Wednesday, September 30, 2009

FSOTD #37/There's A Place In The World For A Gambler (1974)

Dan Fogelberg shares a very minor distinction with Kenny Rogers.  They both have a song with the word "gambler" in the title.  I found "gamblers" and "gambler's" in my iTunes, but theirs were the only songs with the singular form.  Minor indeed.

Dan Fogelberg's "There's A Place In The World For A Gambler" was released on his 1974 album Souvenirs.  Something of an acoustic anthem, the song closes side 2 repeating the refrain "Let It Shine".  I never went to a Fogelberg concert, but I always imagined this is what closed the show.  Long and slow-building, it has the perfect rhythm for a swaying crowd holding lighters aloft - Let it shine!  But I have to admit to admiring this song more than I like it.  I'm thinking maybe I begrudge it because I'm no good with lighters.  Never have been.  I'm a thumb-burner.  Nowadays, though, if you wanna shine a light at the end of a show...they've got an app for that.  Really.

Usually I head right to Wikipedia for FSOTD details, but today I went to my Souvenirs CD (the vinyl is in the garage).   I culled some interesting tidbits from the liner and production info.  The album was produced by Joe Walsh.  In the lyrics section, it notes that "...Gambler" was written in California in 1971.  The chorus of voices that repeats "let it shine" includes Don Henley and Randy Meisner.  Henley appears on a few other tracks as well, and Walsh does all of the electric guitar work on the album.

So let's see...that's Walsh, Henley and Meisner all together on a 1974 project.  As it turns out, Glenn Frey also added some backing vocals on one of the Souvenirs tracks.   Now consider this: Hotel California came out just two years later in 1976.  On the back of the CD it says: "With Joe Walsh joining as a full time member, The Eagles..." Could it be that Dan Fogelberg is the missing link in the evolution of Joe Walsh solo guy to Joe Walsh Eagle dude??

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

FSOTD #36-A *Miranda Lambert*

In a happy FSOTD convergence, Miranda Lambert's new album "Revolution" is hot on the shelves, 15 tracks strong.  One purchase from iTunes later, my first listen revealed a helping of what got her here, but I also detected a certain move towards the rock side of country.  I'll give it another spin or two in the coming days.  If asked my opinion about what to release as a single,  I'd go with "Me and Your Cigarettes".  What they did release is "Dead Flowers", which I was hoping was gonna be a Rolling Stones cover (but no).   ~Yab

FSOTD #36/Dry Town (2007)

It's her music that makes me like Miranda Lambert, but her pictures are fairly fetching as well.  My brother saw the 25 year old Texan in concert earlier this year, and she won him over in less than 10 notes.  It was a rainy Kenny Chesney show just north of Dallas, and she was one of the opening acts.  Did I mention it was raining?  Big rain, mean clouds, loud thunder.  As people were trying to figure out whether to stay put or head for cover, Lambert comes out and opens with the Creedence song "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" that's entertainment. Consider the residual effect: I've heard my brother tell that story at least four times now, he was so impressed.  And now I'm repeating it.  She was definitely the highlight of an otherwise soggy day.  She finished her set, but Chesney called it quits after about six songs.   To his eternal credit, he came back within a few weeks and played a free show.  Now that's good business.

I never determined whether Miranda played today's FSOTD "Dry Town" at that show.  It's a winning little ditty, with a rhythm and wit so particular to country music.  How can you not like these lyrics:

Good hundred miles between me and Missoula
That vinyl top wasn't gettin' no cooler
I stopped at a quickie sack

I figured I'd need about a six of Miller
And one of them things so I wouldn't spill her

And I asked the girl if the beer was in the back 

While perusing the CD to check for the correct words, I noticed she didn't actually write the song.  David Rawlings and Gillian Welch did.  Kudos to them.  The CD is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Lambert did write or co-write 8 of the 11 tracks. It's a top-notch effort throughout.  Others would seem to agree: Rolling Stone ranked it #26 on their list of best 50 albums from 2007, and The Academy of Country Music named it their 2008 Album of The Year.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

FSOTD #35/Blue Jean (1984)

David Bowie has been many things through his long and winding career.  He has done many things. But something he's only done once is win a Grammy award.  It was for the video for today's FSOTD "Blue Jean".  Clocking in at over 21 minutes,  "Jazzin' For Blue Jean" won the award for Best Short Form Music Video.  The song itself was a hit - #6 UK and #8 US.  Released on the album Tonight, it was one of only two songs from the collection written entirely by Bowie.  The album featured collaborations with Iggy Pop and with Tina Turner, who was at the peak of her career in the wake of Private Dancer.   But Tonight - the follow-up to the hugely successful Let's Dance - was generally regarded as a disappointment.

Love him or loathe him, David Bowie is undeniably a central figure in the big, bad story of rock music.  The Wiki article puts it all together in a concise (yet by no means brief) offering.  There was one short paragraph that pretty much said it all:  In the BBC's 2002 poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, Bowie ranked 29. Throughout his career he has sold an estimated 136 million albums, and ranks among the ten best-selling acts in UK pop history. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him 39th on their list of the 100 Greatest Rock Artists of All Time.


So I go to a wedding yesterday, and then I wake up this morning and the FSOTD is a song that starts with the words "love is".  Really?   As it turns, yes really.  Not one to let a trail go cold, I head to the dictionary.  Webster's says love is "the attraction, desire, or affection felt for a person who arouses delight or admiration or elicits tenderness, sympathetic interest, or benevolence: devoted affection".  Of course, if it's love, you don't really need a dictionary.  What you might want, however, is a playlist.  With devoted affection, here's the CD-length playlist "Love is...", from me to you.

Love Is A Night ~ Gino Vanelli
Love Is Like Oxygen ~ Sweet
Love Is Alive ~ Gary Wright
Love Is The Seventh Wave ~ Sting
Love Is A Long Road ~ Tom Petty
Love Is The Drug ~ Roxy Music
Love Is Blindness ~ U2
Love Is All That Matters ~ Human League
Love Is Stronger Than Pride ~ Sade
Love Is Coming Down ~ The Who
Love Is A Touch Away ~ Freddie Jackson
Love Is Here And Now You're Gone ~ The Supremes
Love Is Green ~ Jeff Beck
Love Is Blue ~ Paul Mauriat
Love Is All There Is ~ Sheryl Crow
Love Is In The Air ~ John Paul Young
Love Is Strange ~ Sonny & Cher
Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing ~ The Four Aces
Love Is The Answer ~ Lonnie Johnson
Love Is Here To Stay ~ Harry Connick, Jr.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

FSOTD #34/Love Is A Night (1975)

The year was 1975.  Woodstock-era rock was transitioning.  New wave was still below the horizon.  Jazz-fusion was definitely making its mark.  And, of course, sister disco was about to explode.  Enter Gino Vanelli.  That year, the clean living, darkly handsome Canadian released his third album Storm at Sunup, on which today's FSOTD "Love Is A Night" is found.  Vanelli was difficult to classify: Not a rocker nor a jazz man, he nonetheless displayed influences of both genres.  His sex appeal and sense of style made him a darling of the nightclub set, yet he was no party hound, nor would you ever associate him with the word boogie.  He made serious music.  Avante-garde is an appropriate description.  Unique, too, although the passing years have obscured that particular quality.

