9.18.2020

The Rascals “It’s a Beautiful Morning”

 


It's a beautiful song, too. Lyrics, singing, arrangement, even the message and attitude -- get up and tackle your day with energy and positivity and thoughts of what is possible, and you know, sunshine and being outside is good for ya -- is spot on.

8.20.2020

Gladys Knight and the Pips “You’re The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me”

 


Top notch production, song writing, and execution, but I would ask you to pay special attention to the lead vocals by Gladys Knight, at high volume. She shows a full range of power, emotion, richness and texture, with subtlety and tenderness, that for me is simply one of the greatest vocal performances in popular music history. 

She not only has a great voice, she knows exactly how to use it, which is really what separates great singers from the pack.

Listen once, twice, three times on a loop, and see if you don’t agree. 

8.09.2020

Muscle Shoals documentary


 SO much great music, over so many decades, this is a MUST watch

8.06.2020

Don Williams “It Must Be Love” and “Tulsa Time”



If you have never explored Don Williams catalog, you really should.

“Tulsa Time” a J J Cale classic also done by Eric Clapton.


7.27.2020

The Carpenters “Top of the World”



Put on a good set of headphones, turn it up a bit, and take a good listen to the magic that is Karen Carpenter’s voice. 

Pop music as a style of music has always seen a lot of pretty average singers elevated by quality of material or top notch production or crack studio musicians. Much of it is pleasant but — especially for older material — only memorable because it is nostalgic to you as a reminder of a time and place from your past.

This is not that. This is one amazing singer backed by quality of material and top notch production and crack studio musicians. This is the pinnacle of what pop music is capable of. This is amazing stuff. 

Like so many who came of age musically during the late 60s and 70s, I heard their first few songs and liked them and recognized how unique they were, but I was only 11-12 years old and so my discernment capabilities were under-developed. Just another bunch of Top 40 songs on WLS or WCFL in Chicago, to my ears. 

Over the years as I stretched my likes to include a wider variety of music, most of it much more muscular — think Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Ted Nugent, etc. — pushing The Carpenters to the back of my mind, as they were granted no credibility by the critics and other snobs who deem as useless garbage anything with impeccable production values, a tune and a pretty voice. I was one of those snobs. I was too cool to like The Carpenters. 

Some time later I realized that was a stupid attitude, and if you just open your ears and hear, how simply beautiful her singing is, like a sip of cool water when you’re thirsty. This song is one of the main ways I rediscovered.the beauty and simple power of well-conceived and well-executed pop music.

7.26.2020

Six String Soldiers “Amarillo By Morning”



This band is pretty good and they play all kinds of music, check out their YouTube channel if you like string bands as much as I do.

6.04.2020

Gordon Lightfoot “Cotton Jenny”


You may think you know all the Gordon Lightfoot stuff worth hearing — but I’ll bet you don’t.

This album, just for starters, is chock full of energetic and tuneful folk music, and for me it’s better than his U.S. hits. And it sounds even better on headphones in true stereo.

Worth digging into. Start here. Turn it up.

5.25.2020

Honor the Fallen


Memorial Day is the main reason I fly a flag 365 days a year and keep it lit up at night. 

What do you do?