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.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

There's a Little Hoodoo Going On, Blame It On Billy D

There are a couple of reviews I need to do, but before I get started working on them, I wanted to serve up something new. It's funny all the different ways you find new music. Radio, movies, TV, the internet... all great sources of new and delicious tunes. But by far, the best way is word of mouth. When someone has already heard it and shares it because they are excited about it, well yeah that's the best. That's how I came up with this artist. So first I'll say thanks to Chuck for pointing me in the right direction.

Born in Chicago, Billy Desmond learned about the blues at an early age. By sneaking into blues clubs to hear legends like Muddy Waters and James Cotton, Billy D became well schooled in the blues, right along with good old rock & roll. Billy D moved from Chicago to LA to Santa Fe, and finally to Oregon, learning and perfecting his guitar playing and writing style.

Now we all know I'm a lyrics girl. Billy D's aren't fancy. They don't need to be. They are straightforward and about as honest as you can get. A lot of them aren't real happy, but a lot of them are real good.

Let's sample a few things of his most recent album, Somethin's Wrong.

First up, the title track, "Somethin's Wrong"

Next up "50"

And end it with "Whyya Do It"

Good stuff, worth a listen and then some.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mixed Tape Tuesday Goes 70s: Part 2

I can't believe it's been a week since I last posted on this blog. Right now I have too many irons in the fire, and unfortunately I haven't done a good job of finishing things. Hopefully, I will catch my breath sometime this next week. But today, I  find myself back at Part 2 of the 1970's for Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday over at Jen's place, My Skewed View.

Last week's choices for Part 1 were for the most part pretty mainstream, and this week there are a few hits thrown in as well. And maybe a few that weren't quite hits, but were memorable... at least to me.

One song from the 70's was a constant background theme for my senior year of high school. Don McLean wrote a song so epic, its lyrics are still being debated today. It was one of those great songs where a car full of  HS girls could sing at the top of their lungs, and laugh and enjoy every minute of it.

"American Pie"

In 1970 James Taylor released his second album, and it was the one which would change his career. To this day, how can you not smile when you hear "Goodnight you moonlight ladies, rockabye Sweet Baby James" Between the title song and "Fire and Rain," JT's music was everywhere. It was for me, one of those records that was played everyday. But besides those two great songs, the one which took me to another place began this way...
"Take to the highway won't you lend me your name
Your way and my way seem to be one and the same"

"Country Road"

Ok, this one I'm gonna cheat on. I only did one part of the 60's, so I'll bend the rules a bit for this entry. The song originally came out in the 60's true enough, but there was this film a documentary in fact which spawned an album. See where I'm going? The band was... The Band. The film was The Last Waltz and the song I need to put in is "The Weight" Why... because it deserves the designation of one of the most important songs of a decade. In this case, it could fit into several decades.

"The Weight"

Another one of those songs where you just had to sing along with was one with the strangest subject matter. But then again, that was how Warren Zevon wrote.

"I saw a werewolf drinkin' a pina colada at Trader Vic's
His hair was perfect"

"Werewolves of London"

In 1970 Eric Burdon and War released a song which was a little provocative for the time. A song that was played at every party where the wine was spilled and joints were passed. 

"Spill the Wine"

I'm going over the five song limit again this week. Sue me, I'm a rebel. I didn't get to Motown songs in the 60's and I will not make that mistake in the 70's. Soul and R&B were as much of the soundtrack to my life in those days as anything else. And choosing one artist as a template for the rest has given me a headache, choosing only one of his songs well... it's kind of making me nuts, but I'm having fun going through them.

As someone who musically has run the gamut, Stevie Wonder has shown his brilliance through his songwriting. In the 70's he had Talking Book, Innervisions, and Songs in the Key of Life, all with charting singles. I could have chosen a dozen, but the one I thought had the most influence for the time was "Living for the City." The equal rights movement had created laws, but it didn't change the hearts and minds of a lot of people. This song addressed inequality, prejudice and the ugliness of all that occurred. Stevie managed to get the point across beautifully.

"A boy is born in hard time Mississippi 
Surrounded by four walls that ain't so pretty 
His parents give him love and affection 
To keep him strong moving in the right direction 
Living just enough, just enough for the city."

"Living for the City"

I could go on and would love to, but it's time to end the trip through the 70's music scene. Thanks for having me over Jen.

Jen Kehl

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mixed Tape Tuesday Goes 70's: Part 1

Since I already feel like I'm late to class and haven't handed in my homework assignment, here's my second post of the day. This one is for Jen's Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday. This week we are moving into Part 1 of the 1970's. Great decade for music. It came about after all the rules had been broken, after American blues clashed with the British Invasion and country and southern rock started to roll. I loved every minute of it.

