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, 2/25/24) Song 708: Gimme All Your Lovin' by ZZ Top, written by Billy Gibbons. You can find an amusing YouTube video of it here. Last week's thought was Let's Work Together and the week before was the moment for All My Loving, so this week seems like the right time to Gimme All Your Lovin'. By the time such a rocking plea got a lot of listeners going along with that request in early 1983, I had resided for about a year and a half in a really pleasant home in Berkeley, CA, that sat near the pizza joint where the singer/songwriter circle that I had joined a few years earlier would regularly gather and share compositions. I had become a fan of the lurching Texas trio soon after they appeared near the beginning of the 1970s, and had actually attended a concert they did in Chicago in early 1977, so it didn't take long for them to get me singing along with their 1983 bluesy call. I soon understood that when someone has got to move it up that they should work it like a screwball would.
(Sunday, 2/18/24) Song 707: Let's Work Together by Canned Heat, written by Wilbert Harrison. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Shortly before my sophomore college year began in September of 1970, this bluesy anthem started getting everyone to sing along, and it conveyed a message that most of my classmates, and probably the majority of university scholars around the country, had come to understand quite clearly in the spring of that year. Soon after the 5/4/70 event, I joined demonstrations at N.U. which echoed gatherings across the nation that expressed our anger at the killing of four Kent State pupils, and while our voices speaking out didn't end the Vietnam War, as far as I know, no other student protesters in the U.S. got shot down during the following years as opposition to the Southeast Asia conflict continued to swell. Many of us would walk hand in hand when we had a good place to stand to voice our disapproval of that mass murder.
(Sunday, 2/11/24) Song 706: All My Loving by The Beatles, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Sixty years ago, fairly soon after I got to my junior high school on the morning of 2/10, I started hearing my classmates use a word that I thought referred to a group of insects, but I couldn't imagine why such conversations would happen in the middle of a cold upstate NY winter. Since I had no clue about the big story I had missed, I also didn't know what question to ask, but after a couple of days I finally did pose a question to my neighbor playmate. He chuckled to learn that his smart buddy didn't know the biggest news of the previous week. Finding out about what my family and I had missed on Sunday night, we all planned to watch the 2/16 Ed Sullivan Show, and when we did so, although the rest of our circle had no interest in what they heard and saw, my younger brother and I got roped in, and we insisted on viewing the entire program, contrary to other family members who wanted to shut off the TV. Watching them perform She Loves You, (Song 653), the Fab Four rocked my world. I thought their next tune sounded really cool, and then they got to this one, which felt even better. Witnessing that performance sparked a whole new view of the musical world for me, and gave me hope that my dreams will come true.
(Sunday, 2/4/24) Song 705: Ferry Cross the Mersey by Gerry and the Pacemakers, written by Gerry Marsden. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Not long after a certain Fab Four rocked my world six decades ago, I started paying a lot more attention to the radio than I ever had before, and particularly riding along with a whole bunch of British Invader musical rambles. This lift arrived about a year later, and became yet one more anthem from the English noisemakers that moved me in a very rocking way. I had probably not known much about the United Kingdom's geography previously, but by the time this ride came along the airwaves, I had learned about the stream that the ferry crossed and its proximity to an urban area that had achieved a lot more public recognition, thanks to the quartet who I plan to feature next week. While Life goes on day after day and People they rush everywhere, I personally have not taken a Ferry Cross the Mersey, and I don't expect to do so any time soon, but maybe it could happen someday.
(Sunday, 1/28/24) Song 704: Cat's in the Cradle by Harry Chapin, written by Harry Chapin and Sandra Chapin. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Around the time that a lot of listeners got purrty impressed by this furry ballad, I managed to luckily find an affordable room in an apartment on the south end of Evanston. My wife and I had returned to the area in July as our romance came to an unfortunate climax, mainly due to a misunderstanding on my side that would haunt me for many years to come. Although I don't remember the moment when I first caught HC's meow melody, during that stretch I very soon had the chorus lines completely in hand and on my mind. Growing up, I had often heard my folks say, "There aren't enough hours in the day." Even back then, most working class types understood that message, which resonates much stronger in the present day. While we can have numerous differences, the one thing so many of us have in common is that we have got a lot to do. All too often, we can't seem to find the time to get together and have a good time then.
