For being blessed with one of the most powerful voices in soul, Darrell Banks is often at best considered a side-note in the very congested history of soul music (for “Open The Door To Your Heart”). A belter worthy of Wilson Pickett and J.J. Jackson, his career was tragically cut down when he was shot by an off-duty police officer in the midst of a heated exchange. “Forgive Me” comes off of his 1969 release for Stax Records subsidiary Volt, Here To Stay. With a string arrangement evocative of Impressions records of the period, it’s Banks pleading emotional croon that makes this song so powerful.

Forgive Me – Darrell Banks

RIYL: Wilson Pickett, The Impressions, J.J. Jackson, Stax Records

Mixtape Monday: Too Young to Burn with A Soul Full of Love

This week’s Mixtape Monday mixes some great up and coming bands (Cotton Jones, Field Music, The Dutchess and the Duke, and Robert Francis to name a few) established new acts (The Morning Benders, Josh Rouse, Fleet Foxes) with some old (Elliot Smith) and even older classics (The Beatles, E.L.O., The Four Tops, The Impressions).  As always downloads are encouraged to promote the artists and raise awareness of all the great music out there.

1a.White Water Hymnal (Fleet Foxes) (remix)- Mondo Boys

1b. Bottle Up and Explode (Elliot Smith) (remix)- Mondo Boys

The great thing about these two remixes is that they don’t do too much, rather they add to the song ever so subtly, tinkering with the rhythm here, adding bits to the song there, it does what a remix should, which is highlight the original work, and avoids taking anything away from it.  These two should be listened to in succession.

The full mixtape after the jump

Continue reading Mixtape Monday: Too Young to Burn with A Soul Full of Love

Mixtape Monday: Naive Rainbows and Silver Souls

Heart of Glass (Blondie)- Brady Harris

The original was a disco meets new wave stylized single, this cover breathes new life into the melody and arrangement with mandolins banjos upright bass and a sublime guitar solo.  I’d never thought I’d hear a man cover Blondie so well.

Moment in the Sun- Clem Snide

I found this band by way of covers its lead singer (Eef Barzelay) had done.  Yet this original shows they are capable of more than just cover band fare, like a less grating R.E.M. with some vintage Rolling Stones guitar thrown in, this song builds and builds, your enjoyment growing along with it.

I’ve Got A Rock and Roll Heart- Eric Clapton

Most of you might recognize this song as being in the Fender myTouch commercial, and its a sweet song.  Clapton made a career of sunny eyed blues numbers like this, the hook is undeniable and the lyrics are heartfelt.

Silver Soul- Beach House

This song starts like a behemoth, the harmonies and organ and guitar providing an airy landscape, one of those songs meant for headphones, where you can be in your own world.

Regina Holding Hands- White Denim

The guitars draw you in, the vocals keep you, and the arrangement keeps it interesting for multiple listens.  Don’t sleep on this one.

Donna- Clem Snide

It’s a cover of a Ritchie Valens song, but this reading is so beautiful that it goes far beyond the label, the arrangement conveys heartbreak and the lyrics break your heart.

Camera Talk- Local Natives

Theeere Back! I just can’t get enough of this band, with their endlessly endearing vocals, creative and ever changing arrangements and strong hooks.

Rainbow- G. Love (With Jack Johnson)

Both are masters of the laid back acoustic vibe, so its no surprise how the arrangement plays out, whats special is their harmony, tight and organic, you can tell these guys really respect each other and they play off each other really well.

Grace is Gone- Dave Matthews Band

I’m not one to give DMB credit where they’re not due but this song is great.  The melody is classic, its sung beautifully, soft and understated with lyrics to match.

Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands- Phoenix

Phoenix covering one of the greatest songs Bob Dylan ever laid to tape, a late night brood of a song, they stay faithful to the original but its nice to hear someone else take it on.

Rich Girls- The Virgins

Swagger, this band has it,  from the arrangement to the singing down to the lyrics.  Think of an updated version of Some Girls era Rolling Stones, except straight from the heart of NYC.

Naive- The Kooks

The Kooks had so much energy on their debut that it was no surprise success caught on quickly, but the Kooks aren’t a flash in the pan, their melodies are tight their dynamics are perfect and they single-handedly carry guitar rock on their backs with the riffs in this song.

Mighty Mighty (Spade and Whitey)- Curtis Mayfield

Culled from the Curtis/Live album, MM S &W is a lesson in band dynamics with the drummer so deep in the pocket of the groove he makes Mitch Mitchell seem like an amateur, the harmonies are wonderfully placed with the guitar and this whole track just moves.  The beauty of Mayfield isn’t that his melodys go to crazy places, its the movement and inspiration within them, and on those terms theres no one better.

Sun King- The Beatles

Why this one in particular? In terms of its dreamy psychedelics and melodic fluidity, this song was the Holy Grail Pink Floyd chased their entire careers.

Mean Mr. Mustard- The Beatles

Weighing in at a little over a minute, its one of the catchiest songs The Beatles ever wrote.

Keep On Pushing- The Impressions

Why this song? Well Martin Luther King Jr. using it as inspiration for his civil rights goals is a sure good reason, and Curtis Mayfield greatly inspired Jimi Hendrix’s playing style on guitar, if you even needed another one.

Move On Up- Curtis Mayfield

Before Kanye West released Touch The Sky, there was the original song, the horns bright, the rhythm breakneck and the melody unstoppable.  Pure inspiration at its finest.

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.