Friday, May 31, 2013

Dawes "From A Window Seat"

We saw Dawes at Newport Folk a couple of years ago.  I didn't get to see them close up, but they were playing in earshot of the mvy Command Center, where we were streaming the Festival live, and I thought they sounded really great.

Months later, when we got the single "Time Spent In Los Angeles," honestly, I thought it was a little boring sounding.  I chalked up the difference---between the concert and the recording---to the idea that maybe they were just one of those bands where seeing them live was the thing, and I wasn't going to be impressed by the record.

The second single was "A Little Bit Of Everything," and this single had more to sink your teeth into.  It still wasn't really anything (musically) that I hadn't heard before.  No new ground being broken.

But after several listens, I became impressed with this very unusual trick that songwriter Taylor Goldsmith is able to pull off.

He tells 3 stories, each about a person who has loss, trouble, doubts and hope.

No new ground being broken there.

Story about a jumper on a bridge?  It's been done.  Man who lost his son?  Newlyweds with questions?  Pretty standard stuff.

But here's what strikes me about the song.  Goldsmith manages to walk right up to a cliche, and then turn it around before it lands.  He doesn't do something as fancy as flip it on its head, or comment on it ironically.

Instead he simply states that these stories are much more complex that the cliches suggest, and that the existence of complexity in thought and daily life is a simple fact.

And this song and its stories, which seem like they could be a little pat, ring with a greater level of depth.

I was impressed with the trick.  But I didn't expect it to be repeated.

On first listen, Dawes' first single off their new record "Stories Don't End," to me, wreaked of a shortage of ideas.

A song about riding in an airplane?  And he even mentions taking about his notebook and writing a song?

And yet, after dozens of listens, I still find this song pretty intriguing, from the evocative images of the flight attendants' "dance" to the million swimming pools.

Again, he poses a number of existential questions, but doesn't do the cliche thing.

He doesn't try to answer them.

AND, he doesn't say these questions are in-answerable. 

Instead he seems to say that the answers are there, whether we choose to seek them or not.

By not putting his finger right on what he's getting at, he gives us something a little more elusive and real.

He's doing it, by not doing it.

It's a good trick.

Hear "From A Window Seat" on Youtube.

Hear "A Little Bit Of Everything" on Youtube.

Hear "Time Spent In Los Angeles" on Youtube.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vampire Weekend "Unbelievers"

I write a lot of about this new single or that new single, and talk about the record label's strategy for using it, or MVY's reason to play it or not play it.

And I think, unintentionally, I present the single in the way that many people view it---as something picked by a corporation for maximum market value, to be forced upon radio stations and the listening public.

But the reality is, we don't have to use the single as the song we will play off any record.  We could pick another tune.  There are reasons to not do that, which is a thought for another post.

I did want to point out that choosing a single is often a more organic process that cynics may realize.

Take Vampire Weekend.

Their new record is the Number One album in the country, and their first single "Diane Young" is a Top Ten song on the chart that MVY reports to.

(You can see the chart here.  Scroll down.  MVY is part of the 2nd chart, called the "Triple A R&R/BDS Indicator Chart").

But we didn't play it, because, sonically, it wasn't a good fit for us.

There are somewhere around 50 stations on that chart, but only 37 are playing "Diane Young."

Some stations are probably the kind that would never play Vampire Weekend.  And other stations are probably like MVY, who just found the first single to be a little hard-edged for what they do.

A handful of stations, now including MVY, are playing a different Vampire Weekend song, "Unbelievers."

Some are like MVY, who wanted to support the record, but not the single.  Others were huge supporters of the first single, and have already played it so much that they didn't want to wait for a second single to keep going with the record.

Suddenly an organic groundswell of support appears for "Unbelievers," and the label takes notice.

Without having to pick it themselves, they can actually use this as a promotional pitch to other radio stations to encourage them to pick it up:  "We didn't even put this out as a single.  Stations just started playing it."

And so sometimes a second single is simply chosen by the people who are listening to the record.

Hear the song on Youtube.

The Clash "Hitsville UK"

When I was young, I remember this rumor going around that one of the actresses on "Night Court" was the woman who sang with Meatloaf on "Paradise By The Dashboard Light."

It was a subject of great debate, and great consternation.

We'd watch the music video, and some would say, "This girl doesn't look anything like the girl on 'Night Court.'"  Others would say, "Sure it does.  She's just got different hair and makeup."

And that's about as far as you could take the argument in 1985.

On Monday, I was hanging out with my wife and her brother and his girlfriend, talking about music and such, as we tend to do.

My wife asked, "Who was the woman who sang with Meatloaf on 'Paradise By The Dashboard Light'?"

"It's the woman from 'Night Court'!" I chirped.

"No.  That can't be."

"Not Markie Post.  The one before her."

"Really?"  My wife got out her phone.  "Let me look it up."

About 30 seconds later . . .

"Ellen Foley."

"And click through.  She was on 'Night Court.'"

"Wait," said my brother-in-law.  "Ellen Foley.  I know that name . . . She's the one that sang with The Clash."

"What?  That can't be."  This time it was I who was disputing.

"Yeah!  On 'Sandinista.'"

My wife continued to click through.

"He's right."

Yes, Ellen Foley was on the first 2 seasons on 'Night Court.' 

She also sang the duet with Meatloaf.  But that's not her in the music video---hence the confusion.  Karla Devito lip-synchs Foley's part for the promotional clip.

And yes, Foley was girlfriend to Mick Jones of The Clash.  She sang on "Hitsville UK."

And, some people say (though Mick Jones has dismissed the claim) that "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" was about their rocky relationship.

All this, in less than a minute.

I like living in the internet age!

Hear "Hitsville UK" on Youtube.

Hear "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" on Youtube.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Eric Clapton "Every Little Thing"

I get nice feedback from listeners about some of my on-air storytelling.

Once or twice a day, during a live break on the air, I'll step away from promoting MVY things (other shows, contests, etc) or talking about the music, and instead talk about something from my personal life.

Occasionally, I'll tell a story about my kids.  Something funny they said.  Some humorous conflict we had.

When I meet people out in public, many will say, "I love it when you talk about your kids."

And I do it for a reason.  The stories are usually designed to be universal.  If you've ever had a kid, or if you ever were a kid, you'll find something real and familiar within what I'm conveying.  As a DJ, I'm trying to make a connection.