Aided by the keyboard and production talents of his brother Joe, Vanelli had scored a US hit with "Powerful People" in 1974, which rose to #22 on Billboard's Hot 100 (#17 AC).  His highest chart positions and greatest sales came in the late '70s and early '80s, including two top-10's.  By then, his sound was solid pop, polished smooth and sexy, perfect for the Adult Contemporary crowd. The music industry had caught up to Gino Vanelli.   But in the mid-70's he seemed somehow untamed, even exotic.   His back-to-back albums Powerful People and Storm at Sunup remain vibrant and poignant testaments to both his talent and the times.  They clearly set the table for his later, greater success.

Friday, September 25, 2009

FSOTD #33/Oxford Comma (2008)

The new FSOTD Friday provision allows me the choice of whatever tune I want, so Friday's Song Of The Day* is from last year's indie sensation Vampire Weekend.   It came down to "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" or "Oxford Comma".   'Oxford' won because I like the percussion hook, and especially 'cause it was in the movie I Love You Man.   I loved that movie.  But I guess America was ambivalent about the song.  It did not chart in the US, but peaked at #38 in the UK.

So what do I really know from Vampire Weekend?  Well, I do know that they were truly a sensation back in 2007; by the time of their debut release in January 2008, they were full-fledged stars. Spin Magazine loved Vampire Weekend so much they declared them "The Year's Best New Band" with a March 2008 cover story.  To date, the album has sold well over a half million copies worldwide, one of which was bought by me.  I like it.  It has catchy tunes.  I haven't listened enough to love it, but there's some evident promise in that pop-punk.   Great hooks, with hints of Lou Reed and maybe a dash of Jonathan Richman. A slew of styles too: pop, punk, African, and is that baroque I hear?  All their songs share a uniform strength in rhythms and harmonies.   But as they progress, IMO, a little more meat on the bones will be necessary.  Like all bands, Vampire Weekend faces a simple yet certain choice - evolve or die.

They describe their music as "Upper West Side Soweto", a blend of African popular music and Western classical.  Eh?  In Friday's Song Of The Day "Oxford Comma", you might recognize the stylings of Congolese soukous music.  Huh?  The Wiki article might shed some light.  It tells of band members who met while attending Columbia University.  Then they graduated, and the rest is very recent music history.  The End. it's not. Their sophomore release is due out in January 2010.  Drummer Chris Tomson says the album will have 10 songs and run around 36 minutes.  Good luck VW, the bar is set a bit higher the second time around. 

*Today's true first song of the day was "Time Won't Let Me" by The Outsiders (1966).

Deep Yabbathanks to Wikipedia

Thursday, September 24, 2009

FSOTD #32-A *Pop Quiz*

It's a '60s Pop Quiz.  Pop music, that is.  Put the following six songs from the sixties in the proper chronological order of US release, numbering them 1 thru 6.  The oldest song goes first, the next oldest second, and so on, putting the most "recent" release in the sixth position.   The songs are from six different years in the decade. It's an honor system: The correct order is in smaller type, way down below.

Baby Love - Supremes

Glad All Over - Dave Clark Five

Strangers In The Night - Frank Sinatra

Surfin' Safari - Beach Boys

Ticket To Ride - Beatles

To Sir, With Love - Lulu
(answers down further)
(comin' up)
wasn't that fun?    surfin'-jun 62/glad-nov 63/baby-sep 64/
ticket-apr 65/strangers-jul 66/sir-67

FSOTD #32/Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter (1965)

Were you alive in '65?  If so, and old enough, you'll remember Herman's Hermits.  Their catchy tune "Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter" - FSOTD #32 - was a #1 U.S. hit for three weeks in May of that year (displaced by the Beatles' "Ticket To Ride").  "Mrs. Brown..." was also nominated for two Grammy awards.  Yet, according to the Wiki article, the band didn't care much for the song.  It was fashioned for the U.S. market, with Peter Noone exaggerating his English accent.  It was never released as a single in Britain.

Herman & the Hermits (original name) were no flash in the pan: From 1964 through 1968, they had a string of songs charting on both sides of the pond, including three #1's.  And because they were on the MGM label, they also appeared in a handful of movies, although to decidedly less acclaim.  In Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide, the author pans 1966's Hold On as a "loser" of a film. Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter went cinematic in 1968. Maltin dismisses it as a "silly excuse for a movie".  In truth, by 1968, the curtain had rung.   As quickly as the Hermits had arrived, so too they seemed to vanish.  The times they were a-changin'. The Beatles evolved into the psychedelic; Herman's Hermits simply became irrelevant.  They disbanded in 1971.

Yet the career of Herman, aka Peter Noone, continued on steadily if not spectacularly, with acting, singing and producing gigs through the '80s.  But over the last two decades, his career has positively flourished as a narrator/pitchman for the sights and sounds of the sixties.   At least on television, his boyish good looks survive, with hair still blond and smile still gap-toothed.  But it only works because he was really there.  I mean, he knew the Beatles and stuff.  I'll bet he still knows Sir Paul, and Sir Mick too.  How cool is that, man?!  He's even resumed touring as/with Herman's Hermits, selling out venues around the world.  On his website, he styles himself as Peter Noone, the artist formerly known as Herman.

(alright now, here comes the big finish...)

But as the passage of time is kind to some, for others, not so much.  For some, not at all.  To wit: Imagine how we'd feel today if it were Papa John Phillips who had recorded "Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter"... 
     G'night Everybody!! (With a wave and a smile, Yabbadoodle scurries off stage right, house lights fading to black, leaving only the sounds of a wildly appreciative audience)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I lifted this from   .  .  .

>> is offering a previously unreleased stream of Dylan and The Band's Valentine's Day, 1974 show at the L.A. Forum. Five million people sent in paid ticket orders by mail for the 650,000 tickets that were available over the course of the tour (in support of Planet Waves). It remains the most demanded concert ticket of all time. Who knew?    <<

.  .  .  who knew indeed!

FSOTD #31/The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (1969)

Bruce Springsteen is 60 years old today, well on his way from rocker guy to rocking chair.  Happy Bossday to him.

Now that we've dispensed with the pleasantries, today's FSOTD is from another iconic rock act.  The Band recorded "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" in 1969, releasing it on their second album, also named The Band.   "The Weight" is undeniably the group's biggest hit, but as the years have gone by, "The Night They Drove..." has only risen in stature.  Check out this partial list of people who've covered it:   Joan Baez, John Denver, Jerry Garcia, Richie Havens and Johnny Cash.  Very, very few songs have such a pedigree.  Argue if you must whether The Band is one of rock's greatest acts:  They certainly made enough good songs to fill a greatest hits album, they were the backing band (hence their name) for in-his-prime Bob Dylan, and they played at Woodstock (no big surprise since they lived there).  So maybe they were as much about time and place as true greatness.  I think the term legendary, in its fullest expression, is the most apt description.  Does that make them great?  Perhaps. At the very least, none would argue their story is anything but fascinating.

