Still recovering from the weekend, hence the dearth of posts lately…But it is Monday. Let’s buck up and dive in.
“If You Want Me To Stay“
Sly and the Family Stone
Okay, wtf was up with the Grammy performance from Sly? As rad as the platinum mohawk was (that’s what I want to have the courage to sport at 61), and the enormous belt buckle that says “SLY,” the man has obviously completely FRIED his brain with some hard substances. He wandered off the stage before the song was even done, and as far as I can tell, he didn’t do much while he was on-stage (just kind of massaged the keys and moaned into the mike). That is unfortunate because he is partly responsible for this, one of THE funkiest, smoothest, grooviest songs ever recorded, with a bass line that could strip paint (and that’s a good thing). Add The Essentials to your collection.
“Buckets of Rain” (Dylan cover)
I love David Gray so much and am stoked to be seeing him next month. His voice just gets me, something about the honesty and the incisive tenor of it, just lays right into the core of emotions. And this is one of my favorite Dylan songs ever for the simple longing and the lyrical beauty of it. The desire expressed in this song is sexy, sexy. Thanks for unearthing it, Chad.
“You Won’t Be Leaving“
I’ve admittedly been on a total retro ’60s pop kick lately, listening to The Turtles, The Zombies, Herman’s Hermits, and the Beatnix (which recorded a whole album’s worth of non-released Beatles songs) etc. The harmonies, the time-capsule sound of a simpler era, just make me happy and it is good good for the ears. Here, with all the “it’s too cold/I’m too tired” excuse-making of what is essentially a 1960s booty call (in the vein of other songs like “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “Wake Up Little Suzie”), Herman’s Hermits sing about the “lovelight” shining in her eyes (or some kind of light, right?). Fabulous little ditty.
“The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song“
My friend Matthew said, “About halfway through this song I got up from my computer chair and spontaneously went into half dance/half spasms.” I find the first thirty seconds almost unlistenable, so let’s forgive that and skip right into the meat. You can’t deny the catchy pop sensibilities and the handclapping goodness on this one. From their upcoming album At War With The Mystics, due April 3 in the UK and April 4 in the U.S.
“The Bar Is A Beautiful Place“
(live NYC 5/23/01)
Similar to how Josh Ritter recorded “Thin Blue Flame” with ambient bar noise which added to the immediacy of the feeling, this is an actual live version (as opposed to Ritter’s studio-with-added-noise recording) of this song with bar chatter and clinking glasses to heighten the gorgeous overall effect. This song is an lesser-known Ryan Adams gem, originally from the Gold bonus CD, and absolutely one of my favorites by him. I love this live version, off the Bedhead 10 collection, because the bar is a beautiful place and this puts you right there on the barstool, being depressed, singing along, “Sha na… Sha na naaaa naaa” with the simple and rousing piano accompaniment. I love the fragility of his voice on the line, “Would you take an old drunk as is, if he was sweet to you?”