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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Write This Down"...but what is it?

So, as happens from time to time, 'the uncle' calls me up in the middle of the day and says "write this down." So I do.  Now 'the uncle' drives a cab these days and as with the rest of his life, he has too much free time on his hands. But he also has a free ear, so when he hears a song or a band he thinks I might like..well I get the phone call.

Our taste today is the result of one of those calls. Now because he might be driving when he hears something interesting, I don't always get all the information about if it's the name of a band or the title of the song. Such was the case with this selection. However, in researching it, a band with a great sound was discovered.

The band is the subdudes and the song was "Papa Dukie & the Mud People."  Out of New Orleans, the subdudes have been playing together off and on since 1987. Blues-Americana roots based...throw in some cajun-zydeco influence with some rock and soul...what you end up is a joyful blend of voices and instruments.

Take a listen.

"Papa Dukie & the Mud People" ...was it a band or a song. well, it's one real good song

And, a  few more tastes to enjoy.

"Late at Night"
"Need Somebody"
"Street Symphony" 
"Standing Tall"

Good stuff to start the day, rock out for lunch or make the evening go just right.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Time To Chase The Blues Away

Kind of a blue morning. Day after a stormy one, the world outside still seems to be in a state of shock. Not feeling like there should be more rain, but not up to letting the sun peak through. I know the feeling well.

Thought this morning we'd go with some songs which reflect the day...and the mood. A little gray, a little sad, a little

Foreigner "Blue Morning, Blue Day" ....start this off with the whole feeling of the day
Linda Rondstadt "Hasten Down the Wind" ...great cover of a priceless Warren Zevon tune
Dusty Springfield Anyone Who Had a Heart" ...Burt Bacharach song first done by Dionne Warwick.
Survivor "I See You in Everyone" ...great imagery, and haven't we all been there.
The Eagles "Wasted Time" ...pulling out all the blues.

And since everyone knows, the only way to chase the blues away is by listening to some blues...well let's have a little B.B.

BB King "The Thrill is Gone" ...listen to him talk to Lucille
BB King "Stormy Monday" ...and just like that, kiss the blues goodbye.

Hello sun. Gonna be a good day after all.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Going Back to the Grass Roots

Been wanting to do this song for a while.

There was a band in the very late 60's-early 70's called The Grass Roots. Hugely successful for a few years, what they produced was just fun rock & roll. Originally, the band was put together as a vehicle for the songwriting duo of  Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan, and they lineup underwent many changes before their big hits and after them as well.

Their first big hit in 1967 was a song called "Let's Live for Today." Coming out during the turmoil of the mid 60's, with the war in Viet Nam and unrest in the country, it hit a sweet spot in the hearts & souls of a generation.

The song we feature today is another hit, this time from 1968 and it's one of my all time favorite songs.

Telling the tale of unrequited love...this time with a married woman. The idea of someone singing about such a thing was a little shocking back then.

"the sound of your footsteps tellin' me that you're near, your soft gentle motion, babe
brings out a need in me that no one can hear...except
in my midnight confessions, when i tell all the world that i love you
in my midnight confessions, when i say all the things i want to...i love you."

Lead vocals were split on this song between bassist Rob Grill and keyboard/guitarist Warren Entner. Now if we are confessing, mine will be that these guys weren't too hard on the eyes. Late 60's big mustache/long hair...but I digress.

"but a little gold ring you wear on your hand makes me understand,
there's another before me, you'll never be mine, i'm wasting my time."

You could almost feel his heart it.

Featuring a perfect bass lead in, add in some horns, drums and keyboard...yes.

"Midnight Confessions"  The Grass Roots

Great stuff.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ride Sally Ride: A Final Journey

It took brains to be a physicist.
It took nerves of steel to join the space program.
And it took brass balls to be able to crack the men's only club of going into space.

Sally Ride did all of that...and more.
Not only was she the first American woman in space, she was the youngest person in space. She logged over 343 hours in space, both shuttle missions aboard the ill-fated Challenger.

Her awards and achievements did not end with her retirement from NASA, but she will be forever remembered for her accomplishments within it. Sally Ride died today from the very disease which will kill my father. She battled for over a year, but in the end pancreatic cancer almost always comes up the winner.

