For months, I've been tempted to participate in Jen's Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday. (Lord knows Jen and others have been on my case about doing it!) However, I haven't done it because I'm known more for sarcastic comedy than my "musical" side.
However, for those of you that know me, you're aware I have quite a background in the music industry, of sorts, having played in a short lived band in the early 70's (we once opened for REO Speedwagon), as well as having spent many years as a radio disc jockey ... back when you had to pick your own music, create your own show, and develop a character that would draw all the "heads" and serious music lovers to your show.
Besides all of that, age hasn't decreased my spirit to own every piece of music I can. My cd collection has passed the 7,000 mark, I still have over 2,000 vinyl albums, and my digital collection is amassed at over 127,000 songs. One might say I'm a music hoarder of sorts. But, as I've validated to my wife for years, "Would you rather have me spend my money on music, or drink it away on a six pack a night?" She agrees, music is a much better choice.
When I saw Jen's post for "Beautiful Music" this week, I knew I had to finally participate. Why? Because I think I finally have something to offer those that really like music. I've selected five of my all time favorites, plus, just for giggles, I've added number six. These are songs that you may never have heard, but are each haunting and beautiful either in the music they provide or the stories they tell. I'll try to add some humor along the way, but I really want you to just listen to the songs and their stories if you will. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
#6 - "Diamond Mine" (Blue Rodeo)
If you ever smoked dope, this was the song you wanted to be high to. If you never smoked dope, you'd still enjoy it if you had the patience to listen. It starts slow, builds steadily, rocks like a mother in the middle, and brings you back down to catch your breath in the end. I guess you might call it the perfect masturbation song!
So, get out your ointment, and rub slowly. Build yourself up as you intensify the speed and concentration. Let the waves pulsate as you reach the peak, and then, have a cigarette on me!
#5 - "Why'd You Lie" (Colin James)
As "Diamond Mine" was released in 1989, so was "Why'd You Lie." It's a story of someone not being very faithful in a relationship, lying about it, and then trying to explain when caught. It wasn't based on the Richard Nixon presidency, no matter how similar the story may be.
This song verges on Blues/Rock, while telling you a tale that will curl your hair, even if you've recently waxed. The guitar licks will drive you insane if you let them, so I have to provide a warning, "This song may drive you crazy if you concentrate solely on the guitar licks." Okay, you've been warned. Go sue someone else!
#4 - "What Am I Living For" (Mark - Almond)
No, this isn't The Allman Brothers Band as so many have mistakenly thought in the past. Instead, it's two talented songwriters that knew how to draw people into a tale of misery and woe by providing beautiful melodies and thought provoking lyrics. Kind of like Frank Zappa in drag!
As we've all questioned ourselves at times, this song brings the full brunt of the seriousness of life, and the ironies of effort. You cannot but love this song if you're a human being at all. See, now, if you don't like it, I've got you! (Don't you hate it when someone does that?)
#3 - "White Bird" (It's A Beautiful Day)
Bill Graham owned and operated two of the most well known rock clubs in the late 60's. These were named the Fillmore East and the Fillmore West. Rock acts of the "Psychedelic Era" performed almost nightly at these clubs, fine tuning their talents for the full scale concert halls that followed. These clubs were also small enough to give them a "hometown" feeling of comfort for the artists as well as giving them some "homegrown" feelings before and after playing! (Damn, watch the seeds, man, they're popping all over the place!)
It's A Beautiful Day was a band fronted by David LaFlame that graced the Fillmores on both coasts. His female vocalist accompaniment rotated between his wife, girlfriends, ex-wife, girlfriends ... well, you get the picture. "White Bird" was the group's biggest hit, and still remains a favorite Classic Rock Radio tune of today. Listen, leave your golden cage, fly away, and if you don't return, remember the good times we almost had!
#2 - "Moriah" (Spooky Tooth)
In 1973, Orlando, Florida held a concert at an outdoor baseball park. On the agenda was an opening group called White Witch (known for their song, "Let's Go Get Stoned"), the headliner was the J. Geils Band (who had just hit the airwaves with their big single, "Give It To Me"), and some unknown group in the middle called Spooky Tooth (which usually occurred when you'd smoked too much, got a bad case of the munchies, and gobbled down popcorn before it had cooked thoroughly).
Spooky Tooth included an organ/vocalist by the name of Gary Wright. Yep, Mr. Dreamweaver man himself! However, don't believe that Gary never knew how to rock and roll. Spooky Tooth was a kick ass rock band that carried the evening. "Cotton Growing Man" was a favorite song of mine for decades, but this song, "Moriah" was haunting to no end. One might even call it somewhat mystical in nature. Give it a shot and you'll see what I mean!
#1 - "Pretty Princess" (Loggins & Messina)
Loggins & Messina was one of the few groups I would still pay big money to see today if they were to get back together. No, Kenny Loggins wasn't always a pop icon shouting the theme from Caddyshack, "I'm Alright." In fact, some of the best music you'll ever hear came from him and Jimmy Messina (who in no way resembles a groundhog).
You want some real music? Listen to the extended versions of "Vahevala", "Angry Eyes", and this one here, "Pretty Princess." You're going to hear a blend of so many instruments and vocal harmonies, you'll wonder if they didn't overdub it 500 times. I guarantee it, they sounded this good in concert, if not better.
This song is about an afternoon affair that a wife has as her husband is away. Again, slow to start, fast in the middle to a fever level, and then time to catch your breath at the end. Fingers tired, yet?
So, that's my little contribution to this Mix Tape Tuesday. Hope you enjoyed it. Of course, if you didn't scan and really listened to the music, you enjoyed it much better.
Never thought you'd start smoking again, did you?