Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Playlist for 6/27

Benjamin Booker - Witness
Cody Chesnutt - My Love Divine Degree
Dan Auerbach - Waiting On A Song
Paul Weller - A Kind Revolution
Ralph Stanley - Clinch Mountain Gospel
Tony Rice - Cold On The Shoulder
Colter Wall - s/t
Rough Guide To Jug Band Blues - Various
American Epic - Soundtrack
Mahalia Jackson - Moving On Up A Little Higher

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Music Years Of My Life: 1990

Today it's known as Americana, but back in the 70's/80's the phrase was Progressive Country.  It's most famous radio station was located in Gilroy, CA, and was called KFAT on your FM dial.  From 1975-1983, KFAT played anything that was left-of-center Country, Bluegrass, Blues and whatever other mainstream channels weren't playing.
After it went off the air in 1983, most of the staff relocated to Freedom, CA (near Watsonville or near Monterey) and began KPIG-FM which signed on in 1988.

As someone who lives on the Monterey Peninsula I was aware of KFAT, but at that time my car presets were on Top 40, Old School Soul and mainstream Country.  Progressive Country was a genre that I knew of from music mags, but wasn't something I would buy.

At some point in 1990,  a colleague of mine asked me what radio stations I listened to.  This was pre-Internet and pre-Sirius.  He mentioned that KPIG was an ear-opener.  So, on his suggestion I started listening to it.  He was right.  Most of the artists they played I was familiar with:  Joe Ely, Bonnie Raitt, Lucinda Williams.  Bigger names like the Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers were already in my collection.  But there were acts played that even I never heard of.   Suddenly, I'm hearing modern Hawaiian, Folk, Blues names that were a revelation.  The great thing about KPIG is that it wasn't and still isn't always about Americana.  They'll throw in some older R&B names like Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding.  Elvis Presley? Beatles?  Yep.

The Americana tag didn't begin until 1995.  Good old Wikipedia tells me that was the first year an airplay chart was published with the Americana word on it.  (Besides KPIG, Texas' KFAN was the other Americana staple at the outset.   Today, the weekly chart is a must-look for me.

The good thing about going deep with another genre is that you discover artists and songs that make you wonder how you missed them.  But they were right there,  on my book shelf at least.  One of the great music books, John Morthland's 1984 Best of Country Music included records from the early days of Prog-Country.  Morthland's book can still be found used, and even though he refused to pring any updates, is a must for any music lover. He passed away in 2016.  But thanks to his book, I had easy access to some of the acts played on KPIG.  

Now, some 22 years later the Americana genre is as strong as ever with a yearly Award show, more radio stations (Sirius' Outlaw Country is basically their Americana channel).  KFAT is still alive, but only as a streaming online station.  KPIG continues to roll along.   Years ago, the company that owns KPIG was thinking of changing its format.  An outcry occurred and the public won.  And my dial preset remained as it has for a couple of decades.  

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Playlist for 6/20

Pokey LaFarge - Manic Revelations
Justin Townes Earle - Kids In The Street
Steve Earle - So You Wanna Be An Outlaw
Daniel Romano - Modern Pressure
Bobby Bare - Things Change
Steve Young- Seven Bridges Road (reissue)
Steve Young - Renegade Picker
Taj Mahal & Keb Mo - TajMo
Mountain Goats - Goths

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Great Father's Day Songs

The song that has stuck with me the most, since my Dad passed away in 2008 is a tearjerker from Conway Twitty  (1987, peaked at #6 Country).  If you've lost your Dad or a Father figure, then this song will conjure up all sorts of emotions.

Conway Twitty was a fave of my Dad.  This song reminds me of both my Dad and Conway.  Two greats gone too soon.

"That's My Job" - Conway Twitty

More Great Father's Day Songs:
Alan Jackson - Drive
Beyonce - Daddy
Brad Paisley - He Didn't Have To Be
Bruce Springsteen - Independence Day
Cat Stevens - Father and Son
Dan Fogelberg - Leader Of The Band
Dolly Parton - Daddy's Working Boots
Drive-By Truckers - Outfit
Eric Clapton - My Father's Eyes
Everclear - Father of Mine
George Strait - Best Day
Harry Chapin - Cat's In The Cradle
Holly Dunn - Daddy's Hands
Johnny Cash - Boy Named Sue
Luther Vandross - Dance With My Father
Madonna - Papa Don't Preach
Mike & The Mechanics - Living Years
Queen - Father To Son
Temptations - Papa Was A Rollin' Stone
Will Smith - Just The Two Of Us
Zac Brown Band - My Old Man


Thursday, June 15, 2017

TV Shows I Watch (Updated Summer 2017)

Shows I watch:
Updated for Summer 2017.
Only listing current shows that are still on the air.

