Showing posts with label My Favorite Songs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label My Favorite Songs. Show all posts

Monday, December 25, 2023

My Favorite Songs of 2023

Merry Christmas everyone! As this is the last Monday Monday Music™ blog of the year, I want to thank all my loyal readers for tuning in every week to read and listen to a brand new playlist of music every week!

2023 marks the third straight year that I have published a blog every Monday for a 52 week calendar year. This year may have been a little skimpy on the word count for a typical week as I have taken on more duties with D&D Learning Spaces™ as their Learning Environment Designer. 

I just want to give a quick shout out to my boss Dean Smith and his wonderful staff for making this a very rewarding year from a work perspective. After all these years, I still have the drive to design K-12 learning spaces with schools and Dean has given me the opportunity to express my creativity with educators while working with an exceptional group of furniture and technology collaborators. I am so blessed and thankful for this opportunity! 

This year with the full-time work gig kicking in, I started writing many a blog post on a Saturday or Sunday morning (like this one), but stayed true to the music playlists as they typically take several weeks to put together. My Favorite Songs of 2023 is a compilation of my favs taken from 11 months of my #NewMusicMondays playlists. I'm so thankful for the Monday Monday Music listeners who have taken the time to actually go through or even skip through a playlist that I have created. This year, I feature mostly songs from 16 new albums worth listening to.

This year, I added 60 Years of Music to cover the 1960's and the best decade of music ever produced in my opinion. Then, I continue 50 Years of Music to cover the 1970's, and #NewMusicMondays to keep you exploring new songs from young and older artists. A special hats off to The Rolling Stones for making an album in 2023 (Hackney Diamonds) of all new songs. 

Music is art and like all art we each have our own tastes. I don't expect everyone to like my typical mix of rock 'n' roll and Americana (or what we used to call Folk music). I do think that in every playlist I create, there is at least one or a couple of songs that make it to your heart. It may be an old tune from the last century, or it may be a new tune you discover today in the playlist. In any event, music is powerful. It's something that we take with us whether you are listening to a digital device or playing a song in our head. 

I also want to take a moment to thank my wife, Mary Kit and our blended-family for just being the wonderful people they are. All of us are busy, but I appreciate that we all work together to keep it all together for the combined five children, their spouses and our nine grandchildren. I think that the grandkids think that Yellow Submarine is my favorite song of all-time, and I'll will keep that going as long as they believe in Santa Claus. Someday, we'll have the talk about Penny Lane

This past week, Mary Kit and I took our three grandsons, Cole, Brendan and Drew to the Corvette Diner that has all the walls filled with paintings of the rock 'n' roll stars from the 50's and 60's. We had a great discussion of band members now dead or still alive. The conversation centered on two large paintings near us of The Rolling Stones and The Who. Now this got a bit tricky with Brian Jones and Keith Moon and our nine-year twins, as I kept it general. But, the boys just couldn't understand how adult Brian Jones could have drowned alone in his own swimming pool? I moved on to the painting of The Supremes. Anyway, there was a live DJ there and he played upon my request, Jumping Jack Flash and I Can See For Miles. He said, "These songs go out to the Wagner boys who are coming for my job!" I was born in a crossfire hurricane...            

As I say at the end of most of my posts, "Enjoy the playlist my friends." And... if I don't know you personally, but you've found your way here and listened to a song or two here, you're certainly a friend of mine!

Merry Christmas and let's all just practice a little more kindness in 2024, it can change everything.

Now here's a great little mix of album-oriented favs from 2023. Enjoy the playlist my friends!

And hey, let's not let the dust settle quite yet on my Christmas Mix 2023. 
It will make for great background music throughout this merry day!

Monday, December 18, 2023

My Favorite Songs of 1973

Fifty Years of Music. 1973 was a great year musically and personally. Fifty years ago, I was spending the first Christmas with my new girlfriend, Mary Kit and so the songs of that year have that special place in time in my heart.

