Songs You May Have Missed #658

The Marshall Tucker Band: “This Ol’ Cowboy” (1974)

Though Marshall Tucker Band were usually categorized as southern rock, at their best–and they’re at their best here–they weren’t easily pigeonholed.

Tasty Toy Caldwell guitar licks, jazzy chords and a breezy vibe complement a philosophical, carefree lyric on a song that deftly straddles genres. A radio edit of “This O’ Cowboy” charted at #78 in early 1975.

Where We All Belong was a double album, with one record of new material and another featuring smoking live performance cuts.

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Why the Brilliantly Cynical Music of Steely Dan Is the Perfect Quarantine Binge

(via Mel) by Tim Grierson

Global catastrophe? A spiritually sick society beyond the point of saving? Donald Fagen and Walter Becker have been waiting for this moment.

During times of chaos, it’s natural to seek some semblance of control. So it’s probably no surprise that, as the coronavirus quarantine took hold, I turned to a band I always find comforting. I can’t think of music more perfectly controlled than the roughly six hours and 10 minutes worth of songs that Steely Dan recorded. Just don’t call it easy-listening. Sure, as they evolved from an ace L.A. rock band to a precision jazz-pop unit, their tunes only grew more swinging and pretty. But beneath all that beauty were tales of killers and creeps, dudes who were into their cousins or dudes who were into women way too young for them. No amount of gorgeous saxophone solos could mask the spiritual wretchedness at the center of these songs. If this is how the world ends — with idiots ignoring warnings to practice social distancing and the rich hogging access to medical help — then I won’t be shocked. Steely Dan prepared me…

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Songs You May Have Missed #657

Sports Team: “Here’s the Thing” (2020)

First: This song literally took twenty seconds to become my latest infatuation.

Second: I sent it to my Gen Z son, who responded thusly, and I quote: “The lyrics are basically the panicked cry of my generation tbh”


Third: Realizing what I thought was just a fun song may actually be a generational anthem, I searched for band bio info to discover:

Sports Team have been playing huge headlining tours in England, selling out venues such as Electric Ballroom and Kentish Town Forum, were named Elle Magazine’s ‘Band to Watch’ in their March issue, had front man Alex Rice featured in British Vogue’s Top Boys, and had Annie Mac feature this particular tune on BBC Radio 1 as her Hottest Record in the World.

Folks, this is all prior to releasing their debut album, which is due next month.

And here I’ll repeat my rant/lament that so much great music receives airplay in Europe but finds no place on American pop radio, dominated as it is by mumble rap, bro country and EDM. Occasionally something fresh breaks through the gridlock of the sound-alikes, but not often enough if we’re missing out on stuff like this.

Songs You May Have Missed #656

Donnie Iris: “Sweet Merilee” (1981)

Donnie Iris had four Top 40 singles in his career, including one as front man of one-hit wonders the Jaggerz (1970 chestnut “The Rapper”).

Although “Sweet Merilee” was not one of those Top 40 singles (stalling at #80) in this writer’s opinion there weren’t many tunes of its era that top it.

This song has everything. Bumpin’ bassline, great harmonies, a top notch guitar solo, and fiery vocals by one of pop’s underrated belters.

In Pittsburgh Donnie Iris is a god. And while I’m not typically taken by the hype when it comes to local acts, he’s the exception. Iris’ first two solo albums, 1980’s Back On the Streets and King Cool, its follow-up in ’81, deserve wider recognition. Both albums are crammed with earworm pop rock co-written by Iris and keyboardist Mark Avsec.

Iris unfortunately failed to hang on to a major label deal, perhaps due to his breaking into the youth-dominated New Wave era as a guy of relatively advanced age. And the Iris-Avsec writing partnership cooled off too. But for a span of two years and two albums, few produced better pop rock.

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Video of the Week: A Smokin’ Cover of the Ides of March by Leonid & Friends

Jim Peterik of The Ides of March says of this 50th anniversary tribute to his band’s song:

I just heard what is probably the best cover of our chestnut “Vehicle” that I’ve ever heard in my life! In fact, when I first heard this, I thought it was us! And then I looked at it and saw it was all these other people…

It’s a real homage to the Ides of March and the sound we created with “Vehicle.” We couldn’t be prouder that you chose this song.  I have to tell you, the guitar solo (Sergey? Serge?) — he’s the only guitar player that’s ever copped my lead note-for-note-perfect. The horn section is tight, Vasily is great (strange to hear a little of that accent, but that’s just fine!)

Anyway, congratulations, Leonid and Friends and Great God in Heaven, we love you!

Songs You May Have Missed #655

Saint Motel: “Van Horn” (2019)

Ahead of an expected release of a third LP in 2020, Saint Motel released the first of three EP’s, The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, from which comes “Van Horn” and a chorus that makes for a pretty enjoyable sing-along:

Well, tell me do you hate me
Or do you wanna date me?
It’s kinda hard to tell
‘Cause your eyes are looking crazy
So why you coming over,
Anything but sober?
Looking like it’s time tonight
For fight or flight
In Van Horn

On a Lighter Note…

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