No re-start of this blog would be complete without a return to the Friday Random 10 feature, where I pull off 10 random songs in a row from the iPod and do some kind of video focus on one song or artist that shows up. Here you go:
- “Black Friday” (Steely Dan, Katy Lied)
- “Broken” (Jack Johnson, Sing-a-Longs and Lullabies (Curious George soundtrack))
- “Hammer to Fall” (Queen, Classic Queen)
- “The Dancing Flowers” (The Wiggles, Whoo Hoo Wiggly Gremlins)
- “Work in Progress” (Alan Jackson, Drive)
- “Let Everything That Has Breath” (Phillips, Craig, and Dean, Let My Words Be Few)
- “Spanish Fantasy” (Phil Keaggy, Acoustic Sketches)
- “Can You (Point Your Fingers and Do the Twist)” (The Wiggles, Here Comes the Big Red Car)
- “Partita #3 (iv)” (Paul Galbraith, Bach: The Sonatas and Partitas)
- “The Calling” (Yes, Talk)
If by some accident you have never heard of Phil Keaggy (#7), here’s a video that gives an idea why he’s all over my music library. This is “Addison’s Walk” from Beyond Nature, which was a staple of my graduate school-days listening diet.
That’s just ridiculous.
Haven’t done one of these in a while, so…
- Simplify (Wes King, A Room Full of Stories)
- Let’s Groove (Earth Wind & Fire, Best of EWF Volume 2)
- When I Look at the World (U2, All That You Can’t Leave Behind)
- Stepping Stone (Clannad, Past Present)
- Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car (The Wiggles, Toot Toot) [stop laughing!]
- Oh, Atlanta (Alison Krauss & Union Station, Now That I’ve Found You)
- Hidden Charms (Howlin’ Wolf, His Best: Chess 50th Anniversary)
- Getting Better (Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)
- Celebration Day (Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin III)
- Amelia’s Missing (John McLaughlin, Indiana)
Jon McLaughlin is perhaps the least-well known of the musicians in this list. He’s an outstanding local musician — straight out of Anderson! — whose piano-based pop is exceptionally well-crafted and who’s been blessed with national exposure lately. Here’s a live version of “Amelia’s Missing” which is probably my favorite song on the Indiana album.
I haven’t done one of these in a while, but today I’m wearing out the iPod (still haven’t pulled the trigger on the iPod touch) as I grade, so:
1. Treasure of the Broken Land (Mark Heard, High Noon)
2. Welcome to the Occupation (REM, Document)
3. Five Per Cent for Nothing (Yes, Fragile)
4. Good Morning Good Morning (Beatles, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band)
5. Take Five (Dave Brubeck, Ken Burns Jazz: Dave Brubeck)
6. Alaska (UK, UK)
7. Pressing My Way (Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Live at the Wetlands)
8. Light in Your Eyes (Sheryl Crow, The Very Best of Sheryl Crow)
9. Things We Said Today (Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night)
10. Fields of Glass (Nashville Mandolin Ensemble, Plectrasonics)
Two songs with the word “Five” in their titles — what are the odds of that? What other songs feature odd primes in their titles?
For a video feature, if you’ve never heard the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble, you’re missing out on a unique musical experience. Here they are doing “Fragenti”, with the great Butch Baldassari on lead mandolin.
This was at Caffe Milano in Nashville back in February 2008. That brings back grad school memories; I saw Phil Keaggy and Wes King (at separate shows) at Caffe Milano back around 1995. It’s an excellent venue for music if you’re in the area.
1. Holy Spirit (Third Day, Third Day)
2. Talk About Suffering (Phil Keaggy, Phil Keaggy and Sunday’s Child)
3. Curses (Steve Taylor, Squint)
4. Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age (Holst, The Planets, perf. by NY Philharmonic)
5. The Finer Things (Steve Winwood, Back in the High Life)
6. Telephone Song (The Vaughan Brothers, Family Style)
7. Fire (The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced?)
8. Give Thanks to the Lord (Christ Community Church, re:awakening)
9. Searchran Charin Tsiall (Clannad, Magical Ring)
10. Perpetual Change (Yes, The Yes Album)
“Perpetual Change” (#10 on the list) is a personal favorite of mine, even though I’m no longer the die-hard Yes geek I was when I was in high school. Here’s a very cool performance of this, with Yes vocalist Jon Anderson together with the Paul Green School of Rock All-Stars. Pretty amazing considering that the instrumentalists here are just teenagers!
