Monday, April 25, 2022

#NewMusicMonday • March-April, 2022

 I'm a folk and Rock 'n' album guy. In reviewing albums released in March and April of this year I found six worthy of note from a songwriting perspective. For me, it's hard to find an album these days where I like most of the songs. You know that Bonnie Raitt is going to deliver, and of course she does as she writes or covers songs with style and grace, not to mention she can still make you shed a tear. Listen to the songs, Just Like That and Down The Hall, and you'll know what I'm talking about.

Colin Hay is my personal find of 2022. I really never paid attention to him as I wasn't a big Men At Work fan. Colin has been busy over the years touring, playing in Ringo's All Star Band, and putting out some fine albums the last several years. The guy speaks right to me and I enjoy everything he records on YouTube, a real gem, you should check him out.

Of the six albums, I've only seen Mike Campbell live with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and also a few years back in Fleetwood Mac. External Combustion is a really good rock 'n' roll album and Campbell is a very good front man for his band, The Dirty Knobs. How does one go on after losing their lifetime musical collaborator? Well nobody's going to replace Tom, and Mike is just being Mike Campbell, a fantastic guitar player, and not a bad lead singer too. The Heartbreaker spirit lives on and thank the gods we still have rock 'n' rollers like Mike Campbell making music.

I also just discovered Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices this past year. The Band was formed in 1983 and is just another great rock 'n' roll band to come out of the mid-west (Ohio). He writes and plays nice little guitar riffs and I ended up including song after song from Crystal Nuns Cathedral to the playlist.

If you're looking for introspective folk, you'll find it all over the streaming services with most of it just sounding the same. If I hear one more droning indie female or male voice... skip. Well, Christian Lee Hudson is for me an exception. Produced by Phoebe Bridgers who is also a cut above, lets Hudson's songwriting carry the day. I'm thinking Joni Mitchell probably likes Christian Lee Hudson.

And lastly, Jeremy Ivey. Invisible Pictures is his third solo album and a guy you want to succeed as an emerging Americana star. I was feeling for him after trying to look him up on Wikipedia. He didn't have a Wikipedia page as it cross referenced him to his wife, the now very famous Margo Price. He probably gets that a lot, as just being "the husband" of Margo Price. Anyway, I love most everything both of them do together and separately, and this is a couple you just want to root for to counter the stereotypical Nashville country pop tripe.

Enjoy the playlist my friends.

Here is the YouTube Music app which is great for listening to this playlist on your phone. Click on the text link below.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Fifty Years of Music • April, 1972

Now I’m just an old nothin’ with memories of fifty years
I started with The Blues Project
Spent some time with Blood Sweat & Tears
My life was filled with music
My heart was drenched in sound
And if you go see an old movie
You might hear me in the background
–Al Kooper, A Possible Projection of the Future

In my monthly routine of going through albums released in the current month from fifty years ago, Al Kooper's A Possible Projection of the Future / Childhood's End just jumped out at me. The album cover is a 28 year old Al in full makeup made to be 80 years old. I looked up Al Kooper in Wikipedia and he is indeed alive and kicking 50 years later at 78 and it states, "He is currently retired."

Now for fun, I did a Google image search and tried to find the oldest looking picture of Mr. Kooper and put him up against his 80 (or 78) year old makeup-self from 1972. Here's the side by side with a photo I found from an article review of him in 2015, at 72 years old.

I got to say Al, "You look great my man" as you still got your rock 'n' roll hair and shades, and are not nearly as wrinkled as you thought you'd be. I love your futuristic projection of yourself in a white (Pete Townsend) jumpsuit, being a ward of the state. Here's wishing you the best and being one of the best in your distinguished career as a musican's musician, not to mention a wonderful wry sense of humor.

Several of the songs this month from April, 1972 clearly have a 'time' theme not to mention the strong folk vibe that dominates this month. 

I remember going to the Santa Maria Library as maybe a freshman or sophomore and checked out this folk album from Woody Guthrie, the guy who wrote This Land, the song that we all sang together in grade school. I wanted to know a little bit more about him, brought the record home, played it in my bedroom as usual, and just got obsessed with the song, Hobo's Lullaby. I couldn't sing a lick, but with Woody it was easy to sing along with him and wondered to myself, could I ever write a song? I thought this was a great song that I ironically just discovered this month he didn't write, it was a Goebel Reeves song. 

Then in 1972,  Arlo releases the album titled, Hobo's Lullaby and figured he must have been impressed by dad too! I loved listening to it this past week and have always loved Arlo's cover and big hit of the classic Steve Goodman song, City of New Orleans

Songs are like a smell that triggers your memory, like corn dogs at the Santa Barbara County Fair. That would be happening soon that summer of '72, but first I had to wrap up my junior year in high school.

