. I get chills every time I hear it. "Watch her walk..."



Until next time...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Three for the Ride: Hum, P.O.D., Wings

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Hum: "Stars"
I discovered these guys because this song was used in a Cadillac ad. The groove in that 5 seconds was so heavy and layered so beautifully I had to hear more. It's a very melodic wall of sound. The song is from 1995's You'd Prefer an Astronaut, Hum's third studio album. The Champaign, Illinois band has been defunct since 2000.



P.O.D.: "Goodbye For Now"
This track is form P.O.D.'s sixth record Testify, released in 2005. The track is more of a groove and laid back thing that is a big departure from their usual heavy sound. It also features Katy Perry on vocals (she's also in the video), back before anyone knew who Katy Perry was. It's her best work ;). The song is produced by Glen Ballard, who's credits are way too long to list here, but include the likes of Michael Jackson, Van Halen, Aerosmith, and Alanis Morissette.



Wings: "Getting Closer"
I am a huge McCartney fan, if you hadn't already figured that out. This is one of my favorite tracks from 1979'a Back to the Egg, Wings's last record. Although the album received horrible critical reception, I think it is one of Paul's better efforts. This song reminds me of earlier Wings stuff, like "Jet", "Juniors Farm", "Band on the Run", etc. It has such distinct parts; two different verses, a chorus, and the end which goes to an entirely different place than the rest of the song. Only McCartney can write and construct this kind of song with such stellar success.



Until next time...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Three for the Ride: Joe Walsh, Steve Vai, Jars of Clay

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Joe Walsh: "Theme from Boat Weirdos"
But Seriously, Folks (1978) is best known for its hit, "Life's Been Good," but there are some other great songs on that record, and this instrumental piece is one of them. There are two very distinct parts in this song, one very dreamy and ethereal with a smooth flute melody played by drummer, Joe Vitale, and the other a more funky guitar-driven bit that features Joe's different guitar styles. It's one of my favorite tracks on this record.



Steve Vai: "Viv Woman"
This is turning into an instrumental sort of day. in 1984, Zappa alumnus Steve Vai released his first solo record, Flex-Able. It's a great first effort that reflects Zappa's influence in a huge way. The most impressive thing is that the record is recorded in his home studio, and as rumor has it, on an 8-track. The sound on this record is great.



Jars of Clay: "The Valley Song"
I've seen these guys 4 times now; twice in 1996 and then twice more recently. The show I saw a couple years ago was one of the best live music performances I have ever experienced. These guys know how to paint beautiful sonic pictures. This song from 2003's studio/live double album, Furthermore: From the Studio, From the Stage, is one of those paintings.



Until next time...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Three for the Ride: Pink Floyd, Gerry Rafferty, Ted Nugent

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Pink Floyd: "Have a Cigar"
I know that 1973's Dark Side of the Moon is most people's must-have Pink Floyd record, but for me, 1975's Wish You Were Here is that record. This track, featuring Roy Harper on vocals, is one of my favorite tracks from that record. I have a lot of fond and vivid memories with this record. One in particular involves a good friend from high school who is no longer with us. Cheers, Mike, this one's for you.



Gerry Rafferty: "Baker Street"
This song has one of the most iconic melodies played on the sax by Raphael Ravenscroft. There's also a guitar solo by Hugh Burns at the end of the song which gives me chills every time I hear it. The song is on 1978's City to City album and was a huge hit going to #2 when it was released. It's a hauntingly beautiful song that begs to be listened to again and again as the fade out leaves you wanting more.



Ted Nugent: "Cat Scratch Fever"
A long time ago, before the political rhetoric and the white man's angst, Ted was the Motor City Madman - a great guitar player and the misogynistic hero of every teenage boy who heard him. His album, 1977's Cat Scratch Fever sold millions of copies and this song was a top 40 hit on American rock radio.



Until next time...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Three for the Ride: Bee Gees, Poundhound, Queensryche

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Bee Gees: "Nights on Broadway"
Let's start by saying I did not like the disco era. The Bee Gees were the poster boys for the disco era. That said, there's no denying their vocal prowess and that they wrote some amazing tunes. This particular song is one that was the opening track on 1975's Main Course. It was just on the cusp of their becoming disco megastars and they were still very pop. It also features one of Barry Gibb's strongest vocals. Now, all these years later, I'm able to appreciate what they accomplished and am even saddened that Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb have passed away.



Poundhound: "Jangle"
Poundhound is one of Dug Pinnick's many side projects. In 1998, Dug released Massive Grooves from the Electric Church of Psychofunkadelic Grungelism Rock Music. This is the opening track. I can't find words to express how much I love this song. I'm not sure anyone else will get it the way that I do, but that's what music is about- the very personal and unique experience. It's heavy. It's poppy. It speaks to me... "Something to believe in." Dig it.



Queensryche: "I Don't Believe in Love"
Geoff Tate has one of the greatest voices in rock. Period. He was a huge influence on my own singing style. The production values on Queensryche's records is insane. The musicianship is incredible. And they write some seriously good songs. This is one of their songs that demonstrates all of the above. This is from their 1990 release, Empire.



Until next time...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Three for the Ride: Klaatu, Audioslave, Beach Boys

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Klaatu: "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft"
This Canadian pop-prog-rock band, Klaatu, was formed in the early 70's and had several "hits" including this one that was released on 1976's 3:47 EST. It would eventually be covered by several other artists, including The Carpenters. In the mid seventies, there were many rumors that this band was the Beatles recording under a pseudonym. You can hear some of the similarities. That rumor helped fuel some of the band's success. That said, they are certainly worthy of recognition in their own right.



Audioslave: "Cochise"
What happens when Rage Against the Machine gets a new lead singer? Audioslave. Rick Rubin suggested former Rage' members, Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk, pursue Chris Cornell from Soundgarden as a new singer and Audioslave was born. Their debut album Audioslave was released in 2002 and this track was one of the singles. This album is a great hard rock record with all the energy rage delivered with the more-musical sensibilities Chris Cornell brings.



Beach Boys: "Good Vibrations"
Brian Wilson is the guy you see in the encyclopedia next to the entry for "tortured artist." His genius shows through on this song. I don't even know where to begin. When I first heard it, as a kid, it was a goofy AM radio hit that went in one ear and out the other. Now, I consider it a masterpiece. The songwriting, the arrangement, the production - they all come together perfectly. The audio dynamics- the swells, the under-stated vamps, the huge harmonies. I suggest, if you can, that you listen to this song in a good pair of headphones and listen to each track in the song. It's one of those great, magical songs where the sum is greater than the parts. Released as a single in 1966, "Good Vibrations" was recorded during the Pet Sounds sessions but wouldn't find its way onto an album until a year later on Smiley Smile



Until next time...

