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Dave Elder's Favorite Songs Playlist

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.

-Dave

Recent Songs

(Sunday, 2/16/20) Song 499: What Part of No by Lorrie Morgan, written by Wayne Perry and Gerald Smith. You can find a YouTube video of it here. During the middle of the 1980s while I lived in the East Bay area of CA, I remember at least two or three of my female friends invoking this What part of no question when referring to an incident where a guy approached them in a public setting and tried to assert himself romantically despite their repeated negative responses which he refused to acknowledge in any way, and I enjoyed the clever sarcasm of the phrase, so when a country song based on that entertaining query came along in the early 1990s, I relished the hit, which also features a compelling musical framework and a talented woman's voice. When I acquired my iPod back around 2008, I created a short 9-track Favorite 1990s Country playlist, with this cut being one of the two LM tunes to grace the group. I certainly understand the singer's POV here, and in such a circumstance, I'd be glad to explain if it's too hard to comprehend, though the point implied by the snark is that the fellow being asked the question does not want to recognize rejection to his advances, no matter how obvious such rebukes become.

(Sunday, 2/9/20) Song 498: Spoonful by Howlin' Wolf, written by Willie Dixon. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Cream introduced me to this tune with their expansive version that came along in the winter of 1967 during my sophomore HS year (and that will probably appear on this list within a few weeks). I couldn't own any 33s while living with a family that despised the Devil's music, but I had friends who did have a copy of Fresh Cream and so I did get to hear that trio's rendition quite often. A few years later, at the turn of the 1970s, living on my own in the Chicago area, my expanding musical horizons included learning about local music legend Howlin' Wolf and coming to appreciate his many contributions, such as the multiple ways that he had influenced a high percentage of the British Invasion crew, with Clapton and Co. among the crowd of clapping fans. The Howlin' record sounded pretty good to me the first time I got to hear it, and the sliding sounded ever better the more it graced my personal airwaves. You could fill a spoon full of coffee, or you could fill a spoon full of tea, but I don't particularly care about either of those, and though a spoon full of gold would certainly have some value, a little spoon with precious love might actually be enough.

(Sunday, 2/2/20) Song 497: I Heard It Through the Grapevine by Creedence Clearwater Revival, written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong. You can find a YouTube video of it here. When the Marvin Gaye version of this tune hit the airwaves in late 1968, I liked the way it sounded, but I had to have one of my HS buddies explain the grapevine thing because I had previously never heard the phrase. By the time the CCR cut came along a couple of years later, I clearly understood the message, and the track became one of many compelling reasons to have Cosmo's Factory spinning on the turntable. Hearing it that often, I soon figured out how to play the piece on guitar, and over time, I evolved my own model, embellishing the Creedence take with some original riffs, mainly for personal amusement, since I rarely do covers when performing on stage. People say believe half of what you see, some and none of what you hear, but I would say that when you hear this recording come around, you can believe all of its 11 minutes plus - I know that I certainly do!

(Sunday, 1/26/20) Song 496: Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits, written by Mark Knopfler. You can find a YouTube video of it here. This hit started coming across the airwaves shortly after I arrived in Oakland, CA, in the fall of 1978, and I clearly remember a transistor radio playing it while I hung out with a couple of friends just outside the front door of the house where I lived. In addition, I remember hearing it coming out of a car radio on a ride I had gotten while hitching through the southern part of Sonoma County in the years before I owned a car, and at the time, I strongly agreed with the woman giving me the lift when she said that Dire Straits was one of the best-sounding ensembles of the era. On this particular cut, lead singer/songwriter Knopfler demonstrates a Dylan fascination/obsession that I had experienced myself a few years earlier, but that I had worked hard to overcome, and I felt I had gotten beyond it by the time this track came along, so I thought I might have some lessons to teach Mark, but I also understood and could identify with his Dylan fixation. Setting all that aside, MK's guitar work on this record amazed me the first time around, and it still does - he can make it cry or sing, and if you're like me, you feel all right when you hear that music ring.

