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Any Major Flute Vol. 3

September 29th, 2016 12 comments

Any Major Flute Vol. 3

When I initially made these mixes in 2009, I had noted down songs featuring the flute for about a year, and I still stumbled across flutes that had previously passed me by, even in songs I know very well, such as Kris Kristofferson’s Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I Ever Did Before) and The 5th Dimension’s Up Up And Away, a song I have loved since I was a little boy. In the case of the latter I picked up the flute only while watching a clip of the song being performed on the Ed Sullivan Show. There will still be more flute mixes.

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1. Van McCoy – The Hustle (1975)
Flute moment: 0:35 Well, this is the soul anthem of flutology which everyone knows how to whistle, straight after chanting “Do the hustle!”

2. The 5th Dimension – Up-Up And Away (1967)
Flute moment: 1:43  The flute creeps in almost unnoticed in the background at 0:52, disappears and then asserts itself almost a minute later.

3. Dusty Springfield – I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face (1967)
Flute moment: 0:01 The alto flute sets up the song with a 17-second intro. The job done it lets Dusty do her lovely thing. Check out Baby Washington’s equally flutetastic version.

4. Aretha Franklin – Until You Come Back to Me (1973)
Flute moment: 2:27   On Aretha’s cover version of Stevie Wonder’s much-neglected song, the flute serves as an occasional member of the rhythm section until it gets to show off its solo chops in the final third.

5. The Style Council – How She Threw It All Away (1988)
Flute moment:0:01  The flute comes in right away and returns periodically throughout, and gets a cool 15-second solo at 2:01, and from 3:41 stays with us till the end.

6. The National – So Far Around The Bend (2009)
Flute moment: 0:49  In 2009, The National show that the flute is not out of fashion. It has the flute (well, I’m not totally convinced it’s a flute, but something flute-ish) and the xylophone. Reader Itallstarted suggested this track in the comments section; thanks for alerting me to my new current favourite song.

7. Mercury Rev – Something For Joey (1993)
Flute moment: 1:57  Amid all the multi-instrumental wall of sound, the flute pipes up merrily, as was Mercury Rev’s wont.

8. Golden Earring – Back Home (1970)
Flute moments: 0:10 & 2:38  Traffic did it. Jethro Tull did it. Moody Blues did it. Why shouldn’t hoary Dutch rock acts?

9. Jeremy Steig – Howling For Judy (1969)
Flute moment: All of it. It is cheating a bit to include a flute-jazz track here, but this is fantastic and more rock than jazz: two flutes and a bit of bass. This tack was the basis for the Beastie Boys track on Any Major Flute Vol. 1. Steig passed away on April 13, 2016 — exactly a week after I re-posted the flute mix with his sample on the Beastie Boys track.

10. Joe Walsh – Days Gone By (1973)
Flute moment: 3:55   The future Eagle kicks off with flute, returning to the flute hook periodically before giving the instrument the opportunity to take over for a minute. Thanks to Johnny Bacardi for sending this to me.

11. Blood, Sweat & Tears – Sometimes In Winter (1969)
Flute moment:0:22  The flute is with us from the start on this track, but really helps set the scene after 22 seconds, staying prominently with us through out the first minute, taking a break for another minute, and returning after the 2-minute mark and never leaves us again.

12. Kris Kristofferson – Loving Her Was Easier (1971)
Flute moment: 0:20  Blink and you might miss it. For a long time, I did not take notice of the three moments of brief flutesomeness, all within in the first minute. And I have listened to this song, an all-time favourite, more than most KK songs.

13. The Dillards – Listen To The Sound (1968)
Flute moment:0:01  The flute is not particularly big in country. But here we’ve had KK and now The Dillards, the hugely influential but largely forgotten country/bluegrass band.

14. The Association – Windy (1967)
Flute moment: 1:07  Flute solo! And the flute returns at 2:27, staying until the song fades out.