In tribute to one tough, smart and determined woman, let's taste a few songs celebrating the moon, the stars and of course...the Ride.

A little diversity today...

Frank Sinatra "Fly Me To The Moon"  ...classic crooning from old blue eyes with a dedication to the astronauts of Apollo 11
Crosby, Stills & Nash "Dark Star" ...a nice live performance
Wilson Pickett "Mustang Sally" ...wicked indeed

Easy journey Sally, we know you can handle the blast off.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Walk This Way: Shuffle Baby

Took a three mile walk around the lake today, something I had not been able to do in some time. Walked back in the house and a grabbed a beer. While downing a bottle of water would probably been the healthier thing to do...nothing says a job well done better than an ice cold beer. But I digress.

As is my norm for my solitary stroll, I throw my iPhone on shuffle and just enjoy. Today my playlist was songs I've downloaded as opposed to uploaded.  Thought I'd just share a few today, and a couple of thoughts as I listened to them.

Walking out the door, one of my all time favorites. A song whose chorus has become a sort of anthem for how I feel about life.

"give me the beat boys and free my soul, I want to get lost in your rock & roll and drift away."

 "Dobie Gray with "Drift Away." ...just a joyful song

Next up was a song whose lyrics tear at your heart. A song about life at the Ronald McDonald House. Sung by Jimi Jamison, Knowing anyone, especially a child who has gone through cancer treatments, I dare you to not have a tear in your eye listening to it.  And all proceeds from the song go to the Ronald McDonald House.

"in this house that love built you'll be safe and warm, tears fill the wishing well from the occasional storm."

Jimi Jamison " House That Love Built"

Walking up a hill, I was given a real boost. A little Journey. What better than a summer afternoon walk hearing Steve Perry singing "Stone in Love"

"in the heat with a blue jeaned girl, burning love comes once in a lifetime. oh the memories never fade away...golden girl I'll keep you forever."

Hearing that, I could do another couple of miles...easy.

Went into some blues next...can't complain about that.

"lord i don't want to give up, i just need a reason for trying. so hide me away in the jungle before they feed me to the lions."

A little Carolyn Wonderland was up with "Feed Me to the Lions."

Back into rock, just a great sing-a-long, Rainbow's "Stone Cold"

"i try to run, i try to hide. from everything i feel inside, i just can't escape you..or your frozen eyes."

A few more tunes before I turn into the driveway...ending off with a little Tom Petty doing "You Wreck Me."

Three miles flew by, a great way to take a break on a Saturday afternoon.

Walk on...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Santana at 65: Still Magic

When the first Santana album was released, I was a sophomore in high school. Don't go doing the math, all my age means is I was there when all the incredible music came out. It was also about this time when I was starting to have different kinds Now I was never the biggest party girl out there, but I wasn't exactly staying home every night of the week either. It was a different era, and it was fun as all hell.

My best friend in high school was someone I can still call on the phone after not speaking to her for six months...and pick up exactly where we left off. Well, she and her older sister shared an attic bedroom. Actually it was a full attic, so they had two bedrooms and a full bathroom. An entire floor away from the parents...and her parents NEVER came upstairs. Needless to say, this was where all the girls hung out on a daily basis.

The day she brought home Santana, the album with the black and white lion, we sat around drinking a little Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill (not exactly the good stuff, but we were underage and you drank what you could get someone (who was legal) to buy for you. Side one began with "Waiting", then into "Evil Ways." When side one ended with "Jingo,"we all looked at each other in disbelief.  This was music like we had never heard. The guitar, the percussion, the rhythm. We listened to that album everyday for months.

The next year when "Abraxas" was released, we did the same thing all over again. Today, just as back then, the sound of Carlos Santana's guitar was unmistakable.

Today, Carlos Santana turns 65.  In honor of the man whose music inspired me and at the same time helped to destroy so many brain cells, let's taste a few great live performances.

Be inspired and if it's not too early...knock off a few brain cells.

"Oye Como Va" ...starting the fun
"Samba Pa Ti" ...smooth, smoky and joyful.
"Soul Sacrifice" ...last track on the first album. after looking at each other like WTF, we played the album again.
"Jingo" ...absolutely blistering hot version with Clapton helping out. play it LOUD.
"Smooth" ...still creating magic after all these years. great vocal by Rob Thomas

...never mind your feet movin', your ass best be out of the chair and dancin'


Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Legend is Born: That's All Right

Growing up, I was not a huge Elvis fan. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy the was more that he wasn't the Beatles.

