Music Quote of the Day

"If you really think about it, everything in this world tries to be music." -- Eugene Hutz

Monday, March 30, 2009

Papa was a Rodeo - The Magnetic Fields

Apparently, I really have a thing for bands that enjoy branching out into the wide and wonderful world of the non-traditional. The Magnetic Fields are another of those bands whose instruments include ukulele, banjo, accordian, xylophone and Marxophone (a fretless zither). Fronted by singer-songwriter, Stephin Merrit, The Magnetic Fields formed in 1989 in Boston, Massachusetts and released their first album in 1991. Merrit, who also created the bands The 6ths, The Gothic Archies, and Future Bible Heroes, suffers from a condition called hyperacusis which causes a sort of "feedback" in his left ear when sounds exceed those in the normal hearing range. Because of this condition, he wears earplugs during performances and will often cover his left ear when the audience applauds.

Papa was a Rodeo by The Magnetic Fields from the 1999 album "69 Love Songs"

The Magnetic Fields website

The Magnetic Fields MySpace page

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ultimate - Gogol Bordello

From a Russian wedding in Vermont in 1998 to a world-wide tour with a Pied Piper-like following, gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello do more than simply play music. They create energetically frenzied phenomena.

This is one of my favorite songs and contains within it the reminder that the past is behind us and NOW is what matters. After all, "There were never any 'Good Old Days' - They are today, They are tomorrow - It's just a stupid thing we say - Cursing tomorrow with sorrow."

Ultimate by Gogol Bordello from the 2007 album "Super Taranta"

Gogol Bordello website

Gogol Bordello MySpace page

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wind of Change - The Scorpions

The Scorpions were formed in Hanover, Germany in 1965 by Rudolf Schenker, the band's rhythm guitar player. After one break-up and many personnel changes, the band hit their stride in the late 1970s, cementing their signature style of hard rock balanced with melodic power ballads. In 1980, lead singer Klaus Meine began having throat problems and required surgery on his vocal cords. It was doubtful if he would ever sing again (a fear I know all too well). In 1981, Don Dokken was brought it to provide guide and tracking vocals for the recording of the album "Blackout." Luckily, Meine's vocal cords healed completely and he was able to finish recording that album so that it could be released in 1982. The Scorpions have released 22 albums since 1972 and are still at it.

Wind of Change was written in 1990 by Klaus Meine in celebration of the political changes taking place in Eastern Europe at the time - the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the U.S.S.R, the Polish Round Table Agreement, and the end of the Cold War.

Wind of Change by The Scorpions from the 1990 album "Crazy World"

The Scorpions website

The Scorpions MySpace page

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Baby Just Cares for Me - Julie London

My Baby Just Cares for Me was written by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn for the 1928 movie "Whoopee" starting Eddie Cantor and Ruth Etting. While it is best known as the signature song for jazz diva Nina Simone (whom I adore!), it is this version that has been in my head since last night (and it's really none of your business why).

Born in 1926 to vaudeville performers, Julie London (born Gayle Peck) was discovered as a teenager while working as an elevator operator. She was married to her first husband, Jack Webb, from 1947 to 1953. She met her second husband, jazz composer and musician Bobby Troup, at a club. They married on New Years' Eve 1959 and remained married 40 years, until his death in 1999. Julie London had a fabulously successful career as both an actress and a singer, appearing in over 20 films and several television shows and recording 32 albums. She was named "most popular female vocalist" by Billboard for three years in a row, 1955-1957. She suffered a stroke in 1995 and was in poor health due to her long-time cigarette habit until her death in 2000. She is buried in the Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery next to her husband, Bobby Troup.

My Baby Just Cares for Me by Julie London from the 1964 album "In Person at the Americana"

Julie London IMDb page

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Taal - Sheila Chandra

Although she has been recording since the 1980s, I didn't really discover Sheila Chandra for myself until last year when I was researching Middle Eastern and Indian influenced vocal styles in preparation for an opportunity I had to sing with a band for a belly dancing performance. I was immediately drawn, not only to her ethereal voice, but to her amazing vocal dynamic. She has a real gift for transporting the listener to that Happy Place.

Taal is a style of Indian music where the voice imitates the sounds of the Tabla drums.

Taal by Sheila Chandra

Sheila Chandra website

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tailpipe Jam - Street Drum Corps

Coming off another 3 day migraine and directly back into the thrice weekly torture we call "physical therapy", today is less about lyric and melody and all about groove and sensation. And nobody catches that primal, instinctual, percussive groove better than Street Drum Corps.

Formed in 2004 by Frank Zummo, Adam Alt and Bobby Alt, Street Drum Corps is a Los Angeles-based punk rock percussion band, playing everything from more traditional drums and kits to garbage cans and power tools ... and everything in between. They've been joined in performance by members of Stomp, Bad Religion, No Doubt, Atreyu and many others, always creating an electrifyingly energetic experience for performers and audiences alike. Their first album, "Street Drum Corps," was released in 2006, followed in 2008 by "We Are Machines."