15. Billy Joel – Get It Right The First Time (1977)
Flute moment: 0:16  This is possibly the only Billy Joel that features the flute. I can’t think of any other. Funny then that it is my least favourite song from The Stranger.

16. The Isley Brothers – For The Love Of You (1975)
Flute moment: 0:01  Early ’70s soul music frequently incorporated the flute to great profit. For The Love Of You signalled the advent of the much-maligned Quiet Storm genre (named after the Smokey Robinson album, the title track of which will feature in Volume 4). The lovely flute hook accompanies the song discreetly throughout.

17. S.O.U.L. – Burning Spear (1973)
Flute moment: 0:18  Where the flute was inhibited on the previous song, on this funk instrumental it takes the centre stage and sounds as sexy as any wind instrument ever did (oh dear, one could manufacture a terrible double entrendez from that statement).

18. Procol Harum – Pandora’s Box (1975)
Flute moment: 1:39  Borrowing liberally from the Tull, the rock legends turn to the flute in an interplay with the guitar.

19. Stackridge – To The Sun And Moon (1974)
Flute moment: 1:19   Fun fact: Folk outfit Stackridge were the first act to play at the very first Glastonbury Festival. A flute-friendly act, they take their time to bring in the instrument here.

20. Focus – Hocus Pocus (1971)
Flute moment: 4:14  When I asked earlier why Dutch rock bands shouldn’t use the flute, I merely restated what Focus pondered almost 40 years ago. The flute takes its time to turn up in this entirely strange strong which includes prodigious yodelling, a momentary lapse of the singer’s mental faculties as he does speaking in tongues, and all manner of other madness. Odd then that it is the flutes that are best remembered — after the yodels, obviously.

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Any Major Flute Vol. 1
Any Major Flute Vol. 2

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Any Major Coffee Vol. 2

September 22nd, 2016 4 comments

Any Major Coffee_2

Here’s the second mix of songs about coffee, or in which coffee features among the leading cast. As in the first Any Major Coffee mix, the rule is that a featured songs must be about coffee or the act or idea of drinking coffee. In some songs the act of drinking coffee is at the centre of the lyrics, in others coffee plays an incidental but not unimportant role.

Everybody here likes coffee, but not everybody is happy with the quality. The Monkees like the face-warming properties of their streaming cup, but disapprove of the taste — so they drink it slowly. Dave Dudley, on the other hand, clearly is as caffeine addict, in his 1966 version of the Tom T. Hall-penned song. Hall will still feature in this series in his own right. He frequently mentioned coffee in his lyrics; the brew also is included in the list of things he has a particular affection for in his song I Love.

The opener is Afro-funk band’s Osibisa’s take on big band favourite The Coffee Song, which is most famous in Frank Sinatra’s version. Apparently they have an awful lot of coffee in Brazil. The track of the same title by Cream is a different song. It was recorded in 1966 as part of the Fresh Cream sessions. The Coffee Song didn’t make the cut but was included when Fresh Cream was re-released in 1974 as Cream.

I might have used Saint Etienne’s lovely Saturday for the Borrow Copy Steal mix: the intro sounds like Candlewick Green’s 1973 hit Who Do You Think You Are.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on as standard CD-R and includes home-brewed covers. PW in comments.

