Love Is ~ Rod Stewart

rod-stewartRoderick David “Rod” Stewart, CBE,  is a British rock singer-songwriter. Born and raised in London, he is of English and Scottish ancestry. Stewart is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold over 100 million records worldwide.

He has had six consecutive number one albums in the UK, and his tally of 62 UK hit singles includes 31 that reached the top 10, six of which gained the number one position. He has had 16 top ten singles in the US, with four reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2007, he received a CBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music.

With his distinctive raspy singing voice, Stewart came to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s with The Jeff Beck Group and then with Faces, though his music career had begun in 1962 when he took up busking with a harmonica. In October 1963 he joined the Dimensions as a harmonica player and part-time vocalist, then in 1964 he joined Long John Baldry and the All Stars. Later, in August 1964, he also signed a solo contract, releasing his first solo single, “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”, in October of the same year. He maintained a solo career alongside a group career, releasing his debut solo album An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down (US: The Rod Stewart Album), in 1969. His early albums were a fusion of rock, folk music, soul music and R&B. His aggressive blues work with The Jeff Beck Group and the Faces influenced heavy metal genres.  From the late 1970s through the 1990s, Stewart’s music often took on a new wave or soft rock/middle-of-the-road quality, and in the early 2000s he released a series of successful albums interpreting the Great American Songbook.

In 2008, Billboard magazine ranked him the 17th most successful artist on the “Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists”. A Grammy and Brit Award recipient, he was voted at No. 33 in Q Magazine’s list of the top 100 Greatest Singers of all time, and No. 59 on Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Singers of all time.  As a solo artist, Stewart was inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2006 and was inducted a second time into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, as a member of the Faces.

Love Is

Love Is” is the first song and lead single on Another Country, the twenty-ninth studio album by British singer-songwriter Rod Stewart. It was released on 23 October 2015 through Capitol Records. It was produced by Stewart and Kevin Savigar.

Love Is – Rod Stewart

And so you come to me with your questions
On a subject on which I’m well-versed
Though I’m still as dumbfounded as the first time I found her
It’s either a blessing or a curse
Although I cannot offer solutions
It would be reckless of me to try
Cause it’s mystified man ever since time began
But hold on to your hat and I’ll try

[Chorus]
Love is like a burning arrow
It can pierce the coldest heart
Love is warm, love is patient
And the craziest thing you’ll ever start
All right

I recall when I was a young man
A day I’m never allowed to forget
There was a girl that I met who I dreamed I would wed
Forever I lodged in it, so hot
She said “you gotta stop worrying about the future”
“You know we’re far too young for that”
“I wanna spread my wings like a willow in the spring”
I never saw her pretty face again

[Chorus]
Love is life, love is yearning
It does not boast, but speaks the truth
Love is fair and knows no boundaries
And the craziest thing you’ll ever do
Oh, yeah

I wish you well in all of your travels
And may you find what you’re searching for
It’ll hit you like thunder when you find one another
And stay in your heart forevermore

[Chorus]
Love is like a four-leaf clover
Hard to find and hold onto
Love is blind, love is tender
And the craziest thing you’ll ever do
So crazy

  • Audio from the 2015 album, Another Country:

another-country-album

Play Love Is - by Rod Stewart

Doomed ~ Brent Amaker and the Rodeo

141028570_640Brent Amaker and the Rodeo is an American Country Western band from Seattle, Washington consisting of Brent Amaker, Tiny Dancer, Sugar McGuinn, Ben Strehle, and Bryan Crawford.

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo formed in Seattle, Washington, in 2005. The band’s image recalls influential country musician Johnny Cash, ‘The Man in Black’, as they dress head-to-toe in black with matching Stetson hats and cowboy boots. They are billed as influenced by art rock performers Devo and glam rock’s David Bowie.

Much emphasis is put into the band’s image as evidenced by a large collection of photos and music videos done by the band, fans, and photographers and videographers. The Rodeo have a cinematic quality and are often put in context of spaghetti western films made by Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone.

Their concerts often feature a dancing girl from local burlesque troupes and a phenomenon only known as the “Whiskey Baptism” where Amaker welcomes new fans into the “Church of the Rodeo” by pouring shots of liquor into their mouths.

Recently, they have been gaining notoriety from their cover of “Pocket Calculator” by German electro-pioneers Kraftwerk.

They also performed in the indie slasher film “Punch” directed by Jay Cynik. Cynik also wrote a comic book based on the exploits of the band on tour called “Mescal de la Muerte.” Illustrated by Portland, Oregon artist, Simon Young, the graphic adult novel was included in their 2010 release “Please Stand By.

