Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

A Random Six-Pack

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

There are currently 79,000-plus tracks in the RealPlayer, most of them music. (I have about thirty familiar lines from movies in the stacks and some bits of interviews, too.) And today, we’re going to take a six-stop random tour through the stacks. We’ll sort the tracks by length; the shortest is 1.4 seconds of broadcaster Al Shaver exulting over a goal by the long-departed Minnesota North Stars – “He shoots, he scores!” – and the longest is the full album with bonus tracks of Bruce Springsteen’s 2006 release, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, clocking in at an hour and eighteen minutes.

We’re going to put the cursor in the middle of the stack and click six times and see what we get.

We land first on a track by Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers: “Memphis Queen” from the group’s 1989 album Rock & Real. At All Music, William Ruhlman notes, “Grushecky’s songs of tough urban life are made all the more compelling by his rough voice and the aggressive playing of his band.” The track in question, “Memphis Queen,” tells the tale of a Pittsburgh boy headed to New Orleans on the titular riverboat, stopping in St. Louis to search for the “brown-eyed handsome man” and meeting a girl named Little Marie, whose daddy is “down in the penitentiary.” I found the album at a blog somewhere when I was going through a Grushecky phase a few years ago. It’s a good way to start.

We jump from 1989 back to 1972 and a track from Mylon Lefevre. “He’s Not Just A Soldier” comes from Lefevre’s Over The Influence album. Originally recorded in 1961 by Little Richard, who wrote the song with William Pitt, the song reads on Lefevre’s album as an artifact from the Vietnam era, declaring that a young man in military service “is not just a soldier in a brown uniform, he’s one of God’s sons.” And there’s a surprise along the way, as Lefevre is joined on vocals by Little Richard himself. There’s also a great saxophone solo, but I don’t know by whom. (I saw a note on Wikipedia that said the album was a live performance, but I doubt that’s the case.)

Next up is a cover of a piece of movie music: “Lolita Ya-Ya” by the Ventures. The tune originated in Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film adaptation of the Vladimir Nabokov novel Lolita. Penned by Nelson Riddle, the song is source music from a radio the first time that the movie’s protagonist, Humbert Humbert, sees the title character who will become his obsession. Sue Lyon, the actress who played Lolita, provided the vocals for the film version of the tune. The Ventures’ cover of the tune was released as a single, but got only to No. 61 on the Billboard Hot 100.

From there, we head to 1968 and Al Wilson’s first album, Searching For The Dolphins, recorded for Johnny Rivers’ Soul City Label. “I Stand Accused” was the fourth single from the album aimed at the Hot 100; the most successful of the four was “The Snake,” which went to No. 27. “I Stand Accused,” a good soul workout, bubbled under at No. 106. As usual with Rivers’ productions, the backing musicians were spectacular: Hal Blaine, Jim Gordon, Larry Knechtel, Joe Osborne, Jim Horn and James Burton. (A 2008 reissue of the album provided as bonus tracks eleven singles and B-sides recorded around the same time for the Soul City, Bell and Carousel labels.)

Lou Christie’s fame (and his appeal), as I see it, rests on five singles: “The Gypsy Cried” (1963), “Two Faces Have I” (1963), “Lightning Strikes” (1965), “Rhapsody In The Rain” (1966), and “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” (1970). He shows up here today with “Wood Child,” a track from his 1971 album Paint America Love, released under his (almost) real name, Lou Christie Sacco. (He was born Lugee Alfredo Giovanni Sacco, according to discogs.com.) I’m not sure what the song is about, except that its lyrics are evocative and include the recurring choruses, “You’ve got to save the wood child” and “Take a ticket and get on this boat.”

(A 2015 appreciation of the album by Bob Stanley for The Guardian said: “Yet another side of Christie emerged in 1971 when he cut his masterpiece, Paint America Love, a Polish/Italian/American take on What’s Going On. Orchestrated state-of-the-nation pieces (‘Look Out the Window,’ the extraordinary ‘Wood Child’) compete with majestic instrumentals (‘Campus Rest’) and childhood reminiscences (‘Chuckie Wagon,’ the Sesame Street-soundtracking ‘Paper Song’) in a gently lysergic whole. Online reviews compare it to Richard Ford and John Steinbeck: fans of Jimmy Webb are urged to seek it out.”)

