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.
(Sunday, 10/2/22) Song 635: Hands All Over by Soundgarden, written by Chris Cornell and Kim Thayil. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I don't think I knew about this rumbler when it showed up on the quartet's 1989 album Louder Than Love but it definitely got my attention when it appeared in their 1997 hit compilation A-Sides which I added to my collection soon after the disc came along. During that era I gave the record a spin for at least a few times every week. Back then, I did not perceive a striking motion where trees fall down like dying soldiers, but a few years later, not long after the New American Century arrived, suddenly I got stunned watching the huge greedy hands all over western culture who kept ruffling feathers and turning eagles into vultures.
(Sunday, 9/25/22) Song 634: Don't You Feel My Leg (Don't You Make Me High) by Maria Muldaur, written by Blue Lu Barker, Danny Barker and J. Mayo Williams. You can find a YouTube video of it here. When this wild ride caught my ears in the late summer of 1973, I truly relished the direction where the lyrics took my imagination. Inspired by the attractive images of Maria that adorned her 33, as a young man in my early 20s, I could easily picture myself trying to do what she was melodically attempting to forbid, particularly since I had, starting in my teenage years, leaned towards the legs vs. breasts side of the sensual divide - the nylon-enhanced limbs of my female HS classmates had always grabbed my eyes much more than their chest growths. Interestingly enough, I just found out that this gem first hit the blues charts in 1938, but learning that didn't surprise me - the blues singers of that era could, and often did, mouth erotic phrases that white audiences had no permission to hear at the time. Of course, I can now openly admit that back in my elevated-testosterone phase, if I did get to feel her leg, then, as she correctly asserts, I would want to feel her thigh, and then I'd wanna move up high. If I did say I'd take her out and buy her gin and wine, I would have had something different on my mind, and while I could have told her we'd have a lovely time, perhaps she might not have felt the same way about it.
(Sunday, 9/18/22) Song 633: Mind to Leave by Carol Denney, 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 striking ballad comes from one of my Berkeley cohorts. Back in the fall of 1978, not long after I discovered the La Val's Pizza singer/songwriter circle that I soon joined, I got to hear Carol do a set, and I still remember some of the songs I heard that night, though she did not perform this one then. I quickly became a fan of Carol's music, as well as a few other members of the group, including Jim Bruno and Bob Nichols, and over the next few years, I would get to hear each of them pioneer a new composition at the pizza place. I think I got to hear Ms. Denney introduce this ramble one night there shortly after a visit to her family in L.A. She had grown up in southern CA, and we, her northern CA creative colleagues, could easily comprehend her having a Mind to Leave her home town. However, the lyric also takes a more disturbing direction. I had previously heard Carol unveil another remarkable ride that seemed to suggest experiencing depression, and though I didn't know much about the condition at the time, I did sense that it could give someone a Mind to Leave this life. For that reason, I had avoided adding this gem to the list until now, because I really don't want Carol to leave this life until necessary. She may have lost a lot of friends in some way, but when she asserts I'm not as entertaining, I strongly disagree with that line. On a side note, by the early years of the new millennium, I came to understand the basics of brain chemical imbalances that trigger disorders like depression, and I wrote a book called Expecting the Broken Brain to Do Mental Pushups - I hope to have my more-enlightened 2nd edition finished and released in a few months.
(Sunday, 9/11/22) Song 632: Under the Boardwalk by The Drifters, written by Kenny Young and Arthur Resnick. You can find a YouTube video of it here. This marks the first appearance of The Drifters among this grouping. When their mover started jumping across the airwaves a few months after the Fab Four rocked my world, it didn't really get my attention very much. It did seem to grab other folks, though, with this rendition and other variants by The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys climbing the charts. At first I didn't understand the lyrical ramble and I thought it might contain some clever word-play reference to a certain Monopoly property. Later, as a young adult, I came to realize that the game card I had imagined when hearing this piece might very well have gotten inspired by the physical beach adornment pictured in the track's title and chorus line. As the 1970s unfolded and the Chicago area radio stations began a 1950s revival, they also featured this gem quite often, to the point that my female companion at the time remarked one day that she didn't care to hear it again because she had just heard it not long before, and I strongly agreed with her. However, a decade later, as I savored residing in the pleasant warmer climate of Berkeley, CA, I noticed that whenever this hit got played, I relished it much more than I previously had. Four weeks ago, we rode On a Carousel (Song 628), and when you hear the happy sound of a carousel, sometimes you can almost taste the hot dogs and french fries they sell. Whether in or out of the sun, we still have a couple more warm weeks in store, and we'll be havin' some fun.