Friday, October 3, 2014

Three for the Ride: Ty Tabor, Mandalay, Lee Dewyze

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Ty Tabor: "The Island Sea"
Ty Tabor is the amazingly talented and hugely under-appreciated guitarist for King's X. In 1998, Ty released his first solo album, Moonflower Lane. (He had recorded several of the songs on an earlier effort that wasn't formally released.) It's one of those desert island records. I'd have to have it. It is my and my wife Krista's favorite album. We played it to death on many a road-trips to Michigan. It is clear, when you listen to this record, what it is that Ty brings to King's X. Ty's a great songwriter (having written my favorite song of all time, "Goldilox") and this record is full of great songs.



Mandalay: "Deep Love"
"Deep Love" is the first single from Mandalay's second album, 2000's Instinct. It's dreamy, in a word. I think I played this song several times in a row when I discovered it. The production by Andy Bradfield is great. The song starts out so understated, then the chorus is huge with beautiful, lush background vocals. I love, love, love Nicola Hitchcock's vocals on this track. They're angelic. The song is one of those tracks that just "takes you away."



Lee Dewyze: "Backbird Song"
So I'm watching The Walking Dead one evening and there's this great song playing during the episode. I immediately jump to the iPad to discover who the artist is. Well, imagine my surprise when I discovered the artist was none other than American Idol winner Lee Dewyze. Not at all what I would have imagined from him. It's a very mature and dark folk blues tune. This track (2014) appears on The Walking Dead soundtrack, volume 2. That show has some great music in it, but this is a real stand out.



Until next time...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Three for the Ride: Deep Purple, No Doubt, Red Hot Chili Peppers

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Deep Purple: "Highway Star"
Originally released on 1972's Machine Head, "Highway Star" is also the opening track on the best-selling live album Made in Japan that was released later that same year. This version is from that album. The song is a clinic in Hammond B3 organ soloing put on by keyboardist Jon Lord. Ritchie Blackmore's solo on the song is also considered one of the most iconic and one of the best guitar solos ever. Add Ian Gillan's insane vocal prowess and you have this:



No Doubt: "Comforting Lie"
From their 4th album, Return of Saturn (2000), this song reminds me of a cabaret-style number. I'd heard Gwen Stefani's "Simple Kind of Life" on the radio at some point and loved her voice. The album offers up a lot of accessible material. This song has a bit of a latin flavor to it but is pretty representative of No Doubt at this time in their career.



Red Hot Chili Peppers: "Behind the Sun"
The Uplift Mofo Party Plan is RHCP's third studio album and was released in 1987. "Behind the Sun" is a serious departure from the rest of their material. In fact, rumor has it that the record company refused to release it as a single stating that it was too melodic. Maybe that's part of why I love this track. It is the first RHCP song I ever heard and it is my favorite RHCP track. It has a very eastern sound with the droning sitar-like guitar parts and great harmonies. The video wasn't released until 1992 and shows Chad Smith on drums, however, Jack Irons - who cowrote the song - is the actual drummer on the track.



Until next time...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Three for the Ride: Sia, Soundgarden, Jane's Addiction

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Sia: "Breathe Me"
Colour the Small One (2004) is Australian singer-songwriter Sia's third album. Apparently this song was featured on HBO's Six Feet Under television series and has appeared on numerous other shows and movies. Well, that's great. That's not how I heard it, though. I just thought her voice was unique and it was a powerful song. Perhaps that's why it was chosen for all those uses. Hmmm.



Soundgarden: "Black Hole Sun"
The third single from Superunknown (1994) is hands down my favorite Soundgarden song. It's a real departure from their normal fare, being very accessible. It had more radio play than any other Soundgarden song and is probably how I came to hear it to begin with. I love Chris Cornell's voice and Kim Thayil's guitar through the Leslie speaker on this tune. I couldn't begin to tell you what it's about, but the chord progression and melody are great. I also love the super-heavy bridge and ending. The video is super creepy, too.



Jane's Addiction: "Up the Beach"
"Up the Beach is a powerful opening track on Jane's Addiction's 1988 studio debut, Nothing's Shocking. There are no meaningful lyrics, making the song more of a mood piece - a sonic painting. It opens with Eric Avery's bass line and then Dave Navarro layers on huge guitar parts that are the meat of the song. Perry Farrell adds a layer of ooh's and aah's that complete the picture. I like this album, but to me, the opening track is the strongest part.



Until next time...

Friday, September 26, 2014

Three for the Ride: Moby, D.C. Talk, Nazareth

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Moby: "Memory Gospel"
I mentioned in a previous column that this track appears on the Get Carter Soundtrack (2000). It's from Moby's Play: B-sides (200) and also appears on the "Honey" CD single release which includes several other tracks. That's all I got. I don't know the female artist who sings on it and would love to know who it is if you're in the know. Great track, regardless.



DC Talk: "Jesus Freak"
Christian music was way behind the times in the 70's through the 90's. It's gotten much better with bands like Switchfoot, Skillet, and others. But in 1995, Jesus Freak, the third album by the Washington D.C.-based rap act (hence the name D.C. Talk), was a break-through that literally changed the Christian music scene. It reached 16 on the Billboard 200 had six singles reach number-one across various Christian radio formats and it won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Rock Gospel Album. It is an outrageously well written and produced rock album that is one of my favorite records, period. The album was co-produced by the lead rapper and founder, TobyMac (Toby McKeehan whose musical sensibilities are fantastic.



Nazareth: "Miss Misery"
Nazareth was a Scottish rock-metal band that finally gained international acclaim with their sixth record, 1975's Hair of the Dog. The title track and "Love Hurts" were the two singles released from the album. This track, the second on the record, reminds me a lot of early Black Sabbath. It's a pretty dark, straight-ahead metal tune with a very interesting ending.



Until next time...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Three for the Ride: KISS, The Church, Cream

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

KISS: "Do You Love Me?"
KISS released Destroyer in 1976. Produced by the genius Bob Ezrin (Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, and oh-so-many more), Destroyer was their fourth studio album and is, by far, my favorite KISS album. The album features 10 tracks, including "Detroit Rock City", "God of Thunder", "Shout It Out Loud", "Beth", and the rock-love anthem "Do You Love Me?" I love the huge over-produced refrain at the end. Orchestral bells will get me just about every time.



The Church: "Destination"
The Church's sixth album, Starfish. was released in 1988. It was the first mainstream success the band experienced and they had a major hit with "Under the Milky Way." I was suckered in and bought the record. It's a great record. The songwriting is strong and the style unique. There are great guitar textures, varying moods, and an almost ethereal quality to some of the record. It also definitely has moments where the band's "Aussie" peeks through.



