Archive for the ‘1991’ Category

Saturday Single No. 687

Saturday, May 2nd, 2020

I’m trying to organize my thoughts about Long John Baldry’s 1991 CD It Still Ain’t Easy, which arrived here yesterday . . .

(The past six or so weeks of relative isolation have spurred jokes online and on television about folks going on online shopping sprees. There’s some truth to that here, as both the Texas Gal and I have been combing our favorite sites for goodies. Hers have been generally for quilting or cooking. Mine? Well, you can guess. Recent CD arrivals have been: Bob Dylan & The Band: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 – The Basement Tapes Complete, The Essential Bob Dylan, Intersection by Nanci Griffith, the three mid-1990s anthologies by the Beatles [supplementing the vinyl versions I got at the time], and the Baldry album mentioned above. I did buy one book, The Man Who Saved Britain, British author Simon Winder’s irreverent look at post-WWII Britain and the James Bond phenomenon.)

I’m pacing my listening of the Basement Tapes and the Beatles anthologies; those are more archival purchases than anything I’ll put into my regular rotation. The Essential Dylan will similarly get spare listening; it brings together most of his major recordings, almost all of which I’ve had for some time in at least one physical form, sometimes two. The one exception to that is “Things Have Changed” from the 2000 film Wonder Boys. So that was likely a frivolous purchase.

The purchases of the Baldry and Griffith CDs had more usual aims. I now once again have – in one form or another – all of Griffith’s studio albums (as well as one or two live performances), which satisfies an itch. And I’ve heard some of the Baldry album in various places and wanted to hear the rest.

And, pondering writing about It Still Ain’t Easy before I’ve totally absorbed it, I went to AllMusic this morning to see what the folks there had to say about the effort. Here’s Chip Renner’s assessment: “Baldry’s deep, rough-edged vocals have not changed over the years. The band is tight, with Mike Kalanj’s Hammond B-3 and Bill Rogers’ sax standing out. There are no flaws on this one, just great music.”

Well, all that is nice to know. But it terms of giving me a direction or pointing out specific tracks on which to focus, it leaves me wanting more. And I guess that’s okay. So we’ll just listen to the track that tipped me to the album a few years ago: “Midnight In New Orleans.” And it’s today’s Saturday Single.

‘Under Orion’s Heel’

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

Twenty-some years ago, when I was researching a project about life in Columbia, Missouri, during World War II, I came across a piece by an advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt; at one point in that piece, he talked about the passage of time as marked by Earth’s turning “under Orion’s heel.” I loved the phrase and tucked it into my memory. Not too much later, I found a place for it:

Under Orion’s Heel

Noise from the freightyard down the block
Nudges at my sleep.
In my dream I see a silver clock
Waiting by a wishing well
In a land whose name I cannot spell.
A slender maid with amber eyes
Shows me how the hoping dies
For wishes thrown too deep.

The morning traffic rumbles past
The coffee shop in town.
I read the paper, front page last,
And learn of famine, plague and war.
I pay the bill, and near the door,
Investment bankers block my way.
Their hair is short; their coats are grey;
Their stocks are falling down.

So the fool turns to the audience,
And the sage turns to a book.
The hoodlums turn to violence;
The neighbors turn to look.
The grass turns brown in the winter field
And the iron turns to rust
As the earth turns under Orion’s heel
And the boulders turn to dust.

The lunchtime crowd at Nellie’s bar
Ignores the jukebox din.
The singer croons about his car.
Sam the waiter reads my face
And says “You know my sister, Grace?
Well, she just won the lottery
With the ticket that you gave to me.”
He serves me with a grin.

The office gossips mill the news
And truth is ground to dust.
The hissing of the hows and whos
Provides the background as I work,
Promoting Tim the TV Turk,
Who’s scheduled a new ad campaign.
His name is really Roger Crane.
In currency we trust.

