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Any Major Orange

October 20th, 2020 2 comments

There is a saying that when the USA catches a cold, the world catches the ‘flu. Economically that may be true, but these days, when the USA catches Covid-19, the world shakes its head and says: “These clown are even crazier than we are.”

US voters will go to the polls in a couple of weeks’ time with an opportunity to get rid of the spraypainted blustermachine of venom and lies which has turned their country into an international laughing stock. And that is of vital interest to the world as well, because a United States that is run sensibly and with something approaching ethics (which, granted, it is only about 30% of the time) is better for the world than one that is so weak that it empowers Russia and China, and so hate-filled that it emboldens Nazis everywhere.

And while they are at it, US voters should also send packing those craven and spineless reptiles in the Houses of Congress who have enabled that racist, women-sexually-assaulting, truth-destroying, hatemongering, psychopathically misanthropic sphincter-mouth in the White House. Do it for your country, and do it for the world. And if you think others will do it for you because Biden has such a great lead: remember 2016!

And all this leads us into the Any Major Orange mix. A random mix (and aren’t they sometimes the best?) of songs that somehow riff on the theme of orange.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes an orange cover. PW in comments, where you might like to add “Orange Songs” to the list.

And, for the sake of love, vote that madman out of office!

1. Earth, Wind & Fire – Evolution Orange (1981)
2. The Attack – Lady Orange Peel (1968)
3. Lemon Pipers – Jelly Jungle Of Orange Marmalade (1968)
4. Peter Sarstedt – Frozen Orange Juice (1969)
5. Love – Orange Skies (1966)
6. Trash Can Sinatras – Orange Fell (1993)
7. Alexi Murdoch – Orange Sky (2002)
8. 10,000 Maniacs – Orange (1992)
9. John Prine – Bruised Orange (Chain Of Sorrow) (1978)
10. Johnny Cash – Orange Blossom Special (1969)
11. Bright Eyes – Bowl Of Oranges (2002)
12. R.E.M. – Orange Crush (Live) (2003)
13. Brian Wilson & Van Dyke Parks – Orange Crate Art (1995)
14. Tori Amos with Damien Rice – Power Of The Orange Knickers (2005)
15. Erykah Badu – Orange Moon (2000)
16. Mr. & Mrs. Garvey – Orange Nickelodeon (1968)
17. Bob Dylan & The Band – Orange Juice Blues (Blues For Breakfast) (1975)
18. Nat ‘King’ Cole with Stan Kenton – Orange Colored Sky (1950)
19. Eddie Burns – Orange Driver (1961)
20. Gilbert Bécaud – L’orange (1964)
21. Sesame Street – Fuzzy And Blue (And Orange) (1981)

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Any Major Cole Porter Vol. 2

September 24th, 2020 5 comments

Cole Porter - Any Major Collection Vol. 2

Rarely will you hear a vocal performances that merits a good flogging (not literally, of course. We are not savages). I’m not talking about bad warbling to a bad song. I mean singers who have the talent to sing a good song well but deliver a performance of such monumental abomination that the only reasonable punishment would be the metaphorical violence.

I am talking the territory of Michael F. Bolton murdering soul music and then molesting opera territory (though since he appeared on John Oliver’s show I have softened a little on Bolton). But the man I would be leading to the flogging post personally is our old friend Bono. What is Bono’s offence? His part in the duet with Frank Sinatra of I’ve Got You Under My Skin, recorded for the mostly deplorable Duets album in 1993.

Rarely has there been as risible a performance as when our smug friend revealed the full range of his jackassery by croaking his part in tandem with Sinatra and then proceeding to assault the big band break with an aggressively tuneless falsetto. In his delusional mind, Bono doubtless imagined he was improving on a perfectly good instrumental arrangement with what he might describe as harmonies, but which we readily recognise to be a wretched effort at attention-seeking.

Of course, the blame for this is not Bono’s alone. Bono tried his luck, as any one of us might in his position. Bono was just like the fools who stick out their tongue or make goofy handsigns when they take selfies with celebrities. The Duets producer ought to have told Bono, politely but firmly, as you would indulge an overacting child: “That was all very interesting, Bono, and I’ll see how we can use that in the final mix. But no promises, all right champ?” And yet, Bono’s disharmonies made it into the final mix. It is too late now to ask Phil Ramone or Sinatra for an explanation to shed light on what possessed them to submit to the kind of vocal stylings of the sort you or I could do better while driving in the car or crooning drunkenly in the shower, for both men are now dead.

