A July 4 Playlist That Doesn’t Feature Neil Diamond or Lee Greenwood (Friday Gold #24)

Happy birthday America!

Here’s a playlist for you.

1. America – Simon and Garfunkel

2. Young Americans – David Bowie

3. I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash

4. Louisiana Two-Step – Clifton Chenier

5. Calling America – Electric Light Orchestra

6. Freedom of Choice – Devo

7. Freedom Train – James Carr</strong

8. Okie From Muskogee – Merle Haggard

9. American Girl – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

10. The Promised Land – Bruce Springsteen

If It’s Monday Morning (Friday Gold #23)

When I started this blog I debated calling it Monday Gold and making playlists for the start of the week instead of the end of the week.

In a nod to the road not taken, here’s a Monday morning playlist to help you hit the ground running next week.

1. If It’s Monday Morning – Lee Hazelwood

2. Touch the Morning – Don Gibson

3. Monday Morning – Fleetwood Mac

4. Dollar Train – Timmy the Teeth

5. Monday Monday – The Mamas and the Papas

6. Monday – Wilco

7. Blue Monday – Fats Domino

8. Stormy Monday – Albert King

9. Working Man – Otis Rush

10. Manic Monday – The Bangles

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

Gimme Some Truth – A Playlist for Robert Mueller (Friday Gold #18)

Former FBI director Robert Mueller has a tough job ahead of him as Special Counsel for the investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Whatever he does, he’s going to make a lot of people mad.

When I have a tough task at work, I like to make a playlist. So I made one for Mr. Mueller.

Best of luck to you, Robert!

1. The Truth Will Set You Free – James Hand

2. Don’t Lie to Me – Big Star

3. Gimme Some Truth – John Lennon

4. Sound of Lies – The Jayhawks

5. Mother of Lies – J.D. McPherson

6. Lies – The Rolling Stones

7. Tell the Truth – Ray Charles

8. Watching the Detectives – Elvis Costello

9. Everything but the Truth – Lucinda Williams

10. And Justice for All – Metallica