Here's a few personal opinions from the featured albums above.
  • No sophomore slump with the Eagles, as their second album is their best.
  • Stevie Wonder takes it to a whole other level. Stevie opens my ears to R&B and I start to expand my musical tastes. 
  • Paul Simon makes an album for the ages. My personal favorite from his great body of work.
  • With this album, The Who cement the bronze metal just behind The Rolling Stones silver, and then there is The Beatles, at the top of the platform.
  • Two albums by Elton John and Fleetwood Mac with song after song included here. I miss Christine.
  • Jackson Browne is becoming a legend, but just wait for the one next year.
  • Neil Young is drifting here, but I still want to believe.
  • Dave Mason finally gets a little solo attention, and I'm including almost every song from the album.
  • The Faces make a better album than The Stones in 1973. 
  • Seals and Crofts make their last great album, and I played that thing to death in my bedroom.
  • Pink Floyd actually made some good songs that I listened to in 1973. Then, classic rock stations killed the song, Money as it goes into the category of "songs ruined by radio."
  • Harry Nilsson can do it all. I miss Harry, I wonder if only...
  • Bonnie Raitt is quietly picking up steam.
  • Mary Kit gets me listening to David Bowie, but years later I realize his early sound is the rock 'n' roll greatness of Mick Ronson. How could Bowie let him go?
  • Bob Dylan makes a wonderful soundtrack and song that is one of my favorites of all-time.
  • Two albums by Paul McCarthy and one by John Lennon without much mention here. 
  • Tom Waits, what an incredible debut album. The songwriting and simple performance knocks me out 50 years down the road. I was so out to lunch and completely missed this one as an 18 year old. 
  • Love the acoustic arrangements as Led Zeppelin builds even a wider spectrum of fans.
  • Joe Walsh. Always a great song or two on every album he made. Enough to fill arenas for years and years, and that's just the solo part of his career.
  • Loggins and Messina sing Lahaina, and I cry listening to it 50 years later watching the town burn down in 2023.
  • Steely Dan is just killing it by 1973, with more to come. Anybody remember Skunk Baxter? He's still alive by the way. Steely Dan always had great songs performed by some of the best players in the world.
  • George Harrison makes a solid album. I know it's not necessary to root for George Harrison, but I always wanted him to do well after the Beatles. I missed George this week listening to the Traveling Wilburys CD in the car.
  • Mark Twain and John Prine, now that's a couple centuries of Americana all spun in the wonderful writing of these two giants. I miss John Prine. Dear Abby, Dear Abby...

Enjoy my 1973 playlist compiled from all my #FiftyYearsInMusic blogs this year. There are lots of deep cuts here my friends.

p.s. Don't forget my Christmas Mix 2023, I've added a few more videos!

Monday, December 11, 2023

My Favorite Songs of 1963

60 Years of Music. 1963 is the year before the rock 'n' roll "British Invasion" and "Beatlemania" coming to America. However, The Beach Boys have already established their own Los Angeles beachhead and Bob Dylan emerges on the folk scene in New York City as both take the country by storm. We're at the dawn of the monster years of rock 'n' roll and my generation is ready for the ride, even if many of us are not quite old enough to know it yet. 

These are the years where artists and bands were often required by their record companies to put out two albums a year plus be on a regular schedule to produce hit singles for the Billboard charts. In 1963, The Beatles and Beach Boys each put out two albums and a series of singles that will influence a whole new generation of kids playing musical instruments. The musical output will be astonishing, enough so that for me making 60 years of music playlists in the months and years ahead will be child's play. 

So, strap on those metal roller skates and turn on the transistor radios as the boomer generation will take on the establishment and put the suits, haters, and bible thumpers on notice, let's get the counter-culture party started!

1963 in Music and World Events (from Wikipedia)

Notable Bands Formed in 1963
  • The Kinks
  • Manfred Mann
  • Bob Marley and the Wailers
  • The Spencer Davis Group
  • Neil Young & The Squires
  • The Yardbirds

Enjoy the 1963 Playlist my friends!