The scene of the crime.

The scene of the crime.

The stupid singing is enough to convict Bono in the Supreme Court of Music. But a merciful judge might take pity on the fool in the way that witlessness is sometimes applied as an extenuating circumstance. What makes the severest sentence absolutely inevitable, however, is one of the most egregious instances of an egomaniac singer changing the words which the writer, in this instance Cole Porter, so carefully chose in his endeavour to convey the song’s full meaning. Bono croakingly croons:

“Don’t you know, Blue Eyes, you never can win…”

Bono had form with this kind of stuff. At Live Aid, held on a hot mid-summer day in July 1985, he ad-libbed during the Do They Know It’s Christmas finale the insane words: “Do they know that springtime is coming?” Yes, the Ethiopians did. Even extreme hunger could not rob them of the necessary ability to tell apart the seasons. “Springtime is coming” nine months from July, though. It is an extravagant prediction to make when spring is still to be preceded by the end of summer, and the full duration of autumn and winter.

Bono had sung this spontaneous ad-lib at every U2 concert throughout early 1985. By July, singing these words presumably was the unconscious reflex of an unthinking mind. There is no such excuse, however, for “Don’t you know, Blue Eyes, you never can win…”

Changing the lyrics to address a third party — in this case “Blue Eyes” — doesn’t make any sense in the song. In that line the singer is referring to himself, not to somebody else. The words for I’ve Got You Under My Skin are not Bono’s lyrics. They are Mr Porter’s lyrics. Even if he has been dead for a long time, Bono had no licence to turn his carefully crafted lyric into ingratiating doggerel, unless his intent was to satirise them in the manner the comedian Richard Cheese did with the U2 song Sunday Bloody Sunday (“Tonight we fiesta while tomorrow they die”). Was Bono trying to be a funny guy when he was singing with Frank Sinatra?

Moreover, I doubt that Sinatra was called Ole Blue Eyes by anybody else but the press and those entertaining the illusion of his friendship (he also hated being called the “Chairman of the Board”).

Frank Sinatra tenses up as a man with an earring hugs him.

Frank Sinatra tenses up as a man with an earring hugs him at the 1994 Grammys.

 

And all this leads us to a mix of covers of Cole Porter songs. The first Cole Porter Collection comprised performances from the black-and-white era of music; this one covers the technicolour era, with tracks ranging from the 1970s to the present. Some of them go for Nelson Riddlesque arrangements, other reinvent Porter songs in more modern genres.

As always: CD-R length, covers included, PW in comments.

1. John Barrowman & Kevin Kline – Night And Day (2004)
2. Barbra Streisand & Ryan O’Neal – You’re The Top (1972)
3. Bobby Caldwell – I Get A Kick Out Of You (1993)
4. Conal Fowkes – Let”s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love) (2011)
5. Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – Anything Goes (2014)
6. Bryan Ferry – You Do Something To Me (1999)
7. Dionne Warwick – I Love Paris (1990)
8. Grady Tate – Don’t Fence Me In (1974)
9. Jane Birkin – Love For Sale (1975)
10. Alex Chilton – All Of You (1993)
11. Lisa Stansfield – Down In The Depths (1990)
12. Freda Payne – You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To (2014)
13. Helen Reddy – Blow, Gabriel Blow (1998)
14. Claire Martin – Too Darn Hot (2004)
15. Cybill Shepherd – Let’s Misbehave (1974)
16. Dianne Reeves – I Concentrate On You (2003)
17. Simply Red – Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye (1987)
18. Robbie Williams – It’s De-Lovely (2004)
19. Rosemary Clooney – Get Out Of Town (1982)
20. Linda Ronstadt – Miss Otis Regrets (2004)
21. Carly Simon – In The Still Of The Night (2005)
22. George Harrison – True Love (1976)
23. Seether – I’ve Got You Under My Skin (2009)

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Any Major Falsetto Vol. 1

August 13th, 2020 9 comments

 

The heyday of the falsetto was the in 1970s, when every vocal soul group worth its name had at least one guy who’d hit the high register, much a relic of doo wop. For some groups, such as The Stylistics or Blue Magic, it was a selling point. Giants in falsetto singing like Eddie Kendrick or Philip Bailey raised the already mighty output of their respective groups — The Temptations and Earth, Wind & Fire — with their falsetto.

