Hot August Days (Friday Gold #28)

Hey all. I’m back after a week of family fun in Canada. We’re in the midst of a run of record-setting temperatures here in Portland, so this week’s playlist is a soundtrack for oppressively hot days.

I hope it’s cooler where you are. Happy listening!

1. Heaven – Ebo Taylor


2. Fever – Susan Cadogan

3. Lost on the Desert – Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives

4. High on Tulsa Heat – John Moreland

5. Country Air – The Beach Boys

6. Summer Wine – Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra

7. Summer Friends – Chance the Rapper

8. Night in the City – Electric Light Orchestra

9. La Murga De Panama – Papa Brandao y Su Conjunto Aires Tablenos

10. I Walk On Gilded Splinters – Dr. John

More Songs My Kids Play on Repeat (Friday Gold #22)

With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, it seemed like a good time for another playlist of songs my kids are obsessed with.

Many of these songs are new favorites that they found through a game I made up to get them to stop requesting the same Queen songs over and over. The game is simple: I pick a song and they try to guess what it is. (They’re getting really good at it.)

1. Temporary Secretary – Paul McCartney


2. 74-75 – The Connells

3. Little Baby – Buddy Holly

4. Rainbows – Madness

5. Why Baby Why – The Secret Sisters

6. The Boat is in the Barn – Grandaddy

7. Quick Quick Slow Slow – Dale Watson

8. Wouldn’t it Be Nice – The Beach Boys

9. Oh, You Pretty Things! – David Bowie

10. Nothing Compares 2 U – Prince

The Best New Music of the First Half of 2017 (Friday Gold #21)

1. Songbird Son – Grandaddy
This isn’t intended to be a ranked top 10 but, if it were, Grandaddy’s new album Last Place would be at the top. Many were surprised at the quality of the band’s comeback album. But, if you’ve followed Jason Lytle’s solo work the past few years, you know that the songwriter behind Grandaddy is someone who’s working at his peak, not trying to reach back and recapture some lost glory.

2. DNA – Kendrick Lamar
I had to work at this album. But the work paid off. I’m still an old guy who just really doesn’t get the appeal of most modern rap, but the stories and turns of phrase on DAMN. sucked me in over time.

3. In the Wind – The Harmed Brothers
The quality of the new album from The Harmed Brothers caught me off guard. They’ve always been a solid band, but this year’s self-titled album finds them working at another level.

4. Terribly So – Howe Gelb
As Howe Gelb albums go, this one is a 5 out of 10. If you’re new to his music, start elsewhere. But, even a mediocre album for Howe is a pretty good album in the grand scheme of things.

5. Time Don’t Wait – Marty Stuart
Marty Stuart albums are always worth a listen. But, in my opinion, they’re not usually album of the year material. Way Out West is different. The songs and performances here are perhaps the best of Marty’s long and illustrious career. Maybe my favorite thing is that Marty made an album, not just a random collection of songs. This is one that’s worth putting on and listening to from start to finish.

6. God Bless the Infidels – The Sadies
We’ve written about the wonders of The Sadies before. Their latest album, Northern Passages is another solid addition to an already deep catalog of music. Canadians everywhere should be proud.

7. Old Timer – Willie Nelson
Every new Willie Nelson album is something to treasure. But an album of new music (not covers, not reggae, not duets) is something particularly special. With God’s Problem Child, Willie has released not just one of the best albums of 2017, but also an album that can be talked about with some of the best of his career.

8. It Don’t Suit Me (Like Before) – John Moreland
As more and more people are discovering, John Moreland is one of the best songwriters in America today. While I agree with reviewers who don’t care for the title of his new album, Big Bad Luv, doesn’t have a bad song on it.

9. Telephone – Sinkane
No song from 2017 has brought me as much pure joy as this one. The whole album, Life & Livin’ It felt like just what I needed when it came out. It still feels that way.

