From sweet and smooth classics, to new names, to old names with new music...the focus here, is to shine a little light on some damn fine music.

I'll find it. You can listen, review, or tell me I wouldn't know good music if it kicked me in the ass. I personally don't give a shit.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Turning Up The Heat For New Year's Eve

Another New Year's Eve.

Going out can be enjoyable, but staying in can be more fun, if you know what I mean.

Last year, I set up a nice hot list of songs to get cozy to, and I take no credit or responsibility for any family additions which may have arrived come September.

Let's see if we can continue the tradition this year.

A little slow dancin' to set the mood, and who to better start it off than Smokey...
"You've Really Got A Hold On Me" ...just the right amount of heat to start the night

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes "The Fever" can go with Bruce's version, but I like Johnny's soulful licks.

The Rascals "How Can I Be Sure" ...add a glass of wine and a little candlelight

Springsteen "Human Touch" ...strip down the defenses, raw emotion now

Bryan Adams "Do I Have To Say The Words" ...yes, yes you do

Kenny Wayne Sheperd Band "Somehow, Somewhere, Someday" ...a little bad intent is a good thing

Melissa Etheridge "I Want You" ...let's get real now, turning up the heat

Lou Gramm "Warmest Rising Sun" ...time for truth, it's all that matters

Joe Cocker "You Can Leave Your Hat On" ...c'mon girls, you have to do a little work too

And because you really can't do a getting laid list without the man himself...
Marvin "Let's Get It On" ...just do it already

Ok, everybody feeling better...
Ready for another round? Go with this...

Faith Hill  "Breathe" ... guys, trust me on this

Happy New Year.
Let Your Love Flow.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A New York-Nashville Connection: Marc Scibilia

"So what are you going to do with your life...move to Nashville and write songs?"  Uh, why not. The story goes that a teacher in his upstate New York high school spoke those words to Marc Scibilia out of frustration. Could be he took it as the incentive he needed, because that's exactly what he did a month after graduation. Now, at the age of twenty-six, Scibilia has been writing, singing and recording ever since.

After being featured in the TV show Bones, the first release from his self-titled EP, "How Bad We Need Each Other" has been getting some airplay...and with good reason. It's worth way more than just a listen.

Here's a bare bones version of the song.

And a couple more tasty treats:

Some good stuff from a young talent. 


Monday, December 24, 2012

The Toothpick Leg and the Empty Chair

When I lived at home, I put up the Christmas tree and the Nativity set. My mother did the wreaths and assorted decorating and my dad hung up the bell that played "Silent Night." My brother, well he showed up for dinner.

After I moved out, my decorating duties were handled by my father. Way more meticulous with the tree lights and placement of the balls than I, well my Dad was very detailed oriented, let's just say that.

Now my parents Nativity set is quite old, they had been married for 63 years during the last Christmas season and I think it might have been a second hand set when they bought it. As such, some of the pieces have been replaced or...fixed. For example, if you look closely at the picture of the lambs, you might notice one of them has a toothpick where his leg should be. Apparently, there was a field amputation and the leg was replaced with an ill-fitting prosthesis. It ain't pretty, but after all these years, that sheep is still standing. My Dad and I had a mini tradition concerning the Nativity arrangement. He would always place the cow and donkey outside of the manger. And every year I would come over and explain to him that I thought they should be inside to help keep the baby Jesus warm. It was a silly exchange which both of us knew would take place, and one that I missed very much this year, as I regained my old job of tree decorator and Nativity arranger.

Tonight we will again gather at my parent's home, though the dynamic of the family is no longer the same. My Mom was determined to have this last Christmas Eve dinner in honor of my Dad. It was the one night of the year where he smiled from early in the day until the very last goodbye. He loved Christmas Eve. Tonight is the first time since his funeral that the entire family will be together. While we are all looking forward to seeing each other, we are all painfully aware of the empty chair. The one at the head of the table. At least we know he will be smiling.

Miss you Pops.