Erotic though the growls of Barry White might have been, the sex was on when Bailey would hit the high notes on Reasons or I Write A Song For You. According to a recent podcast by insider.com, we are “hardwired to have a strong response to falsetto in music because of the way our brains process pitch and because of the unique relationship between falsetto and emotion”. It is, apparently, in our DNA.

“According to the music cognitive psychologist David Huron, when you hear high-pitched, loud singing your brain releases excitatory hormones that increase your arousal state and make you more attentive. So falsetto gets your attention. But that’s not the only way it affects you. It also ignites your emotion.”

So with this mix, get those excitatory hormones ready for some arousal — and hopefully you are with the one you love when those emotions get ignited.

On the mix, I included the studio version of EWF’s Reasons, for purposes of keeping the mix down to CD-R length. But also hear the live version from the Gratitude album. Being blessed with a pretty good vocal range, I can sing the studio version alright, but the live one in some parts shreds my vocal chords.

Philip Bailey recently appeared on the Grammy Tribute to Prince, where he sang the late singer’s Adore. It was as marvellous performance. I was thinking of including Adore here, but went for The Most Beautiful Girl In The World instead, on strength of Prince suddenly dropping down to the lowest baritone (or is it bass by then?). A superb vocal performance.

I have tried to be purist in this collection and include only songs that feature falsetto, rather than head voice. Experts in the field of singing may confirm that I succeeded in my endeavour, or point out where I didn’t (I think the Buckley track might feature head voice). Here’s a teaching opportunity for y’all vocal coaches.

But that doesn’t really matter. Just enjoy the music and, if you are blessed with a decent falsetto, happy crooning along!

As mentioned, CD-R length. Home-eunuched covers (featuring renowened 1980s soul singer Prince Rahotep). PW in comments.

1. The Four Seasons – Sherry (1962)
2. Eddie Holman – Hey There Lonely Girl (1970)
3. The Dells – Oh What A Night (1969)
4. The Chi-Lites – Stoned Out Of My Mind (1973)
5. Eddie Kendricks – Keep On Truckin’ (Part 1) (1973)
6. Marvin Gaye – Got To Give It Up (Part 1) (1977)
7. The Bee Gees – Love You Inside And Out (1979)
8. Earth, Wind & Fire – Reasons (1975)
9. Heatwave – Always And Forever (1977)
10. Prince – The Most Beautiful Girl In The World (1994)
11. Lenny Kravitz – It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over (1991)
12. Jeff Buckley – Everybody Here Wants You (1998)
13. The Rolling Stones – Fool To Cry (1976)
14. Darondo – True (c.1973)
15. Curtis Mayfield – No Thing On Me (1972)
16. Jimmy Helms – Gonna Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse (1972)
17. The Delfonics – Think It Over (1973)
18. Blue Magic – Sideshow (1974)
19. The Stylistics – I’m Stone In Love With You (1972)

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Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 10

July 23rd, 2020 6 comments

 

Here we reach a decade of these Not Feeling Guilty mixes of 1970s/early-’80s songs that may be labelled AOR or MOR or — that horrible cliché — “yacht rock”. The series started in 2014 (well, in 2009, but it was relaunched six years ago), opening with Kenny Loggins’ song This Is It.

Since then, Loggins has featured four more times. Also featuring five times have been Player, while Ambrosia and Bobby Caldwell have appeared four times. Paul Davis joins them on four with this mix.

The record holder is Boz Scaggs, who has been represented six times; Bill LaBounty equals that record on this mix.

And then there’s the overlord of all AOR, Michael McDonald. He has featured three times solo, twice as a Doobie Brother, and who knows how many times as a backing singer, including on the aforementioned Kenny Loggins song (which is almost a duet with McDonald).

So with so many regulars, it’s notable how much space there has been for artists whom time has largely forgotten. As it was on previous Not Feeling Guilty mixes, there are quite a few of them here.

Lani Hall isn’t exactly obscure, having released 14 solo albums, after serving as lead singer for Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ’66 on hits like Mas Que Nada and The Fool On The Hill. She also sang the theme of the 1983 Bond film Never Say Never Again.

