Monday, November 28, 2016

Playlist for 11/28

Beth Hart - Fire On The Floor
Jonny Fritz - Sweet Creep
Jonny Fritz - Dad Country
Alejandro Escovedo -  Burn Something Beautiful
Aaron Lee Tasjan - Silver Tears
William Tyler - Live at Third Man Records
Minus 5 -  Of Monkees and Men
Sleigh Bells - Jessica Rabbit
Shaggs - Philosophy of the World
Lee Moses - Time and Place
Harry Choates - Original Cajun Fiddle
Martin Carthy - s/t

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Playlist for 11/22

Steve Arrington - Dancin' In The Key Of Life
Slave - Just A Touch Of Love
Alicia Keys - Here
Solange - Seat at the Table
Common - Black America Again
Jamie Lidell - Building a Beginning
Sting - 57th & 9th
Pretenders - Alone
Martha Wainwright - Goodnight City
Pere Ubu - Modern Dance
Paul Cauthen - My Gospel
Sharon Jones - Miss Sharon Jones
Miss Sharon Jones  (Documentary)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Top 1970's Soul/Funk/Disco Albums (Poll)

1970's Funk/Soul/Disco Album Poll.  Since this was a Golden Era for all 3 genres, I had no problem coming up with albums I loved.

Rules were pretty easy: vote for up to 100 albums. However, in this poll we had to choose from a bunch of albums that readers nominated.  So, some I would have voted for weren't listed:  a different Hall & Oates, Sylvester.  There were also no KC & The Sunshine Band albums despite the fact that they were a huge Disco/R&B presence in the 70's.

1. Stevie Wonder - Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
2. Marvin Gaye - What's Going On (1971)
3. Spinners - Spinners (1973)
4. Michael Jackson - Off the Wall (1979)
5. Earth, Wind & Fire - Gratitude (1975)
6. Funkadelic - One Nation Under a Groove (1978)
7. Curtis Mayfield - Superfly (1972)
8. Stylistics - The Stylistics (1971)
9. Average White Band - AWB (1974)
10. Chic - Risqué (1979)
11. Sly & The Family Stone - There's a Riot Goin' On (1971)
12. O'Jays - Back Stabbers (1972)
13. Al Green - Call Me (1973)
14. Stevie Wonder - Innervisions (1973)
15. Millie Jackson - Caught Up (1974)
16. Bill Withers - Still Bill (1972)
17. Teddy Pendergrass - Life Is a Song Worth Singing (1978)
18. Smokey Robinson - A Quiet Storm (1975)
19. Donna Summer - Bad Girls (1979)
20. Ashford & Simpson - Is It Still Good to Ya (1978)
21. Aretha Franklin - Amazing Grace (1972)
22. Isley Brothers - 3 + 3 (1973)
23. Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On (1973)
24. James Brown - Sex Machine (1970)
25. Parliament - Mothership Connection (1975)
26. Gladys Knight & The Pips - Imagination (1973)
27. Spinners - Pick of the Litter (1975)
28. Boz Scaggs - Silk Degrees (1976)
29. Commodores - Zoom (1977)
30. Stevie Wonder - Talking Book (1972)
31. Deniece Williams - This Is Niecy (1976)
32. Ray, Goodman & Brown - Ray, Goodman & Brown (1979)
33. Earth, Wind & Fire - All 'n All (1977)
34. Barry White - Can't Get Enough (1974)
35. Wild Tchoupitoulas - The Wild Tchoupitoulas (1976)
36. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes - To Be True (1975)
37. Chi-Lites - (For God's Sake) Give More Power to the People (1971)
38. Blue Magic - Blue Magic (1974)
39. Jackson 5 - ABC (1970)
40. Curtis Mayfield - Curtis (1970)
41. Donny Hathaway - Everything Is Everything (1970)
42. Ohio Players - Honey (1975)
43. Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan - Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan (1975)
44. Marvin Gaye - Here, My Dear (1978)
45. Swamp Dogg - Total Destruction to Your Mind (1970)
46. Earth, Wind & Fire - That's The Way Of The World  (1975)
47. Parliament - Funkentelechy vs. The Placebo Syndrome (1977)
48. Funkadelic - Maggot Brain  (1971)
49. Sly & The Family Stone - Fresh (1973)
50. Bill Withers - Just as I Am (1971)
51. Ashford & Simpson - So So Satisfied (1977)
52. WAR - All Day Music  (1971)
53. Labelle - Nightbirds (1974)
54. Kool & the Gang - Wild and Peaceful (1973)
55. Al Green - I'm Still in Love With You (1972)
56. Chic - C'est Chic  (1978)
57. Staple Singers - Be Altitude: Respect Yourself (1972)
58. Van Morrison - Moondance  (1970)
59. Meters - Rejuvenation (1974)
60. Delfonics  (1970)
61. Van Morrison - Moondance  (1970)
62. Isley Brothers - Heat Is On  (1975)
63. Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band  (1976)
64. Isaac Hayes - Shaft  (1971)
65. Minnie Riperton - Perfect Angel  (1974)
66. Aretha Franklin - Spirit In The Dark  (1970)
67. Heatwave - Too Hot To Handle (1976)
68. Stylistics - Round 2  (1972)
69. Raydio (1978)
70. Bee Gees - Main Course (1975)
71. Syreeta - Stevie Wonder Presents (1974)
72. Jacksons - Destiny (1978)
73. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes - Wake Up Everybody (1975)
74. WAR - Why Can't We Be Friends (1975)
75. Gil Scott-Heron - Pieces Of A Man (1971)
76. Aretha Franklin - Young, Gifted and Black (1972)
77. Daryl Hall & John Oates - Abandoned Luncheonette (1973)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Playlist for 11/15