This was the decade when I saw my first, second and probably my 250th live concert. I was old enough to do what I wanted and young enough to not have responsibilities getting in the way. Did I make some wrong decisions... hell yes, didn't we all. But did I have fun... indeed I did. And I have retained some of the memories to prove it. The rest were forgotten when those brain cells that were in such abundance back then, suddenly went pfft. C'est la vie.

My first choice is no big surprise, it is either #1 or #2 on virtually every Top 100 music list of the era. I could listen to it everyday of my life and still enjoy hearing it. The two parts of the song: the vocal and instrumental are each beautiful on their own. Put them together and it's seven minutes that are magical. The opening riff is one of the most recognizable in music.

What else can it be but "Layla"

The band which first comes to mind for me when I think 70's music is the Eagles. Initially I thought I would use "Take It Easy," written by Glenn Frey and Jackson Brown, as it's the first song I remember from them. But no Eagles song fills me with more emotion and takes me to a better place than this Tom Waits song.

"Ol '55."

I loved Loggins & Messina. I must have seen them a dozen times. When I heard Jimmy Messina from Buffalo Springfield was teaming up with this other guy, I was interested. Then I saw Kenny Loggins and wow. Not only was he hot, but he had that voice... yeah. Their first album, "Sittin' In" was brilliant, and their follow up was just as good. Their song that I've picked is the title cut. Loved the lyrics, loved the sound, love the long instrumental in the middle.

"What a shot you would be if you could look at me with those..."
"Angry Eyes"

Next up is the song I actually started this music blog with. It's all about the feeling. It's all about music. It's my definition of what music does to me. "Give me the beat boys and free my soul, I wanna get lost in your Rock & Roll and drift away." Isn't that how music should make you feel? This blog began with a post about the death of Dobie Gray, it lives because of the music.

"And when my mind is free
You know a melody can move me
And when I'm feelin' blue
The guitar's comin' through to soothe me"

"Drift Away"

Then there was Traffic. Oy, such a decision. Do I go with "Dear Mr. Fantasy", "Low Spark" or "Feeling Alright"? In the end, I went with the first song I played on my first CD player. From John Barleycorn Must Die, one piano infused instrumental that just rocked.


So that's five, the number we're supposed to pick. But it's missing someone and as a resident of the "Great State of New Jersey," I feel the need to break the rules. I need to bring in The Boss. Again, the choice is tough. Just choosing which album to take a song from is tough. Greeting from Asbury Park's "Spirit in the Night," or anything from Born to Run would have worked. But I'm going with one song which I wouldn't hear at every concert, which just made it more special when I did. Coming from probably my favorite Bruce album, Darkness on the Edge of Town, it's all Max and Roy at the start, with the tempo building as the song explodes with longing and passion.

"She says, Baby if you wanna be wild,
you got a lot to learn, close your eyes,
Let them melt, let them fire,
let them burn"

The exquisite "Candy's Room"

As a sad side note. It's two years today that we lost The Big Man,Clarence Clemmons. Sure hope he's having a good time playing with the band upstairs.

Thanks Jen for having us over at your place again. Promise next week I'll bring the beer.
Jen Kehl

Me and Paul: Two Of Us Riding Nowhere

It just didn't feel right to not wish Paul McCartney a happy birthday.

He of the band which started this path from where I have never looked back. In 1964, The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. I remember waiting all day for the show to start. As it began, I was lying on the olive green carpet in the living room watching the black & white TV, freaking the fuck out while trying not to let my parents realize just how crazed I was internally.

Now by this time my mother especially, knew just how much music meant to me. That didn't mean she liked it. If I had a dollar for every time she yelled for me to "turn down that garbage," I would be a very rich woman. Instead, the only way I consider myself rich is in how fulfilled I am because of the music. And John, Paul, George and Ringo were the start of it.

I remember in the 70's, I was going out with this guy who had several younger brothers and sisters. One time, the name of The Beatles came up and the second youngest of the family said to me, "oh yeah, that was the band Paul McCartney was in before Wings." I nearly coughed up a lung. But time and generations pass quickly and we all think the music of our own was the best. But the 60's-70's was the best. It changed everything and created the path for all that came later.

Sir Paul is 71 today. I caught the first hour of his show which was streamed live from Bonnaroo this past weekend. While the voice can be a little shaky, he still captivates the audience, still has a presence, still moves like a kid, and let's face it... he is still a Beatle.

Cheers Sir Paul, wishing you many, many more.

"Maybe I'm Amazed"


"Here, There and Everywhere"

"Let Me Roll It"


Friday, June 14, 2013

Guilty Pleasures: Inside Out

So here it is. I like Phil Collins music. There I've said it. Now I don't love Phil Collins music, but when all those hits came out in the 80's, they were fun and I enjoyed every one of them. Shoot me.