Yabbathanks to Wikipedia

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

FSOTD #30/Loving You Always (2008)

Here's a piece of trivia: Name a second band with a drummer named Ringo.  The answer is Los Lonely Boys.  The Texas trio are the band behind today's FSOTD "Loving You Always".  A pleasingly up tempo pop ballad, it has everything the Boys do well.  Nice hook, tejano-flavored acoustic guitar, a lovely melody and accessible lyrics fueled by their distinctive vocals.   Like Willie Nelson, I'm a big fan of these three brothers from San Angelo, Texas.  That's Henry, Jojo and Ringo Garza.

"Loving You Always" is from their third and most recent studio album Forgiven.  Chart-wise, it hasn't done as well as the previous two, and certainly Los Lonely Boys haven't come close to the chart-topping success of their debut single, 2004's "Heaven".  But, if you'll forgive a fan his enthusiasm, I would tell you all their records are great listens. True, they churn mostly the same waters with each release, but when you have such a signature sound, why change things up?  As a trio, what are you gonna do, add a horn section?  If they did anything different personnel-wise, they'd probably add a keyboardist.  But that's a big step for three brothers who've been playing together their entire lives.

The band did release a single from Forgiven called "Staying With Me." It's a serviceable enough tune, but it didn't chart.  Somebody should've called me; I would've steered them to "Loving You Always" in a heartbeat.  It's a catchier song IMO, but mostly, the sheer joy of the melody makes it a better pick.

Finally, some good news for fans of the band.  This comes straight from the Wiki article:  The trio will release a tribute EP titled "1969" on October 13th, 2009, paying homage to the 40th anniversary of one history's most fabled years; the album will feature covers of Santana's "Evil Ways", The Doors' "Roadhouse Blues", Blind Faith's "Well All Right", The Beatles' "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window", and Tony Joe White's "Polk Salad Annie". The EP was produced by Andy Johns and will mark the first release on their new label, Playing In Traffic, and their own imprint, Lonely Tone.
I love cover songs, and I love each of the tunes listed above.  I even have a version of "Polk Salad Annie" by Tom Jones.  Chomp.  Chomp-chomp.

Monday, September 21, 2009

FSOTD #29/Round And Round (1984)

Another day of reckoning here at FSOTD.  This was bound to happen.  I woke up with a song in my head, and I didn't know its title, the artist or even any lyrics.  Ack.  All I could hear was a partial melody with a multitude of voices singing some sort of chorus.  Perhaps a power ballad from a metal/hair band, circa 1985-1990.    So please excuse your humble and deficient author while he searches his collection and iTunes to see if he can identify the song.   If not, a second tune came up this morning, and it will be designated a "featured" song of the day.
Well, that was a bust.  I can't even recall the melody now, although I know it's a song I've heard many times.  If I ever figger it out, I'll make it a featured song on FSOTD.  I think from now on, it's the first song of the day that I can remember and identify.  ~Yab

.   .   .   .   .
Alrightee then. The featured song of the day is "Round And Round" by Ratt.  The year was 1984: Ronald Reagan landslid into a second term, the Olympics came to Los Angeles, Van Halen released a great album, and Ratt (bless their heavy metal hearts) put out "Round And Round".  It's a top shelf banger song. It is undeniably the biggest hit of Ratt's long career, rising all the way up to #12 on Billboard's Hot 100.  Heck, VH1 ranks it #51 on their best of the '80s list and #61 on best hard rock songs of all time.  Holy titanium!    Generally, I'm not big on metal and hair bands, but this song works, especially when you're drinking.

So is it the metal or the lyrics?

Out on the streets, that's where we'll meet
You make the night, I always cross the line
Tightened our belts, abuse ourselves
Get in our way, we'll put you on your shelf
Another day, some other way
We're gonna go, but then we'll see you again
I've had enough, we've had enough
Cold in vain, she said

...and they call Bob Dylan the spokesman for a generation.

I came up with an idea that could possibly breathe some life into the flagging careers of two bands.  Dig've probably heard of another similar band from the same era/genre - Poison.  The two groups should go out on the road together.  It would be the Ratt Poison Tour.  Think of the merchandising possibilities.   It wouldn't surprise me if they actually did this sometime in the past, and I (sigh) just missed it.

Closing on a positive note, I learned from the Wiki article that the song itself has had a generous and interesting journey.  Milton Berle appeared briefly in the video (it was 1984) because his nephew was Ratt's manager at the time.  In a 1993 concert in Maryland, Metallica performed the tune.  Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei sang the song together in 2008's surprise movie hit The Wrestler.   It is featured in versions of Grand Theft Auto and Guitar Hero.   Someone is still making a handsome chunk o' change on "Round And Round."  And bully for them.  Royalties are a good thing.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

FSOTD #28/Forget The Flowers (1996)

I have a favorite Wilco song.  It's "Forget The Flowers", from the 1996 double disc Being There.  The opening lyrics are: "You're trying my patience/Try pink carnations, red roses and yellow daffodils".  I won't pass judgment on Jeff Tweedy's poetic prowess, except to say, for some reason, those lyrics (especially the roses and daffodils) run through my head on a regular basis.   I suspect my affinity is really rooted in the juicy instrumentation of the song.  It opens with an acoustic guitar, followed by what I believe to be Jay Bennett on a slinky lap steel guitar, then bass, drums, and finally Max Johnston on banjo just prior to Tweedy's opening warble.  It's enough to make Buck Owens blush.

It also brings back a fond memory.  When Bob Dylan played six shows in 1987 with the Grateful Dead as his backing band, I was fortunate to catch the show at The Big A, Anaheim Stadium.  I believe the song was "I Want You" or perhaps "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight".   What lingers is the image not the audio.  I was standing way back from the stage on the field level, so I was watching the big screen.  It was a full body shot of Bob, singing his nasal damnedest, and in the back of the shot,  head down, his gaze buried in what I presume was a lap steel guitar, was portly Jerry Garcia picking away with a very similar sound as to what Bennett delivers in "Forget The Flowers."  It was a sight for the rock ages.   That was the same night the helicopter stopped overhead and shined a searchlight on us in the parking lot, but that's another story.

So it must be noted: "Forget The Flowers" is actually a "featured" song of the day, as there was an article 16 incident this morning.  The article 16 proviso (FSOTD #16) allows for the picking of a featured song of the day in the case where the true first song of the day was a duplicate from another day.  This morning, I woke up once again with Doc & Merle's "Freight Train Boogie" chugging through my mind.  As you may recall, it was the original FSOTD (which is actually FSOTD #2).

