Best of 2016 – Ryan Adams

This just squeaks in for inclusion in my end-of-year look-back, since Adams just released this a few days ago.  This one’s actually a look ahead, though, since Ryan Adams’ new album, Prisoner, won’t be out until Feb 2017. “Do You Still Love Me?” sounds very Tom Petty-ish, but that just makes me love it more.

Love and kisses.

The Crane Wife, 10 Years Later

When I first heard The Decemberists, it had to be on the overhead play at Borders. Bits of Picarasque and The Crane Wife album were played piecemeal, between cuts from Jim Brickman, Enya, that infernal Celtic Woman album, and other muzak-pablum for the brain-dead shoppers.  Colin Meloy’s voice annoyed me, and I wanted it to stop. Until I loved “O, Valencia!”

The seeds of love were sown in that song, but I still didn’t pay the band much attention in the next couple of years; nevertheless, “O, Valencia!” was still there on overhead play while I straightened shelves and worked the customer service desk at my favorite book chain ever.  I cheered up every time I heard that song. Once I swear I danced around the music section during the chorus of that song while I was shelving cds, hoping nobody would notice.  In 2009, I fell hard for The Hazards of Love, and I’ve been a fan of The Decemberists ever since.

The band has released a 10-year anniversary edition of The Crane Wife, so I’ll be listening to it in its entirety on Spotify. I love the whole thing, but I can’t promise I won’t dance around the house when the fourth song plays. (Yeah, it’s “O, Valencia!”)

Love and kisses.

Best of 2016 – Gary Clark, Jr.

Guitar great Gary Clark, Jr. didn’t release a new studio album this year, but his song “Take Me Down” appears on the soundtrack to Mark Wahlberg’s film “Deepwater Horizon.”

The song is background for a slideshow at the end of the film, which features images of the 11 men who died in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The lyrics seem appropriate and respectful: “Oh, take me down south when you take me home, Lord.”

Love and kisses.

 

Best of 2016 – Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop

I’m going to end the year with a bang and post a favorite song from the year every day. Some you’ll be familiar with, others not so much, and this is not really a countdown. Let’s just say I love these all equally, and I hope that you will enjoy them equally.

First, here’s Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) and Jesca Hoop with “One Way to Pray.” Here, they perform live at the infamous KCRW public radio from Santa Monica College.

Love and kisses.

Wayback Wednesday

Back to the summer of 1966…

I’ve been avoiding The Beatles for too long, probably because, hmmm, who doesn’t like or know The Beatles? (Well, lots of people dislike them and try to tear them down, but I simply ignore that. Ahh pity the FOOL!)

Though 1964 and 1965 were the prime years on the charts, The Beatles still racked up 6 hit songs on the Billboard Top 100 in 1966, one of which reached #1 in June of ’66 (“Paperback Writer.”)  This one also charted in 1966 and stayed there for 7 weeks, but its highest position on the charts was at #23.

The video is sort of fuzzy, but here’s George introducing “Rain,” adding that they may have invented MTV. (a stretch, George.)

Love and kisses.

“Sorrow”, Four Ways

David Bowie was no stranger to cover songs, and the Pin Ups album consists entirely of covers.  Sometimes when I hear Bowie’s covers, I deceive myself into believing that they are his songs: he was just that good at injecting his own style and personality into the work.

I recall seeing a taped performance video of “Sorrow” on “The Midnight Special.” That entire episode was Bowie, but the thing that always stood out to me was that song. He oozes high art as he struts around the set in that white suit, the high-fashion makeup, and the what amounts to a fluffy, stylized, red mullet. You simply cannot take your eyes off him.

 

But this was at least the second cover of this song.

The McCoys released “Sorrow” in 1965, with Rick Derringer singing lead. The pace of the song is the same, but this original version included a harmonica. I like this one, too.

In 1966, The Merseys had a UK #4 hit with their cover of the song, which is more up-tempo and more produced than the McCoys’ original, with horns replacing the harmonica of the original recording.

Honestly, I like all three of these versions, but Bowie’s stands out. He picked up where the Merseys left off, using a horn instead of a harmonica, but his vocal wins. But, the cool thing is that I really don’t HAVE to pick one over the others, and I can enjoy all of them.

BONUS: While reading up on the song, I came across one more cover, but this time a female sings. It’s from The Prissteens, a 90’s band consisting of three women and one guy (the drummer.) This one’s more punky and the lead singer’s voice kind of reminds me of Courtney Love. No horns or harmonica; just some awesome guitar.

Which one do you like best?

Love and kisses. And lots of “Sorrow.”

 

Wayback Wednesday

You can’t do a musical tour of 1965 without a nod to one of the biggest runaway hits of the year, The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” It did not receive that parent stamp of approval, probably because of all of the hoo-hah over the sexy lyrics. (Really? I see the deeper meaning here when I pay attention to lyrics…TO A POINT. hahaha)

Anyway, yeah, I was a Beatles girl, and back in the day, it was a Beatles/Stones thing. I don’t know who created that, but it sunk in early for me. The Stones seemed darker, angrier, and more gritty, and I was not yet ready for that.  Of course, now I appreciate the very things that turned me off when I was a happy-go-lucky kid. Now I’m both a Beatles girl and a Stones girl.

Gotta love that fuzzy guitar and the vague attempt by Mick to keep in sync with the soundtrack.

Love and kisses.