Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Song 244 (Lynyrd Skynyrd--"The Ballad of Curtis Loew")

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I like songs that have a story and a moral behind the story; this is one of those songs. It is probably my second favourite song from Lynyrd Skynyrd; I actually had to buy "Second Helping" twice because the first record that I bought had a horrid skip in this song. I really did not mind buying it again because the store that I bought it from always gave me excellent deals and it ended up only costing me two dollars.
The song itself is about how prejudice can blind people to greatness of someone. In the story, a boy found a hero in a town drunk, Curtis Loew, who was an incredible Dobro player that played the blues. The boy would gather soda bottles and cash them in and give drinking money to Curtis Loew so he would play his Dobro for him. The saddest part of the song is that when Curtis Loew died no one knew of his greatness except the boy in the story and he is wishing that everyone would have seen Curtis for his greatness as a musician and not a worthless drunk. I have always wondered if this song was a biography or if it is fiction? It goes into a lot of detail for it not to have some truth to it.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Song 243 (The Doors--"Riders on the Storm")



I decided today that I needed to choose something by The Doors; this song is one of my favorites. From what I understand, this was the last released song that Jim Morrison recorded before his death. The song's origin as to where the inspiration came from is mostly credited to the song/story "Ghost Riders in the Sky," however there is a lot of other rumored sources of inspiration as well. It's an excellent song to listen to in any mood; the deep lyrics and Jim Morrison's vocals along with the instrumentals make this song incredible.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Song 242 (Charlie Parker--"Blues for Alice")



I have no special reason in picking this song today other than I like it; this is one of the legendary master saxophonist Charlie Parker's best songs in my opinion. I like every aspect of this song; it is a wonderful piece of music to listen to.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Song 241 (Flatt & Scruggs--"Foggy Mountain Breakdown")



Last night I came across a program on public television about a Bluegrass festival in San Francisco. The first artist on the show was Earl Scruggs and his performance of this song was shown. A lot of the others on the show, including such artists as Béla Fleck, were excellent and were very much worth staying up late to watch it.
The song can be heard on the soundtrack to the movie "Bonnie and Clyde;" it has been used on a lot of other places as well. It is considered to be one of the more difficult song to play on the banjo. Earl Scruggs is considered by all to be the master of the 5-string banjo and he shows it in spades on this one.

Here is a studio recording on YouTube.
Here is a television performance on YouTube.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Song 240 (Ludwig van Beethoven--"Fur Elise-WoO59")



I realized that I had not chosen any song written by Beethoven yet, and that needed to be taken care of. Anyway, Beethoven is one of my favourite composers/musicians of all time. One of my favorite aspects about him was how he broke the "absolutes" of the Classical Period and helped usher in the Romantic Period. This song is an excellent piece of chamber music that is still in the style of the Classical Period.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.
Here is another recording of the song performed by Ivo Pogorelich on YouTube.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Song 239 (Raymond Scott--"Powerhouse")



Most people would instantly recognize this song if they ever watched Warner Brothers' Merry Melodies cartoons; this song was usually played when machinery was running.
Raymond Scott is known as "the man who made cartoons swing;" although he never wrote a music for a cartoon. He sold publishing rights to Warner Brothers and they used his music in their cartoons. The music is really good, well written Jazz music and the musicianship is, as with most Jazz, is incredible.

Here is a performance of the song on YouTube.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Song 238 (Berlin--"The Metro")



This is another song that has been going through my mind off and on for the last couple of days and I thought that it would make a good pick for today. This has to be one of "hookier" songs in existence especially in the chorus and with the transitions.

Here is a studio recording on YouTube.
Here is the music video on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Song 237 (Emerson, Lake & Palmer--"From The Beginning")

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This is another band that I have never gotten heavily into, but I still love what I hear from them. They are Progressive Rock at its best: very technical and full of bombast. One of a few bands that can use the often reviled synthesizer and mix it with acoustic music and make it work.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Song 236 (The Pretenders--"Back on the Chain Gang")

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I had another song in mind to pick today, however while on the road I was dodging commercials on the different radio stations and I happened upon this song. It just seemed to fit my mood perfectly, so I decided to pick it instead. While the lyrics and subject matter of the song are a bit down, the music is very upbeat. I love the Latin feel that is used in this song, it gives an excellent, distinctive quality to the song. Of course the main guitar lick is probably what makes it most memorable.

Here is a studio recording on YouTube.
Here is the music video clip on YouTube.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Song 235 (Concrete Blonde--"Joey")



Last night this song came on my iPod and could not remember if I has chosen it yet. I have come to really enjoy the lower-register vocals that Johnette Napolitano uses; she has an excellent voice. With a lot of the pop music that features screechy female vocals coming out it is nice to hear some women sing in with powerful vocals in a lower register. Another aspect of this song that is just incredible is the crisp sound of the music; the guitar solo really show this off.

