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, April 14, 2014

Twisted MixTape: Saying Goodbye

It’s always sad to say goodbye, and this week it’s not only the theme of Tuesday’s Twisted MIxTape, it’s also a for real goodbye, at least for a while. Because she has finally come to her senses, Jen has decided to take some time off from hosting this weekly blog hop. It’s the old adage of ‘be careful what you wish for,’ because she built it and we all came. It’s time for a break. So this is the last MixTape at her party for a while.

So, let’s say goodbye in good fashion. I didn’t want to overthink this, just did a few songs that jumped into my head… and yes, that is a strange place to be.

First up is a Dylan song, though I’m not featuring his version but the more well-known cover by Joan Baez. I love the version by John Mellencamp, but apparently it is not anywhere on the web. It is worth checking out on the Rough Harvest album.

“Farewell Angelina”

A very long time ago, there was a band called The Moody Blues. They created some of the most beautiful songs of their time, as well as albums that took you on a musical journey. And guess what, they're still around making good music. This is one of their earliest songs.

"Go Now"

An equally long time ago, an English duo by the name of Chad and Jeremy had several hits. This was one of those summer romance ending songs.

" A Summer Song"

I don't know why I thought of this song, but why not? It's beautiful, poignant, fits the theme and is by Steve Winwood. Good enough for me.

"My Love's Leaving"

And sadly now we say goodbye. Who better to say goodbye than... Groucho.
"I'll stay a week or two, I'll stay the summer through
But I am telling you, I must be going"

"Hello, I Must Be Going"

Sniff, sniff... thanks for the memories, Jen. It's been a blast. Hope to see you back in the fall.

My Skewed View

Friday, April 11, 2014

Jesse Winchester, You're On My Mind

Word comes today that we've lost another storyteller.

Jesse Winchester was always slightly under the radar. A singer-songwriter whose career features the  theme of "if only." If only he had not been drafted for the Vietnam War, if only he had not fled to Canada to avoid it, if only it had not taken so many years to be able to sing in the United States. Still, he became known in Canada and it wasn't too long before people everywhere began to notice... especially musicians.

His songs have been covered wonderfully from Lyle Lovett, Rosanne Cash and Jimmy Buffett, to Reba McIntyre, Elvis Costello and Lucinda Williams. Take a story of loss and longing, bring it down to the simplest terms, add in subtle yet descriptive lyrics and you end up with the purity of a Jesse Winchester song.

A few years ago, Jesse was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. A few friends, headed by Jimmy Buffett and Elvis Costello, got together to record an album of Jesse's music called Quiet About It. It's wonderful.

Here are a couple of tunes, both by Jesse and some of his friends.

Rosanne Cash " Biloxi"

Little Feat "Rhumba Man"

Jesse Winchester "Mississippi You're On My Mind"

Take a listen. Enjoy the melodies, enjoy the singing, but mostly enjoy the stories.

Easy journey Jesse.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sometimes the Road is Too Long

“I hear it callin’, baby
Sound so sweet and plain
I gotta go
’cause the road’s my middle name”

…”The Road’s My Middle Name” by Bonnie Raitt

Approaching her mid-60’s, Bonnie Raitt is still playing hard and kicking ass on tour, and just like her daddy before her, most of her life has been spent on the road. This is true for most musicians and especially true of the generation before Bonnie. Many of those old-timers in their late 70’s and 80’s are still paying their dues on the road. For many, it’s all they know and will just keep doing it until it’s physically impossible.

Good idea or not?

To read the entire article, please jump over to Earth Hertz Records "Sometimes the Road is Too Long"


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Twisted MixTape: It's Only Words

In what has become a recurring theme in my life, I am behind on everything I need to do, but have allowed myself to be distracted once again. It is what it is.

I've neglected all my online friends prompts of fun and games for the past few weeks, and I was expecting to do so for the foreseeable future. Then Jen reminded me of the theme for this week's Twisted MixTape and here I am.  How can I not join in when the theme is: These Lyrics Are Genius. Seriously, how many posts have I devoted to great lyrics, how many times have I said the lyrics are what I first focus on in a song, how many times have I cried over lyrics. Yeah, too damn many. So here I am. Now I've already used a lot of my favorite songs in other posts, so I'll try to use other genius lyrics by some of my favorite composers.