But I am very, very careful to limit the number of times I do this.  Once or twice a week, tops.

Because nothing is more annoying than a person who talks incessantly about their kids.  Nothing is more cloying than someone constantly forcing "life lessons" upon you, via their so-wise-for-their-age! children.

We love kids and the cute things they do and the sweet way they do it.  But we don't want that in our face every day.

And that's my hesitation with the new Eric Clapton song.

It's an amiable enough piece of mid-tempo pleasant Clapton.  And hey, I understand the desire to put out a second single that is more commercial and middle-of-the-road, after the completely kick-ass, spot-on rock of the first single "Gotta Get Over."

I'm with the track most of the way through, until it returns to the chorus late in the song.

The background singers who've been repeating "Every little thing/Every little thing" throughout the song, have been replaced.  By children.

And they're singing "Every little thing you do is beautiful . . ."

The first time I heard it, I thought, "That's cute.  I guess."

By the second time I heard it, I was already sick of it.

Could I imagine having it in rotation on MVY for the next few months?

Ugh.  Nope.

I love my kids.  I like your kids.  Kids in general are great.

But no one wants to hear about them every day.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Camp "Century Plant"

So I'm hosting The Hot Seat tonight, and I'm doing something overly complicated.

Usually for The Hot Seat, you pick a theme and fill the hour with songs on that theme.

Over the course of the year, I keep notes on things that I think are good possible ideas for Hot Seat themes.  Here are a couple I have considered.

Songs that spell things out (like R-E-S-P-E-C-T).

Great hidden tracks of albums.

Rock artists that improbably threw rap into one of their songs.

They all sound like interesting ideas to me, but none of these themes were ever made into full shows, because I couldn't find an hour's worth of good songs on the subject.

So tonight, instead of having one theme, I'm doing ALL of them.  Four mini-Hot Seats, using each of the three above themes for 15 minutes.

The fourth theme (the last 15 minutes) is the one that I feel like will take me a whole hour to explain.  But here goes:

Songs that appeared in movies about bands that were presented in the film as an original song but was actually a previously released tune written by a famous artist.


Okay, maybe an example makes it more simple.

Remember that Michael J Fox movie "Light Of Day" where he and Joan Jett had a bar band?  And they sang a really catchy rocking tune that they wrote?

You may remember that "Light Of Day" was actually a song written by Bruce Springsteen.  He hadn't written it for the film or anything, but he hadn't put it on an album yet, so in the movie, it could seem like an original by the fictional band.

Okay, so songs written for movies don't count.  "That Thing You Do"?  Doesn't fit this theme.

Or that Gwenyth Paltrow movie where she sings karaoke with Huey Lewis?  No, those songs are not being passed off in the film as originals.  So that doesn't fly.

A good example of something that works would be the movie "Velvet Goldmine" which is a Rock N Roll story featuring fictionalized versions of David Bowie and Iggy Pop.  The fictional bands in the movie do songs that are presented as originals, but are actually Roxy Music and Stooges songs.

My favorite example, one that I'll be featuring tonight, comes from a great little indie flick called "Camp."  Camp (featuring a very young future Oscar nominee, Anna Kendrick) precedes the TV show "Glee" by several years, and works on the same theme---kids who are awkward and just want to sing.  It's set in a summer camp, instead of high school.

Part of the storyline is around the campers getting to meet a famous playwright/musician, who hasn't had success since his debut musical.  Near the end of the film, the kids rally around this flagging icon, and sing one of "his" songs.  What a pleasant surprise it was to hear the kids launch into a sweet Victoria Williams song called "Century Plant."

As you can see in the video, the music and lyrics are presented as written by a character in the film, but are actually from a song released many years prior.

That's the 4th theme.

Hey, that only took me 374 words to explain it!

Join me tonight at 9pm ET, to hear my half-ass mishmash of a Hot Seat!

Hear the song on Youtube.

Victoria Williams has two songs in tonight's show.  "Crazy Mary" has spelling in it.  The Hot Seat will feature the Pearl Jam version, but here's Vic singing it, as well has her "Century Plant."

Hear Victoria Williams on Youtube.

Movie trailer for "Camp" on Youtube.

Movie trailer for "Velvet Goldmine" on Youtube.

Movie trailer for "Light Of Day" on Youtube.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Y&T "Summertime Girls"

Here's another Weekend Post:

. . . and if we're going to talk Summertime, hair metal/pop, WBCN songs of the 80s (as I did with yesterday's post), then I should pull out this one too.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bang "Summertime"

Here's another Weekend Post:

Welcome to the Summertime season . . .

Sometime in my teenage years, I called up WBCN and requested this song, which had been a hit the previous summer.  The DJ reacted with a little bit of surprise.  A tone that suggested that I had asked for something that interested him.  He played it.  I felt like I had done something right.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rickie Lee Jones "Weasel And The White Boys Cool"

I was watching my 3 year old.  And I was listening to MVY.

My 3 year old was using the family iPad mini.

We'll use it on long car trips, for movies for the kids.  We keep our family calendar on there.  And the kids are allowed to use it as a treat.

My wife has purchased a number of Apps that are good for learning and for art (so we're educating them without them knowing!).  And they like to watch PBS Kids videos.

I was watching my three year old deftly maneuver the touch screen, jumping from App to video and back, as natural as can be.

And then, I watched him take all the desktop shortcuts for all the Apps he uses, and drag them into a single folder.  Next, he took all the shortcuts for things he doesn't care about (like the mvyradio App, for one), and collect them all into another folder.

He's three.

And he'll grow up never knowing a world that didn't have touch screens.

Rickie Lee Jones came on the stream.  "Weasel And The White Boys Cool."  And a lyric stood out to me.

"Weasel ain't got a dime for the phone."

My son will grow up in a world where this line makes no logical sense.  How would one put a dime into a smartphone?

Then I starting thinking, Would my boy ever even hear a song from Rickie Lee Jones?

Rickie Lee's debut record came out 30 years before he was born.

To put that in perspective, I looked up the biggest hit from 30 years before I was born.  It was Perry Como's "Some Enchanted Evening."

If this were an SAT Test, then:

Rickie Lee Jones is to my 3 year old, as Perry Como is to me.

Suddenly, I feel old.
Update: 8:46am

High School friend Doc Brown points out my lousy math on Facebook.