Cream: "Badge"
I watched the Concert for George for the first time the other night. Eric Clapton sort of hosted the event. And whenever I think of Eric and George Harrison together, in addition to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", I also think of "Badge." They wrote it together and I think it's the best thing Cream ever did. (Well, O.K., it's tied with "White Room.") I got to see Eric play this live the first time I saw him, too, which is a whole other great story. From 1969's Goodbye...



Until next time...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Three for the Ride: The Pursuit of Happiness, Badfinger, KXM

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

The Pursuit of Happiness: "I"m an Adult Now"
Todd Rundgren is a prolific producer, having produced some of the biggest selling records of all time, including Meatloaf's Bat out of Hell. He's produced Cheap Trick, The Tubes, Patti Smith, XTC, New York Dolls, Badfinger, Grand Funk Railroad, Hall & Oates, the Psychedelic Furs, Bourgeois Tagg and the Canadian band, The Pursuit of Happiness - just to name a few. The album, Love Junk, was released in 1988. This was the first of three singles from the record. At the time, it was a pretty heavy tune. You can definitely hear Todd's influence on it.



Badfinger: "No Matter What"
1970's No Dice was Badfinger's second album and this was the band's first top-ten single. Written by the late Pete Hamm and the late Mal Evans. It has a distinct Beatle flavor to it. The band was on Apple records and the song was recorded at Abbey Road Studios so there was definitely a Beatle influence there.. I recently got to see Joey Molland play this song. Joey is the surviving guitarist who played on the original track. He's the McCartney look-alike strumming happily away on the Gibson Firebird in the video.



KXM: "Rescue Me"
What do you get when you put together drummer Ray Luzier (Korn), bassist, vocalist Dug Pinnick (King's X), and guitarist George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob)? KXM. It's soulful, heavy, kick-ass, melodic metal with amazing drums and a killer hook. This track, "Rescue Me", is from 2013's self-titled debut.



Until next time...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Three for the Ride: Alanis Morrissette, Pat Metheny Group, Stylistics

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Alanis Morissette: "Dear Prudence"
In October, 2001, TNT aired Come Together: A Night for John Lennon's Words and Music. It featured some great performances, like STP doing "Revolution", Cyndi Lauper's version of "Strawberry Fields Forever", Shelby Lynne's tear-jerking rendition of "Mother", Lou Reed performing "Jealous Guy", Rufus Wainwright and Sean Lennon doing "This Boy" and "Across the Universe" (Moby is also on the latter), and this track, "Dear Prudence" performed by Alanis Morissette. Her band is killing it, especially her drummer, Gary Novak. The performances are floating around out there on YouTube, etc. Check 'em out.



Pat Metheny Group: "American Garage"
This is the title track from American Garage, released in 1979. Going to number one on the US Jazz charts, it has Metheny's signature guitar sound, but this song, in particular, is a bit more "rock" than his usual fare. The album features Pat Metheny on electric and acoustic guitars, Lyle Mays on keys, bassist Mark Egan, and Dan Gottlieb on Drums. I love the cover of this album with the Airstream trailers on it. Such great Americana.



Stylistics: "You'll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart)"
The Stylistics were an early-70's soul group out of Philadelphia. The band's signature sound was that of Russell Thompkins, Jr.'s falsetto vocal stylings. Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote this song that appeared on 1972's Round 2, their second album. The song was also sung quite famously by Dionne Warwick, but this version actually charted a little higher.



Until next time...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Three for the Ride: Aimee Mann, Led Zeppelin, The Eric Gales Band

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Aimee Mann: "I Should've Known"
Formerly of 'Til Tuesday fame ("Voices Carry"), lead singer Aimee Mann has gone on to a solo singer/songwriter career that has led to her songs appearing in movies like Magnolia, Jerry Maguire and on the cult t.v. hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In a word, she's fabulous. I love her music. Great songs, great lyrics, great hooks, and a great voice. This song is the opening track from her first solo record, 1993's Whatever. The production on it is killer. If you listen to this and don't fall in love with her stuff... I've added a link to the original video, which I can't embed here ;(

Here's a link to a video of the song as it should be heard!

The only version I could find on YouTube that wasn't corrupted was a live version from the Jules Holland show- the band's a little flat on this one, so listen to the other version, if you can.



Led Zeppelin: "Bring it on Home"
Yeah, I've done Zeppelin recently. But this is such a great song. and can you ever really do too much Zeppelin? I didn't think so. The intro and outro is based on the 1964 Sonny Boy Williamson version of the song Wille Dixon wrote, but the rest is all Page and Plant. When the band comes in at 1:43, it just doesn't get any better and John Bonham's drums on this song are crazy. Tied for my favorite track on 1969's Led Zeppelin II, I give you...



The Eric Gales Band: "I Want You (She's So Heavy)"
I was standing around waiting for King's X to take the stage in Tempe, AZ, listening to what their sound man was playing on the sound system, when I heard Eric for the first time. It is rare that I will go out of my way to find out who an artist is. His guitar playing is incredible. I have since seen him live and can tell you, the dude is the real deal. He does a Hendrix tribute that will leave you amazed. He's also teamed up with King's X's Dug Pinnick recently in Pinnick, Gales, Pridgen. This cover of the Beatle's song is from 1993's Picture of a Thousand Faces. Just listen to the guitar work.



Until next time...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Three for the Ride: Dire Straits. Black Sabbath, Supershine

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Dire Straits: "Telegraph Road"
Most albums I buy, I recall the circumstances. 1982's Love Over Gold is one of those records that I just don't know how I came across it. But I'm glad that I did. "Telegraph Road" is a 14-minute long masterpiece that is, IMHO, Dire Straits's best work. It never gets radio play, so if you've never had the record, you've probably never heard the song. The kinda hokey "Industrial Disease is the only single from the album to chart in the U.S. "Telegraph Road" is an epic, moody piece, best listened to in solitude with headphones. I liken it to being Dire Straits's "Stairway to Heaven", "Freebird", or "Jungleland".



Black Sabbath: "Neon Knights"
Ozzie Osbourne left Black Sabbath in 1979 and was replaced by the now-late Ronnie James Dio. That following year, 1980, the band recorded and released their first-ever album without Ozzie, Heaven and Hell. This song, cowritten by Dio, was the opening track and the first time anyone had heard the new Sabbath sound. I bought the album immediately after hearing the song on the radio.



Supershine: "Take Me Away"
Guitarist Bruce Franklin teamed up with bassist and vocalist Dug Pinnick of King's X in 2000 to release the self-titled Supershine. It's heavy riff-driven rock reminiscent of Black Sabbath and Grand Funk Railroad. As one reviewer on Amazon put it, "it generally makes you want to get into powerful American cars and drive fast with the radio blaring." Which, oddly enough, is exactly how I initially listened to this record, driving my Mustang GT convertible across the Arizona desert. This link is to the entire album, but the first track is "Take Me Away." So, listen to as much as you like, but at least listen to the first track.



