Another (Belated) Mixtape Monday: 5/20 Blues and a Funky Gritty Case of the Mondays

Smell that, smells like freedom, that’s right I’m finally free from the yoke of college (for the summer at least) so thanks y’all for the patience on this mixtape but the finals were calling and I couldn’t have them leave a message.  I’m excited for this one to drop ladies and gentleman, high hitting, in the pocket funky grooves and outstanding performances, new and old and definitely fresh.

Continue reading Another (Belated) Mixtape Monday: 5/20 Blues and a Funky Gritty Case of the Mondays

Mixtape Monday: Charlemagne and the Silver Bells of Harlem

Listen in this order

You Got the Silver- Susan Tedeschi

A voice of pain that soothes, a song that is one of the sweetest odes to a lover, written by Keith Richards no less.

Guitar- Cake

An upbeat song about destroying a guitar/relationship, pulled off in Cake’s typical catchy style.

Seven Years- The Impressions

The song, the harmonies, the lyrics, are so uplifting and inspiring, this was Curtis Mayfield’s gift and its over far too soon.

Peace Like A River (Paul Simon Cover)- Spoon

The original was perfect, and yet Spoon still breathes new life into it, the bass plays the melody now, the guitar and piano the rhythm, and Britt Daniel brings along his cynical touch to the lyrics.

Jesus, Etc.- Wilco

Jesus, don’t cry
You can rely on me, honey
You can combine anything you want
I’ll be around
You were right about the stars
Each one is a setting sun

Tall buildings shake
Voices escape singing sad sad songs
tuned to chords
Strung down your cheeks
Bitter melodies turning your orbit around

The lyrics say it better than I ever could

How Long Do I Have To Wait For You- Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

The lyrics cry longing, the instruments dance and the band grooves pay attention to that little guitar lick (you’ll see what I mean) Sharon Jones’s performance, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call her the female James Brown, and sax solo is worth the download alone.

When I Get Home- The Beatles

Ah, The Beatles in their youth, a whole different polished animals, the guitars and drums burst with energy, the harmonies are tight and John Lennon proves himself as one of rocks greatest vocalists.

Tired of My Tears- Susan Tedeschi

Take Sharon Jones earlier song, dip into a Southern Gospel groove and this is what will come out, Susan Tedeschi’s vocals blur the color line on this one and the guitar work is flawless.

Bells of Harlem- Dave Rawlings Machine

From the soft pitter patter of the snare drum to the golden acoustic guitar and the warm vocal harmonies this song just breathes beauty at its most effortless.

Multiply (In A Minor Key)- Jamie Lidell

That squeak at the beginning is the opening of a door into a club where both the voice and piano shine and dance, and all anybody else can do is watch.

Breaking All The Ground- Joe Firstman

she’s swinging from my heartstrings
singing that she’s climbing up.
she drinks bourbon from her daddy’s favorite coffee cup.
and she’s flying down the highway
crying that she won’t confess.
she’ll walk to charlotte like a princess
in her mama’s wedding dress.
and i watch her break away
more and more every day.

thats just the opening verse, some people have a way with words, and heck he’s gotta thing for melody and arranging too.

Where Did Our Love Go (Live) (Supremes Cover)- J. Geils Band

J. Geils was the ultimate bar band, they had fun, they didn’t get bogged down by ambition, they rocked a dirty gritty sound anchored by Peter Wolf’s gruff vocals, you can tell they’re just having fun here, and the slide solo in the middle is absolutely euphoric.

Ragoo- Kings of Leon

The dynamics are fantastic on this, with a Police styled arrangement but more nitty gritty earth bound vocals.

Book of Moses- Beck’s Record Club

If for just one reason, get the song for its beat, because shit it is heavy.  Another? Beck is a hell of a producer and arranger, this one plays out like an updated Bill Withers song, funky, soulful and full of power.

Remember- Jimi Hendrix

Everything about this song is wonderful, youthful yet reminiscent.

Minding My Own Business- Coconut Records

Its hard to figure this guy was an actor before a musician, add the fact he plays all the instruments as well, the natural feel of the song goes even more to prove his talent, great songwriting.

Lenin- Arcade Fire

A song off of Dark Was the Night, by Arcade Fire, like you need any other reason to download it.