So the fool turns to the audience,
And the sage turns to a book.
The hoodlums turn to violence;
The neighbors turn to look.
The grass turns brown in the winter field
And the iron turns to rust
As the earth turns under Orion’s heel
And the boulders turn to dust.

At night, the houses huddle ’round
The streetlight’s golden glow.
Out for a walk, I hear the sound
Of mothers hailing children in
To supper; let the feasts begin.
I imagine some homes house the grief
That comes from life without belief.
I hope I never know.

So the fool turns to the audience,
And the sage turns to a book.
The hoodlums turn to violence;
The neighbors turn to look.
The grass turns brown in the winter field
And the iron turns to rust
As the earth turns under Orion’s heel
And the boulders turn to dust.

March 6, 1991
Columbia, Mo.

Saturday Single No. 598

Saturday, June 30th, 2018

Time has gotten away from me.

I slept in a little. We ran some errands (which included finding a new – well, hardly used – sewing machine for the Texas Gal). We had lunch and then napped. And now I find myself heading toward late afternoon without having thought much at all today about this little space on the ’Net.

The day has slipped away (as has half of the year). But that’s what time does. It slips away from us, in measures short and long. And all we can do is run with it, embracing moments small and large as they come and go.

So here’s Eric Andersen with his “Time Run Like A Freight Train.” He recorded it twice: first in 1972 or 1973 for his album Stages. The master tapes for the album were lost, so he recorded it and released it on 1975’s Be True To You. In the early 1990’s, the lost master tapes were found, and Stages: The Lost Album was released in 1991.

This is the original version from Stages: The Lost Album, and it’s today’s Saturday Single.


Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

So, today we finish our project titled Journalism 101, combing the digital stacks for tunes that have in their titles the various one-word questions that make up the foundation of reporting: Who, what, where, when, why, and how.

It’s finally time to look at ‘how,” and when we sort the 72,000 or so tracks currently in the RealPlayer for that word, we have 1,164 of those tracks remaining. Many, of course, must be discarded.

That includes more than 160 tracks by Howlin’ Wolf, more than 100 tracks from the Old Crow Medicine Show, the soundtracks by Howard Shore from all three films in The Lord of the Rings series, two full albums – Howlin’ and Howlin’ at the Southern Moon – by a group called Delta Moon, the 2005 album titled How To Save A Life by the Fray (except for the title track), full albums by Howdy Moon, Jan Howard, Howie Day, Catherine Howe and Steve Howe, and the wonderful album Showdown! by bluesmen Albert Collins, Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland.

And that’s maybe half of the chaff we have to discard. Still, there’s plenty of grain, and we’re going to let the RealPlayer decide, ordering the tracks by time, setting the cursor in the middle and going random four times.

We start with a track from one of the two acclaimed country rock albums Gram Parson recorded in the early 1970s. (He called his stuff “Cosmic American Music”). “How Much I’ve Lied” come from the 1973 release GP, and it’s a weeper, with Parsons telling the object of his affections that he’s an unworthy and dishonest rascal:

A thief can only steal from you, he cannot break your heart
He’ll never touch the precious things inside
So one like you should surely be miles and miles away from me
Then you’d never care how much I’ve lied

I’ve never liked a lot of Parsons’ stuff. With the Byrds, with the Flying Burrito Brothers and on his own, he got all the notes right, but seemed to miss the feel of the music more often than not. Maybe if I’d heard his work back when it came out, if the music Parsons made with those two groups and on his own had been my introduction to the genre, I’d feel differently. But from where I listen, the music of the short-lived and admittedly tragic Parsons falls short of country glory.