1. Osibisa – The Coffee Song (1976)
2. Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs – Sugar Shack (1963)
3. The Monkees – Early Morning Blues And Greens (1967)
4. Saint Etienne – Saturday (1999)
5. Josh Rouse – Wonderful (2006)
6. Blur – Coffee + TV (1999)
7. Ryan Bingham – Long Way From Georgia (2007)
8. Don Williams – I Don’t Think About Her No More (1974)
9. Dave Dudley – Coffee Coffee Coffee (1966)
10. Charlie Daniels Band – High Lonesome (1976)
11. Albert Collins – Blue Monday Hangover (1980)
12. Gene Harris & Jack McDuff – Smack Dab In The Middle (1996)
13. Cream – The Coffee Song (1966)
14. Ray Charles – Hallelujah I Love Her So (1957)
15. The Castelles – Over A Cup Of Coffee (1954)
16. Johnnie Ray – Gee, But I’m Lonesome (1952)
17. Barbra Streisand – Deep In The Night (1978)
18. Axelle Red – Mon Café (The Coffee Song) (2007)
19. Mandy Moore – Can’t You Just Adore Her (2007)
20. Michelle Featherstone – Coffee & Cigarettes (2006)
21. Graham Coxon – Latte (2002)
22. Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner (1987)
23. Shel Silverstein – Have Another Espresso (1962)

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Any Major Bob Dylan Covers Vol. 1

September 15th, 2016 18 comments

Any Major Dylan Covers Vol. 1

A few years ago a reader suggested that a mix of cover versions of sings by Bob Dylan might alleviate the discomfort many feel at hearing the great songwriter’s voice. As a fan of cover versions I was keen on the idea. So I created a Dylan covers folder and began collecting. Something like eight years later I’m ready to present a series of Any Major Dylan Covers.

This will be a series of three CD-R length collections — 62 songs plus three bonus tracks. As always, I set myself strict rules: no artist may feature twice, and no song may be repeated — except one, which will end the series.

Since these are supposed to be covers of Dylan songs, he must have released the songs first. That means that those tracks he wrote for others, or which others recorded before he released them, don’t qualify — except two, which I’ll address in a moment. A song like Blowin’ In The Wind might have been recorded first by others (Dylan historians have no consensus on that), but it is so essentially a Dylan song that it can’t be excluded.

Dylan never released Wanted Man before it was first recorded by Johnny Cash on the St Quentin live album. So it isn’t really a cover. But it broke my heart to consider not including a Dylan/Cash hybrid, so — in best Cash fashion — rules be damned. In the spoken intro Cash says he wrote the song with Dylan at the Cash home, but Dylan has the sole writing credit. Anyway, the great list-song writer has his lyrics performed by the great list-song singer.

The first volume kicks off with the best of all Dylan covers: Jimi Hendrix’s All Along The Watchtower. Hendrix had received a pre-release acetate of Dylan’s recording, and his version was recorded only two months after Dylan’s. From there on it was Jimi’s song. Bob was cool about it. In the liner notes to his Biograph collection, he wrote: “Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it’s a tribute to him in some kind of way. I liked Hendrix’s record, and ever since he died, I’ve been doing it that way.”

But Dylan has also said that the version of any of his songs he treasures most is Elvis Presley’s 1966 interpretation of Tomorrow Is A Long Time, a song Dylan recorded in 1962 but didn’t release until 1971 as a live track from eight years earlier. So Elvis’ version isn’t really a Dylan cover, but rather of the folk singer Odetta’s recording.

But how great is Kris Kristofferson singing Quinn The Eskimo?

Which brings me to two acts who are notably excluded in this series: Odetta and Peter, Paul & Mary had a great reputation for singing Dylan songs (Odetta, in turn, was something of a mentor to the budding songwriter from Minnesota). Their exclusion was not deliberate: where I had candidate songs by them, there were others which were a better fit.

Mr Tambourine Man is covered here by Johnny Rivers — so I’ll leave you to wonder which Dylan cover by The Byrds will feature in this series? And what will we have Joan Baez singing? And whose version of Blowin’ In The Wind will feature?

The mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-busked covers. PW in comments (you are welcome to leave a message there).

1. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – All Along The Watchtower (1968)
2. Merry Clayton – Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (1975)
3. Elvis Presley – Tomorrow Is A Long Time (1966)
4. Johnny Cash – Wanted Man (1969)
5. Hoyt Axton – Lay Lady Lay (1975)
6. Marshall Crenshaw – My Back Pages (1999)
7. Jeff Tweedy – Simple Twist Of Fate (2007)
8. Bruce Springsteen – Chimes Of Freedom (1988)
9. Kris Kristofferson – Quinn The Eskimo (2012)
10. Emmylou Harris – Every Grain Of Sand (1995)
11. The Pretenders – Forever Young (1994)
12. Richie Havens – Just Like A Woman (1968)
13. Them – It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (1966)
14. The Grass Roots – Mr. Jones (Ballad Of A Thin Man) (1966)
15. Johnny Rivers – Mr. Tambourine Man (1965)
16. The Turtles – It Ain’t Me Babe (1965)
17. Stereophonics – Positively 4th Street (1999)
18. Eels – Girl From The North Country (2006)
19. Lloyd Cole – You’re A Big Girl Now (2001)
20. Josh Kelley – To Make You Feel My Love (2004)
21. Norah Jones – I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight (2002)
Bonus track: Ani DiFranco – Hurricane (2000)

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In Memoriam – August 2016

September 6th, 2016 8 comments

IM-1608aIt was a bad month for jazz musicians. The biggest victim of the Reaper was the Belgian-born harmonica genius Toots Thielemans, whose harmonica riff on the Sesame Street theme in the programmes opening scenes provided the soundtrack for generations of people, at least in the US.

A multi-talented man — Jean Thielemans was also a guitarist and whistler, as well as a composer — he entered the big times while playing with Benny Goodman in the late 1940s and George Shearing in the ‘50s. He recorded many albums, including a number of soundtrack albums, and appeared on a good number of pop records by others. Quincy Jones was a huge fan, and kept using Thieleman’s talents liberally. Other non-jazz acts who featured Thielemans included Billy Joel, Brothers Johnson, John Denver, Paul Simon, Ralph McDonald, Melanie, Julian Lennon (on his hit Too Late For Goodbyes), James Taylor, Natalie Cole, Khadja Nin and so many others. Thielemans also featured on the two Song Swarms In posted in the weeks before his death, for The Girl From Ipanema and By The Time I Get To Phoenix.

At the height of his career with the folk trio The Limeliters — a vocal folk group in the harmonising vein of The Kingston Trio — tenor Glenn Yarbrough decided to leave the music thing behind to become a sailor. That was the end for The Limeliters, though the recording label, CBS, prevailed upon Glen to defer his salty adventures at sea in favour of recording folk records which would become influential in the genre. In the late ’60s Yarbrough decided to sell luxury home, cars and a banana plantation to set up a school for impoverished African-American children. The school went defunct in the early ’70s. It was then that he, his wife and baby-daughter went sailing on a boat he helped build — for half a decade. A free spirit, Yarbrough has died at the age of 86.

Now as the US public is confronted with the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, the election campaigns of George Herbert Walker Bush 26 years ago seems genteel by comparison, even if we acknowledge Lee Atwater’s bilious lies, the involvement of the vomituous sex pest Roger Ayles, and the blatant racism of the Willie Horton saga .  One of George Bush Sr’s campaign songs was the Moe Bandy song Americana, which was co-written by Richard Fagan, who has died at 69. Fagan had a number of country hits under his belt, as well as a minor 1980 chart hit for Neil Diamond. He had a colourful personal life. In 2008 he was involved in a physical fight with his mentor, Tom Oteri, whom Fagan wounded with a knife. After being ejected from Oteri’s house, Fagan was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Released from his cell the next morning, he learnt that his friend had died of a heart attack following their altercartion. Remarkable, the Oteri family stood by the distraught Fagan who then proceeded to clean himself up.