Doomed

The best country music expresses profound things in the commonest of terms, and these postmodern cowpokes do a decent job approaching that. “In the end/ We’re all doomed/ Even if you’re living/ On the moon” on “Doomed” comes off as just careless rather than an endearingly glib take on mortality. But based on the hooting and hollering from the band during the interlude before the last chorus, that’s not their main concern. If country music really is for the everyman, why shouldn’t songs about the apocalypse two-step in on nursery-rhyme couplets? —  J. Arthur Bloom – Tiny Mix Tapes

Doomed was featured in the closing song of Showtime’s series finale of Weeds on September 26, 2011.

In the end We’re all doomed
Even if your livin’ on the moon
We’re all doomed.

Super volcano near
Even if we get out of here
We’re all doomed.
We’re doomed.

Enjoy your stay while you’re here
We’re Doomed.

So take this time to pass some love around
And tell your friends before they’re dead
Love is the only legacy you leave behind
Love is the only legacy you leave behind
And we’re all doomed

In the end We’re all doomed (yee haw)
Even if your livin’ on the moon
We’re all doomed.

How ’bout the big line across the sky
If it’s here we’re gonna die
Everyone dies

So take this time to pass some love around
And tell your friends before they’re dead
Love is the only legacy you leave behind
Love is the only legacy you leave behind (yes it is)
Love is the only legacy you leave behind
And we’re all doomed

  • Audio from the 2010 album, Please Stand By:
Play Doomed - by Brent Amaker and the Rodeo

The Rodeo Song ~ Garry Lee and the Showdown

The-Rodeo-Song-By-ShowdownGarry Lee and the Showdown were a country band from Armpit, Alberta, Canada.

A true collaboration of Alberta talent at its finest, Showdown began as a barn band in Armpit, Alberta in the late 70’s when Garry Lee Berthold would whistle while milking Bessie. His neighbor Charles Holly heard the blissful dairy-duties and before long, the two were jamming with their little animal friends. Deciding it would be best if their husbands simply abandoned farm life, Mrs Holly and Berthold packed up the kids and hubbies and headed to town. Arriving at the bustling metropolis of Medicine Hat, the two quickly took to fiddles and geetars. Low and behold … they were good. So good in fact they moved to the big city – Leduc. There, they attracted the attention of more farmers, fellow banjo and guitarist Kelly La Rocque and drummer Paul McLellan. When they decided to go on the road, Berthold decided to shorten his name to Garry Lee.

A cult following soon developed, unable to get enough of the group’s pure magnetism on stage. Two-stepping … this silly dance then that one … the boys were hot. They decided corporate types were never going to catch on to their brand of country music mixed with dry prairie humor, so they threw a couple of bags in their pickups and headed for the studios. Eventually agreeing to let Garry’s German Shephard in the building, the guys came out of Damon Studios in the spring of 1980 with what is quite honestly one of the most cleverly written, witty, ground-breaking, slickest sounding country records to ever come out of Canada, WELCOME TO THE RODEO. With Gaye Delorme’s song, “The Rodeo Song”, the band gained instant notoriety. Though the album jacket praises the song for being a future classic, right below it is a warning for radio DJ’s not to play it. Read the lyrics below and you’ll know why …..

The Rodeo Song

Originally written by Gaye Delorme, Garry Lee and the Showdown were the ones to make it famous in their 1980 album, “Welcome to the Rodeo”.  For obvious reasons, it would never receive radio air play, so its popularity was spread mainly through clubs and other venues.

The Rodeo Song – Gaye Delorme

Well it’s 40 below and I don’t give a fuck
Got a heater in my truck and I’m off to the rodeo
And it’s allemande left and allemande right
Come on ya fuckin’ dummy get your right step right
Get off the stage ya god damn goof, get off

piss me off, fuckin’ jerk, get on my nerves

Well here comes Johnny with his pecker in his hand
He’s a one ball man and he’s off to the rodeo
And it’s allemande left and allemande right
Come on ya fuckin’ dummy get your right step right
Get off the stage ya god damn goof, get off

piss me off, fuckin’ jerk, get on my nerves

Well it’s 40 below and I aint got a truck
and I dont give a fuck cause I’m off to the rodeo
And it’s allemande left and allemande right
Come on ya fuckin’ dummy get your right step right
Get off the stage ya god damn goof, get off

piss me off, fuckin’ jerk, get on my nerves

Well here comes Johnny with his pecker in his hand
He’s a one ball man and he’s off to the rodeo
And it’s allemande left and allemande right
Come on ya fuckin’ dummy get your right step right
Get off the stage ya god damn goof, get off

piss me off, fuckin’ jerks, get on my nerves

  • Audio from the 1994 album, The Rodeo Song “The Original Hit”:

showdown

Play The Rodeo Song - by Garry Lee and the Showdown

Pictures of Matchstick Men – Status Quo

Status-Quo---1968--1Status Quo, also known as The Quo or just Quo, are an English rock band whose music is characterized by their distinctive brand of boogie rock.

