“Yester-me, Yester-you, Yesterday” – Stevie Wonder – “My Cherie Amour” (1969)

Dec 7
Posted by admin Filed in Rewind, Soul Music

He got me. I listened to Stevie singing a Christmas song in the new Apple commercial one too many times. My guess was a little off: when I saw Stevie on that commercial, I wondered how old he was. Not like I think that the dude is “old” but I thought he was older than he is (he’s 65). I guess it’s just because he’s been doing his thing for like five decades. Note to self: “guess low when asked how old various prodigies are during trivia night.”

I’ve never cheated on a test in my life but the closest I ever got to getting in trouble for such behavior was during a mid-term for a “History of Pop Music” in my undergrad days. My buddy whispered to me, seeking help on a question (that I can’t remember) that had the correct answer of: “Stevie Wonder.” I did not verbally answer him but kind of moved my head back and forth in a fairly distinctive rhythm-infused motion. My stupid friend busted out laughing and almost got us busted… That was a long time ago… how old am I again?

– DAVE

“Pasttime Paradise” – Stevie Wonder – “Songs in the Key of Life” (1976)

Mar 5

This shuffle thing just keeps dealing aces.

I bought “Songs in the Key of Life” when I was about 12 years old. I am almost positive that the format that I bought was eight track. I got it in the music department at Fred Meyer, the same place that my brother and I bought about 95% of our tunes until we were about 14 or 15 years old. All those 45 RPM singles that we spent our allowance on ($1.75 per week if we did all of our chores) were played relentlessly in our basement, stuff like: “Disco Duck,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Boogie Fever,” “Play That Funky Music,” “Kiss and Say Goodbye,” “Convoy,” and “December 1963 (Oh, What A Night).” That’s some good stuff right there. I think that my brother still has a bunch of that stuff in Hawaii. We need to have a listening party one of these days when I go visit. It’s true that the good old days weren’t always good but I would have to spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking over my last pre-teen year to conjure up one bad thing about being 12 years old.

This is such a fully loaded album that I almost forgot that this song resides within it.

– DAVE

“That’s the Way of the World” – Earth, Wind & Fire – “That’s the Way of the World” (1975)

Feb 16
Posted by admin Filed in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Soul Music

I think that I’ve pretty much been able to cover legends who I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live in my first several Rock and Roll Hall of Fame posts. That holds true again tonight. I think that I was in the 8th grade when I saw Earth, Wind and Fire.

– DAVE

Cover: “Someday We’ll All Be Free” – Aretha Franklin

Jan 24
Posted by admin Filed in Soul Music

It’s kind of sad, the news of Captain and Tennille getting a divorce after 39 years of marriage. You would think that by the time that you are in your seventies, whatever a couple’s problems are, that they would have figured out a way to resolve pretty much everything and stay together until the end. Not trying to mock what I’m sure is not an easy life decision, I thought about this last night, and was intent on finding a nice cover of “Love Will Keep Us Together” (which is actually a cover in itself as it was a Neil Sedaka song) for Cover Friday. I couldn’t find anything that I thought worked, and then I became completely spooked when Google results showed that Nickelback had covered it. Eeshhh!

Somehow I got all twisted around and went in the random direction of wanting to hear something of Donny Hathaway’s that had been covered. After I started listening to Donny Hathaway tunes in the middle of the day, I almost reversed course and just went back to the stand by “A Song for You” which was an original by the incomparable Leon Russell (one of, probably the top five shows that I’ve ever seen was Russell about three years ago at Bumbershoot). It’s hard to go wrong though with the Queen of Soul though so here it is “Someday We’ll All Be Free.”

– DAVE

“For The Love of Money” – The O’Jays – “Ship Ahoy” (1973)

Jan 13
Posted by admin Filed in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Soul Music

Best bass line ever? No? If not, then what tops it?

The O’Jays get the nod today as Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. I’m kind of short on words tonight but a little off topic…

Is it just me or does Cam Newton put more value in trying to strike poses and look cool than he does in playing good football and winning games? That dude spends about 20 times as much effort creating his little hoodie bonnet when he is on the bench so that it fits him just so, than he does studying polaroids, talking to his coordinator, or conversing with teammates. When he’s on the field he kneels on one knee in the huddle and then after everyone else breaks, he over dramatizes getting to his feet as if he is some warrior who has slain so many dragons and barely has it left within him to rise and walk one more step. Douche alert. I’m not a Niner fan or a fan of the Niner QB (who also spends an exorbitant amount of mirror time perfecting his image) but at least that dude looks like he’s all in with his teammates and is going to rise up with his team or go down swinging with them.

– DAVE

“Neither One of Us (Wants to Be The First to Say Goodbye) – Gladys Knight and the Pips – “Neither One of Us” (1973)

Mar 10
Posted by admin Filed in Rewind, Soul Music

It’s been an interesting weekend in terms of what has made it through my musical filter. It started with my weekly Friday commute to Kent for which I decided that a little, or a lot, of Motown’s best was in order. I’ve got this massive “Best of Motown” 202 song compilation on my Zune. When I decide to fire that puppy up, I usually forward through a bunch of stuff until I get to: Stevie, Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, and Boys II Men. I was about to zoom through this song that I’ve posted today when all of a sudden, “wait a second…” this is a great song that I haven’t heard in maybe 30 years. I ended up starting it over, and then listened to it again on the way home.

Any good song, any good music, any band that has any shot at connecting to a large, broad based audience has to have a large dose of soul in the roots of their songs. I’m not just talking about black folks who make music, I’m talking all folks. It’s what can set bands apart. You can be a band playing fairly non-inventive garage rock at a big festival, making goofy rock star faces, striking cliche poses, stringing together grunted nonsensical words and boring the whole crowd straight to the concession stands for a glob of nachos. Or, you can dial down all of the rock star faky crap just a hair, and play it and sing it with real feeling and heart and people will stick around for the next 40 minutes because they believe you even if they don’t totally understand you. The difference can seem subtle but if you close your eyes and just listen, you can feel it.

