A Truly Elegant Taste Is Accompanied By The Simplicity Of A Heart Full Of Wonder.
Chuck Berry – Carol (1958)
Carol was the B Side of Johnny B Goode both rock and roll foundation stones from the Poet of Rock N Roll. Chuck Berry who combined his influences Blues, Ballads and Country music into a winning formula that inspired generations of guitarists in technique and presentation. His playing has shaped electric guitar music like no one else’s. Chuck Berry’s music is the essential guide to Rock N Roll and every branch of music that has evolved since the mid 50’s. Vintage clips of Chuck at the top of game is like is like watching an American vintage car in all its splendour, more feel,more history and takes your breath away and keeps it.
Widespread Panic – Little Lilly (2001)
An American Southern Jam Rock Band from Athens, Georgia following in the steps of The Allman Brothers & The Grateful Dead. Little Lilly is from the 2001 album Don’t Tell The Band. A loyal fan following and a team spirit between band and audience has been their secret for success.
Together Everyone Achieves More
Chicago – Feelin Stronger Every Day (1973)
Chicago combined horns with rock and roll earning a hard working reputation on the circuit in the late 60’s in venues like the Whiskey A Go Go that got them support slots with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. By the time they released their Chicago V1 album they had refined their skill set into a smooth funky rocking sound with the icing on the cake being Peter Cetera’s tenor vocal.
Feelin Stronger Every Day was a vibrant smooth as silk hit that contributed to making Chicago one of the bestselling most successful groups of all time
Good timber does not grow with ease the stronger the wind the stronger the trees.
Mary Black – Bright Blue Eyes (1991)
Mary Black has a voice that is pure and easy to listen and comes across as a nice person who loves to sing.Seen Mary down in the new Convention Centre few years back and was delighted to meet such a warm and friendly down to earth entertainer.Mary has a gift for interpreting the mystery of an enchanting beautiful traditional or modern lyric that provokes an admiration and pleasure in the listener.Her fans are devoted to her simply I believe because she brings out a respect niceness and good humour in life.
Paddy decides to take up boxing and goes for the required medical. A few days later the doctor phones and says Paddy, you realise you’ve got sugar diabetes. Paddy says, Nice one, when do I fight him?
Neil Young – Cripple Creek Ferry (1970)
After The Goldrush was going to be a movie and Neil Young set about writing tunes like Cripple Creek Ferry for the soundtrack in his home studio with his Crazy Horse backing band which included a teenage Nils Lofgren on keyboards. The movie never seen the light of day but it’s album soundtrack has become a classic Neil Young LP.
Chance is a part of reality: we are continually shaped by the forces of coincidence, the unexpected occurs with almost numbing regularity in our lives.
Petula Clark – Who Am I (1966)
Nothing erases unpleasant thoughts more effectively than concentration on pleasant ones and nothing adds more value than plenty of music in your life as in this beauty from Petula Clark from 1966 whose big voice was a regular soundtrack growing up in the mid 60’s.
Wilco – Hate It Here (2007)
Seen the Chicago band Wilco at the New Orleans Jazz Fest and loved the wall of sound they created on stage taking us on an exploration of modern music that climbs over many fences. Confident musicians who make you cosy and comfortable then lead you on some delightful detours that are accessible and spontaneous. It’s like trying to describe the flavours in a glass of wine as they bounce you around their sound teasing and pleasing with an infectious wholesome well-rounded cohesive musical groove.
Life is a paradise for those who love many things with a passion.
Boz Scaggs (Greg Wilson Mix) – Lowdown (1976 & 2008)
A silky mix by Greg Wilson of the 1976 classic from Boz Scaggs who was backed up by a team of session musicians that would go on to form Toto on the original Silk Degrees LP. Regarded as a classic Blue Eyed Soul single DJ Greg Wilson (King of the Edit) who was a master of the legendary Northern Clubs in the early 80’s took a 20 year sabbatical and returned in the early noughties added his mixing flair and finesse to update golden era disco music for modern audiences.
Bobby Bland – Stormy Monday (1962)
Often called the Lion of the Blues his early 60’s records do it for me big time much more than his later material. Pure unvarnished instrumentation and a polished Willie Mitchell production ambiance that is pure heaven to my ears. Disciplined tender blues drenched soulful vocals on this melodic chord arranged version of T Bone Walker’s Call It Stormy Monday which would have been the version influencing The Allman Brothers version almost a decade later. Took me awhile to appreciate Bobby Bland due to listening to some of his later live recordings which were punctuated with a gravel sounding vocal squall which I didn’t get at all.
She had that rolling pin in her voice
Joni Mitchell – Love (1982)
The first lady of Canadian Rock mastered the art of painting incredibly visual pictures with her lyrics complemented with bizarre hypnotic guitar tunings she invented herself along her musical journey. Love from her Wild Things Run Free LP in 1982 finds Joni wiser to the ways of the world looking to the bible and Corinthians 13 to find hope in the words of the old scriptures for a more cautious future.
The first rule of love is to love yourself first.