The origins of Status Quo were in the rock and roll freakbeat band “The Spectres” formed in 1962. Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster met at Sedgehill Comprehensive School, Catford, and were members of the same orchestra. They started a band called The Scorpions, later changing the name to “The Spectres”. Rossi and Lancaster played their first gig at the Samuel Jones Sports Club in Dulwich, London. In 1963 they added drummer John Coghlan. They began writing their own material and after a year met Rick Parfitt who was playing with a cabaret band called The Highlights. By the end of 1965 Rossi and Parfitt, who had become close friends, made a commitment to continue working together. On 18 July 1966 The Spectres signed a five-year deal with Piccadilly Records, releasing two singles that year, “I (Who Have Nothing)” and “Hurdy Gurdy Man” (written by Alan Lancaster), and one the next year called “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet” (a song originally recorded by New York psychedelic band The Blues Magoos).

By 1967, the group had discovered psychedelia and changed their name to Traffic (later amended to Traffic Jam, to avoid confusion with Steve Winwood’s Traffic). At this time the line-up also included organist Roy Lynes.  In late 1967 the band became The Status Quo, and in January 1968 they released the psychedelic-favored “Pictures of Matchstick Men”

Pictures of Matchstick Men

The song opens with a single guitar repeatedly playing a simple four note riff before the rhythm guitar comes in with chords and the drums and lyrics begin. Pictures of Matchstick Men is one of a number of songs from the late sixties to feature phasing (the audio effect).

I wrote it on the bog. I’d gone there, not for the usual reasons…but to get away from the wife and mother-in-law. I used to go into this narrow frizzing toilet and sit there for hours, until they finally went out. I got three quarters of the song finished in that khazi. The rest I finished in the lounge.”

The song is an example of bubblegum psychedelia. Their following release Black Veils of Melancholy was similar but flopped and so caused the group to change direction.

The “matchstick men” of the song refer to the paintings of L.S. Lowry.

Pictures of Matchstick Men – Francis Rossi

When I look up to the skies
I see your eyes a funny kind of yellow
I rush home to bed I soak my head
I see your face underneath my pillow
I wake next morning, tired, still yawning
See your face come peeping through my window

Pictures of matchstick men and you
Mirages of matchstick men and you
All I ever see is them and you

Windows echo your reflection
When I look in their direction now
When will this haunting stop?
Your face it just won’t leave me alone

Pictures of matchstick men and you
Mirages of matchstick men and you
All I ever see is them and you

You’re in the sky and with the sky
You make men cry, you lie
You’re in the sky and with the sky
You make men cry, you lie

Pictures of matchstick men and
Pictures of matchstick men and you
Pictures of matchstick men ….

  • Audio from the 1968 album, Picturesque Matchstickable Messages From The Status Quo:

Picturesque

Play Pictures of Matchstick Men - by Status Quo

The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades ~ Timbuk3

timbuk3Timbuk3 was an American alternative pop band formed in 1984 by the husband and wife team of Pat MacDonald (acoustic, electric, bass and MIDI guitars, harmonica, vocals, drum programming) and Barbara K. MacDonald (electric guitar, mandolin, violin, rhythm programming, vocals).

The duo began playing together in Madison, Wisconsin. Initially they performed live as a duo backed up by a large boombox. This boombox technique, unique at the time, represented a transition in music, and its public popularity set the stage for backtracking and samplers becoming common place techniques still used today.

Timbuk3 was signed by I.R.S. Records after appearing on an episode of MTV’s The Cutting Edge in 1986. Soon after, they released their first album, Greetings from Timbuk3.  They were joined in 1991 by Wally Ingram and Courtney Audain.  The group broke up in 1995, with the ex-members going on to record other music independently.

The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

The inspiration for the song, and the title specifically, came when Barbara K. MacDonald said to her partner and husband Pat MacDonald “The future is looking so bright, we’ll have to wear sunglasses!” But, while Barbara had made the comment in earnest – it was the early ’80s, the two had met and married and were starting a family, their first EP was coming, their book was filling up with gigs – Pat heard the comment as an ironic quip and wrote down instead, “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.”