1. Out of the Silent Planet (King’s X, Gretchen Goes to Nebraska)
2. Not Just For the Dead (King’s X, King’s X)
3. Over the Hills and Far Away (Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy)
4. Swlabr (Cream, Disraeli Gears)
5. Stomping Grounds (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Live Art)
6. Love Struck Baby (Stevie Ray Vaughn, Texas Flood)
7. On My Knees (Son Seals, Essential Chicago Blues)
8. Howlin’ for My Darling (Howlin’ Wolf, His Best: Chess 50th Anniversary)
9. In Your Own Sweet Way (Dave Brubeck, Ken Burns Jazz: Dave Brubeck)
10. You Should See The Way It Feels (David Wilcox, East Asheville Hardware)
This being Independence Day, I’m going to choose the “most American” song from the list this week to feature. I think that would be “Love Struck Baby” by Stevie Ray Vaughn. SRV embodied the very best of a truly American art form: the blues, and not just the blues but Texas-style blues. If you want to be proud that you’re an American, just watch this clip. Don’t miss the behind-the-back solo around 1:35.
Bonus: You know, Chicago blues is also a quintessentially American musical style, and it’s as fun and musical as Texas blues. To prove that most things are interconnected, here’s a clip of Son Seals (#7 on the list) doing “The Sky is Crying”, which provided Stevie Ray Vaughn with a posthumous radio hit back in the 90’s.
I haven’t done one of these in a while, for some reason:
1. Losing My Religion (R.E.M., Out of Time)
2. Baby Be Good (The Smithereens, 11)
3. He’s Misstra Know It All (Stevie Wonder, Innervisions)
4. Universe Next Door (Wes King, Room Full Of Stories)
5. Who Did You Think I Was (John Mayer Trio, Try!)
6. Hidden Charms (Howlin’ Wolf, His Best: Chess 50th Anniversary)
7. Time Stand Still (Rush, Hold Your Fire)
8. She Came In Through the Bathroom Window (Beatles, Abbey Road)
9. Wind and Spirit (Chris Rice, Past the Edges)
10. Somebody To Love (Queen, Greatest Hits)
The standout from this particular list is Stevie Wonder’s “He’s Misstra Know It All”. Here’s a live performance of this from 1974, when Stevie was at the height of his powers:
People tend to identify Stevie with either his child-star days or the banal soft-pop stuff he did in the 80’s, and forget that the man was a genius in his day, particularly in live performances.
As a bonus, here’s a clip of Stevie from about the same time period doing “Superstition” live… on Sesame Street! If only all kids’ music could be so good. Take that, Hannah Montana.
1. Lady Marian (Clannad, Pastpresent)
2. Five Long Years (Eddie Boyd, Essential Chicago Blues)
3. I Feel So Good (Muddy Waters, His Best: 1956-1964)
4. Stone Cold Crazy (Queen, Classic Queen)
5. The Red Rooster (Howlin’ Wolf, His Best: Chess 50th Anniversary)
6. People Watching (Jack Johnson, Curious George soundtrack)
7. Donald Macgillavry (The Fight with the Blackfeet) (various, Lewis & Clark soundtrack)
8. On the Silent Wings of Freedom (Yes, Tormato)
9. Pleiades (King’s X, Gretchen Goes to Nebraska)
10. San Jacinto (Peter Gabriel, Shaking the Tree)
Gretchen Goes to Nebraska by King’s X (#9) is a landmark for me in my personal musical history. It came out in 1989, just after I started college and was in a storm of contention between my religious background and the academic climate I had just entered.
Just when I had started thinking that Christianity and I just weren’t meant to be — based on the lameness of Christian culture, especially Christian music, as well as my Christian community’s unwillingness to engage itself with the ideas I was learning in college — along comes King’s X with this album that combines outstanding rock musicianship with a deep understanding of faith and at the same time that wariness I had of Christian culture. They were definitely in the world but not of it.
“Pleiades” has always been my favorite from that album, and it’s without a doubt the finest rock song about the 38th chapter of Job that you will ever hear. And this homemade video from YouTube will probably be the only video you ever see which features Giordano Bruno.