Simon & Garfunkel – America (1968)
Good songs like diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs. This is a song that nourishes and massages the mind body and soul. A clean confident melodically rich song that has the ability to change despair into joy and chaos into rest. Young lovers searching America for beauty, adventure, and optimism.
Foreigner – Woman In Black (1981)
Seen Mick Jones with the current lineup in Dublin in recent years but the real deal for me is listening to this soft rock masterpiece from the legendary Lou Gramm & Mick Jones lineup that produced powerful, catchy, hard-driving rock with the perfect captivating Mutt Lange produced mix of lava flowing melody and power back in 1981 on the 4 album.
Hollie Cook – Milk And Honey (2011)
I love reggae grooves particularly when they are as relaxing and as enjoyable and chilled out as this. Hollie is a musical child daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook and her mother Jeni was a singer in Culture Club with Boy George as her godfather.
All the statistics in the world can’t measure the warmth of music in your life.
Frank Zappa – Little Umbrellas (1969)
A fascinating musician with an ability to expand beyond boundaries with results that inhabit a space of their own. An experimental trailblazer, an eccentric taboo challenging musician driven by uncompromising intellectual integrity I have only absorbed a small amount of his music over the years but this is one of my favourites from the Hot Rats LP.
Deep within us is a creative spirit desiring to be free and we may as well get out of its way for it will give us no peace until we do.
Hozier – Someone New (2014)
First time seeing Hozier was at the New Orleans’s Jazz Festival with a well oiled touring band of musicians who were effortlessly picking up new fans. Classy songs that catch the ear with a tapestry of well crafted influences spirituals, blues, folk and many more traditional ingredients. I was very proud of our local hero Andrew Hozier Byrne on a world stage with that great voice and a musical canvas totally fluent in the most internationally language on our planet.
Grechen Peters – When All You Got Is A Hammer (2015)
Seen Grechen in the Button Factory on the Blackbirds album tour a wonderful warm performer on stage and off writing very emotional songs about life and death and the need to protect yourself from the negativity of life when you move away from the bulletproof decades of life into the more vulnerable middle and old decades. Grechen and her equally nice husband and musical partner Barry spent ages after the show conversing and listening with fans and her monthly newsletter is one of my favorite optimistic pick me up reads these days.
Die young at an old age.
When a pessimist has nothing to worry about he worries about why he has nothing to worry about.
Atlanta Rhythm Section – Large Time (1978)
One of the most anticipated events of my week in the late 70’s early 80’s was Tommy Vance’s Friday Night Rock on BBC Radio on a dodgy FM signal via the Mourne mountains to the Donabate – Portrane Peninsula. Tommy was my filter for great rock music old and new, he was passionate about what he liked and it rubbed off on the listener effortless much like Pat James Off The Record show on Nova every Sunday night. Large Time by Southern Rockers Atlanta Rhythm Section (ARS) exploded out of the speakers on the Friday Night Rock Show and has stayed with me faithfully ever since. A high-energy tribute song from their Champagne Jam LP in 1978 following the tragic plane crash that cut short the lives of their mates in Lynyrd Skynyrd the previous year. ARS was already on my radar following a review of their support gig with The Who at the Gator Bowl Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Jack Costanzo Orchestra – Peter Gunn Mambo (1961)
This Afro Cuban Hollywood dance music from Mr Bongo takes me back to going to the cinema on a Sunday afternoon with my mates and waiting for the lights to dim and the curtains to open while stuffing ourselves with E number laced refreshments and wondering why we were jumping out of our skins. My hyperactive brain was responding then as it does now to the rip-roaring congas, bongos, timbales and mambo horns which is irresistible good time danceable music. The infectious rhythms and playful melodies keep my toes tapping from beginning to end.
An ulcer is an unkissed imagination taking its revenge for having been jilted it is an undanced dance an unpainted watercolor an unwritten poem
Patsy Cline – Blue Moon Of Kentucky (1963)
The classic country music singer with the emotionally charged perfect pitch voice who became a huge top-selling crossover Country Pop success on the mainstream Charts up to her tragic death in a plane crash. The music business had already made her an awesome character and like Chuck Berry she also had a rule with promoters demanding payment before she went on stage “No Dough No Show. The bitter law of life and the hectic touring demands on our heroes over the years has taken many artistic souls to such a horrible end to their lives like Patsy such as Buddy Holly, Glenn Miller, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Otis Redding, Jim Reeves, Jim Croce, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Ronnie Van Zant & Steve Gaines, John Denver, Ricky Nelson. Our days are numbered it is part of being human but we must live our lives with hope and be grateful for our blessings in remembering those we have lost along the way.
Manfred Mann – Fox On The Run (1968)
Used to sing this on Turvey Avenue back in 1968 in the mornings on my way to the Christian Brothers invariably the nicest part of my school experience where I always felt disconnected from the curriculum and its authoritarian curators. When I finally bailed I was more like a greyhound on the run than a fox such was my urgency to get as far away from those school days in Ireland in those days.
