Home > In the middle of the road > In the middle of the road: Part 4

In the middle of the road: Part 4

November 1st, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

And more songs from the middle of the road, West Coast, yacht club and so on. Hold on before cutting your AOR Mix CD-R “” the final installment of the series (for the time being) will run next week.

Average White Band – Atlantic Avenue.mp3
It has always tickled me that the Average White Band is known by the acronym AWB, which it shares with the South African white supremacist Nazi movement, the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging “” which doubtlessly would not approve of the band’s multi-racialism or black music influence. “Atlantic Avenue”, from 1979’s excellent Feel No Fret, is a great driving song (preferable over a member of the racist AWB), with its fantastic bassline, horn section, percussions and whistles. The vocals are great for singing along, especially the ad libbed “Oh-ooh-woah-oh-woh-woh-wouooh” before the backing singers repeat the sing title in falsetto.

Michael McDonald – I Keep Forgetting.mp3
Jens Lekman might remember Warren G and the sweet summer of 1993 (though I think it was in ’94); I remember Michael McDonald and the slightly crappy summer of 1982. Warren G and Nate Dogg pulled a masterstroke by sampling “I Keep Forgetting” on their “Regulate”, but the McDonald song remains superior, thanks to the man’s distinctive voice. The song is a cover of a Leiber & Stoller R&B composition, but McDonald very much makes it his own. The highpoint is his impassioned interpretation of the line “everytime you’re near”, which to me sounds influenced by the vocal stylings of the Four Tops’ Levy Stubbs.

Bob Seger – Against The Wind.mp3
Bob is one of the AOR gods, and “Against The Wind” shows why. The lovely keyboard solo at 2:45 with those great guitar chords, the lyrics about lost time”¦it’s quite perfect. And that line, “wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then” is simply fantastic. To me, this song is a companion piece to Springsteen’s “The River”.

Dan Fogelberg – Longer.mp3
Every AOR collection needs a couple of ballads. It might be Loggins & Messina’s “Danny’s Song” (perhaps next week). Or it could be “Longer” by the man with the rock ‘n rollest of names (there must be colleges where “fogelberging” was a euphemism for acts possibly banned in 23 states). Oh, but “Longer” is a very pretty song, with the little horn solo (is it a flugelhorn?) and the promise of everlasting love. Awwww!

Kansas – Carry On Wayward Son.mp3
I’ll be honest, I have no idea what the good gentlemen of Kansas looked like back in their day, but I should be very disappointed should I find out that there was even just a hint of hirsute deficiency. This is hair rock v1.0 “” and much better than the coked up gimps in spandex tights who peddled their comedian music in v2.0 (yes, New Jersey hairspray goon, I mean you). “Carry On Wayward Son” has it all: the West Coast country-rock, the CocRock which anticipated the advent of Journey and Boston, folkish harmonies, the prog guitar solo which just demands that the listener go seriously crazy on that air guitar’s sorry ass”¦

America – Lonely People.mp3
America’s SoCal country rock is essential for the road (or the yacht, if one seeks to perpetuate the useless cliché). “Lonely People” has that wonderful moment just before the harmonica solo kicks as one the Americans issues the instruction: “Hit it”. I’ve uploaded it before. If you missed it the first time around, there’s more America here.

Linda Ronstadt – It’s So Easy.mp3
The queen of AOR returns with an upbeat country-rock number to offset the heaviness of our possibly very hirsute friends from Kansas. Ronstadt succeeded in translating her country roots into rock (as did the likes of the Eagles and Gram Parsons), thus helping diminish the stereotypes of country being by definition uncool “” a definition informed by the caricature of yee-hawing good ole boys who bang their big-haired cousins on pooltables and cry when their doggy gone died. For that, thank you, Ms Ronstadt. Trivia fact: with “It’s So Easy” and “Blue Bayou”, Ronstadt was the first artist since the Beatles to have two simultaneous US top 5 hits.

Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way.mp3
The song for when “Longer” has run its course and you want to go folgelberging elsewhere. Apparently written by Lindsey Buckingham to Stevie Nicks (whom I’d have joyfully fogelberged back in the day) as a break-up song. His guitar solo and the harmonies are quite brilliant. The whole Rumours album is brilliant, in fact.

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  1. camillo
    November 2nd, 2007 at 19:34 | #1

    it’s frightening how you post exactly the songs that my wife just loves. Me, coming from the punk-era, I hate all this mainstream stuff. Well, I did, I’m getting to like it a bit, or parts of it. But she always spoke of this particular Toto-Song, she likes the Alessi Brothers who are very unknown in Germany and she really loves the Average White Band.So I can put all this stuff on her iPod and surprise her. Thank you very much!

  2. Any major dude with half a heart
    November 2nd, 2007 at 21:23 | #2

    Yeah, as one of my favourite phrases goes, “it’s like punk never happened”.Ich hoffe Frau Camillo freut sich.

  3. mary
    November 9th, 2007 at 16:29 | #3

    there is a great youtube clip of kansas singing wayward son c.1976, check out the backup vocalist at around 1:30. Hirsute? I believe he defines the term.like your blog, keep playing good music;)

  4. Any major dude with half a heart
    November 9th, 2007 at 17:59 | #4

    Oh yeah. He looks like a mad lion. Quite spectacular. He must have pulled all the groupies (which invokes a fogelberging scene I very much would not like to witness). If Garnier had any sense, they’d drop that woman from Sex In The City, and use the mad lion to advertise their hair products. Dude with the bow-tie is only moderately hirsute. I bet Red Lion teased him mercilessly about that though, forgetting entirely about the sartorial wedding band member distaster.You have to dig the dude with the Edwardian ‘tache obviously stolen from a porn movie starring the singer/keyboardist/percussionist/executive producer/head roadie/drinksboy/general manager (who must have been the inspiration for Napoleon Dynamite’s uncle).Pity the third Crane brother on the drums though. At least he tried to be hirsute.

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