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, 9/13/20) Song 529: The Cover of Rolling Stone by Dr. Hook and The Medicine Show, written by Sheldon Silverstein. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Given how many times I've mentioned my subscription to Rolling Stone in this blog, and how much information I got from the publication in the early 1970s, it makes sense to finally get around to including this hit on the list. When it came across the airwaves in late 1972, I had already read the magazine regularly for 3 years and felt highly enlightened about RnR due to that source, plus, it also filled in some of the space on politics as well. I always savored the tongue-in-cheek mood of the lyrics on this cut, even though I'm not the type who would take all kinds of pills to get all kinds of thrills, but I would definitely relish the thrill I've never known which is the thrill that'll get ya when you get your picture on The Cover of the Rolling Stone. Sadly, I wouldn't wanna buy five copies for my mother because she died back in 2010, but I have plenty of other folks I could send copies to, and I would truly enjoy it if I got to see my smilin' face on the the cover of the Rolling Stone.
(Sunday, 9/6/20) Song 528: Smashed Up Cadillac by Joe Canzano (AKA Happy Joe), 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 entertaining opus comes from my NJ buddy. I lived in his neighborhood when I released Elder Street in 2009, and not long after, in 2010, he released Big Mouth, which features this track, along with a number of other standouts, like Song for the Next War (Song 10) and Workers (Song 444). I soon added the CD to my iPod, and it quickly became one of my favorites. Ironically, Joe had once said to me that musicians' friends usually don't listen to the personal acquaintance CDs given to them, and that might often be true, but I know that I have listened to Big Mouth a lot over the last decade, and I really appreciate the record. This cut outlines a nefarious character who has million-dollar donors, who drives an expensive big car and who can't wait to run over all your stuff. Joe told me that Dick Cheney inspired the driver image, although these days, I guess he'd agree with me that the U.S. political stage has a number of others who could fit the description of someone having bodies scattered across his hood while he himself is feeling like a man who's sure that acts of his are always pure. Can you think of someone besides Cheney who has got flags and bumper stickers and a God who's on his side as he puts a whole town in terror? I would bet you probably can.
(Sunday, 8/30/20) Song 527: Train Kept A Rollin' by Aerosmith, written by Tiny Bradshaw, Howard Kay and Lois Mann. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Doing research for last week's track, I learned that when The Left Banke recorded their second album (the LP that followed the one which featured Song 526), Steven Tyler did backup vocals on a few cuts, so it seemed appropriate to have his band Aerosmith come next on the list. After the band got a lot of attention with their first 33 in 1972, their second one, which came along two years later, also got plenty of airplay, including this cover of a 1950s and 1960s blues and rock classic. I might have already known the Yardbirds version, but I felt the Tyler and Co. rendition deserved the awareness that it generated. With the current pandemic situation, I have no idea when I might find myself walkin' down that old fair lane again, but whenever I do, if I meet a sweet little woman, I could gladly encourage her to get along on her way.
(Sunday, 8/23/20) Song 526: Walk Away Renee by The Left Banke, written by Michael Brown, Tony Sansone and Bob Calilli. You can find a YouTube video of it here. This hit came along during the middle of my HS sophomore year, and being a violin player with the orchestra, I really liked the classical overtones of the cut. I didn't know anyone who owned the disc, so once it finished its chart run, I rarely got to hear it, but it still left a deep impression on my musical horizon. At the time, a certain young woman's name and mine inside a heart on the wall could find a way to haunt me even though they were so small. These days, the empty sidewalks on many blocks are not the same, but obviously, you're not to blame, and neither is anyone else in particular - we all know that we can point the finger at the pandemic, and just walk away.
(Sunday, 8/16/20) Song 525: Words of Love by Buddy Holly, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I mistakenly believed that the Fab Four and the British Invaders has created RnR when they rocked my world in early 1964, and though, as time went on, I did get clues that some of the Beatles cuts I liked had actually appeared as chart toppers for other folks a bit earlier, I didn't really know the story until the 1970s rolled around. As the new decade unfolded, so did a radio 1950s revival, and my Rolling Stone subscription filled in a lot of the details. As some point I learned that this tune was yet another cover, and hearing the original version deepened my respect for the Buddy who had done the record back in the 1950s. Later I got a greatest hits LP of his which included this track, and I found it even more impressive how many studio gems he had crafted in such an unfortunately-short career that came to a sad sudden end. Thankfully Holly left behind discs that let us hear him say the words we would all want to hear.