Saturday, September 19, 2009


First, a quick addendum to yesterday's FSOTD #26, "People Who Died".  Mostly out of respect, but also acknowledging a wisp of irony, I need to say a few words about Mary Travers, who died yesterday at age 72.  I was unaware of her passing when I wrote the Jim Carroll piece, otherwise I would have woven her into its fabric.   While it's easy enough to look back and "understand" the Beatles as the launching pad of all that is rock today, it is nearly as difficult to look back and explain how big Peter, Paul and Mary really were.  Rock was growing up; folk was winding down.  Peter, Paul and Mary were the last great gasp of the musical expression of the American folk movement in the 20th century.  They were gentle giants.  Simple melodies, beautiful harmonies and words so full of meaning.  It was a different time.  Mary Travers will be missed.

.    .    .    .    .

Now, about that Beatles playlist.  In FSOTD #8, we took a look at the song "I'm A Loser".  It's a song that starts with pure vocals...a "cold" start.  Somehow, I got to thinking about it and realized that the Beatles have an uncommon number of songs that begin with vocals.   So I searched my Beatles collection and, without really trying hard, I came up with 22 songs that start with singing.  There may be more.  To me, it's fascinating in a "whatever" sort of way.

At just under an hour, here it is - "Cold Beatles - the playlist" . . .

I'm A Loser
Happiness Is A Warm Gun
Hey Jude (at 3:59, the longest song on the list)
Cry Baby Cry
Mr. Moonlight (a Yabbadoodle favorite)
Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby
No Reply
When I Get Home
You're Gonna Lose That Girl ('nuther fave)
Penny Lane (meanwhile back...)
From Me To You
I'm Down
Nowhere Man
All My Loving
It Won't Be Long
Another Girl
Paperback Writer
Hello, Goodbye
Yellow Submarine

FSOTD #27/Walk On By (1964)

It's Saturday, September 19th, and if my maternal grandmother were still alive, she would be 110 years old today.  As it was, she lived to be 93.  She was a beautiful woman in so very many ways, and I miss her, as do - I can safely say - her other grandchildren.  It's possible she actually knew today's FSOTD.  It's from the '60s and was one of those pop hits that the "older" people really liked.

"Walk On By" was, I do believe, a #1 hit for Dionne Warwick.  It's a beautiful song.  And if it isn't a Hal David-Burt Bacharach concoction, they need to file suit for style infringement. So forgive me, I started typing before I did any research; please stand by while I check my facts .  .  .  .  hmmm  .  .  .  .  ok, just another minute .  .  .  .  .  .  aaah, yes:  Music by Burt, lyrics by Hal.  The sixties was their decade.  Well, theirs and the Beatles'.

"Walk On By" is a little older than I was remembering.  Recorded in December 1963, it was released in 1964 and was a #1 R&B hit but "only" made it to #6 on Billboard's Hot 100.  Among the listed covers in the Wiki article was a long one by Isaac Hayes (1969).   While familiar with that version, I am unacquainted with these: The Stranglers (1978), D-Train (1982) and Sybil (1990).  The really impressive list is those who have performed the song, many of whom recorded and released their live versions.  A handful of those names:  The Jackson 5, The Beach Boys, George Benson, Johnny Mathis, Seal and even Kelly Clarkson.   Warwick herself did a version of "Walk On By" in German.   It was 1964, and I feel certain that this was her label (Scepter) trying to ride the crest of the Beatles success with "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand", the German version of "I Want To Hold Your Hand".  Now there's an interesting story.

So we start with Dionne Warwick, we end up at The Beatles.  Does everything lead to The Beatles?   For some people, perhaps; for FSOTD #27, absolutely, and proud of it.  And with that in mind, later today I will tidy up and post the Beatles playlist promised way back in FSOTD #8.

thanks (once again) to Wikipedia

Friday, September 18, 2009

FSOTD #26/People Who Died (1980)

With FSOTD #26, we expand the rules that govern the game. I've been looking for a way to salute a song when opportunity arises but still preserve the "purity" of FSOTD. My solution is this: Friday's Song Of The Day. Clever, huh? On Fridays, I'll have the option of picking any song I want. Indeed, it could be the first song of the day (but probably won't be most weeks). Had I gone with today's true first song, we'd be waxing on "The Boston Rag" by Steely Dan (1973). It's a song I dig and an album I love, but it ain't gonna be FSOTD. Not today anyway.

Perhaps some of you noted the passing of writer-musician Jim Carroll?  Something of a cult celebrity, Carroll hob-nobbed with the likes of Warhol and Mapplethorpe, doing a load of drugs in his time with the fast and cool east coast arts set. Carroll is best known for his book-turned-movie "The Basketball Diaries", but FSOTD memorializes him today for his song "People Who Died". Pure punk that it was, "People Who Died" received virtually no commercial radio attention, but it was a big hit on the college circuit.

It is only because of college radio that I know this song, but it's not the song itself that makes "People Who Died" today's choice for FSOTD. It's Carroll's ex-wife Rosemary. She was a svelte, modelesque blonde who did an afternoon shift when I first arrived at my college radio station in California. We might've said five words to each other. Maybe. She was known as Rosemary Carroll then, so I guess they were married. I never saw Jim, not that I would've recognized him anyway. Post-matrimony (and perhaps pre-), her name is Rosemary Klemfuss. Yikes! Does that have a backwater sound to it, or what?! I prefer remembering her as Rosemary Carroll - the sexy, snooty looker who disappeared after my sophomore or junior year.

As for Jim (may he rest in peace), he now has the unusual distinction of having what he wrote as an autobiographical song become, in essence, his epitaph. Writer, singer, sophisticate...apparently, he was all these things, but I find myself wondering just what kind of guy he really was. Jim Carroll died of a heart attack last week in his New York apartment at age 60.

Yabbathanks to our friend, the music-savvy Demo

Thursday, September 17, 2009

FSOTD #25/Right Back Where We Started From (1975)

After a one day interlude, FSOTD is right back to the 70's. British singer Maxine Nightingale's "Right Back Where We Stared From" was a top ten hit worldwide in 1975, rising as high as #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. While undoubtedly her best remembered song, it did not produce her highest chart position. In 1979 (I learned from Wiki), she went #1 for seven weeks on the Adult AC list with a song whose title rang no bell. None whatsoever. So I went to iTunes and heard the clip for "Lead Me On", and still, nary a speck of recognition. No big surprise, really - it was one of those yawner AC hits, and I was in college at the time. Where "Right Back" is a very agreeable early-disco-days romp, the slow and breathy "Lead Me On" says change the channel. I wasn't doing very much Adult Contemporary radio in those days, but IMO, this is exactly the kind of song that only hastened the transition of "new wave" into mainstream rock, and even more, helped give rise to the metal invasion of the 80's. Maxine, 57, still performs as a club and cabaret sort of gal, and I'm willing to wager she has no idea just how important she was to the evolution of rock music:)

Love is good, Love can be strong
We gotta get right back to where we started from

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

FSOTD #24/The Sadder But Wiser Girl (1962)

Broadway aficionados know Meredith Willson's The Music Man debuted in 1957, but the version of "The Sadder But Wiser Girl" running through my head early this morning was undoubtedly Robert Preston from the 1962 movie. It's the only version I know.