I was really young when the Beatles literally, opened up a world I barely knew existed. That world was rock and roll. Elvis was already having an impact, but I was just a little too young and missed those early years. As the years went by, I'd watch him on TV, hear him on the radio and finally appreciate the man and his music.

Fifty eight years ago today, Elvis released his first single, and this boy from Memphis was on his way to becoming a legend.

A quick taste today of that song which started it all. Written by Arthur Crudup in 1946...

"That's All Right"  Elvis Presley

And that's how you do it son.


Monday, July 16, 2012

A Celebration Of LIfe

For those who read Kat's Theory of Life along with this music blog, you know lately my life is centered around my father's illness, my mother's determination to make this path in his life as bearable as possible and how a family deals with the stress. It ain't easy. There has also been another family issue with which we've been dealing.

A little over a year ago, my cousin was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. It was a long, hard struggle through surgeries, chemo, radiation, feeding tubes, hospitals and pain. Her battle ended yesterday.

She was a teacher, a daughter, a woman who would give you the shirt off her back. She has moved on to hopefully a better place...but we are still here.

Lesson for today: Tomorrow is promised to no one. Greet this day and every one you are granted with an appreciation of the moment.

"I just want to celebrate another day of livin'
I just want to celebrate another day of life"

A simple taste for today.

Rare Earth "I Just Want To Celebrate"

"I put my faith in the people
But the people let me down
So I turned the other way
And I carry on, anyhow

That's why I'm telling you
I just want to celebrate, yeah, yeah
Another day of living, yeah
I just want to celebrate another day of life

Had my head on the dollar bill
But the dollar bill flew away
But the sun is shining down on me
And it's here to stay

That's why I'm telling you
I just want to celebrate, yeah, yeah
Another day of living, yeah
I just want to celebrate another day of livin'
I just want to celebrate another day of life

Don't let it all get you down, no, no
Don't let it turn you around and around and around and around and around

Well, I can't be bothered with sorrow
And I can't be bothered with hate, no, no
I'm using up the time but feeling fine, every day

That's why I'm telling you I just want to celebrate
Oh, yeah
I just want to celebrate another day
Oh, I just want to celebrate another day of livin'
I just want to celebrate another day of life

Don't let it all get you down, no, no
Don't let it turn you around and around, etc.
Round, round, round, etc.
Don't go round

I just want to celebrate
I just want to celebrate"

Easy Journey Pam.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Celebrating 100 Years: Woody Guthrie

Ten days ago, this country celebrated her independence. One hundred years ago today, one of America's finest songwriters was born. The connection between the two is unbreakable.

Woody Guthrie was born on July 14, 1912 and died October 3, 1967. His life was remarkable, controversial and worthwhile.

"This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me"

From the time of his early life on the road traveling with migrant workers, Guthrie looked at the inequality between classes and spoke out against it. Nowhere is that more evident than in "This Land Is Your Land."

"As I was walking a ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway
I saw below me a golden valley
This land was made for you and me"

His politic views on communism, at times made him unemployable, though his fierce devotion to his country was never in question. His life was marred by family tragedies, a wandering lifestyle and the acknowledgement of being one of the greatest writers to chronicle the saga of the common man.

"I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me"

His most recognizable song, the quintessential Americana anthem, This Land Is Your Land," was written in direct response to "God Bless America" which he detested.

"The sun comes shining as I was strolling
The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
The fog was lifting a voice come chanting
This land was made for you and me"

Throughout the years, verses of the song have been included or omitted. Words have been changed, as well as the order of the verses. Whatever version of the song you hear, the message remains the same.

"As I was walkin'  -  I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side  .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!"

Over the years, this song has been recorded and sung live by more musicians than you can count. On the 4th of July, this blog included a link to a Springsteen version recorded as the finale to SXSW 2012. To me, it is one of the most inspiration versions out there.

"In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office - I see my people
And some are grumblin' and some are wonderin'
If this land's still made for you and me."