So . . . let me revise.  One of the biggest hits of 1939 was Glenn Miller's "Moonlight Serenade." 

Now I'm really feeling F-N old.  Thanks, Doc!

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mavis Staples "Can You Get To That"

I don't know if we've ever had this happen before.

Rewind the clocks back to winter.

As mentioned a number of times before, there are very, very few new songs released from November through the middle of January.  The record industry slows down before Christmas, then shuts down for the holidays.  New albums don't start appearing until the year is well underway.

But in this period, we will want to be adding new songs to rotation, and it becomes a great opportunity to go back to songs we've missed, or add some personal favorites that we might not otherwise have room for.

The Living Sisters' cover of Funkadelic's "Can You Get To That" was one of those songs that was in my iTunes rotation, and I never wanted to clear it out.  Despite the fact that the song never gained any traction or appeared on any charts or garnered much notice, I kept it among the songs to be considered for rotation on MVY.

And one day this winter I pulled the trigger.

We got a nice response from folks who knew the original and liked the quartet's take on it.  And we got interest from people who weren't familiar with the original, but simply enjoyed the gentle groove.

It's been on the playlist for a couple of months now, and was nearing the end of its run.

Then a funny thing happened.  Mavis Staples released a cover of the same tune.

Staples much anticipated follow up to the "You Are Not Alone" album isn't due out until later this summer, but because she is again working with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, interest is high.

And what an inspired choice for a first single!

"Can You Get To That" is a great 70s groove.  A song you rarely hear today.  A nice nugget from the past.  And Mavis' version is such an inspired, refreshing choice of songs to cover.

Or, it would seem so, if you haven't been listening to MVY.

For MVY listeners, I wonder if people will hear the new Mavis version, and ask "Why are they playing a different version of the same song?"

It would have been a weird choice for the record company to release this cover, IF The Living Sisters' version had been a hit.  But, as far as I know, mvyradio is the only station in the country playing that version in regular rotation.  So this cover will be a nice surprise/recall to the 70s version, for many non-MVY listeners.  But kind of a weird choice for us.

We're going to retire The Living Sister's version, and start playing the Mavis version.  And her album "One True Vine" will be out later in the summer, and we'll likely be one of the first stations to get off the first single and go on to a second.

Hear the Mavis version on Youtube.

Hear The Living Sisters version on Youtube.

Hear the Funkadelic version on Youtube.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Johnny Cash "I Walk The Line"

There was this girl that I had a huge crush on . . .

Okay, let me stop right there and point out that there are many many entries of this blog that start with some form of that last sentence.  But I don't think I've ever written about this girl before.  It's true, I had a lot of crushes on a lot of girls in my day, but never did I pull of a coup such as this.

It all started 7 years prior, somewhere circa 1993.  I had met this girl at a business meeting and was completely lovestruck in the first 30 seconds when she said, apropos of nothing, "Would you like to hear my imitation of a moose?!"  I was utterly charmed.

I asked her out and, I dunno, something happened.  A miscommunication or something.  And it seemed like she blew me off.  I was crushed.  Not long after, I heard she moved West.

Seven years later, I was walking out of the grocery store and did a double-take.  There she was, walking into the store.

I quickly shoved my groceries in the car and went back in, to find that item I, um, forgot.  Yeah.  I forgot toilet paper.  So even if I tried to talk to her and she blew me off again, at least we'd have extra toilet paper at 7 Maples.

But she didn't blow me off.  She remembered me.  We chatted.  I played it cool.  I asked her what she was doing for work.  Told her that now that she was back in town, I'd see her around.

And then I stalked her.

Okay, not really stalked her.  I mean, it just so happened that my favorite coffee shop was right across the street from the office where she was working.  So I'd go there every day, and sit at a table and read a book and hope she'd come for a coffee break.  Or that she'd leave the office at the same moment I was leaving the coffee shop, so I could wave to her.

It did happen from time to time.

She was very friendly and warm, and she prolonged the conversations.  She seemed interested.  Right up to the point where I'd say, "So and so is having a party this weekend . . ." and she'd say that she had something going on.

One night on the town, I figured out where the resistance was coming from.  I saw her in a local bar with a nicely dressed, good looking dude.

Okay, so she's seeing somebody.  But I think she's still interested in me.  Because in all our conversations, she never mentions this guy.  I think I have a shot.

I needed to do two things.

I needed a way to get her to hang out with me, without it seeming like she was on a date.  Because if she was seeing someone, she wouldn't go out on a date.  But if it were just a night out---not a date---then she could say Yes.

Secondly, I had to pitch an irresistible line. And I found that line:

Hear the line, on Youtube.

Well, I didn't say "Hello I'm Johnny Cash" to her.  What I said was, "I have an extra Johnny Cash ticket, would you like to go?"

Now understand, this wasn't just a ticket to see Johnny Cash.  This was an opportunity to see him at The Carter Family Fold.

I'm sure you know the Johnny Cash story.  He married June Carter, who was a member of the famous Carter Family, known as some of the originators of what we call country music.  The Carter Family had a farm not far from where I lived in Virginia.  And on Saturday nights, they opened up their barn for concerts, usually featuring bluegrass and Old Time bands.  But June had a new album out, and she was putting on a concert, and Johnny, as well as their son John, were on the bill.  My friends and I scored 10 tickets.

Come with me and my friends to see what would perhaps be the last chance to ever see Johnny Cash (and yes, it turned out to be one of his last ever live performances)?

She couldn't say no.

And no unmentioned boyfriend in the world could veto an invitation like that.

We met up on the day of the show, and, as preplanned, my friends got into two four-seater cars, in two groups.  No room for anyone else in either of those cars.  That left two people behind.  Me and my non-date.

"We can take my car, I guess," I said, nonchalantly.

And that was my whole plan.  To be nonchalantly awesome.  

I had music by her favorite artist on the tape deck in my car.  I had racked up and road-tested a dozen stories to tell, just in case the conversation slowed.  I made her come up to the concession stand with me, and I bought her a 50 cent ice cream sandwich, which came off as wholesome and charming---all part of the plan.

The Carter Family Fold is literally a barn-like structure, built into a hill.  If you get there late, you can sit on the hillside and look into the open side of the barn.  But if you get there early, you can sit inside, because it's first-come, first serve.  And these are not Skybox seats we're talking about.  These were wooden benches, made "softer" because they had rug samples stapled to them.