We leap ahead to the 1990s and a far different aesthetic: “How Will You Go” by Crowded House, with the close harmonies and musical production values that meant that nearly every review of the group’s work during the late 1980s and early 1990s included the word “Beatlesque.” The track comes from the group’s 1991 album Woodface, one that I had on cassette about the time it came out. I don’t know it as well as the group’s self-titled 1986 debut album, but I recall liking Woodface on those 1990s evenings on Pleasant Avenue when I turned to the stack of cassettes on my bookshelf instead of the bins of LPs on the floor. I can’t say I noticed “How Will You Go” back then, but it’s pleasant enough listening, though the lyrics seem a bit uncertain in direction. The track includes a surprise tack-on of about a minute of “I’m Still Here,” not noted on early track listings.

And courtesy of the massive Lost Jukebox project we get a nifty, poppy 1970 tune called “Teach Me How” by the Harmony Grass. The record, according to the notes at a site that catalogs all 170 volumes of the LJ (each with, I would guess, more than twenty-five tracks), was a United Kingdom release on RCA Victor. It’s got a nice backing track, it’s got tastefully stacked vocals with some Four Seasons flourishes, and its tale is one of a young man imploring his loved one to teach him how to survive when she leaves him: “You are my shoulder to lean on. What will I do when you’re gone?” Written by Neil Sedaka and Carol Bayer (before she appended the Sager), the record is a gender-flipped cover of a Chiffons B-side from 1968. Today, we’d call the tale one of dysfunction and co-dependence, I suppose, but I would have liked it if I’d heard it come from the speakers of my old RCA radio in 1970.

Our last stop is a familiar one: “You Don’t Know How It Feels” by Tom Petty. Pulled from the 1994 album Wildflowers, a single release went to No. 13 in the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy for Rock Male Vocal. I’ve never written much about the late Mr. Petty, though I like a lot of his work, including this one. So let’s just listen:


Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

There are about 500 tracks in the RealPlayer that have “summer” in their titles, and come next week, I’m going to sort through them for my favorites. This week, however, the Texas Gal and I are preparing for our Biennial End Of Summer Picnic, which takes place this coming Sunday. And I have plenty to do.

So this post will have to suffice for this week, and I’ll be back next week with an account of this year’s festivities and with – as promised above – some tunes about summer. In the meantime, here’s Chris Rea with an appropriately titled – and typically moody – track: “Looking For The Summer.” It’s from his 1991 album Auberge.

Joplin By Coincidence

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Scott Joplin’s been taking up a small corner of my mind lately. The ragtime composer whose career spanned the late 1800s and early 1900s has popped up a couple of times lately in my wanderings and musings.

A member of one of my Facebook music groups offers tournaments by survey, winnowing the top one hundred records of a particular year down to one champion. He’s on 1974 right now, and the match the other day was between John Denver’s “Sunshine On My Shoulders,” seeded at No. 25, and the No. 40 seed, Marvin Hamlisch’s take on Joplin’s “The Entertainer,” which was used in the movie The Sting.

(I’m not sure where the fellow is getting his seedings. In Joel Whitburn’s A Century of Pop Music, the Denver record ranks No. 21 for 1974, and “The Entertainer” isn’t in the Top 40 at all. The Cashbox lists, maybe? But never mind . . .)

On the day of the Denver-Hamlisch match, another group member left a comment to the effect that it was an easy choice between (and I paraphrase here) a sweet piece of singer-songwriter work and something real old fashioned.

I left a note to the effect that yes, it was an easy choice between – and I paraphrase again – one of the most sickly-sweet things Denver ever wrote and a classic piece written by a genius in the early 20th Century. Someone else made a similar comment, and the first note-poster said that he got it; the lesson was not to dis Marvin Hamlisch.

No, I answered, the lesson is to not dis Scott Joplin.

(For those who care, Denver’s record won the match by an 80-42 score and will meet “TSOP [The Sound of Philadelphia]” by MFSB in an upcoming match in the Round of 32.)

And Sunday, after our weekly service at the St. Cloud Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, I had a conversation with another member whose muses are also music and writing but whose specific sources are classical, both in words and music. The breadth of his knowledge far outpaces mine, although I know enough in both areas to keep up for at least a little while (and then I just nod – wisely, I hope – and store names and ideas in my head for later exploration).

