I’m rounding out my year end list and going to be posting it pretty soon to complete 2013… so in the meantime I’ve been listening to some old tunes like this Christmas song from the Stax folks. It’s an album comprised of Stax’s take on Christmas time. Some good stuff on it, including this tune from the Emotions, “Black Christmas”. Enjoy, and stay tuned for a round up of my favorite albums of this year.
Here’s a tune from Austin’s own Maps and Atlases. I’ve just recently been listening to a lot of their material, and it’s some quality Rock and Roll. Theres no secret to their formula, just simple, solid songwriting and good musicianship.
Here’s a tune from one of my favorite Soul Artists of all time, Mable John. It’s the title track to her little-known album “Stay Out of The Kitchen”. This record is filled with plenty more great tunes from Mable, including the jivey “Able Mable" and the breezy "Love Tornado”. She sang with Ray Charles as one of the Raylettes, and has one of the more distinct voices in the Motown canon.
Another dip into cold weather here in Austin, and I for one enjoy it. Here’s a tune to celebrate the “winter" in Texas…. a tune from the great Shuggie Otis, who actually played this very town recently for the ACL fest.
The War on Drugs have a new album coming out early next year! They just announced it, and it’s entitled “Lost in the Dream”. They also released this new single from it, “Red Eyes”, and it sounds like some of the best songwriting from the band yet. I really like the piano lines during the first part of the song, and it gradually drifts off into a spacey, yet rocking, chorus that really gets the emotion stirring. Can’t wait to hear more from this record.
New tunes are getting harder to find this time of year. Everyone is wrapping up their year end list, so that’s usually when I start listening to some old classics… such as this one: Herb Alpert’s great “Whipped Cream and Other Delights”. Some epic compositions on this record, with “Ladyfingers" being one of my favorites. It’s a beautiful tune with some of Alpert’s classic soaring horns. Enjoy!
A radio show was doing a late tribute to Lou Reed last night and they were recounting the many great tunes he wrote, but when they played this tune of the Velvet’s last album “Loaded”, it got me rushing to my record player to put it on for another spin.
This has got to be one of Rock’s greatest albums. It’s sometimes forgotten how sincere the Velvet Underground was in their songwriting… from their cynical, subversive days to their later years with this soulful tune “I Found a Reason”. They always had the Rock n Roll soul no matter where they were in their career, and it still shows when you put any one of these records on today.
Here’s another track from Ducktails’ EP “Wish Hotel”, that was released back in October. Their early 2013 release “Flower Lane" is up there in the ranks of album of the year for me, but this short and sweet EP is nice to listen to for more new material from this great band.
“Nave Music" has a mellow, wispy sound which has some pulsing keyboard licks on top of it. They seem to get loose on this EP and produce some more out-there jams as opposed to “Flower Lane"s more simple song structure. Can’t wait to hear more from Ducktails in the near future.
This is one of my favorite tunes off the new Holy Ghost record that came out recently, entitled “Dynamics”. It didn’t catch on as fast as their debut album did for me, but after several listens I’m starting to warm up to it. These guys have a great dance-pop sound, and continue to put out catchy records. They are also great to see live, mixing live instrumentation with your standard DJ affair.
I’m not one to scour the internet in search of a classic singer-songwriter that has put out their ump-teenth record in the guise of a “comeback" or "new direction”. But every so often their is a passionate statement by a great artist that is impressive and says a lot about their craft in the modern age.
Jimmy Cliff’s recent album “Rebirth" comes to mind. Allen Toussaint regularly churns out some musical gold for his fans as well. The Boss is also one that continues to impress me. I’ve dug several of his recent albums, and now he’s announced a brand new one… entitled “High Hopes”. I didn’t really give it much attention until I heard the first single and I have to say I really thinks it’s a quality tune. Tom Morello is the guest guitarist on it, and he plays on several other songs as well. He doesn’t really scream out as a guest, either. Instead he fits in rather nicely. It’s Weird hearing the too riffing off each other. But hey, it works.
I’ve featured new songs from Hacienda from their recent album “Shakedown”, but just the other day I revisited this 2010 record of theirs, “Big Red and Baracoa”. It’s not as catchy as “Shakedown”, but there are still a handful of songs that are worth the listen. This tune, “You’re My Girl”, being one of them. If you went in blind and popped this track on, you could confuse someone into thinking they were listening to some vintage 60s garage rock, it’s that good. Check out Hacienda’s whole catalog for more quality blues from Texas.
Can’t stop this soul music roll we’ve been on this last week here. Originally done by the Mamas and the Papas, Bobby Womack puts hit take on this classic tune and comes up with a great version. Womack is still putting out music, with his 2013 record “Bravest Man in the Universe” garnering lots of praise from critics. Enjoy!