The Broadway show opened on December 19, 1957, starring Preston as Harold Hill, ultimately winning 5 Tony Awards (including best cast album). It ran for 1375 performances. There have been two revivals: 1980 with Dick Van Dyke as Hill and - get this - Christian Slater as Winthrop; in 2000, with Craig Bierko taking the male lead and Rebecca Luker as Marian. In 2003, a TV version of The Music Man was produced with Matthew Broderick as the erstwhile music professor. For the very trivia minded, there's this: after Preston left the Broadway cast, he was replaced first by Eddie Albert then Bert Parks.

If FSOTD could have cherry-picked from the show, I would've chosen "Ya Got Trouble" or "Marian The Librarian", but that's not how things work here (at least not yet). "Sadder..." is a very likable song/scene from the show but not quite a show-stopper. So for lack of anything of substance to say about today's song, here are the lyrics:

(Harold Hil singing:)
No wide-eyed, eager,
Wholesome innocent Sunday school teacher for me.
That kinda girl spins webs no spider ever--
Listen, boy--
A girl who trades on all that purity
Merely wants to trade my independence for her security.
The only affirmative she will file
Refers to marching down the aisle.
No golden, glorious, gleaming pristine goddess--
No sir!
For no Diana do I play faun.
I can tell you that right now.
I snarl, I hiss: How can ignorance be compared to bliss?
I spark, I fizz for the lady who knows what time it is.
I cheer, I rave for the virtue I'm too late to save
The sadder-but-wiser girl for me.
No bright-eyed, blushing, breathless baby-doll baby
Not for me.
That kinda child ties knots no sailor ever knew.
I prefer to take a chance on a more adult romance.
No dewy young miss
Who keeps resisting all the time she keeps insisting!
No wide-eyed, wholesome innocent female.
No sir.
Why, she's the fisherman, I'm the fish you see?--PLOP!
I flinch, I shy, when the lass with the delicate air goes by
I smile, I grin, when the gal with a touch of sin walks in.
I hope, and I pray, for a Hester to win just one more "A"
The sadder-but-wiser girl's the girl for me.
The sadder-but-wiser girl for me.

Whatever you might think about it, I hope you'd agree that, at the very least, "The Sadder But Wiser Girl" beats the hell out of "Shi-Poo-Pi". ~Yab

Yabbathanks to and Wikipedia

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Alright! My man Rip has come up with 2 more albums with titles of seven words or more (see FSOTD #23).

Here they are:

The World Has Made Me The Man Of My Dreams ~ Meshell Ndegeocello (2007)

We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. ~ Jason Mraz (2008)

~ Yab

FSOTD #23-A *Sir Elton*

Here's an FSOTD extra . . . Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player, released in January of 1973, was the first Elton John album to hit number one is the US, the UK and Australia. It was designated triple platinum and sold 16,000,000 copies. Just 10 months later (wow!), EJ put out his biggest seller ever: the epic double-disc Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. It sold 33,000,000 copies and was declared -cough- 7X platinum!! At that level, don'cha think they might oughta come up with a new metal? I mean, at 7X, you have earned it. I wonder just how many albums have ever gone 7X platinum, or higher? I'm guessing it's something less than the number of albums with seven word titles . . . ~Yab

yabbathanks to Wikipedia and its RIAA data

FSOTD #23/Another Park, Another Sunday (1974)

FSOTD is mired in the early '70s. Today's first song is from the Doobie Brothers: "Another Park, Another Sunday" from the 1974 Warner album What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits. This may be my favorite DB album, with 12 strong tracks, including the big hits Black Water and Eyes Of Silver (neither of which, as it turns out, made into the playlist "Colored" FSOTD #21-A). I learned from the CD jacket that Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (late of Steely Dan) joined the band on this and subsequent albums. I had forgotten about that. Maybe one day Steely Dan's Bodhisattva will take its turn as an FSOTD, and I can wax about Baxter's scintillating guitar work. But until then, please by apprised that the Doobies are a touring band once again (doobie tour dates), featuring original songwriters and vocalists Patrick Simmons and Tom Johnston, as well as Michael Hossack on drums. The reviews I've seen have been generally good, and they hit the road again in October. For those local to Yabbadoodle's area, the Doobie Brothers will be making a stop in Fort Worth at the Bass Performance Hall, Monday, November 2nd.

But enough for some goofy stuff. As I was pondering what to write about "Another Park...", I fixated instead on the title of the album - What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits. What a delightful notion, albeit true. But a question came to mind - how many other albums have seven or more words in their titles? The answer, of course, is not many. At first, I couldn't think of any, but slowly, like a bubblin' crude, up came some titles...

Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only The Piano Player ~ Elton John (1973)
Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy ~ Elton John (1975)
In The Court Of The Crimson King ~ King Crimson (1969)
For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) ~ AC/DC (1984)

I thought of those first four on my own. Then I went to the CD collection (about 2500 titles) and found these (and yes, ampersands count as words):

Meet Me Where They Play The Blues ~ Maria Muldaur (1999)
The Rise & Fall of Ruby Woo ~ The Puppini Sisters (2007)
The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get ~ Joe Walsh (1973)
Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? ~ The Cranberries (1993)
Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! ~ Devo (1978)
Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates ~ Kenny Chesney (2007)
3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of... ~ Arrested Development (1992)


Monday, September 14, 2009

FSOTD #22/Nobody But You (1971)

"Nobody But You" is a song from Sittin' In, the 1971 debut album from Loggins & Messina. An all-time rock classic, it's one of those albums I've owned in vinyl and CD and probably cassette. The Loggins & Messina Wikipedia page reveals this interesting bit about Sittin' In:

The two recorded a number of Loggins' compositions in Messina's home living room. When Columbia signed Loggins to a six-album contract (with the assistance of Messina), recording began in earnest for Loggins' debut album, with Messina as producer. Messina originally intended to lend his name to the Loggins project only to help introduce the unknown Loggins to Messina's well-established Buffalo Springfield and Poco audiences. But by the time the album was completed, Messina had contributed so much to the album - in terms of songwriting, arrangement, instrumentation, and vocals - that an "accidental" duo was born.

Allow me to gush a little bit about how much I enjoyed their concert in 2005. It was a well-conceived two-set show that covered most of their great songs (but not all; they have too many). Where I went into the show as, I guess, mostly a Kenny Loggins guy, I came out a Jim Messina groupie. Although he now looks more like Jim Belushi than the Jimmy Messina of my youthful memory, his talent was in no way diminished. His voice was in superb shape (Kenny's too), but it was Messina's acoustic and electric guitar playing, as well as some ripping mandolin work, that carried the show. Consistent with his position as record producer, it was clear he also fulfilled that role for the live act. The band was following his leads through a variety of songs and a wide range of instruments, faithfully re-creating their 70's sound while leaving room for the talented array of musicians to express themselves. It was a darn good show.