While Simon & Garfunkel, were probably my true and first lyrical influence, I can remember clear as day, hearing the opening verse to this song and thinking 'how does someone write something so beautiful and with so much imagery in so few words.'

Sung by The Eagles but written by a friend of Glenn Frey by the name of Jack Tempchin. Click on his name to learn a little more about him.

"I like the way your sparkling earrings lay,
Against your skin so brown.
And I want to sleep with you in the desert tonight
With a billion stars all around"

We all know that Bruce had to be in the mix, but I've already discussed the lyrics of "Tunnel Of Love," "The River," and I think "Brilliant Disguise." All deserving to be included in this list. So are "Thunder Road," "Drive All Night," "If I Should Fall Behind," and oh I could go on. Hard as it is for me to choose one verse to highlight, let's go with this.

"So you've been broken and you've been hurt
Show me somebody who ain't
Yeah, I know I ain't nobody's bargain
But, hey, a little touch up and a little paint.

You might need something to hold on to
When all the answers, they don't amount to much
Somebody that you could just to talk to
And a little of that human touch"

Simon & Garfunkel. To choose one song? I've already written about "The Boxer," "America," and a few more. Paul Simon is a genius, so anything he writes carries weight in my world. One song, or actually two, but they run together on the album and I've always looked at them as a whole, makes me cry... every time. I cannot pull out one verse, it is in the whole where you feel the message, so here are the entire lyrics.

"Old Friends"

"Old friends, Old friends
Sat on their park bench like bookends
A newspaper blown through the grass
Falls on the round toes
On the high shoes
Of the old friends

Old friends
Winter companions
The old men
Lost in their overcoats
Waiting for the sunset

The sounds of the city
Sifting through trees
Settle like dust
On the shoulders
Of the old friends

Can you imagine us
Years from today
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange
To be seventy

Old friends
Memory brushes the same years
Silently sharing the same fear"

Chillingly descriptive, especially paired with "Bookends"

"Time it was,
And what a time it was
It was . . .
A time of innocence
A time of confidences
Long ago . . . it must be . . .
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you"

So how do you not include Dylan in this list, and again, which song? One of the first songs I remember as Dylan having written, but with another band having the hit was "My Back Pages." It took a while to figure out the lyrics (there was no internet with lyrics sites in those days) and even longer to try and figure out what he was trying to say. Even if the interpretation I had was not quite his vision, it is still powerful today.

"In a soldier's stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I'd become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My existence led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I'm younger than that now"

How do you describe your country in a way that encompasses its beauty and its assets, while still acknowledging her faults. If you're Pete Seeger, you did it as a matter of course.

 "As I went walking I saw a sign there 
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing." 
But on the other side it didn't say nothing, 
That side was made for you and me"

It seems I have no Beatles song in the list. Unacceptable. And while not a group song, will anyone complain about this being included. I know I've used it before in the MixTape, many of us have. Not only are the lyrics brilliant, but so is the thought of it. John.

"You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one"

It seems so sad to stop here... I could go on all day, but you know I never stray too far from the words. As always all rights of these songs belong to the artists mentioned. So don't go suing my ass for telling the world how beautiful they are.

My Skewed View

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Keeping the Beat: Jeff Porcaro

Recently, while conducting an interview with Richard Fulco, the founder of the music blog RiffRaf, our conversation drifted to the Grammy Awards, which I had been lucky enough to attend in January. We were talking about the odd pairings of musical acts the Grammys always seem to offer, and which more times than not, fail miserably. Case in point for this year: Chicago and Robin Thicke. As we talked about it, Richard said something to the effect that not every singer can cross-over to other genres and make it work. For example, not every R&B singer can sing rock and vice versa.

photo via Wikipedia
That got me thinking about how often rock drummers for example, can hold their own across different musical styles. Today marks what would have been the 60th birthday of one of the few drummers to excel far beyond the limits of rock. Jeff Porcaro was well known as one of the founding members of Toto, but as a session musician, he did way more than “Hold The Line.”

For the entire article, please jump over to Keeping the Beat: Jeff Porcaro on