Tailpipe Jam by Street Drum Corps with Adrian Young of No Doubt, Brooks Wackerman of Bad Religion, Shannon Leto of 30 Seconds to Mars, Byron McMackin of Pennywise and John Sawicki of Stomp!

Street Drum Corps website

Street Drum Corps MySpace page

Street Drum Corps on Twitter

Friday, March 20, 2009

You Can Never Hold Back Spring - Tom Waits

This is quite possibly one of my very favorite days of the year. The vernal equinox - the first day of spring - Nature's reminder that, after a winter of looking within, the time is right for starting things new. New opportunities present themselves. New ways of thinking and seeing start to draw your attention. I love spring!

And I love Tom Waits, so this is perfect!

You Can Never Hold Back Spring by Tom Waits from the 2006 album "Orphans"

Tom Waits website

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

You Can Do Magic - America

I know my husband will wince when he sees this song up here today. I'm not exactly sure, myself, why I'm going with this one other than the fact that the lyrics, "You can do magic. You can have anything that you desire" (and "doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-dit, doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-dit") are firmly planted in my head this afternoon.

The three founding members of America - Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley, and Dan Peek - met while attending London Central High School, at High Wycombe in the mid-1960s. They are all sons of American fathers and English mothers whose families were stationed at the Air Force base in West Ruislip, London.

America released their debut album, "America", in 1971 and while it was a huge success in Holland, it didn't fair too well elsewhere. While in Holland, they worked on recording some other songs, including one written by Dewey Bunnell that he called, "Desert Song." The song had its formal debut at The Harrogate Festival where it received a very enthusiastic response from the audience. After several more performances, both live and televised, the song was re-titled "A Horse with No Name" and was added to the debut album which was re-released in 1972 and quickly went platinum. That was the album (actually it was an 8-track tape) that I used to make my mother play over and over again whenever she drove us anywhere. I loved that song!

In 1977 Dan Peek left the band. Beckley and Bunnell continued on as a duo, supplemented on the road by other musicians as needed. They struggled for several years before finally reaching commercial success once again in 1982 with the release of their 12th album, "View from the Ground", and the single You Can Do Magic which reached #8 on the Billboard pop singles charts.

You Can Do Magic by America from the 1982 album "View from the Ground"

America website

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Danny Boy - Eric Clapton

I love this song. It always makes me cry. But then, most songs from this era have that affect on me.

The lyrics were written in 1910 by English attorney Frederick Weatherly. The lyrics were modified in 1913 to fit the tune of "Londonderry Air." The song was first recorded in 1915 by Ernestine Schumann-Heink. Nobody knows for sure who the narrator of the song is or where Danny Boy is going or why, although there are many suppositions. You can read the lyrics and decide for yourself.

The lyrics:

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying
'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.

But come ye back when summer's in the meadow
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow
'Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.

And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You'll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an "Ave" there for me.

And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
If you'll not fail to tell me that you love me
I'll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.

Since I love these lyrics so much, why did I decide to include an instrumental version of the song? It's simple. The simplicity of it. There are so many versions out there and most of them are so over-orchestrated and over-sung and over-emoted that it hurts. Simple, honest, almost confessional - that's the way I love this song. That, and I love Eric Clapton.

Danny Boy by Eric Clapton

BBC article on "The Legend and History of Danny Boy" (This is an excellent and very informative history of the music as well as the lyrics and I highly recommend reading it for more insight into this song.)

Eric Clapton website

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Gettin' High for Jesus - Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs

Yes, I'm giggling. Some days the irreverent part of me just takes over. Like today.

Indie singer/songwriter Holly Golightly first came on the music scene is 1991 as part of the all girl garage band Thee Headcoatees, a splinter group of the band Thee Headcoats. She released her first solo album, "The Good Things" in 1995. Since then, she has released 14 albums. Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs is the side project she has with her U.S. bandmate, Lawyer Dave. Their debut album, "You Can't Buy A Gun When You're Crying" was release in 2007.

Gettin' High for Jesus by Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs from the 2008 album "Dirt Don't Hurt"

Holly Golightly website

Holly Golightly MySpace page

Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs website

Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs MySpace page

The Brokeoffs website

Friday, March 13, 2009

Marked Man - Mieka Pauley

Mieka Pauley was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1981 and raised in Kentucky, Colorado and Florida before returning to Boston for school. She grew up singing and performing, teaching herself to play guitar on her uncle's old acoustic while in high school. She graduated from Harvard University in 2002 with a degree in Biological Anthropology. Yup, Biological Anthropology - "a branch of anthropology that studies the mechanisms of biological evolution, genetic inheritance, human adaptability and variation, primatology, primate morphology, and the fossil record of human evolution," according to wikipedia. All that, and she's a brainiac, too. Wow.

Marked Man by Mieka Pauley from the 2007 album "Elijah Drop Your Gun"

Mieka Pauley website

Mieka Pauley MySpace page

Mieka Pauley Facebook page

Mieka Pauley Twitter

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Karuna - Faun

Today calls for some calm and relaxation. This song brings to mind temperate surroundings, trickling streams and butterflies dancing in the breeze.

