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, 11/17/19) Song 486: Ready for Christmas 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 holiday melody comes courtesy of my former Berkeley housemate Carol Denney. While it might seem a bit early for a tune about 12/25, if you've visited a shopping plaza in the last week or two, you might have noticed signs of stores already gearing up for the noel celebration, which will officially begin a week from Friday. Of course, Carol's piece here is not about festivities, but about heartless treatment of poor homeless people who struggle to survive. As bad as this story may have been in real life back in 2003 when Carol released her CD The Cruel Lullaby on which it appears, homelessness in CA has gotten severely worse over the last decade and a half. Observing how This town gets ready for Christmas by sweeping the streets of the poor, Carol, in addition to writing and recording a song to draw attention to this persecution, used her artistic talent to sketch some of the sad scenes she sang about, and those original works of art appear in the YouTube video of her track. Truly, Jesus would think it was something how people don't care any more if he saw how some who claim to follow his teachings do openly advocate for cruelty towards those he urged his believers to help.
(Sunday, 11/10/19) Song 485: Hot Tamales by The Righteous Brothers, written by Bobby Hatfield. You can find a YouTube video of it here. This marks the first appearance of The Righteous Brothers on this list. I had seen the duo once on a TV show during my HS years, and I thought they sounded good but they didn't particularly spark my interest. In the early 1970s I got better acquainted with their music as I heard more of it from friends who had their LPs, and at a certain point I picked up on a good deal for a copy of Back to Back, with that deal feeling better the more I played the record. I hadn't heard this cut before I got the 33, but it became a quick favorite once I had added the album to my collection, and a prominent listening high point of every spin BtB took on the turntable. My pleasure in this piece also just happened to coincide with a developing taste for Mexican cuisine, and while I would probably prefer a taco or tortilla, if it sounds as good as these two guys do, then I want some hot tamales too!
(Sunday, 11/3/19) Song 484: Just Call Me Lonesome by Radney Foster, written by Radney Foster and George Ducas. You can find a YouTube video of it here. This hit came along in the summer of 1992 as one of the shining fresh gems that embodied the New Country style which the Manhattan radio station I listened to in that era would often mention, and along with a few dozen other sparkling pieces, it convinced me to spend a portion of my listening time diving into that stream. I liked the way this track sounded modern, but also echoed the feel of country classics I had grown up listening to in the late 1950s and the following decade. I always enjoyed the way country writers sometimes play amusing word games, and Mr. Foster does that here with lines like You used to call me your one and only But now you only call me someone you once knew. I also appreciated the understated irony of a man with a handle as unique as Radney singing I've got a new name and I don't need my old one, and while maybe forever lies in pieces for him, the rest of us can relish hearing him musically explain his updated moniker.
(Sunday, 10/27/19) Song 483: Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I knew very little about Elvis until I got to college in the fall of 1969, whereupon my musical horizons greatly expanded due to a new wider circle of friends with extensive LP collections and varying tastes. The early 1970s also brought along a 1950s RnR revival of sorts on the Chicago-area radio, plus, a subscription to Rolling Stone filled in a lot of the history for me of those RnR pioneers, so I got to hear and read about a bunch of the performers who had laid the groundwork for the next generation of music that had rocked my world during my HS era. It didn't take long, in that context, to appreciate Mr. Presley's role in rocking the 1950s, and at a certain point I acquired a greatest hits collection of his, which of course included this chart topper, and that 33 got plenty of spins on my turntable. I would say that EP's suggestion from six decades ago still sounds good: Let's rock, everybody, let's rock! Regardless of how many times I've heard it, it still makes me wanna stick around a while and get my kicks.
(Sunday, 10/20/19) Song 482: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For by U2, with lyrics by Bono and music by U2. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I had become a U2 fan not long after Under a Blood Red Sky appeared, and I had gotten to see them when they played a show in the SF area in 1987, so when Rattle and Hum arrived in the fall of 1988, not long after I moved to Brooklyn, I soon got my own copy, and it became a regular spinner on my turntable, with this cut being one of the more memorable tunes. At the time, I too could have said that I have run, I have crawled, I have scaled these city walls, I have run through the fields, and I have climbed a high mountain, though I wouldn't necessarily have claimed I went up highest mountain. Back then, I also hadn't found what I was looking for, and though I wouldn't make that complaint these days, I still like hearing Bono do it. Personally, I don't recall ever having held the hand of the devil, but I can understand that if someone did so, it was warm in the night when it happened. While I don't believe in the kingdom come when all the colors will bleed into one, and I would hesitate to say that I have spoke with the tongue of angels, I do feel certain that I have kissed honey lips and felt the healing in her fingertips, and anyone who has can be thankful for that.
(Sunday, 10/13/19) Song 481: She by The Monkees, written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Growing up in a fundamentalist home, I wasn't allowed to own any LPs of the devil's music, but I had plenty of friends who did have collections, and thanks to them, I got to hear More of the Monkees quite a lot, to the point that I knew every cut on the record well enough to sing along with them all, and to sing them to myself when I was alone, nowhere close to a turntable. This opening track, which is the third MotM to appear on this list (Steppin' Stone is Song 400 and Your Auntie Grizelda is Song 448), became a quick favorite, and I remember singing it to myself a number of times while doing my afternoon job delivering newspapers to my neighbors down the road. The lyrics sounded to me at the time like an apt description of the dynamic between myself and one of my newspaper delivery customer's daughters - I concluded that she liked me hangin' 'round because she needed someone to walk on so her feet didn't touch the ground. Having that kind of connections with a certain recording, it truly surprised me to read that at some point Monkee Michael Nesmith called MotM "probably the worst album in the history of the world" because I really liked it the first time through, and I still do.
(Sunday, 10/6/19) Song 480: Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap by AC/DC, written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott. You can find a YouTube video of it here. AC/DC got a lot of attention with Highway to Hell (Song 425), and rightly so, I thought. Sadly, not long after that tune hit the airwaves, the band's lead singer Bon Scott died at the young age of 33, and a little while after that unfortunate occurrence, the radio gave us another good reason to miss him when stations began airing this cut. As the singer here, his lyrical sketches had outlined an entertaining caricature of a despicable criminal who offers deadly services at a bargain price, letting the listener know where they could find concrete shoes, cyanide, TNT as well as neck ties, contracts, high voltage and other nefarious prizes. Perhaps, if he had lived longer, Bon might have gotten the chance to introduce us to other humorous cartoon characters, but while he didn't have that opportunity, we can still appreciate him musically painting a picture for us of your back door man.