Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Playlist for 3/3

Bluegrass Junction's Top 75 of All Time (SiriusXM Channel)
Hanging Tree Guitars - Various
Henry Cow - Unrest
Suzi Quatro - s/t (1973)
Bohannon - Keep On Dancin'
Art Blakey - Just Coolin' 
Joe Pernice - Could It Be Magic

Monday, March 01, 2021

An Album/Song A Week: "Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)" - Helen Reddy

 When Helen Reddy passed away in 2020, the one song I thought of was not "I Am Woman", but her 1973 #3 hit, "Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)".  The song was a follow-up to her #1 "Delta Dawn", and follows the same path lyrically.  A woman undone by a bad relationship.  But Reddy never liked "Leave Me Alone".  Often refusing to sing it at concerts, and complaining about having to repeat the chorus' repetitive "Leave Me Alone".  But it was that hook which stuck with most listeners.  Certainly did with me.  
 But the real reason I'm talking about this song is because of where I heard it and how often.  My recollection of living in Germany was that the American Forces Network didn't have many listener options.  I remember an FM station but mostly AM ones.  The AM channel my sister listened to the most was a Top 40 channel.  "Leave Me Alone" was released in the Fall of 1973, just as school was getting underway.  And once it became a hit, AFN AM station played it continuously, and just about every morning.  So, when Reddy passed, I immediately thought of those elementary school days.  Getting ready (no pun intended) for school and often hearing the same songs every morning.  Earworms like "Leave Me Alone" were easy to remember for young kids like me.  Even if I had no idea what the song was really about.  Not at nine years old. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Playlist for 2/26

This Is MF Doom (Spotify Playlist)
Viktor Vaughn - Vaudeville Villain
KLF - Solid State Logik 1
Barry Gibb - Greenfields
Morgan Wallen - Dangerous
Aaron Frazer - Introducing
Kahil El'Zabar - America The Beautiful
Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President (2020 Documentary)

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

An Album/Song A Week: "Philadelphia Freedom" - Elton John

 The Summer of '75.  After moving from North Carolina to Germany, we moved back to the U.S. My Dad's Military days were winding down.  He had the choice of Colorado or California to relocate too, and chose California.  But before we headed there in June of '75, we stopped by my Aunt & Uncle's place in New York City.  Queens to be exact.  This wasn't my first visit there, as we visited them when we lived in North Carolina.  
  One of the first things I did when we arrived in New York was find a Top 40 radio station.  "Philadelphia Freedom" was just peaking (from it's #1 perch) when I got to New York.  By this time Elton John was the biggest Pop star in the world.  Everything he released was a hit.  "Philadelphia Freedom" was a single-only release.  Didn't appear on any of his studio albums.  It's a wonderful hit.  Using his love Philly Soul as a starting point, Elton made the R&B hit he was always looking for.  It's ubiquity in June '75 was such that I heard it a bunch of times during our visit.  It will always define my return to the States.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Playlist for 2/17

One Night In Miami (2020 Movie)
Chick Corea - Plays
Chubby and the Gang - Speed Kills 
A Girl Called Eddy - Been Around
Jazmine Sullivan - Heaux Tales
City Girls - City On Lock
Jeannie Seely - An American Classic
High Note (2020 Movie)
Coverville Podcast: Top 20 Covers of 2020
SiriusXM 50's on 5 Channel: Top 300 of the 50's

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

An Album/Song A Week: "Kiss And Say Goodbye" - Manhattans

The one thing that COVID-19  has taught me is the fragility of life.  The swiftness that the pandemic has taken lives should have scared everyone to take precautions.  But it didn't.  Although a vaccine is now being distributed, he slow rollout means many will be at risk for some time.  

I've been thinking about my own mortality lately.  As of this writing, I'm 56 years old.  I've got no pre-existing conditions, consider myself a healthy man and have followed all the COVID protocols so I don't catch the virus.  But there are many stories of healthy men in my age group who haven't been so lucky.

Before the pandemic, I often joked with my wife about what songs to play at my funeral.  Mind you, there won't be a funeral.  I'll be cremated without fanfare.  Which if fine.  When my parents died, I wrote their newspaper obituaries.  It wasn't hard to write about their lives, but in thinking about what to say I found things about them that were not known to me while they were alive.

My own obituary won't be hard to write.  "He was a die-hard New York Jets fan, biggest Elvis Presley fan who loved all kinds of music". Oh, and he spent 35 years working for the USPS.  