Until next time...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Three for the Train: Chicago, Boston, Aerosmith

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Chicago: "I'm a Man"
1969 saw the release of Chicago Transit Authority the self-titled debut album of the band that would simply be called Chicago. This track is a cover of the Steve Winwood and Jimmy Miller composition featuring Terry Kath, Pete Cetera, and Robert Mann, alternating on lead vocals (in that order). You know, most bands would kill for one great vocalist. To think that all three of those guys were in the same act is scary. The song also features Terry Kath's smoking guitar work, and a percussion break featuring drummer Danny Seraphine. Terey Kath is one of the most under-rated and forgotten guitarists who absolutely kills it. Amazing. I know that Chicago would eventually become an easy-listening hit machine, but they started out as a smoking rock band with a killer horn section. This album is my favorite of theirs by far and this song really represents that earlier sound.



Boston: "Peace of Mind"
I swear, it's a coincidence. And no, Kansas isn't the third track today.
1976 was a great year for music. In addition to all the great albums released that year, there were several new acts to show up on the scene, including Ramones, Heart, The Runaways, Tom Petty, and this band, Boston, led by studio technician and guitar genius Tom Scholz. The amazing vocals were provided by the late Brad Delp. This is just one of the many great songs from their debut album, Boston. Boy, these lyrics are convicting:
"Now you're climbin' to the top of the company ladder
Hope it doesn't take too long
Can'tcha you see there'll come a day when it won't matter
Come a day when you'll be gone..."
Ironic.



Aerosmith: "Last Child"
Speaking of great albums from 1976, Rocks is Aerosmith's 4th record and this was the first single from that record, written by Brad Whitford and Steven Tyler. Rocks could be my favorite Aerosmith record, though it's hard to say, because the previous two releases, Get Your Winds and Toys in the Attic along with Rocks make up the perfect Aerosmith trifecta. All three were produced by Jack Douglas, who also worked with The James Gang, Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, and John Lennon. This is a funky little rock thing with a great hook and great



Until next time...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Three for the Ride: Roy Budd, The Rings, Queen

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Roy Budd: "Main Theme - Carter Takes A Train"
From the Get Carter Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, released in 1971, Roy Budd created this masterful mood piece that was the title track for the movie of the same name, starring Michael Caine. The piece is somewhat faithfully reproduced by Tyler Bates for the 2000 remake. There is some great music from the remake as well, including Moby's "Memory Gospel." I recommend both soundtracks. Here's the main theme from the original:



The Rings: "Talk Back"
A dear friend turned me onto these guys around 1984 or '85. They were another band from Boston around the same time as The Cars. You can even hear some similarities. Anyhow, 1981's Rhythm Method became one of my favorite records at the time, and remains so. Every once in a while, my friend sends me a newer copy of the record on updated media to ensure I am never without it. Of course, now it's on iTunes. I think it's some of the best pop from the 80's.



Queen: "It's Late"
I admit it, I'm cheating here. I didn't hear this song this morning. I heard a different Queen song. But a friend reminded me of this track the other day and I can't get it out of my head. What a great song. In my mind it's the best track from 1977's News of the World. The sincerity with which it's delivered - the amazing backing vocals that explode into the first chorus - the band's intensity. It just rocks. Here's a bit of trivia- the guitar solo features Brian May using a "tapping" technique before Eddie Van Halen made if famous just months later.



Until next time...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Three for the Ride: Cult, The Police, Jellyfish

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Cult: "She Sells Sanctuary"
Cult's second album, Love, was released in late 1985. The first time I heard this song, I ran out to get the CD. Then, I listened to this song over and over again. I love power trios (guitar, bass, drums). Billy Duffy's guitar work on this song is just epic. Just listen to the guitars. The video features vocalist Ian Astbury doing his very best Jim Morrison impression.



The Police: "Bed's Too Big Without You"
1979's Reggatta de Blanc (White Reggae) is The Police's second record. It is my second favorite record of theirs, their debut, Outlandos d'Amour being my favorite. They became a somewhat different band after this record. The raw, high-energy sound of the three-piece gave way to the more-polished, high-production radio hits, like "Don't Stand So Close to Me". This record, though, keeps that simple, bare-bones, stripped-down sound that was so refreshing when they first appeared on the scene.



Jellyfish: "Brighter Day"
I guess it's a second album kind of day. 1993's Spilt Milk was the follow up to Jellyfish's amazing debut, Bellybutton. And what a follow up. I actually prefer this record. Andy Sturmer, frontman and drummer (yeah, that's an odd one) has such a great voice and is an amazing writer. Their stuff captures everything that was great about 70's power-pop and makes it better. Think Raspberries, Harry Nilsson, McCartney, and Queen and you start to get the idea. I was fortunate to have seen them live before they disbanded. This is the last track of of what would be their last studio album ;) Sometimes, the really great stuff just goes over most people's heads.



Until next time...

Friday, September 5, 2014

Three for the Ride: Styx, Alice Cooper, Prince

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Styx: "Pieces of Eight"
I might be one of the only people alive who turn the radio station when "Come, Sail Away" is played. I think the only song I hate more than that is Styx's "Babe." So, I can't tell you how or why I ended up with a copy of Pieces of Eight (1978) except that it must have been through one of those damned record clubs. That said, I love this record and I think it stands out in Styx's catalog. Dennis DeYoung is the band's primary singer, yet oddly, my favorite songs on this record are the ones that Tommy Shaw or James Young sing. That said, this song, sung by Dennis DeYoung may not be my favorite song on the record, but it's close. And I also like "I'm O.K.", another of DeYoung's tracks on the record.



Alice Cooper: "The Awakening"
In 1975, Alice Cooper released Welcome to My Nightmare, a masterpiece produced by Bob Ezrin. This is one of my favorite tracks on it. I have no idea what the song is about. It's so dark and so beautiful at the same time. I love the range it shows in Alice's voice and the sound of the piano and the guitars. It's a short one, but a great one. By the way, ignore the video and listen to the song.



Prince: "When Doves Cry"
Purple Rain was released in 1984 as the soundtrack for the movie of the same name. There were a lot of hits on that record, and Prince had finally broken through into the mainstream. This was the first single from that record and it was #1 on every relevant US chart, including Billboard's Hot 100. Rolling Stone eventually listed the song as #52 of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. I dont' know that I'd go THAT far, but I like it.

