Monday, June 26, 2023

#NewMusicMonday • June, 2023 • Americana

Doing the usual sift and sort through the various streaming services for new music, I came up with only three albums with four or more songs that gets the marquee treatment above. My listening ear tended to heavily drift to the folk/Americana side of things this month as Rufus Wainwright, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, and Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives all delivered the goods.

Now like most of my playlists of new music, I've also found some other worthy songs to mix in between these three albums, enough to put 56 songs together with several having my signature jingle-jangle leanings.

Enjoy my friends.

Monday, June 19, 2023

60 Years of Music • June, 1963 • What's love got to do with it?

riginally, I was going to use the title of the Martha and the Vandellas' 1963 single, Come and Get These Memories as the title of this post, then I started listening to Ike and Tina.

In June 1963, Ike and Tina released their 5th album together, It's Going to Work Out Fine. All of those songs were written by Ike Turner except for the album title track and in hindsight it's maybe an indication of what's to come for Tina. With titles like, Gonna Find Me a Substitute, Why Should I?, I'm Gonna Cut You Loose, Poor Fool, and the most appropriate title, This Man's Crazy, all written from Ike's self-centered and sexist perspective, but delivered through Tina's vocal and performance. It's safe to say some 60 years later... there's blood on the tracks.

With Tina's recent passing on May 24th, I didn't intend this post to turn dark, but I'm still so inspired about her life story and eventual fulfillment of this 1963 album title, It's Going to Work Out Fine.

Last week, I featured one of Tina's biggest hits, The Best. This week before I get to the playlist, I wanted to show the famous 1976 incident where Tina finally leaves Ike after another beating by her psycho-husband. Here, she bravely takes the first step in taking her life back. This scene is from the 1993 movie, What's Love Got To Do With It, and followed her 1984 smash hit single of the same name. 

Warning...the following video clip contains domestic violence. Feel free to skip it and read on.

Here's Tina's 1984 #1 song, What's Love Got To Do With It

Long live the queen of rock 'n' roll!

Then, as I was going through the Wikipedia, June 1963 in Music list, I came to Leslie Gore's album, I'll Cry If I Want To, and smash hit single, It's My Party

Judy and Johnny just walked through the door
Like a queen with her king
Oh, what a birthday surprise
Judy's wearing his ring

It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to
Cry if I want to
You would cry too, if it happened to you

Seemingly, this teeny-bopper pop was a million miles away from the more raw R&B of the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. But wait, maybe with the wisdom of time we've all learned that Leslie needs Johnny like a hole in the head. In fact, Johnny is probably going to turn out like the monster of Ike Turner in just a few short years. Run Leslie, run!

Enjoy the playlist my friends.

Monday, June 12, 2023

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume 23 • Time to Space

The alleged perpetrator (or "sniper") of a recent trip and fall.

Recently, I changed up my running routine. After one trip and fall, I decided to slow my running pace down. I already was a slow jogger or what I call, a "slogger," so how is that even possible? 

You may ask, "Are you just walking fast?" It's actually still a jog, but before the slowdown, I noticed I was so focused on watching the ground for jutting up stones that I was losing my most cherished aspect of running, the time to space, to let my mind wander. 

So I slowed my pace down to 4 miles a hour and increased my run from 5 miles to 6.25 (10K). Team Tortoise forever baby! It's great, I'm not any more tired, and burn a few more calories. Most importantly, I re-routed my course so that I'm now on the dirt trail for 5 miles and only 1.25 miles on the grassy parkway next to the speedy fossil fuel cars in my little suburbia. 

You might ask, "Why would you increase time on the part of the run where you're most likely to trip on one of those 'sniper' jutting up rocks?" Well, it all has to to do with the time to space part.

The trail is located in a small canyon between two mesas that's just deep enough that for most of the 1.25 mile length, I can't see any houses. On the trail my mind just goes off in different directions as my streaming music shuffles in different artists and bands. I've written about this little trail many times here in the blog, but I continue to marvel how important this wanderful place is to me, and so close to my house.

So here's another playlist my friends created this spring while mostly spacing out.

And rest in peace Tina Turner, you inspired many people to simply be their best!

Monday, June 05, 2023

#NewMusicMonday • April - May, 2023 • The Record Producer

In listening to several new albums released in the past couple of months my thoughts drifted to the broad category of "Indie" music. I'm not going to get into all the indie and alternative music dynamics as the business of popular music evolved or devolved in the late 20th century. What I'm thinking here in 2023 is that the general public doesn't know or hear about the 'Record Producer' much anymore.

Back in the day, major label recording artists would all use or were even assigned a Producer by the record company to enhance the odds of creating a hit song. One reason that artists slowly blew up this model was for the fact that the record label often used the Producer to control the recording process and thus, the product.

As newer folk, rock 'n' roll and rock artists and bands became more independent, the meaning of indie itself kind of found two camps.

  1.  Successful and signed artists wanting control of their content in making albums on an established record label and,
  2.  Lesser successful and unsigned artists without a record contract and a friggin' dime.
In the 21st century, both camps expanded their audiences by creating and streaming their songs and albums on the Internet, or as many published musicians have learned to say, "pennies on a dollar."

In cutting to the chase, sometimes in hearing professional artists self-produce their recordings is that feeling I get that something is missing. It's hard for me as a non-musician to put my finger on it, but maybe an established record producer à la Glyn Johns or Phil Ramone could add that punch and magic to make a professional recording, well more professional.

In listening to the indie pop group The Lemon Twigs' new album, Everything Harmony,  I got the feeling that there are some really good songs here, but if they had only used a producer à la Todd Rundgren, I bet it would have been even better. 

What's great about YouTube is hearing both the polished song version on an album, and the unpolished versions of the same song in various live performances. I'm often looking for the live performance of a song, and that is so much easier and accessible with music made in the 21st century.

As film turned to tape in late 60's, so many great performance really can't be heard or even seen well in the digital transfer to a YouTube video. Maybe that's why my old ear falls back to the standard of songs that were well produced and released on vinyl when hearing those 60's-70's original recordings on YouTube today. 

In relation to songs being recorded today, I'm not talking about the quality of analog vs. digital, I'm talking about the teamwork of an artist and producer crafting the arrangement of a song together. 

I don't want to make this a generational thing, I love and appreciate a lot of music being recorded today. On one hand it's easier to make music and share it with the world, on the other hand, it's still a small group of artists who get a great record deal and all the things that go with making a record, like maybe, an experienced record producer. 

Enjoy the playlist my friends!