I shared with him the quick colloquy regarding Denver, Hamlisch and Joplin. He chuckled appreciatively, and then he mentioned that he has a collection of sheet music of Joplin’s rags, much of it very old, and he mentioned as well the fruitless search for the original orchestral score for Joplin’s opera, Treemonisha. He mentioned two stagings of the musical, one in Atlanta, the other in Houston, I think.

I nodded many more times and wondered aloud if the cast of either of the performances of the opera he mentioned had recorded an album and whether that album were now available on CD. He was doubtful but hopeful. And we parted with me aware once more that as much as I might know, there is still so much to learn.

Following up, I did some digging over the past few days and got my hands on a collection of Joplin’s rags. And I learned that there are several cast recordings of Treemonisha available, one of them from a Houston staging. I will explore those soon.

And this morning, I glanced at the Billboard Hot 100 from May 18, 1974, a list from forty-two years ago today, and peaking at No. 3 was Hamlisch’s “The Entertainer.” (It would get to No. 1 on the magazine’s Adult Contemporary chart.)

So much coincidental Joplin needs to be heeded. So I dug into the week’s harvest, and offer here, from the 1991 album The Complete Rags of Scott Joplin, William Albright’s solo piano version of Scott Joplin’s 1902 composition “The Entertainer.”


Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

(This is a different type of post. Rummaging through my files the other day, I found a piece of fiction I wrote while living in Columbia, Missouri, in 1991. I’ve never done anything with it, so I’ve revised it just a bit to offer it here. It’s called “Sanctuary.” I hope you like it.)

The road circled a hill, turning abruptly, and Aaron barely prevented the car from heading down a rough slope into a wooded valley. He wasn’t driving fast, but he has no idea where he was, and it was difficult to see through the mist of tears.

Halfway into the turn, the car emerged from a tunnel of leafy oak and ash into a clearing below the hill.

On the top of the hill stood a church.


The word whispered itself from the back row of his brain, sending a ripple through him of something not entirely comforting. Sanctuary? Aaron braked and looked up at the church. It was old and long unused, white paint graying and flaking from too many Iowa seasons. The small bell tower was leaning to the northeast. Was that right? He glanced up and checked the position of the sun behind the clouds, then looked at his watch, calculating directions from shadows. Yes, northeast.

Sanctuary, whispered the voice.

He hesitated, then drove until he found a place to park about a hundred yards away, down another decline and out of sight of the church. He locked the car before walking back along the road and then up the hill.

The doors, as weathered and aching as the rest of the building, were ajar, frozen in place by time. Aaron squeezed through. Dim light came through the paneless windows but illuminated little: A few pews and some litter, the stump of a lectern and a bench.

Weary and disappointed – and aware of the folly of disappointment – he sat at the end of a pew, as far as possible from the empty place where the altar had once stood. Vision blurred again, and his head dropped. If this was sanctuary, it was odd indeed. But sanctuary was what he needed, a retreat from the last four days. Yesterday, Wednesday, had been the worst, waking alone in the house and being left alone by well-meaning friends and relatives. The day before was the funeral. Before that, Monday, he’d welcomed with embraces and tears those same friends and relatives who had now faded out of sight. And Sunday. The day it started . . . or ended. The morning he’d waked to find Linda lying still beside him. The doctor thought it might have been a stroke, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that she was gone.

Four horrible days. And today, the fifth, was the worst. He had found sorrow enough being in the house with the comfort of others. It was unbearable alone. So he’d fled the house and Keokuk, losing himself in the roads through the hills. And he was still alone. He put his face in his hands and wept, then slumped to the right, resting against the end of the pew. In time, the tears stopped, and Aaron slept.

He woke slowly, confused, to a muted chorus of voices. “And also with you,” they said. Without moving, he opened his eyes and saw clear glass in the window. He stared at it for a moment, then raised his head and sat up.