Saving the best for last, I also learned from Wiki that in May of this year, Loggins & Messina announced a late summer/fall 2009 tour. That means now. Indeed, I went to their website (tour dates), and they are a little more than a third of the way through a tour that continues into November, wending its way across America from east to west. No DFW show (dang), but there's a string of tasty California dates in mid-October. If they come your way, do yourself a favor and catch their show.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Inspired by The Who, this is a CD-length playlist entitled "Colored"

Behind Blue Eyes/Limp Bizkit
Pink Houses/John Mellencamp
Maria Magenta/Donovan
Green Tambourine/Lemon Pipers
Your Gold Teeth/Steely Dan
Grey Street/Dave Matthews Band
Orange Crush/R.E.M.
Red Skies/The Fixx
Purple House/Prince
Turquoise Days/Echo & The Bunnymen
House Of Blue Leaves/Moby
Blue And Green/Van Morrison
Back In Black ~ AC/DC
White Room/Cream
Black Cloud/Trapeze

FSOTD #21/Behind Blue Eyes (1971)

Today's first song of the day came to me in a dream. Literally. I was dreaming that I was with a bunch of men and women, some I knew, most I did not. We were outside, I think, on a slightly sloped piece of land between a few big trees. We were all scurrying between tables, or perhaps picnic benches...I'm not quite sure. Were we working, decorating, having a party? I'm not sure of that either. But I am sure that near the end of the dream, I was singing (with some of my fellow scurriers) the Who's "Behind Blue Eyes". It was these lyrics:

When my fist clenches, crack it open
Before I use it and lose my cool
When I smile, tell me some bad news
Before I laugh and act like a fool

Cut to me, awake, out of bed, standing over the toilet. Under the din of liquid on liquid, those lyrics are still running through my head. Suddenly, a cognitive flash - I have my FSOTD for Sunday, September 13, 2009.

"Behind Blue Eyes" was released as single in 1971 and on Who's Next, the Who's fantastic follow-up album to the 1969 rock opera Tommy. While fans always wanted to hear Tommy in concert, it was Who's Next that provided the musical backbone for live performances by the band in the 1970's (and beyond) . . . this is what I was thinking about when I crawled back into bed to listen to the rain and scratch/rub my dogs (a morning ritual). It was during this dogtime that I had a second cognitive flash. There is great irony in becoming aware of a song from Who's Next while taking a leak. Remember that album cover?

Thanks to LyricsFreak for the above quatrain.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

FSOTD #20/China Cat Sunflower (1969)

It was only a matter of time. I guess I'm a little surprised it took twenty songs for the Grateful Dead to become a first song of the day. But, ya know, I haven't been listening to the Dead so much in recent months. Barely at all, really. So it was a pleasant surprise when I woke up with "China Cat Sunflower" bopping through my head. I was even more pleasantly surprised by the nuggets I turned up doing my research for this post.

"China Cat Sunflower" first appeared on vinyl as part of the Dead's 1969 album Aoxomoxoa. Pronounce it how you will, and then rack your brain for any other album titles that are palindromes. But is it really a palindrome if it's not a word in the dictionary? Webster's defines palindrome as a "word, verse, or sentence that reads the same backward or forward". There's no definition for aoxomoxoa. Yeah, it's an esoteric point, but then, we're talking the Grateful Dead here.

In a time where, generally speaking, albums were promoted by concerts, the Grateful Dead more often approached it the other way around. Remember the Dead's 1987 radio hit "Touch of Grey"? The first time it was ever played live was 9-15-82 at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. In the case of "China Cat" (as it was casually known), my trusty old Deadbase VIII lists its first concert appearance as 1-22-68, but it was quite possibly played prior to that. Many of the setlists from the 1960's are lost to time, including a string of shows at the end of 1967.

Wading through the pages of Deadbase for the first time in quite some while spawned an idea. Instead of making and including some sort of playlist with "China Cat Sunflower", I'll find a Grateful Dead setlist with the song, and if possible, it'll be from a show played on today's date, September 12th. And so, while the first four or five Sep 12 shows I perused did not include "China Cat", I finally found one from the early 80's that did. And wouldn't you know, it was not just any ol' show, but one I actually attended. And not just any show I attended, but the very show that I have always identified as the one where I became a Deadhead. For real...I'm not making this up.

It was Saturday, September 12, 1981 at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. I was with one of my many friends named Michael, and I believe it was my 6th Grateful Dead show. He and I had just done our first Dead road trip a few weeks earlier, driving from northern California to a pair of shows in Long Beach. And how about this for a longtime friend update: He and I met up in New York this past April and caught two Dead shows, the first at the Nassau County Coliseum followed the next night by THE show of the tour at Madison Square Garden. Bully for us.

Here's the entire 9-12-81 show...

Set I
Shakedown Street>Greatest Story Ever Told Friend Of The Devil>El Paso Bird Song>Cassidy Tennessee Jed>Looks Like Rain China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider

Set II
Scarlet Begonias>Fire On The Mountain>C.C. Rider Estimated Prophet>Eyes Of The World>
Drums>Not Fade Away>Wharf Rat>Around & Around>One More Saturday Night

E1: Brokedown Palace E2: Good Lovin'

For those unfamiliar, the ">" symbol indicates where one song either jams or segues into the following song. Usually, there was much more of that in GD second sets, so much so that I was surprised to see all those arrows in 9-12-81's first set. In the case of "China Cat Sunflower>I Know Rider", it indicates one of the band's most consistent and classic jams, one that had been worked out many years prior and was a perennial crowd favorite. You very rarely heard "China Cat" without "I Know You Rider" hard on its heels. China Cat Sunflower > I Know Your Rider. The first "China>Rider", according to Deadbase VIII, was played on 9-30-69.

So there ya have it - the first ever FSOTD featuring The Grateful Dead. And no Wikipedia!

Friday, September 11, 2009


As any good pitcher needs a good change-up, I note that I have done no pure vocabulary posts as yet in the month of September. For shame. Here are three words:

The first two entries are courtesy of Scrabble play last weekend in Tennessee.

ixia . . . n 1: genus of southern African bulbous plants (but this use is capitalized) 2: any plant of the genus Ixia (this is the one that works for Scrabble). plural: ixias

zamia . . . n 1: a genus of tropical and subtropical American cycads (again, capitalized) 2: any plant of the genus Zamia (but of course). plural: zamias

Carolus Linneaus ain't got nothin' on our Scrabble rabble!