We wanted to get there very, very early.  Mostly because we wanted to be close-up to Johnny Cash.  But yeah, it didn't hurt that this extended my non-date.

I was deftly managing to walk the thin line between date and non-date, quite well.  Being fairly awkward as a rule, telling myself this wasn't a date took a lot of the pressure off.  I was only off my balance once, when one of my friends made the crack to her about "PJ doesn't bring all his dates to a show like this."  I shot laser eyes at him to indicate: "THIS IS NOT A DATE."

Hours were passing and my material was running low, but The Plan was working.  I felt like I was winning her over.  And then . . .

"Hello, I'm Johnny Cash."

He was old and he was grey and he was hoarse.  But he was Johnny Mother-F-N Cash and he was standing right in front of us singing "Big River."  He was playing straight man to the ever hilarious June.  And when he ceded the stage to let her sing, he would sit on the bench in the back, and somehow, miraculously, cease to be "Johnny Cash."  Somehow, miraculously, he could turn that charisma off and become human again.  Only to fire it back up when it was his turn to absolutely slay the crowd by singing "Far Side Banks Of Jordan" with June.

When it was over and we exited The Fold, we, along with the crowd, shared in the buzz of knowing that we'd just seen something pretty special, we'd witnessed a moment in time that we'd carry with us for the rest of our musical lives.

The ride home with her was quiet, as was appropriate for the ringing in our ears, the winding dark Virginia roads, and the brilliantly starry, crystal-clear sky.

I was at peace, knowing that despite the many, many disappointments and failures I had had in my dating days, I couldn't have made this night any better.

We reached home, and I distinctly remember the sound of my car door shutting, as I walked her to her car.  And when I heard that sound, I knew it was over.

"Well, thanks," she said.

"That was amazing, huh?"

"Yeah.  It was.  Thanks again."

"We'll do it again sometime," I said, pitching it somewhere halfway between a question and a suggestion.

"Uh, yeah, yeah.  Of course."  The hesitancy had returned.

"I'll see you down the coffee shop."

But the magic of seeing Johnny Cash, live and in person, was never coming back, and neither was this moment with her.  She had a boyfriend, and the temporary effects of a Johnny Cash show weren't going to override that.

Sometimes, even when you walk the line perfectly, she's still going to end up on the far side banks from where you are.  No matter how awesomely nonchalant you walk it.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Hear "Far Side Banks Of Jordan" on Youtube.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Iron & Wine "Grace For Saints And Ramblers"

I love this tune, because it's one of those songs that, the more you listen, the more you hear.

From the well placed "Woo Ooh Oooh"s of the background singers, to the gentle use of jingle bells and hand claps, or the little horn punctuations that don't show up until the songs is more than half-way over, it's a cornucopia of tasteful delights.

And then you start to dig into the lyrics, which tumble out like a Dylan epic that feels both meaningful and obtuse.
There were washed out cars in our bark-old clothes
They were rubbing on each other, rubbing ghost on ghost
There were Jonesed-up punks and Jesus freaks
Weaving in and out of trouble, wrapping 'round and 'round a leash
There were sleepless dreamers, blues day preacher
The message and the messenger, the gun beneath the register
The sweet gum tree by the dug drop tank
We could never give enough to the bad-luck bank
There were hopeless sinners, sweepstake winners
They danced with the farmer’s daughter
Capered with the corporate lawyers
 What does it all mean?  I have no idea.

But I hope the Rock World catches up with the Rap World.

There's a site called Rap Genius, that allows users to "annotate" lyrics to songs, inserting meanings or explanations into phrases.  For instance, you can check out how Rap Genius explains what the heck LL Cool J is talking about in "Mama Said Knock You Out."

(Want to hear Bob Dylan sing that song?)

The good news is that Rap Genius has Rock songs on there.  But alas, no one has annotated "Grace For Saints And Ramblers."

If you have any answer, please, drop science like Galileo dropped the orange.

Hear the song on Youtube.

"Grace For Saints And Ramblers" is mvyradio's Album Of The Week tomorrow at 9pm ET.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Baz Luhrmann "Everybody's Free To Wear Sunscreen"

There was one line in the song "Everybody's Free To Wear Sunscreen" that I didn't understand, and knew I wouldn't, for awhile.

"The older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young."

I was 30 when the song came out, and not so far removed from my youth that this line would have resonance.

At 44, I'm moving into a different phase of my life, for sure.

I took the day off on Friday, to go to my old hometown of Newburyport.

My Mom was having knee replacement surgery that day, and I thought she, and my Dad, would appreciate it if her kids were there.

Everything went fine and by all accounts, the surgery was routine.

But it's a pretty major operation, that requires a boatload of drugs.  And back in her room, Mom was pretty out of it.

She asked me if I could feed her some ice chips, because her throat was dry but she was too weak to do it herself.

The setting, the sound of the equipment, and her state . . . well, it wasn't too hard to see this as a vision of things to come.

Mom is in decent health.  And as a former nurse, she's pretty on top of all check-ups and medical history and prevention and such.

At age 67, she could certainly be with us for decades to come.

On the other hand, it's not lost on me that her own mother, my grandmother, passed away at this age.  And certainly so many others in our life, have passed on at even younger ages.

Undoubtedly, I was in this reflective mood because the 2nd reason I was in Newburyport, was to go to a memorial service for Dean, the man who lived on the other side of Jefferson Street from us, when I was growing up.

I had seen neither my neighbor, nor his kids, in many years.  In fact, other than a brief conversation with them during the memorial for my own sister, it may have been a full 20 years since seeing them.

But while my Mom was in surgery, my sister Julie, Dad and I went to the graveside memorial, and to a small reception after.

And that's where I, for the first time, really felt the line, "The older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young."

Dean's first wife had died way back in the 80s, when I was a teenager.  Our families had been close before, but with the loss of their mother, our connection became even more important and impactful.  My mom, in particular, was there for Dean, and for the kids who had just lost their mother, in a way that's meaningfulness I could not have understood as a teenager.

The last time I saw them was at my sister's memorial, a few years ago.  We talked for several minutes, retelling funny stories about my sister and her somewhat wild youth, when one of Dean's children got a little teary-eyed and said, "Talking about Amy reminds me of my mother."

That's why I wanted to be there Friday.

