Songs You May Have Missed #702

Don McLean: “Mountains O’Mourne” (1973)

From Playin’ Favorites, his collection of folk and rock ‘n roll covers from 1973.

McLean’s gentle, affecting rendition of “Mountains O’Mourne” actually reached #2 on the Irish singles chart.

Its lyric is in the form of a letter from an emigrant laborer in fashionable late nineteenth-century London to his love back home in County Dublin.

Its tone is both whimsical and sad, as the narrator’s heart is clearly more in the natural beauties of his homeland than his stylish but artificial surroundings.

Nobody does melancholy like the Irish.

Oh, Mary, this London’s a wonderful sight
With people here working by day and by night
They don’t sow potatoes nor barley nor wheat
But there’s gangs of them diggin’ for gold in the street
At least when I asked them, that’s what I was told
So I just took a hand at this diggin’ for gold
But for all that I’ve found there, I might as well be
In the place where the dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea

I believe that when writin’ a wish you expressed
As to how the fine ladies of London were dressed
But if you’ll believe me, when asked to a ball
They don’t wear no tops to their dresses at all
Oh, I’ve seen them myself and you could not in truth
Tell if they were bound for a ball or a bath
Don’t be startin’ them fashions now, Mary McRee,
In the place where the dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea

There’s beautiful girls here, oh, never you mind
Beautiful shapes Nature never designed
Lovely complexions of roses and cream
But let me remark with regard to the same
That if at those roses you venture to sip
The colors might all come away on your lip
So I’ll wait for the wild rose that’s waitin’ for me
In the place where the dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea

You remember young Denny McClaren, of course
Well, he’s over here with the rest of the force
I saw him one day as he stood on the strand
Stopped all the traffic with a wave of his hand
As we were talking of days that are gone
The whole town of London stood there to look on
But for all his great powers, he’s wishful like me
To be back where the dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #399 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #69 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

Songs You May Have Missed #701

Walker Hayes: “Dollar Store” (2017)

Ironic and sad that in our previous post of a Walker Hayes song (the brilliant “You Broke Up with Me”) we singled out for praise an uncommon lyrical freshness that went counter to the prevailing trend in contemporary country of piling cliche on cliche to make the same song again and again, year after year.

Perusing Hayes’ website for news of a follow-up to 2017’s Boom, I came across a new song (“Country Stuff”) which is probably the tallest stinkin’ pile of…uh, cliche on record.

In other words, this guy went from being (in this writer’s opinion) the Great Hope for the genre finding its way out of its current (un)creative mire to authoring possibly the genre’s most monumental exercise in banal formula.

So we went back to 2017 and “Dollar Store” to show you how brilliant and witty Hayes can be.

But we include the link to “Country Stuff” for perspective’s sake. Compare it lyrically to both “Dollar Store” and “You Broke Up with Me” (also linked below) and you’ll see a stark contrast between county as it could be and country as it unfortunately too often is.

Dollar Store

Saw a penny picked it up
Lady be a little luck
Stuck it in my pocket, hey
Wasn’t earned but it’s saved
50 cents in the console… cha ching
39 on the floor… bada bing
10 more till we got it made, babe, in the cash shade
Shopping time there’s a dime in the ashtray

Uh, woohoo
Mama let my money say I love you
We takin’ you and this GW
Down to the dollar store
Buy you whatever you holla for
Uh, woohoo
Baby I’m a million bucks from rich
But I can grant you a discount wish
Down at the dollar store
Buy you whatever you holla for

Baby, It’s your birthday I’mma be your sugar dad
Don’t even think about checkin’ one price tag
Whatch you want, flips flops?
Toothbrush, Clorox
Shasta, pop rocks
EPT… hope not!
Paper plates saying’ happy Halloween
Candles smellin’ like cookies & cream
St. Patrick’s day party hat with elastic strings
Girl you look fine in green

Uh, woohoo
Mama let my money say I love you
We takin’ you and this GW
Down to the dollar store
Buy you whatever you holla for
Uh, woohoo
Baby I’m a million bucks from rich
But I can grant you a discount wish
Down at the dollar store
Buy you whatever you holla for…

Girl, they got silly string, travel Scope
Knock off cereal
Ketchup, picture frames
Flash light, key chains
Paddle ball, Tylenol, Mardi Gras confetti
Drop it in the cart, watch me roll it to regi’

Uh, woohoo
I’mma let my money say I love you
We takin’ you and this GW
Down to the dollar store
Buy you whatever you holla for
Uh, woohoo
Baby I’m a million bucks from rich
But I can grant you a discount wish
Down at the dollar store
Buy you whatever you holla for

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #626 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

Songs You May Have Missed #700

Chicago: “Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon” (1970)

Chicago represents different things to different fans.

If you came to this band in the post-Terry Kath 1980’s you might think sappy ballads were their forte. And you wouldn’t be wrong.

