- Joy Oladokun (Nashville, TN), in defense of my own happiness
Joy Oladokun gets the top slot in that she taps into the heart of our times of 2020-2021. I found her lyrics compelling matched with a pure rich voice to carry her message, and one worth listening to.I've paddled upstream where the river ranI've turned sticks and stones to an olive branchI've made a full house from a shitty handYet, here I am, still gotta be bigger than the bigger man– Bigger Man, by Joy Oladokun and Maren Morris
- The War On Drugs (Philadelphia, PA), I Don't Live Here Anymore
I said a couple of posts ago that Adam Granduciel the leader of The War On Drugs had me when he pulls out his Rickenbacker 330 Fireglo to go with this outstanding 2021 rock 'n' roll album.
- Madison Cunningham (Los Angeles, CA)
Madison Cunningham did not release an album in 2021, but she and many other artists took to Youtube and social media to record a plethora of songs on the Internet. In 2020-2021, the f*%#ing pandemic may have stopped live music in its tracks, but recorded music actually found a way to reach us (even in lock-down) and saved many souls. I found Madison on Youtube in 2021, and words can not express how I love this young singer-songwriter's work.
- Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats (Denver Colorado), The Future
I'll be honest, Nathaniel Rateliff at first pass was interesting, liked him some, but was not a fan. The Future album changed all that. I just love his new songs to go with the passion and the horn section!
- Watchhouse (formally known as Mandolin Orange) (Chapel Hill, NC), Watchhouse
The name Mandolin Orange has always been one of my favorite band names ever. So why change your band brand after a decade of hard work to get exposure as a folk duo? Anyway, the new album is fantastic, so well crafted and a complete standout in the Americana pack.
- Teenage Fanclub (Scotland), Endless Arcade
These guys have been around since 1989, who knew? I'm a slow learner and still catching up to all the great UK jingle-jangle bands out there. Endless Arcade is endless fun!
- Lord Huron (Los Angeles, CA), Long Lost
If you're a fan of David Lynch's Twin Peaks music, you'll be right at home in the Red Room.
- Guided By Voices (Dayton OH), Earth Man Blues
This album simply rocks! The riffs on this thing takes me back to the day.
- Dori Freeman, (Galax, VA), Ten Thousand Roses
This woman simply stands out with her songs. I hope she will get her due down the road as she is miles ahead of many young artists with much bigger names and smaller songs.
- Crowded House (Australia), Dreamers Are Waiting
I love Crowded House, I love this album and part of the 80's-90's bands revival of 2021.
- Big Red Machine (Ohio, Wisconsin), How Long Do You Think It's Going To Last?
An Indie Folk supergroup? With Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon at the helm, and with drop-in's like Taylor Swift, this album is a standout.
- Shannon Lay (Los Angeles, CA), Geist
I had never heard of Shannon Lay until I heard a song from Geist on a streaming service. Then, that gets me interested and I listen to the whole album, and I'm picking songs right and left for the monthly playlist and then, songs left and right for this final playlist. Yeah, I like Shannon Lay a lot.
- Gary Louris (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Jump For Joy
Gary Louris is the founding member of one of my favorite bands, The Jayhawks. Of course I'm going to love this solo album of folk and jingle-jangle rock 'n' roll!
- Bleachers (New York, NY), Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night
- Kings of Leon (Nashville, TN), When You See Yourself
- Jackson Browne (Los Angeles, CA) Downhill From Everywhere
Jackson is simply one of the best still at the top of his game. I'm enjoying his ongoing collaboration with Val McCallum on electric guitar and vocals.
- Dylan LeBlanc (Shreveport, LA), Pastimes
An EP of some of the best covers I've ever heard.
- Elise LeGrow (Canada), Grateful
Great soulful sound and nobody's heard of her? Grateful is so much better than Adele's 30, but that's just my little opinion.
- The Wallflowers (Los Angeles, CA), Exit Wounds
Not bad for a band who haven't played together in nine years. The very wonderful Shelby Lynne provides backup vocals on several tracks.
- Natalie Hemby (Nashville, TN) Pens and Needles
One of Nashville's best songwriter to the stars, gets to shine here on her second solo album.