The church was full. Pews that hadn’t been there when he came in were filled with men, women and children. Their clothes were wrong, old-fashioned. He glanced to his left. A man in a high-collared brown suit looked at a gold watch through round wire spectacles, then stroked his trimmed mustache and put the watch back in his vest pocket. Aaron turned to the front. A plain altar stood below a wooden cross high on the wall. A man in a black frock coat – the minister, Aaron thought – sat down on the bench by the lectern. As Aaron watched, the minister looked toward the first pew and nodded briefly. “Rachel,” he said.

A young woman rose from the pew and went to the center aisle, followed by a boy carrying what looked like a dulcimer, who sat in a chair to the side. Aaron stared at the young woman as she took her place. She was wearing a plain blue dress that reached to her ankles, gathered somehow at the waist and flaring out from there to the floor. She had light brown hair pulled together loosely at the nape of her neck. It framed her face and flowed down her back.

Her face was extraordinary. Not pretty, Aaron thought as she looked at the gathered congregation, but truly beautiful, with a serenity that was so vivid that the only word he could think of was “ethereal.” She smiled, and Aaron saw something familiar in the smile, but the simple wonder of seeing it kept him from even trying to identify what it was he recognized. Then she spoke.

“Reverend Westphal has asked me to close the service with a hymn,” she said simply. “We have heard this week of the great battle at Gettysburg, and I know we all fear for our young men who have gone to war to preserve the Union. I hope this song will bring comfort as we wait.”

The boy played a series of simple chords, and Rachel began to sing:

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found.
Was blind, but now I see.

As she started the second verse, the congregation joined her tentatively, first one voice and then another.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace that fear relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

When the third verse started, all in the church but Aaron were singing, and the simple melody and gentle words became a moving and increasingly louder statement of faith and hope that penetrated his despair. He joined them.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come.
’Tis grace has brought us safe thus far,
And grace will lead us home.

As the final verse started, the rest of the congregation fell silent, leaving Aaron’s and Rachel’s voices to carry the song. He almost stopped as well, but as the first syllable left his lips, Rachel looked directly at him, smiling around the words as she sang, encouraging him to continue.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright, shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

The dulcimer repeated the chords of the song after the fourth verse, and Aaron closed his eyes briefly. When he opened them, Rachel was smiling gently at him, and Aaron felt something flow between them that he could not name, something that made the two of them somehow inseparable yet still separate. The dulcimer completed the chords, and Rachel sang alone:

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found.
Was blind, but now I see.

Aaron stared at her as she moved back to her place in the first pew. Reverend Westphal stood. “Go with God,” he said, and the congregation began to move from the pews, Aaron with them. The man next to him turned and extended his hand.

“It was good to have you worship with us, Aaron,” he said. “We hope to see you here again.”

Aaron shook the man’s hand numbly, hardly noticing that the man knew his name. His eyes were on Rachel, who was now in a small knot of people in the aisle. Those in Aaron’s pew, including the man who had spoken to him, slowly made their ways into the aisle, and when Aaron got there, he found himself standing next to Rachel.

She looked at him gravely. She wore like a cloak the aura of serenity that Aaron had noticed just moments before. “God rest you,” she said quietly. “We will sing again.” Then she turned and slipped through a gap in the crowd of people near the door. Aaron watched as she left the church.

He woke in the car, cramped and dazed. A pale pink line on the horizon below the hills promised daybreak. He moved his head to relieve his aching neck, then looked at his watch. It was 5:20. How long had he been sleeping? He stretched, and then he remembered the church and the congregation. He remembered Rachel.

Aaron threw the door open and ran up the road and then to the top of the small hill. The church was as he had first seen it. Its windows had no glass. The doors were weathered and slightly ajar. He went inside, and even in the vague light of early morning, he could see it was nearly empty. He walked to where Rachel had stood as she sang. The floor was warped, long unwalked.