It would also be wrong to say that Peter McCann is obscure, though he is much better known as a songwriter and producer. As a recording artist he released two LPs. As a songwriter you might know as the co-writer of Whitney Houston’s Take Good Care Of My Heart, Earl Thomas Conley’s Nobody Falls Like A Fool, or Jennifer Warnes’ Right Time Of The Night, which also features on this mix.

You also found Byrne & Barnes more behind the scenes than in front of the microphone. Together they released just one 1981 album, but they made their mark as songwriters. Robert Byrne, who died in 2005, co-wrote hits such as How Do I Turn You On for Ronnie Milsap; and Earl Thomas Conley’s string of hits:  I Can’t Win For Losin’ You, Once In A Blue Moon, That Was A Close One and What I’d Say.

For Dave Raynor, the recording career as a singer also lasted for just one album. After that he made is way as a recording engineer and occasional guitarist.

Turley Richards may be better known as a rockabilly singer, a genre in which he had a classic 1959 hit with Makin’ Love With My Baby. In the 1970s he had some success as a country-rock singer; among the songs he recorded was the original version of You Might Need Somebody, later a hit for Randy Crawford and again for Shola Ama.

After his attempts at a solo career Joseph Williams became the lead singer of Toto between 1986 and 1988. He resumed a solo recording career, but also followed in the footsteps of his father John Wiliams as a film score composer.

English singer-songwriter Ian Gomm made his name as the rhythm guitarist for Brinsley Schwarz, being named “Best Rhythm Guitarist” by the New Musical Express in 1971. He later toured with acts like Dire Straits, while also running a recording studio in Wales, and releasing his own music. In 1979 he had a Top 20 US hit with Hold On, which features here. He also co-wrote Cruel To Be Kind with former Brinsley Schwarz bandmate Nick Lowe, who had a big hit with it in the UK and US in 1979.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-basslined covers. PW in comments. Also, all previous mixes are up.

1. Dave Mason – Let It Go, Let It Flow (1977)
2. Turley Richards – I Will (1976)
3. Ozark Mountain Daredevils – Jackie Blue (1974)
4. Atlanta Rhythm Section – I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight (1978)
5. Marilyn Scott – Highways Of My Life (1979)
6. Heat – Don’t You Walk Away (1980)
7. Dave Raynor – I Can’t Take It (1981)
8. Bill LaBounty – I Hope You’ll Be Very Unhappy Without Me (1975)
9. Peter McCann – Step Right Up (1979)
10. Lani Hall – Where’s Your Angel (1980)
11. Joseph Williams – That First Night (1982)
12. Brooklyn Dreams – I Won’t Let Go (1980)
13. Jennifer Warnes – Right Time Of The Night (1976)
14. Paul Davis – Sweet Life (1977)
15. Michael Johnson – Bluer Than Blue (1978)
16. Fred Knoblock – A Bigger Fool (1980)
17. Ian Matthews – Shake It (1978)
18. Greg Guidry – How Long (1982)
19. Byrne & Barnes – Love You Out Of Your Mind (1981)
20. Ian Gomm – Hold On (1978)
21. Peter Frampton – I Can’t Stand It No More (1979)
22. Stephen Bishop – It Might Be You (1982)

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Not Feeling Guilty Mix 1
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 2
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 3
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 4
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 5
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 6
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 7
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 8
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 9

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Any Major Hits from 1970

July 9th, 2020 6 comments

 

1970 is — gulp — 50 years ago. The 1960s hadn’t quite ended; and the 1970s were already getting underway: Creedence Clearwater Revival and T. Rex both were relevant.

The scary thing is, 1970 today is as 1920 was to 1970 then. Arguably, the world, and music, had changed much more between 1920 and 1970 than it has changed in the past 50 years. Look, there’s even still a crook in the White House (whereas, the history buff will counter in his killjoy ways, in 1920 a crook was about to be elected unto the White House).

Last year I did a mix of hits from 1944 to mark the 75th anniversary of that year. In many ways, 1970 looks more like today than it did look like 1944, only 26 years earlier.