I realized that for them, to see me and speak to me was to draw a straight line to their youth.  No doubt that the many spouses and children and co-workers and friends who were in attendance are much closer to them than I am.  But none of those people knew their Mom.

And in reverse, there is no one I have ever been closer to, than my wife.  We have shared so much, on the deepest, most meaningful level.

But even she doesn't have direct access to the part of me that was swung like a statue around and around on a grassy lawn by the older brother.  Or the part of me who collected driftwood on the Plum Island reservation, for a 2-family cookout on an empty beach just before sunset.  Or the part of me who thrilled in making a haunted house with the neighborhood kids in a basement.

There are the people who were there in your formative years.  And there are times in your life---particularly when contemplating, or confronting, mortality---when you need them.

"The older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young."

Hear the song on Youtube.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Mike Flowers Pops "Wonderwall"

Here's another Weekend Post:

Yesterday, I posted the serious side of 90s orchestral pop.  On to the goofy side . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are fun to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Eric Matthews "Fanfare"

Here's another Weekend Post:

You think of the 90s as the time of grunge and the emergence of rap-rock and such.  But there were a few folks doing the impeccable, Burt Bacarach-inspired thing, like Eric Matthews . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are fun to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ryan Adams "Goodnight Rose"

Nothing like a roomful of drunk geeks.

Or in this case, a roomful of drunk music geeks.

This week, Barbara Dacey is at the Non-Commvention in Philadelphia.  It's a gathering of radio folks from non-commercial stations and record company folks who promote bands that these stations might play.  And the labels bring bands who have new records to perform for this industry crowd.

What's it like?

It's been a few years since I've been to the Non-Comm, but the last time I was there was when Ryan Adams had his album "Easy Tiger" out.

I'm not sure if this was a period before or after Adams got sober, or what state of mind he was in at this point.  One could only guess, based on his stage presence.

He came out, to a packed and awaiting theater, filled mostly with excited industry/fans, and a large, lucky-feeling contingent of listeners.

He and his band, The Cardinals, took seats on the stage, sitting in a semi-circle, their chairs pushed as far to the back of the stage as possible, creating a gulf of hardwood between the band and the first row of concert-goers.

The lights on the stage were turned down as low as they could possibly go.

Adams himself sat in his chair, wearing a hoodie with the hood up.

And sunglasses.

And he also appeared to be wearing a shower cap.


He said nothing to the crowd for the entire show, except right before the last song, when he gave a fairly insincere, prefunctory sounding, "Thanks.  We're really honored to be here.  Good night."

He left the stage after he sang his last line, but before The Cardinals had completed the final song.

A forty minute set was over in 39 1/2 minutes.

Back at the hotel, in the bar, the debate began.

"Can you fucking believe that guy?  Rude!"

"What?  Were you listening?  They were amazing!"

It was true.  They sounded impeccable.

"But doesn't a performer have a responsibility to entertain? "

"Or at least be gracious?

"Or at a minimum, not show contempt for the audience?"

"You guys are hung up on bullshit.  He's there to play music.  And the music was incredible."


"That was a bullshit set."

And on and on it went like that.  Drunk people who do nothing but talk and think about music for a living, talking about something they could sink their teeth into.  And doing it while kinda drunk.  If you were on the inside, it was a blast.  If you weren't interested, it was probably intolerable and interminable.

That's what Non-Comm is like.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Girls Against Boys "The Diamond Life"

I've said it many times before, we're not here to play what we want to hear, we're here to play what you want to hear.

This was kind of a bummer, way back in the day.

When I started at mvyradio, you had your airshift, and that was pretty much it.  And during your airshift, you played the kind of music that people would expect to hear from mvyradio.

And you did not play songs that weren't a part of the playlist, just because you liked them.  At least not without repercussions.

Sure, you could go off the playlist, but that was the kind of infraction that was likely to get you in trouble with the boss.  If you did it, it was a clear act of rebellion.

That was a bummer, because, while all the DJs at mvyradio like the kind of music mvyradio plays, we all like lots of music that mvyradio would never play.

So there was never an opportunity to share your love of punk rock or hip hop or classic rock or roller disco or whatever.

Today, it's different.

Today, we have altered how we do business a bit.  Now, every DJ on the station has the chance to host The Hot Seat, during which you can play pretty much any style of music you want.  And we have shows like The Lunch Hour and Uncharted Waters for an opportunity to stretch.

Off air, there are even more opportunities.  We have the specialty show stream, where we can play 4 hours worth of Grateful Dead every week, or Barnes Newberry can dig into obscure folk songs of the 60s.

DJs can share things that they are excited about on Facebook or on a blog.

There is nothing stopping you from featuring a song you are excited about, somewhere, even if it doesn't fit into mvyradio's mainstream programming.

Which is why, now that I'm the boss, it is infuriating when one of the DJs goes off the playlist.

Back in the day, I understood why it would be upsetting for the boss to have a DJ go off the page---its the Program Director's job to protect the integrity of the station's sound---but I also sympathized with the DJ who was looking for a place for personal expression.

Now, if a DJ goes off the page, it's not an act of rebellion, or an act of expression.  To me, it's simply an act of total laziness and lack of imagination.  With all the opportunities available to share your music and your opinions, what other explanation is there?

Which brings me to this Girls Against Boys song.  I totally dug this band back in the 90s and was super-psyched to hear they are making new music.  But one listen tells me that this is not a song that we'd play in regular rotation.  It's even a pretty big stretch for a show like Uncharted Waters.

Now, I could put this tune in the What's New For Lunch slot today.  But I won't, because it doesn't serve the station.  That's why it's here on my blog.

So that's where I started.  By saying "I should do a post about Girls Against Boys!  What should I say?"

And it has turned into a post about all the reasons not to play Girls Against Boys . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

They Might Be Giants "Your Racist Friend"

All eyes were suddenly on me.  I had said that last line a little louder than I realized I guess, because the gears of the room had ground to a halt.  And I was the spanner in the works . . .

It was my house.  I didn't really know any of these guys.  And if I'd thought about it, I wouldn't have really cared if they liked me or didn't like me or whatever.  They weren't my friends.

They weren't my roommate's friends either.  Not if this is where we found ourselves.

Living in the farmhouse we called 7 Maples was, for me, a lovely continuation of my college years---free and unattached and late nights and drinking beer and having fun with friends.

As for my roommate and her friends, they were a few years younger.  College age.  So it wasn't so much a continuation, as, well, just the college years for them.