Unfortunately, Prince's stuff isn't as readily available. (In other words, it's not on YouTube.) But, here's a link to the video

Until next time...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Three for the Ride: Creed, The Heavy, Velvet Revolver

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Creed: "Faceless Man"
In the summer of 2000, I decided to drive into the desert in a rental car. I left Phoenix on an early Saturday morning after stopping at the K-Mart to buy water, and extra t-shirt, and music for the road. One CD I bought was Creed's Human Clay (1999). I drove to Winslow via the back roads and then west to Cameron, AZ where I spent the night at the trading post there, right on the edge of the Colorado River gorge. I drove he next morning along the east entrance into the Grand Canyon and then back to Phoenix that afternoon. It was a spiritual experience as much as anything else. I love Arizona. So, the connection I have to some of these songs is deeper than casual. This one in particular is pretty special to me. Scott Stapp's lyrics resonate with me on a deep level.



The Heavy: "No Time"
There's not a lot of new music that makes it into my rotation. I'm an old guy and I like old school rock and roll. That said, once in a while something comes along that makes me perk up and on even rarer occasions, some new music makes it into my collection. The House That Dirt Built (2009) is one of those special records that is new, but seriously old school. Their Wikipedia page describes The Heavy as a band from Bath, England, that plays a mix of guitar-heavy, neo-soul and rock with crunchy guitars, funky horns, and raspy James Brown-like vocals. 'Nuff said. Welcome to the collection boys.



Velvet Revolver: "Mary Mary"
Everything I love about Scott Weiland. There it is. His vocals on this are amazing, demonstrating the full range and dynamic of his vocal styles. This song has his writing style stamped all over it and the band is killing it. It's a perfect blend between hard rock and pop, which, when done right, will always win me over. The groove is infections and the harmonies, etc. are chilling. Also, props to Slash, who sounds like a different guitar player with Velvet Revolver than he did with GnR, a band I ever clicked with. He has earned my respect as a worthy player. How often does the super group idea actually work? It certainly does here. From 2007's Libertad...



Until next time...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Three for the Ride: Def Leppard, Smashing Pumpkins, Grand Funk Railroad

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Def Leppard: "Rock Rock (Till You Drop)"
Yeah, this is as base as it gets in Rock and Roll. "Rock Rock, Till You Drop." That just about says it all. No intellectualism wasted on those lyrics. I remember when I heard Def Leppard for the first time in 1983, when their debut album Pyromania was released. I thought they were AC/DC. No surprise there, since producer Mutt Lange had produced two of AC/DC's records, previously. Then, of course, I heard "Photograph." That song alone was worth the price of the record. As silly and rudimentary as this song is, I love the arpeggiated guitar part in the opening.



Smashing Pumpkins: "Hummer"
Siamese Dream was released in 1993 and Smashing Pumpkins instantly went from being a strange little alternative rock act from Chicago to a mainstream rock act; Billy Corgan was now an important songwriter and new creative influence for the next generation. Siamese Dream is a heavy, rich, guitar-layered album and "Hummer" is a great piece from that recording. I love the production on this album, too. It's produced by Butch Vig, who would also go on to produce Nirvana's Nevermind, and be a founding member of Garbage (drummer). The drums sound GREAT on this record.



Grand Funk Railroad: "Footstompin' Music (Live)"
Caught in the Act was the double-LP live record released by Grand Funk RailRoad in 1975. IMHO, it is one of the best live records ever released. The opening track is an amazing version of this song that features frontman Mark Farner doing his own call and response with his voice and guitar that is impressive to say the least. The energy these guys have on stage is incredible. The version of "Inside Looking Out" that opens the fourth side of this record is one of the best live songs I've heard. This video is not the same version as that which appears on the album, but it's close enough. GFR is one of those oft-forgotten bands that really were a staple of the 70's rock scene.



Until next time...

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Three for the Road: The Beatles, Weezer, Queen Electric

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

The Beatles: "I, Me, Mine"
The song was originally released on 1970's Let It Be. It was one of two George Harrison compositions on that record, the other being "For You Blue." This is the version from 2003's Let It Be: Naked. Ironically, it is supposedly the last song the Beatles recorded together, with Lennon in absentia. This version is sans the strings and brass that Phil Spector had layered on at a later date for the original 1970 release. I really love the acoustic guitar you can hear in the background during the verses, and the classic Beatles' background vocals, that almost seem to mock the "beep-beep-n-beep-beep, yeah!" from "Drive My Car."



Weezer: "Undone - The Sweater Song"
I am a late comer to Weezer. That said, I think the 1994 Blue Album is fantastic. There were three top-ten U.S. Rock chart hits, though this is the only one that broke the Billboard Hot 100. It's a crazy, little, non-sensical song that makes me recall my college and clubbing days. Oddly enough, some of those people I used to hang with still live that lifestyle. Oh well. Here's "Undone..."



Queen Electric: "Gonna Let You Down"
Scot Steven, singer, songwriter, guitarist, heads up this three-piece blues rock outfit. I saw them open for The Tubes in 2012 at the Sellersville Theater. I thought their stuff was catchy and I bought their self-titled 2011 release in the lobby after the show. I don't know anything else about them. I THOUGHT I did, but what I thought I knew I was unable to verify. If I am able to verify my suspicions, then I will update this blog with something more about them. If any of you reading knows anything about them, please let me know!



Until next time...

Friday, August 29, 2014

Three for the Ride: ZZ Top, U2, Tonic

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

ZZ top: "Jesus Just Left Chicago"
Billy Gibbons is one of the most under-rated guitarist out there. The guy is amazing. And I love his voice, too. I was listening to a Joe Bonamassa Podcast, recently, and he called out the guitar solo in this song as one of Billy's five best, ever. I have to agree. I am such a huge fan of the band's first era of Texas blues-heavy records such as Fandango, Deg├╝ello, and the masteriece this song is from, 1973's Tres Hombres.



U2: "Red Hill Mining Town" 1987's Joshua Tree is an amazing record. With 25 million records sold, it is, by far, U2's biggest-selling album. U2 was at the very top of their game. It's hard to pick a favorite song on the album. This is definitely one of mine. I love the melody, the progression, and of course, Bono's vocal on this track. I also really like Edge's multiple guitar parts on this song, particularly the sliding one-note part in the background of the verses.



Tonic: "Knock Down Walls"
Tonic had a couple of respectable hits on the US Mainstream Rock chart in the late 90's with "If You Could Only See," and "You Wanted More." This song is off their second studio album, Sugar, released in 1999. One critic once described their music as being full of "heavy, distortion-laden guitars." Heck yeah!



Until next time...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Three for the Ride: A Girl Called Eddy, Donnie Iris, Jimi Hendrix Experience

Some days, I take the train to work. Other days, I drive. Either way, I listen to music on the way. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really wish the world could appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

A Girl Called Eddy: "Life Through the Same Lens"
In 2004, A Girl Called Eddy, a.k.a. Erin Moran, released her self-titled debut A Girl Called Eddy. It reached the #1 spot on Amazon's customer favorites list for that year. She's got a great, smooth voice, reminiscent of Aimee Mann and Suzanne Vega at times. IMO, this particular track has a very Parisian feel to it.