I’ve always thought that the vibraphone is an underrated instrument. With the death of Bobby Hutcherson we have lost a leading exponent of vibes-playing (once voted the world’s best, ahead of the great Vince Montana). Turning professional while still a teenager in the late 1950s, Hutcherson released a long string of jazz albums himself — many on Blue Note, the label on which he was the second longest-running acts — but also played with some of the great names in jazz of his generation, including John Coltrane, Blue Mitchell, Dexter Gordon, Joe Sample (who wrote the featured track), Freddie Hubbard and Herbie Hancock, appearing with the latter on the Round Midnight soundtrack.IM-1608bAnother part-time Blue Note alumni departed inform of the influential recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder. He is widely considered a pioneer in his field; his innovations helped create the sound of American jazz in the 1950s and early ‘60s. His services were used by the likes of Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard and Wayne Shorter. He engineered such groundbreaking albums as John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme , Sonny Rollins’ Saxophone Colossus, A Night At The Village Vanguard and Horace Silver’s Songs For My Father.  Even at 91, he kept working to his last days. Fittingly, his end came while he was at his studio.

When a musician dies after having reached the age of 100, he ought to receive a special mention. So it is with the easy listening pianist and composer Irving Fields, who was something of the fixture in the US in the 1950s. Before that he had written a couple of hits, including Managua, Nicaragua (a hit for Guy Lombardo, Freddie Martin and Kay Kyser and their respective orchestras in 1946/47), Chantez Chantez, a 1957 hit for Dinah Shore, and Miami Beach Rhumba for himself. In 2008, as a nonagenarian, he wrote a theme song for YouTube, titled YouTube Dot Com Theme Song.

It’s hard to say whether the rise in the late 1990s of boy bands like the Backstreet Boys and ‘NSYNC was a good thing, but if anybody thinks their creator should have been jailed for crimes against music, then such people got their wish, of sorts. Lou Pearlman, who has died at 62, was actually jailed for defrauding people in a Ponzi scheme — and never saw freedom again. He was also sued by almost every act he represented. Allegations of molestation of minors were never brought to court; Pearlman denied them. And while the boy bands contributed little to music, they nevertheless gave us Justin Timberlake, a true star of genuine talent.

Among the more unlikely category of people who might enjoy significant chart success are politicians, even less so when they are the foreign minister and future president of a significant country. Don’t fear, Hilary Clinton never recorded a bootie-shakin’ disco hit in 1978, nor is she dead. The politician in question was Walter Scheel, West-Germany’s foreign minister and vice-chancellor from 1969-74 and the president till 1979 who has died at the age of 97. In 1973 Scheel hooked up with the Düsseldorf Men’s Choir to record the German traditional song Hoch auf den gelben Wagen (“Up on the yellow coach”), a song about postal delivery in the pre-automobile age which became a big hit in West Germany. I’ll include it here, for the moments when your particular jam is to groove along to the vocal stylings of a politician (it is quite a contrast to the track which precedes Scheel’s). Take comfort in knowing that Scheel was that rare thing: a decent man in politics.

Ricci Martin, 62, singer, son of Dean Martin, on Aug. 3
Ricci Martin – Stop Look Around (1977)

Snaffu Rigor, 69, Filipino singer and songwriter, on Aug. 4

Richard Fagan, 69, country songwriter, on Aug. 5
Neil Diamond – The Good Lord Loves You (1979)

Vander Lee, 50, Brazilian singer-songwriter, on Aug. 5
Vander Lee – Meu Jardim (2005)

Freddy Sunder, 85, Belgian jazz guitarist and singer, on Aug. 5
Freddy Sunder – Biep! Biep! (1958)

Pete Fountain, 86, jazz clarinetist, on Aug. 6
Al Hirt & Pete Fountain – Blue And Broken Hearted (1957)

E. Taylor, 65, rock musician, on Aug. 7
B.E. Taylor Group – Vitamin L (1984)

Padraig Duggan, 67, Irish folk musician with Clannad, The Duggans, on Aug. 9
Clannad – Theme From Harry’s Game (1982)

Glenn Yarbrough, 86, folk singer, on Aug. 11
The Limeliters – Take My True Love By The Hand (1960)
Glenn Yarbrough – Baby, The Rain Must Fall (1965)