For many people who’ll hear this mix, I hope the songs will evoke a bit of nostalgia, with any luck of happy memories. I was just a little too young to build many memories of that year, other than two holidays, one in the snow and the other on the beach. I do recall a few of the songs specifically from that time, especially the final one, since I loved music even as a four-year-old. But to me, this mix of big smashes and rather forgotten hits sounds like 1970, which is the effect I tried to go for. Those with more mature memories will be the judges of whether I’ve succeeded in my task.

Some of these songs are, of course, from 1969, but they were hits in the UK, US and/or West-Germany in 1970.

As ever, the mix is timed to be in CD-R (or double LP) length. home-grooved covers. PW in comments.

1. Mungo Jerry – In The Summertime
2. Edison Lighthouse – Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)
3. Christie – San Bernadino
4. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Up Around The Bend
5. The Chairmen Of The Board – Give Me Just A Little More Time
6. Freda Payne – Band Of Gold
7. The Tremeloes – Me And My Life
8. Badfinger – Come And Get It
9. McGuinness Flint – When I’m Dead And Gone
10. Kenny Rogers and The First Edition – Something’s Burning
11. Chicago – 25 Or 6 To 4
12. The Ides Of March – Vehicle
13. Blues Image – Ride Captain Ride
14. T. Rex – Ride A White Swan
15. Mr. Bloe – Groovin’ With Mr. Bloe
16. Tyrone Davis – Turn Back The Hands Of Time
17. Jimmy Ruffin – It’s Wonderful (To Be Loved By You)
18. Arrival – Friends
19. White Plains – My Baby Loves Lovin’
20. Stevie Wonder – Never Had A Dream Come True
21. B.J. Thomas – Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head
22. Joe Dassin – Les Champs-Elysées
23. Elvis Presley – Kentucky Rain
24. The Beach Boys – Cotton Fields
25. Pickettywitch – That Same Old Feeling
26. Rotation – Ra-Ta-Ta
Bonus: Sugarloaf – Green-Eyed Lady

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Any Major Protest Soul Vol. 3

June 9th, 2020 2 comments

 

It’s not only recent events in the USA that make this third mix of Protest Soul overdue. The three years and counting since Donald Trump took office have seen an escalation of extrajudicial killings of black people by police, the weaponisation of white privilege by racists who call the police on black people, the legitimisation of racist rhetoric, and so on.

None of that arrived with Trump, of course. Trayvon Martin was executed by that stand-your-ground scumbag on Obama’s watch, and was declared innocent of murder by a jury of his racist peers before Trump descended that escalator of hate.

But consider this: In 1992, during the presidency of George Bush Sr, the riots in LA broke out because cops got off for assaulting Rodney King. In the fourth year of Trump’s reign, country-wide protests (and some riots) broke out because police murdered George Floyd. And Jamar Clark. And Philando Castile. And Dreasjon Reed. And Breonna Taylor. And Botham Jean. And Michael Brown. And Ezell Ford. And Eric Garner. And Michelle Shirley. And Redel Jones. And Stephon Clark. And 12-year-old Tamir Rice. And. And. And…

And don’t forget the lynching in Brunswick, Georgia, of Ahmaud Arbery, the jogger whose sickening murder by racist thugs who hunted him down was going to be covered up by the authorities until a video of it appeared.

Things have escalated from brutal assault sparking outrage to an endless series of murders of black people by police, as if the US has turned back the clock to the 1960s.

And this is where this mix of songs takes us: the aftermath of the civil rights era, when the freedom promised by the law still was elusive. As recent events have shown, they remain so.

Civil rights march in the 1960s. How much has changed in the 50 years since? (History in HD)

 

If the USA ever was beacon of hope and freedom for the rest of the world, that light has been extinguished by Trump’s America. The rest of the democratic world looks at the USA with sorrow and disdain. Three decades ago, people in Europe marched against the racist regime in South Africa. In 2020, they brave the coronavirus to take to the streets in protest against the systemic racism of the United States.

They see a race war that is being sought and, to some extent, prosecuted by a racist president and his minions, and by drooling specimen of the master race who hide their cowardice behind their guns, their trucks and their white privilege. The free world is saying: they must not win. It is the defeat of systemic racism and injustice that will make America great again.

The hope for that victory was present four or five decades ago, when most of the songs on this mix were made. It is a scandal that the content of these songs still speak to the reality of today.

Ferguson’s gotten me so upset, Brunswick made me lose my rest. And everybody knows about Minneapolis goddam!