But just in case my family wants to remember me, I've told them what music to play in the background.  No surprise really.  Lots of Elvis Presley.  But which songs?  I've told them it doesn't matter.  Play the worst of Elvis ("Yoga Is As Yoga Does", "Do The Clam").  Have a laugh on me.  Or play the best of him ("Suspicious Minds", "Don't Be Cruel").  Knock yourself out.  

But the other song she'll play will get a lot of people talking.  The Manhattans' #1 hit from 1976, "Kiss and Say Goodbye". A great slice of Philly Soul.  The Manhattans don't get much mention when talking about the top tier R&B vocal groups.  But from 1965-85 they charted 33 Top 40 R&B hits.  But they only had 3 Top 40 Pop hits. But their catalog is strong.  Another name for the underrated/overlooked file.  Looking at the title of the song you might think you'd know the reason I picked it.  But that's not it. For years, every Winter, I would always catch a bad cold.  Typical symptoms but eventually always a sore throat which caused my voice to go about as deep as Barry White.  The beginning of that Manhattans songs has a spoken intro by their bass singer, Winfred Lovett (who also wrote it), that is a perfect Barry White impression.  With my voice deepened by a sore throat, I would often talk the opening intro to my wife, "This has got to be the saddest day of my life".  It has been a running joke for years.  Still is, whenever I catch a bad cold.  

So, I've told her that I want "Kiss and Say Goodbye" and any Elvis Presley song you want to be played in the background of any sort of reminicining you do about my life.  

In this pandemic era, everyone has to be feeling mortal.  Music continues to play a big part in my life, and it will long after I die. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Favorite Love Songs (With A Twist)

Favorite romantic songs, with a twist.  They can't be ones that always show up on every Great Love Songs playlist

All of these Valentine's Day type tracks have meant something to me at some point in my life.

If you want to find out what other songs I'm adding, then check out my Spotify playlist
A Not On Every Best Love Songs Ever Playlist

Al Green - Sha-La-La
Alexander O'Neal - If You Were Here Tonight
Atlantic Starr - Send For Me
Aretha Franklin - Day Dreaming
Barry White - Can't Get Enough
Bill Withers - Lovely Day
Boz Scaggs -  We're All Alone
Bread - Make It With You
Con Funk Shun - Love's Train
Daryl Hall & John Oates - One On One
DeBarge - All This Love
Earth, Wind & Fire - Love's Holiday
Ella Fitzgerald - I Concentrate On You
ELO - Strange Magic
Elvis Presley - Fame and Fortune
Flamingos - I Only Have Eyes For You
Frank Sinatra - You Make Me Feel So Young
Gap Band - Yearning For Your Love
Gladys Knight & The Pips - You're The Best Thing That's Ever Happened To Me
Gregory Abbott - Shake You Down
Isley Brothers - Voyage to Atlantis
Janet Jackson - Let's Wait Awhile
Jackie Wilson - To Be Loved
Jason Isbell - If We Were Vampires
Jimmy LaFave - Into Your Life
Joni Mitchell - Case of You
L.T.D.  - Love Ballad
Luther Vandross - If Only For One Night
Major Harris - Love Won't Let Me Wait
Manhattans - Shining Star
Marvin Gaye - After The Dance
Maxwell - Whenever, Wherever, Whatever
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly - I Wanna Thank You
Merle Haggard - That's The Way Love Goes
Michael Jackson - Lady In My Life
Neil Young - Harvest Moon
Norman Connors - You Are My Starship
O'Jays - Lovin' You
Patti LaBelle - Love, Need and Want You
Peabo Bryson - I'm So Into You
Prince  - Adore
Randy Travis - Forever and Ever, Amen
Ray, Goodman & Brown - Special Lady
Rene & Angela - Your Smile
Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway - Closer I Get To You
Rodney Crowell - After All This Time
Rose Royce - Wishing On A Star
Roxy Music - Avalon
Rufus featuring Chaka Khan - Sweet Thing
Sam Cooke - Nothing Can Change This Love
Smokey Robinson - Quiet Storm
Spinners - Could It Be I'm Falling In Love
Stevie Wonder - You and I
Stylistics - I'm Stone In Love With You
T-Connection - Best of My Love
Teddy Pendergrass & Stephanie Mills - Feel The Fire
Terence Trent D'Arby - Let's Go Forward
Tom Jones - Move Closer
Tony! Toni! Tone! -  Anniversary
Whispers - Lady
Willie Nelson - Moonlight In Vermont

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