(Sunday, 1/21/24) Song 703: In So Deep by Wendy Beckerman, 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 captivating dive comes from another one of my Fast Folk colleagues. She performed the tune at the 1991 FF show at The Bottom Line, and that's the source for the recording on the YT video. I rarely went to those shows, which the group regularly did once a year, so I probably didn't hear it then, but I did hear her do it at one of our other gatherings - possibly I might have witnessed her introduce the piece to the group at Jack Hardy's apartment where, during a weekly meeting, we would all share our shiny new ramblings with each other. Given the romantic attachment that Ms. B had with a prominent member of the circle, I can understand how she got in so deep she didn't know how to get out, even by using a broom that she had in hand to sweep the weekly dusting of doubt.
(Sunday, 1/14/24) Song 702: Shed a Little Light by James Taylor, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of it here. The fellow who inspired this JT 1993 anthem got shot and killed on April 4 of my junior HS year, and similar to the official story of the JFK assassination that had happened a few years earlier, and the authorized statements about the RFK assassination that occurred a couple of months later, the approved narrative about 4/4/68 did not sound right to me. A year and a half down the road, when I resided in the Chicago area as a university student, the Fred Hampton murder happened, and soon enough, I found out from dependable sources about how the FBI got local law enforcement to execute him, so those facts further validated my conclusions about the butchery of MLK, Jr. The more I've learned about him, the greater my respect has grown, and when one of my favorite singer/songwriter stars did a melodic tribute to him in the late summer of 1993, I thought he said some things really well. As a holiday arrives tomorrow that honors Mr. King, we know we Can't get no light from the dollar bill or any real light from a TV screen, but the King guy DID shed a little light and help us to recognize that there are ties between us - all men and women living on earth.
(Sunday, 1/7/24) Song 701: Sometimes in Winter by Blood, Sweat & Tears, written by Steve Katz. You can find a YouTube video of it here. This tune, and the album that it resides on, appeared shortly before the Christmas of my HS senior year, and a couple of the record's other tracks - most notably Spinning Wheel - got a lot of attention in the following months of 1969. While residing with my folks and brothers, I could not afford to buy an LP, even if my parents had given me permission to do so, which they probably would not have done for any of the devil's music which they despised, so I might not have heard this cool anthem at that time. Living in Bobb Hall at N.U. the following year, I did get to hear a lot more of the music I liked, thanks to some fellow students who had impressive disc collections, so Sometimes in that winter, hearing about frigidity repeatedly got me moving along with this beat. I had decided during that era to spend whatever little amount I could afford to mainly build my own stock of 33s and bypass live shows, but in my college sophomore year I made an exception to the rule and bought a ticket for a BS&T concert - one of very few that I experienced. These days, Sometimes in winter I gaze into the streets and walk through snow, but thankfully, the chilly Northeast temperatures in my region rarely, if ever, have the kind of negative numbers that the frigid Windy City daily highs and lows often do in a new year's first few months.
(Sunday, 12/31/23) Song 700: Joy to the World by Three Dog Night, written by Hoyt Axton. You can find a YouTube video of it here. About halfway through my college sophomore year at N.U., in the middle of the frigid Windy City winter months, a certain canine evening trio got a lot of notice with a tune that might have originally seemed like a belated holiday anthem. While I didn't listen to the radio as much at that point as I had in my HS years, I did still give it some attention, and I liked hearing this expression of happiness. During that second month of 1971, I took a train trip downstate to visit a just friends female correspondent. As we strolled around her university campus, surprisingly, at some point our two lips touched, and that sure felt like Joy to the World. In addition, it brought Joy to. . . me, particularly since that was her name. The sudden romance turned me into a rainbow rider, but around six weeks later things took another turn, and after that, Joy would no longer enlighten the world where I took a spin. Shortly after the affair ended, I wrote a song about it, adding a d to her name, and I included Jody on my 1985 cassette Going My Way, which I released a CD version of in February of 2023. You can see and hear a YouTube lyric video of that song by clicking on the title.
(Sunday, 12/24/23) Song 699: Do You Hear What I Hear? by Jim Nabors, written by Gloria Shayne and Noel Regney. You can find a YouTube video of it here. A few years after the group who did last week's song got a lot of folks to start applauding a young male percussionist in late November, those singers also got people to begin asking a particular simple question around then as well. As the 1960s unfolded, I regularly watched the Andy Griffith Show, which at a certain point introduced its audience to a character named Gomer Pyle. The actor who portrayed that fellow soon got a lot of notice, and five years after the Harry Simone Chorale had sold a quarter-million copies of their 45 of this song, which had originally gotten crafted as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Jim Nabors put out his own rendition of the tune, and I thought it sounded good. It was a song, high above the trees with a voice as big as the sea - do you hear what I heard? The message applies to today as much as it did six decades ago - Pray for peace, people everywhere!
(Sunday, 12/17/23) Song 698: Little Drummer Boy by Harry Simone Chorale, written by Harry Simeone, Katherine Kennicott Davis and Henry Onorati. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I started hearing this Yuletide carol regularly around this time of year, back during my single-digit stretch in the late 1950s. While I don't recall seeing the 1959 segment from the Ed Sullivan Show that appears in the YouTube video, I may very well have done so because during that era, the family and I usually watched that show on Sunday nights. Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, as December unfolded, I would join friends and schoolmates to mouth favorite noel anthems, and this one became part of the collection. A few months before that 1959 holiday season, I had become a little violin boy, and I could enjoy fiddling Christmas melodies, but because I was a poor boy too, I also had no gift to bring that would have been fit to give the King. However, I would have happily played my best for Him, even though I could have never made any pa rum pum pum pum sounds with my strings.
(Sunday, 12/10/23) Song 697: Sweet City Woman by The Stampeders, written by Rich Dodson. You can find a cool YouTube video of it here. As the warmer weather months arrived in the course of my sophomore college year in May of 1971, so did an enjoyable romantic anthem about a sugary urban dame. Even though I spent my school year time living in the city, I still considered myself a country guy. During the previous summer, I had given up on the possibility of a romance with a gal from my semirural hometown, and then, between February and April I had a brief fling with a young female who I had formerly been just friends with, and who I would again become just friends with. While I really liked The Stampeders piece, and I enjoyed singing along with the chorus, I expected at the time that I would eventually hook up with a rural young lady. I did appreciate getting to see lots of attractive metropolitan chicks, on campus and nearby, but I did not expect then that when I returned to the Chicago area at the end of the summer that I would meet and soon start embracing a Sweet City Woman. She had a pretty face that would shine her light on the city nights, and before long, I knew for certain that she had a way to make me feel shiny and new.
(Sunday, 12/3/23) Song 696: Pick-Pocket Santa by Jeff Tareila, written by Jeff Tareila and Christian Bauman. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Seven weeks after my previous personal friend song post, this week's humorous spin comes from one of my closest Fast Folk buddies, and surprisingly, it marks his first appearance in this collection - I thought I had included one of his tunes earlier and just found out that I didn't do that. With the Claus guy due to arrive 3 weeks from tonight, this seems like the right moment to share JT's caution about a certain fancy-dressed thief. I had connected with the FF circle not long after moving to Brooklyn in September of 1988, and I quickly became close friends with Jeff, so when this funny piece graced FF Volume 6 Number 8 in December of 1992, it soon got me chuckling. Having resided for a decade in CA before I got to Brooklyn, I understood that California smells like popcorn and that New York smells like a beer. In different places where I've lived, I've also seen the lights of Christmas time upon my neighbor's lawn, but no matter where I've been, Santa NEVER bumped into me on the corner.
(Sunday, 11/26/23) Song 695: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John, written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. You can find a YouTube video of it here. During my younger years in the 1950s and 1960s, my family and I every year got to see the famous film The Wizard of Oz on TV, I think around this time in the autumn. As soon as we learned the date that it would appear, we all made plans to watch it. When Elton started catching people's ears with this engaging saunter back in the spring of 1973, those of us who had regularly seen Judy Garland strolling along with a scarecrow, a tin man and a cowardly lion as they tried to get to the Emerald City understood the suggestive sarcastic message conveyed by the hit's lyrics. Throughout that year, I lived with my wife in an apartment in southern Evanston, so no one could plant me in a penthouse at the time, and I had already decided that my future also had to lie beyond the yellow brick road.