Bob Weir - Blue Mountain
Nick Waterhouse - Never Twice
Tribe Called Quest - We Got It From Here
Gil Scott-Heron - Pieces Of A Man
Gil Scott-Heron - Winter In America
Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson - It's Your World
Johnnie Frierson - Have You Been Good To Yourself
Brent Cobb - Shine On Rainy Day
Neil Young - Time Fades Away
Neil Young - Hawks & Doves
Neil Young - American Stars 'N Bars
Neil Young - This Note's For You
Neil Young - Re-ac-tor
Garth Brooks - Gunslinger
Feel Like Going Home: Songs of Charlie Rich - Various

Sunday, November 13, 2016

RIP Leon Russell

In 2011, Leon Russell was the first artist inducted into the Rock Hall under the Musical Excellence Category.  Thanks to a push from Elton John, who had released a duet album with Russell in 2010.
Russell would have gotten in on his own, but he was still a good first choice.  In the 60's he was a session musician on Phil Spector-produced sessions.

The best Leon Russell years were the early 70's.  His first albums were a great brew of what we now call Americana, with a more soulful twist.  He also put together the band and was musical director on Joe Cocker's 1970 double live album, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, which chronicles the crazy tour that Cocker once said almost killed him.

He only had 2 Top 40 songs, 1972's "Tight Rope" and 75's, "Lady Blue", and a #1 Country single in 1979 with Willie Nelson on a cover of "Heartbreak Hotel".  But it's as a songwriter that Russell has built his legacy on.  He was inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011.
Among the artists who had hits with his songs:  George Benson ("This Masquerade"), Donny Hathaway ("Song For You"), Carpenters ("Superstar"), B.B. King ("Hummingbird"), Joe Cocker ("Delta Lady").

Favorite Songs:
Back To The Island
Delta Lady
Heartbreak Hotel w/Willie Nelson
Home Sweet Oklahoma
If It Wasn't For Bad  w/Elton John
Lady Blue
Out In The Woods
Roll Away The Stone
Shoot Out On The Plantation
Song For You
Stranger In A Strange Land
This Masquerade
Tight Rope

Among his albums I recommend:
Leon Russell  (1970)
Leon Russell and the Shelter People  (1971)
Carney  (1972)
One For The Road  w/ Willie Nelson  (1979)
Union  w/ Elton John  (2010)

1997's Retrospective is a concise single disc of some of his best songs.

