If you’ve ever wondered what Mick Jagger and Jimi Hendrix might have sounded like together, this southern soul gem is for you.  "Mercy, Mercy", off of See-Saw, Don Covay’s 1966 LP reportedly has the young Mr. Hendrix playing session man (though Covay was reportedly no slouch himself). What sticks out even more though is Covay’s tenacious shout-speak bluesy wail, which played a large influence on Mick Jagger’s vocal style.  The song itself is a funky-blues gumbo, something you’d expect to hear come out of roadside bars in the Louisiana night. Both Wilson Pickett and The Rolling Stones would later cover it, but the original is a definitive lost classic.

Mercy, Mercy – Don Covay 

The story behind this song is the stuff of legends. It’s easy to forget that the story of John Lennon post-Beatles was not all just being a house-husband and loving Yoko.  Some will remember that there was the infamous “Lost Weekend” which truthfully was more like two years, from 1973-75 where Lennon ran off with Yoko’s assistant to Los Angeles, hanging out with legendary boozing and reckless types like Harry Nilsson and Keith Moon, Phil Spector and David Bowie, and in the case of this song, Mick Jagger.  There are two competing claims for the origin of this song; one has Lennon playing guitar and producing, the other has him just producing, but this legendary session has everyone from crack session drummer Jim Keltner to Al Kooper (organ extraordinaire who played with Bob Dylan among others), Jack Bruce of Cream on bass Harry Nilsson on backing vocals and Bobby Keys (who played almost every sax solo in the seventies) providing the horn break. The song material fits Jagger like a glove, a dirty blues euphemism. But the star of the show is John Lennon’s production, a greasy concoction of bass and punchy horns, that makes this track just so damn perfect. If there was anything that better defined the rock star lifestyle in the 70s in all its excessive glory, I’d be hard pressed to believe it.

Too Many Cooks (Spoil The Soup)- Mick Jagger (Produced by John Lennon) 

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.

The Beginning (After the end)

To say that I’ve been pretty unlucky all my life would fall under a couple of things.

a.) Lies

b.) Damn Lies

c.) Statistics

d.) bitchy

e.) general conceit and self denial

Whatever, I’m usually a good guy and don’t really care about luck.  What I do like though is music; music, music, music, i could listen all day.  Being as I had the head start at the age of 6 to be obsessed with a band (The Beatles) I have since become the type that has to digest all listenable types of music (Read as not including Mariah Carey or anyone on the Top 40 charts) to be satisfied.  A music connoisseur through and through.  Anyways i don’t know what else to talk about right now. So I’ll leave you with

Tracks to Give A Listen

1.  One World (Not Three)- The Police, off of Ghosts in the Machine

Even as The Police got more complex, and started to fight more often, they still knew how to make a pop song.  Many of the more “music purists” liked to say how good The Police were at their respective instruments.  Well here is a gold mine, if you think Stewart Copeland’s drumming on Walking on the Moon was insane, this would justly qualify as Copeland on crack

another copeland on crack moment, with andy summers in high pursuit:

Hidden Gem of the Day: 

Cleanup Time- John Lennon, off of Double Fantasy

Yes, we know Yoko’s contributions to the album make you not wish to dig through it, but tucked into the middle of the album is this gem.  So many people are willing to go up in arms talking about how peaceful he was or how great of a lyricist he was etc etc.  What I love about this, and many other Lennon songs is the absolutely excellent 70’s sound he achieved.  While the majority of 70’s sound was decked in absolute cheese, he managed to mix the prominent lead guitar, horns, and crystal clear drums into a thing of immoral beauty.  You know it ain’t supposed to be like this, but its too damn good to give up.

If you like the gem:

Too Many Cooks (Spoil the Soup)- Mick Jagger

Heres more of that grimy 70’s sound, with John Lennon producing, excellent track