And I'm calling bullshit if anyone of you out there says they haven't played air drums on "In The Air Tonight." I can remember a few nights where everyone would be hanging at my place and a few of us, you can guess the names, would be dancing to "Sussudio." Pure 80's, great horns, great fun. If you're feet ain't tappin... well you know the rest.

So, I could have gone with "Sussudio" as my Guilty Pleasure, but there's another Phil Collins song higher on my personal chart. Funny how you might not hear a song in years, then it pops on the radio and you remember all the things you liked about it.

"Inside out, ooh you got me inside out
Oh inside out, oh inside out"

Yeah, I know not much there right? Let's get to the real lyrics and you know what, they're good. Ok, not "Positively 4th Street," good, but I've always been a bit on the rebel side and the message works for me. 

"Now everybody keeps on telling me how to be
And everybody tells me do what they say
ooh, I'll help myself it's up to me and no one else
But till I'm ready just keep out of my way

Inside out, ooh you got me inside out
Oh inside out, oh inside out"

See, sometimes you really need to listen to the words. 

"Now everybody's got me turning round, up and down
And here I am going out of my mind
But I won't lose sight of all the, the things I'm looking for
They're coming to me and I'm taking what's mine

Inside out, ooh you got me inside out
Oh inside out, oh inside out, inside out"

They're coming to me and I'm taking what's mine...yeah.

"All of my life I've been searching and hanging on
Turn a corner, never know what I'd find
But now I'm back again like I never went away
Ooh let me in I'm through with wasting my time

Inside out, ooh you got me inside out
Oh inside out, oh inside out"

Simple, to the point. It's not like a book by Gore Vidal when you've read the same paragraph three times and screamed "What the hell is he trying to say?" Sometimes simple is all you need.

Ok, so there's another one of my guilty pleasures. As always, feel free to comment or leave your guilty pleasures...  nothing kinky please, send those by email. 

Words and music by Phil Collins, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mixing It Up: 60's All The Way

So today I'm doing something new. Jen over at My Skewed View hosts a blog hop every week called Twisted Mixed Tape Tuesday where you think back to the days when those of us of a certain age would create a cassette tape of mixed songs. Sometimes they were random songs, sometimes like when you were hot for someone, you made a theme tape where you desperately tried to get a message across, without making yourself seem too desperate. Or maybe that was just me.


So last week and this week her (non-desperate) theme is the 60's. Lots of great music came from that era, I know, I was there. My influences began with the Beatles, worked through Simon & Garfunkel, throw in some Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, Janis, Joni, Judy, Dusty, Rascals, Supremes and a shit-load of other British groups. I sucked it all in: rock, soul, calypso, and all those folk singers who wrote great lyrics.

Coming up with five songs to create a feel for the 60's is damn near impossible, but them's the rules. So, in no particular order are my five selections.

In 1972, I went to my first live show. It was the Byrds at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ. It was a life-changing experience, so to not have the Byrds as my first choice would be just wrong. Several songs were contenders and one will probably make the cut when the Mixed Tape moves to the 70's next week. But for the 60's I'll take a song written by another influence, Bob Dylan.

"My Back Pages"

Then there were the Jersey Boys. No, not the Four Seasons, although their music was indeed part of the soundtrack of those early years. And even though they all weren't really from Jersey, one of them lived a few blocks away from me and that was about as cool as it got. Talking about the Rascals. sure. Now talk about trying to pick one song, I could pick ten. I'll choose one I've used in a blog a while back because it has everything a hit song should have and... it's freakin' great.

"I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore"

Grace Slick. As I've said before, she was my idol and that explains so much about me. She fronted a band, she had attitude, she was tough, she said "motherfucker" on an album. Yes she did. The first time I heard "Somebody To Love," I was all in. But Jefferson Airplane were much more than "Somebody" and "White Rabbit." Have a listen to Marty Balin's vocal on "Today," it's breathtaking in its simplicity and beauty. For the Mixed Tape entry though, I'll dance with the girl who brought me.

"Somebody To Love"

For me, there is no way any soundtrack from the 60's could not include the Beatles. Ah, but which song? When the Beatles movies came out, we would take the bus into Passaic and spend the day at the movie theater. Back then there were three regular theaters and then the Capitol which was a porno theater at that point. Anyway, they ran the movies non-stop and you could sit there all day and watch it over and over. And that's just what we would do. Probably four times. So those movies were part of my soundtrack and "Help" had the more fun music. My Beatles selection is one where we would trade off who would sing lead and who would sing backup, either way we had a blast.

"Eight Days A Week"

The last song is not rock, pop or soul. Damn I didn't include any Motown. Rather it's one which is a little bittersweet for me this week. My Dad played a little guitar and a little harmonica. When I was really little, I can remember him singing this to me. It has always held a special place in my heart and my soul. This weekend will be my first Father's Day without him and I miss him. So for him, a little taste of calypso with Harry Belafonte..