Friday, November 11, 2016


You know that old saying, "Don't talk politics with friends and family", but we do.  It's in our DNA.  So, this post will be about the 2016 election.  Most of you who are friends with me on Facebook or Twitter know where I stand.

I'm a white, 52 year old Democrat living in a solid-blue state, California.  The first time I voted was in 1984, for Walter Mondale.  Yea, things didn't start out too good.  But I've voted in all elections, mid-terms, off-year and Presidential ever since.  Local and state elections are as important as Presidential.  And I didn't grow up in an Democratic family.  My Dad, ex-Military, was a Republican.  But he was a moderate.  Liked Bill Clinton, but died before Obama was elected.  My Mom was an Independent until the George W. years, when she registered as a Democrat.  

Why did this result stun so many.  For one, Hillary Clinton was ahead in every major poll.  Anywhere from 3-6%.  And her Electoral projection was to be over 300.  She was going to hold most of the states Obama won in 2012.  Florida would be another tough fight, though.  Well, this isn't what happened.  Very few of us thought she would have Rust Belt problems.  But the blue collar workers in those States were swayed by Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric.  Jobs are going elsewhere, they were told, and he's going to keep them here.

This is no mandate.  Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.  Trump's triumph along the Rust Belt was razor thin.  Yet, the populace is as disengaged as ever.  48% of registered voters didn't vote.  No matter how many times people are told how important their vote is, most tune out.

Very few saw this result coming, but two people warned us.  Nate Silver, a week before the election had a post saying Clinton could win the Popular and lose the EV.  But Democrats were ticked off at Silver for most of this cycle because he was too cynical about her chances.  By election week he had her chances of winning down to 60%.  Then there was Michael Moore, who in the Summer wrote that Democrats were abandoning Rust Belt workers, not just in his home state of Michigan, but in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.   Again, Democrats railed.  Moore's sometimes cynical, boorish persona didn't match with the polls.  But he was right.  And besides, when Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary in Michigan during the primaries, that was a signal her support there was soft.  But Obama voters who stayed away weren't persuaded enough to come back.  Where was the message that if elected Trump gets to pick Supreme Court justices?   That if elected your family could be without any health coverage?  Where were the speeches that if the GOP gets control of all branches of Government that they will bankrupt the U.S., like they've always done?  Addressing Economic concerns might have been tough for the Democrats with unemployment lower than when Obama took office. But they should have addressed low wages with blue collar voters. The themes of the campaign weren't pounded enough.

As it turns out had she carried Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, three states that have voted Democratic since 2000, she would be President.

So, Hillary Clinton was a flawed candidate.  The email story never went away.  But the mainstream media played a big part in all of this.  And James Comey's October surprise had an effect on late voters.  Clinton was continuously exonerated even while she apologized for any mistakes she may have made. She committed nothing criminal.   But it wasn't enough.  The media played Trump's game.  And sexism is alive.  I really believe that many men just weren't going to vote for a woman, especially someone who's been part of the Washington circle for decades.

One reason I've boycotted CNN, MSNBC, New York Times News sections is because they gave Trump a free ride through most of the campaign.  Never looking into his shady past ties, giving him free airtime to sprout his lies.  Letting him get away with not releasing his taxes, not doing press conferences, giving non-Fox outlets telephone only interviews.  They stayed silent about his past treatment of women, until a tape was leaked to show what a misogynist pig he is.   This is a man who mocked people with disabilities, called John McCain a coward, put down our Military (who voted for him anyway) and lied his way into the office more than any other candidate in history.  So, screw the National press.  I'll get my info from Independent sources.

Donald Trump is a disgusting con man that is now the President. And his hateful words will have consequences for the many immigrants and non-white citizens.  Six million 2012 Obama voters didn't vote for Hillary.  Some went for Trump, some the Independents and others just didn't vote.

