- Zevon, Warren– Accidentally Like A Martyr
Warren Zevon ballad that gets me every time. The hurt gets worse, and the heart gets harder . From his 1976 debut album chock full of gems, including this song, Werewolves of London, Lawyers Guns and Money, etc. Apparently Jackson Browne and J.D. Souther contribute background vocals, though that matters less than the tune itself. Sentimental, not maudlin.
- Clarence Frogman Henry– Ain’t Got No Home
Chess Rhythm & Roll
Famously covered by The Band, sung in alternatively falsetto and “frog” croak voice. Swinging tune, R&B as it used to be constructed, full of sly humor and danceable rhythms.
- The Velvet Underground– All Tomorrow’s Parties
Velvet Underground and Nico
A Nico song, famously loved by Andy Warhol. Nico is predominant, Lou Reed and John Cale let her take the spotlight. In fact, Nico often sang it sans accompaniment when she played this song in later years.
- Thompson, Richard– Beat The Retreat
Pour Down Like Silver
For a while, this album was out of print, maybe because it was the last album Richard and Linda Thompson recorded before joining a Sufi group, and didn’t have any top 40 hits on it. Down beat, and yet joyous. Music for a rainy day.
- Jens Lekman– Black Cab
The opening bars sound a lot like a Planxty song, or something similar. A bit of a shaggy dog story about NYC nightlife and cabs without medallions, but catchy all the same.
- Nelson, Willie– Blue eyes crying in the rain
One of my favorite Willie Nelson songs in fact. Originally from Red Headed Stranger, which everyone should own a copy of, btw.
- Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson– The Bottle
Winter In America
Gil Scott-Heron often pegged as a proto-rapper, which is sorta, sometimes true. He does chant his poetry more often than sing on some songs, but not on this stellar autobiographical song about alcoholics. Obviously from the mid-70s, as evidenced by the flute trills.
- Seeds– Can’t Seem To Make You Mine
Sky Saxon recently died, this song will remain part of the soundtrack for a specific era of garage rock.
- Little Stevie Wonder– Castles In The Sand
Hearing Is Believing: the Jack Nitzsche Story 1962-1979
Wonder if Jimi Hendrix realized how close the title of his song was to Stevie Wonder’s 1964 version1. I’d assume yes, even though the songs are much different in execution. Stevie Wonder’s voice is much higher octave than later in his career, but still sings the heck out of the track. A little too much buried in strings for my taste, but not bad.
- Max Romeo & The Upsetters– Chase The Devil
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas K-JAH
The Grand Theft Auto videogame franchise have quite excellent diegetic soundtracks2, including this classic reggae cut from Max Romeo, Lee “Scratch” Perry, and the Upsetters.
- Adams, Ryan– Come Pick Me Up
Usually my favorite Ryan Adams album. Folksy, for the most part, and strong lyrically. Such as this song with its chorus:
I wish you would
Come pick me up,
Take me out,
Fuck me up,
Steal my records,
Screw all my friends,
They’re all full of shit,
With a smile on your face.
And then do it again…
ha! I think he means it!
- Stevens, Sufjan– Decatur, Or, Round Of Applause For Your Stepmother!
Come On Feel The Illinoise!
My favorite song on this oddly compelling album about Illinois.