She knew a lot of guys.  And during breaks from college, when high school friends would come back to town, these college boys would show up at our place.  Presumably because they all still lived at their parents.

I think my roommate (in the minds of these guys) was kind of like the kid in the neighborhood that you didn't necessarily want to be your best friend, but, she had a pool.  So you hung out.

And that's how I came home to a dozen or so guys hanging around my living room, drinking beer and shooting the shit.  I stood in the doorway to the living room, observing, listening.  Nothing unusual.  Nothing I would have been upset about.

But I was protective of the roommate, and I could see this kid-with-the-pool thing.  I heard the way they talked to her.  Talked down to her.

I had heard many of these guys talk trash about her on other occasions.

And that put me off.

But when the racist jokes started, that's when things turned . . .

"What do you call a black guy who . . ."

"Please stop," my roommate meekly protested.

The joke teller paused for a split second, and kept going, even as their host was saying, "No, don't."

Buoyed by the laughter when the joke landed, and by the weak protest of their host, another guest offered a joke on the same theme.

"What do you call a black guy who . . ."

"Really guys.  Stop it.  I don't want to hear it."

But her protestations were only fuel.  The joke was delivered with more gusto.

It made me sick.

The racist jokes made me sick.  And the total lack of fucking respect for her made me sick.

A third jokester started.

"Okay, okay.  What do you call a black guy who . . ."


All eyes were suddenly on me.  I had said that last line a little louder than I realized I guess, because the gears of the room had ground to a halt.

"Enough," I said again, more gently.

And then I stepped out of the doorway and into the recesses of the house.  Half embarrassed about by outburst.  Half furious that I would have to make it in the first place.

I heard conversation slowly start again from the room.  But within 5 minutes, the crowd was excusing itself, and within 10 minutes, they were all gone.

It was the strangest thing.  I had never thought of myself as so powerful.  I cleared a room full of guys who could just as easily kicked my ass, with two short sentences.

Even stranger, was the way these guys reacted to me when they would see me around later.  Instead of hating, or even acting embarrassed, they did something I completely did not expect.

They respected me.

I was given some level of deference by these idiots, who so easily disrespected and steamrolled my roommate (and I'm sure many others), and instead was treated with a cautious respect.

It was a good life lesson.

I'm a pretty shy guy.  Not one to rock the boat, or broadcast strong feelings to a crowded room.

But this vignette gave me the confidence to speak up when necessary, and to even speak combatively.  And know it was actually more likely to win you friends than enemies.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mumford & Sons "Babel"

A long-ago friend of mine had a theory she called: The Dichotomy Of Fudge.

It basically goes like this:

You have some fudge in front of you so you have a square.  It tastes delicious.  Immediately, you want more.

So you eat a second square of fudge.  It is extremely rich and luscious.  Now your whole mouth is filled with the taste.

You can't resist a 3rd piece.  It seems kind of indulgent, but there's all this fudge on the table and it tastes so insanely good.

By the time you are eating that 4th piece, you can hear the voice in the back of your head saying, "Maybe I should not be eating so much fudge," by that voice is quickly drown out by the voice at the front of your head screaming, "FUUUUDDDDGGGGGGEE!!!!!!!!!!"

Before you've even finished the 5th piece, all goes quiet in your head, except for the words: "Uh oh," as a wave of nausea takes over and you think you might just be sick to your stomach and so you lie down on the couch.

The Dichotomy Of Fudge is that eating a piece of fudge makes you compulsively want to eat more and more fudge, but eating too much fudge inevitably makes you feel ill.

I bring this up because there is another Mumford And Sons single out.

A Mumford And Sons single, I suddenly realize, is a lot like a piece of fudge.  On it's own, in a single bite, it is a fun and joyous experience, and if I play a Mumford And Sons song, the audience automatically wants more.

But the more I play Mumford And Sons, the more likely it is that the listening audience becomes sick to their stomachs from hearing them.

I mean, the first Mumford And Sons record was the 2nd most popular album of 2011 on mvyradio.  And the "Babel" record was voted number one in 2012, by a long shot.  These records are passionately loved by the listening audience, so we have played the hell out of them.

As always, I point out that we have played them so frequently, not just because WE like them, but because that's what the audience wants to hear.

I'm looking at the National airplay charts and the new single "Babel" is starting to climb.  Other listeners in other cities are already asking for more fudge.

So what do we do?  Go with what the front of your brain is screaming ("MUUUUMMMMMFOORRRRRD!!!")?  Or listen to the voice that says, "That's enough fudge for now, mvyradio listeners . . ."?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Slaid Cleaves "Broke Down"

I don't know why I did this, maybe just a kid testing boundaries . . .

Back within my first couple of weeks on mvyradio, I was working hard to get up to speed on knowing some artists who'd never hit my radar.

I mean, I knew most of the folks on the playlist.  It's not like I was unfamiliar with Van Morrison or World Party.  But there were a few names, like Jon Poussette-Dart and Miriam Makeba, who were completely new to me.

There was a name on the playlist and I didn't recognize---Slaid Cleaves---and I wanted to make sure I pronounced it correctly.

But I don't know why I chose to ask the question to Barbara Dacey, thusly:

"Does his first name rhyme with 'plaid' or 'laid'?"

Due to the deadpan nature of my delivery, Barbara just looked at me, checking to see if I was screwing with her.

Unable to pin that down, she said, "Laid," and went back to doing whatever she'd been doing.

Why did I choose 'laid' instead of 'played' or 'afraid'?

Was I being a bit of a smartass?  Testing her boundries?  Having a little harmless fun?

In retrospect, I'm not 100% sure.  But it makes me smile every time I see Mr. Cleaves on the playlist.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Kostars "Red Umbrella"

Here's another Weekend Post:

Thinking about Luscious Jackson yesterday, reminded me of this lovely, under-appreciated side project from LJ members Jill and Vivian.  For those rainy, moody, Spring days.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are fun to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Luscious Jackson "Here"

Here's a Weekend Post for your Saturday Night Roller Derby Party!

And yes, this song once again makes the case that the "Clueless" movie soundtrack was one of the best of the 90s.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are fun to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Elvis Costello "Good Year For The Roses"

I played this song last week when I heard that George Jones had passed away.

Not growing up with country music here in the Northeast, I had no awareness of Jones’ music.  This Elvis cover was my introduction.

