Friday, October 14, 2005

Friday Random 10: Just Can't Stop It
This list really is random, I swear, although if I'd picked 10 songs I wanted to hear this morning, I couldn't have done much better.

"More Today Than Yesterday"/Charles Earland/Charlie's Greatest Hits. This one came up on the Random 10 just two weeks ago--but I never mind hearing it again.

"Spanish Harlem"/Aretha Franklin/Billboard Top R&B Hits 1971. After a couple of lean years, Aretha roared back into fashion in 1971 with this cover of the Ben E. King standard. That's her on piano, with just as much soul as when she sings.

"Jimmy Loves Mary Anne"/Looking Glass/Super Hits of the 70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 10.
An example of a classic one-hit wonder ("Brandy," 1972) that really isn't. I'd argue that this is actually better than "Brandy." More ambitious, at least.

"Fool to Cry"/Rolling Stones/Rewind (1971-1984). The Rolling Stones have a knack for making records that are recognizable within the first second--think "Start Me Up" or "Brown Sugar." And also this, although the way it begins is uncharacteristically quiet.

"They Just Can't Stop It (Games People Play)"/Spinners/Pick of the Litter. On the radio 30 years ago this week, this is, in fact, my favorite single record of all time, from one of the greatest Philadelphia soul albums ever made. It's far more complex, instrumentally and lyrically, than most Philly soul records, so it rewards repeated listening. When I'm alone in the car and it comes on, I've been known to rewind it a time or two.

"Make Me Smile"/Chicago/The Very Best of Chicago: Only the Beginning.
The original "Make Me Smile" was edited from several segments of "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon," a sidelong suite from Chicago II. This version is a longer edit, available for the first time on Only the Beginning.

"Philosopher's Stone"/Van Morrison/Back on Top. I wrote about this album just last week over at The Hits Just Keep On Comin'. It's an October essential.

"The Last Resort"/Eagles/Hotel California. Don Henley's meditation on Manifest Destiny, one of the more ambitious things the Eagles ever tried. If Hotel California is a concept album about life in the 1970s, this is an effective way to end it.

"Bonnie's Theme"/Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters/The Color of Love.
Here's another group that's appeared on the Random 10 previously in its brief history, and another one that's always welcome. This tune gives Earl, on guitar, a chance to take back his own album from organist Bruce Katz, who steals it from the first track.

"So Beautiful"/Simply Red/Life. I own almost every album this group has made to date, and I think it's important to tell you that, so you don't go thinking I am entirely a 70s guy. (Simply Red's first hit was in 1985.) Mick Hucknall frequently writes songs about beautiful women with empty heads, and this is another one: "You're so beautiful/But oh so boring/I'm wondering/What am I doing here?"

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