Song 130, Saturday, 11/2/2013 -- Had to Cry Today by Blind Faith, written by Steve Winwood. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. Cream was around just long enough to create a whole lot of excitement, and 3 really good albums, and then suddenly Cream broke up. They were gone long enough to miss them and wish they hadn't broken up, but then, just as suddenly, 2/3 of Cream was back, with a different bass player, plus Steve Winwood handling vocals and lots of other things, like keyboards, guitar, bass and a major share of the songwriting. This SW song opens the Blind Faith record, and from the first time I heard it I couldn't get enough of it, rocking out for almost 9 minutes, and maintaining the intensity for the entire ride. This song, and the entire Blind Faith album, seemed like the fulfillment of the initial promise of Cream, and it was sad that Blind Faith didn't do a second album, but most former Cream fans were probably just grateful for the one record they did make -- I know I was.
Song 129, Friday, 11/1/2013 -- Hand Me Down by Jeff Larson, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of the song here.The YT video visual is just a still of the Swimming in the Make Believe cover, but if you play the video you'll hear a very good song even if you won't see a whole lot. Friday being Friend's Day, today's song is by my friend Jeff Larson, and the longer this playlist gets, the more often Jeff will show up on it -- his songs are that good, and I listen to his music a lot. I first heard this song a long time ago, not long after he wrote it, and I thought it sounded pretty good with just his voice and his guitar. Add in those background harmonies that Jeff does so well, along with some keyboard textures, a tight rhythm section and some catchy leads, and the recording ends up sounding even better, or, to put it another way, it doesn't sound like a hand-me-down, it sounds like a really good original song.
Song 128, Thursday, 10/31/2013 -- Last Ride In by Green Day, written by the band. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. My iPod '90s Favorites playlist follows up all the intensity of Rooster by finishing with this Green Day instrumental, as a way of ending on a more relaxed note. I first heard this track the first time I played through a freshly-purchased copy of Nimrod, and I liked it at least as well as the songs I already knew from the CD. Though most instrumentals sound to me like they're missing a vocal track, once in a while I hear one that sounds good enough to stand on its own without a singer and some words pulling it along, and I think this one does that just fine.
Song 127, Wednesday, 10/30/2013 -- Rooster by Alice in Chains, written by Jerry Cantrell. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. Thinking that the YT video for Monday's song was not that good, I was then amazed to find the video for this song, which is one of the best I've ever seen. This song had been around for years before I first heard it, but when I did hear it, I really liked it a lot, though at the time I had no idea how deep the commotion swirling around below the surface of the lyrics actually goes. The songwriter wrote this song after talking with his father about the older man's experiences in Viet Nam, and the song that came out of those conversations conveys an undeniable power even when you don't know the context of the words, but then echoes in a much stronger way when you get a glance at just a small part of the reality that the rooster lived through in that war.
Song 125, Monday, 10/28/2013 -- Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden, written by Chris Cornell. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. I try not to offer too many judgements of the videos for the songs, as some are not bad, a few seem really good and plenty of them don't move my meter much in either direction, but in this case, I feel like it's a shame such a good song has to have such an awful video. Anyway, about the song, before I owned a Soundgarden CD, this was the only tune I knew by them, and I really liked it from the first time I heard it. During the sessions for my Country Drivin' CD, the main engineer for those sessions, named Chris (interestingly enough), was a big fan of Soundgarden, and at breaks during the recording, he would sometimes play one of his Soundgarden CDs. I liked what I heard, most of which was new to me, although this one wasn't, but hearing it again reminded me about how much I liked the song, and before too long I had a copy of this one at home so I could listen to it whenever I wanted.
Song 124, Sunday, 10/27/2013 -- Glycerine by Bush, written by Gavin Rossdale. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. I missed this song the first time around, when it created a lot of buzz as a single, but a couple of years later when I got the CD Sixteen Stone I liked this track a lot, as well as most of the rest of the album. The singer plays with perceptions of reality as the lyrics move from one point of view to another in a very engaging way, and while I've heard criticism of these words as being the product of drug-fueled inspiration, I don't care what moved the songwriter on his way to the resulting word play, because I really enjoy the ride. I also feel that at some point we as a culture would do well to move away from a judgmental attitude about creative people using drugs to alter their brain chemistry, and to a greater understanding of why they so often feel the need or desire to do so.
Song 123, Saturday, 10/26/2013 -- Something the Boy Said by Sting, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. Getting back to my iPod '90s Favorites playlist, this is my favorite anti-war song, and it may be the best anti-war song ever written. Sting paints a nightmarish dreamscape of the truly dark side of war and the inevitable feast of the crows that always follows the fight, no matter how noble the cause of the fight is supposed to have been, according to the ones who gave the orders.
Song 122, Friday, 10/25/2013 -- Break the Same Heart Twice by Terry Kitchen, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. Friday being Friend's Day, today's song is by my friend Terry Kitchen, who's one of those Boston-area singer/songwriter types. Back in March of '93 I had a show to play in Cambridge and Terry gave me shelter from the storm at his nearby apartment. The forecast that weekend called for a major blizzard to hit early on Saturday morning. Playing a show at a coffeehouse on Martha's Vineyard Friday night, I made sure to get off the island early Saturday morning, but the flakes began to fall at I got on the road towards Boston. A drive that should have taken 45 minutes actually took close to 3 hours, with huge piles of white making it difficult to get around when I arrived at Terry's place, which he had dubbed Ice Station Zebra for my visit. Despite the blizzard and the troubles it caused, such as difficulties in freeing my van from the packed ice the following day, we had a fun weekend that involved playing a lot of music. About this TK song, from his 2009 Summer to Snowflakes CD, it covers some of the same territory as yesterday's song, although from a bit of a different angle. Imagine the person picking up after the storm and the experience of Loving a Hurricane then turning around and knowingly deciding to go through it again -- you might think it wouldn't happen, but I've seen it often enough, and obviously so has Terry, since he wrote a really good song about it.
Song 121, Thursday, 10/24/2013 -- Loving a Hurricane by John Hiatt, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. The YT video visual is just a bunch of stills of John, but the song moves pretty well even though the visual part doesn't. This song tells a very common story which most of us have seen from a distance at least once in life -- you see a couple getting together, and from your point of view you can see that one of the two, most often the guy, is a hurricane, and the other, most often the woman, is about to be on the receiving end of a very strong wind storm. Experience will usually teach you that it does no good to try to warn the person who has fallen in love with the hurricane about the mess that the oncoming storm will soon cause, and all you can really do is say, as JH does in this song, that's what she gets for loving a hurricane.