State races are important.  Republican Governments in many States did their best to make voting a struggle for the poor and minorities.  Disenfranchising voters is a bigger story than is being reported.
In North Carolina, for example, early voting sites and hours were cut back.  The same in Wisconsin, Florida and other swing states.  Now there are more GOP Governors in office than ever.  Yes, State races are as important as Presidential.

Trump never thought he'd get this far.  He ran for President to promote the Trump brand.  He thought Jeb Bush or someone else would get the nomination.  Once he got the nomination, he thought Hillary's Blue firewall would hold.  Actually become President?  First of all, here in California we've been trough this before.  Arnold Schwarzenegger ran a similar celebrity-fueled campaign.  Like Trump, Arnold's larger than life Terminator persona won over our usual Blue state voters.  But Arnold was a terrible Governor.  And thanks to a Democratic state congress, he had trouble passing his bills.  Trump has a Republican Congress at his disposal.

So, what are we going to get?  Trump's a salesman his supporters tell us.  He always gets his way.  And that's scary.  His biggest supporters expect him to fulfill on the red meat proposals he fed them during the campaign:  1.  Kick out the Illegals, 2.  Build a Wall, 3.  Throw Hillary in jail and 4.  Kill Obamacare.  I predict he'll only be able to get rid of Obamacare.  And even there, won't be able to fully deliver.  Let's not forget, Obamacare is really Romenycare, a Republican policy.  As Trump's first term rolls on, the Independents and first time voters who flocked to him, will be surprised at how little he comes through for them.

And what about the Democrats?  My hope is they do to Trump what the GOP did to Obama for the last 8 years.  Obstruct everything he does. There's a history here.  Under GOP policies, the economy has tanked. They get careless, reward the rich, reward the big corporations.  Try more trickle-down policies and forget about the working class.  Under their policies, unemployment rises, wages never go up.  Rust Belt voters will want something for their vote.  The  GOP had control of Congress for most of Obama's term.  And have hung tough blocking his every policy.The Democrats start out at the bottom.  Will they roll over like they did in George W. Bush's first term?  I'm hopeful but not optimistic.

It's a scary, fragile time.  But the initial punch in the gut at the thought of a Trump win is wearing off and the reality is real.  American will always survive.  We got through Nixon, Reagan, both Bush's. These were Republicans who did major damage.  But Trump is a different animal.  He always seems to win.  The fact that he's gotten away with so much in his life, and been given everything, only inflated his ego and has emboldened him to the point where he shows no compassion for anything.

In 2018 and 2020 Democrats will hopefully have regrouped with better DNC leadership.  Changes have to be made to appeal to all voters, not just those in reliable Blue states.

Good luck to us all.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

RIP Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen's 2008 Rock Hall Induction wasn't met with universal love.  I remember Dave Marsh, and others wondering if Cohen was "Rock and Roll" enough to get into the Hall. But Cohen got in on the first ballot.  That was 8 years ago, though, and since then Cohen's has risen. Particularly thanks to the emergence of "Hallelujah" as a kind of anthem full of religion, love and a meaning that even Cohen always slyly left to our imagination.  

After the Rock Hall, Cohen was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall in 2010.  His records were full of dark humor, love, religion, etc., all talk-sung in a voice that grew only deeper, or, doom and gloom if you will, as he grew older.  And he went out with a good album, too:  2016's You Want It Darker.

His best albums:
Songs of Leonard Cohen  (1968)
Songs From A Room  (1969)
Songs of Love and Hate  (1971)
New Skin For The Old Ceremony  (1974)
I'm Your Man  (1988)
Future  (1992)
Ten New Songs  (2001)
Live In London  (2009)
Old Ideas  (2012)
You Want It Darker  (2016)

Best compilations:
Essential   (2002)
Best of  (1975)
Best of Vol 2  (1997)

Best Covers Album
Jennifer Warnes - Famous Blue Raincoat (87)