Here is the music video on YouTube.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Song 234 (Nirvana--"Lithium")



For some reason I have been thinking about this song a lot today; I cannot figure why because I have not heard it in a while. I guess that it was time to choose it, plus it is one of my favourite songs from the band. I have always wished to play this song with the bands that I have played in, however no one else really liked the idea.

Here is the music video on YouTube.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Song 233 (Steely Dan--"Rikki Don’t Lose That Number")



This is one of my favourites from Steely Dan. I have been hearing the song a lot lately; I figured that picking it today would be a good idea. I have actually liked this band ever since I can remember, however more recently I have to be in a specific mood to listen to them.
One of the main problems is that I hate how they sound on CD or mp3; in my opinion it destroys their sound; they sound way too tinny and contemporary. I absolutely love hearing them on record or tape, it just gives out the full sound that is required to appreciate them fully; some would probably argue the other way. However, if you hear a good vinyl recording of their music, you would have to agree. There are other bands that I listen to sound excellent on CD and mp3 for me, however, there is something amiss on the CD version of Steely Dan's music that I do not like.

Here is a studio recording on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Song 232 (Kenny Rogers & The First Edition--"Just Dropped in (To See What Condition My Condition Was In.")



This song came into my head today after not hearing it for a while, so I figured that it was time to choose it. The lyrics of the song are quite weird and are related to an LSD trip; however, at the same time those lyrics are the main draw of the song.

Here is a studio recording on YouTube.
Here is a television performance on YouTube.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Song 231 (The Rolling Stones--"Street Fighting Man")












I had noticed that the 'Stones had not yet been represented on my blog. I have been thinking about picking this song for a while now and I guess that today I will.
This is one of the Rolling Stones' protest songs and it has a definite violent edge to it. It is very much a product of the turmoil of the late '60s, although the message is still prevalent today. Mostly what I like about this song the rhythm section of the song; both the drums and bass are the main driving force. Mick Jagger's vocal along with the guitar and sitar round out the song quite well.

Here is a video with a studio recording on YouTube.
Here is a live performance from '73 on YouTube.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Song 230 (Alice Cooper--"Poison")



Poison is an excellent song and one of my favourites from Alice Cooper. This is one of those songs where everything in the song just seems to click perfectly with each other. In a way it is a love song about when you want someone or something so bad, but you know that the consequences will be bad.
In a few songs there are lines that I absolutely love; one example is from The Who's Behind Blue Eyes: "If I swallow anything evil, put your finger down my throat." This song has one of the better ones that I have ever heard: "I want to hurt you just to hear you screaming my name."

Here is a studio recording of the song on YouTube.
Here is the music video on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Song 229 (Cheap Trick--"Mighty Wings")



The other day the movie Top Gun was on TV, and it got me remembering the music from the soundtrack that my wife really likes. A lot of the music on the album is mid '80s mainstream rock; this song would fit into that category pretty well. Anyway, this is one of the better songs from the film that I like.
I remember when my wife and I were dating she had this album and it was played quite a bit at the time. After hearing this song for a while, I started to make up a very dirty parody to it and my wife quit playing the song until I promised not to sing my version along with it.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Song 228 (The Tornadoes--"Telstar")



This song was running through my mind this morning, so I decided to pick it. Telstar was named after the satellite of the same name that was launched into orbit shortly beforehand. It's mostly know for its unconventional "Spacey," sci-fi sounds; I just love the sound of the keyboard. From what I've read, the sound of the rocket launch in the song was actually the sound of a toilet flushing. Knowing about some of the odd recording techniques employed my Joe Meek, (the writer and producer of this and many other songs), it does not surprise me.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Song 227 (Duke Ellington (Earle Hagen) --"Harlem Nocturne")

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Most would remember this as the theme for Mickey Spillane's "Mike Hammer," however, the song existed before the series. It was originally written by Earle Hagen and is a Big Band Jazz standard. The song actually got a lot of notoriety when it was covered by the Viscounts, which can be found here on YouTube; they took it away from the Big Band Jazz sound and gave it more of a Surf Rock feel. One of the most interesting aspects of this song musically is that they use a whole tone scale in places within the song.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Song 226 (Garbage--"Push It")



This is another song I discovered from an animé music video, which I believe was paired with Battle Angel and Kite. The dynamics in this song are incredible; I love how they contrast a lot of the sounds against each other, which leads to many levels of sound. My favorite part of the song is the way that the verses build into the chorus and back down; it's really a kick ass song in every aspect. I guess that I can say that I have some Garbage in my blog now.