Our third and final word for this installment is "temerity." It popped into my head earlier today, and while I was in the ballpark, making the jump from thought to speech definitely required a dictionary check. This from Webster's Third New International:

temerity . . . another noun . . . unreasonable or foolhardy contempt of danger or opposition : reckless and often presumptuous boldness : rash venturesomeness.

So perhaps you know that old adage about fools rushing in where angels fear to tread? That's temerity.

FSOTD #19/You Turn Me On I'm a Radio (1972)

For the second consecutive day, the first song of the day is from a woman named Roberta. What are the odds?! I mean, seriously, how many women do you know named Roberta? And as it turns out, both songs also became hits the same year. Whoa! Coincidence, or eerie similarity? You decide.

"You Turn Me On I'm a Radio" was a hit song from Roberta Joan Anderson in 1972. You probably remember her (as did I until Wiki) as Joni Mitchell. This was a single from the Canadian singer-musician-songwriter's 1972 album For The Roses, which was released between 1971's Blue and 1974's Court 'n Spark. A prolific producer throughout her career, this early 70's period was undoubtedly her most commercially successful stretch. "You Turn Me On..." charted highest in the U.K. at #7. It was a U.S. #25 and peaked at #10 in Australia. It's worth noting that, while Joni Mitchell achieved undeniable international success, a look at both her album and single chart positions suggests that she was most popular in The United Kingdom.
If FSOTD ever gets a Bob Dylan song (and I expect it will), I'll probably do the same for it as I do now for Joni's song - post some lyrics. Joni's a fine poet, among her many other talents.

Selected lyrics from "You Turn Me On I'm a Radio"...

And I'm sending you out
This signal here
I hope you can pick it up
Loud and clear
I know you don't like weak women
You get bored so quick
And you don't like strong women
'Cause they're hip to your tricks

It's been dirty for dirty
Down the line
But you know
I come when you whistle
When you're loving and kind

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Has there ever been a more mellow #1 hit than "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"?
Here's a CD-length, 20-song oh-so-mellow playlist. It's Roberta's Playlist.

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face/Roberta Flack
Tapestry/Carole King
We're All Alone/Boz Scaggs
If I Laugh/Cat Stevens
Play Me/Neil Diamond
Think (Instrumental)/Curtis Mayfield
Shining Star/The Manhattans
Pieces Of A Man/Gil Scott-Heron
In My Life/Ramsey Lewis
My Cherie Amour/Peter White
Rebecca's Waltz/Marc Antoine
El Condor Pasa/John Williams
Send In The Clowns/Tony Rice & John Carlini
Without You/Nilsson
Desperado/The Eagles
Love Me Tender/Elvis Presley
I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time/The Andrew Sisters
That Lucky Old Sun/Louis Armstrong
It Was A Very Good Year/Frank Sinatra
Walk On By/Dionne Warwick

FSOTD #18/The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (1969)

For those of you who remember Roberta Flack's #1 hit "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and think 1969 seems a little early - I am one of those people - read on; it's an interesting story.

"First Time..." was released on Flack's debut album First Take in 1969. Nothing happened. Enter Clint Eastwood (yes, that Clint Eastwood). In 1971, Eastwood makes his directorial debut in the near-classic "Play Misty For Me." One of the songs Eastwood chooses for the film (in which he plays a radio DJ) was "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," and by 1972, the song hits #1 on both the Hot 100 and AC charts (#4 R&B).

Flack went on to have a string of hits over the next five years, which proved to be the pinnacle stretch of her career. Very few artists ever get to the top; far fewer get back. "First Time..." was the 1973 Grammy Record of the Year. She won the award again the next year with "Killing Me Softly." She and U2 are the only acts ever to go back-to-back.

Roberta Flack is a little older than I thought. I say that with admiration. Born Feb. 10, 1937, she is currently 72 years old. She was just 19 when she graduated Howard University. In 1999, she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Her story is fascinating. You go, Roberta!

As always, FSOTD thanks Wikipedia.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

FSOTD #17/Blister In The Sun (1983)

Woke up, fell outta bed, and the first song of the day was...another duplicate. Yesterday's featured song "More Than Words" was stuck upstairs (as it might be for a few more days - there's something about it).

Using the new "duplicate" proviso, I chose "Blister In The Sun" from the Violent Femmes. Why? I had heard it a few times in the last couple of months and was curious who it was. And voila! There it was today, on the radio while driving to lunch. I knew it was kind of an old song but was shocked to learn it was from 1983. But then again, to my ear, it evokes Jonathan Richman, and that would take it back 25-30 years in a snap.

Discovered by the Pretenders, The Violent Femmes were a 3-man Wisconsin band whose principal fame was in the college radio sphere. Their greatest success commercially was "Blister In The Sun," and it was their only song to crack the mainstream rock charts (peaking at #25). I was distressed - in a small way - to learn that lead vocalist Gordon Gano announced the band's break-up earlier this year. Femmes no more.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Here's another playlist, inspired by "More Than Words." At 1.2 hours, it fits on a CD.

More Than Words/Extreme
Mrs. Potter's Lullaby/Counting Crows
My Winding Wheel/Ryan Adams
You're The Man/Shelby Lynne
The Wrong Girl/Missy Higgins
Wink/Blue Mountain
Wake Up Everybody/Keb' Mo'
Waiting For That Day/George Michael
Uncle John's Band/Indigo Girls
Elvis' Wide Ride/String Cheese Incident
Duncan/Paul Simon
Jessica/The Allman Brothers Band
If You See Her, Say Hello/Bob Dylan
Heaven's Already Here/Collective Soul
Forever My Friend/Ray LaMontagne
My Next Thirty Years/Tim McGraw
Kiss Me/Sixpence None The Richer

FSOTD #16/More Than Words (1991)

FSOTD #16 opens a new frontier in the musings that are "first song of the day." Today's true first song ("Act Naturally") was also yesterday's first song, something I knew was just bound to happen. It did. So here's the new rule for that: Whenever there's a duplicate, I will pick a "featured song of the day," whatever song strikes me, for whatever reason.

Today's featured song (FSOTD #16) is "More Than Words" by Extreme. Perhaps you remember the song. It was a 1991 #1 hit and is featured in umpteen collections. Maybe you've seen a clip of the two singers with their beautiful harmonies and hair on some TV spot for "90's Nuggets" or some such. Their names are Nuno Bettencourt and Gary Cherone. They are not the only members of this band, whose second album Extreme II: Pornograffiti contained this mega-hit. Their Wiki article also describes this as a departure from their funk-metal sound, which goes a long way in explaining the seeming contradiction between the simplicity of this beautiful acoustic romantic ballad and the name of the band: Extreme. Anything but.

So why this song? Well, as I picked up a magazine for some morning reading, there - written on the back cover - was More Than Words/Extreme. Call it fate. Call it convenience. Call it FSOTD #16.

FSOTD #15 (1972/1976/2007)

Back from Tennessee...three nights in a tent, a sore back, and the somewhat wide-eyed memory of what I'm pretty sure was a black bear growling close by camp around 5am Monday morning.

