Monday, March 31, 2014

Candi Staton "I Ain't Easy To Love"

Candi Staton had a strange path to a mainstream comeback.

Her vocals from her 1971 song "He Called Me Baby" were sampled in 2009 for the One Eskimo hit "Kandi."

And with that attention, she's poised for a more traditional-style comeback---an album of new recordings, featuring some young supporters, including John Paul White of The Civil Wars and Jason Isbell.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Beavis & Butthead with Cher "I Got You Babe"

March 28th, 1994:

This cassette has been packed away for year, but I pulled it out, because it contains my debut as a radio DJ, 20 years ago today.

I've written plenty about how I ended up with a job in radio, and told a few stories about being a DJ on a Pop Station.

This first gig, at WABN in Abingdon, Virginia, was as the host of a nightly, call in Request Radio show.  And I've written about at before, here and here.

And I've even written about my very first time on the air.

But here it is.  Warts and all.  On a cassette.  (And in a stream, below)

All things considered, it's not too bad.  The mishap that happened off air is not heard on this tape.  And I very consciously was careful to say as little as possible on my first day, exercising great caution so as not of make a fool of myself.

I recall that after this first shift, Rita, one of the station owners taught me a very important lesson.

She drew on a piece of paper.  "What's this letter?"


"You pronounce it 'Double U.'  Not 'Dubya' or "Double-ya.'  The letter is two U's."

So on this tape, you can hear the one and only day that I went on the air and pronounced the "W" in "WABN" as "Dubya."  I have strictly adhered to Rita's correction for following 19 years and 364 days.

To this day, if I hear another DJ on the radio say "Dubya-MVY" it makes me crazy. 

I'm grateful to her, and her husband Craig, for the early guidance and shepherding.  I honestly had no idea that a little detour into a part-time radio gig would result in a 20-years-and-going career.

And certainly nothing on this tape would suggest a bright future.

So, if you can bear it, it's all here.  My first hour on the radio ever.  It's an hour of requests and dedications on a Pop radio station, with Dionne Warwick and Ace Of Base (and surprisingly, some Grateful Dead!), and yes, the hit of 1994-ish, Beavis & Butthead with Cher.


Click here to open a stream of my radio station debut, 20 years ago.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Paul McCartney "Let Me Roll It"

I went out on Tuesday night to see St. Paul And The Broken Bones at Great Scott in Allston.

Paul made a joke early on, that they only had one album's worth of material, and so they were going to have to pad the set with a few covers.

I wasn't too surprised when they launched into the Sam Cooke tune "Shake," as it fit right into their wheelhouse of classic soul.  Nor was it surprising that they ended the show with a cover of "Try A Little Tenderness."

I WAS surprised, near then end of show, at a pretty interesting cover choice:

Paul McCartney & Wings "Let Me Roll It."

It seemed like an usual, but fun choice for a retro-Soul outfit.

But it was particularly surprising for me, considering that the last band I went to see live, Lake Street Dive, also covered "Let Me Roll It" during their live show.

It's a great McCartney track, but I feel like its a bit of an obscure one.

Now, if you're over 45, you are probably offended by that.

But if you are under 35, like all the band members of both bands mentioned, then you weren't born when "Band On The Run" came out.  And "Let Me Roll It" isn't like (the song) "Band On The Run" or "Jet" which still get regular radio airplay.

If you didn't have an older sibling who owned the record, or didn't grow up to be a McCartney fanatic, "Let Me Roll It" is an easy one to have missed.

But now I've heard it two shows in a row.

Could this be a trend in my life?  I hope so!

Next week, I'm going to see Rocket From The Crypt in Boston.  Is it likely that a punk-with-horns reunion show will contain a cover of "Let Me Roll It"?  Well, it's as likely as a retro-Soul band doing it, I guess.

And what about the following show I have on my calendar?  Part of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, at Berklee Performance Center on May 3rd,  "Comedians Who Have Been On The Daily Show And Also Comedians Who Have Not."

Is it too much to ask that you perform "Let Me Roll It" on that night, John Hodgman?

Hear Paul McCartney's "Let Me Roll It" on Youtube.

Hear Lake Street Dive's version on Youtube.

Hear St. Paul & The Broken Bones do it live on Youtube.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Aloe Blacc "The Man"

While we're mostly singer-songwriter, acoustic instrument and roots based, MVY does love to mix in a little bit of Soul music.  Especially if it connects back to classic mid-to-late 60s artists like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke.