Donnie Iris: "Back on the Streets"
From 1980’s Back on the Streets, this is another one of so many great pop-rock tracks that appear on Donnie Iris's debut record. Donnie, formerly of Jaggerz and Wild Cherry, put out several albums with The Cruisers during the early eighties. He's a strange cat, kind of working the Buddy Holly look, and perhaps didn't get a lot of well-deserved attention because of it. This album is so great and has such a collection of great 80's pop-rock compositions. He should have had more hits off the record than just "Ah, Leah!" Check out the lyrics in this killer song and the huge orchestration and production on it.



Jimi Hendrix: "I Don't Live Today"
In 1967, the Jimi Hendrix Experience released their debut album, Are You Experienced? It's littered with hits, including "Purple Haze," "Manic Depression," "Hey Joe," "The Wind Cries Mary," "Fire," "Foxy Lady,"and the title track, "Are You Experienced?" But right there at the end of side one is this unknown gem that reminds me a lot of the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" (mostly because of Mitch Mitchell's all too familiar drum beat). It's also got some great guitar multi-tracking going on at the end. It's also got a bit of an American Indian theme going on in the guitars. Hendrix, part Cherokee, dedicated the song to Native Americans. Definitely not one of Hendrix's more well-known works.



Until next time...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Three for the Ride: Collective Soul, Bruce Springsteen, King's X

Some days, I take the train, others I drive. Either way, I listen to music. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really want the world to appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Collective Soul: "The World I Know"
Ed Roland, the band's frontman and primary writer has a great song-writing ability and a unique voice. Without a doubt, this is my favorite track from their catalog. It's a beautiful song. I love the string arrangement and the lyrics really resonate with me.

So I walk up on high and I step to the edge to see my world below.
And I laugh at myself while the tears roll down 'cause it's the world I know.


This is from the band's second studio album, 1995's self-titled Collective Soul, sometimes referred to as The Blue Album.



Bruce Springsteen: "She's the One"
I hated Bruce when I was younger. I just didn't get it. Then, late one night, when I was feeling particularly desperate, I heard "Jungleland". That changed everything. It clicked. Born to Run (1976) is one of my favorite albums and this song captures everything about Bruce's music at the time: Relentless. Desperate. Passionate.



King's X: "Goldilox"
I know. I said I would try to not repeat an artist too often. But when this song showed up on the playlist this morning I couldn't help myself. This is why I love King's X so much. This song. I'll never forget the first time I heard it. I'd never heard anything like it. I've never heard anything like it since. If you asked me what my favorite song was, I'd be likely to tell you, "Goldilox". This captures everything that's great about the band: Amazing guitar textures, Doug Pinnick's soulful vocals, the drop-tuned guitars, the suspended chords in the bridge, killer Beatle-esque harmonies, and a lyric that cuts through to your heart. "I watch you from a mile away... I've got to know your name."
Sigh. "Goldilox" is from the band's 1988 debut, Out of the Silent Planet.



Until next time...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Three for the RIde (Formerly Three From the Train) Kate Bush, Metallica, The Cars

OK, I"m changing the name. I originally picked Three from the Train as a very literal title for this blog, but it's been bugging me. So, before it gets too cemented in anyone's mind, I'm changing it to Three for the Ride. And it's not about music FROM the train. It's about music FOR you to consider.

I promise, I won't change it again.

Some days, I take the train, others I drive. Either way, I listen to music. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really want the world to appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Here's what I heard this morning:

Kate Bush: "The Dreaming"
I discovered Kate in 1978 when she showed up on Saturday Night Live. I fell in love with her music instantly. Her voice is so unique and her sense of melody unparalleled. This is the title track from her 1982 release, The Dreaming, her fourth album, but the first that she had produced on her own. It's a very eclectic album and not very accessible to most people. If you're curious about Kate, check out her greatest hits compilation, The Whole Story and go from there. This song features a lot of Celtic rhythms and melodies.



Metallica: "Damage Inc."
In 1986, I was determined to not like Metallica because I had decided their "music" was a mere cacophony. Then I actually listened to them. When I first heard 1986's album release, Master of Puppets, I was blown away. It was brutal, but it also showed true musicality and a great lyrical sensibility. This song, in particular, was the fastest guitar playing I'd ever heard up until that point. It was hard to get my head around at first. I've come to think that Master of Puppets is an essential part of any serious music collection. Check out the intro to this song and notice the contrast with the ensuing melee.



The Cars: "Candy-O"
I confess. I didn't actually hear this particular song in the rotation this morning. I had to go out of my way to hear it. What I did hear in rotation was "Shoo Be Doo," a quirky little piece that leads right into Candy-O. My iPhone jumped on to something else when the song ended, but not following "Shoo Be Doo" with "Candy-O" is like listening to Zep's "Heartbreaker" with no "Living, Loving Maid" to follow. Can't be done. Regardless, this song is the title track from The Car's 1979 release, Candy-O. It's my favorite track on the record. I love the way Elliot Easton layers the guitar parts on top as the song progresses and Ben Orr's vocal is creepy and haunting. Here's a pretty faithful live rendition from a 1979 studio performance.



Until next time...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Three from the train: Chris Botti, Paul Anka, Dido.

Every morning that I decide to drag myself to the city, I have a little over an hour to listen to music on the train. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really want the world to appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Some mornings are tough to choose only three songs from, but I will not break my own rule - 3 songs. Period. I'll also try to not repeat the artist, too often. It's inevitable that it will happen. I own entire catalogs of certain artists (e.g. Paul McCartney), so some will show up more than others. Here's what I heard this morning:

Chris Botti: "La Belle Dame Sans Regrets"
There's something "old school" about Chris Botti, trumpeter extraordinaire, that really resonates with me. His music has integrity and a lasting quality. This track is from the 2004 release, When I Fall in Love. It features Domnic Miller and Sting who cowrote the song.



Paul Anka: "Wonderwall"
In 2005 and 2007, respectively, Paul Anka released two albums, Rock Swings and Classic Songs, My Way that were rearrangements of contemporary rock and pop songs. On Rock Swings, Anka even covered songs like Nirvana's "Smells Like Team Spirit" and Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun". Had I heard about this ahead of time, I'd have thought the idea was ridiculous. But I was at a wedding reception when the DJ played "Black Hole Sun". I was blown away and had to know who it was. These tracks are brilliant and the arrangements, simply great. Here's Oasis's "Wonderwall":



Dido: "All You Want"
1999's No Angel has sold over 21 million copies worldwide. "Here With Me" was the opening track and became a huge hit. This little gem was buried right in the middle of the track listing and is a little less known, but is my favorite from the album. I love this record. In fact, it's the last time I fell asleep with a pair of headphones listening to an album. Funny how having kids can kill that little pleasure. (Have to keep an ear out for their mischief ;) ). I love her voice. There's something unique about it and it's so very soothing at the same time.