Barbara Gibb, 95, mother of Barry, Robin, Maurice and Andy, on Aug. 12

Ruby Wilson, 68, R&B and gospel singer, on Aug. 12
Ruby Wilson – I’m Coming Home (1999)

Connie Crothers, 75, jazz pianist, on Aug. 13

Gary Watson, 22, singer of Scottish band the Lapelles, drowned on Aug. 13

James Woolley, 49, rock keyboardist (Nine Inch Nails, 1991-94), on Aug. 14
Nine Inch Nails – Wish (1993, on keyboards)

Lorenzo Piani, 60, Italian singer and songwriter, on Aug. 14

DJ Official, 39, Christian hip hop musician, on Aug. 14

Bobby Hutcherson, 75, jazz vibraphone and marimba player, on Aug. 15
Ella Fitzgerald – Things Ain’t What They Used To Be (1970, on vibraphone)
Bobby Hutcherson featuring Harold Land – Goin’ Down South (1971)

Bob Kindred, 76, jazz saxophonist, on Aug. 15

Billy Mitchell, 70, folk-rock singer, on Aug. 16

Preston Hubbard, 63, bass player with the Fabulous Thunderbirds (1985-93), on Aug. 17
The Fabulous Thunderbirds – Powerful Stuff (1988)

Lou Pearlman, 62, producer and impresario (Backstreet Boys, ’NSYNC), on Aug. 19

Matt Roberts, 38, guitarist with alt.rock band 3 Doors Down, on Aug. 20
3 Doors Down – Kryptonite (2000)

Tom Searle, 28, guitarist with British metalcore band Architects, on Aug. 20

Louis Smith, 85, jazz trumpeter, on Aug. 20
Louis Smith – Star Dust (1958)

Louis Stewart, 72, Irish jazz guitarist, on Aug. 20

Irving Fields, 101, pianist and composer, on Aug. 20
Irving Fields Trio – Cha Cha No. 29 (1959)

Derek Smith, 85, British pianist and keyboardist, on Aug. 21
Linda Lewis -This Time I’ll Be Sweeter (1975)

Headley Bennett, 85, Jamaican saxophonist, on Aug. 21
Gregory Isaacs – Poor Natty (1980)

Toots Thielemans, 94, Belgian jazz harmonica player and guitarist, on Aug. 22
Toots Thielemans – Bluesette (1961)
Quincy Jones – Velas (1980)
Billy Joel – Leave A Tender Moment Alone (1983)

Gilli Smyth, 83, singer with psychedelic rock band Gong, on Aug. 22
Gong – I Am Your Fantasy (1971)

Walter Scheel, 97, German politician and chart-topper, on Aug. 24
Walter Scheel – Hoch auf dem gelben Wagen (1973)

Rudy Van Gelder, 91, pioneering recording engineer, on Aug. 25
Horace Silver – Song For My Father (1964, as sound engineer)

Norman Killeen, 38, drummer  of Canadian heavy metal band Threat Signal, on Aug. 25

Ab Tamboer, 65, member of Dutch pop group Earth and Fire, on Aug. 26

Juan Gabriel, 66, Mexican singer and songwriter, on Aug. 28
Juan Gabriel – Querida (1984)

Hoot Hester, 65, bluegrass and country fiddle player, on Aug. 30
Ricky Van Shelton – Life Turned Her That Way (1987, on fiddle)

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Any Major American Road Trip – 5

September 1st, 2016 11 comments

Any Major American Road Trip - Stage 5

As we embark on the fifth stage of our musical road trip through the USA we are leaving California behind us, and begin our journey back west in Las Vegas to end up in St Louis.

The Hall & Oates song gives a profession to the eponymous character of their hit Sara Smile; here Sara is an air stewardess who is “flying gambling fools to the holy land, Las Vegas”. So, unlike Elvis, they are not fans of Vegas, and clearly neither is Sheryl Crow who is leaving the city with its gaudy neon streets.