Monday, December 26, 2022

My Favorite Songs of 2022

This is my last blog post of 2022 and I'm happy to say I will be back next year with a new music post every Monday morning if the fates and YouTube allow. In fact, I'm on a bit of a streak. For the last two years, I've posted a blog every Monday! Take a look at my Blog Archive on the right sidebar here and you will see I've been pretty steady since 2019 at getting a blog post out for almost all 52 weeks.

In January 2023, I start a new monthly series, 60 Years of Music • (Month), 1963. I discovered in my use of Wikipedia that in 1963 rock 'n' roll and folk music were growing so fast that Wikipedia starts to curate new album releases on a monthly basis. I'll be using 1963 in Music as my guide to return to my childhood at eight years of age, and maybe just a few years up or down from your age at that time, or if you're much younger and like the vibe here. I'm excited to chronicle the 1960's in music and bridge my blog posts and series leading up to 1963. 

In the right sidebar, you will also see my Under The Influence series that covers songs from 1949-1962. 

I'll still cover Fifty Years of Music on a monthly basis continuing with January, 1973 and leading up to my graduation from high school that year.

And still, I will cover #NewMusicMonday every month where I attempt to capture new rock 'n' roll and Americana (Folk) albums, song, covers, and YouTube videos.

So just like last week where I poured over all my monthly Fifty Years of Music from 1972 and presented My Favorite Songs of 1972, I've done the same right here for all my #NewMusicMonday(s) in 2022.

I've also taken a look at some other music magazines 'Best of 2022' in music and I must say, my 2022 playlist is just as worthy. If you like folk-Americana-indie and some good ol' rock 'n' roll here's a playlist to take you through the end of the year.

Enjoy my friends! Happy New Year and catch a whole new year of Monday Monday Music posts, starting January 2nd.

I'm keeping the streak alive, look out Cal Ripken Jr....

Monday, December 19, 2022

My Favorite Songs of 1972

 The Class of 1972 is a special group of people to me. I was a year younger and it seemed miles behind from the grade just in front of me. From my first neighborhood chums on West Sunset Street, my first girlfriend, and then the best life-long friends a fellow could ever have, mostly born in 1953-1954. 

I remember being a lowly 7th grader at Fesler Junior High School, the 8th graders were so much cooler, the girls cuter. My next door neighbor was in 8th grade and before I knew it, I was hanging out with his pals.

In high school, the class of 72 was way cooler than my class of 73. I quit their redneck football and baseball after my freshman year and started hanging with the longer-haired sophomores. When they all graduated in the summer of 72, I missed seeing them my senior year around campus. 

After school we would connect and continue our now religious practice of listening to music together. The mantra of "Drugs, Sex and Rock 'n' Roll" was a bit out of my league at that time. Well, one out of three ain't bad.

Here's a bunch (191) of my favorite songs from 1972 from even cooler people born in the 1940's singing to us younger wannabees born in the 1950's.

Hail Hail 1972!

Monday, December 27, 2021

My Favorite Songs of 2021

A Year Of #NewMusicMondays
Last Year, I began a monthly feature called #NewMusicMonday. This post is a culmination of 12 months of searching, sifting, and sorting new music every month across the Internet. YouTube Playlists have a built-in limitation of 200 songs when embedded into a web page like Monday Monday Music™.  This 200 song limit can be a blessing and curse. I basically had to revisit over a 1000 handpicked songs and whittle that down to 200 of my favorite favs, including any new songs from December. 

Last week, I did the same for my Fifty Years of Music series with the same process for songs from 1971. That was a much easier task for the many songs that were already part of my rock 'n' roll DNA. Here, this was a bit more work of current listening. In 2021, there are fewer great rock 'n' roll songs being written and recorded, but at the same time the 'Americana genre' continues to evolve often blending Rock 'n' Roll, Folk, Indie, Bluegrass, Country, and Blues.

Genre bending and blending is basically what music has been, is, and will be. For me, I'm a 'folkie' at heart... with a rock 'n' roll soul.

Rickenbacker 360 Fireglo
That bent leads to what some (me included) would call, 'jingle-jangle' rock 'n' roll with the blending of acoustic and electric guitars. I'm going to start with The Beatles as my personal reference point in time, and John's early use of his black Rickenbacker 6 string electric guitar, and then in 1964, adding George's use of his Rickenbacker 360 Fireglo twelve string electric guitar shown here. 