Here is the music video on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Song 225 (Boz Scaggs--"Lido Shuffle")



I have been hearing this song a lot lately on the radio and on other media. I remember Boz Scaggs mostly from his work as a member of the Steve Miller Band; if I remember correctly he appeared on the earlier albums. This song has a rock/blues/Jazz sound that is somewhat similar to the Steve Miller sound, however his music has a bigger sound to it; the horns are a nice touch as well.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.
Here is a music video on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Song 224 (Smokey Robinson and the Miracles—“Tears of a Clown”)



I heard this song on the radio the other day and I had realized that I had not picked this amazing track yet. It is easily one of my top 100 favourite songs, so it would make sense that it would end up here on my blog. Other than the amazing musicianship by The Funk Brothers that came with every Motown song, I really like Smokey’s vocals a lot; I have always been a big Smokey Robinson fan. Another aspect that I like is the subject matter of the song: putting a happy facade on even when you are being torn apart inside. Like a clown performing and having to hide his true emotions; I love that they reference the opera Pagliacci (which has a similar story line), in the lyrics of the song.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.
Here is a television performance on YouTube.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Song 223 (Blind Melon--"No Rain")



I cannot remember when I first heard this song, (it was played a lot though), but I have always liked it. My favorite parts of this song are all of the different layers of music and the vocals. Oddly enough, for an "Alternative" band from the early ’90s, there is a lot going on in this song. It was too bad that their lead singer, Shannon Hoon, killed himself; he had a lot of potential. From what I have heard, however, the band has continued on to some success.

Here is a recording of the song with lyrics on YouTube.
Here is the music video on YouTube.
Here is a live "unplugged" performance on YouTube.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Song 222 (Duran Duran--"Ordinary World")



This is one of the bands that got me back into ’80s electronic pop; this song, however, is not quite of that genre. I absolutely love the deep, introspective lyrics, and of course the guitar rounds out the song most excellently.

Here is the music video on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.
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Monday, April 07, 2008

Song 221 (David Bowie--"Ziggy Stardust")



Last night the band I'm in played at Songfight Live in Spokane; this song was one of our last ones in the setlist. I really like David Bowie and this song from his pen, so I thought that this would be an excellent pick.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.
Here is a classic live performance on YouTube.
Here is a more recent performance from the Jonathan Ross Show on YouTube.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Song 220 (Elton John--"Philadelphia Freedom")



This is one of those songs that when they come up on my playlist I have to turn it up. It's very much a thumping, and danceable rock song that I really like. The song is arranged quite well and Elton John’s vocals round it out excellently.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Song 219 (Falco--"Der Kommissar")



I really do not know why I like this song, but I do; it is probably because I grew up hearing songs with a similar sound. Most people here in America know the After the Fire version of the song, however I like the Falco version slightly better because the lyrics flow more smoothly in their original German. Funny enough the name of the album which the song was released, Einzelhaft, is roughly translated as "solitary confinement," and Der Kommisar can be translated as "The Commissioner" or "Police Officer."
He did not have many other hits here in the U.S.A., however other songs of his that became hits are "Rock me Amadeus" (probably his best known hit) and "Vienna Calling."

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.
Here is the music video on YouTube.
Here is a television performance on YouTube.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Song 218 (The Bee Gees--"New York Mining Disaster 1941")

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This is one of those songs that I have not heard in a while, but for some reason today I was thinking of it so I decided to pick it. I have always liked this song and I really like the vocal harmonies they use. Anyway, this was one of the Bee Gees first big hits in the U.S. and the sound is very different from what many people would think of when they think of the Bee Gees. The sound is somewhat reminiscent of the Beatles and actually from what I understand a lot people thought it was the Beatles playing on this song under a pseudonym. From what I understand, the song itself was inspired by a mining disaster in Aberfan, Wales in ’66.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.
Here is a live performance circa '75 on YouTube.
Here is a more recent live performance on YouTube.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Song 217 (INXS--"Disappear")

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This is one of those songs that I came to like the instant I first heard it. I like how they play with the dynamics in this song; the verses and the chorus almost seem like two separate songs at times. The vocals in this song are excellent as well as the main subject of the song about being so into someone that nothing else exists.

Watch the music video on YouTube.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Song 216 (Lita Ford feat. Ozzy Osbourne--"Close My Eyes Forever")



Last night while coming home from the most boring class I have had in a while, (implementation of policy is a subject that is quite dull), this song came on the radio. I had not heard it in some while and I very much enjoyed listening to it, so today I decided to choose it. More than anything else the deep and powerful lyrics and the vocals are far and gone the best part of this song, however the musicianship in the song is quite good as well.

Here is the music video on YouTube.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Song 215 (The Who--"Won’t Get Fooled Again")



Happy April Fools' Day! I needed a fitting song to pick today; there were a lot to choose from. I decided to pick this one because I love it and it has a fitting title. I'm sure that some people today will be thinking "I won’t get fooled again" after the first prank is pulled.
I really like the use of the synthesizers in this one to give the song its distinct sound. Every member in this band really makes the song the amazing anthem that it is.
Originally this song was supposed to be part of Pete Townshend’s Lifehouse rock opera that has never come to fruition; although a few attempts have been made. From what I understand the song is about a revolution that changes nothing and the main character hopes that another revolution does not come to fool the people as well; the song has actually been used for many anti-war movements in the past.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.
Here is a classic live performance on YouTube.
Here is the Concert for New York City performance on YouTube.

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