But long before that time, boys and girls, there was a time when heavy rock, complex jazz and a diversity of musical styles were more their calling card.

And from that time of their “beginnings”–from their second album, to be exact–comes thie classically-inspired 13-minute progressive-jazz-and-pop masterwork.

Trombonist James Pankow wrote the suite originally as an attempt to win back his ex-fiancee who was attending West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, West Virginia. I for one am glad he didn’t get the girl, ’cause as a result we got the song.

The 7-part epic song cycle includes two songs–“Make Me Smile” and “Colour My World”–that became top ten pop hits.

But those hits are framed wondrously by authentic jazz and jazz-rock sections sewn together to form a whole that calls to mind progressive rock suites such as Yes’ “Close to the Edge” or side two of Abbey Road.

This is rock from a time of remarkable ambition. And few bands exhibited more creative fertility than Chicago in their heyday.

  1. “Make Me Smile” (Lead vocals by Terry Kath)
  2. “So Much to Say, So Much to Give” (Lead vocals by Robert Lamm)
  3. “Anxiety’s Moment” (Instrumental)
  4. “West Virginia Fantasies” (Instrumental)
  5. “Colour My World” (Vocals by Terry Kath)
  6. “To Be Free” (Instrumental)
  7. “Now More Than Ever” (Lead vocals by Terry Kath)

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #161 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #301 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

Songs You May Have Missed #699

Chapel: “First Love” (2021)

Whoever Chapel is, even their record label’s site has no bio or other info. But they do have this t-shirt for sale:

Songs You May Have Missed #698

Los Lonely Boys: “Roses” (2006)

Just another tasty serving of riffcentric rock from Los Lonely Boys.

Though they don’t date from the “Classic Rock” era, they definitely graduated from the school of classic rock.

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #618 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

Songs You May Have Missed #697

The Ditty Bops: “Sister Kate” (2004)

From their Mitchell Froom-Produced debut, “Sister Kate” showcases the eccentric sound of Amanda Barrett and Abby DeWald–a little bit vaudeville, a little bit folk, a little bit ragtime and maybe a touch of the McGarrigle Sisters.

Why artists like The Ditty Bops, They Might Be Giants and Max Raabe weren’t labeled “alternative” rather than million sellers like REM and Red Hot Chili Peppers never made sense to me.

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #279 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

Songs You May Have Missed #696

Art Garfunkel: “Bright Eyes” (1979)

This one’s only likely to be a song you may have missed if you reside stateside.

The pop adaptation of songwriter Mike Batt’s “Bright Eyes”–rearranged from the version that appeared in the animated film Watership Down–spent six weeks at #1 in England and was that country’s biggest-selling single of 1979.

And in the US? The gorgeous Art Garfunkel-sung ballad missed the charts completely.

Both the movie and the original Richard Adams book are highly recommended.

Songs You May Have Missed #695

Trio Mandili: “Enguro” (2017)

When three sweet-voiced, videogenic friends from the country of Georgia uploaded a music video of their performance of a Georgian folk song and it garnered over five million views, Trio Mandili was born.

Tatuli Mgeladze, Tako Tsiklauri, and Mariam Kurasbediani–who bear such likeness to one another you’d swear they were sisters–upload new videos regularly.

Most feature the rustic countryside of their homeland as well as the girls’ three-part polyphony, accompanied by a traditional Georgian stringed instrument called a panduri.

It’s beautiful stuff–both for the eyes and ears.

See also: Video of the Week: Trio Mandili–Kakhuri | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

Songs You May Have Missed #694

Struts: “Mary Go Round” (2014)

The aptly-named Struts came out of the gate in 2014 with the cocksure swagger of a band who seemed to know world domination was just around the next Slade-evoking hook.

Two consistently enjoyable albums later the band has proven that while not everybody wants the Struts, their anthemic, glammy throwback rock has a place in the charts and hearts of 21st century rock fans.

“Mary Go Round”, from their debut, makes effective use of key modulation to raise the emotional ante in this affecting breakup tune.

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #591 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

Songs You May Have Missed #693

B.J. Thomas: “Whatever Happened to Old Fashioned Love” (1983)

By 1983, having bounced around from label to label and ventured into contemporary Christian music for a bit, B.J Thomas was six years removed from his last top 40 pop hit.

British New Wave dominated the pop charts and shoved many a 70’s pop star to the fringes, to oldies act status, or to the country charts. For Billy Joe Thomas, the country scene made a comfy fit. “Whatever Happened to Old Fashioned Love”, his final pop chart entry at #93, was a number one country hit.

Had it been the immediate follow-up to pop #1 hit (and longest-titled song ever to top the pop charts) “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” in 1975 it may have found a wider pop audience.

Even if you were familiar with classics like “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”, “Hooked On a Feeling”, “I Just Can’t Help Believing” and “Rock and Roll Lullaby” this is a song you may have missed.

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