In 1965, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds quickly follows George's lead and uses his Rickenbacker 360 'Mapleglow' 12 string on all their hit songs, including Mr. Tamborine Man and Turn, Turn, Turn

This tradition continues through the years most notably with Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, The Bangles, and The Jayhawks to name a few. 

By jingle-jangle, I'm basically identifying the signature sound of bands with typically two guitar players playing off each other in complement rhythm and riff of each other, like The Beatles' George and John, or The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards and Brian Jones (and later Ronnie Wood). These bands do not have an identified lead guitar god à la Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page to drive that rock sound. I love that sound too, but it often comes at limiting a song's lyrics with a melody and vocal harmonies to produce a more balanced sound. That last sentence, kind of defines the root elements of folk and I guess my bent to artists and bands and that sound.

In 2021, I found both older and newer artists and bands all over the world that satisfy my folk and rock 'n' roll DNA with their new music releases. Here are the artists, bands and albums that grabbed me this year (in somewhat of a slipshod rated order): 
  1. 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 ran
    I've turned sticks and stones to an olive branch
    I've made a full house from a shitty hand
    Yet, here I am, still gotta be bigger than the bigger man
    – Bigger Man, by Joy Oladokun and Maren Morris

  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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!
  5. 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. 
  6. 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!
  7. 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. 
  8. Guided By Voices (Dayton OH), Earth Man Blues
    This album simply rocks! The riffs on this thing takes me back to the day.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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!
  14. Bleachers (New York, NY), Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night
  15. Kings of Leon (Nashville, TN), When You See Yourself
  16. 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.
  17. Dylan LeBlanc (Shreveport, LA), Pastimes
    An EP of some of the best covers I've ever heard. 
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Allison Russell (Canada), Outside Child
  22. The Killers (Las Vegas, NV), Pressure Machine
  23. Death Cab For Cutie (Bellingham, WA),  The Georgia E.P.
  24. The Fratellis (Scotland), Half Drunk Under A Full Moon
  25. David Crosby (Santa Ynez, CA), For Free
  26. The Black Keys (Akron, OH), Delta Kream
  27. Flyte (England), This Is Really Going to Hurt
  28. Real Estate (Brooklyn, NY), Half a Human
  29. Hearty Har (Los Angeles, CA), Radio Astro
  30. Toad The Wet Sprocket, (Santa Barbara, CA), Starting Now
  31. Kings Of Convenience, (Norway), Peace or Love
Okay, I'm going to stop here at 31, I got to get to the finish line.

Now before I send you to this great 2021 playlist below, I have to give myself a little squeak of the wheel and pat on the ol' back. 

In January, I made a promise to myself (and Paul Hobbs) that I would write a Monday Monday Music every Monday for the entire 2021 year. Well boys and girls it's week 52 and this is my 52nd post for 2021! Heck, I could have done it with 48 in 2019, and 50 in 2020 if I had been paying attention and kept my eye on the ball. But now that I've done it, I have decided to pull the plug on the blog, and learn how to play piano... 

Just kidding. I hope I didn't make Paul's heart skip a beat. Yes, I'll be back next Monday, January 3 to start a new year of music posts. I actually do want to learn to play piano and work on my house a bit, so I'll just take it a week at a time, and a transition to...

Thank you dear followers for reading my post every week and making the time to dive into the playlist, most weeks. There's a lot of great music being made every day and remember pilgrims, Music Saves!

Now for starting the playlist this week the first video I picked back in January was Katy Perry's, Firework for Joe Biden's Presidential Inauguration. Her performance made me cry tears of happiness for the fact that the orange fat fascist was actually NOT the President anymore. I follow that with Joy Oladokun's, i see america, and then complete my little trilogy of American life with Harry Styles', Treat People With Kindness. After that, the songs in the playlist are in a random order and are not ranked, including a bunch of songs not mentioned in the albums listing.

Enjoy these 200 songs my friends, and Happy New Year!