It must have been a dream, Aaron thought. I must have fallen asleep in the church, then walked back to the car half-sleeping. He walked out of the church and watched the sun light the low clouds. It was a dream, he was certain. He walked down the hill and was halfway to the car when he stopped.

Maybe it was all a dream. Not just the church on this country road, but Linda as well. Maybe he’d dreamed or imagined it all. It was possible, he thought. And the more he thought, the more possible, the more likely, the more certain it became. Linda was home, waiting for him, wondering where he’d been all this time, worrying about him.

He ran to the car, started it and drove down the winding road, knowing that he’d find a road that would lead him to another and eventually to one he’d recognize. And he would go home to Linda.

An hour later, he parked the car in his driveway and hurried into the house. “Linda?” He walked through the kitchen into the hallway. “Linda?” She must be in the living room. “Linda?”

He stopped in the doorway of the empty living room. Cards of condolence and sympathy lay on the table near the front door, in front of a framed portrait of Linda. An arrangement of wilting flowers stood next to the portrait.

Aaron exhaled heavily as he stepped to the couch and sat, staring at the tableau on the table. Again he wept.

Late that afternoon, he drove once more into the hills, parked the car, then took his wallet out of his pocket and left it on the seat next to the keys. He turned and walked up the curving road. As he came to the small hill, he could hear Rachel’s voice coming from the church:

I once was lost, but now am found . . .

The voice in his head whispered: Sanctuary.

Aaron walked quickly up the hill and went to join the congregation.

A Bad January

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

I am deeply bummed.

January, not even two-thirds over, has been a hard month for music fans. David Bowie, gone January 10. Dale Griffin, founding member and drummer for Mott The Hoople, gone January 17. And Glenn Frey of the Eagles, gone January 18.

Now, none of the three – Bowie, Mott The Hoople or the Eagles – were central to my musical life. But I know the music. All three of those acts are well represented on the vinyl shelves and in the digital files as well. All three of them – Bowie and the Eagles a little more prominently – were part of the background music of my college years.

And as the deaths of all three came into the news over the last week, and the tributes rolled past (especially on Facebook – the modern equivalent, as I’ve noted before, of other eras’ public square), it felt like three body blows, each of them more potent than I ever would have expected. And I wondered why.

I am not certain. I have some ideas, centering on the fact that when the folks who provided the music of our formative years leave us, part of the background of our lives is taken away, too. And we begin to feel like an actor on a stage would likely feel if the scenery, the props and the furniture began to disappear one item at a time: confused, unmoored and maybe a little bit alone.

All I know is that I listened last week to more David Bowie than I have in a long time. I’ll likely listen to some Mott the Hoople and its successor band, Mott, this week. And I’m certain that I’ll drop an Eagles CD into the player either in the car or on my nightstand late at night as well.

And here’s the track that came to mind yesterday afternoon when I got the news about Glenn Frey. I shared it here not that long ago, but that’s okay. It’s the song he contributed in 1991 to the soundtrack to Thelma & Louise, and its message applies to anyone – lovers, family, friends and yes, favored performers – that we lose: “Part Of Me, Part Of You.”

The Day

Friday, October 16th, 2015

In the east, a thin sliver of light – maybe bright, maybe muted through clouds – slides its way above the horizon. As it does, the music begins.

The tune is “Dawn” from a 1973 self-titled album by a group calling itself Glory. It was Glory’s first album, but that’s only a technicality: Since 1968, when two Cleveland groups more or less merged to form what All Music Guide calls an “acid rock combo,” the musicians in Glory had been calling themselves The Damnation Of Adam Blessing and had released three albums on the United Artists label. A dispute with the label brought about the name change.

The first album, a 1969 self-titled work, spent two weeks in the Billboard 200, peaking at No. 181. In 1970, a single titled “Back To The River” – from the album The Second Damnation – bubbled under the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks, peaking at No. 102.

Glory, a good if unspectacular album, was the last word from the group; it and the first two Adam Blessing albums, as well as an anthology, are available on CD.