Until next time...

Friday, August 22, 2014

Three from the Train: Joe Bonamassa, Pearl Jam, Steely Dan

Every morning that I decide to drag myself to the city, I have a little over an hour to listen to music on the train. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really want the world to appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Some mornings are tough to choose only three songs from, but I will not break my own rule - 3 songs. Period. I'll also try to not repeat the artist, too often. Here's what I heard this morning:

Joe Bonamassa: "Bridge to Better Days"
Nothing quite blues rock on a Les Paul. If you haven't heard about this guy yet, get on it. The guy is in the discussion when it comes to great rock blues players, i.e. Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Billy Gibbons, etc. His sound is KILLER. This is from his 2006 release, You and Me which also features Carmine Rojas on bass and Jason Bonham on drums.



Pearl Jam: "Go"
I didn't get Ten. It just didn't click. And then I heard Vs. That, I got. It's a much harder, more in-you-face record than Ten. I was into that sort of music at that time: in-your-face. I was fed up with over-produced pretentious music. I needed something that hit me like a baseball bat to restore my faith that somewhere, raw, honest music still existed. This is the opening track from 1993's Vs., written by Pearl Jam's drummer, Dave Abbruzzese. You can kinda tell it was written by a drummer, can't ya?



Steely Dan: "Josie"
Cool. Slick. Funky. L.A. Smooth. Jazz. Refined. Mature. Josie. I love this track. Probably my favorite on 1977's Aja, like you can have a favorite track on such an amazing record. IMHO, Aja is Steely Dan's best work. It is such a refined and mature sound. like the band had finally arrived. Not to say that all their preceding records aren't great, too. They are. But this record gives me chills when I listen too it. And the list of players on this record reads like a who's who of Jazz-Rock (Larry Carlton, Jay Graydon, Lee Ritenour, Tom Scott, Steve Gadd, etc.).



Until next time...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Three from the Train: Army of Anyone, Devo, Rush

Every morning that I decide to drag myself to the city, I have a little over an hour to listen to music on the train. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really want the world to appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Some mornings are tough to choose only three songs from, but I will not break my own rule - 3 songs. Period. I'll also try to not repeat the artist, too often. Here's what I heard this morning:

Army of Anyone: "Father Figure"
The DeLeo brothers (Stone Temple Pilots) joined forces with Richard Patrick (Filter) and Ray Luzier (David Lee Roth, KXM) and formed Army of Anyone. In 2006, the band released their only album, thus far, called Army of Anyone. They had two singles, this being the second. I love this record and it's a crime that it didn't get more attention and that they didn't do more.



Devo: "Freedom of Choice"
I discovered Devo in 1976 when I heard "Mongoloid" on a compilation album that I can no longer remember the name of. I then saw their now-famous Saturday Night Live performance of The Stones's "Satisfaction" live in 1978. As weird as they want to be, their pop sensibilities still shine through on occasion. From the 1980 album of the same title...



Rush: "La Villa Strangiato"
Back in the late 70's I had such an insatiable appetite that I joined every record club I could find so I could get 13 albums at one shot for a penny. Then, once I'd fulfilled the agreement, I'd do it again. When you forget to mail back the card, though, you get the album of the month- whatever it may be. Well, 1978's Hemispheres was one of those records. I didn't know anything about Rush. This album changed that and it remains my favorite album from their catalog to this day. This song is, IMHO, THE quintessential Rush song. It just doesn't get any better or more impressive than this.



Until next time...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Three from the Train: Petula Clark, Sheryl Crow, Yes

Every morning that I decide to drag myself to the city, I have a little over an hour to listen to music on the train. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really want the world to appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Some mornings are tough to choose only three songs from, but I will not break my own rule - 3 songs. Period. I'll also try to not repeat the artist, too often. Here's what I heard this morning:

Petula Clark: "Don't Sleep in the Subway"
I love this song. It's pure and perfect pop. From 1967's These Are My Songs, this song went to number 5 on Billboard's Hot 100 and is written by Tony Hatch, the same guy who wrote "Downtown."



Sheryl Crow: "It Don't Hurt"
I may have this wrong, but I don't think Sheryl Crow gets the props she deserves as an artist or a songwriter. When I ask what people think, many say, "eh, she's o.k." Are you kidding me? She's one of the best song writers of the last 20 years. And she is so diverse. I love this track from 1998's The Globe Sessions. I love the humorous lyric and even the affectation she puts on her voice. The guitar jam on the end is great, too. (Very Mike Campbell-like.)



Yes: "Awaken"
OK, this is a long one. Clocking in at over 15 minutes, this track from 1977's Going for the One is considered by many to be Yes's best work, ever. This is classic Yes with amazing guitar work by Steve Howe (he co-wrote the piece with Anderson), some of Rick Wakeman's best keyboard work, and incredible bass parts by the unparalleled Chris Squire. Jon Anderson provides the usual weird, yet colorful lyrics and, of course, Alan White;s drumming is impressive. If you're not too familiar with Yes, but want to know what they're all about, give 15 minutes to listen to this track and you'll hear all you need to understand Yes.



Until next time...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Three from the Train: Alice Cooper, The James Gang, The Rolling Stones

Every morning that I decide to drag myself to the city, I have a little over an hour to listen to music on the train. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really want the world to appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Some mornings are tough to choose only three songs from, but I will not break my own rule - 3 songs. Period. I'll also try to not repeat the artist, too often. Here's what I heard this morning:

Alice Cooper: "Billion Dollar Babies"
So, I've heard a lot of Alice over the last few weeks, but some of it I am hesitant to share here. The guy can be dark. And weird. And controversial. So, here's a fairly mainstream track that seems "safe." This is the title track from 1973's Billion Dollar Babies. It's a fantastic album. Produced by genius Bob Ezrin, it features my two favorite Alice Cooper songs, "Elected" and "Hello, Hooray." Glen Buxton, Steve Hunter, and the recently-passed Dick Wagner are all on this record. On this track, Alice shared vocals with Donovan.



The James Gang: "Funk #48"
The one everybody knows, because they still play it often on classic rock stations, is "Funk #49," but "Funk #48" was released a year earlier on 1969's Yer' Album. You can hear a similarity between the two tunes and see how the band was evolving the theme. Joe Walsh is one of my favorite guitar players and this is what he was up to before he joined the Eagles in 1975. It's raw and gritty and everything I love about rock and roll.



The Rolling Stones: "I Don't Know Why aka Don't Know Why I Love You"
This track, written in part by Stevie Wonder, is from 1975's Metamorphosis, a collection of outtakes and alternate versions of well-known songs recorded from 1964 to 1970. A lot of studio musicians, i.e. Jimmy Page, play on some of these tracks instead of the Stones (though they are here), and some were intended to be recorded by other artists. I discovered this record in the cutout bin at Woolworth's when I was about 13 or 14. I love it. This is one of my favorite tracks on the record with Mick Taylor killing it on the guitar. Jimmy Miller's production of this song is great. I particularly love the horn arrangements.



