Song 39, Saturday, 8/3/2013 -- Desire by U2, lyrics by Bono, music by U2. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. Back to my Eighties Favorites 3 cassette, I liked U2 from the first time I heard them, shortly after their Under a Blood Red Sky album appeared in May of '83. I collected their records, and I even got to see them at The Cow Palace (in San Francisco) in 1987. I picked up Rattle and Hum not long after its release, and enjoyed the accompanying film when I got around to seeing it a few years later. This song was the lead single from the album, and quickly became one of the band's biggest hits. 25 years later, it sounds as good to me as it did the first time I heard it, if not better.
Song 38, Friday, 8/2/2013 -- Winter and I by Carol Denney, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. Friday being Friends Day on my favorite songs playlist, I finally got around to putting a Carol Denney song on it. I first heard her one night in the early summer of 1979 at a little pizza place north of the U.C. Berkeley campus called LaVal's, which at the time had some ownership connection with a former member of CCR. I thought her set that night was amazing, though I was one of only maybe a dozen people listening. She did this song, along with quite a few others, some of which I thought were better than this one, but having heard it as many times as I have, especially since getting her 2001 CD The Rich Will Never Be Poor which contains the track, this song sounds at least as good if not better than it did a few decades ago.
Song 37, Thursday, 8/1/2013 -- Thing Called Love by Bonnie Raitt, written by John Hiatt. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. I knew about Bonnie Raitt in the early '70s, and I liked what I heard of her recordings, but I had a very long list of necessary records to get, before I got around to the ones that I just kind-of liked. I also felt that someday she would really connect on a recording, but she hadn't done that yet. The first time I heard this song, I felt that she'd finally created that very magical record that I'd always known she could do, and when I got the album (Nick of Time), it wasn't just this track -- all the songs on the album pretty much matched up to this quality, although this is probably the best one of the bunch. Even before I started playing slide guitar myself, I always enjoyed people who did it well, and around the time this record came out in 1989, I was just starting to explore what I could do with a slide and 6 strings, so Bonnie provided me with a bit of extra inspiration as well.
Song 35, Tuesday, 7/30/2013 -- I Should Be the One by The Del Fuegos, written by Dan Zanes, Warren Zanes and Tom Lloyd. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. The YT video visual is just a still of a record cover (The Best of The Del Fuegos), but play the video and you will hear a really good song. In the early 1980s The Del Fuegos were supposed to be the new Rolling Stones, and they never quite lived up to that level of hype, but they did have a few very good songs, and this is one. It appeared on their first LP The Longest Day in 1984, and maybe it's not quite Satisfaction or Jumpin' Jack Flash but it's still a pretty good rockin' tune.
Song 34, Monday, 7/29/2013 -- Crazy for You by Madonna, written by John Bettis and Jon Lind. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. I wouldn't call myself a major Madonna fan, but she has done a few recordings that have surprised and impressed me, and this is one. I read a critic who used the phrase "Minnie Mouse on helium" to describe the sound of Madonna's voice on her recordings, but even so, on this song Minnie manages to convey some depth and genuine emotion through that helium -- she makes you believe that if you're the guy she's singing to, you really will know how she feels if you just touch her once.
Song 33, Sunday, 7/28/2013 -- Union Square by Tom Waits, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. When I first heard Tom Waits, I didn't think I was going to like him, but a couple of years later, around the time he did Small Change, I got completely pulled into his orbit. I actually got to see him live in early 1980, and he was even better than I thought he'd be. He has continued to make albums that sound like noone else, expanding his artistic vision and taking us, the listeners, to a lot of interesting places we never expected to go. This song comes from his 1985 release Rain Dogs and along with lyrics that tell a story in a way noone else would, he rocks out on this one, with some guitar help from Keith Richards.
Song 31, Friday, 7/26/2013 -- Backroad Driver by Gregg Cagno, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. Friday being Friends Day on my favorite songs playlist, I think I first heard Gregg on an open mic night at Godfrey Daniels coffeehouse in Bethlehem, PA (which is a really cool venue, by the way) some time in late '88 or early '89, and by May of '91, when we headed to the Kerrville Folk Festival in my old Dodge van, we were already good old friends. This song, which is the title track from his first CD release (from 1994), was always one of my favorite Cagno tunes, from the first time I heard him do it, on a live stage somewhere, I no longer remember where. Maybe one reason I like the song is that I've often been a backroad driver myself. I haven't made it back to Kerrville yet, though the first time around helped inspire a song, called Texas Rain (click here for the lyrics and a link to the rough cut video), but Gregg did get back in more recent years as a finalist in the New Folk competition.