10. The Best is Yet to Come – Bob Dylan
Despite how much I liked Bob Dylan’s two albums of Sinatra covers, I wasn’t overly enthused when I heard he was releasing a triple album of more American standards. My attitude changed when I listened to the music. All told, we have five albums’ worth of this material now, and I’d be happy to have even more of it.

Work, Work, Work – A Remodeling Playlist (Friday Gold #20)

I’m going to spend this weekend gutting my kitchen. There will be power tools involved, but I figured I should have a playlist for those times when the saws aren’t running.
I had three rules when coming up with this playlist:

1. Every song needs to be something that my crew of deconstruction volunteers will like. That means no rap.

2. Every song needs to be upbeat enough to rip a cabinet off a wall to, but not so frenetic that you exhaust yourself. Pacing is key.

3. Only one song per artist (otherwise this would probably just end up being a Credence playlist.)

Here’s what I came up with. (When this playlist is over we’ll probably just play Credence albums on repeat.)

 

1. Green River – Credence Clearwater Revival

2. Inside Out – The Traveling Wilburys

3. Hard on Things – Howe Gelb

4. Work, Work, Work – Lee Dorsey

5. Strict Time – Elvis Costello

6. Hang On – Dr. Dog

7. Workin’ For the Music Man – Daniel Romano

8. Some Things Never Change – Timmy the Teeth

9. How Many More Years – Howlin’ Wolf

10. 0.0.7 (Shanty Town) – Desmond Dekker

Thanks for Your Service: A Memorial Day Playlist (Friday Gold #19)

There are many songs written about soldiers. Some of those songs are optimistic, perhaps naively so. Others are dark and foreboding. Either type of song can be powerful.

I’ve included some of my favorites of both types in this Memorial Day playlist. Though, for me, the darker songs in this playlist give a gloomier perspective to their rah-rah compatriots. “Soldier boy…I’ll be true to you” takes on a different perspective when put up against John Prine’s heartbreaking story about Sam Stone and the line “Sweet songs never last too long, on broken radios.”

The song on this list that I listened to the most times before realizing it was about war is Galveston. But Jimmy Webb has painted a powerful picture of longing in the song. It may be the most subtle on this playlist, but it’s also one of the most powerful.

To all the men and women who have served our country, thank you.

To those who are serving now, may the country and its leaders do right by you.

Happy listening!

1. Soldier Boy – The Shirelles


2. Great Society Conflict Veteran’s Blues – John Prine

3. A Soldier’s Letter – Merle Haggard

4. Galveston – Glen Campbell

5. Bring Them Home (If You Love Your Uncle Sam) – Pete Seeger

6. Born in the U.S.A – Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires

7. Just Before the Battle, Mother – Steve Earle and Dirk Powell

8. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy – The Andrews Sisters

9. When the Lights Go On Again (All Over the World) – Vaughn Monroe & His Orchestra

10. We’ll Meet Again – Johnny Cash

A Battle of Puebla (aka Cinco de Mayo) Playlist (Friday Gold #16)

On May 5, 1862, the Mexican army defeated French forces at the Battle of Puebla, thus ensuring every American’s right to get wasted and eat tacos on that day henceforth.
OK, maybe there’s a lot more to it than that. Before you dive in to that first margarita (or maybe while you drink the first one), check out this short but informative article that Time Magazine ran last year: The Surprising True History Behind Cinco de Mayo. Then fire up the blender (and this playlist).

Salud!

1. The Crystal Frontier – Calexico

2. Mexico – Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass

3. Sabor a Mi – Los Panchos

4. Tico Tico – Grant Green

5. Baby Let’s Go to Mexico – Doug Sahm

6. Ou Es-Tu, Mon Amour? – Willie Nelson

7. El Matador – Los Fabulosos Cadillacs

8. The Sun Belongs to You – Giant Giant Sand

9. All the Pretty Horses – Friends of Dean Martinez


10. Mexicali Blues – The Grateful Dead