1. Camille Yarbrough – All Hid (1975)
2. Nina Simone – Mississippi Goddam (1964)
3. The Staple Singers – We The People (1972)
4. Della Reese – Compared To What (1969)
5. Curtis Mayfield – We’re A Winner (live) (1971)
6. The Pointer Sisters – Yes We Can Can (1973)
7. Dorothy Morrison – Black California (1970)
8. Larry Williams – Wake Up (Nothing Comes To A Sleeper But A Dream) (1968)
9. Hank Ballard – Blackenized (1969)
10. Marion Black – Listen Black Brother (1972)
11. Solomon Burke – I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free) (1968)
12. Lou Bond – Why Must Our Eyes Always Be Turned Backwards (1974)
13. Claudia Lennear – Sister Angela (1973)
14. Gil Scott-Heron – Winter in America (1974)
15. Donny Hathaway – Someday We’ll All Be Free (1973)
16. Syl Johnson – Is It Because I’m Black (1970)
17. The Temptations – 1990 (1973)
18. Eugene McDaniels – Silent Majority (1970)

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Any Major Protest Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Protest Soul Vol. 2

Any Major Soul: 1960s
Any Major Soul: 1970s

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Any Major Power Ballads Vol. 1

May 28th, 2020 10 comments

 

 

This mix, dear reader, is going out to Any Major Dudette, who expressed her wish for a mix of power ballads. And with the critical rehabilitation of the genre lately, I shall feel free to share the fruits of her request with you.

And here we don’t need to concern ourselves with the inconvenient truth that her desire was expressed upon hearing a Céline Dion song on the radio (not the Titanic one. The other one). It doesn’t matter, since the stylings of Ms Dion are not to my taste, and therefore do not feature on this mix.

Also very much excluded are Jennifer Rush’s Power Of Love, which I loathe with a special depth of repulsion.  The same applies to Chris de Burgh’s Lady In Red, which I wouldn’t call a power ballad anyway.

The long-time reader may wonder: “But, Any Major Dude With Half A Heart, did you find a place for Michael F. Bolton?” And funny that you should ask, but… no. Having said that, the same wretched radio station which Any Major Dudette tunes into recently played Bolton’s breakthrough hit “How Am I Supposed To Love Without You”. And, I must confess, I was sort of singing along. Not so enthusiastically that I’d include it here, nor to turn me into one of the Bobs from Office Space. Still, I suspect that had it been sung by somebody else, it might have… no, enough. Shudder.

But that is the key to the good power ballad: it allows you to like something by an artist you’d otherwise not engage with.

Surveying the present collection of songs, I find that I own albums by only nine of them; just over half. Half of my total collection of REO Speedwagon’s catalogue is represented here. The other one is also a power ballad.

Let’s not forget: power ballads are white people’s baby-making music. People conceived to Track 4 might have conceived their offspring to Tracks 13, 15 and 16.

So, yes, the power ballad is pop music’s joker: the occasion when even the purist can get out that lighter and wave it from side to side without having to write an excuse to the taste police.

I have enough power ballads for a second volume, if there’s a demand for it. But tell me your favourite power ballads in the comments.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-powerchorded covers. PW in comments.

1. Aerosmith – I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing (1998)
2. Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse Of The Heart (1983)
3. Phil Collins – Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) (1984)
4. Moody Blues – Nights In White Satin (1967)
5. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Simple Man (1973)
6. Boston – Amanda (1986)
7. Styx – Babe (1979)
8. REO Speedwagon – Keep On Loving You (1981)
9. Heart – Alone (1987)
10. Journey – Open Arms (1981)
11. Whitesnake – Here I Go Again (1987)
12. Meat Loaf – I’m Gonna Love Her For Both Of Us (1981)
13. Maria McKee – Show Me Heaven (1990)
14. Toto – I’ll Be Over You (1986)
15. Roxette – It Must Have Been Love (1990)
16. Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville – I Don’t Know Much (1989)
17. Prince – Purple Rain (1984)

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Any Major Happy Songs Vol. 2

April 30th, 2020 2 comments

 

 

In these times of coronavirus it’s easy to fall into moods of anxiety and depression. As every reader of this corner of the Internet will know, music is a good medicine in times of dejection — and also a superb means of accompanying feelings of misery. But right now, we are in need of the former more than of the latter.

