Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Song 492 ( Billy Joel - A New York State of Mind )

I have been thinking about choosing a Billy Joel song for some time; this one fit for today because of the usual watching of festivities going on in Times Square in New York this evening. I know it does not even compare to what Billy Joel is singing about, but for some of us it is as close to "A New York State of Mind" as we will ever get; I might have to visit there one of these days....
Anyway, I can say with certainty that I will not miss this year's passing, it has absolutely sucked! I am hoping that this new year will be better than the last one, it will be interesting to see where I am in a year from now.

Here is a fan video with the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance of the song on YouTube, there are quite a few more available as well.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Song 491 ( Miles Davis - Walkin’ )

I decided that I needed some Miles Davis on my list; this is one of my favourite songs that I have heard from his band.
This is a Hard Bop Jazz song, which is a genre of Jazz that is as much fun for me to listen to as classical; there is a lot of musical virtuosity to be had in this amazing sub-genre.

Here is part one of the studio version on YouTube.
Here is part two on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Song 490 ( Joni Mitchell - Goodbye Pork Pie Hat )

This album was the last project that Charles Mingus was part of before succumbing to Lou Gehrig's Disease; the album was titled Mingus as a tribute to him. The song is actually a cover/re-recording of the song from his album Mingus Ah Um except with lyrics written by Joni Mitchell.
On this album Joni Mitchell borrowed members from Weather Report to be her backing band. Jaco Pastorius actually played the bass parts on this album; one legendary bassist playing the parts of another legendary bassist.

Hear a live recording of the song on YouTube.
Watch the Shadows and Light live performance on YouTube.
Hear Charlie Mingus' original on YouTube.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Song 489 ( Charles Mingus - Tonight at Noon )

I have been in a Jazz mood the last little bit and finally decided to add some Mingus to my list today. This song probably would not be for the casual listener and/or someone who is not acquainted with various forms of Jazz; it is quite eclectic in the way it was arranged. I get the feel from this song of what a three ring circus might be if it was sound instead of visual. Whatever the case, the song is incredible all across the board.

Here is a fan video with the song on YouTube.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Song 488 ( Dizzy Gillespie - Salt Peanuts )

This incredible Be-Bop standard from the musical genius and legend was in need of being added to my list today. The composition is quite fast and technical, (as with most Bop), and really shows off his incredible trumpet playing. The song is from earlier on in the Be-Bop movement and is a fine example of the genre among others.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a classic live performance on YouTube.
Here is another great live performance on YouTube.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Song 487 ( Huey Lewis and the News - Back In Time )

This song has been running through my mind all morning, so I will take it as a sign that I should add it to my list. It was recorded for the soundtrack of film Back to the Future; it was played when Marty woke up back in 1985 and was also played during the closing credits.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Song 486 ( Jethro Tull - Another Christmas Song )

Merry Christmas! Since I chose their A Christmas Song yesterday, I could not go without picking the continuation today. This song is quite a bit less cynical of the season and more in "The Christmas Spirit" that most are accustomed to. It is about the togetherness that the Holiday is supposed to foster. This track was originally released in 1989 on the Rock Island album, but was also later re-recorded and released on the Jethro Tull Christmas Album. Quite a nice fitting song for today.

Hear the original studio version from Rock Island on YouTube.
Hear the 2003 version on YouTube.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Song 485 ( Jethro Tull - Christmas Song )

Merry Christmas Eve! The city was so kind as to deliver me a two foot snow berm free of charge in time for Christmas that I just got done throwing over the six foot pile of snow at the end of my driveway.
Anyway, to my song pick:
This song is a bit of a downer for Christmas, however, it is still an excellent song for the occasion. The first couple of lines are actually taken from a traditional song that is called, I believe, Once in Royal David City. After this first couple of lines the song takes a serious tone concerning those less fortunate this Holiday Season. I love the dynamics in this song in how the song builds up to the end. Of course the line: "Hey Santa, pass us that bottle will you?" is a wonderful way to end the song.
Merry Christmas!

Here is the original studio version on YouTube.
Here is the 2003 studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Song 484 ( The Kinks - Father Christmas )

This rather neat Christmas song from The Kinks is about a department store Santa Claus getting beat up by a gang of kids who demand money instead of presents. There is a hint of classism in this song in that the gang of kids is poor and are angry that Santa only gives the good presents to "the little rich boys;" even one asks for Santa to give his father a job.
The song is very Kinks sounding with a touch of punk to create the raucous feeling of the song.

Here is a music video on YouTube.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Song 483 ( Cheech & Chong - Santa Claus and His Old Lady )

Okay, I know that this is not technically a song, but it is still an awesome seasonal track. For those who do not know, this is funny alternate telling of the Santa Claus story in the way that only Cheech and Chong could.