The song was part of a story of mine.

Back when I fancied the idea of writing short stories as a way to understand and explore my life, I wrote this story about how I had split with a girlfriend, had moved out, but was having trouble moving on.

In the story (as it happened in real life), as I’m moving out, she gives me a set of 5 coffee cups.  She had mail ordered a set of 6 cups but when one of the cups arrived broken, they sent her a full set as a replacement.  She gave me the incomplete set, and that’s all I really took from the relationship as I left.

In the story, I’ve left behind “The Best Of Elvis Costello.”  But I like to listen to "Good Year For The Roses" on her birthday/when feeling melodramatic:

“Or the lip print on the half filled cup of coffee that you bought but didn’t drink.  But at least you thought you wanted it, but that’s so much more than I can say for me.”

The story goes jumps forward in time to vignettes with various new girlfriends where, in each scene, a coffee cup breaks.  The story ends with me contemplating the fate of the last coffee cup, hopeful that when it does break, it will mean I am finally over the original girl.

So last week I played Elvis Costello’s version of “Good Year For The Roses,” and I thought about the girl and the story and young love and how sad I was in those years.  And I thought about the story, and something struck me funny.

In the story, I left behind “The Best Of Elvis Costello.”  I wrote that into the story, because I loved “Good Year For The Roses,” and because the lyric worked with the coffee cup plot device.

But in reality, I didn’t lose that record in the relationship.

No, in reality, I was always bummed that I had left behind my copy of “A Decade Of Steely Dan.”

So why the wistfulness at hearing Elvis Costello, if that part of the story was complete fiction?

I’d spent a long time writing this story.  Worked on it for months on end.  Told it and retold it and revised it and reshaped it.  To the point that the story was how I explained my feelings, with more clarity than the facts could have.

The story became the reality.

It's not what happened, but it best explained what happened to me.

And for a moment, I felt kind of like a songwriter.

The narrator of "Good Year For The Roses" (made famous by George Jones, but written by Jerry Chestnut) probably did get his heart broken by a woman.  But did he really see a lip print on a half-filled cup of coffee?  Probably not.  But that's what it felt like, to have his heart broken.  And maybe, forever more, if he saw a half-filled cup of coffee, discarded, he thought of his heart-ache, whether the original image was real or not.

So it makes some sense that I would listen to "Good Year For The Roses" and feel what I felt, even if it isn't attached to my actual story.

It makes more sense than feeling sad about "Peg."

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Treetop Flyers "Things Will Change"

I was talking with Sean, one of the independent record promoters I talk to on a weekly basis, about this song "Things Will Change" by the band Treetop Flyers, but the conversation quickly switched to a lengthy trip down a Stephen Stills road.

The band is named after a Stills song, and Sean mentioned that of the radio folks who knew the Stills song, many of them had said that "Treetop Flyer" was one of the most requested tunes at their station.

"Put me on that list, too."

Not only do we get frequent requests for this song, I can think of a few voices from the request line, who only request "Treetop Flyer."

It seems pretty odd that it's such a favorite.  Sean admitted that despite being a huge Stephen Stills fan, he was unfamiliar with the song until Ray Lamontagne name-checked it as the tune that inspired Ray to start singing.

But why is it such a listener/cult favorite?

One thought I put forth was that the album that it comes from is out of print.  As I mentioned in a previous post, if you wanted a new copy of the CD, you could find it on Amazon for $100.

But, Good News!  There's a new Stephen Still Box Set out.  The 4 disc set is about $45 bucks.

But, Bad News!  If you just want "Treetop Flyer" you can't have it.  Though you can buy most of the songs on "Carry On" as individual tracks on iTunes or Amazon, there are a handful that are listed as "Album Only."  Meaning they are only sold as part of the full package.

But I supposed 4 CDs for $45 is better than one CD for $100.

Anyway, back the original point . . . here's a band named after that Stephen Stills song, and they're pretty great sounding.  Enjoy!

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Patty Griffin "Ohio"

I was watching the new Patty Griffin video for "Ohio" which features Robert Plant, and was thinking back to seeing Plant two years ago.

It was the first time I had noticed how dang sexy Patty Griffin can be.

Now that we know they're a couple, it's funny to think back on that and realize that Robert Plant was probably thinking the same thing . . .

Hear more from Patty Griffin tonight, as we play "American Kid" as the mvyradio Album Of The Week.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fleetwood Mac "Sad Angel"

Barbara said something really funny on the air the day the new Fleetwood Mac single came in.

She was live on the air and said something to the effect of, "I haven't heard this new Fleetwood Mac single yet, but we're going to play it during What's New For Lunch . . . unless it's horrible."

Barbara had done a calculation that she and I and other DJs have done thousands of times before.  The equation is:

New song + Band's fame + audience anticipation + quality of song = We will/won't play this song.

For instance, a brand new song, by a band we and the audience have never heard of, must compensate by being a really superb tune to get played.

Or, a new song from Steve Martin & Edie Brickell (who are well known, but not quite music superstars) + high quality song gets a definite shot on the air, because audience curiosity is high.

And conversely, a new song by a superstar band, that the audience didn't expect to hear from, can get by with just an okay song, because again, the interest is really high.

I'm not crazy about this new Fleetwood Mac tune, but they haven't put out a new song in 10 years, and it's not horrible and the audience interest is really high.

Maybe it will grow on me and on the listeners and get a lot of airplay.

Or maybe we'll play it a lot at the beginning to let the curious people hear it, and then it will fade.

Who knew there'd be so much math in music?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Kidz Bop Kids "Hey Ya"

There was a creepy greying man in the toy aisle at Walmart, his arms filled with "The Littlest Pet Shop" figurines.  Mothers with young children gave him a wide berth, even skipping the aisle to avoid this man who was clearly some kind of pervert.  I, too, felt pretty skevved out by him.

And unfortunately, "him" was me.

Yeah, nothing makes a grown man feel like a creep, than having to shop for birthday presents for his elementary-school-aged nieces.  Hanging out, picking up various Barbies and their modern day plastic equivalents looks suspicious when you are an adult man on his own.

My sister's 3 children have Spring birthdays, so to save everyone in the family a bit of hassle, she just has one family party and we celebrate all three at once.  It's also near her husband's birthday.  And it's usually the weekend before Mother's Day.  And this year, the middle child was making her First Communion.

