It’s been a great year (for new music anyway). And this has been a fun blog to run.
But the year is winding down and so is this blog. I’ve decided to spend my time in other areas in 2018. Thanks to all of you who’ve read and listened. I really appreciate it.
I’ll leave you with my top 10 favorite albums from the year that was.
10. Zephaniah O’Hora – This Highway
9. Daniel Romano – Modern Pressure
8. JD McPherson – Undivided Heart & Soul
7. Parker McCollom – Probably Wrong
6. Son Volt – Notes of Blue
5. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN. (I know this album makes no sense with the others on this list, but it’s really good.)
4. Willie Nelson – God’s Problem Child
3. John Moreland – Big Bad Luv
2. Marth Stuart And His Fabulous Superlatives– Way Out West
1. Grandaddy – Last Place
The music of the 80s gets a bad rap. Sure there were some albums with production that sounds dated today. But there were also a lot of great songs and albums, especially in the first half of the decade.
One of my favorite things about 80s music was that it could be both serious and uplifting. Sure, there were songs that were pure fluff—I’m looking at you Relax. Honestly, I like a lot of those songs. But the songs that stuck with me most were those with more serious political and emotional themes—delivered in classic and upbeat 80s style.
These days, I find myself going back to my favorites from the 80s quite often. Here are 10 of those songs.
1. Road to Nowhere – The Talking Heads
2. The Magnificent Seven – The Clash
3. Freedom of Choice – Devo
4. Woman’s World – Squeeze
5. Watch Your Step – Elvis Costello and the Attractions
6. Tomorrow’s Just Another Day – Madness
7. 21st Century Man – Electric Light Orchestra
8. Town Called Malice – The Jam
9. Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think) – The Specials
10. Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division
It’s the season of gratitude—and boy do we need it.
With all that fills our news feeds each day, we’ll all benefit from taking a day (or a few days) to feel thankful for all that is good in our lives.
I hope you have much to be grateful for, wherever you are.
1. You’re Welcome – The Beach Boys
2. I Thank You – Sam & Dave
3. Thanksgiving Theme – Vince Guaraldi Trio
4. Blessings – Chance the Rapper
5. Sentimental Journey – Fats Domino
6. All My Life – Electric Light Orchestra
7. I’ll Be Home – Harry Nilsson
8. Thank You Too! – My Morning Jacket
9. Sentimental Journey – Doris Day, Les Brown & His Orchestra
10. One Of These Days – Neil Young
Fats Domino nearly died during Hurricane Katrina. When his status went from “missing person” to “rescued” we rejoiced. After all, Fats was one of—if not the first—true rock star.
We’d get 11 more years of a world with Fats in it.
Now Fats has joined the growing list of iconic musicians who’ve passed away in 2016 and 2017.
To say he was one of the greats is an understatement. There was a time when Fats was the greatest. His music endures today and should continue to endure for as long as we care about such things.
Rest in peace Fats.
1. Domino Stomp (Twistin’ The Stomp)
2. Ain’t That A Shame
3. Goin’ Home
4. The Fat Man
5. I Want To Walk You Home
6. Blue Monday
7. Walking To New Orleans
8. Your Cheating Heart
9. I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday
10. I’m Ready
The changing of the seasons from winter to spring and summer to autumn always throws me for a bit of a loop. Do any of you experience this? Trouble sleeping, weird dreams and a bit of ennui.
I find jazz helps. I probably buy and listen to more jazz during these two season changes than any other time of the year.
The other day I purchased the fantastic 2016 Tom Harrell album Something Gold, Something Blue. If you like jazz, and especially if you like trumpet, you should give this album a listen. The trumpet playing by Harrell and Ambrose Akimusire is incredible. This is exactly the music to get me through the changing of the seasons.
Unfortunately, Something Gold, Something Blue isn’t on Spotify, so it doesn’t make this week’s playlist. But another Tom Harrell track does, along with a number of other new and old classics.
I hope you enjoy.
1. Night Rider – Count Basie and Oscar Peterson
2. Autumn Leaves – Cannonball Adderley
3. The Cool One – The Jazztet
4. Génerique – Miles Davis
5. Funky Mama – Lou Donaldson
6. Little Girl – Tom Harrell
7. Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me – Duke Ellington and Ray Brown
8. Hoe Down – Oliver Nelson
9. Charms Of The Night Sky – Dave Douglas
10. Autumn Leaves – Bill Evans
I’m not one of those grown-ups who dress in a costume for Halloween. But I will dress up my stereo with an appropriate playlist of spooky songs to serenade the kids who come to my door looking for candy.
Here’s what you’ll hear this year if you come knocking on my door in Portland.
(If you really want to spook people who come to your house, I recommend putting on some theramin.)
1. Bad Moon Rising – Credence Clearwater Revival
2. Skeleton In The Closet – Louis Armstrong
3. I Put A Spell On You – Screaming Jay Hawkins
4. Roboflafin-Flavored, Non-Carbonated, Polyunsaturated Blood – Don Hinson And The Rigamorticians
5. I Was A Teenage Werewolf – The Cramps
6. Werewolves Of London – Warren Zevon
7. The Ghost Of Smokey Joe – Cab Calloway
8. Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) David Bowie
9. Be True To Your Ghoul – The Ghouls
10. The Boogie Man – Todd Rollins And His Orchestra
11. Nightmare – Artie Shaw
12. Thriller – Michael Jackson
13. Monster Mash – Don Hinson And The Rigamorticians
I saw the Tragically Hip one time: April 1, 1999 at the Roseland Theater in Portland, Ore.
It was amazing.
Gord Downie had a stage presence like none I’d seen before. And the crowd. They knew every word and hung on every note.
As you know if you follow The Tragically Hip, Gord passed away this week. This playlist is in honor of him.
Thanks for all the great music Gord. You will be missed.
1. 50 Mission Cap – The Tragically Hip
2. The Los Angeles Times – Gord Downie and The Sadies
3. Bobcaygeon – The Tragically HIp
4. Ahead By A Century – The Tragically HIp
5. Grace, Too – The Tragically HIp
6. Wheat Kings – The Tragically HIp
7. Blow At High Dough – The Tragically HIp
8. The Stranger – Gord Downie
9. Little Bones – The Tragically HIp
10. Escape Is At Hand For The Travelin’ Man – The Tragically HIp