Watch a fan video on YouTube.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Song 482 ( Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 )

Merry Christmas!
I decided that from now until Christmas Day I will choose songs based on the Holiday theme.
This is probably the most recognizable song from The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, it contains melodies from: The Carol of The Bells and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen among others. This song was also released about the same time on the Savatage album: Dead Winter Dead. From what I understand the song was inspired by a cellist that went out during the Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian war of the mid 90's and played Christmas music in the town square whilst it was being shelled in defiance of the conflict; here is a writeup.
Anyway, it is a nice song to start Christmas week; cheers!

Here is a music video on YouTube.
There are quite a few live performances available as well on YouTube.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Song 481 ( Savatage - White Witch )

I needed some Power Metal this evening after being out and about most of the day. Jon Oliva's vocals again are incredible, he added an operatic aspect to his material that most 80s metal bands could not. The song has a bit of a dated metal sound indicative of the mid '80s, but all the same still quite excellent.

Hear White Witch on YouTube.
Here is a live recording of the song on YouTube.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Song 480 ( The Who - Eminence Front )

I heard this song while on the road this morning, (finally the roads are clear enough to move about); I knew if I had not chosen this one yet that I was going to. I had not, so I am now. This is easily one of my favourite songs from The Who; I like almost every aspect of this great track.

Here is a music video on YouTube.
Here is a live performance circa '82 on YouTube.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Song 479 ( John Denver - Season Suite - Winter )

This has been one hell of a snow storm the last couple of days. Last night everyone seemed to be out with either their little subcompacts or minivans, of course sans snowtires, doing the 'Little Engine That Could' routine making the commute even worse for us with four wheel drive vehicles. Of course that was not the end of it, we received a lot of snow last night! I shoveled about a foot of snow last night out of our driveway and walkway and this morning we woke up to about two feet more; it almost did not even look as if I touched it the night before. And now all of those people doing the 'Little Engine That Could' act actually didn't and are now stuck in various snowbanks throughout the city impeding the snow plow's path. As soon as the little guy goes down for a nap I have to finish re-shoveling the driveway.

It is safe to say that Winter is here to stay and the ground is going to be obscured until April or May again... Well it seemed like an excellent time to choose this part of the Season Suite; I chose the Fall section on Song Pick #422.
This song has a Country sound to it with a touch or Ragtime; overall an upbeat song. I think that an upbeat attitude is what is needed for to get through; easier said than done.

The lyrics seem eerily in the present-tense:

It's cold and it's getting colder
It's gray and white and winter all around
And oh i must be getting older
All this snow is trying to get me down
There's a fire in the corner slowly dyin'
Sometimes i just don't feel like goin' on
And yet i know it's more than worth the waiting
For another chance to see the summer sun
Come on, shine on me!

Here is most of the Season Suite on YouTube; the Winter section begins at about the 4:30 mark.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Song 478 ( Band of Horses - St. Augustine )

I wanted to pick a Band of Horses song today and this one screamed "pick me." This song features just acoustic guitars and vocals and is very melodic. I love the deep and introspective lyrics and Ben Bridwell's vocal work; it is a joy to listen to.

Here is a fan video with the studio version on YouTube.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Song 477 ( Crosby, Stills & Nash - Marrakesh Express )

Last night this track popped into my mind while watching a program on the TV about Morocco. The harmonies along with the chord progression are the main aspects that drives the song for me. A plus for me is that it is a nice easy going song for a cold and otherwise stressful day.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a classic acoustic live performance on YouTube. This song starts at about the 3:15 mark.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Song 475-6 ( Grand Funk Railroad - I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home) )

If I had to choose a top 100 or 200 songs, this song definitely would be on that list. This is my favourite offering from Grand Funk Railroad, which is saying quite a bit because I like a lot of their music. The bass is just beyond incredible, I love the complexity combined with the groove that Mel Schacher provides in this one.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Song 474 ( Danzig - Mother )

I heard this song was playing a bit ago and I figured it would be a nice one for today. The vocals are one of the best points of this one; I have always thought that his vocals in this song sounded a bit like a Metal version of Jim Morrison. I like the combination of the metal sound with smoothness and the clarity of the song.

Here is a music video on YouTube.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Song 473 ( Heart - Black On Black II )

I have loved this song since its debut and was especially drawn to Anne Wilson's vocals. It reminds me a bit of Barracuda, however this one definitely has its own sound. The attitude in the lyrics combined with the Heart sound makes this a great track.

Hear Black on Black II on YouTube.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Song 472 ( Dobie Gray - Drift Away )

This song is another one of those rare tracks that can be played in almost any setting and be liked. It has a bit of it all: a massive amount of hooks, kick ass bass line, excellent guitar work, beautiful introspective lyrics, and mostly: excellent soulful vocals.