Until next time...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Three from the Train: Supertramp, Van Halen, After Edmund

Every morning that I decide to drag myself to the city, I have a little over an hour to listen to music on the train. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really want the world to appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Some mornings are tough to choose only three songs from, but I will not break my own rule - 3 songs. Period. I'll also try to not repeat the artist, too often. Here's what I heard this morning:

Supertramp: "Breakfast in America"
Selling over 20 million copies, 1979's Breakfast in America was Supertramp's hugely successful follow-up to 1977's Even in the Quietest Moments. The album cover is a classic and this title track is my favorite from the album. That's saying a lot considering how much I love this album. I heard the album track, but here's a great live version:



Van Halen: "Hear About It Later "
Fair Warning (1981) is my favorite VH record. It's much darker than the rest of their stuff and I've always felt it was a more mature record. For me, they peaked on this record. I love Eddie's numerous guitar textures on this song.



After Edmund: "Clouds"
I caught this Grammy-nominated act opening for another act. I was really impressed. They opened with this track from 2008's Hello. It's one of many strong tracks on this band's debut record. They've become a favorite of mine.



Until Next Time

Friday, August 15, 2014

Three from the Train: Haven, Dusty Springfield, Frank Zappa

Every morning that I decide to drag myself to the city, I have a little over an hour to listen to music on the train. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really want the world to appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

Some mornings are tough to choose only three songs from, but I will not break my own rule - 3 songs. Period. I'll also try to not repeat the artist, too often. Here's what I heard this morning:

Haven: "Beautiful Thing"
Sometimes great bands don't get the fame and fortune they deserve. Haven is one of those bands. From Cornwall, England, they were discovered in the mid-90's by the Smith's former manager. After two albums, they disbanded. Sad. This cut is from their first album released in 2002, Between the Senses. I discovered them when I bought a box of unopened CDs from a former music reviewer for an entertainment magazine in Phoenix. I love this record. It's got a Beatle-esque psychedelic pop-rock sound that sticks with you.



Dusty Springfield: "All Cried Out"
Dusty, one of the greatest female pop vocalists, ever, was a British singer who killed it in the 60's. She charted over a dozen top 20 hits in the U.K. and 5 in the us during the mid 60's. In 1999, she was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, shortly after her death. A lot of her stuff was written by Burt Bacharach or Carole King, two of the greatest pop writers. This song, written by Buddy Kaye and Phil Springer, was the opening track on 1964's Dusty.



Frank Zappa: "Apostrophe'"
Frank's one of the most under-appreciated guitarists of all time. Here he is playing with Jack Bruce ("fuzz" bass) on the instrumental title track from 1974's apostrophe.



Until next time...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Three From the Train: RXRA (Eric Serra), Switchfoot, Budos Band

Every morning that I decide to drag myself to the city, I have a little over an hour to listen to music on the train. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really want the world to appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't it great?!"

This morning was another tough one to choose from. But I will not break my own rule - 3 songs. Period. I'll also try to not repeat the artist, too often. Here's what I heard this morning:

RXRA (Eric Serra): "Little Light of Love"
This song is from the soundtrack of the wonderful 1997 film, The Fifth Element. When I first heard it, I thought it was yet another amazing Peter Gabriel tune I had somehow missed. But it's not Peter. It's Eric Serra. There are so many hooks in this song - it's infectious. And Nourith Sibony's amazing vocals on the end of the song, along with the guitar part that echoes the melody, are hypnotic. I can listen to it over and over again.



Switchfoot: "Dare You to Move New"
This alternate version of the hit song is from 2004's The Beautiful Letdown. My favorite parts of this version are the percussion behind the first verse, the killer guitar in the second verse, and the build into the final chorus. Switchfoot cranks out great rock-pop songs with really hopeful messages. This is definitely one of those.



The Budos Band: "Budos Rising"
This 10-piece band from Brooklyn offers up Latin-flavored instrumentals (they call it Afro-Soul), heavy on the horn section, produced in a very rough 70's style. Even on CD, you can practically hear the scratches and pops as you listen. I first discovered them about a decade ago and they now have three albums and an EP. This track is from The Budos Band II. I always think, if the World's Most Interesting Man had a theme song, this would be it.



Until next time...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Three from the Train: Pinnick Gales Pridgen, Bill Spooner, U.K.

Every morning that I decide to drag myself to the city, I have a little over an hour to listen to music on the train. I put the iPhone music player on shuffle, and off I go. Calling my collection eclectic would be an understatement. It's often an interesting mix. There are songs though, that I really want the world to appreciate as much as I do. Songs that make me say, "Ooh, listen to THIS! Isn't that great?!"

This morning was tough. I hear at least six songs I'd love to bring to your attention. But I will not break my own rule. I'll also try not to repeat the artist, too often. Here's what I heard this morning:

Pinnick Gales Pridgen: "Been So High (The Only Place to Go is Down)"
So, once upon a time, three incredible musicians got together to form a band and see what kind of music came out. We used to call those super groups, like Asia. This super group is made up of Dug Pinnick (King's X) on bass and vocals, Eric Gales on guitar and vocals, and Thomas Pridgen (The Mars Volta) on drums. What came out was magic. Dug has been my favorite rock vocalist for decades and he's a heck of a bass player, too. Eric Gales channels Jimi like no one else I've ever heard, and Thomas, though new to me, is amazing, as well. Check out this track from their debut album, Pinnick Gales Pridgen.



Bill Spooner: "Too Much"
I'm a huge Tubes fan. Not to detract from the other GREAT talents in the band, one of the truly creative geniuses behind the Tubes was Bill Spooner. He left the band back in the mid 80's and kind of fell off the radar. I try to keep up with what he's been doing because I love, so much, his voice, his writing, and the choices he makes as a guitarist. This is a song - a beautiful song - that he released on 2001's Demolicious: Adventures in Lo-Fi. To me, it encapsulates everything that makes Bill so amazing.



U.K.: "Night After Night"
Speaking of super groups, U.K. was comprised of John Wetton (King Crimson), Eddie Jobson (Roxy Music, Zappa), Alan Holdsworth, and Bill Bruford (Yes, etc.). Terry Bozzio (Zappa) replaced Bruford in 1978, and in 1979, U.K. released the live album, Night After Night, recorded in Japan. Hey, if it worked for Cheap Trick and Deep Purple, then why not U.K.? This track is from that live album. It's classic 70's progressive rock-pop. I really love the audience clapping along with the song the whole way through.


Until Next Time...