Here’s some music for the end of the week, straight off the iPhone set to random shuffle:
- Daughters (John Mayer, Heavier Things)
- Custard Pie (Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti)
- Far East Medley (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Live Art)
- Heartbreak Hotel (Elvis Presley, Elvis 30 #1 Hits)
- On Your Shore (Enya, Watermark)
- Treasure of the Broken Land (Mark Heard, High Noon)
- When It’s Good (Ben Harper, Diamonds on the Inside)
- You Send Me (Steve Miller Band, Fly Like an Eagle)
- When Love Comes Around (Alan Jackson, Drive)
- Big Things Too (Veggie Tales, Veggie Tunes 2)
I have to focus this time on the first one in the list, John Mayer’s “Daughters”. People have many different opinions about John Mayer, not all of them good, but I’m a big fan — and mainly because of this song. Mayer has a sort of reputation as a womanizer but his insights on girls and parenting in this song are totally on the mark.
I’m a dad with two young daughters myself, and having become a dad relatively late in life (we adopted our first when I was 33) the transition from freewheeling academic to family man hasn’t always been easy. I first heard this song on the radio one day coming home from work, after having a particularly difficult night and morning with my oldest (and at the time only) daughter, who was just 2 at the time, and feeling like being a dad was some sort of punishment for a sin I’d committed. Then I listened to this all the way through, and I was simply blown away. Something about the simple, sparse instrumentation — just acoustic guitar, light percussion and piano, and voice — highlights the sense of grace and vulnerability shared by the daughter in the lyrics and by young girls everywhere, including my own kids. When Mayer says to dads about their daughters, “You are the god and the weight of her world“, he speaks the truth. And that afternoon, I knew it, and I’ve never seen my daughters quite the same way since. That’s a good thing.
Bonus: Don’t miss John Mayer’s Tumblr. It’s too bad he’s quit Twitter.
Friday Random 10 has slipped out of the rotation lately, so let’s fix that. Hitting the random shuffle button on the iPhone, we have…
- Delia’s Gone (Johnny Cash, American Recordings)
- Guide Vocal (Genesis, Duke)
- All Your Love (Otis Rush, Essential Chicago Blues)
- Why Should I Feel Lonely (Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Unclassified)
- Catch Me If I Try (David Wilcox, East Asheville Hardware)
- House of Tom Bombadil (Nickel Creek, Nickel Creek)
- Digital Man (Rush, Signals)
- Fei Hua Dian Cui (Lui Pui-Yuen, China: Music of the Pipa)
- Turn the Page (Rush, Hold Your Fire)
- A Little Bluer Than That (Alan Jackson, Drive)
Here’s the video for “Delia’s Gone” (#1 on the list). The song is a classic “death ballad”, one of the standard idioms of country and folk music. And yet, when it came out in 1994, none of the country music stations on radio or TV wanted to play it because of its dark, violent nature. Cash, true to his nature, responded honestly.
Friday music time again, and just about the only thing I’ve had time to post this week due to classes starting back:
- Texas Flood (Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Greatest Hits)
- 40 Days (Third Day, Come Together)
- Who’s Been Talkin’ (Howlin’ Wolf, His Best: Chess 50th Anniversary)
- Man in the Green Shirt (Weather Report, Best of Weather Report)
- Waiting on the World to Change (John Mayer, Continuum)
- Where You Are (Rich Mullins, The World As Best As I Remember It v. 1)
- Heavy On My Mind (Back Door Slam, Roll Away)
- Try (John Mayer Trio, Try! (Live))
- Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman) (Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II)
- Doing It To Death (James Brown, The CD of JB)
Normally I would take one of the entries in the list that gets my attention and do a video focus on it. This time… Well, the classic Led Zeppelin chestnut “Living Loving Maid” (#9) makes me think of the fantastic cover done by Dread Zeppelin. You know — that band that does Led Zeppelin covers, only they’re done in a reggae style and using a late-70’s era Elvis impersonator as their lead singer. Sadly, I couldn’t find a video for that. So instead, here’s the video for their version of “Your Time Is Gonna Come”, which Robert Plant once said he preferred to the original.