30 for 30
13 Reasons Why
American Pickers
Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown
Austin City Limits
A Word  (UK)
Better Things
Big Interview w/Dan Rather
Black Mirror
Broad City
Chef's Table
Chewing Gum
Dear White People
Deutschland 83
Difficult People
Documentary Now
Fall (UK)
Fear The Walking Dead
Fleabag  (UK)
Game of Thrones
Gomorrah (Italy)
Grace and Frankie
Graham Norton Show
Handmaid's Tale
High Maintenance
Hinterland  (UK)
Horace and Pete
House of Cards
I Love Dick
Independent Lens
Indian Summers
Iron Fist
Jessica Jones
Lady Dynamite
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Later with Jools Holland
Little Couple
Live from Daryl's House
Luke Cage
Man In The High Castle
Marcella  (UK)
Marco Polo
Master of None
Mercy Street
Mindy Project
Mozart In The Jungle
New Girl
One Mississippi
Orange Is The New Black
Orphan Black
Poldark  (UK)
Please Like Me
Ray Donovan
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel
Real Time with Bill Maher
Santa Clarita Diet
Saturday Night Live
Schitt's Creek
Series of Unfortunate Events
Silicon Valley
So You Think You Can Dance
Stranger Things
Tunnel  (UK)
Twin Peaks
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Walking Dead

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Adam West & Nostalgia

"Stop wallowing in nostalgia" a friend always tells me.  But as I've moved past the age of 50 (now 53),  "looking back" has become a normal routine.  The deaths of Prince, George Michael and other musical faves in 2016 had an affect on my psyche.  Don't get me wrong, I don't curl up in a corner and cry out for better days.  But things happen in life that makes you pause at simpler times.

Adam West's death on June 9th is one of those "nostalgia" moments for many people my age and older.  One of the first TV programs I remember watching was Batman.  It ran from 1966-68, when I was 2-4 years old.  You can add Rat Patrol, Star Trek, Lost In SpaceMonkees and the animated Spider-Man as other shows that my young self would watch.  I have a better memory of TV shows back then more than what songs were on.  But count "Whiter Shade of Pale", "Eight Days A Week", "Daydream Believer" and "These Eyes" near the top of my childhood first song memory list.  When it came to these songs and TV shows, what I remember comes from whatever my older (by 5 years) sister was watching or playing on her turntable.  And you better believe it, I had a Hot Wheels Batmobile too.  I have to come clean here though.  Once the animated Spider-Man came on in the late 60's, I became a Spidey nut.  Even dressed up as him one Halloween.

But back to Batman.  People today, spoiled by years of action hero movies with their incredible special effects, might look at the Adam West series as corny and cheesy.  But to a young child in the mid-60's it was pretty spectacular.  And to be honest I'll take the 1966 Batman movie over many of the over-produced ones that came out in the 90's.

There's no avoiding nostalgia because magazine and websites love to celebrate it.  The Summer of 2017 bring with us the 50th anniversary of the Monterey Pop Festival, Sgt. Pepper and the 40th of Elvis Presley's death.  Chris Cornell's passing brought the 90's back in to view.  Music websites celebrate a record's birth regardless if it's hit the 20, 30 or 40 year mark.  I've seen ones that pick odd years like 17 or 29.  The never-ending argument or whether music was better "back then" or if there's just too much of it today has a lot to do with all of this.

And why not?  If remembering a great moment in your life is triggered by a movie, album, song or TV show, then look back and enjoy.  I continue to move forward with my life, but have no problem thinking of a quieter Summer, Holiday Season, etc.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Playlist for 6/10

Jimmy LaFave - Favorites 1992-2001
Gregg Allman . - One More Try:Anthology
Sing It High, Sing It Low: Tumbleweed Records 71-73 - Various
American Honey - Soundtrack
Harry Styles - s/t
Todd Rundgren - White Knight
Little Steven - Soulfire
Gentle Giants: Songs of Don Williams - Various
American Epic (PBS Mini-Series)
Country: Portraits Of An American Sound (Documentary)

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Playlist for 6/4

Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Box set reissue)
Tuxedo - II
Paramore - After Laughter
NOW 62 - Various  (U.S. Edition)
Grateful Dead - Cornel 5/8/77
Gurf Morlix - Soul & The Heal
Art of Noise - (Who's Afraid Of) The Art of Noise?
Dreaming The Beatles - Rob Sheffield  (Book)

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Best Solo Beatles Songs

With all the hoopla surrounding the 50th anniversary release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,  I've decided to dig up this post which I posted two years ago.

I was originally going to rank the Beatles' Top 40 solo songs.  But then I thought it wouldn't be too fair.  McCartney has always had the most prolific solo career, even when John and George were alive. Ringo's solo career bottoms out after 1975, John didn't release anything from 1976-1980.  George stayed active through his entire post-Beatles life.  Speaking of George, I didn't include his Traveling Wilburys songs.

So here's my list of each Beatles' Top 10 solo songs, consisting of album cuts and singles.

1.  Jet
2.  Maybe I'm Amazed
3.  Band On The Run
4.  Live and Let Die
5.  Listen To What The Man Said
6.  Let Me Roll It
7.  Silly Love Songs
8.  Take It Away
9.  Every Night
10. With A Little Luck

1.  It Don't Come Easy
2.  Photograph
3.  Back Off Boogaloo
4.  Early 1970
5.  Oh My My
6.  Snookeroo
7.  You're Sixteen
8.  No No Song
9.  Wrack My Brain
10. I'm The Greatest

1.  My Sweet Lord
2.  Give Me Love
3.  What Is Life
4.  Crackerbox Palace
5.  All Things Must Pass
6.  Got My Mind Set On You
7.  Beware of Darkness
8.  Blow Away
9.  Isn't It A Pity
10.  Any Road

1.  Instant Karma
2.  Imagine
3.  Jealous Guy
4.  #9 Dream
5.  God
6.  Working Class Hero
7.  Watching The Wheels
8.  Mother
9.  Whatever Gets You Thru The Night
10.  Starting Over
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