365 Days of Song Recommendations: May 6
365 Days of Song Recommendations: May 6

Amarcord—Nino Rota

There are only so many instances in cinematic history where legendary filmmaker and composer are each other’s equal in every way, and inextricable accordingly.

Federico Fellini and Nino Rota are just such a pair.

Reputationally, Fellini’s star has perhaps shone brighter over time than has Rota’s, but those in the know know that his movies depend on Rota’s work for their lifeblood.

The challenge of picking but one melody from Rota’s exquisite treasure chest of creations is a nearly insurmountable one, but if one must choose, I suppose one could do worse than to lead with Amarcord.

I lived in…

365 Days of Song Recommendations: May 5
365 Days of Song Recommendations: May 5

La Favorite, Polka Francaise—Johann Strauss II

Some melodies, once you’ve heard them, simply never leave you again. This is one of those melodies.

I first heard it on the radio driving home from a gig. At the time, I had a pair of solo acoustic residencies going, and depending on which night it was, I would have one of two independent radio programs to listen to on the drive home—either free jazz, or classical. It was a classical night, and the DJ played this song right in the middle of my drive.

The way the strings first fall in reminds me, strangely enough, of the opening…

365 Days of Song Recommendations: May 4
365 Days of Song Recommendations: May 4

Inglan is a Bitch—Linton Kwesi Johnson

This really ought to be the shortest review in the history of music reviews. What else, after all, can be said, that the song title itself doesn’t say?

Linton Kwesi Johnson has been recognized the world over as a poet and activist of the highest stature, and his semi-spoken chanted observations—delivered over beguiling dub beats—combine wicked insights, droll humor, and an impassioned humanism to create something that is literally matchless in its singularity.

His published lyrics are rendered phonetically to capture the flavor of his patois—here is the closing of this brilliant track:

mi know dem have work, work in…

365 Days of Song Recommendations: May 2
365 Days of Song Recommendations: May 2

Jack the Ripper—Link Wray

Rock and Roll—real Rock and Roll—is not made by the privileged, the pretty, or the prodigy.

Neither is it made by the complacent, the coddled, or the cautious.

Real Rock and Roll is not a costume you put on, it’s an attitude you have. And that attitude does not come from a cigarette on your lips or a needle in your arm.

Real Rock and Roll does not perform back to you from the mirror.

Real Rock and Roll does not come from the best at anything.

Real Rock and Roll does not come from everything you can do. It…

365 Days of Song Recommendations: May 1
365 Days of Song Recommendations: May 1

Queer—Garbage

After the interstellar success of Nirvana’s Nevermind, folks were of course curious about what producer Butch Vig would do next.

I think it’s safe to say no could have predicted Garbage.

Vig himself described it as a “U-turn” brought about by his fatigue with producing guitar-bass-drums bands, and his burgeoning interest in the work of sample-driven acts like Public Enemy.

Garbage took shape in the sonic lab of three veteran rock players who were plotting their next musical move in—of all places—Madison, Wisconsin. …

365 Days of Song Recommendations: April 30
365 Days of Song Recommendations: April 30

You Gonna Need My Help—Muddy Waters

My favorite Muddy Waters performance from my favorite Muddy Waters album.

Muddy left Chicago for good on April 30, 1983. Not before changing music forever, and creating a legacy that may never be matched.

Folk Singer was released in 1964, and—excluding the “field recordings”—is his only all-acoustic album.

There have been some controversies around the release. …

365 Days of Song Recommendations: April 21
365 Days of Song Recommendations: April 21

Down and Out—Lonnie Mack

If you’re able to stop blathering half a minute about how much you miss Prince, you might recall that Lonnie Mack passed away on April 21, 2016 as well. Yeah, the EXACT same day.

That’s the kind of luck Lonnie had.

After the release of his debut The Wham of that Memphis Man in 1963, it appeared inevitable that the world would be welcoming another guitar hero onto its highest stages, and that his name would be on every rock n’ roll fans lips from that point forward.

That wouldn’t happen. Four nitwits from Liverpool would pull that rug out…

365 Days of Song Recommendations: April 19 (Paul Oscher edition)
365 Days of Song Recommendations: April 19 (Paul Oscher edition)

Alone With the Blues—Paul Oscher

Paul Oscher bid us farewell yesterday, and with him went a remarkable trove of stories and music that we can only hope history preserves.

His life was the stuff of legend—he lived in Muddy Waters’ basement, for fuck’s sake.

But while he played his character to the hilt, well into his wool-capped, lumberjack-bearded, chain-smoking final days, we must never let his outsized personality distract us from the music.

This is why I’ve chosen “Alone with the Blues”—the titular track from his 2004 release—for this very special recommendation. It brings us back to the music.

You’ll hear the prodigious technique that…

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow—The Ramones

April 15 is the day Joey Ramone finally traveled to the highest trails above.

What the world lost when Jeffrey Ross Hyman bid farewell to this mortal coil is incalculable.

Joey once named It’s Alive as his favorite Ramones album. It’s one of the greatest live albums by one of the greatest rock and roll bands.

“Here today, gone tomorrow” is not only a bittersweet eulogy tonight, it’s also one of my favorite Ramones songs:

I told you why we just can’t make it, I want you still but i just can’t take it, The time has come we ought…

Preacher Boy

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist , poet, writer. Vintage guitars, vintage typewriters, new Moleskines.

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