Monday, July 31, 2023

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume 25 • Here, There And Everywhere

On The Ed Sullivan Show there was this guy named Eric Brenn who had a fabulous act of "plate spinning." Everybody loved him and Ed had him on many times. This act became so popular that you've probably used a variation of this line- "Well, this week's really got me spinning the plates." I know I've said it over the years, so here I just put up a video clip of Mr. Brenn on Ed Sullivan. I guess it's been that kind of week, and managing my own balancing act...

Well nothing like a song to right the world. For me it's been The Beatles' Here, There And Everywhere, one of Paul's best. I first heard it on a run several weeks ago, then it started playing in my head, I then found three different versions of it on YouTube. Nothing unusual about that, as I often will fish up several versions of a song, keep one for the playlist and throw the other ones back into the sea of songs. This week in the playlist, I've kept all three. 

Here, There And Everywhere serves as a meditation, a musical potion to calm the mind, therapy for my soul. Thank you Mr. McCartney.

Then, I couldn't leave John out, so I paired him next to Paul, and there, everything is balanced here, there...

Enjoy the playlist my friends.

Monday, July 24, 2023

60 Years of Music • July, 1963 • From Seven Steps to Heaven to Wipe Out

It's an interesting mix of music for the month of July, 1963. On one hand you have the jazz vibe of Miles Davis with his classic album, Seven Steps to Heaven, and the soulful voice of Ray Charles' album, Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul. Mix that with instrumental surfer rock 'n' roll from the Surfaris, and homogenized folk from the Kingston Trio, and you have the diversity of music in America in the early 1960's. 

I now love it all, from my whitebread upbringing listening to pop on the radio, to appreciating the range of emotion that Ray Charles communicates in his voice. Ray has a whole different experience to share of America. His interpretations of standards such as Ol' Man River, Over The Rainbow, and You'll Never Walk Alone are incredible. Over the Rainbow for example, is one of the most over-covered songs in the history of music. As a black man and artist, Ray emotes, "Take a walk in my shoes America." It's now my favorite version. I would love to hear a "naked" version of this album. Take out the sappy strings and background harmonies so popular in 1950's and early 1960's recording arrangements, strip it down to an R&B band with Ray at the piano, and man that's an album a lot of people would want to hear in 2023.

Enjoy it all my friends. And rest in peace Tony Bennett, you and Ray can now sing together again... @ the Heavenly Club. Check out the bonus track at the end of the playlist.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Fifty Years of Music • July, 1973

Fifty years later, what holds up? Maybe by the summer of 1973, the albums coming out were a red flag that rock 'n' roll and R&B were morphing into slicker versions of their former selves from the 1960's.

In listing my rejection bullet points for this blog from July, 1973 in Music, it's kind of a bellwether for what's to come from my both sides now perspective as an 18 year old and 68 year old. 

  • 18+ minute songs from Cat Stevens and Jethro Tull. Sure artists are allowed to grow, but sometimes you miss their former hooks.
  • Elvis. Teenagers in 1973 were not listening to Elvis Presley. C'mon, pictures with Nixon, WTF.
  • New York Dolls. Only a few bands could really pull off glam.
  • Styx. The rock 'n' rock slick stuff, that just kept growing. So why do I like Queen here and not Styx? I don't know, I just always liked Queen, maybe a little more originality, creativity?
  • Barry Manilow. 1970's pop is getting so infected with these types of viruses.
  • 10cc. Clever little name for a rock 'n' roll band, that ended there.
  • Grand Funk Railroad. C'mon man, are you serious? Kiss is lurking too in 1973. My God, the horror!
  • Jim Croce. Folk has always had cornball singer-songwriters, I just didn't get into most of his songs.
  • Funkadelic. What's happening to R&B here?
  • West, Bruce, and Laing. They shoot horses don't they? 50 years later, it was hard to listen to their last album.

My more experienced ear is now more accepting to say the collaboration between John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana in Love Devotion Surrender.

The late 60's and early 70's had some wonderful western movies. In April 1973, the Eagles jump on that with Desperado, and I just loved Bob Dylan's soundtrack for Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Bob's big hit, Knockin' On Heaven's Door has always been a favorite of mine, and I just got into the soundtrack again this past week.

And I'll tell what really holds up 50 years later, Steely Dan.  A band that would help define the best of music in the 1970's and help carry the rock 'n' roll torch forward with their own unique sound.

Enjoy my friends.

Monday, July 10, 2023

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume 24 • AI Squirrel

Okay, What's an AI Squirrel? For me, it's the right side column on YouTube populated with what YouTube thinks I might like to click on based on my most recent clicks. My typical pattern is to go to Youtube after listening to a good song I've recently heard on Amazon music. I'm listening to that video to determine if it's going to make my new playlist, and low and behold on my right there's another video by the same band or artist that looks even better than the video I'm currently watching, SQUIRREL! 

I think maybe this technology is making me attention deficit, I don't remember ever being so easily distracted. In any case maybe it's actually making for a better playlist. So a new pattern is emerging. I hear a great song on my trail run, come back to find a version of it on YouTube, and now about 40% of the time, pick something else from YouTube's right column. So, someday if my monthly #BestSongIHeardToday blog series gets renamed to AI Squirrel, you'll know that I've completely gone up that tree.

Monday, July 03, 2023

Summer Tunes 2023

Summer Tunes  2018 & 2019 • 2022 • 2023

Let's just call it July 4th week and start the summer party! Fire up the bar-be-cue and soak up the sun pilgrims! Now don't forget to crank up the music and enjoy my third installment of Summer Tunes! In fact, don't hesitate to play my other two Summer Tunes playlists as you sip on your favorite summer drink and take some time to relax. 

Here's my latest favorite summer concoction!

Doug's Lazy Daze

  1. Get in your car and turn on the AC.
  2. Go to the nearest McDonalds' drive through. 
  3. Order a Large Mango/Pineapple Smoothie, or the number for as many who are drinking back at the house.
  4. Drive home quickly, but carefully.
  5. Go to your liquor cabinet (oh yes you do), and select your favorite brand of tequila or vodka.
  6. Don't bother to pour the smoothie into a pretty glass, time's a wastin'.
  7. Stir in gently whatever amount of tequila or vodka you want, if it's overflowing... maybe you have a bigger problem!
  8. Put on Doug's latest Summer Tunes playlist, and as always,
    enjoy my friends!
Summer Tunes 2023

Summer Tunes 2022

Summer Tunes 2018 & 2019 (Combined Playlist)