From there, the lyrics to the song were born, but not the song as it ended up in the minds of popular culture. While Pat wrote a song of a youthful nuclear scientist and his monied future, listening audiences heard a graduation theme song.

Pat revealed on VH1’s “100 Greatest One-hit Wonders of the ’80s” list that the meaning of the song was widely misinterpreted as a positive perspective in regard to the near future. Pat somewhat clarified the meaning by stating that it was, contrary to popular belief, a “grim” outlook. While not saying so directly, he hinted at the idea that the bright future was in fact due to impending nuclear holocaust. The “job waiting” after graduation signified the demand for nuclear scientists to facilitate such events. Pat drew upon the multitude of past predictions which transcend several cultures that foreshadow the world ending in the 1980s, along with the nuclear tension at the height of the cold war to compile the song.

The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades – Pat MacDonald

I study nuclear science
I love my classes
I got a crazy teacher
He wears dark glasses

Things are goin’ great
And they’re only gettin’ better
I’m doin’ all right
Gettin’ good grades
The future’s so bright
I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades

I got a job waitin’
For my graduation
50 thou a year
will buy a lotta beer

Things are goin’ great
And they’re only gettin’ better
I’m doin’ all right
Gettin’ good grades
The future’s so bright
I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades

Well I’m heavenly blessed
And worldly wise
I’m a peeping Tom techie
With x-ray eyes

Things are goin’ great
And they’re only gettin’ better
I’m doin’ all right
Gettin’ good grades
The future’s so bright
I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades

I study nuclear science
I love my classes
I got a crazy teacher
He wears dark glasses

Things are goin’ great
And they’re only gettin’ better
I’m doin’ all right
Gettin’ good grades
The future’s so bright
I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades

  • Audio from the 1986 album, Greetings from Timbuk 3:

Greetings_From_Timbuk_3

Play The Future's So Bright - by Timbuk3

Sylvia’s Mother ~ Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1970: Photo of Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show was a pop-country rock band formed around Union City, New Jersey in 1968. There the band’s earliest incarnation played many small clubs around the ‘Transfer Station’, an area of bars and restaurants, all advertising ‘live’ music.

The founding core of the band consisted of four friends–George Cummings, Dennis Locorriere, Ray Sawyer, Billy Francis–who had played up and down the East Coast and into the Midwest, ending up in New Jersey one by one, with invitations from founding band member George Cummings. Told by a club owner that they needed a name to put on a poster in the window of his establishment, Cummings made a sign: “Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show: Tonic for the Soul.” The name was inspired by the traveling medicine shows of the old West. To this day, frontman Ray Sawyer is mistakenly considered Dr. Hook because of the eyepatch he wears as the result of a near-fatal 1967 car accident.

The band played for about two years in New Jersey, first with drummer Popeye Phillips, a session drummer on The Flying Burrito Brothers first album, The Gilded Palace of Sin. Citing musical differences, Popeye returned home to Alabama and was replaced by local drummer Joey Oliveri. When the band began recording their first album it became obvious that they would need a more solid back beat, and Olivieri was replaced by session player John “Jay” David, who was asked to join the band, full time.

In 1970, their demo tapes were heard by Ron Haffkine, musical director on the planned Herb Gardner movie, Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?, starring Dustin Hoffman as a successful songwriter having a nervous breakdown. The songs for the film were written by cartoonist, poet and songwriter Shel Silverstein, who determined that Dr. Hook was the ideal group for the soundtrack. Among the several songs the group did for the film, Dennis Locorriere sang the lead on “Last Morning,” the movie’s theme song, later re-recorded for their second album, Sloppy Seconds. The film was released in 1971 by National General Pictures to mixed reviews.

Meanwhile, CBS Records head Clive Davis had a memorable meeting with the group, described in Davis’ autobiography. Drummer David used a wastepaper basket to keep the beat, and while Sawyer, Locorriere and Cummings played and sang a few songs, Francis hopped up and danced on the mogul’s desk. This meeting secured the band their first record deal. Subsequently the band went on to international success over the next 12 years with Haffkine as the group’s manager as well as producer of all the Dr.Hook recordings.

Their self-titled 1971 debut album featured guitarist Cummings, singer Sawyer, drummer David, singer/guitarist, bass player Locorriere, and keyboard player Billy Francis. The album included their first hit, “Sylvia’s Mother.”

Shel Silverstein wrote the lyrics for many of Dr. Hook’s early songs (in fact, he wrote their entire second album), such as “Sylvia’s Mother”, “Everybody’s Makin’ It Big But Me”, “Penicillin Penny”, “The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan”, “Carry Me Carrie”, “The Wonderful Soup Stone”, and at least 24 more, some co-written with Ray Sawyer and/or Dennis Locorriere.