In short, there were a lot of presents to buy.

Now I got to feel pretty cool going to a Game Stop, to pick up the Super Mario Wii game that my nephew wanted.

And I only looked slightly out of place amongst the Moms and retired ladies that made up the bulk of the clientele at Marshalls.  My brother-in-law had asked for a "Sit-Up Mat" for his birthday.

"What's a 'Sit-Up Mat'?" I asked my sister.

"It's a manly looking Yoga Mat, I guess."

I dug through the bin of what they were calling "Fitness Mats" (that prominently featured a woman doing yoga on the packaging).  Under a pile of pink and mauve roll up mats, was a plain grey one.  Score!

But I was going to have to go to a legitimate toy place for the presents for my two nieces, who are elementary and preschool aged.

"They like anything Littlest Pet Shop.  And Cate like Beanie Boos."

I really wanted to spend my money at a local toy store, as opposed to a chain.  But why did it feel odd to be in there?

I was walking up and down the aisles, list in hand, just feeling weird.

What was unsettling about this place?

On the store's PA system, "Hey Ya" was on.  But it wasn't "Hey Ya."  It was a different version of "Hey Ya."

The song was probably over 3/4th over by the time this registered.  About the time where Andre 3000 usually sings "I don't want to meet your momma/I just wanna make you come-a."

Only, in this version, the singer just sang, "I don't want to meet your momma . . . " and just let the second half of the line hang there.

It was a cleaned-up version of "Hey Ya," made specifically for kids.  They had removed any overt sexual references, so children could enjoy the fun of the song, without being subjected to anything inappropriate.  When I got home to research it, I found there is a major market for this, with dozens of CDs produced each year, with "kid" versions of popular songs.

I had entered a Twee world.  Where things were neat and innocent and scrubbed of any inappropriateness.  And a childless adult male wandering through a twee world, is a little weird.

The last time I was at Disneyworld, my wife and I were thrilled to get in a line-up with our daughter, to have the chance to meet and have her picture taken with Ariel, the Little Mermaid (you know, an actor, dressed like her).  Our little girl loves The Little Mermaid.  But so did the guy in front of us.  He was probably in his late 20s.  He was alone.  He had a backpack that looked like stuffed animal.  And he was there to have his picture taken with The Little Mermaid.  He may have been a perfectly normal and nice person.  He didn't do anything overtly inappropriate.  But just the fact that he was in line to have his picture taken with The Little Mermaid was kind of creepy.

And that's how I felt at Walmart.

The local toy store didn't have what I was looking for, so I went down the road to Walmart.  Where the creepy bar is significantly lower.

And yet, standing in the particular toy aisle where everything is pink and made out of plastic and has huuugge "cute" eyes, I felt like one of those people you look at in Walmart, avert your eyes, and move just a little more quickly to get your discount stuff and get the hell out of there.

Maybe it was all in my head.  Maybe no one in the store gave a second thought to it.  Maybe the woman at the cash register wasn't judging me and my purchase of a "Littlest Pet Shop Sweet Delights Treat Truck Set."


I didn't want to ask the folks at the local toy store what CD they were playing, so I wasn't really sure what version of "Hey Ya" I was listening to.  This isn't exactly it, but it'll give you the idea, if you're not familiar with "kids versions."

Hear the song on Youtube.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sonic Youth "Bull In The Heather"

Here's another Weekend Post:

Since it's Derby weekend, I figured I should post a horse-race-betting tune . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are fun to revisit.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Mighty Mighty Bosstones "Hell Of A Hat"

Here's another Weekend Post:

It's Kentucky Derby Day, so I felt like I should post a hat song, just in case you're gussying up for a Derby party.  Hopefully, you're not also packing heat in a menacing manner.  Because you'd look pretty ridiculous doing that while wearing a floppy, flower-filled hat . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Super Secret Project "One For You, New England"

Here's another "I Looked At The Internet Today So You Don't Have To" feature.

If you are not from New England, this video is full of jokes that won't make much sense.

But if you did grow up around here, then this video will either make your day, or ruin it (by causing all these jingles to be caught in your head).

Hear it on Youtube.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Slide Brothers "Praise You"

I had The Slide Brothers CD in my hand and my eyes ran past the title "Praise You" without thinking too much about it.

Knowing that these veteran Slide and Pedal players came out of the Church and Gospel scene, it wasn't surprising to see a title like that.

But as I was scanning through the liner notes, I caught the name Norman Cook.

Norman Cook?  Fatboy Slim?!  THAT "Praise You"?

It's not so unusual for a song from one genre to migrate to another genre.

In fact, it's extremely common for a song to be refashioned for the dance floor.

It's not too often that songs flow in the other direction.  Off the dance floor and into another genre.

Oh sure, I suppose there's the Youtube thing, of taking song like "Crazy" or "Hey Ya" and stripping it down to an acoustic, singer-songwriter thing.

But converting a dance song into a Gospel (Rock) tune is a pretty interesting direction to take something.

And it sounds F-N great!

Hear The Slide Brothers on Youtube.

Hear Fatboy Slim on Youtube.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tedeschi Trucks "Everybody's Talkin'"

I was playing the live, Tedeschi Trucks version of "Everybody's Talkin'" the other day, and I had this thought cross my mind:

There are lots of very popular songs that originated in films.  But I can only think of two that originated in Rated X films.

Harry Nilsson's "Everybody's Talkin'" comes from what is probably the most commercial popular Rated X film of all time, "Midnight Cowboy."  It was a huge hit, and even a casual music fan knows it.

I thought of one other.

I'm sure you could complete the hook if I said, "Mah na Mah na," right?  Your singing it right now?

Most people know the song from its use on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show.  But, unlike so many weird and beloved songs out of Jim Henson's workshop, it was not written by the Muppeteers.

It actually came from a 60s Italian "Mondo" film, "Sweden: Heaven And Hell."

Piero Umilani scored the film.  How the gentle folks of 123 Sesame Street came upon it, I care not to guess.

But that's all I could think of.

Any other ones?  Famous songs that originated in Rated X films?

See the "Sweden: Heaven And Hell" trailer on Youtube.

Hear Tedeschi Trucks "Everybody's Talkin'" on Youtube.

Hear Piero Umilani's "Mah Na Mah Na" on Youtube.

See the original Sesame Street version of "Mah Na Mah Ma" on Youtube.