I’m not sure where I got the album, probably a long-lost blog, but I suppose I should take Stanley’s advice and listen to it more closely.

And our six-pack this morning ends with “Long Line” from Peter Wolf, one-time member of the J. Geils Band. The title track from his 1996 album, the tune shifts from straight-ahead tasteful rock to a spoken interlude and back. It sounds a lot more like 1972 than 1996, with some nifty piano fills, which makes it a nice way to end our trek.

Stuff On My Mind

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

Epidemics, pandemics and plagues are on my mind, for some reason.

My dad had scarlet fever when he was a young boy. I’m not exactly sure of the timing, and there’s no one to ask anymore, but I’m thinking he was ten or younger, as it stunted his growth. Both of his brothers – one younger, one older – topped out taller than six feet with broad shoulders and solid, if not exactly burly, builds. Dad was five-seven, maybe five-eight, and was maybe 150 pounds when he went into the Army at the age of twenty.

He remembered their home being quarantined. No one in or out. The house still stands across the street from the Lutheran Church in Cambridge, Minnesota, somewhat neglected but still occupied from what we could tell during a stop at the adjacent cemetery last summer. It’s not large at all, and I imagine it was crowded and probably tense during the weeks of quarantine.

Let’s say Dad was ten when he was ill, making it sometime after the autumn of 1929. That means that the eldest of his seven siblings was nineteen and the youngest was six. Now, my Aunt Emeline, the eldest, may have already left home to be a teacher, but still, that leaves seven children and my grandparents and Uncle Charlie – my grandmother’s uncle (whose rocking chair sits in our bedroom) – all cooped in a smallish house. I don’t know what time of year it was, but it had to be uncomfortable as well as frightening.

I don’t really know how prevalent scarlet fever was, so I dug a bit and found a chart at the website of the Minnesota Department of Health that noted there were 4,030 cases in Minnesota in 1930, with thirty-eight deaths. (Two decades earlier, in 1910, Minnesota saw 4,117 cases with 284 deaths, which tells me the incidence of the disease was probably higher than in 1930, assuming a smaller population in 1910, and treatment was much less successful.)

Over the years, I’ve thought about plagues and epidemics on a historical level, reading about the Black Death’s periodic visits to Europe in the Middle Ages and other outbreaks. I recall one fine book, Justinian’s Flea, which examined the source of the plague that devastated the eastern Roman Empire in the sixth and seventh centuries CE. And now I read about a pandemic in my state and nation.

I’m too young to actually remember the polio epidemics of the late 1940s and early 1950s. My mom once told me that the fear was palpable, especially among parents of young children, and towns and cities were eerily quiet. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The previously referenced chart says that there were 258 cases of polio in the state in 1940, and then lays out the total for each year in the first five years after World War II:

1946: 2,881
1947: 201
1948: 1,387
1949: 1,715
1950: 502

I was born in 1953, and it was not uncommon during my childhood to see people – usually children but sometimes adults – using crutches and wearing bulky braces on withered legs. To a kid who was maybe eight, that was scary. By then, there were vaccines, of course, first the Salk and then the Sabin, but even if we were safe from polio, what else might there be out there that could kill us or – likely worse to the eight-year-old mind – cripple us?

And now, there’s novel corona. I’m sixty-six, and I long ago had a lung ailment that’s seemed not to have left any lingering damage, but still, that’s there. So I have some anxiety, even as we do the things we should here. And I’m reasonably certain that if everyone does the things they’re supposed to do, we’ll get through.

And here I take a deep breath and offer Holly Wilson’s bossa nova take on Pink Floyd’s “Breathe.” It’s from her 2006 album Pink Floyd En Bossa Nova. Enjoy (and ignore the line about racing towards an early grave).