Happy Friday to all:
- Without The Light (Kelly Joe Phelps, Roll Away the Stone)
- Partita #3, Menuet II (Paul Galbraith, Bach: The Sonatas and Partitas)
- Tenderoni (Chromeo, Fancy Footwork)
- Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles, White Album)
- Jump Up! (Imagination Movers, For Those About to Hop)
- Birdland (Weather Report, Best of Weather Report)
- Get Up, Stand Up (Bob Marley, Legend)
- Territories (Rush, Power Windows)
- The Remembering (High the Memory) (Yes, Tales from Topographic Oceans)
- With My Own Two Hands (Jack Johnson + Ben Harper, Sing-a-Longs and Lullabies)
Lots of good stuff to feature here this week — the Bob Marley piece is an especially welcome reminder of warmer climates right now, as it’s 15 degrees and snow on the ground here in Indiana. But in the spirit of 80’s music started last week, here’s a live version of Rush doing “Territories” (#8). Watch it for no other reason that to see Geddy Lee doing three things simultaneously — playing a hard bass line, playing intricate keyboard hits, and doing vocals — any one of which would give most musicians (<raises hand>) fits.
It’s Friday again, so for your musical pleasure:
- Bad Dream (Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater, Essential Chicago Blues)
- All About Love (Earth Wind & Fire, Essential EWF)
- No Such Thing (John Mayer, Room for Squares)
- Look Mama (Howard Jones, The Best of Howard Jones)
- Brick House (The Commodores, 20th Century Masters)
- The Red Plains (Bruce Hornsby & The Range, The Way It Is)
- How Do The Fools Survive? (The Doobie Brothers, Minute By Minute)
- Soul Power (James Brown, The CD of JB)
- A Venture (Yes, The Yes Album)
- Kiss Your Tears Away (The Smithereens, 11)
I think Howard Jones is a genius and doesn’t get nearly the appreciation he deserves, so here’s the video for “Look Mama” (#5). It’s vintage 1985, complete with big hair, but that’s part of the charm.
I just realized that last week’s Friday Random 10 was dated 1/1/2009. I guess it’s taken a week for the New Year to become natural to write. Anyway, here’s this week’s selection:
- “Black Cow” (Steely Dan, Aja)
- “Remember” (Wes King, A Room Full of Stories)
- “For Real” (David Wilcox, East Asheville Hardware)
- “How Mountain Girls Can Love” (Ricky Skaggs, Ancient Tones)
- “She’s Nineteen Years Old” (Muddy Waters, His Best 1956-1964)
- “Pleiades” (King’s X, Gretchen Goes to Nebraska)
- “Te Deum” (Choir of King’s Choir, Cambridge; John Rutter Requiem)
- “Clean My Room” (Imagination Movers, Juice Box Heroes)
- “Superharp” (James Cotton, Essential Chicago Blues)
- Samba de Bênçä0 (Maria Bethânia, Toquinho, & Vinicius de Moraes, Days in Mar Del Plaza)
Steely Dan as the first selection, two weeks in a row? Hmm.
Although it’s tough to pick from a list including classic rock, Christian pop, folk, bluegrass, Chicago blues, metal, modern classical, and Brazilian samba music… I give the nod this week to Imagination Movers (#8). They’re an alt-rock band for pre-schoolers that have been a favorite at our house ever since they hit the Disney Channel a couple of years ago. They are not the typical smarmy kids’ band. These are four guys, three of them dads themselves, who are students of 80’s and 90’s rock and hip-hop and write their own music accordingly. My wife and I find ourselves listening to the Movers even when we don’t have the kids around.
Here’s a shortened-for-TV version of “Mover Music”, a sort of theme song for the band (and it appears with different lyrics at the end of every episode of the show). If you can’t hear the Romantics and the Cars in this then you probably should listen more closely:
We saw them in concert last fall when they played Indy, and despite serious sound system issues, they played an outstanding show.
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.
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.