3 days away...3 songs

Saturday, Sept 5. "A Good Feelin' To Know," the Richie Furay-penned title track from the 1972 album by Poco. The song did not chart, but received airplay on the "heavier" FM stations and is well-remembered by Poco fans. "Good Feelin'..." was the second post-Jim Messina Poco album. Future Eagle Tim Schmidt was still in the band.

Sunday, Sept. 6. "Year of The Cat"...1976, by Al Stewart. This was a top 10 hit on both sides of the pond, but looking back, it was songs just like this (and by the Jefferson Starship and Fleetwood Mac and such) that paved the way for the rise of "new wave" music - The Cars, Elvis Costello, Blondie). Disco played a part as well, of course. Punk was already established, but the mainstream rock audience was yearning for a new direction (whether they knew it or not).

Two interesting things I learned from Wiki about Al: He knew Yoko Ono in her pre-John Lennon days. Is that good or bad? Second thing...he once shared a flat in London with Paul Simon. Ok, now that is cool.

Monday, Sept 7. From 2007, Monday's FSOTD was Dwight Yoakam's cover of the Buck Owens classic "Act Naturally." While not penned by Owens, the song attained signature status when he released in 1963. There are many who probably remember it as a Beatles song, sung by Ringo and released in 1965. Cut to 2007, and Yoakam releases the cover album Dwight Sings Buck, including "Act Naturally."

What a talent Yoakam is - first rate as both an actor and a musician. His turn in "Sling Blade" is as tasty and hateful as a redneck bully can be. And if you get the chance, go see him in concert; he puts on a dynamite show.

Friday, September 4, 2009

FSOTD #14/Please Don't Go (1974)

There's a never-ending argument in trying to decide which band or artist had the best run of albums in the seventies. Was it Pink Floyd? What about Steely Dan? The Rolling Stones? There are a few other possibilities, but none any better than Stevie Wonder. From 1972 to 1976, he released five albums that compare favorably with any recording artist of any time. Even the Beatles, but let's no go there. Let's go instead to 1974's Fulfillingness' First Finale. Today's first song of the day is the last song on side 2, "Please Don't Go." It's classic Stevie - a little acoustic piano, some harmonica and a joyful up-tempo R&B rhythm. The lyrics are plaintive, passionate and even polite...Please Don't Go.

Looking back to yesterday's Elvis Costello track, I find it somewhat dumbfounding that these two songs were released only three years apart. For me, and even for the pop music scene, they were worlds apart, the space between filled by another body in the music constellation - disco.


FSOTD will take a weekend break for "near-camping" and family frolicking in Tennessee. Have a great weekend.

FSOTD #13/(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes (1977)

Proving the power of suggestion, the first song of the day for September 3rd was a holdover from the concert I had seen the night before. Elvis Costello came to Texas with his Nashville/bluegrass band and laid down two hours of acoustic bliss. The show was built around his latest album (released June '09), a flurry of interesting covers, and a helping of old Elvis favorites. Aware of what butters his bread, Costello neatly spread five selections from his ultra-classic 1977 debut album My Aim Is True throughout the show. Among these, FSOTD #13, (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes. He was conversant and friendly all night, but this was the only tune where he invited crowd participation, with many in the 1500 or so patrons dutifully singing "Red Shoes" seven or eight times.

Other songs of note: the show opened with "Train, Train," setting the tone for the entire evening. Covers of the Rolling Stones' "Happy", the Grateful Dead's "Friend Of The Devil," and Hank Williams' "Why Don't You Love Me Like You Used To Do." And while there were many highlights, the final song of the night "(What's So Funny About) Peace, Love and Understanding" was as righteous a bluegrass romp as you can imagine. And while the band was tight throughout (and the house sound excellent), an enthusiastic doff of the country cap must go to the great Jerry Douglas, who was scintillating on dobro.

One final compliment for Mr. 55 years of age (just turned on August 25th), his voice sounds amazingly good. And he really knows how to sing. And entertain. Indeed, his aim was true.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

FSOTD #12/My Favorite Things (1961)

Recorded in 1960, "My Favorite Things" by John Coltrane was released in 1961. This is two years after the 1959 Broadway debut of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, but it is four years before the iconic Julie Andrews version that comes from the 1965 movie.

I must admit, I was a bit hazy about all these dates this morning when the Coltrane version became the first song of the day for Wednesday, September 2nd. The first Jazz entry for FSOTD. The first instrumental. Coltrane.

The album was also titled My Favorite Things, with over 40 minutes of music but just four tracks. Wow. Jazz. Coltrane. I've always known he was prolific, but I learned from Wiki that he was either leader or sideman on well over 100 albums, and all before his untimely death at 40 from liver cancer. Wow. Coltrane.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


"Shakey Ground" - The Playlist
Just over 70 minutes - perfect CD length!

Shakey Ground/The Temptations
Blues Up Tight/The Crusaders
Everything's Gonna Be Alright/Al Green
Looking For A New Love/Jody Watley
It's Over Now/Luther Vandross
I'm That Chick/Mariah Carey
Another Star/Caron Wheeler
House Arrest/Pieces Of A Dream
Money Don't Matter 2 Night/Prince
How Long (Betcha' Got A Chick On The Side)/Pointer Sisters
Slippin' Into Darkness/Ramsey Lewis
Unchain My Heart/Joe Cocker
Disco Lady/Johnnie Taylor
Les And Eddie/Mocean Worker
I Heard It Through The Grapevine/Roger

FSOTD #11/Shakey Ground (1975)

"Shakey Ground" by the Temptations, my first song of the day for Tuesday, September 1, 2009. I know this song mostly from the 20th Century Masters Temptations collection. And while I was somewhat familiar with the song when I heard it, I have to say I don't really remember it from its time.

Released in 1975, "Shakey Ground" held the distinction for many years as the last #1 hit for the band. It rose to 26 on the U.S. pop chart, but it was a #1 R&B hit. In 1998, The Temptations scored what now stands as their last #1 with "Stay," which rose to the top of the U.S. Urban AC list.

So I was musing about the title "Shakey Ground" and was struck by how it is an apt metaphor for so many things these days: health care, the financial meltdown, global warming, and our two Muslim wars (call 'em what you will, we're fighting Muslims). A little later, I was reading today's essay by George Will about Afghanistan. His premise - one I heartily agree with - is that a ground-based, troop-intensive war is a dead end (pardon the pun). All estimates converge on two grim realities: it will take many, many more troops and many years to (possibly) achieve any sort of stabilization in what the Brookings Institution ranks as the second weakest state in the world (behind Somalia).

But that's not what caught my eye, at least not for the sake of this writing. It was Will's use of the "risible." He was referencing NATO assistance in the campaign, terming it "reluctant and often risible." A quick trip to Webster's solved the uncertainty. Risible means laughable. It would seem George Will does not think much of NATO, an organization that surely realizes in Afghanistan they are standing on shaky ground.