- Allison Russell (Canada), Outside Child
- The Killers (Las Vegas, NV), Pressure Machine
- Death Cab For Cutie (Bellingham, WA), The Georgia E.P.
- The Fratellis (Scotland), Half Drunk Under A Full Moon
- David Crosby (Santa Ynez, CA), For Free
- The Black Keys (Akron, OH), Delta Kream
- Flyte (England), This Is Really Going to Hurt
- Real Estate (Brooklyn, NY), Half a Human
- Hearty Har (Los Angeles, CA), Radio Astro
- Toad The Wet Sprocket, (Santa Barbara, CA), Starting Now
- Kings Of Convenience, (Norway), Peace or Love
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Monday, December 27, 2021
My Favorite Songs of 2021
Monday, December 20, 2021
My Favorite Songs of 1971
This blog is a twelve month culmination of my ongoing series Fifty Years of Music where I feature a month and year fifty years ago.
In 1971, I was a sixteen year old sophomore and then in the fall started my junior year of high school. Here's a look back at the historical, film, and musical events of that year. (The following selected dates are from Wikipedia in italics: 1971, 1971 in Film, and 1971 in Music. I have also added my own little commentary in regular text on some of the date entries.)
- January 2 – A ban on radio and television cigarette advertisements goes into effect in the United States. I think my mom banned my dad from smoking in the house around the same time.
- January 12 – The landmark United States television sitcom All in the Family, starring Carroll O'Connor as Archie Bunker, debuts on CBS. Brilliant script writing, so funny and serious to expose the underbelly of prejudice and belief systems through the eyes and mouth of a lovable bigot.
- January 25 - In Los Angeles, Charles Manson and 3 female "Family" members are found guilty of the 1969 Tate–LaBianca murders. The word, "psychopath" is integrated into my vocabulary.
- February - Carole King releases her second solo album, Tapestry. The album was certified 13× Platinum by RIAA and it is one of the best-selling albums of all time, with over 25 million copies worldwide. It received four Grammy Awards in 1972, including Album of the Year. The lead singles from the album—"It's Too Late" and "I Feel the Earth Move"—spent five weeks at number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Easy Listening charts. In 2020, Tapestry was ranked number 25 on Rolling Stone list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. And if that isn't enough for 1971, she releases her third solo album, Music in December.
- February - Yes releases its third album, The Yes Album, and turns around and releases Fragile in November.
- February 3 – Davy Jones announces he is leaving the Monkees. Davy, Peter and now Michael this last week (12/10/21). Rest in peace dear lads.
- February 5 – Apollo 14 lands on the Moon.
- February 9 - Satchel Paige becomes the first Negro league player to become voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Social justice happens very very slowly in America.
- February 13 – Vietnam War: Backed by American air and artillery support, South Vietnamese troops invade Laos. Maybe LBJ wasn't so bad after all, sure could use him now dealing with Joe Manchin.
- February 28 – Evel Knievel sets a world record and jumps 19 cars on a motorbike in Ontario, California. Knievel was the race car crash everybody was waiting for, just on a motorcycle.
- March - Elton John releases the soundtrack album to the movie, Friends. Then, turns around and in November releases, Madman Across the Water. Creativity is simply on fire in 1971.
- March 1 - A bomb explodes in the men's room at the United States Capitol; the Weather Underground claims responsibility.
- March 8 - "Fight of the Century": Boxer Joe Frazier defeats Muhammad Ali in a 15-round unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden. I was bummed, always rooting for Ali.
- March 11 – THX 1138, George Lucas' first full-length film, premieres in theaters. I saw it several years later in a community college film class.
- March 12 - The movie, The Andromeda Strain is released. I just love 'the last person' scenario in Sci-Fi.
- March 12–13 – The Allman Brothers Band plays their legendary concert at the Fillmore East. Friend Gary Hill is all in with this band.
- March 28 – The Ed Sullivan Show airs its final episode. End of an era. We saw all the pop and rock 'n' roll bands first on Ed Sullivan. What a fantastic format of entertainment and music right in our living room. Topo Gigio forever!