What about that next generation of Soul performers like Bill Withers or the Isley Brothers?

That question was asked by my wife, who loves this new song by Aloe Blacc and thinks it recalls the groove of songs like "Be Thankful For What You Got" by William Devaughn.  To her, it sounds like something MVY should have on its playlist (the Old School AND the New School).

I can't picture it, but maybe I'm wrong.  What do you think?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hindu Love Gods "Raspberry Beret"

A Throwback Tuesday post:

Warren Zevon had enlisted 3/4ths of R.E.M. as his backing band for the recording of the album "Sentimental Hygiene."  Somewhere during the recording of the album, the gang turned to recording a series of covers, including this one.

Usually these Throwback posts are tracks I haven't heard in ages, but I actually play this one a couple of times a year on my Live Acoustic And Covers segment, because 20+ years later, it's still fun.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Galactic with JJ Grey "Higher And Higher"

Two artists who can each lay down a dirty groove . . . together.

Too rocking for MVY?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Parkington Sisters "Inside My Head"

Radio is great for Theater Of The Mind.  But sometimes you just want a picture.

I mean, yes, as DJs we can actually engage the listeners brain more/better by saying "the purple elephant ran gracefully through the shopping mall" and allowing them to imagine it, rather than just showing them a Photoshopped facsimile.

That being said, we live in a multimedia world.  So sometimes it's good to share the visual.

I read a suggestion somewhere, that DJs using Social Media should approach connecting with the audience in the same way they might do a live break on the radio.

So we're doing some experimenting at MVY.

The video below is being posted on our Facebook page today.  It's a short promotion for our upcoming Monday Free CD, where yes, I tell a quick personalizing aside and then tell you how to win the CD, just like I would if I were doing a break on the air.

Hopefully this is more effective and engaging than just posting a Facebook status "Our Monday Free CD is from The Parkington Sisters!"

BTW, how cool and classy, to send a note just showing simple appreciation?  The world (not just the radio world) would be a better place if this kind of thing happened more often.

See the video on Youtube.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bambi "Let's Sing A Gay Little Spring Song"

Hopefully, you are celebrating the end of winter and the first day of Spring by singing a gay little song . . .

Here's to getting Twitterpated!

Hear the song on Youtube.

See the scene on Youtube.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Suzanne Vega "I Never Wear White"

I love that Suzanne Vega is in her 50's, and is still wishing to push the sonic boundaries of the Folk and singer-songwriter genre.  I surprisingly rockin' tune.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Redd Kross "Lady In The Front Row"

A Throwback Tuesday post:

Aahhh, some 90s Power Pop.  These guys knew what they were doing.

For fans of Fountains Of Wayne . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Chieftans & Brak "I'll Tell Me Ma"

Is it sad or funny that this is the first Irish tune I could think of, when I was trying to come up with something to post for St. Patrick's Day?

"Brak presents The Brak Album starring Brak" (he's a Space Ghost From Coast To Coast character, if you don't know) is full of delights.  And good on The Chieftains for playing along!

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Andrews Sisters "Ferry Boat Serenade"

You can walk into a grocery store, or department store, or restaurant, or just about ANY kind of establishment, and they'll be playing music on the overhead speakers.

There are a couple of reasons a business will do this.

Sometimes it's to "brand" themselves.  As in, "we're a hip store that listens to the hip music of today so buy our clothes."

Sometimes it's to set a pace.  Fast food restaurants typically play upbeat music, which may encourage folks to eat faster and therefore turn-over tables more quickly.  A fancy Italian restaurant may play slower, more romantic music, hoping to set a mood and encouraging you to order that one more bottle of wine.

Usually, though, the music is there in a public place to make the whole experience of being there a little more pleasant.  Pleasant music, along with pleasant aesthetics and even pleasant smells can elevate a person's perception of their visit.

I've thought about this recently whenever boarding one of the Steamship Authority Ferries.  Wouldn't a little music on the boat make the ride a more pleasant experience?

Now let me say that nearly 15 years after my first Steamship ride, my personal experiences with the SSA are overwhelming positive.  That being said, you don't talk to too many folks on the Island, who don't have a quip about the ferry service.

They have the overhead speakers---a whole soundsystem---in place.  Why don't fill the journey to the Island with a soundtrack?  Carly Simon's "Never Been Gone."  "Van Morrison's "Into The Mystic."  James Taylor's "Lighthouse."