I’ve been to just about every concert venue in Seattle but I had not been to a show at the Hard Rock yet. We went to see Trainwreck and Crawford and James on Friday mostly because some friends had bought tickets to the show mistakenly thinking that it was to see the band James. Oops! The Hard Rock has got a nice music venue but it’s not really my type of place. The top level Yelp comment last summer chided, “Don’t forget your douche repellent” if you’re headed to the Hard Rock. It’s kind of true. I go to a couple of dozen shows per year and I’m not sure I’ve seen that many hammered, vodka drinkers in a whole year as I did on Friday night. But, the bands were okay. They were both country rock, or is it rock country, and played about half and half original and cover stuff. One thing that dawned on me during Crawford and James set is that I don’t think that in almost 900 posted songs, I have ever posted a Johnny Cash tune. I need to rectify that fast.

Saturday for who knows what reason while at the gym, where I usually listen to KEXP, my hip hop library on shuffle, or high energy, angry stuff like Ministry, I decided that I needed to listen to a whole bunch of guitar-centric rock. Anything with a gratuitous solo was cranked. It turned a laggardly workout into an energetic and fun session. And finally, to round out my weekend soundtrack and give it some real depth, I went to the opera last night. It was the first time that I’ve seen La bohème. The score is not as stunning and epic as Puccini’s Turnadot and the tale has a sudden, kind of startling end but a night at the opera is always a spectacle and last night was no exception.

– DAVE

“Do You…” – Miguel – “Kaleidoscope Dream” (2012)

Mar 6
Posted by admin Filed in Soul Music

At The Grammys, Kelly Clarkson, all a-wash in smitten giddiness admitted that she didn’t really know who Miguel was but declared that they needed to do a record together. Record shmecord? I’m wondering if they made a baby yet.

I’m siding with Ms. Clarkson’s opinion though; dude is the shit. Closest thing to in his heyday Prince that I’ve heard since then. He makes really cool, artful songs too or in other words, he doesn’t seem like he’s going to just rest on his ridiculous natural talent and let the the studio robots just put a bunch of formulaic rubbish on his plate.

“Trouble Man” by Marvin Gaye (1972)

Feb 5
Posted by Kala Filed in Crooners, Rewind, Rock and Roll Heaven, Soul Music

Yes, yesterday’s post was the impetus for today’s, but it’s more than just a copout to an easy segue from T.I. to Marvin Gaye. “Trouble Man” is the the title song from the blaxploitation film of the same name released in 1972. The song faired much better commercially than the movie due to Marvin Gaye’s soulful, gospel twinged voice that often reached a mighty fine falsetto.

I have very vivid chilhood memories of listening to this and other soul classics such as, “Mighty Mighty” by Earth, Wind & Fire (1974), “Super Fly” by Curtis Mayfield (1972) and “Ben” by Michael Jackson (1972), on KOL AM1300 in Seattle. AM at that time, with all it’s static and difficulty tuning the station in just right, had some good things going for it, like the fact you could listen to these soul songs and have it followed up by, “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper (1972), “Get It On” by T-Rex (1972) or “It never Rains In Southern California” by Albert Hammond (1972). What happened to that kind of diversity on the airwaves? At least we have KEXP.

For another excellent movie placement of this song check out “Four Brothers” (2005)

Weekend Wrap Up

Jun 24
Posted by admin Filed in Disco, Soul Music

– I’ve listened to Langhorne Slim once a day for the last three days. I’m very excited to see him at The Tractor in early August. If you haven’t given it a listen, get on it already. I hear someone different – he’s his own man, he’s an original don’t get me wrong – every time I cue it up. Where I am currently with his voice is: equal parts Tom Waits, and Cat Stevens with a teaspoon of Ray LaMontagne. That’s a recipe worth trying, don’t ya’ think?

– I’m going to start assembling my Top 50 songs, as I mentioned last night. I’ll just add a few as I think of ’em and in a few weeks, I’ll get around to trying to rank them. I’m guessing that the stuff that comes to my mind first is going to be getting low numbers, and up high on the list. Here are the first several that come to mind:

Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead
Rearview Mirror – Pearl Jam
Nessun Dorma – yeah sure, I’ll take a Pavarotti version
Boogie On Reggae Woman – Stevie Wonder
Ghosts – The Head and the Heart
Yellow Ledbetter – Pearl Jam
Racing in the Street – Bruce Springsteen
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding – Elvis Costello
Make You Feel My Love – Adele
Breed – Nirvana
Dance Yrself Clean – LCD Soundsystem

– I set foot in a roller rink yesterday for the first time in about 35 years. Actually, that’s a slightly false as I’ve played some roller hockey in rinks within that span of time, but for the sake of going to a rink for a public session, yesterday was a first over the last 35 years. I went to the rink yesterday to watch my cousin’s roller derby bout and stuck around to chat with my cuz afterwards as the public skate began. The fist song that came on was, I’m positive on the playlist 35 years ago. It’s kind of nice when you can sort of accidentally get taken away from your daily path and end up in a place and time that has almost been forgotten.

“Car Wash” – Rose Royce (1976)

– DAVE

“Green Lights” – Aloe Blacc – “Good Things” (2010)

May 27
Posted by admin Filed in Soul Music

Indeed, today was one of those kind of days. Perfect weather, perfect pace, perfect company, perfect past time, and this is the perfect song to sum it up.

– DAVE