‘Voices Half Remembered . . .’

Friday, March 20th, 2020

I often write about, or at least refer to, my sweet spot (a term I got from my pal Dan), the span of years from my youth when my taste in music was pretty well set. I generally identify it as the years between 1969 and 1975, but it tends to stretch a little on each end. A lot of stuff from 1967 and 1968 matters to me, being not just familiar but formative, and the same holds true to a lesser extent for 1976 and 1977.

As I’ve noted before, a rough gauge of the impact of those years can be gained by looking at the numbers of posts here featuring music from those years, numbers that – were they entered on a chart – would produce a slightly predictable but still interesting bell graph:

1967: 92
1968: 123
1969: 180
1970: 201
1971: 167
1972: 154
1973: 116
1974: 91
1975: 91
1976: 53
1977: 50

Those numbers come from a little more than 1,500 posts in just more than ten years at this site and do not include the three years of blogging at the two shorter-lived sites. And the years cover my life from the last months of eighth grade to the first month of my years at the Monticello Times. If there’s anything surprising in the numbers from those eleven years, it’s the clear drop off from 1975 to 1976 and 1977.

But those last two were years when my view shifted from college life to what would come after. There was an internship, graduation, moving away from Kilian Boulevard, an abortive attempt or two at permanent employment, additional college work, and finally, a job in reporting. Those years were a lot less carefree than the ones that came before. Maybe that makes a difference in what the music of those years says to me. And maybe the music wasn’t – to me, anyway – all that great. I dunno.

But we’ll end this relatively pointless post by letting iTunes do some work. We’re going to click randomly through the 3,900-or so tracks there and focus on the third track from either 1976 or 1977 and see what life serves us.

Well, it took twenty-eight clicks, and the tracks we hit ranged from 1955 (“Bring It To Jerome” by Bo Diddley) to 1991 (“Mysterious Ways” by U2), but we finally fell onto a track that met our requirements. It comes from a 1976 album that I do like a great deal: Neil Diamond’s Beautiful Noise, produced by Robbie Robertson. The album went to No. 4 on the Billboard 200, and “Signs” is a pretty decent album track.

Hunkering Down

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

Well, we’re pretty much self-isolating, as we should. I was out yesterday for a brief time, picked up two prescriptions at the pharmacy drive-through, then got a pick-up order at the grocery store. The order wasn’t quite right, so I had to go into the store to straighten it out and then go into another store to get the soap powder for the dishwasher that the first store was out of.

Both stores had relatively little traffic, and the shelves were beginning to look bare in some spots: Canned soup, instant potatoes and potato box mixes, cereals, and, of course, paper products. In the store where I did my actual shopping, eggs were plentiful but customers were limited to two dozen. As well as getting the soap powder, I filled some minor gaps in our supplies and headed home.

And today, I’ll head out to the podiatrist for my regular six-week visit, being very careful about surfaces and aware of the people around me. The receptionist said they’ve expanded the seating area of the lobby to provide more distance between people. I’m still a bit nervous about it, but I thought I should go while I can. And then home again for the rest of the day.

There is nothing in the digital stacks with “COVID” in the title, of course. There are, on the other hand, several tracks with “nineteen” in their titles: “The Two Nineteen” by Long John Baldry & The Hoochie Coochie Men, “Hey Nineteen” by Steely Day, “John Nineteen Forty-One” (the closing track to the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar), “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five” by Paul McCartney & Wings, “Nineteen Something” by Mark Willis, and five versions of the blues tune “She’s Nineteen Years Old.” Not much joy there.

So I thought I’d look at the Billboard charts from the years I call my sweet spot, 1969-75, and, playing some Games With Numbers, see what was at No. 19 during the third week of March in those years. With any luck, we’ll find something decent to listen to this morning. Here we go.