The music continues as the hands of the clocks turn just a little. It’s not quite raining as we listen to “In A Misty Morning” by the late Gene Clark from his 1973 album, Roadmaster.

At the time, the album was actually released only in the Netherlands, according to Wikipedia, which notes that Clark’s label, A&M, was displeased with the slow pace of his work and created the album by combining eight of Clark’s new tracks with three tracks from other sessions (two tracks from sessions with the Byrds in 1970-71 and one track from sessions with the Flying Burrito Brothers). Whatever the source, Roadmaster is a decent listen.

Clark’s catalog is not easily listed, given his solo work and his work with Doug Dillard, with the Byrds and finally with McGuinn, Clark & Hillman. I’ve seen his 1974 album No Other mentioned as the best of his career, and it’s the only solo album to reach the Billboard 200, peaking at 144 in 1974.

Most of his work, including Roadmaster, seems to be available on CD; I didn’t take the time to do an album by album check.

By late morning, the mist is gone, and as the sun reaches its highest point in the sky, it’s time for a break. Our refreshment is “Red Wine At Noon” by Joy Of Cooking, found on the group’s 1971 self-titled debut.

The Berkeley-based group has been mentioned and featured here frequently enough that I’m not sure there’s a lot left to say. I’ll just note that I wish that the group’s unreleased fourth album, 1973’s Same Old Song And Dance, would somehow find a release. And I’ll add that not long ago, I got hold of a two-CD collection titled “back to your heart” that offers seventeen unreleased studio tracks – some of them polished, some less so – as well as a 1972 concert in Berkeley. If you like what I call “living room music,” it’s sweet stuff.

All three of Joy Of Cooking’s original albums spent some time in the Billboard 200: Joy Of Cooking (1971) went to No. 100, Closer To The Ground (1971) peaked at No. 136, and Castles (1972) got to No. 174. The group’s only charting single in Billboard was “Brownsville,” which went to No. 66 in 1971. All the original albums are available on CD, as is “back to your heart” and a collection titled American Originals, which includes a few tracks from the unreleased Same Old Song And Dance.

The day moves on, and some times of day and some times of year merge nicely for time spent outdoors. That’s evidently what the Stone Poneys thought in 1967 when they released “Autumn Afternoon” on Evergreen Vol. 2.

The Stone Poneys were, of course, Linda Ronstadt, Bobby Kimmel and Kenny Edwards, with Ronstadt handling almost all of the lead vocals on Evergreen Vol. 2, the group’s second album. If the stories at Wikipedia are accurate (and I think they are, given the notes), the group’s label, Capitol, saw Ronstadt as the marketable talent and Kimmel and Edwards as expendable. And the guys were pushed firmly to the side.

Evergreen Vol. 2 went to No. 100 in Billboard upon its release in 1967. The first album, re-released with the title The Stone Poneys Featuring Linda Ronstadt, went to No. 172 in 1975.

The Stone Poneys’ first two albums are available on a two-fer CD; also available on CD is Linda Ronstadt, Stone Poneys and Friends, Vol. III, a 1968 release that was, from what I read, more Ronstadt and very little Poneys.

After the sun goes down (and we could easily – and might someday – devote an entire slice of this kind of whimsy to “sundown” alone), and the shadows come from the streetlights and perhaps a full moon, it’s time to get a little slinky. Pat Benatar did it well on “Evening” from her 1991 exploration of jump blues and torch songs, True Love.

Benatar, of course, was a 1980s icon with eleven Top 40 hits from 1979 to 1984; six of her albums made the Top Fifteen during that time as well. True Love did not. It peaked at No. 37. Given my tastes, it’s not surprising that I like it better than the rest of Benatar’s catalog. Like all of her catalog, it’s easily available.