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


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Song 471 ( Buddy Holly & the Crickets - Well... All Right )

I realized that I had not chosen anything from the musical legend Buddy Holley as of yet; this is one of my favorites among his songs and I had to choose it. It is more of a straight-ahead smoother Rock song than a lot of his other, more audacious hits.

Hear Well... Alright on YouTube.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Song 470 ( Chuck Berry - Almost Grown )

Yesterday I was a bit under the weather and as I was trying to sleep the entire American Graffiti soundtrack was running through my mind; this was one of those songs that was playing in my mind the most. Since I have not chosen anything by this pioneer of Rock yet, it seems like a good time to do so.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Song 469 ( Quincy Jones - Soul Bossa Nova )

I have actually been thinking about choosing this song for a time now and after hearing it during a Quincy Jones interview yesterday on the television it seemed excellent for today. This song has gained immense popularity due to its use on the Austin Powers films and as a consequence it has been tied to/with the movie in most peoples' minds.
However, this song is actually quite complex, especially in the brass and rhythm sections. What really stands out for me is Rahssan Roland Kirk's amazing flute playing.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Song 468 ( Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Ohio )

Last night I was kept awake by my new neighbors playing something loud, something quite boring with an alternating low E note and a B note. I did not want make another enemy amongst my neighbors, so I let it go for now and they did not wake up the little guy.
Anyway, I could not sleep so I turned on the History Channel and they had a program about The Kent State Massacre; immediately this song began playing in my mind. Ohio was written in response to the event as a protest and even though it was banned on popular radio it still became hit. What I really like about this song is how good the music is and how it takes the message to a new level.

Hear Ohio on YouTube.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Song 467 ( Queen - You’re My Best Friend )

I heard this song today on the radio and since it is a late pick and I like the song I shall choose it. This song was written by bassist John Deacon as a love ballad to his wife. What makes this one stand out from most other Queen songs is John Deacon's use of the electric piano, which I like quite a bit. It is such a nice song for my lazy Sunday.

Hear You're My Best Friend on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Song 466 ( Jaco Pastorius - Portrait Of Tracy )

This might not be a song that most unrefined listeners would like, however, the more discerning listeners do usually like it and it is quite a bit of fun to listen to and play if you are a bassist. The song contains only Jaco and his bass; he uses a lot of harmonics mixed with regular bass notes in this one to get the sound.

Here is the album version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance with Weather Report on YouTube.


Friday, December 05, 2008

Song 465 ( Nightwish - I Wish I Had An Angel )

I have been a bit in a depressive mood the last few days, (Depression=The Common Cold in Psychology), and I needed some metal to remedy this to a point.
Anyway, one of the aspects that Nightwish is known for that they really show off in this song is their amazing vocals. Both Tarja Turunen and Marco Hietala are amazing sharing lead and harmonizing. While the song is quite sad in subject matter, the music is incredibly energetic and quite fun to listen to.

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


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Song 464 ( The Firm - Radioactive )

I heard this song on the radio the other day and it has been playing in my mind off and on since, so I figured that I should choose it. I have always liked this song from this short-lived supergroup from the '80s quite a bit. A lot of times with supergroups the egos outpace the creativity and the music ends up mediocre, however that was not really the case here. Not taking away from the other great musicians here, but you could probably plug Paul Rodgers into almost any band and it would be a hit.

Here is a fan video with the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.
Here is a re-mix of the song on YouTube.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Song 463 ( Petula Clark - Don’t Sleep in the Subway )

Yesterday, for some reason, some of her songs were running through my mind; this was one of the more prominent ones. For a 60s pop song it is quite good musically and, of course, Petula Clark's vocal work is incredible. This song has a Motown R&B feel to it; this is mostly due to the upbeat drumming and the prominent bass. I love the way the chorus contrasts with the verses, but is still quite smooth in transition.

Hear Don't Sleep in the Subway on YouTube.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Song 462 ( Steely Dan - FM (No Static At All) )

I was in need of some Steely Dan this morning, the Jazz/Rock styling fits my mood and the foggy weather we're having today. FM has always been one that I have liked ever since I found it on one of my Dad's records a long time ago. I like how they can keep both the musician and the casual listener entertained by keeping the song "grooving" and mellow while still being technical.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.


Monday, December 01, 2008

Song 460-1 ( Yes - Your Move / All Good People )

I have been meaning to choose this medley for the last little bit and today seemed like an excellent day for doing so. Both of these songs are titled under I've Seen All Good People on the album, however they are two separate songs that are always played together. This is just like Long Distance Runaround and The Fish. I have often referred to the first one as "the chess song" because of the references to the game in the lyrics.
In my opinion, both of the songs make up for what is missing in the other. The first one is mellower and more intricate lyrically with amazing vocal harmonies, while the second one has the harder driving sound and the mind blowing musicianship. One of my favorite aspects of the song is the fadeout, where with each time the line is sung dropping a step each time.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.