Wishing everyone a joyous Christmas. Make memories..they last forever. In honor of my Dad, today's song is his favorite carol. Just ten days after the tragedy in Newtown, what better version of the song could there be than the Saturday Night Live opening from last weekend with the children's choir.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Carry Me Home

Just like most of you, this was a very busy week for me. Lots of work, writing, errands, shopping and even a little partying. But there's still time to get in a 100 Word Song Challenge. This week Kathryn picked the tune for Lance. A new song by an indie band called Hey Rosetta, the song is called "Carry Me Home."  As always, we use the song as a prompt to write a little something in exactly 100 words. This post also fits into the Studio30plus prompt for Headache.

Read the words then listen to the song, or listen to the song then read the words. 

Sonny picked his aching head up for the third time with the same result. The room was still spinning, maybe worse than before. What the hell had happened? Sure drinks were flowing, but booze never hit him like this.

It was Christmas Eve and he shouldn’t be here. He was already skating on thin ice with Celia, and if he didn’t help put the toys together, he might be swimming in cold water come the New Year.

He saw that Charlie and Pete were still standing. “Hey you guys. I gotta get home, even if you have to carry me.”

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Thursday, December 20, 2012

There's More... Beyond The Sea

When we talk about people who died too young and think of them in terms of  "what might have been," one name always comes to my mind. And while most people have heard the name, most likely they don't quite know just how much talent was lost when he died at the age of thirty-seven.

Bobby Darin was a singer, song-writer, actor and political activist. As a singer, he crooned, he did folk, he did rock, he did country...he did it all. And except for a bad heart which he knew meant he would never be an old man, he could have done so much more.

He had a style and a swagger. Born in the Bronx, his career eventually brought him to Hollywood where he won a Golden Globe for his first major role. The next year, he was nominated for an Academy Award for another film. Ten years later he would not wake up from an operation to repair that faulty heart.

I have loved Bobby Darin for as long as I can remember, if you really knew his stuff, you can't help yourself. Today, let's have a few tastes from a great talent and think...if only.

"If I Were A Carpenter" ...A beautiful rendition of the Tim Hardin song.
"Dream Lover"  ...vintage footage from the Ed Sullivan Show
"Simple Song of Freedom" of his own, spot-on perfect
"Mack the Knife" ...a little Broadway.
"Beyond the Sea"  ...the classic done with a sense of humor.

Yes, different music today. An open mind lets in more joy than you can ever imagine. Try a taste or two.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We're Having a Party: Let's Start the Show

So, Happy Birthday to me.

While I wait to see if I get the present I really want, I've decided to give myself a gift. The gift of music. I'm giving myself a rock concert. Last week's 121212 Concert...ha. I've invited some of the best of all time, even a few who are no longer with us, and yes, they've agreed to sing a song or two for my big day.

Some of these songs have been featured in past blogs. Some are my favorites, some are songs I've enjoyed seeing done live, some are songs by an artist I might have seen, but never heard that song done live. You may also notice that many are sung by hot guys...well, it's my party and there aren't many things I enjoy more than watching a good looking man singing a song. There I've said it. I may be adding another year on my age, but I ain't dead yet.

So in no particular order, mainly because I didn't have time to think about how the line-up should go...

Chris Isaac "Wicked Games" ...ok, so let's start with hot and go from there.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band "Blue on Black" ...with Noah Hunt singing lead...again, hot
Bon Jovi "Dead or Alive" ...I'm a cowboy. Yes, yes you are.
Crosby, Still & Nash "Suite Judy Blue Eyes" ...great clip with Stephen showing how it's done
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss "Killing the Blues" ...breathtakingly beautiful
The Band "The Weight"  ...if only, one more time
Joe Cocker "Hitchcock Railway"  ...start the feet moving
Jackson Brown "You Love the Thunder" ...a hard choice deciding which song by Jackson to use
The Monroes "What Do All The People Know" of my fave one-hit wonders
Meat Loaf "Bat out of Hell" ...11 minutes of theatrical perfection
Tom Petty "Free Fallin" ...always loved the chorus, cause don't we all want to sometimes
Stevie Wonder "Higher Ground" ...also hard to choose with Stevie
Sam & Dave "Hold On. I'm Comin' " ...a no brainer and a great live video
The Rascals "I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore" hometown boys....SURE
Seal "I Can't Stand the Rain" ...great version of a timeless song
Little Feat "Let it Roll" ...feet don't fail me now
Steve Winwood "Still in the Game" ...another hard choice, but I've never seen him do this live
Tracy Chapman "You're the One" ...the voice, melody, lyrics...excellent
Eric Clapton "Layla" ...electric, it never gets tired...cause uh Layla
Jimi Jamison "When Love Comes Down" ...really, did you think he wouldn't make the list. Never seen this live and I love the vocal.
Bruce Springsteen "Candy's Room" ...Max has to be on drums. And Bruce can do another five or ten songs...his choice, all fine with me.
Dobie Gray "Drift Away" ...cause that about sums it all up and it's the best song ever written about music. Period.