Jamiroiquai – Black Capricorn Day (1999)
I often think of London funky acid jazz rockers Jamiroquai as a cart before the horse creation in that their music evolved from London DJ’s mixing funky jazz records with their own percussive beats and electronic effects. Frontman rap singer Jay Kay known as the Mad Hatter because of his stage head gear personified this groove-based jazz-funk hip-hop sound genre movement more than anyone else in the 90’s sending Black Capricorn Day to the top of the charts in places like Japan.
The O’Jays – Backstabbers (1972)
One of the highlights of my visit to the New Orleans Jazz Festival was seeing The O’Jays one of my favorite 70’s Soul & RnB groups perform on stage with those soothing harmonies and stage moves. Back Stabbers was a No 1 in 1972 warning men about their best mates lustful intentions smiling to their faces while planning to steal away their women.
Remember a friends of mine being told one night in the pub that his wife might be gone some night when he gets home to which he replied it wouldn’t be long until they leave her back
Jimmy Buffet – Margaritaville (1977)
Jimmy’s music takes my mind aways to a laid-back tropical place in my mind where the sun always shines and you quench your thirst with sweet cocktails. Also seen Jimmy live at the Jazz Fest with a stage full of colourful sunshiny people on stage all creating a fun atmosphere. Always pay a visit to one of his restaurants when I am in America and have accumulated a nice collection of his signature shirts which reflect the themes of his songs and bring sunshine to the dullest day.
Buddy Guy – She’s Out There Somewhere (1981)
The planet’s most able practitioner of genuine well fused Chicago Blues.
From doing medley’s of rock and blues riffs at the Temple Bar Festival, walking through the audience at Bishopstock, Crossroads Guitar Festival and New Orleans Blues Tent Buddy is one of the most exciting blues guitarists ever to step on a stage a master of the sizzling Chicago Blues performance. His stinging guitar runs and command of the stage always ups everyone’s game on the stage.
Glenn Gould – Goldberg Variations (Excerpt) (1955 & 1981)
My adoration of Karishmeh Falfeli’s excellent radio programs guided me towards the music of Glenn Gould, the Canadian Classical Piano player whose extraordinary talent and short life has made him classical music’s Elvis. His interpretation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations in the 50 becomes a best seller because of his stunning, vibrant, energetic pursuit of the spirit and ideal of the music rather than the historically accurate conception. A lovable Aspergers like eccentric and philosopher of music who guarded his privacy fiercely in a hermit-like existence at times he believed music matters more than anything else because of the wonder and serenity that comes from the internal combustion it ignites in the heart. He also advocated solitude for artistic creation and like Karishmeh he hated the spirit and enthusiasm destroying stuffy snobbish competitive hierarchical ranking of musicians in classical music training.
Tom Waits – Irene Goodnight (2006)
Tom Waits covered Leadbelly’s Goodnight Irene on his box set of rarities called Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards which was kindly gifted to me by music fan Northside Eddie. Tom Waits is an artist impossible to pigeonhole and enjoys a cult following from people who like their music to be unexpected, unpredictable and outside their comfort zone. He is one of the most imaginative artists on the planet who likes to work behind the plaster of life in a subterranean sleazy space where human habits and scabs of life from the junkyards around us that we would prefer to forget about are picked apart in his own uncompromising artistic way.
He is the cocktail lounge piano player from hell who refuses to play what is confident and pleasing in favour of music for lifestyle choices that are grotesquely unbelievable bizarre and unprecedented which we prefer to observe from a safe distance. in a voice that sounds like a clapped out Hells Angel motorbike.
Jerry Lee Lewis – Matchbox (1964)
Matchbox is a song that has evolved from Blind Lemon Jefferson in the late 1920’s to Carl Perkins mid 50’s pioneers of rock and roll Sun sessions era release with Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich in the house around that time. The wild man of rock n roll Jerry Lee in one of the last left standing at this stage having played his style unbridled rock n roll style of uptempo boogie-woogie country blues for the last piano pounding 60 years with over 40 albums released.I also love Albert King’s Live version at the Montreux Jazz Festival in the mid 70’s with our own Rory Gallagher jamming along.
“I’m sitting here wondering will a matchbox hold my clothes”
Once you’re in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you were buried in for eternity?
The Who – Legal Matter (1965)
Pete Townshend’s first lead vocal on this Who track from their first LP My Generation. Great guitar intro similar to The Rolling Stones Last Time and with Nicky Hopkins hyper upbeat piano runs driving the song along. Music evolves in time and what was an illegal gesture in musical terms 100 years ago is now in common usage.
The Tubes – Talk To Ya Later (1981)
My introduction to this song came via a promotional interview one Saturday Afternoon on BBC radio back in ’81 with Fee Waybill explaining The Completion Backwards Principle the title of the experimental irreverent Tubes then savvy business motivational concept LP about seeing the end result of an idea and letting nothing distract your focus until you get to that result. It was fast-talking hard sell showmanship from the masters of satirical theatrical rock mixing it up with lewd underground comedy, dancers and weird visually explicit stage shows predating the audience fashion for MTV band rock video excitement in the 80’s. Talk To You Later was a chart land success with its smooth production and Toto guitarist Steve Lukather adding some six-string polish.
If plan A didn’t work the alphabet has 25 more letters! so stay cool.