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Showing posts from March, 2012

Black Was The Tide - Jack Yoder

from the single Black Was The Tide (2010)

Jack Yoder is an undiscovered American Treasure.  A gifted songwriter and musician, his songs speak to our inner demons in a way that leaves me breathless and raw.  Black Was The Tide was written and recorded during his years playing in New Orleans.  This song goes beyond the BP Oil Spill, lending a voice to the neglected and the discarded.  "There's a hole in the bottom of the ocean, where dreams go when they die" is just one of its haunting lines.  Last I heard, Jack was ramblin' across Colorado with his blues band.  Search him.  Seek out his music.  Experience his performances.  You will be better for it.

You Are Not Alone - Mavis Staples

from the album You Are Not Alone (2010)

Everybody has a handful of songs that they turn to when things get tough.  For me, "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley and a slew of Dylan songs usually do the trick.  Add this one to the list.  Written and produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, the music provides a balanced mix of texture and space allowing Mavis Staples' vocals to grab you.  Inspiring.

New York City - Israel Vibration

from the album Reggae Knights (2011)

This is a very catchy roots-reggae song that puts a smile on your face and a bounce in your step.  It takes me back to the days when I first discovered Bob & Peter & Jimmy & Toots, chilling on a blanket, staring at the sea.  Happy days.

Misty Blue - Etta James

from the album The Dreamer (2011)

I was in her hometown of Los Angeles on the day Etta James died this past January.  Everywhere you went her signature classic "At Last" rang out like a church bell.  But for me, the song that I wanted to hear was "I'd Rather Go Blind" because at her core Etta James was a blues singer.  Two months before her death, she released her final studio album.  "Misty Blue" is the high point of that record.  This Bob Montgomery song has been recorded by people from Johnny Paycheck to Mary J. Blige, but I prefer Etta's version because it takes me back to that magical time when she sang the blues at Chess Records.  God bless Etta James.

Firecracker - Frazey Ford

from the album Obadiah (2010)

I started listening to The Be Good Tanyas when I heard their song "The Littlest Birds" on Season 1 of Weeds.  Obadiah is my favorite record of 2010 and "Firecracker" is my favorite song.  It is timeless Americana (from a Canadian).  The vibrato in her voice over the hard-plucked banjo stirs something in my redneck soul.

The Bronx - Booker T. Jones

from the album The Road to Memphis (2011)

This song starts with the slow groove of Booker T's B3 over a snare cadence.  Then enters some tasteful lead guitar.  The tones blend perfectly.  This vibe continues for 2 minutes 4 seconds when Lou Reed's voice unexpectedly enters with "The Bronx gets its flavor from the streets".  Lou Reed's vocal and Booker T. Jones organ are two classic sounds that combine with a hypnotic punch.  I can't stop listening.