Not a bad night for me. Hopefully the usual suspects will be wearing some leather...a girl gets her wish granted on her birthday doesn't she? There's at least twenty more songs I would love to hear, but I don't have the extra cash to pay the unions for overtime. Listen to as many as you like.

Happy Birthday to me. Who wants to hang out for the show? Bring your own beer, and somebody better bring a cake. Chocolate.

Now where are my dancin' boots...


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Newtown: Can We Ever Go Back To OK?

I wasn't planning on doing the 100 Word Song Challenge this week, or even any writing today for that matter. The week has been a roller coaster of highs and for the past two days...extreme lows. The past couple of posts, on this blog and the Life blog were draining to say the least. I didn't think I had another post in me to deal with Newtown this week. There will most certainly be more to reflect on, but I thought a little time and space might be best for my personal mental health.

Then I heard the story. One little girl had survived as the rest of her friends were massacred beside her. One brave little girl who played dead, I can't even imagine the horror of hearing the gunshots, the screams and finally, only her own heart beating.

I believe it was a member of the clergy who recounted how she ran into her mother's arms, completely covered in blood and said "I'm Ok Mommy, but all my friends are dead."

The song in the 100 word challenge was "Never Going Back to Ok" by The Afters

"As the mother wrapped her arms around her daughter, she thought her heart would surely explode from the emotional dam bursting inside. 
Her flesh and blood alone was the only survivor. 
The mother wept, but could they be tears of joy…no. 
Relief was a closer emotion, for on this day, joy no longer existed.

Covered in the blood of her classmates, the child said 
“I’m Ok Mommy, but all my friends are dead.”  
Ok… the mother knew her little girl would be anything but. 
I don’t want her to just be Ok, I want her to be good. 
But how?"

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tears in Heaven, Tears for Newtown


Our means of communication. Words convey ideas, commands, knowledge and most of all...feelings. Those of us who write, use them to let the joys and demons out of our minds, While there are times when words don't come easily, eventually most of the time, we can lasso them from the spinning vortex of our brains.

Then there comes a day like today. A day where there are no words.

No words can make this better.
No words can offer comfort to the parents of the twenty children whose Christmas or Chanukah presents were waiting to be opened.
No words can explain what went wrong in that young man's mind for him to think this was the answer to his problems.
No words can make you believe that a twenty year old with access to such firepower is acceptable.
No words at all.

This tragedy is already being called the second worst mass-shooting in this country. Do we really need to keep score? Do we need to compare numbers of dead children...maybe if it was only one dead child instead of twenty, it would be ok? No, of course it would not.

Twenty seven families forever changed. Many dozens more traumatized. First Responders who will live with those images for the rest of their lives. And we will never really know or understand why.

A song for the children, from a man who lost one of his own.

Eric Clapton "Tears in Heaven"

There are no words. Only tears.


The Song Remains the Same: Hold On

It's been a bit of a wild week. Stuff, and lots of it happening. Besides the usual list of must-do's, we had a hell of a music night on Wednesday. No way in the world I would not see the end of the 12-12-12 Concert, so I started yesterday on 3 hours of sleep. Throw in a trip to NYC last night for a live show and this morning, a Friday no less, is not all sunshine and rainbows.

But it's still time to get a little music out.