1969: “Give It Up or Turnit a Loose” by James Brown
1970: “Call Me/Son Of A Preacher Man” by Aretha Franklin
1971: “(Theme From) ‘Love Story’” by Henry Mancini, His Orchestra and Chorus
1972: “Don’t Say You Don’t Remember” by Beverly Bremers
1973: “Do You Want To Dance” by Bette Midler
1974: “Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)” by Aretha Franklin
1975: “I Am Love (Parts 1 & 2)” by the Jackson 5

Well, that’s an interesting mix. I respect James Brown more than I listen to him, and Aretha’s double-sided single doesn’t grab me this morning. I know we’ve offered the Mancini, Bremers and Midler singles before (maybe some time ago, but still). And I’m going to ignore the Jackson 5 record because a quick search tells me that not only have I never posted “Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do),” I’ve never – in more than thirteen years of blogging – even mentioned the record.

There’s a reason for that neglect. Given that it was on the radio in early 1974, the record falls into the list of those that I did not hear at the time, being in Denmark and beyond the reach of Top 40. I learned about it through my digging into Aretha during the late 1980s and via whatever play it got on oldies stations, and I like it a lot.

In mid-March 1974, the record was on its way down the chart, having peaked in the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 3 at the end of February. It spent a week at No. 1 on the magazine’s R&B chart and went to No. 33 on the Easy Listening chart.

And finally, it shows up here.

Saturday Single No. 681

Saturday, March 14th, 2020

Intrigued by the results the other day of digging into a 1972 survey from a radio station formatting itself as “progressive,” I thought we’d do it again this morning. The first time, we were in Portland, Oregon, so I thought we’d head to the East Coast for our second time around.

Here are the six albums that WMMR in Philadelphia listed in its survey for the second week in March 1972:

Together by Jesse Colin Young
Sailin’ Shoes by Little Feat
Isle Of View by Jimmie Spheeris
Fanny Hill by Fanny
Hellbound Train by Savoy Brown
Compost self-titled

Only two of those ever showed up on the vinyl stacks here, the Spheeris and the Little Feat. I had seven LPs on the shelves by Jesse Colin Young, but Together was not one of them, so I’m surprised by that absence, as I am by the absence of Fanny Hill. The absence of the Savoy Brown album does not startle me at all. And Compost?

Well, I can’t say I’ve never heard of the band, but I didn’t recall the name. It turns out that Compost was also one of those groups promoted by Columbia on The Music People, just like Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Riders from Tuesday’s post. I checked the LP log, and I brought The Music People home with me in 1992, twenty years after it came out, so I first heard of Compost long after the group’s performing days.

And those days were relatively short: Wikipedia tells us that Compost released two albums, the 1972 self-titled release listed by WMMR (which has the alternate title of Take Off Your Body), and a 1973 release titled Life Is Round. The band is described at both Wikipedia and discogs.com as a jazz fusion group; its members were Bob Moses, Harold Vick, Jumma Santos, Jack Gregg and Jack DeJohnette. And we’ll get back to the group later.

First, though, how many of those albums ended up on the digital shelves here? Well, the albums by Little Feat, Spheeris, Fanny, and Young are here. Hellbound Train is not, although I do have Savoy Brown’s 1971 release, Street Corner Talking. Compost is represented only by the one track from its 1972 album that was featured on The Music People, “Country Song.”

So here’s “Country Song” by Compost, today’s Saturday Single.

Stocking Up & Staying Home

Friday, March 13th, 2020

As more and more institutions have closed and events have been canceled over the past couple days because of the coronavirus, we’ve taken some precautions here. We spent a couple hours at one of the bigger box stores yesterday getting some things that we honestly should have had before – an electric lantern to light at least one room in the case of power failure, along with several flashlights and a good supply of batteries – and stocking up on canned goods, pasta and dried beans (as well as some meat for the freezer and a few other things).

As has been reported in many other places, toilet paper was gone from the shelves, but our need for that – and for other paper products – was filled a little earlier in the week. And the store was crowded but at base sane. There were, however, some grocery items that were obviously in short supply. There were no corn tortillas (unless I was looking in the wrong place), and the supply of some types of dried beans was limited, just to note two.