Gold Mine- The Union Line

I wish this band existed on iTunes because this song actually makes me want to buy more of their stuff, and buy isn’t a word i like to throw around alot.

Charlemagne in Sweatpants- The Hold Steady

From the organ to the guitars to the vocals and lyrics, The Hold Steady just grip you from the get-go.

Pick Up the Pieces: Mix for the Weekend

Everybody Knows I’m Still In Love With You- Sad Brad Smith

The name might suggest otherwise, but Sad Brad Smith comes off like a happy Elliot Smith, a creative arranger, a sweet voice and a multi-instrumentalist, and its just a damn good song.

Blue Ridge Mountains- Fleet Foxes

Ethereal out of this world harmonies meets a pastoral spirit, if I believed in heaven, the angels themselves would be crying from the beauty of this song. Blasphemy? Yes, worth being sent to hell for for saying it? Also Yes.

Ragged Wood- Fleet Foxes

More grounded than Blue Ridge, Ragged Wood features a great lead vocal and supporting harmonies and a chugging rhythm, the most rocking this band gets.

Funny How Time Slips Away- Al Green and Lyle Lovett

The Reverend himself covering a song from his earlier output, a great reworking with a funky backing rhythm and great harmonies between Al and Lyle, bright and organic and a joy to put on.

Funny How Time Slips Away- Al Green

The original, a slow burner sung when Al Green was at his absolute peak, absolutely no one else could convey the power he could in a whisper.

Old Habits Die Hard- Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart

A soulful reminiscing song, originally recorded for the Alfie remake, Jagger’s performance here is perfect, you can hear the longing in his voice and its a catchy melody to boot.

Darkness of Your Love- Dave Stewart and Gary “Mudbone” Cooper

Another off of the Alfie soundtrack with bright horns and a inspirational melody, the song just grabs you from the beginning and doesn’t let go.

Peace Dream- Ringo Starr

Yes he didn’t have the musical talent of his famous counterparts, but the man’s almost 70, and his voice has aged miraculously and his songwriting better than anything previous, Paul McCartney provides the bass line and the melody has that Beatle catchyness written all over it, and its a good message.

Walk With You- Ringo Starr

Another great song off the new album, with a melancholy backing harmony provided by Paul McCartney, its almost a little sad how much McCartney’s voice has aged in comparison to Ringo’s but its sweet and sentimental.

Mr. Bojangles- Jerry Jeff Walker

Great song, period.

Pick Up the Pieces- Jon Cleary

Off of Cleary’s debut, Pick Up the Pieces starts off slowly, reminiscent of a song Lionel Ritchie wished he was good enough to write, before progressing into an Elton John and Little Feat like groove; funky, powerful, and absolutely golden.

Street People- Bobby Charles

A wonderful artist lost in the annals of time, a Louisiana native who achieved and perfected the sound The Band became known for after their debut The Big Pink, in fact, The Band plays the second fiddle here, backing Charles up.

Some Kinda Love- Maiko Watson

Retro funky disco soul at its best.

I’ve Never Found A Girl- Al Green

No one will ever match that warm bright punchy sound that Al Green dominated and his vocals are just without equal.

Nobody Gets Me But You- Spoon

A song off their new album Transference featuring a bubbly bassline and their always creative arrangements, I could see Phoenix covering this song its right up their alley, so if you like Phoenix or Spoon (and who doesn’t) grab this song.

Bye, Bye, Bye- Plants and Animals

No no no, its not a cover of N’SYNC or Backstreet Boys or whoever, just a great song by a great new band.

Multiply (In a Minor Key)- Jamie Lidell

The original is already a stone cold funky classic, this version has a reworked bright 70’s styled piano and a live background, Natalie Cole ((This Will Be) An Everlasting Love) would be proud.  Oh did I tell you he’s a white british guy, because he sure doesn’t sound like it.

For The Good Times- Al Green

As marvelous as his originals were, Al Green was a fantastic interpreter of well, anything thrown at him.  For The Good Times is originally a country song written by Kris Kristofferson and Al Green puts forth a powerful version, inhabiting, not just singing the lyrics.

Black Peter- Grateful Dead

A classic from the Grateful Dead, organic and beautifully done.