100 Years after his birth, Woody Guthrie is still relevant, admired, and on this day...remembered.

"This Land Is Your Land"   by Woody Guthrie

Happy Birthday Woody.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

It Was 50 Years Ago Today: The Rolling Stones


Every band, singer, writer and musician has them. What makes an average musician a great one, is taking those influences and creating a sound of your own.

On July 12, 1962, the Rolling Stones made their first club appearance in London at the Marquee Club. That night, their entire set did not include one original song. It was all covers of songs by singers who were an influence on their later style.

While it would have been easy on this 50th anniversary to highlight some Stones music, I thought it would be more fun to feature some of the music which was covered in that first set list. These links are to the artists who originally wrote/sang them. These are the musicians whose music first cried out to Mick and Keith...this is where it started.

It always comes back to the blues...

"Back in the USA" Chuck Berry
"Blues Before Sunrise" Elmore James
"Bad Boy" Eddy Taylor
"Hush Hush" Jimmy Reed
"Ride "em On Down" Eddy Taylor
"Bright Lights, Big City" Jimmy Reed
"Don't Stay Out All Night" Billy Boy Arnold
"Tell Me That You Love Me" Jimmy Reed
"Happy Home" Elmore James

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


Monday, July 9, 2012

Caddyshack Meets Dumb and Dumber

In the "you can't make this shit up" category, today I bring you the story of Mick Brown.

Mick Brown is the drummer in Ted Nugent's band, and it seems what Dean Wormer so eloquently said in Animal House is true..."fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son." Not sure about Mr. Brown's size, but the other two adjectives definitely apply.

Apparently after a concert where Ted Nugent shared the bill with Styx and REO Speedwagon, Mr. Brown became intoxicated and (allegedly) stole a golf cart, evaded security for awhile, and in true rock & roll style...picked up two women along the way. Nice.

Alas, his life on the lam was short-lived. Seriously, how far can you really expect to get in a golf cart? He was arrested on counts of driving under the influence, driving to endanger, theft and assault. As Bugs Bunny would say "What a maroon."

While no one was actually hurt and no damage was done to the cart, the police report does mention there was damage to... two traffic cones. Well that can't be good. LMAO.

In honor of public drunkenness and major moronics, I thought we should just go with a little music from the Motor City Madman.

Let's start with a little...


and top it off with...

"Cat Scratch Fever"

But officer, I was just doing the Wango Tango...


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Jack Johnson: Hawaii Ain't Just Hula Girls

Didn't you always wonder what those sun-drenched hot surfer dudes did when they grew up? Well, sometimes they realize their true calling. Such is the case with the taste of the day.

"we used to laugh a lot, but only because we thought that everything good always would remain"

Jack Johnson was born, raised and still lives in Hawaii. Surfing was in his blood and if not for a surfing accident, his path may have been different. College brought a degree in Film and eventually music overtook all else and a career was born.

Five studio albums later, Jack Johnson has established himself with featured songs in film and a devotion to the environment and charitable causes.

With a sound that blends some funk, reggae, pop and his Hawaiian influences, Jack Johnson has a real easy sound to listen to.

Take a seat, try to imagine a cool tropical breeze and enjoy some sounds from a unique and gifted singer-songwriter.

"Mud Football"
"Bubble Toes"
"Banana Pancakes"
"Upside Down"
"Better Together"



Thursday, July 5, 2012

On The Soapbox: Where There's Liability, There's Stupidity

It's always about the lawyers isn't it?

In a move which reeks of stupidity, a Florida lifeguard has been fired for going to the aid of a drowning man. I shit you not. Here's the background: Man outside of the lifeguard's area starts to drown. Lifeguard abandon's his post to assist other swimmers in bringing the man to shore. Once on shore, the lifeguard stabilizes the man and waits for medics. You broke the rules, you're fired.

It seems by leaving his post, the lifeguard put his employer in a liability situation. What if someone in his designated area started to drown as well. Well, I guess the next lifeguard down the line would have had to leave his post to. And on and on. That my friends, is what we in Jersey call...a clusterfuck. It was a perfect storm waiting to happen...but it didn't. The man was saved, no one else was in need of a rescue and the lifeguard deciding to do the right fired.

Now I hate to play devil's advocate, but what if the man was drowning, no other swimmers were able to help him and, the lifeguard did not leave his post? This poor guy would have kept his job and been crucified in the press. He would have been an internet sensation...and not in a good way.