There were a few things at the big store that we could not find, so on our way home, we stopped at our neighborhood market and picked those up. And then headed home.

So far (as of last evening), there are nine cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota, one here in Stearns County. I’m betting, though, that there are far more people infected with the virus, so we’re going to be prudent and pretty much self-quarantine from now on. There are a few things that need to be done, like dropping by the nearby hardware store for a new supply of furnace filters. And I need to refill a few prescriptions.

In addition, I am committed to playing piano at our fellowship Sunday. We’re a small congregation, averaging thirty-five or so people each week, but the greater majority of us are past sixty, and I’m not sure how wise it is for us to keep gathering each week. The fellowship leadership is, I know, weighing factors, but the Texas Gal and I are thinking that after this Sunday, we may withdraw ourselves from activities for the last six weeks of the fellowship year.

Beyond that, we have tickets for a musical performance the first week of April, in a small theater. We don’t know what we’ll do. Perhaps by then, most gatherings will be discouraged, if not actually barred by officials. We’ll see.

As readers can no doubt tell, I’m concerned, perhaps even shaken by how fast things are happening. And the Texas Gal and I are both older than sixty, which we have to take into account. So, with very few exceptions, we’re going to stay home. The Texas Gal added to her stock of yarn yesterday so she can continue to crochet as we watch television, and I stopped by the public library and added seven books to my reading pile. And I’ll no doubt find plenty of time to sit at the other keyboard and dig into my pile of music books old and new.

And here’s a fitting tune: “(Staying Home and Singing) Homemade Songs” by Tracy Nelson and Mother Earth. It’s from the 1972 album Tracy Nelson/Mother Earth.

Forty-Eighty Years Ago On KINK

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

I wondered what might I night find at the Airheads Radio Survey Archive if I looked for surveys from stations that called themselves progressive rather than Top 40. And I found a station whose call letters I could not resist. So here are the ten albums that made up the weekly survey at KINK in Portland, Oregon, forty-eight years ago today:

Border Lord by Kris Kristofferson
Eat A Peach by the Allman Brothers Band
Feedback by Spirit
Peter by Peter Yarrow
Cochran by Wayne Cochran
Don Quixote by Gordon Lightfoot
Headkeeper by Dave Mason
Burgers by Hot Tuna
Hellbound Train by Savoy Brown

That’s an interesting mix of albums in that 1972 chart. Three of them – the Hot Tuna, the Lightfoot and the Allman Brothers albums – wound up at one time or another on the album shelves here. The Yarrow is on the digital shelves here. The others are not . . . . except for a few tracks:

“Chelsea Girls” by Spirit
“Little Girl Lost” by Kristofferson
“Sleepless Nights” by Wayne Cochran & The C.C. Riders

And finding that last track, “Sleepless Nights,” in the digital stacks here was a surprise because, as I scanned that KINK survey, Cochran’s name was the one I did not recognize. His picture at discogs.com was not familiar. His entry at Wikipedia tells me in its first paragraph that he was known for outlandish outfits and his hairstyle, and that he wrote the song “Last Kiss.” (And the hairstyle is, indeed, something else.)

I left Cochran’s bio to ponder later and listened to the track. Not bad.

But how did it get here? A click or two later, I realized that it got here via the massive three-LP sampler called The Music People that Columbia released in 1972. I likely acquired the sampler during the months between my discovering music blogs and my setting up my own blog; many of the performers’ names are now far more familiar to me from my puttering here than they were in 2007. I may want to look back at that sampler a bit more.

But not today. Today’s we’re just going to listen to Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Riders’ “Sleepless Nights” as it came out on the 1972 album Cochran, the one that KINK included in its survey forty-eight years ago today.*

Here’s “Sleepless Nights.”

*The video has been mistitled as “Sleepness Nights & Long Long Days,” a confusion stemming, I think, from the fact that an edit of “Sleepless Nights” – the version included, actually, on The Music People – was issued in June 1972 as the B-side to a single release of “Long, Long Day” from the Cochran album.