In today's episode of The Song Remains the Same, we have a very popular title. I know of at least ten songs with it, and because the genres are so varied, I'm putting up four different songs with the same title.

Song of the day is: Hold On

First up:

Pearl Jam : "Hold On"
Tom Waits: "Hold On"
Wilson Phillips "Hold On"
Kansas "Hold On"

Cast your vote, suggest another version of "Hold On" or go away quietly. It's Friday, do what you feel.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12 A Date To Remember, Especially in NJ

Big day in the music world. The 12-12-12 concert will take place later on tonight. Today is also an important day in the state of New Jersey for two reasons. On this day, one music giant was born, and so was one giant music fan.

I can't even believe so many years have passed since a baby girl was born in a hospital in New York City. A tiny human being who has brought nothing but joy and pride to her family. A child who so quickly grew into a  teenager and now a woman. Someone who has always treasured every one of her crazy relatives...though some more than others, but I won't name names. As she has loved us, we have cherished her. Through movies and dog shows, from carrying on family traditions to creating new ones together, it has been a joy to share them with her. Two of my greatest delights have been taking her to her first rock concert and then to her first Springsteen concert...a mandatory education for a Jersey girl. To you, my beautiful niece, I wish that every bit of happiness you give to others, comes right back to you. Love you MC.

But I digress.

Also born on this day, Francis Albert Sinatra...Frank.
No introduction needed.

A song from Frank for Maria Christina.

"I'm Getting Sentimental Over You"



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bringin' It On Home with Sam Cooke

Sometimes the circle of life is a strange one.  Lately, we've all been inundated with holiday commercials misusing a lot of holiday songs. Most are not very creative and after seeing and hearing them two dozen times in a three hour are sick of them for the year.

There is one commercial though, I just love hearing. It's for Nautica clothing being sold through Macy's. It features a lot of young, good-looking people getting together in a nice house, by a dock, whatever. Not very intrusive, no one screaming about their product, just a song and not even a Christmas song playing in the background.

The song is "Bring It On Home To Me," written and originally recorded by the late Sam Cooke.

Sam Cooke was murdered 48 years ago today. The circumstances of his death have always been fuzzy at best. Rather than think about his death, let's celebrate his remarkable musical career. For today and for always, let Sam bring it on home, one more time.

Close your eyes and just breathe it in.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Otis Redding: Always A Little Tenderness

This morning the world wakes up to the news of another singer lost in a plane crash. Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera, along with members of her entourage and the pilots, died when their private plane went down. Today also marks the 45th anniversary of the death of another singer in a plane crash.

Otis Redding was only twenty-six years old at the time of his death. In his brief time in the music business, he became one of the era's most influential singers, and was one of the music acts responsible for getting the "soul" sound out to broader audiences. He appeared at the legendary Monterey Music Festival in June 1967 alongside, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, the Mamas & the Papas, the Who and a host of others. After the show, he and legendary guitarist Steve Cropper wrote what would be Redding's only #1 song. "Dock of the Bay" hit the charts after his death, offering a lasting tribute to a man who's influence is still strong 45 years after his death.

Beyond his talent as a performer, he was also a writer of music. "Respect," Aretha made it famous, Otis wrote it. "Sweet Soul Music" was a hit for Arthur Conley and co-written by Otis Redding. But the one song covered the most, covered by every garage band, every R&B band and every soul singer over the years was Redding's signature song..."Try a Little Tenderness."

A few tasty treats today.

"I Can't Turn You Loose"
"I've Been Lovin' You Too Long"
"Dock of the Bay"
"Try a Little Tenderness" ...the day before he died

...and that's how you do it son.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Morning With Motown and Martha

Watching a PBS fundraising special on Motown last night, I realized it has been way too long since we tasted the sweet sounds of the Motor City. Now the talent of Motown was so vast, it needs to be savored one bite at a time.

Today we go with one of the great girl groups: Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Rosalind Ashford, Betty Kelly, Annette Beard and Martha Reeves were the main members responsible for a boatload of hits in the early to mid-60's. The group was always a trio with a few changes in personnel, most notably when Beard left and was replaced by Kelly.