All because of liability. As my friend and best ever partner-in-crime would say "This is why we drink." Indeed. Stupidity wins again.

In honor of this insane occurrence, today I'm gonna pick just one cool song. The real name is "Never Been Any Reason" by Head East, but everyone know's the songs as...

"Save My Life, I'm Going Down For The Last Time"... get it?

Will common sense eventually triumph over stupidity...News at 11.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Celebrate America: Through The Eyes Of A Cowboy

Today is the fourth of July. In my mind, I had already decided where today's music blog was going. Then around 5:30 this morning one of my twitter followers retweeted a video that spoke to me of America and the dream of what America was...and is  It took me no time at all to decide to make it the focus of today's blog.

Andy Martin Jr. sent me this video from PetaPixel. It is the story of a man's dream to become a cowboy, how he attained that goal, and reached for another. His vision of America is seen through awe-inspiring photographs of his adopted home state of Wyoming. Having seen the beauty of the Wyoming landscape while riding on horseback or by backpacking, Carl Oksanen is able to capture nature...almost intimately.

The mini documentary runs about twelve minutes, grab a cup of coffee, sit back and on this Independence Day, let yourself be reminded of why our forefathers wanted this country to be our own.

Ok, so I couldn't post this without a little music to inspire us...

Singing Woody Guthrie's anthem...Bruce Springsteen and assorted troops live at the finale of SXSW 2012 with "This Land Is Your Land"  ...this is one incredible version of a great song.

Today we celecbrate America.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Always Tellin' The Story: Otis Taylor

Born in Chicago, raised in Denver, Otis Taylor first began his musical journey on the banjo. He later switched to guitar, learned the harmonica along the way and became one of the great blues chroniclers of the world around him. The man can write a whole lot of story in his songs.

In 1977, Otis Taylor took a leave of absence from the music business for almost twenty years, then in 1995 he came back with a vengeance. In the years since his return, he has released a dozen albums, had his music appear in movies and TV and been nominated for and won several honors. He heads up a music program for elementary schools and universities to enlighten and mentor students in all things blues. That is very cool.

Today, we will take a few tastes of Otis Taylor. If you're not familiar with the music of Otis Taylor, don't miss this chance to find it. Listen to the music, listen to the stories.

"Walk on Water"
"Black Witch"
"Ten Million Slaves"
"505 Train"
"Plastic Spoon"
"Few Feet Away"

and I just can't resist saying it...

Otis, my man. Love the Blues Brothers.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Guilty Pleasures: Have You Heard...

Past few days, I have not been feeling real good. There's something going around and I caught it. So while I am able to pretty much function normally (take that for what it is), I am not in the mood to spend a half a day researching some great new band.

So today, we will enjoy the second installment of Guilty Pleasures. My definition of: A song or an artist totally outside your normal, but there's something about it that makes you happy. Not too complicated.  If you don't remember, the first blog that centered on Guilty Pleasures was on Howard Jones. Nice 80's slightly techno music, but good lyrics and catchy melodies.

This morning, we go to the other side of the world...down under to be specific. Over the years there have been some great bands out of Australia: INXS, Men At Work, Midnight Oil and AC/ name a few.
Another fairly successful Aussie group was The Little River Band. Back in the 70s when the group came together, they were considered kind of a supergroup, with founding members Glenn Shorrock, Beeb Birtles and Graeham Goble, all having previously successful ventures.

In the states there were several songs which moved up the charts. Many of the singles released by the Little River Band were a bit too pop for me, They did however have one song, which had a great chorus, nice arrangement and just a really good feeling about it.

"Have you heard about the lonesome loser
Beaten by the queen of hearts every time
Have you heard about the lonesome loser
He's a loser, but he still keeps on tryin'"

That song, today's Guilty Pleasure is... "Lonesome Loser"
A great beginning, they start out with an a capella rendition of the chorus...immediately setting the tone of the song.

"Sit down, take a look at yourself
Don't you want to be somebody
Someday somebody's gonna see inside
You have to face up, you can't run and hide"

Take a listen, we all know the song, and if you can keep yourself from singing along, you are seriously missing the enjoyment chip in your DNA.

Have you heard...