A Night in San Francisco takes me back to Addison and Lakewood in Chicago. Our secret rendezvous to a corner pub where we hung on the walls and the ceiling, talked for hours, played no games, just connected. You were a beautiful vision. Have I told you lately that I love you?
Rock ‘n Roll music has always been a voice of self-consciousness and defiance. In the past it has called out abuse and questioned tyranny especially in the late 1960s and early 70s. It has rallied youth and provided a platform for generations to speak out against injustice, corruption and intolerance. Now especially is the time for underground American rock to reawaken. Who will be the new voice in these troubled times?
R.E.M’s Fables of the Reconstruction was one of the rural soundscapes of my youth in the 1980’s.
Today’s runner is a tip of the hat to singer songwriter Bob Dylan, who this morning became the first musician to received The Nobel Prize for Literature for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”. The Duluth Minnesota native adds this to his long list of honors which include multiple Grammy’s, Academy and Golden Globe Awards and induction into the Grammy and Rock & Roll Halls of Fame over the course of his 50+ years in the music industry.
With some 60 albums to choose from, I grabbed about halfway into his catalog pulling out 1983’s Infidels. Released over 30 years ago, I hate to keep making comparisons between classic albums like this and issues we are dealing with today, but come on! Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad certainly have a friend in the Neighborhood Bully, the calculated perpetration of the Union Sundown is without a doubt for real, and this last presidential debate has shown us that for the first time in our history, with a Jokerman lurking behind her, we have a woman on our block sitting there in a cold chill, saying, “who’s gonna take away his license to kill?”
Infidels is not as great as Dylan masterpieces like Blonde on Blonde or Blood on the Tracks, but it stands up within a body of work overflowing with classics, one which no other rock band or artist will ever equal.
Sweetheart Like You
License To Kill
Man Of Peace
I and I
Don’t Fall Apart On Me Tonight
Van Morrison’s Moondance is a marvelous record steeped in passion and spirit. A fantabulous soundscape for a rare late night run. It stoned me to my soul, stoned me just like jellyrolls. Stream for yourself.
01 And It Stoned Me
03 Crazy Love
05 Into the Mystic
06 Come Running
07 These Dreams of You
08 Brand New Day
10 Glad Tidings
“I’m so tightly wound in tension, feel just like a guitar string. Waiting to reveal emotions, touch me and you’ll hear me sing…”
Singer song writer Billy Bragg has been crafting albums for well over 30 years. Throughout that time he has been the “working man’s” voice carrying the torch, once held by Woody Guthrie, then Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. His poetry has never brought him the fame and fortune the latter is known for, but his songs are every bit as germane and even more socially biting than those of his predecessors.
Bragg emerged from the volatile British Punk movement of the late 70’s writing and preforming protest songs with the punk group RIFF RAFF. After a short stint in the British Army, he returned to the music scene in the 80’s as a solo artist, opening for other bands, and playing where ever he could. Much like Woody Gutherie did in America during the great depression, Bragg found an audience for his music at leftist political rallies, strikes, and benefits across England. He developed a loyal following and released relevant social commentary, for the time, with albums like Talking with the Taxman About Poetry and Don’t try this at home. In the 90’s he started the Utility Record Label to give a voice to other less commercial new artists. In the late 90’s he teamed up with American alternative band Wilco to record a two volume collection of unpublished songs by Guthrie titled Mermaid Avenue.
His latest release, Tooth and Nail, finds Bragg slightly tempered, as he steps back and reflects internally on life and family. Songs like Do Unto Others, Swallow My Pride and Handyman Blues are beautifully crafted pieces that furnish comfort to the mind and soul. Bragg doesn’t completely buck tradition though. He is still aware of what’s going on around him, No One Knows Nothing Anymore and There will Be a Reckoning, but here he is also getting his own house in order, taking time, hanging curtains, mending fences, and finding solitude in sooth.
“There will be a reckoning. For the pedlars of hate. Who spread their poison all across this estate And a reckoning too, for the politicians who, left us to this fate. There will be a reckoning.”
Tooth and Nail is minimalistic, classic “William” at his best. Good stuff for all the hard working blokes out there.
Take it on the run, and Enjoy!
If you like rock, blues and great guitar playing, and are unfamiliar with Irish Rocker Rory Gallagher, just push play! While touring for his second album in 1973 Gallagher wrote these 9 vintage hard punching originals that would make up his brilliant classic set titled Tattoo. Out of the box Tattoo’d Lady and Cradle Rock, followed by some fine delta slide with 20:20 Vision and Who’s That Coming. This record jams from start to finish, bound tightly by Lou Martin’s keyboards and hard pounding Rod de’Ath drums. The expanded remastered set closes with an acoustic waltz Tucson, Arizona and the Rosco Gordon blues classic Just a Little Bit.
Tattoo clocks in at just under one hour.