(Sunday, 9/4/22) Song 631: Draggin' the Line by Tommy James and the Shondells, written by Tommy James and Bob King. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I had spent much of the summer of 1971 acting as a summer missionary for the Southern Baptist Church in an outreach center in Atlanta, GA, and then around mid-August I headed back to my parents' place in upstate NY for a short visit before returning to my college apartment in Evanston, IL. I really relished the fresh TJ hit topping the charts then, and I have a memory of hearing it as I walked along a rural road a couple of miles from my childhood home. I don't recall if I had a transistor radio with me that played the tune, if I walked with a friend who had one, or if the sound came from one of the few nearby houses, but ever since that experience I have associated that country road area with this melodic excursion. Of course, that connection makes sense when you imagine Lovin' the free and feelin' spirit of hugging a tree, when you get near it. On a different note, during that era 5 decades ago, a lot of average folks were Makin' a livin' the old, hard way, Takin' and givin' by day by day, whereas these days, far too many of the working class are not gettin' the good sign, no matter how they try.
(Sunday, 8/28/22) Song 630: Another Brick In The Wall, Part Two by Pink Floyd, written by Roger Waters. You can find an entertaining YouTube video of it here. The Floyd four got a lot of notice in the later 1960s, initially for their psychedelic approach that included sonic experimentation in extended compositions. My first roommate at N.U.'s Bobb Hall in the fall of 1969 really liked his PF 33s, but when he played them, they didn't impress me. However, when their Dark Side of the Moon ride arrived in 1973, that one quickly grabbed my ears, and I especially savored Us And Them (Song 415). I admired the way Mr. Waters illuminated the divisive strategy behind warmongering, and in recent years he has also made public statements exposing nefarious U.S. imperialism, which I highly respect him for doing. That being the case, I decided to feature another one of his gems today due to similar recent events, this one coming from late 1979, a little over a year after I hitched out to the East Bay of CA. Earlier this month, in a CNN interview, Roger called POTUS Joe a war criminal fueling the fire in Ukraine while lambasting NATO for pushing right up against the Russian border. Telling those truths resulted in him getting added to a notorious Ukrainian website list of people it accuses of spreading anti-Ukrainian propaganda. Critics refer to this collection as its kill list, which sounds disturbing to me. I hope that Mr. Waters will not lose his life as a consequence of his moral integrity. He told us all 5 decades ago that we don't need no thought control, and that's just as true today - it's just another brick in the wall.
(Sunday, 8/21/22) Song 629: Nine Lives by Aerosmith, written by Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and Marti Frederiksen. You can find a YouTube video of it here. About nine months before the album that features this title track arrived in early 1997, my father left the land of the living, but of course, like all of his fellow humans, he only had ONE life. I don't remember exactly when this rocker grabbed my ears, but when it did, I certainly respected its feline purrspective. A few years earlier I had written my song It Takes a Cat and around the time Aerosmith started telling us all about multiple survival epochs, I began the recording project that would include my furry anthem. Unfortunately, that venture ran into several obstructions, but finally last year around this time I released my cat single Purrfection, which opens with the short version of ITaC. Soon I hope to complete the album that I started working on 24 years ago, and But Really will include the extended take of the tune. When I get that CD done, I'll let everyone know there's a new cool and that, no doubt about it, the moment of truth has arrived.
(Sunday, 8/14/22) Song 628: On a Carousel by the Hollies, written by Graham Nash, Allan Clarke and Tony Hicks. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I had planned for a few years to add this classic to the group, at some point during the warmer months, and I finally got around to it at what has become a very relevant moment. FWIW, this marks the Hollies' first appearance in the bunch. When their merry spin caught my ears amid the winter season of my HS sophomore year, it quickly became a favorite. In 2010, soon after I returned to my childhood home, I found out that the area I grew up in has a reputation for its collection of remarkable carousels. Appropriately, this ride rolled through my mind during the magical warm-weather moments along my grade 10-12 years when I had the pleasure of sitting in the saddle of a wooden equine as it went up and down while moving around a circle. One of the best spins in the neighborhood sat in a park that also featured a wildlife zoo, and that still does. I had relished my visits and merry-go-round rides there growing up, and in the last few years have made a stop or two there again. I recently learned that I will make another visit there this coming Saturday, this time because The American Civic Association will present their 2022 Garlic Festival at Ross Park, rather than at their HQ building on Front Street in Binghamton, where the previous ones that I performed at were held. My set will start at 4 pm, and after I finish my songs, I intend to then spend some time going round and round and round and round and round and round and round, and, of course, up, down, up, down, up, down too.