Saturday Single No. 680

Saturday, March 7th, 2020

This will be quick and easy this morning, as I am late getting going. I’ve not said much – if anything – about it, but both the Texas Gal and I have been battling colds pretty much since the beginning of the year, feeling fine for two days and then feeling utterly miserable for the next two. Anyway, miseries led us to sleep in today, and I have an appointment very soon with bacon and pancakes.

So I’m going to head to the Airheads Radio Survey Archive and look at the “Fabulous Forty” survey from the Twin Cities’ KDWB for the first week in March 1965, fifty-five years ago. We’ll look at the top five, and then play Games With Numbers on today’s date – 3-7-20 – and fall onto the No. 30 record in the survey for our listening this morning.

So, fifty-five years ago this week, here was KDWB’s top five:

“This Diamond Ring” by Gary Lewis & The Playboys
“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” by the Righteous Brothers
“King Of The Road” by Roger Miller
“Downtown” by Petula Clark
“The Jolly Green Giant” by the Kingsmen

I was in sixth grade at the time, and I recall hearing all of these coming out of various radio speakers. I wasn’t really listening, but I couldn’t help hearing. And I liked them all except for the Kingsmen’s record, which I thought was really dumb. And all of those top four are among the 3,900-some tracks on the iPod, which puts them in my day-to-day listening even after fifty-five years.

Okay, so let’s head to No. 30 on that long-ago survey. And we find a record that, to be honest, should be among my regular listening: “Hurt So Bad” by Little Anthony & The Imperials. I first knew the song via the 1969 cover by the Lettermen. (Their album, Goin’ Out Of My Head, was one of my sister’s records.) And as I sit here more than fifty years removed from both versions, I have to say that Little Anthony takes the song to levels of despair that the Lettermen likely couldn’t approach. Still, I prefer the cover. (It could be that I want my suffering to be at least a little stoic and not so demonstrative.) But there’s no denying that the original is a great record.

I’m not going to sort out where the Little Anthony record peaked on KDWB, but it went to No 10 in the Billboard Hot 100 and to No. 3 on the magazine’s R&B chart. And it’s today’s Saturday Single.

How Many Clarences?

Friday, March 6th, 2020

I was checking the date of an entry in Clarence Clemons’ discography this morning, so I entered “Clarence” in the search box of the RealPlayer and clicked. And as the program searched, I wondered exactly how many tracks I have by people named Clarence.

It turns out to be seventy.

Almost half of those tracks – twenty-nine – are from Clemons, including three albums: Rescue with the Red Bank Rockers (1983), Hero (1985), and A Night With Mr. C (1989). One track from Rescue – “Savin’ Up” – is duplicated on the 1997 album One Step Up/Two Steps Back: The Songs of Bruce Springsteen, and there are single tracks from the soundtrack to the 1985 movie Porky’s Revenge! (“Peter Gunn Theme”) and from the live album that came out of the 1989 tour of Ringo Starr’s first All-Starr Band (“Quarter To Three”).

But there are other Clarences as well, like R&B singer Clarence Carter. He shows up seventeen times, represented by the 1969 album The Dynamic Clarence Carter and some singles on the Fame and Atlantic labels. Those singles include his two biggest hits, “Slip Away” (1968), which went to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and to No. 2 on the magazine’s R&B chart, and “Patches” (1970), which went to No. 4 on the Hot 100 and to No. 2 on the R&B chart. There’s also a 1969 single, “Snatching It Back,” which peaked at No. 31 on the pop chart and went to No. 4 on the R&B chart, and a duplicate of “Road Of Love” from the Dynamic album because the track also shows up on the first Duane Allman anthology (1972).

Clarence Williams, a jazz pianist, shows up with his Blue Five on four tracks from the 1920s. He and his group backed Sippie Wallace on “Baby, I Can’t Use You No More” (1924), Eve Taylor on “Papa De-Da-Da” (1925), and Ethel Waters on “Get Up Off Your Knees” (1928). And there’s a 1925 recording of Williams and His Blue Five (including Louis Armstrong on cornet) performing “Cake Walking Babies (From Home).”