(Sunday, 1/19/20) Song 495: You Keep Me Hangin' On by The Supremes, written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Not long after the Vanilla Fudge version of this tune hit the airwaves in the middle of 1968 (Song 361), I got to hear the earlier Supremes rendition, which I also thought sounded pretty good. At the time, I strongly identified with the words of the piece, seeing myself trapped by my attraction to a girl my age who seemed to relish my obsession with her, but who had no interest in any sort of romance with me. A few years later, when I began my record collection, I added a disc that included this cut, and I enjoyed hearing it regularly, though at that point I did not feel the same connection with the lyrics that I had earlier. By then, the one girl had set me free, and I had had a very short affair with someone else who, although we broke up, did wanna be just friends after she set me free, and while seeing her would have broken my heart again, I suspected that we would never actually see each other again, and I was right.

(Sunday, 1/12/20) Song 494: Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) by Harry Belafonte, which is a traditional song that has no writer credits. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I first became acquainted with this hit during my grade school era, making it one of the few tunes on this list that predates the seventh grade moment when the Beatles rocked my world. I have a vague memory of possibly singing the song in my grade school class, and I also have another vague memory of my high school choir doing a version of the piece as well. This marks Mr. Belafonte's first appearance on this list, and I had decided a few weeks ago to add this calypso classic at some point during the current stretch because of the 12/2/19 death of 95-year-old Irving Burgie, who is credited with passing this composition along to HB. Perhaps, when daylight came, Mr. Burgie wanted to go home, and then he did. In researching this blog, I learned about Belafonte's opposition to the W crew, which is something we two have in common. In my case, two of the cuts from Elder Street point the finger at that nefarious bunch - Don't Misunderestimate Me and Chainy Snake (you can watch YouTube videos of them by clicking on the titles) - and my upcoming release Elder Statesman will have a lot more.

(Sunday, 1/5/20) Song 493: Leaving California 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, I want to start off the new year by adding another JL gem to the playlist. According to my memory, it was my personal decision to leave CA in the late summer of 1988 that inspired Jeff to write this tune at the time. When I departed, the stuff I loaded into my van included a banjo that my songwriting colleague had given me which he had actually constructed. When he first handed me the gift, of course I appreciated his generosity, but at the moment, I also felt I didn't have any particular use for it. I had done a banjo section on one of my early recordings in that era, but I had no intentions of adding that sound texture to any of my other studio projects. However, just a few months ago, I had that same instrument in hand when I headed to another session, and the banjo Jeff gave me will adorn a track called New American Century Part 2 on my upcoming CD release Elder Statesman and will also enliven a cut called Curiosity which will appear on the follow-up CD Purrfection: The Cat Single, so I guess that really shows another hand. When Leaving California a little over 3 decades ago, perhaps I was wondering if the die is cast through all the dreams that didn't last and had to be replaced, but if Jeff is right when he sings it's a circle game at best, then perhaps one of these days I'll get to circle back to CA and greet him there again.

(Sunday, 12/29/19) Song 492: The Tide Is High by Blondie, written by John Holt. You can find a YouTube video of it here. When this cut came along soon after the turn of the 1980s, I had recently arrived at the point of understanding the term reggae, and I genuinely appreciated having a hit this cool solidify my grasp of that particular genre. I have relished the edgy tone of Debbie Harry's voice soaring above a moving wave of brass horn sounds that ride on a regular RnR rhythm section. Currently, with the dawn of the new year on the horizon, it really does look like The Tide Is High in certain places, such as the political realm, and I also hope to personally make the musical stream deeper in the coming months, beginning with an album-length CD called Elder Statesman and then following up with a 3-track CD called Purrfection: The Cat Single. That being the case, as the tide continues to rise, I'm holding on, and I can freely admit that I would truly like to be your number one source for new music in the months to come.

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