Just past 11:59 p.m., the clock turns over, a new day starts, and we hear “Midnight Wind” by John Stewart from his 1979 album Bombs Away Dream Babies. The album was fortified by Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks – both contributed backing vocals, and Buckingham added guitar and co-produced – and was the greatest success of Stewart’s long career, peaking at No. 10 on the Billboard 200.

None of Stewart’s six earlier charting albums had gone higher than No. 126; his 1980 follow-up, Dream Babies Go Hollywood, went to No. 85, and Stewart’s moment was gone.

But the moment was a great one, with a sound evocative of its time: “Midnight Wind” went to No. 28 in the Hot 100; its predecessor, “Gold,” had reached No. 5. A third single from Bombs Away Dream Babies, “Lost Her In The Sun,” went to No. 34.

The album is seemingly out of print; copies are available on CD but at higher prices than I’m willing to pay. The same seems to hold true for most of Stewart’s catalog.

Saturday Single No. 466

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

I’m not sure what happened with the iPod the other week. Maybe I disconnected it from the computer and iTunes before it was ready to leave. Maybe I did something else. Maybe it was just being cantankerous. But when I turned it on one day and set it to random shuffle, it began rolling through the songs, showing the info for one after another for about three seconds each and never stopping to play them.

Nothing I tried would change its behavior. So I reformatted the little thing and was left with an empty iPod. And because I’d been foolish when I’d first selected tracks from my external hard drive to load into iTunes (and thus become the iPod’s library), I had to reselect my iTunes library. That mean going through each of the main music folders on my external hard drive, scanning the subfolders for the names of artists whose music I might want to include in my new iPod library, and then dipping into those subfolders to copy mp3s to iTunes.

It’s a long process, essentially combing through about 85,000 tracks to see which 3,500 or so I want on the iPod. I’m into the “S” folder (having just selected a couple of tracks by the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band). Along with completing the “S” folder and folders for the rest of the alphabet from there, I’ll also have to dig into the massive “Various Artists” folder, which is where I’ll find the mp3s from the bulk of the many compilations in my collection. Those will require closer combing than has been needed so far.

Anyway, I currently have in the iPod a total of 2,521 tracks. They range numerically from three versions of John Barry’s “007” theme (one each from the films Goldfinger and Thunderball and a cover by French easy listening master Franck Pourcel) to Albert Hammond’s “99 Miles From L.A.” and alphabetically from Doc Severinsen’s “Abbey Road Medley” to the Miracles’ “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me.”

In terms of running time, the music tracks start at the fifty-six seconds of “North Platte,” a piano meditation from One To The Heart, One To The Head, a moody 2009 Western album by Gretchen Peters & Tom Russell, and end at the 18:17 running time of Side Two (in its original vinyl configuration) of Shawn Phillips’ 1970 album, Second Contribution.

(If one starts at the very shortest pieces, however, the first up is “He shoots, he scores!” by Al Shaver, who called games for the Minnesota North Stars of the National Hockey League from the team’s birth in 1967 to its final game before the team moved to Dallas in 1993. Shaver’s exclamation is the shortest of twenty-four brief interjections, most of them taken from movies. The longest is the fourteen-second rant by Ned Beatty’s Arthur Jensen to Peter Finch’s Howard Beale in the 1976 film Network: “And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature! And you will atone!”)

As one might expect, there are many tracks from Al Hirt, The Band, the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Richie Havens, Darden Smith, Danko/Fjeld/Andersen, and others who are favorites in this neighborhood. There are also the one-offs, like Candi Staton’s “Young Hearts Run Free” (although I’ll likely add more Candi as I back-fill after my first run-through) and the Stories’ “Brother Louie.” New stuff? Some. Old stuff? Lots of it.

And here’s a tune that’s neither as old as most of the stuff on the iPod nor as new as the most recent stuff. It was one of the one-offs that was an easy choice because I’ve liked it since I heard it used in the 1991 film Thelma & Louise. It’s Glenn Frey’s “Part Of Me, Part Of You,” and it’s today’s Saturday Single.