Enjoy the playlist my friends.

and now, A Possible Projection of a Present Blog Reader -
Did you notice, he didn't say a word about Crosby and Nash, or Stephen Stills?... And why was Chris Hillman wasting his time as a lowly underling to Stills in Manassas? I still miss the original Byrds so much.... Really Manassas with 21 songs with Stills just kind of meandering through a double-album no less... Didn't any of these guys realize that doing their own thing (after doing the initial solo albums) was such a watered-down experience for their fans?... The separate duo of Nash & Crosby, and a Manassas Stills had some good songs here, but not a whole album's worth like they did just a few years before... And releasing two separate albums in the same month?... was that a competition thing?... When does the ego come back to earth to realize that the greatest thing about themselves is the magical band they created together, not the individual... self... Remember Mick Jagger's solo career... for about 5 minutes... The band is the thing, man...

Monday, April 11, 2022

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume 11

 Volume I • II • III • IV  • V • VI • VII • VIII • IX • Team Tortoise Blogs •
Volume 10 • 11

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.

 I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go

The whole idea of volunteering one's time for the greater good has always been a difficult concept for me. Not in the idea, but in the doing. The 'do good' activities always seem to involve having to do that organized thing with other people, and they're probably... strangers. If you're kind of a loner or on the reclusive side like me, mixing with a bunch of social go-getters is just going to make me turn and run in the other direction.

Speaking of running. I'm on my trail run (really he's going to write about that again)... and I get to the worst section on the trail (pictured above). Over the past several years, the little creek that flows next to the trail when it rains, has over time found its own path to this lower part. It always floods this section after a storm. This makes for  a muddy and slippery mess for anyone passing through this hole. It has  gotten worse as mountain bikers have kind of exacerbated the situation by steadily deepening it as they ram on.

Several months ago, I saw a women pushing her baby in a stroller. She had a dog and toddler in tow and struggled through the hole section that was totally dry and a bit rocky from the ongoing drought. Anyway, she made it through as I approached and passed her. Her struggle kind of got me thinking that there weren't as many kids on the trail as there used to be. I've been doing this trail run since 2001 and seen a lot of regulars come and go. In fact, I might very well be the current patriarch of the trail! Maybe I should do something about fixing that hole...

In early March I was watching the news one day and the forecast was for rain, actually over several days. After thinking about fixing that hole for several years, I finally got off my ass and did something about it before the rains came this time. Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers came into my head and I laughed at myself that I finally found my calling, all by myself with my shovel and rake.

Here's the trail a month later in early April after several rain storms. I'm happy to report the terrace effect upper trail that I created with my shovel and rake have given walkers, runners, and even mountain bikers higher ground to pass through without getting all muddy. 

I've got a few more tweaks to fix just up around the bend and will have to get to that soon. I would like to think that the woman has come back with her kids and dog and enjoyed the fun of being in this little peaceful greenbelt canyon trail between the 1970's housing development boxes... And they're all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

Take care my friends and enjoy the songs heard right here from this trail to this playlist.

Monday, April 04, 2022

List Your FAV FIVE: Neil Young Songs


Songs • Albums • Singer-songwriters • Rock 'n' Roll Bands • Guitar Players 
Beatles Songs • Bob Dylan Songs • Rolling Stones Songs • Neil Young Songs

Photo by Gary Burden

In riding the wave with the FAV FIVE Series, I've completely enjoyed the readership participation of creating a group playlist with The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones. 

This week, your assignment should you choose to accept it- 
LIST Your FAV FIVE: Neil Young Songs

You will make your list in the Comments section at the end of the blog post below. 

So to begin, let's start at the end. The big idea is for all of us to create a Monday Monday Music™ Readers: Neil Young Songs Playlist.

I'll start the playlist with my favorite five Neil Young songs and then, as readers leave me their five in the Comments section below, we will grow the playlist together. Note- I'm sure we will have duplicates which is great, but I will only include a song once in the YouTube playlist as I receive the lists.

Songs must be original Neil Young compositions recorded by Neil Young, or his compositions in Buffalo Springfield, CSNY, Crazy Horse, etc. So, no covers from other artists doing Neil's songs, which is another whole blog in itself that I will do someday. 

So here's my five (at this moment). Why only five? Tell me why?
  1. Cinnamon Girl
  2. Tell Me Why
  3. Bad Fog of Loneliness 
  4. Only Love Can Break Your Heart
  5. See The Sky About To Rain
Now if you want a little help in making your list, here's a great resource.
Also, here's the same little tutorial I made for The Beatles list.
  1. Scroll down to the bottom of the blog to the Comment section. Number and name your songs 1-5.
  2. Comment as: If you're logged into your computer, tablet or smartphone with a Gmail (Google) account, pick the first selection. I would recommend using the Chrome browser.
    Or, pick Name/URL, write your name and leave URL blank,
    Or, if you pick Anonymous, just write your first and last name in the Comments box itself.
  3. Hit the Publish button, and I'll list your five songs in the post here (if you provided your first and last name), and then I will mix your list in the Youtube playlist.
  4. One last thing, if someone else has picked one of your favorite 5 already, still include it in your list. It may reveal a clear winner that in the end needs to sit at the top of the playlist.
Thanks in advance for playing along and come back later in the week to listen to OUR growing playlist!