Sylvia’s Mother

The song tells the story of a man trying to say one last goodbye to his ex-girlfriend but is not able to get past her mother, who tries to interfere.

Sylvia’s Mother – Shel Silverstein

Sylvia’s mother says Sylvia’s busy, too busy to come to the phone
Sylvia’s mother says Sylvia’s tryin’ to start a new life of her own
Sylvia’s mother says Sylvia’s happy so why don’t you leave her alone
And the operator says forty cents more for the next three minutes

Please Mrs. Avery, I just gotta talk to her,
I’ll only keep her a while
Please Mrs. Avery, I just wanna tell her goodbye

Sylvia’s mother says Sylvia’s packin’ she’s gonna be leavin’ today
Sylvia’s mother says Sylvia’s marryin’ a fella down Galveston way
Sylvia’s mother says please don’t say nothin’ to make her start cryin’ and stay
And the operator says forty cents more for the next three minutes

Please Mrs. Avery, I just gotta talk to her,
I’ll only keep her a while
Please Mrs. Avery, I just wanna tell her goodbye

Sylvia’s mother says Sylvia’s hurryin’ she’s catchin’ the nine o’clock train
Sylvia’s mother says take your umbrella cause Sylvie, it’s startin’ to rain
And Sylvia’s mother says thank you for callin’ and sir won’t you call back again
And the operator says forty cents more for the next three minutes

Please Mrs. Avery, I just gotta talk to her,
I’ll only keep her a while
Please Mrs. Avery, I just wanna tell her goodbye

Tell her goodbye…
Please… tell her goodbye..

  • Audio from the 1972 album, Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show:

61fp5cEWlRL

Play Sylvia's Mother - by Dr. Hook &

Fast Car – Tracy Chapman

tracyBorn in Cleveland, Ohio, Tracy Chapman began playing guitar and writing songs at the age of eleven. She was accepted into A Better Chance, the national resource for identifying, recruiting and developing leaders among academically gifted students of color, which enabled her to attend Wooster School in Connecticut, and was eventually accepted to Tufts University.

In May 2004, Tufts honored her with an honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts, for her contributions as a socially conscious and artistically accomplished musician.

Fast Car

The song’s narrative is complex and evolving, telling a tale of generational poverty. The song’s narrator tells the tale of her hard life, which began when she quit school to look after her father, who was unable to work any longer- however, the mother decided to leave him, due to the fact that he was an alcoholic and that she wanted more out of life. Eventually, she decides to leave her small dead-end town with her partner in hopes of making a better life for themselves. Despite obtaining employment and being able to pay off the bills, they are ultimately unable to break the cycle, and her life begins to take an ironic twist when her own partner remains largely unemployed and becomes a heavy drinker who spends more nights at the bar with his friends than he does with his own children. Rather than abandoning him and her children (much like how her own mother did in her childhood), she vows that she’ll stay behind, claiming that she’s “got no plans and ain’t going nowhere”; but in saying this, she also gives her partner an ultimatum: decide whether to stay or “take his fast car, and keep on driving”.

Fast Car – Tracy Chapman

You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere

Anyplace is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we’ll make something
But me myself I got nothing to prove

You got a fast car
And I got a plan to get us out of here
I been working at the convenience store
Managed to save just a little bit of money
We won’t have to drive too far
Just ‘cross the border and into the city
You and I can both get jobs
And finally see what it means to be living

You see my old man’s got a problem
He live with the bottle that’s the way it is
He says his body’s too old for working
I say his body’s too young to look like his
My mama went off and left him
She wanted more from life than he could give
I said somebody’s got to take care of him
So I quit school and that’s what I did

You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so we can fly away
We gotta make a decision
We leave tonight or live and die this way

I remember we were driving driving in your car
The speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
And I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
And we go cruising to entertain ourselves
You still ain’t got a job
And I work in a market as a checkout girl
I know things will get better
You’ll find work and I’ll get promoted
We’ll move out of the shelter
Buy a big house and live in the suburbs

I remember we were driving driving in your car
The speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
And I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
And I got a job that pays all our bills
You stay out drinking late at the bar
See more of your friends than you do of your kids
I’d always hoped for better
Thought maybe together you and me would find it
I got no plans I ain’t going nowhere
So take your fast car and keep on driving

I remember we were driving driving in your car
The speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
And I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so you can fly away
You gotta make a decision
You leave tonight or live and die this way

  • Audio from the 1988 album, Tracy Chapman:

tracy-chapman-album

Play Fast Car - by Tracy Chapman
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