Great Leonard Cohen Songs:
Bird on the Wire
Chelsea Hotel No. 2
Dance Me To The End Of Love
Everybody Knows
Famous Blue Raincoat
First We Take Manhattan
Going Home
Hey That's No Way To Say Goodbye
I'm Your Man
If It Be Your Will
Joan of Arc
Master Song
Sisters of Mercy
So Long Marianne
Take This Waltz
Tower Of Song
Who By Fire
You Want It Darker

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Playlist for 11/9

Kashif - s/t
Kashif - Send Me Your Love
Mark Chesnutt - Tradition Lives
Green Day - Revolution Radio
Blackberry Smoke - Like An Arrow
Lady Gaga - Joanne
Dan Hartman - Relight My Fire
Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker
Terry Allen - Lubbock

Monday, November 07, 2016

Tom's Top TV Shows Of All Time

This is my own personal list of Top TV shows.  Just a few rules: no daytime shows (Soul Train, American Bandstand), no mini-series (Roots), no short run series that disappear for a few year then come back (Sherlock, Luther) and no Game Shows (Jeopardy).   The list has shows that may not be critical favorites, but were part of my youth, so fond memories win out.

1.  Twilight Zone
2.  Honeymooners
3.  Sopranos
4.  Happy Days
5.  Monty Python's Flying Circus
6.  Wire
7.  M*A*S*H
8.  Breaking Bad
9.  Saturday Night Live
10. Office (U.K.)
11. Sesame Street
12. Tonight Show with Johnny Carson
13. Late Show with David Letterman
14. Daily Show with Jon Stewart
15. Star Trek
16. Game of Thrones
17. Carol Burnett Show
18. All In The Family
19. Taxi
20. I Love Lucy
21. Mary Tyler Moore Show
22. Rockford Files
23. SCTV
24. Mad Men
25. Barney Miller
26. WKRP In Cincinnati
27. Muppet Show
28. Andy Griffith Show
29. Deadwood
30. Fugitive
31. Lost
32. Orange Is The New Black
33. Gunsmoke
34. Get Smart
35. Seinfeld
36. Mystery Science Theater 3000
37. Office (U.S.)
38. Simpsons
39. Curb Your Enthusiasm
40. Wonder Years
41. Police Squad
42. 60 Minutes
43. Larry Sanders Show
44. Magnum P.I.
45. True Blood
46. Your Show of Shows
47. Cheeers
48. Dick Van Dyke Show
49. Bob Newhart Show
50. Chappelle's Show
51. Freaks and Geeks
52. Odd Couple
53. Ed Sullivan Show
54. Late Night with Conan O'Brien
55. Flintsones
56. Walking Dead
57. Monkees
58. Partridge Family
59. Brady Bunch
60. American Idol
61. Flip Wilson Show
62. Shield
63. Rectify
64. Bonanza
65. Good Times
66. Jeffersons
67. Cosby Show
68. Louie
69. 30 Rock
70. Hawaii Five-O  (70's)
71. Phil Silvers Show
72. Moonlighting
73. Key & Peele
74. Welcome Back, Kotter
75. Starsky & Hutch
76. Hill Street Blues
77. In Living Color
78. Family Ties
79. Twin Peaks
80. Columbo
81. Beverly Hillbillies
82. Munsters
83. Addams Family
84. Justified
85. X-Files
86. Rat Patrol
87. Jetsons
88. Bewitched
89. Dean Martin Show
90. Hogan's Heroes
91. Jack Benny Program
92. Sanford and Son
93. Three's Company
94. Parks and Recreation
95. Route 66
96. Miami Vice
97. Fawlty Towers
98. Batman
99. Ernie Kovacs Show
100. Mod Squad

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Playlist for 11/2

Bon Iver - 22 A Million
Barry Gibb - In The Now
Michael Buble - Nobody But Me
William Michael Morgan - Vinyl
Todd Snider - Eastside Bulldog
Kenny Chesney - Cosmic Hallelujah
Billy Bragg & Joe Henry - Shine A Light
Bobby Rush - Porcupine Meat
Green Day - Revolution Radio
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