We’ll turn north to Salt Lake City and then go east. It has to be said, there is no superfluity of songs about the Mid-West, so we are travelling some mighty distances between tracks:  838km (514 miles) between Denver and Wichita; 678km (421 miles) between Vega and Salt Lake City; 629km (390 miles) between Salt Lake City and Laramie; 528km (328 miles) between St Cloud and Madison. In fact, the only distances between destinations under 100km (62 miles) were Chicago to Gary (50km or 32 miles), and Laramie to Cheyenne (82km or 51 miles).

Altogether, the route from Vegas to St Louis, with all its funny twists and turns, comes to 4708km, or 2925 miles — more than the distance from Iceland to Istanbul. That’s 4708km of good, or at least interesting, music. One diversion I made at the request of my old friend Whiteray from the Echoes in the Wind blog, who suggested I visit St Cloud in Minnesota with Trisha Yearwood, who is much more wholesome than the subject of the song about Whiteray’s hometown.

Map - Stage 5

 

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes covers and a route-map (more detailed than the one above). PW in comments.

1. Elvis Presley – Viva Las Vegas (1963 – Las Vegas, NV)
2. Hall & Oates – Las Vegas Turnaround (The Stewardess Song) (1974  – Las Vegas, NV)
3. Sheryl Crow – Leaving Las Vegas (1994 – Las Vegas, NV)
4. Peggy Lee – I Lost My Sugar (In Salt Lake City) (1961 – Salt Lake City, UT)
5. Jimmy Young – The Man From Laramie (1955 – Laramie, WY)
6. George Strait – I Can Still Make Cheyenne (1996 – Cheyenne, WY)
7. Willie Nelson – Denver (1975 – Denver, CO)
8. Warren Zevon – Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead (1991 – Denver, CO)
9. Glen Campbell – Wichita Lineman (1968 – Wichita, KS)
10. Phil Ochs – Kansas City Bomber (1972 – Kansas City, MO)
11. Counting Crows – Omaha (live) (2006 – Omaha, NE)
12. Jeffrey Foucault – Des Moines (2015 – Des Moines, IA)
13. Growly-voiced singer – Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis (1978 – Minneapolis, MN)
14. Trisha Yearwood – On A Bus To St. Cloud (1995 – St Cloud, MN)
15. George Thorogood and The Destroyers – Madison Blues (1977 – Madison, WI)
16. Al Jarreau – Milwaukee (1976 – Milwaukee, WI)
17. The Doobie Brothers – Chicago (1971 – Chicago, IL)
18. The Blues Brothers – Sweet Home Chicago (1980  – Chicago, IL)
19. Frank Sinatra – Chicago (1957 – Chicago, IL)
20. The Jesters – Night Train From Chicago (1950s  – Chicago, IL)
21. The Jacksons – 2300 Jackson Street (1989 – Gary, IN)
22. WC Handy – St Louis Blues (1923 – St Louis, MO)
23. Steely Dan – East St Louis Toodle-oo (1974 – St Louis, MO)

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Any Major American Road Trip – 4

September 1st, 2016 1 comment

Any Major American Road Trip - Stage 4

On the fourth stage of our musical road trip through the USA we are staying in California. Parts of the state have a strong country influence because it was in the inland portions of California that many of the southern Dust Bowl refugees from Steinbeck’s Grapes Of Wrath (the greatest novel ever written, in my non-expert opinion) settled. Bakersfield is the place that produced Merle Haggard and Gram Parsons and, though he was a Texan, Buck Owens.

But our journey begins on the coast where the living and the loving is good, places like Big Sur and Santa Cruz and Monterey. The latter was home to the second true rock festival (as opposed to a rock revue), organised in 1967 by the Mamas & the Papas with Lou Adler. Eric Burdon & The Animals, who performed, sing about it here. A week earlier the lesser known Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival was held on Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, also in California.