- March 29 - U.S. Army lieutenant William Calley is found guilty of 22 murders during the My Lai Massacre and is sentenced to life in prison (he is later pardoned). For me, this was one of those 'end of the innocence' moments.
- March 30 – Starbucks coffee shop is founded in the U.S. state of Washington. At Pikes Place Market in Seattle you can go to the original Starbucks and see the original mermaid logo on the storefront window complete with her breasts not covered by her long flowing hair.
- April 24 - An estimated 200,000 people in Washington, D.C. and a further 125,000 in San Francisco march in protest against the Vietnam War. At 16, I naively thought there would never be another proxy war like Vietnam with America sending its teenagers to fight and die in another country's war.
- May - Paul McCartney releases Ram, an album I played to death in my bedroom. Then in December, Paul releases Wildlife with his new band Wings. On this one, Paul seems to be wandering in the wilderness, looking for his dear friend.
- May 1- Amtrak begins intercity rail passenger service in the United States.
- June movies released - McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Klute, Carnal Knowledge, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
- June 13 - Vietnam War: The New York Times begins to publish the Pentagon Papers. The antiwar movement is picking up steam.
- June 17 - President Richard Nixon declares the U.S. War on Drugs. Nixon just liked war... and oh, how did all those drug wars work out?
- June 27 – Promoter Bill Graham closes the Fillmore East in New York City with a final concert featuring The Allman Brothers Band, The Beach Boys and Mountain. Patrons are given commemorative posters at the door and find red roses on their seats.
- July 3 – Jim Morrison is found dead in a bath tub in Paris, France, aged 27. Alain Ronay would claim, years later, that he assisted Morrison's lover, Pamela Courson, in covering up the circumstances. Courson surely wouldn't be the last to help a famous person OD.
- July 4 – The Fillmore West is closed in San Francisco with a final show featuring Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Grateful Dead. I was just young enough to miss all this cool hippie stuff that was starting to fade away...
- July 5 – Right to vote: The 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution, formally certified by President Richard Nixon, lowers the voting age from 21 to 18. In 2021 looking back- How does a Republican President, no less Richard Nixon pass voting rights legislation??? Nothing like that would ever happen today with a Republican President.
- July 7 - The movie 'Two-Lane Blacktop' is released starring songwriter James Taylor, the Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson, Warren Oates, and Laurie Bird. James Taylor has said he has never seen this movie! I loved this movie and thought James was great!
- July 9 – Grand Funk Railroad becomes only the second band (after The Beatles) to perform a sold-out concert at Shea Stadium breaking The Beatles record of selling out the venue. Listen, young people make mistakes. You were once young and stupid yourself. How does this entry even make Wikipedia?
- July 23 - Alison Krauss, American country singer is born. She's a baby and her future musical collaborator, Robert Plant (23 years old at the time) is having another monster year in Led Zeppelin.
- July 31 – Apollo 15 astronauts David Scott and James Irwin become the first to ride in the Lunar Roving Vehicle, a day after landing on the Moon. Americans are starting to take this for granted.
- August 1 - The Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden, New York, starring George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan and Leon Russell; also featuring Billy Preston, Eric Clapton, Jesse Ed Davis and Badfinger. George was on a roll.
- August 1971 - The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour premieres on CBS. From Ed Sullivan to now Sonny & Cher on Sunday nights, was the fall of western civilization far behind?
- August 14 – The Who release their fifth studio album Who's Next, reaching Number One in both the UK and the US. I wore this album out! Like Tapestry, this album is a greatest hits album all by itself. The one thing that always stood out for me even at 16, was Keith Moon's drumming on this album, simply the best I've ever heard over one album. What a birthday present this must have been for someone?
- August 31 – John Lennon leaves Britain for New York City and will never return. Now the shit that John got from Tricky Dick and his government FBI thugs trying to deport him didn't work and he eventually won permanent residency status in 1976.
- September 6 – Dolores O'Riordan, Irish singer (The Cranberries) is born. Don't you just love bands named after bugs and fruit.
- September 8 – In Washington, D.C., the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is inaugurated, with the opening feature being the premiere of Leonard Bernstein's Mass. Nothing like watching the Kennedy Center Honors or any other arts honors ceremony when Trump isn't in the White House.