I heard this Andrews Sisters song for the first time recently.  How have I traveled by ferry for 15 years, and never heard this once while cruising across Vineyard Sound?

Oh, I'm sure there's a good reason there isn't music on the boat.  They would have to pay ASCAP/BMI fees.  Someone would have to operate it.  With the boats running 18 hours a day, the song turnover would be maddening to the folks who spend all day working the ferries.

But it would make the voyage more aesthetically pleasant.

Alternate suggestion:  The SSA workers should bake a fresh batch of cookies for each ferry ride for an aesthetically pleasant-smelling boat ride.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pete Droge "If You Don't Love Me"

A Throwback Thursday post:

This would seem to go well with the old journal entry I posted 2 weeks ago.

From the "Dumb And Dumber" soundtrack, it's novelty-ish enough that I thought it would still be hanging around a bit, but I haven't heard it in ages.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Hold Steady "Spinners"

I love love love The Hold Steady, but, as always, programming the station isn't about what I like, it's about what fits the station's style and the listeners' expectations.

And this one is a little too rocking for us, I think.  Hopefully, when "Teeth Dreams" comes out, we'll find another track on the album that is a better fit for the station.

Meanwhile, this one fits ME just fine.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Big Audio Dynamite "C'mon Every Beatbox"

A Throwback Tuesday post:

"Sit tight and listen keenly, while I play for you a new musical biscuit."

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Elvis Costello "45"

When this song was out in 2002, I wondered if "45" meant 1945. Or 45 RPMs (like a record single).

Today I'll just imagine he's singing for my birthday.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Monkees "DW Washburn"

When I was a little kid, I was a HUGE fan of The Monkees.

Oh sure, the TV series had been cancelled years and years earlier.  But the show lived on in syndication.

And during the show, they would run commercials for this amazing, incredible, one-of-a-kind "Greatest Hits" LP.

It had all the songs I loved, plus many many more.

It seemed like the most colossal, important and special thing a Monkees fan could ever ever own.

It would make my life complete.

I pestered and pestered and pestered my folks to get it for me.  And they did.

I watched the mailbox every day for months for my package.

And it arrived.

I may have only been around 8 or 9.  But I was old enough to know that I'd been rooked.

The album cover was some very, very basic pencil drawings of the guys.  And the BACK of the album cover, which would normally list an album's songs, was just the same image repeated.  And it it was on cheap, cheap cardboard.

The paper sleeve was plain and you could find the song titles, written on the sticker.

But there was no gatefold.  No liner notes.  No song credits.  Nothing.

This spectacular spectacle of a once-in-a-lifetime collection, was as minimal as possible, and pretty darn cheap-ass.

That being said, the music was still great, and I got to know some fun deeper cuts like "DW Washburn." 

I wore out all 4 sides of "The Monkees" on my little record player, a bit wiser in the knowledge that while the music can move you, the TV is probably lying to you.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Siouxsie & The Banshees "Kiss Them For Me"

A Throwback Thursday post:

This song was written about Jayne Mansfield and named after a film she was in.  In the early 90s, it would have never occurred to me that this song would be popping into my head on a regular basis 20 years later.

Now that I'm a parent---and I'm doing the parent-thing of constant schedule juggling with my wife, to make sure one of us is with the kids while the other gets stuff done---I hear the phrase "kiss them for me" on a semi-regular basis.

Not what Siouxsie intended, but sweet nonetheless.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Yael Naim "New Soul"

When he said "Adele Hazeem" maybe John Travolta though he was introducing Yael Naim. 

(It certainly sounds closer to what he said than "Idina Menzel")

Hear the song on Youtube.

Hear John Travolta mispronounces Idina Menzel's name on Youtube.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Nine Days "Story Of A Girl"

 A Throwback Tuesday post:

It's probably taken you a good decade to forget this earworm . . . and now I've brought it back.  Enjoy it until 2024!

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Nickel Creek "Love Of Mine"

In the same journal that was mostly a month filled with angst, I went to my first Merlefest.

While much of what I wrote about for the Merlefest trip, had to do with the girl I had gone with (we had, in effect, a 2 day first date!), here's the big musical takeaway:

"Chris Thile will be the name to remember . . ."

That was April 2000.  And here I am 14 years later, thrilled to have seen Chris Thile, Sean Watkins and Sara Watkins, together and in other configurations another half-dozen times, with the promise of seeing them together again this summer when they come to Newport Folk. 

Hear the song on Youtube.