Fiddler Clarence “Tom” Ashley shows up five times in the late 1920s and early 1930s, performing “Coo Coo Bird,” “Dark Holler Blues,” “House Carpenter,” “My Sweet Farm Girl,” and “Corrina, Corrina.”

There are four tracks from Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, one from 1955 (“Rock My Blues Away”) and three from tribute albums from the late 1990s and early 2000s. On those tracks, the venerable blues and R&B singer takes on Led Zeppelin’s “Rock ’n’ Roll,” the Rolling Stones’ “Ventilator Blues,” and Robert Johnson’s “When You Got A Good Friend.”

I’ve also got a couple of tracks from Clarence “Frogman” Henry: the well-known “Ain’t Got No Home” (1956) and “The Lady With The Hat Box” (1957).

Then there are Clarences I don’t know well who have managed to sneak into the digital stacks: Clarence Garlow, Clarence Reid, Clarence Samuels, Clarence Palmer (with the Jive Bombers), and the duo of Clarence & Calvin.

And somewhere, I ran across the track “Right On” by Clarence Wheeler & The Enforcers. It’s from the group’s 1970 album, Doin’ What We Wanna. I found it on the 2006 four-disc set What It Is! Funky Soul & Rare Grooves, and it’s a good workout for a Friday:

Lists, Again

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

I’m working on a couple of music lists these days. One is on Facebook, where a friend tagged me in one of those things that come around every once in a while.

The idea is to post, without comment, covers of albums that have influenced you – twenty of ’em in twenty days. I’m not planning ahead on this one, just winging it, and I’m five days in. I’ve done ten in ten days before, so I can likely predict what the next five will be, but after that, it could be interesting.

Here are the first five, and I doubt whether they’ll surprise anyone who’s read this blog for any length of time:

Honey In The Horn by Al Hirt
Goldfinger soundtrack by John Barry
Abbey Road by the Beatles
Den Store Flugt by Sebastian
The Band

(A recap: Sebastian is a Danish singer/songwriter who, I think it’s safe to say, has become over the years a Danish national treasure. Den Store Flugt is his second album, released in 1972, and it’s the one that my Danish host brother encouraged me to buy and bring back to the States as my time in Denmark was drawing to a close in the spring of 1974.)

At the same time, I’m working on a list of about twenty-five tracks for the guest DJ program at WXYG-FM, the album rock station based in Sauk Rapids, just northeast of St. Cloud. I sent an early version of the list to the station’s “do everything” guy, Al Neff, and we’re negotiating.

I knew Al a little bit many years ago when I was teaching at St. Cloud State as an adjunct faculty member. My office was adjacent to the offices of KVSC-FM, the university’s student-run station, where Al was either music director or program director. On occasion, as I worked on lectures or grading in my office, I got called into discussions in the radio station office. Al and I reconnected a couple of years ago when I noticed he was affiliated with WXYG, and since then, we’ve spent some pleasant hours talking over beer and deep-fried pickles.

Al’s first response to my list noted that he’d allow me three artists who aren’t normally played on the station, probably a reaction to my listing tracks from the first two albums in the list above. And he said he had to pass on tracks by Bobbie Gentry and Marlena Shaw. (He actually added a third pass on a group he called too obscure, but I sent him a note saying that was a hard cut, even as I yielded on Bobbie and Marlena. He said I could keep the third track.)

I won’t reveal what’s on the list for the WXYG program. Again, long-time readers could likely guess at least ten of the twenty-one tracks that currently remain on the working list. I’m going to make an adjustment or two and then ship the second version of the list back to Al.

And here’s the Marlena Shaw track I’ve pulled from contention for the WXYG program. It’s been here before as part of my long-ago Ultimate Jukebox, but that was about ten years ago, which is eons in blogtime. It’s “California Soul” from Shaw’s 1969 album, The Spice Of Life.