Another performer at Monterey was Otis Redding, who, with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, pretty much stole the show (and if you see his performance of I’ve Been Loving You, you’ll see why). Otis, who was from the South, loved the California scene, and stuck around. He wrote his most famous song about it, Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay. The place where he wrote it, Sausalito, is featured here.

From Sausalito, about half an hour’s drive in easy traffic From San Francisco (crossing the Golden Gate Bridge) we drive another hour to Santa Rosa. I was going to let the Nitty Gritty Band honour the place; in the event I settled for a more unexpected choice: a pre-fame b-side from 1972 by the group we’d come to know as ABBA. Then we drive another hour north to Ukiah, to see if we can get the fresh, clean smell of the pines which The Doobie Brothers are promising us.

Map - Stage 4

At Ukiah we find ourselves at a crossroad: Do we go north to Oregon and then Seattle, or do we turn south-east to make it to Vegas? There’s more music Vegas way, so that’s where we’ll go, via inland California with its capital Sacramento, making a little detour to Folsom prison. We’ll go to Lodi (apparently pronounced low-die) , which Credence Clearwater Revival sang about on the b-side to Bad Moon Rising. The song made the farming town of 60,000 a byword for boredom. Lodi has capitalised on that by hosting “Stuck in Lodi” events.

We end the fourth leg of our road trip in Bakersfield, which gets, due it being the capital of Californian country, two songs — though only one of them is country.

The centrepoint is, of course, San Francisco. I expect to get accusatory looks for giving New Orleans only two songs and Frisco five. Well, folks, that’s the nature of travel: On the leg including The Big Easy I had little time to linger. In San Francisco I have plenty of time because I need to be in Vegas only by the next mix.

In this leg we’ll have traveled 1,000km or 620m miles. It’s another music-less 1,400km or 870 miles to Las Vegas, where the fifth leg will begin.

The next leg will see us travelling close to 5000km or 3000 miles, taking us from Las Vegas via several detours to St Louis. Along the way we’ll encounter more great music.

As always, CD-R length, covers, PW in comments.

1. The Thrills – Big Sur (2003 – Big Sur)
2. Eric Burdon & The Animals – Monterey (1967 – Monterey)
3. Kris Kristofferson – Me and Bobby McGee (1970 – Salinas)
4. Robert Earl Keen – I’m Comin Home (1994 – Santa Cruz)
5. Dionne Warwick – Do You Know The Way To San José (1968 – San José)
6. Otis Redding – Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay (1968 – San Francisco)
7. Bobby Womack – I Left My Heart In San Francisco (1969 – San Francisco)
8. O.C. Smith – San Francisco Is A Lonely Town (live) (1969 – San Francisco)
9. Counting Crows – Richard Manuel Is Dead (live, 2006 – San Francisco)
10. Chris Isaak – San Francisco Days (1993 – San Francisco)
11. Conor Oberst – Sausalito (2008 – Sausalito)
12. Van Morrison – Snow In San Anselmo (1973 — San Anselmo/San Rafael)
13. Johnny Cash – San Quentin (live, 1969 – San Quentin)
14. Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid – Santa Rosa (1972 – Santa Rosa)
15. The Doobie Brothers – Ukiah (1973 – Ukiah)
16. Middle Of The Road – Sacramento (A Wonderful Town) (1972 – Sacramento)
17. Conway Twitty – Folsom Prison Blues (1968 – Folsom)
18. Credence Clearwater Revival – Lodi (1969 – Lodi)
19. Beck – Modesto (1994 – Modesto)
20. Merle Haggard – One Row At A Time (1971 – Fresno)
21. Buck Owens – Streets Of Bakersfield (1973 – Bakersfield)
22. Social Distortion – Bakersfield (2011 – Bakersfield)

GET IT!

Previously on American Road Trip

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