Friday, September 30, 2005

Friday Random 10: Turn Up the Radio
In only its second week, this Random 10 establishes the theme that anything can happen--but then again, that's why we like the Random 10 to begin with.

1. "Rings"/Cymarron/Super Hits of the 70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 17. A classic one-hit wonder from the summer of 1971, dredged from obscurity by Rhino Records on its indispensible series of 70s cheese. Except this version is a little faster than the 45 version that got the radio play, it's a slightly different mix, and it's a few seconds shorter. I've got the 45 in my archives somewhere, and as scratchy as it is, I prefer it.

2. "Friends"/Elton John/Your Songs.
From the soundtrack of an obscure movie for which Elton and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin contributed songs. They later disavowed their work, but this one's a keeper nevertheless.

3. "Wasted on the Way"/Crosby, Stills, and Nash/Daylight Again. One of their best songs, a 1982 hit about acknowledging your regrets and then letting them go. When I went to work for a little radio station in Illinois in 1984, I found that its manager had edited this song out of the tape library. He thought "wasted" was a drug reference. Needless to say, I restored it, and two years after that, in 1986, it was the last song I played on my last show before leaving the place.

4. "Beautiful Sunday"/Daniel Boone/Super Hits of the 70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 9.
The only thing I know about this song is that when it was released in Japan, it became the biggest hit in Japanese pop-music history up to that point. That, and it's a fine example of late-period (1972) American bubblegum.

5. "My Daddy Was a Jockey"/Westside Andy-Mel Ford Band/Live on the Westside. It seems that Daddy was a jockey and taught young Andy how to ride. "Put it in the middle then move from side to side," sings Andy. This isn't about horse racing, is it?

6. "More Today Than Yesterday"/Charles Earland/Charlie's Greatest Hits.
Hammond B3 organ soul-jazz, and on this tune, about as elegant and funky as that genre gets.

7. "Funkallero"/Bill Evans Trio with Stan Getz/But Beautiful. But Beautiful is an in-concert collaboration between Getz on tenor saxophone and Evans on piano, recorded in 1974 but unreleased until 1996. It resulted in some gorgeous ballads, as anyone familiar with the music of either performer would expect--and on a couple of the uptempo tracks, such as "Funkallero," Evans swings as hard as he ever did.

8. "Caravan"/Van Morrison/Moondance.
Morrison leaves little doubt that radio shaped his musical tastes as a young man; over the course of his career, he's written many songs touching on the power of the medium. This is probably the most famous one. This, or maybe the title track from Wavelength.

9. "I Know That You Know"/Sonny Rollins/Ken Burns Jazz: Sonny Rollins. How many artists who first came up in the 1950s are still playing big-ticket halls today--as opposed to county-fair tent shows or free summer festivals? Rollins will appear in Madison in a couple of weeks, and the cheap seats are $39.

10. "Writing"/Elton John/Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. In which two young, struggling songwriters search for inspiration to fill orders for the songs they've contracted to write. Struggling, yes--enjoying every minute of it, yes. Looking back wistfully years later once the struggles have ended in success--yes.

Recommended Reading: Lots of people used to think that the modern Repug Party wanted to roll us back to the 1950s, to return to the era of good family values, when the kids all behaved, and women and minorities knew their places. Then people decided maybe it was the 1930s, to get rid of the New Deal. But the fact is since at least the high days of Newt, the Repugs have had an earlier period in mind--the 1890s. Kevin Drum elaborates. Also, wish happy birthday to the Rude Pundit, who's two years in the blogging game today.

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