- October movies released - The French Connection, Play Misty for Me, The Last Picture Show.
- October 1 – Walt Disney World opens in Orlando, Florida. My wife and I went there several years ago and were not impressed. Nothing beats the OG.
- October 29 - Duane Allman, American rock guitarist, co-founder and leader of the Allman Brothers Band is killed in a motorcycle accident. He was only 24 and one can only imagine if he would have been around longer, same for Buddy Holly, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix and Gram Parsons.
- November movie releases- Fiddler On The Roof, Duel (TV), and Brian's Song (TV).
- November 8 – Led Zeppelin release officially untitled fourth studio album, which would become the biggest-selling album of the year (1972), the band's biggest-selling album, and the fourth best-selling album of all time. I wasn't a huge hard rock fan but no one could deny their presence and power in the 70's. They came along at such a critical time reminding the world what great Tier 1 Rock really sounded like- as so many crappy Tier 2 and 3 rock bands emerged in the 70's to fill the airwaves with just hot air.
- December movies releases - Mary, Queen of Scots, Sometimes A Great Notion, A Clockwork Orange, Harold and Maude, Dirty Harry, Straw Dogs, and Diamonds are Forever.
- December 4 - The Montreux Casino burns down during a Frank Zappa concert (the event is memorialized in the Deep Purple song "Smoke on the Water"). Now Deep Purple, that's a Tier 1 Rock band. I remember teaching in the early 90's and my young assistant who loved to talk music didn't know Deep Purple or the song Smoke on the Water, I was perplexed?
1971 is often called by music critics as the "Best" year of rock 'n' roll. I can't deny that this week's playlist of 200 could have easily taken on many more songs but for the fact that YouTube stops embedded playlists at 200.
I know I lose marketing hits to the blog by using the term, "Favorites" but so be it, people want to be told what are the "Best" songs to listen to.
Here's my Favorite 'Top 40' albums of 2021. I did rate them, blending my 16 year-old self with my 66 year-old self. The majority of the 200 great songs in the playlist this week come from these 40 albums. I did not rate the songs themselves but simply created my standard handmade random-feel mix.
But putting all order aside, this is an endearing if not enduring group of albums and songs from just one year in rock 'n' roll. Long live 1971!
- Who's Next, The Who
- John Prine, John Prine
- Nilsson Schmilsson, Harry Nilsson
- Tapestry, Carole King
- Madman Across The Water, Elton John
- American Pie, Don McClean
- Sticky Fingers, The Rolling Stones
- Teaser And The Firecat, Cat Stevens
- Ram On, Paul McCartney
- Mudslide Slim And The Blue Horizon, James Taylor
- Year Of Sunday, Seals and Crofts
- If I Could Only Remember My Name, David Crosby
- Imagine, John Lennon
- America, America
- Stephen Stills 2, Stephen Stills
- Led Zeppelin IV, Led Zeppelin
- A nod is as good as a wink... to a blind horse, Faces
- Straight Up, Badfinger
- Aqualung, Jethro Tull
- The Yes Album, Fragile, Yes
- Live At The Fillmore East, The Allman Brothers
- Crazy Horse, Crazy Horse
- Bryter Layter, Nick Drake
- Friends, Elton John
- Music, Carole King
- The Low Spark Of The High-Heeled Boys, Traffic
- Mudlark, Leo Kottke
- What's Going On, Marvin Gaye
- Every Picture Tells A Story, Rod Stewart
- Tupelo Honey, Van Morrison
- Anticipation, Carly Simon
- Thirds, James Gang
- The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions, Howlin' Wolf
- Liv, Livingston Taylor
- If You Saw Thro' My Eyes, Iain Matthews
- Dave Mason & Cass Elliot, Dave Mason & Cass Elliot
- every good boy deserves Favour, The Moody Blues
- Mirror, Emitt Rhodes
- The Point, Harry Nilsson
- Grin featuring Nils Lofgren, Grin
Enjoy my Friends and Happy Festivus... for the rest of us!
