Song 20, Monday, 7/15/2013 -- Love Like a Man by Ten Years After, written by Alvin Lee. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. The YT video visual is just a still of a record cover, but play the video and you will hear a really good song. This one is just a riff tune, but it's a very well done riff tune, based on a really hypnotic riff, and it's a fine reminder of just how good a riff tune can sound. Of course, Alvin Lee supplies some really impressive additional riffs in the guitar break, which is a large part of the appeal. I don't remember the first time I heard the song, but I think I might have heard someone play the riff even before I heard the song, and that riff was so good I had to hear it again. As many times as that riff comes around in the song, and as many times as I've heard this song, I've never gotten tired of hearing that riff, or the song. The music really carries this one, as the lyrics are not really that great, but at the same time they're not all that bad -- for years I couldn't figure out the first line, and when I actually got it one night while listening to the song, I thought it was actually kind of clever, and much better than I thought it might be.
Song 19, Sunday, 7/14/2013 -- Glory Train by Johnny Rivers, written by James "Jim" Hendricks. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. The YT video visual is a bunch of stills of different freight and passenger trains, but it's more to look at than a lot of these YouTube song videos, and once again, it's a really good song. Johnny Rivers had a big hit in the summer of '64 with his version of Chuck Berry's Memphis, a record I heard and really liked, knowing nothing about Berry or any of the other '50s rockers. My Ohio cousin Jimmy also liked the record, and I remember him playing it when we visited the Bowling Green relatives that summer. I knew and liked a few other JR records, but I didn't know much about his Slim Slo Slider album, which was named for its Van Morrison cover title track, until I picked up a copy of it while living in Berkeley in the '80s. Besides this song, the record also has a few other gems, including 2 Gram Parsons covers, at least one of which is likely to end up on this list if it gets long enough. The songwriter on this one is a guy with an interesting history that included membership in a couple of early '60s folk groups with people who later became part of The Lovin' Spoonful and The Mamas and the Papas, as well as marriage to Mama Cass Elliot.
Song 17, Friday, 7/12/2013 -- Treat Me Like Dirt by Patti Rothberg, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. For a change, the YouTube video for this song is an actual music video, and not only that, but it's one of the few music videos I've seen that is as visually interesting to watch as it is musically interesting to hear. I really like the parts where the bass player walks into the pool and the piano comes falling out of the sky, as well as the bits with pigs in the motel room and the family with motor oil on their pancakes. Friday is Friend's Day, and my recording partner engineer/producer David Seitz introduced me to Patti back in 2003. I previously didn't know anything about her music but she loaned me a handful of VHS tapes that included live shows, music videos and her Letterman and Leno appearances. I quickly found that I liked every one of her songs, and really liked a lot of them. This song cracked me up the first time through, and after hearing it at least a hundred times, the humor still makes me smile.
Song 15, Wednesday, 7/10/2013 -- Penthouse Pauper by Creedence Clearwater Revival, written by John Fogerty. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. The YT video visual is just a few stills of the band, but if you play the video, you'll hear a really good song while you're watching those stills. Everybody was rollin' on the river with CCR in the spring of 1969, and that put Bayou Country near the top of my list of LPs to get. When I finally did get the record, it sounded even better than I expected. I didn't know this tune before I got the album, but it became an instant favorite that first time through. Like most CCR tunes, the words to this song aren't deep or poetic, but Fogerty managed to turn an old and very simple idea into a fun and very singable lyric.
Song 14, Tuesday, 7/9/2013 -- Zig Zag Wanderer by Captain Beefheart, who also wrote the song, going by his real name Don Van Vliet. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. The YT video visual is just a still of the Safe as Milk album cover, but while it's not much to be looking at, it's a really good song for the listening. I had seen stickers for the Lick My Decals Off, Baby album around when that album came out in 1970, and heard a bit from Trout Mask Replica, but at first I didn't really have a grasp of what the Captain was up to. Then around mid-74, I heard a couple of bluesy tracks on an Atlanta radio station and decided I needed to pay more attention to this guy. At some point in the next year or 2, I picked up the Safe as Milk LP, and even on the first time through, I liked every track, which doesn't happen that often -- for contrast, I liked yesterday's song a lot from the first time I heard it, but I couldn't say that for the entire album. This song is probably my favorite one from the SaM record, but it's a tough call, because the LP has 12 very good songs, and I understand the CD has a few bonus tracks as well, though at this point I can't tell you anything about them.
Song 13, Monday, 7/8/2013 -- Carry On by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, written by Steve Stills. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. The YT video visual is just a still of the Deja Vu album cover, but if you play the video, at least you'll hear a really good song. Of course, you may very well already know this song, as it still gets played a lot on the classic rock stations and others, but unlike some other tracks, I think this one still sounds pretty good. When I first heard it, in the spring of 1970, I felt like the CSN trio had finally gotten down to some real rock and roll, perhaps due at least in part to the addition of that guy Neil Young. I liked the first CSN album, but I felt like the guys needed to add a bit more RnR to the mix, and I was sure they had it in them to do so, given their histories, so this song seemed to me like it fulfilled their promise and their potential.
Song 11, Saturday, 7/6/2013 -- One for One by the Stone Poneys, written by Al Silverman and Austin DeLone. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. Back to the LSESF 2 tape... The YT video visual is just a single still of the Evergreen Vol. 2 album cover, changing colors as the song plays, but yet again, if you play the video, you will hear a really good song. I was aware of Linda Rondstadt in the early 70s, and thought she was doing some good stuff, but I didn't feel compelled to start collecting her records until she did that truly inspired remake of You're No Good. After that I started finding out more about her early career, which had included working with the Stone Poneys through 3 albums. One for One comes from the second Stone Poneys release, and one of the joys of mining less-well-known 60s and 70s releases is finding gems like it -- a well-performed and well-recorded take of a very strong song, with some truly outstanding lyrics. That 3rd verse, with the bit about the diesel trucks marching by the iron fence, gets to me every time I hear it. I don't know anything about the 2 songwriters, but if I see their names on another song, I will certainly want to give it a listen, and a song this good does make me curious about the writers.