Members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Martha and the Vandellas created a body of work with equal measures of fun and dance-ability. Listening to them, no way your feet aren't moving.

Kick up the volume, kick off your shoes and dance.

"Nowhere to Run"
"Honey Chile"
"Jimmy Mack"
"Dancin' in the Street"


"If your feet ain't tappin', baby you're dead."


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Criminal: What Lies Within

Getting down and dirty for this week's 100 Word Song Challenge. Lance from myblogcanbeatupyourblog, has invited Julia to pick the song this week, and her choice was "Criminal" by Fiona Apple. Rules are to use the song, title or feeling as a prompt and write something in exactly 100 words.

"Foolish girl, that’s what she had been three years or more accurately, a lifetime ago. At sixteen, she thought she knew, at nineteen she knew too much. She looked at him. First as her savior, then as her keeper. Now, as nothing more than a business partner. She took the chances, he took the money.

And she earned a lot of it. She was good at what she did, and there wasn't anything she wouldn't do. Soon it would be time to go it alone and he would need to be gone…permanently. Yes, she knew how to do that too."

...and there you go.


Candles and Cale: Party Time

His songs have been covered by the likes of Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kansas, Tom Petty, Allman Brothers, Johnny Cash and more. A no-flash, just pick guitarist, he began playing what would be known as the Tulsa Sound...a blending a 1950's to 1960's country, rock, blues and rockabilly. The group of musicians creating that sound also included Leon Russell, Elvin Bishop, David Gates and Dwight Twilley, among others.

Today we focus on the birthday boy, JJ Cale.

Back to the songs. After Clapton recorded two of Cale's songs, "After Midnight" and "Cocaine," Cale finally started getting noticed by people outside the music community. Hell, one of his songs, "Travelin' Light" was even played to wake up the crews of the Space Shuttle and International Space Station before one of their spacewalks. The man has played with everyone, and the list of musicians influenced by his songs grows daily.

Let's taste a few.

"Crazy Mama" ...his biggest single, laid-back and bluesy
"They Call Me the Breeze" ...covered by Skynyrd, taste a little JJ with Clapton sittin' in
"After Midnight" ...a songwriter's pure version
"Cajun Moon" ...sweet sample of Tulsa sound
"Down to Memphis" ...delicious track off his latest CD Roll On

JJ Cale. Blow out the candles and play some blues.


Monday, December 3, 2012

You Can Hear The Buzz All The Way From Austin

You know that sound. The whispers, the talk and finally the shouts. It's called the buzz. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it's for a flash-in-the-pan. For the past year and a half the buzz has been growing louder about the taste of the day.

Growing up in Austin, he cut his musical teeth in the same club as the Vaughn brothers...Jimmie and Stevie Ray. Since that time he has played alongside Clapton, Winwood, Guy, Crow, Keyes, Beck and Matthews. I don't think any first names are needed. From Bonnaroo to The White House, Gary Clark Jr. has played with, and for a lot of names.

Playing a blues-based guitar, listen to him slide up and down from straight blues through rock, jazz, soul and whatever else he's feeling. With his latest album Blak and Blu, just released in October, Gary Clark Jr. shows another side of his talent and style.

"Bright Lights"
"Ain't Messin' Round"
"When My Train Pulls In"

Flash-in-the-pan...not likely.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Song Remains the Same...Or Does It?

The other day I thought up another way to either A) excite my readers with a new feature or B) make my readers groan and run away in droves. Hopefully more A than B, but what the hell. As Mr. Fogarty told us...just keep on chooglin.

I give you Kat's Theory of Music's...The Song Remains the Same.

What we're gonna do is showcase two completely different songs...with the same title. Then if anyone chooses, they can rate one, both, leave a comment or suggestion for another go round. See, not that painful.

The opening act for this feature consists of one song from the 60's and one from 1980.
Today's tasty treat is "Anyway You Want It"

First up a typical 60's fast paced, catchy tune by British band the Dave Clark Five, followed by the opening track off the Departure album by Journey.

Take a listen to both, leave a comment or rating, if you choose.

Dave Clark Five "Anyway You Want It"
Journey "Anyway You Want It"

I kinda like it both ways.