Faun is one of my favorite new discoveries. A German band formed in 2002 and catering to a predominantly Pagan audience, they play a variety of instruments including Celtic harp, hurdy gurdy, bagpipes, flute, and timba.

Karuna by Faun from the 2007 album "Totem"

Faun website

Faun MySpace page

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Needles and Pins - The Ramones

Foot doctor gave me a couple cortisone shots today. IN MY TOE! Yes, I'm a big needle-weenie, but this was even more painful that I'd imagined it would be. Ho-ly cow! And I'll have to have it done again in a month. I am so not looking forward to that. It came out during the appointment today that the doctor detests Bette Midler so I thought maybe I'd put up "Wind Beneath My Wings" or some-such just for him, but opted for The Ramones instead. I love The Ramones. They make me happy. Maybe I'll post some Bette next month ... and make sure he sees it. Mwahahahaha!

Needles and Pins was written Jack Nitzsche and Sonny Bono and originally recorded by Jackie DeShannon in 1963. Over the last 40+ years it has been covered by many artists included The Searchers, Cher, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with Stevie Nicks, and Willy deVille.

Needles and Pins by The Ramones from the 1978 album "Road to Ruin"

And just for fun (because I like to find stuff like this), here's the Serbian band Vampiri covering Needles and Pins ... in Serbian!

Ona i ja by Vampiri from the 1995 album "Plavi Grad"

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'll Fly Away - Nickel Creek

No story with this song. No anecdotes. No reason for it, other than it's in my head today. So, I'm sharing. Enjoy!

Often called the most recorded gospel song, I'll Fly Away was written in 1929 by Oklahoma native Albert E. Brumley.

I'll Fly Away
by Nickel Creek from their 2007 Farewell (for now) concert tour.

Nickel Creek website

Nickel Creek MySpace page

What effect will this have on my blog?

Guess we'll find out soon.

Dance While the Sky Crashes Down - Jason Webley

The weather is overcast and cold and threatening to snow. Looking at the headlines lately, it seems it's not just the weather that's behaving this way. Pass my dancing shoes, please.

Jason Webley began his musical career in the late 1990s as an accordion playing busker on the streets of Seattle. He has recorded 5 albums and 5 collaborative EPs since 1998. While his albums include such instruments as accordian, viola, piano, and xylophone, his live shows often find him playing only an accordian, guitar and vodka bottle filled with coins from around the world.

Dance While the Sky Crashes Down by Jason Webley from the 1999 album "Against the Night"

Jason Webley website

Jason Webley MySpace page

Friday, March 6, 2009

Clap Hands - Tom Waits / Beck

Two brilliant songs by two brilliant artists separated by twenty years and sharing a single title. Both give me happy little goosebumps of pleasure.

Clap Hands by Tom Waits from the 1985 album "Rain Dogs"

Clap Hands by Beck from the 2005 album "Guerro"

Tom Waits website

Beck website

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Like Days - The Start

The very first time I heard the song "Gorgeous" back in 2001, I fell in love with The Start, particularly with Aimee Echo's voice which is very reminiscent of Dale Bozzio (Missing Persons) and Christina Amphlett (DiVinyls). Their debut album "Shakedown!" is still one of my favorites, filled with songs I never get tired of hearing. They now have 3 albums and 2 EPs to their credit and a very busy touring schedule.

Like Days by The Start from the 2004 album "Initiation"

The Start website

The Start MySpace page

Monday, March 2, 2009

Midnight Special - Odetta

There are some songs that occupy the deepest parts of my brain - that linger there, haunting the edges of my days and teasing the quiet of my nights. This is one of those songs. I don't remember the first time I heard it. It's as if I've just always known it. The chorus slips out of nowhere and I find myself singing along to my inner jukebox, belting it out with all the energy in my soul. "Let the Midnight Special shine it's ever-lovin' light on me!"

The Midnight Special
is a traditional folk song believed to have originated among prisoners in the American South. The most commonly accepted story about the song is that it refers to a train that would run past Sugarland Prison in Texas at midnight and should its light fall on a prisoner, that would be an omen that his release was near. The first publication of the song's lyrics were in 1905 when they were printed by Howard Odum. The first commercial recording of it was by Dave "Pistol Pete" Cutrell in 1926. Since then, many different versions of the song have been recorded by many different artists including Creedence Clearwater Revival, Paul McCartney, ABBA, Van Morrison, Big Joe Turner, Eric Clapton, and Buckwheat Zydeco.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Amazing Grace - The Blind Boys of Alabama

Good Sunday! Perfect day for a little gospel, doncha think? And what better song than Amazing Grace? This version by The Blind Boys of Alabama sung to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun" is probably my favorite.

The Blind Boys of Alabama
were formed in 1939 at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind. They have been recording since 1948 and have released over 60 albums since then and have been awarded 5 Grammy Awards.

Amazing Grace by The Blind Boys of Alabama from the 2001 album "Spirit of the Century"

The Blind Boys of Alabama website