So here is a second mix of songs that make me feel happy (or, when I’m down, at least happier). These are tracks that uplift me. Some do so just by the cheerfulness of the sound; others because they make me want to dance, others yet because they make me laugh. The Labi Siffre song, for example, combines all three elements. In one way or another, these are songs that make my heart soar. Maybe they’ll do the same for you.

I still return to Any Major Happy Songs Vol. 1 quite frequently; that mix is still up, in case you need more happy music.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes covers made while I was wearing my facemask to avoid any risk of infecting you. And whatever you do, don’t listen to idiots and don’t inject the bleach!

1. Blackstreet – Happy Song (Tonite) (1996)
2. Outkast – Hey Ya (2003)
3. Junior Senior – Move Your Feet (2002)
4. Odyssey – Use It Up And Wear It Out (1980)
5. Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out (1980)
6. New York City – I’m Doing Fine Now (1973)
7. Robert Knight – Love On A Mountain Top (1968)
8. Mango Groove – Special Star (1989)
9. Status Quo – Rockin’ All Over The World (1977)
10. Poco – A Good Feeling To Know (1972)
11. Ambrosia – The Biggest Part Of Me (1980)
12. Rufus & Chaka Khan – Ain’t Nobody (1983)
13. Sadao Watanabe & Roberta Flack – Here’s To Love (1984)
14. KC & the Sunshine Band – I Betcha Didn’t Know That (1979)
15. Samantha Sang – Emotion (1978)
16. Minnie Riperton – Lovin’ You (1974)
17. Gene Chandler – Groovy Situation (1970)
18. Shalamar – A Night To Remember (1982)
19. Labi Siffre – Love-A-Love-A-Love-A-Love-A-Love (1975)
20. Hello Saferide – I Was Definitely Made For These Times (2007)

GET IT! or HERE!

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Any Major Week Vol. 2

April 23rd, 2020 1 comment

 

Last year — time really flies — I promised a follow-up to the mix of songs about the days of the week, in sequence until time of the standard CD-R runs out; which here is on a Friday night.

And that Friday song is a version of the song that started the idea in 2011, when I wrote a defence of Rebecca Black’s YouTube hit Friday. Here the song — a composition of negligible merit — is performed by Steven Colbert on Jimmy Fallon’s show. It is quite catchy, actually.

If your country is in lockdown, as mine is, you might need to be reminded of the way “the week” used to work. You see, there’s Monday, when we used to go back to work after two days off. It used to be a ghastly day. Then came Tuesday, when things got into swing again. On Wednesday we started to look at the calendar (a numbered chart that gave the days of the week in a sequential order) to behold Friday. On Thursday we might give our work another push, and download the latest mix from Any Major Dude With Half A Heart. Friday would be time to slowly wind things down for the weekend. That period comprised Saturday and Sunday, when we might go to the park, or stroll through the city or the mall, or watch sporting events, or visit friends. And on Monday we’d be back sat work with that nagging sense of inertia. Oh, happy days. Will we ever see them again?

As ever, CD-R length, home-trudged covers, PW in comments

1. Earth, Wind & Fire – Saturday Nite (1976)
2. Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson – Hello Sunday! Hello Road! (1977)
3. Fleetwood Mac – Monday Morning (1975)
4. The Pogues – Tuesday Morning (1987)
5. Majic Ship – Wednesday Morning Dew (1970)
6. Morphine – Thursday (1993)
7. The Easybeats – Friday On My Mind (1966)
8. Cass Elliot – Saturday Suit (1972)
9. Diane Schuur – Louisiana Sunday Afternoon (1988)
10. Stealers Wheel – Monday Morning (1975)
11. Dylan LeBlanc – Tuesday Night Rain (2010)
12. America – Wednesday Morning (1998)
13. Johnny Otis – Thursday Night Blues (1949)
14. Bell & James – Living It Up (Friday Night) (1978)
15. Neil Diamond – Save Me A Saturday Night (2005)
16. Labelle – Sunday’s News (1972)
17. Freda Payne – Rainy Days And Mondays (1973)
18. Stevie Wonder – Tuesday Heartbreak (1972)
19. Emiliana Torrini – Wednesday’s Child (1999)
20. David Bowie – Thursday’s Child (1999)
21. Stephen Colbert feat. Taylor Hicks – Friday (2011)

GET IT! or HERE!