"Jamaica Farewell"

Thanks Jen, so much fun.

Jen Kehl

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Little About A Lady We Lost

Tonight I am incredibly sad. The world has lost a dear soul, a sweet woman, and a diehard Yankee fan.

Her name was Millie and she was my ex-mother-in-law. She was arguably the best mother-in-law on the face of the earth. From the first time we met, which was a spur of the moment visit to her home, she was gracious and non-judgmental. I remember her saying to me as I left that night, to be sure to come back again. I did, and in fact never lost touch with her life through the last twenty-something years.

She loved life, even as much of it was hard for her. A widow with three young children while in her thirties, she raised them all, and raised them well. She loved being on the go, loved a good party, loved being with people. For most of the time I was in the family, she worked in Manhattan and she loved the city. In the mid-80's when her daughter and I wanted to see Springsteen, she stood in line to get a bracelet which entitled you to get a ticket. Then she returned to get the tickets. She was as much at home going to a James Taylor concert as she was a Broadway play.

Everyone loved her. She was just... Mil.

Please extend me a little slack with the song I'm using tonight, I'm taking a little poetic license with the lyrics. Really, it's just about the title and the feeling.

A beautiful song for a beautiful lady. From the Commodores and Lionel Richie, "Three Times a Lady."

Easy Journey Mil.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Mother, Mother: There's Too Many Of You Crying

It's a rainy day. Right now there's a storm coming through as we wait for the remnants of Hurricane Andrea to drench us with around four inches later today. Let's just say, in a sunny mood...  I am not.

I haven't had time to play the 100 Word Song Challenge in a few weeks, which kinda pissed me off because there were some good song choices to work with. So being today is gloomy, in more ways than one, it's time to go over to my dark side, though not too dark this week.

This week's tune was picked by Lance himself, all inspired and shit from his recent vacation to D.C., and who could argue with the greatness and political importance of the tune. From the genius that was Marvin Gaye, this week's song is "What's Going On?"

Released in 1971, it was the title track from Marvin Gaye's eleventh studio album, and it showed a different side of his writing. The concept album dealt with the Vietnam War; those coming home from it and those who never returned. It showed Gaye moving into an area of social consciousness, and it is ranked as one of the greatest albums of all time. The title track sets the tone.

The task of the 100 Word Song is to write something inspired by the title, lyrics or feel of the song, in exactly 100 words.

"What's Going On"

He was the center of the vortex, with flashes of his life spinning around. Slowing… he would catch a glimpse: Rielle in the sunshine, twin brother Tom in his cap and gown, the training, the desert, the explosions. Matt saw it all in vivid color.

His mind told him he was asleep; Matt knew it was something else. A place somewhere between heaven and hell. A place where your soul protects you from reality.

Aware of the bed beneath him, and the beeping sound of the machine taking his vitals; Tom opened his eyes and saw nothing.
“What’s Going On?”

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Oklahoma, Where the Wind Comes Whipping Down the Plain

We got up to the lake without battling too much Friday traffic. After having something to eat, I settled down to catch up on all the online stuff, and to watch the Yankees-Red Sox game. Now after losing four straight games to the nearly last place Mets, I was hoping for a little redemption by kicking some Boston ass.

Not much later I began to see the tweets coming out of the Midwest. Tornado warnings, flash flood warnings, and much of it was centered over Oklahoma, more specifically, not too far from Moore, site of the mass devastation less than two weeks ago. More and more, the tweets took on an ominous feel. I turned off the game and put on The Weather Channel. Word was coming across that one of their vans, with the crew inside, was picked up by one of the three tornadoes currently on the ground, and was thrown 200 yards into a field. The distance was later revised to 200 feet, but does it really make a difference? When they showed the van, I thought it had been a car... that's how flattened the roof had become.

The crew all survived, battered and bruised, but alive. A mother and child trapped in their car, were not as fortunate. As of this morning, there are five dead, and after watching the footage of the tornado clouds forming, and hearing the reports from the stormchasers, I can't believe the count is not higher Some areas received 11 inches of rain creating flash flooding.

Why Oklahoma has been chosen as the official poster child of this year's tornado season, is not something to which any of us have an answer. And while the rest of us will go through this first day of June enjoying a weekend full of enjoyment, so many people in the Midwest will be trying to pick up their lives.

As many of you know, I write a couple of columns a week over at sprocketink,com. It's a site where we take the news of the day and give it a sarcastic, snarky spin. After the Moore tornado, one of the founders of the site wrote about it. However it wasn't sarcastic, it wasn't snarky. What it was, was a first-hand account of someone living 25 miles away from Moore. It's very worth your time to take a read.

It's called Crutches and read it here:

Now spend a minute or two of your day holding some good thoughts for a lot of good people who seem to be caught on nature's Merry-Go-Round, and be thankful you're not riding on it too..