What's my favorite song? That's a tough question, and this playlist is my answer. I don't know that I could ever pick just one song. These are the cuts that I listen to, and that mean something to me. I have lots of memories and stories tied up with them, and I share a portion of those tales on this list. Surely you will recognize some of the tracks here, but probably you'll find some that you don't, and hopefully I can help you discover some good music. You might notice that some numbers are missing, including number 1, and that's because the linked videos are no longer available, so those songs have been removed from the list.
This page only includes a few recent bits. If you'd like to read some older ones, the previous link below will take you to the post before the last one, on my Blogspot runway, which has links to earlier writings. The Master List page has links to all of the playlist Blogspot articles. However, my earliest playlist rambles, before Song 185, only live on this website, since I didn't start posting on Blogspot until February of 2014.
(Monday, 6/18/18) Song 412: 3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds by Jefferson Airplane, written by Marty Balin. You can find a YouTube video of it here. This post arrives a day late due to a local internet outage. Surrealistic Pillow very quickly made my personal top 10 of favorite LPs, and this 216 mph mover would be the 3rd SP cut to appear on the playlist (She Has Funny Cars is Song 154 and Somebody to Love is Song 267). Back in the days of 2-sided records, very often the first and last tracks on a side were the best, and this rocker opens side 2 with a bang. I always picked up a satirical edge to the lyrics, and found it amusing, although, in the current political atmosphere, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear a more serious right-wing version of these words, with various demonizations filling in the blanks after the phrase Do away with people . . . I truly relished the second verse’s suggestion about living in a circus tent where all the other freaks can share my cares. The term hippie freak was originally meant as a smear, but counter-culture types adopted it as a communal descriptive for members of the club, and when I grew my hair long enough to earn the title in 1971, I proudly wore that label and shared it with my fellow freaks. I did not share the interest many of them had, though, for a smoke that could cost 65 dollars, but I also did not judge them harshly for that interest, especially since it seemed to have the effect of moving someone from a Do away with people frame of mind to one of Know I love you baby.
(Sunday, 6/10/18) Song 411: There Ain't Nothin' Wrong with the Radio by Aaron Tippin, written by Aaron Tippin and Buddy Brock. You can find a YouTube video of it here. This entertaining novelty single came along in the early 1990s as part of the New Country scene happening then, according to the branding of the NYC country station I listened to, and the hit introduced me to the voice of Mr. Tippin, who I hadn't heard before. It didn't take long to warm up to this one, as anyone who has driven an old clunker for a while can relate to the lines about bald tires, as well as needing a carburetor and a set of plug wires. Of course, the ride completely crosses the border into fantasyland when, after a cop stops the singer for Out-of-date tags and no tail lights, the officer lets him go because of his marvelous radio, but you might very well have guessed from the opening narration that the drive was headed in that direction. On a side note, this track is the second sly reference to the third (and final) verse of my own song As Long as Merle is Still Haggard, which begins with the line I think Aaron's been Tippin a few. You can find the Merle video by clicking on the title.
(Sunday, 6/3/18) Song 410: Spirit Slips Away by Thin Lizzy, written by Phil Lynott. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I first heard about Thin Lizzy when Wild One (Song 296) showed up on the radio near the end of summer in 1975, and I liked that cut enough to take a chance on the Fighting LP, which soon proved to be a worthy investment, with this track being one of its highlights. As much as I enjoyed the album, it didn't garner much attention for the band, unlike their followup record Jailbreak which brought them their biggest hit (The Boys Are Back in Town) and a lot more popularity. I felt the earlier 33 deserved more attention than the latter, but evidently the RnR audience as a whole disagreed with my POV. To this day, I would much rather hear the Fighting gems than the Jailbreak highlights, but I also don't begrudge the quartet their commercial success, And when the music that makes you blue Unfolds its secrets, the mysteries are told to you, no matter which album the music comes from, so When the darkness starts to fall May the angels bring their flame to you, to me, and to us all.
(Sunday, 5/27/2018) Song 409: Child's Play by Jeff Larson, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Seven weeks after my previous personal friend song post, this week's track comes courtesy of my good friend Jeff Larson. We became buddies soon after watching each other perform at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco back in 1979. As things developed over the following year or two, we performed a few times together as a duo called Dusty River, and during that era, at some point Jeff gave me cassettes of his music, which I enjoyed spinning on my player. A while back, I started making mP3s from old cassettes, including some JL ones, and I sent him copies of his early work. Doing so, I found out that he had forgotten about some of those tunes, and then, lo and behold, along came a fresh version of Child's Play. I'll admit that at first, I still preferred the original, but it didn't take too many replays for me to truly appreciate the new edition, and having heard it plenty of times in the last few years, I relish it even more. Like him, I have, at least once or twice, found myself in a place where I can't remember, the details fade/Blurry and broken, the promises made, and so I've played the game when it's easier pretending with answers always pending, but I will continue to listen for A whisper of something I've found to be real.
(Sunday, 5/20/2018) Song 408: Chicago by Graham Nash, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Having mentioned the Windy City in last week's post, this hit seems like a natural followup. I arrived in that area in the fall of 1969, just as the aftermath of the demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic Convention unfolded. Early in the course of the Chicago Eight trial, the judge denied Black Panther Party activist defendant Bobby Seale his constitutional right to counsel of his choice, and then illegally denied his right to defend himself. When Seale vehemently protested the judge's actions, he was bound and gagged, which inspired Nash's opening lines. During this stretch, while evolving my own personal singer-songwriter style from a combination of various musical and lyrical influences (and singing in Chicago), I felt the RnR scene lacked songs that applied to current events, so Graham's deft single in the spring of 1971 helped to fill that void. Back then I truly believed that it was starting to get better, but now, nearly 5 decades later, we still have a lot to do, especially in regards to war vs. peace, which was the spark that lit the 1968 convention fracas (Viet Nam). In recent years, it seems that the threat of nuclear war has increased, so the world could genuinely be dying to get better, and if We can change the world, we should Open up the door, because Somehow people must be free. I would disagree with Nash on one line, though, and that's because we actually do need rules and regulations, particularly in order to keep some people from taking away the rights of others.