(Sunday, 8/9/20) Song 524: Lucky Day by Rank and File, written by Chip Kinman and Tony Kinman. You can find a YouTube video of it here. In the early 1980s, my friend Eddie Spitzer started his music instrument business in the back of a record store on Telegraph Ave., and I spent a lot of time there with him, which meant that I got to hear some records that I might otherwise not have heard, with Sundown by Rand and File being a prime example. I really liked their cowpunk thing, and I soon purchased my own copy of their initial LP, which then got a lot of spins on the turntable. This marks the 4th appearance of a Sundown cut on this list, with the title track being Song 377, Coyote being Song 279, and The Conductor Wore Black being Song 180. These days, with the unfolding pandemic situation, I would never know if today was going to be my lucky day, but regardless, I would clearly understand that if love slipped away, it meant so much.
(Sunday, 8/2/20) Song 523: Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) by The Monkees, written by Neil Diamond. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I quickly became a Monkees fan soon after they came along, and I watched the TV show whenever I could. While I couldn't own LPs back in my HS years, a few good friends had More of the Monkees and so I got to hear it quite a bit, and got to know the tracks very well. This was the first time Neil Diamond showed up on my radar - at some point, hanging out with a friend who played the album, I looked at the label to find out who wrote this tune. He actually got a lot more attention for writing the 33's hit single I'm a Believer, and I liked that piece too, but not nearly as much as this one. I remember doing a field trip to NYC with an HS class in the spring of 1968, and hearing someone's radio playing this cut during the Catskill Mountain segment of the ride. At that moment, I felt it might apply to a romantic dilemma unfolding in my life, though, as it turned out, I had viewed the situation more optimistically than it warranted, but still, hearing this recording felt truly magical then, just as recalling that scene does now. Of course, with so many question marks lingering in the air due to the pandemic, we all might have a reason to sing Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow), though an amorous complication seems quaint compared to the current calamity, but, as I have said from the very beginning of it, what we really know about the COVID-19 story is . . . WE DON'T KNOW.
(Sunday, 7/26/20) Song 522: Shakedown Street by The Grateful Dead, written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I hitch-hiked from Chicago to northern CA in the summer of 1978, and in the fall of that year, a new GD album came along. I don't remember how it happened exactly, but I did get to hear this title track a number of times, and I enjoyed it, even though it supposedly embodied the band's sellout to the disco trend, which did not interest me at all. Fast forward four decades, and as the current pandemic situation has unfolded, a number of times it has looked like there was nothin' shakin' on Shakedown Street, which used to be the heart of town, but don't tell me this town ain't got no heart because honestly, you just gotta poke around. The virus scene might make it appear as if the sunny side of the street is dark, but well, you can never tell, and so, don't tell me this town ain't got no heart when I can hear it beat out loud, and personally, I like the sound of that beat.
(Sunday, 7/19/20) Song 521: We Are Each Other's Angels by Chuck Brodsky, 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 absorbing composition comes from an old Bay Area buddy. I hung out with a Berkeley, CA, singer-songwriter circle for about 10 years, from the late summer of 1978 to the late summer of 1988, and Chuck joined that group during the latter half of my era there, around 1984 or 1985. This particular tune got everyone's attention when we all first heard it, and rightly so, I thought, though he also had another one called Blow 'em Away (Song 45) that quickly moved my needle as well. In light of the current pandemic situation, I'd say this piece fits the present moment quite appropriately. Sometimes you'll stumble, whereas, sometimes you'll just lie down, and then, sometimes you'll get lonely, even with all these people around. Seeing the big question mark on the horizon, You might shiver when the wind blows, and possibly, you might get blown away, but truly, We are each other's angels, we meet when it is time. Doing so, we keep each other going and we show each other signs. We will get through this troubling scene, and we will do so together.