Monday, December 13, 2021
#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume IX
Volume I • II • III • IV • V • VI • VII • VIII • IX • Team Tortoise Blogs •
Volume 10 •
The #BestSongIHeardToday series is often centered around hearing great songs while exercising. These posts will tend to drift into health related topics but will always come back to the music that brought you here. This particular series is probably more about a self journal to help me stay on the path of healthy living that includes, listening to old and new tunes. If you're looking for a great mix playlist of 25-30 songs, just click on one of my Volumes above.
This is part of a text thread I recently had with an old friend of mine. Personally, I think
RollingStone magazine lost its way in the 1990's trying to be all things to all music listeners.
|First issue cover, 11/9/67|
Today, Rolling Stone still covers popular music it's just that now rock 'n' roll is not center stage. The magazine's name sake, the Muddy Water's Blues song Rollin' Stone is now a distant memory from the current magazine's musical focus.
Is rock 'n' roll dead? NO, it's very much alive and even kicking along with– Folk/Americana, Blues and R&B new music releases coming out every month. The difference now is that you actually have to look, even dig a little deeper on the Internet to find it.
Rolling Stone still covers all the genres that sprang from the Blues to keep that older reader, but current pop music is a completely different animal in the 21st century, and thus my friend's text comment to me.
|February, 2021 issue cover|
Next week, I'm going to present my Favorite Songs of 1971 to wrap up a year's worth of my Fifty Years of Music series.
In two weeks, I'm going to present my Favorite Songs of 2021 to wrap up a year's worth of my #NewMusicMonday series.
Now Rolling Stone as a brand is a powerhouse, but I think you'll find my Monday Monday Music™ 'the little rock 'n' roll engine' alternative if you're feeling neglected as a rock 'n' roller or folkie.
For this week, I'm going to wrap up my #BestSongIHeardToday series for 2021 with a variety of songs that grabbed my listening ears recently that are indicative of my taste in music and hopefully yours too! Thanks for your support this year, and hey I'm only two weeks away from writing a blog with a playlist for every single Monday of 2021!
for the rest of us!
Monday, December 06, 2021
Christmas Mix 2021
2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019 • 2020 • 2021 • 2022
My wife's favorite, Carol Of The Bells by John Williams from Home Alone is tucked in its traditional second track spot for this seventh edition. Beatles songs are always sprinkled and clustered about. I've also included some interesting video clips to help round out the spirit of my little yin-yang thing. I will say, Europe makes the best Christmas commercials these days.
Here are a couple of my favorite things that struck me about this new Christmas song.
First off, I found Clarkson's 'Official Lyric Video' of the song on Youtube and busted a gut for a completely different reason than Kelly's breakup response with her husband. Look at the graphic below from the video - Who does the young smug cad in a top hat remind you of?
|The young Donald playing the part?|
The graphic with his expressionless dour face complete with the little yellow duck-tail over his collar is perfect. Not only is the graphic perfect, but then juxtapose it with Kelly's lyrics, and what a great new song this becomes. I can't believe this video is an accident, jeez I can't be the only one who sees this? This video is funny as hell to me.
Second, Christmas Isn't Canceled (Just You) also touched a chord within my heart regarding the shallowness of most Christmas music over the decades, and the fact that many of these songs are dependent on being with a husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend. Mariah Carey's 1994, All I Want For Christmas Is You comes to mind and has become a Christmas standard that carries the torch as a traditional classic. Sorry, I'm just the guy at Thanksgiving that's sick of turkey after six decades and just wants a little variety in my holiday meals and music. For me, Christmas Isn't Canceled (Just You) becomes a fresh 21st century contrast, a bright new day for women not needing to be dependent on a man for their happiness.
Oh my, you go girl!
Now if you've only experienced my Youtube playlists on your phone, this time around you may want to watch it on your tablet or computer or better yet, use theYouTube app on your smart TV device. I have included a lot of videos in this mix. Here's my YouTube Channel if you would like to Subscribe.
Happy Festivus from Mary Kit & Doug
- Photo Source (Santa running on the beach)
- The original lyrics to ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ weren’t very merry at all (Classic FM.com)
- All I Want For Christmas Is You (Wikipedia)