More CD-R Mixes

Categories: Mix CD-Rs Tags:

Any Major John Prine Songbook

April 16th, 2020 9 comments

 

Just days after we learned of the passing of Bill Withers, John Prine left us, a victim of the Covid-19 pandemic. I made a Bill Withers Songbook mix , and here’s one for Prine.

Within their respective genres, Withers and Prine shared similarities. Where Withers never was quite the insider in soul music, so was Prine very much not an insider in country music. Both infused their songs with folk influences. Both had an acute sense of and empathy for the human condition, born of kind hearts, and this found expression in their often poetic lyrics.

Prine knew how to write a good tune and deliver it convincingly, but his genius resided in his lyrics. Like a good country singer, he knew how to tell a story. Sometimes he named his protagonists, and you got to know them in the space of three minutes. From just a few lines, you can picture the drug-addicted Vietnam vet Sam Stone, or the lonely outsiders Lydia and Donald.

He wrote Angel From Montgomery from the perspective of a prematurely aged middle-aged woman, and persuasively so. Extraordinarily, Prine was 24 and from Chicago when he wrote the song. Prine never was a jailbird, but he could imagine himself in prison at Christmas (in a song which really should have been covered by The Pogues).

Hello In There, is another great example of Pine’s empathy, perhaps his best. And that empathy is not just in the lyrics but also in their delivery and the song’s arrangement. Take those matter-of-fact clipped lines about the dispersal of the kids and losing Davy in the Korean War, juxtaposed with the drawn out lines of longing, about old trees growing stronger and old rivers growing wilder every day.

Of course, the song about lonely older people has particular relevance during the health crisis that killed Prine. Fittingly, Brandi Carlile sung that song as a tribute on Stephen Colbert’s show. Prefacing Hello In There, Carlile puts it eloquently: “It reminds us that old people aren’t expendable, that they made us who were are and they’ve given us every single thing that we have. Even though John never got to get old, and we all would’ve liked for him to…at the age of 24, when he wrote this song, he understood this.” Colbert’s heartfelt tribute, preceding Carlile’s performance, is also worth listening to.

Prine had an extraordinary warmth, and a wonderfully wry sense of humour. Happily, he was given a lifetime achievement award by the Grammys just a few weeks before his death. It was overdue, for his exquisite body of work and for the great love and respect he inspired from his fans and his fellow musicians.

Here is a mix of covers of Prine songs. Fans will know the originals, but I hope that people who are not familiar with John Prine’s songbook will give this collection a listen, enjoy it, and then seek out the original recordings.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes home-pipedreamed covers. PW in comments.

1. Manfred Mann’s Earthband – Pretty Good (1973)
2. Al Kooper – Sam Stone (1972)
3. Bonnie Raitt – Angel From Montgomery (1974)
4. Loretta Lynn – Somewhere Someone’s Falling In Love (2000)
5. 10,000 Maniacs – Hello In There (1989)
6. The Avett Brothers – Spanish Pipedream (2010)
7. Johnny Cash – The Hobo Song (1982)
8. Kris Kristofferson – Late John Garfield Blues (1972)
9. Steve Goodman – Donald And Lydia (1971)
10. Reilly & Maloney – That’s The Way That The World Goes ‘Round (1980)
11. Nanci Griffith – Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness (1993)
12. Justin Townes Earle – Far From Me (2010)
13. The Flying Burrito Brothers – Quiet Man (1976)
14. After The First Gallon – Illegal Smile (1978)
15. The Everly Brothers – Paradise (1972)
16. Priscilla Coolidge-Jones – If You Don’t Want My Love (1979)
17. George Strait – I Just Want To Dance With You (2011)
18. Josh Ritter – Mexican Home (2010)
19. Weeping Willows – Christmas In Prison (2005)

GET IT! or HERE!

Previous Songbooks:
ABBA
Ashford & Simpson
Bill Withers
Bob Dylan Volumes 1-5
Bruce Springsteen
Burt Bacharach & Hal David
Burt Bacharach’s Lesser-Known Songbook
Chuck Berry
Cole Porter
Jimmy Webb Vol. 1
Jimmy Webb Vol. 2
Leonard Cohen
Rod Temperton
Steely Dan

Categories: Covers Mixes, Mix CD-Rs, Songwriters Tags: