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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, 2/17/19) Song 447: Busted by Johnny Cash, written by Harlan Howard. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I don't recall whether I learned this song from my Ohio relatives' vast country music collection, or if I got to know it in the early 1970s when I could pursue my own musical interests more extensively, but by my early twenties it had become one of my JC favorites. Having grown up in a struggling working-class household, I understood the message all too well, though my family did not farm, and we fortunately never found ourselves in circumstances as desperate as those outlined by the track's lyrics. Ironically, this tune appeared during an era of overall economic prosperity, and considering how much tougher the U.S. economy has become for a large percentage of the population, far too many people now have A big stack of bills Getting bigger each day, and some really have to beg like a dog for a bone, but maybe, if enough can put together how they got Busted, and trickled on, the story might get turned around. (Hint: see Song 444, which is Workers by Joe Canzano)

(Sunday, 2/10/19) Song 446: Good Lovin' by the Young Rascals, written by Rudy Clark and Arthur Resnick. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I heard this hit a bunch of times from transistor radios in various locations during the summer of 1966, including a few outdoor recreational gatherings, and it magically gave those moments a deeper resonance. Not knowing the name of the 45, I originally thought from hearing it that it went by the title True Love. Soon enough, however, that confusion got cleared up, and at some point in that era I got to hear a Tommy James and the Shondells version of the song which sounded pretty good, but it didn't have the breathtaking reverberations of the YR model. I learned from those Rascals that whenever I got the fever, they, and/or other rockers, might very well know the cure. And why not? Love, love (Good love) Love, love, love, love, love - while it won't remedy every ailment, it certainly never hurts to have more of it.

(Sunday, 2/3/19) Song 445: Good Lovin' Gone Bad by Bad Company, written by Mick Ralphs. You can find a YouTube video of it here. In the middle of the 1970s, Bad Company stood out as one truly rocking combo surrounded by a sea of bland commerciality, and I remember one day in Evanston when my friend Hank Neuberger made that point while putting the Straight Shooter LP onto his turntable. This cut opens that album with a bang, and while the words mourn a romantic fling that has turned sour, the record itself never falters or loses momentum - in fact, well over 4 decades later, it still sounds fresh and fitting. For the writer, love may have gone bad, but the recording that memorialized his sad affair still sounds very good.

(Sunday, 1/27/19) Song 444: Workers by Joe Canzano, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Seven weeks after my previous personal friend song post, and one week after posting the song Hey Joe, this week I want to hail my good friend Joe Canzano. He already had a couple of worthy CDs in his catalog, but when he released Big Mouth (as Happy Joe) back in 2010, it quickly became my favorite of his albums. It soon found a place on my iPod, as well as my CD player, and I have listened to it quite regularly over most of the last decade. This track opens the record with a forceful call to Workers to wake up, understand how the system is screwing them over, and then to unite together to make a better world. And it's all true, that guy you're voting for is helping to keep you down there on the floor - this reminds me of a certain current president, who conned a lot of the working class into believing that he would improve their lives, though plenty of them have already seen how things have continued to get worse for them. Of course, we've all seen this movie far too many times over the past few decades, so the latest rerun is not so unusual. It's all about the money, and the money is not your friend, but if the Workers of the world unite and join the fight, together, we could all make this ugly world go away, and I don't think I could have said it better than Joe did.

(Sunday, 1/20/19) Song 443: Hey Joe by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, written by Billy Roberts. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I began adding Hendrix LPs to my collection shortly after he died, and his debut album soon became a major favorite. I quickly figured out how to play this tune, though I never even tried to deduce the lead solo, which, as on just about every Jimi recording, is the most compelling sequence of the track, and one that I've often heard in the back of my mind. At a social gathering in the early 1970s, I played and sang this piece, eliciting negative comments from a Jesus-freak chum who didn't like the violent message in the lyrics. Obviously, he hadn't heard the JH version, or any other model, but to me, the murder story in the words always sounded like an old Hollywood movie that you don't take seriously. I would not write a composition of this kind, or even perform one, but I didn't give it much thought when hanging out with friends - I was just playing a Hendrix classic that they would probably recognize, and maybe sing along on. Near the end of this cut, Jimi says Good-bye, everybody, and by the time I first came around to it, he had already left the stage for good, but he had also left behind some truly captivating music that can still spark up our lives 5 decades later.

(Sunday, 1/13/19) Song 442: Blood and Fire by the Indigo Girls, written by Amy Ray. You can find a YouTube video of it here. The Indigo Girls made waves across the folk circles that I frequented in the early 1990s, and their eponymous major-label debut LP (which was actually their second studio album) became a regular spinner on my turntable as soon as I acquired it, though I also learned, from trying to introduce the record to a different bunch of friends in that era, that some of my other pals did not share my enthusiasm for the duo. However, that cool response (which might have had judgmental anti-gay undertones) could not douse the flame that the pair had lit in my own soul, and I sympathized with singer Amy's desire to find someone who can take as much as she could give. Recalling the points in my past where I felt intense, . . . in need, . . . in pain, and . . . in love, I would hope that when she truly had Nothing left to hold, she made it back to her lover's fold.

(Sunday, 1/6/19) Song 441: Bird Song by Jerry Garcia, written by Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia. You can find a YouTube video of it here which features some amusing footage of bird behavior that might trigger a smile or two. In the fall of 1969, I began hearing a lot of RnR that I had missed, thanks to Hank Neuberger, who lived in the dorm room across the hall from mine and who had both a state-of-the-art stereo and an amazingly-extensive LP collection. Greatly expanding my regard for artists like The Rolling Stones, he also introduced me to groups like The Grateful Dead who didn't impress me that much initially. However, by the time Garcia's first solo album appeared a couple of years later, I had developed a much greater appreciation for Jerry's band, and his eponymous release vastly amplified that admiration, particularly after I added it to my stack. When I lived in Berkeley, CA, in the 1980s, I had a musical housemate who included this piece in his performing repertoire, and I respected him for doing so. Of course, anyone who sings a tune so sweet is passin' by, so If you hear that same sweet song again, will you know why? Sadly, Jerry died well over two decades ago, but he left behind a treasure trove of lively recordings, some of which might make us cry in the dark, while others might make us Laugh in the sunshine, and the totality of his creative work can lift our spirits to help us fly through the night.

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