I can’t really listen to the radio anymore.
Stations today pretty much suck. Much like chain store record department employees, most on-air people are out of their depth. They don’t have a good grasp of what they’re trying to sell or present. They aren’t lifers. They don’t live and breathe the music. Perhaps that has a lot to do with the fact that they’re not choosing what to play (or in the case of the chain store clerk, they are not there by choice but promoted from the small appliances department).
Oldies radio recycles the same few hits by the same few bands and never play the chestnuts. Hell, most of these stations are farmed in from a few central syndicates anyway, so the concept of a revisiting a regional classic is pretty much gone. Some consultant somewhere is choosing titles from a list of what their contractual rights enable them to play without paying additional royalties. It’s dull, lifeless, repetitive.
Oh, I know there are exceptions. There are a couple of guys in my town who have an occasional 3-4 hour slot that can be very entertaining, but the airtime doesn’t line up with my schedule. And maybe satellite radio would cure me of this low opinion; one listen to someone like Little Steven and you see what a world of difference it makes when the creator of the show is deeply invested in every song and detail. Like a great mixtape, each song brings a nod and a smile; it’s great when you’re on that wavelength.
But I don’t need radio anymore. It hasn’t been able to teach me anything in years…decades, perhaps. But I have a lifetime of music to draw upon, and a continuing pipeline of great music that real artists continue to make regardless of apathy, challenges and obstacles. Bless you, fellow zealots.
S0 this week I present you with ten rockin’ recollections, ten songs that I thought of while daydreaming this morning. There’s no logical sequence, it isn’t a mix, and although the thrust of it hovers in the 70s, it wasn’t by design. Just ten great songs that you’ll probably never hear on the radio, but they put a smile on my face and I hope they put a smile on yours.
Enjoy the weekend!
Graham Parker: “Temporary Beauty“. Nice live version from a guy who has been making one brilliant album after another for thirty-five years; he doesn’t get anywhere near the credit he deserves.
Santana: “Soul Sacrifice“. Michael Shrieve is mindblowing on drums; Santana wowed everybody at Woodstock. Shrieve, at twenty, looked like Sid Vicious!
The Cruzados: “Bed Of Lies“. Vastly underrated band who had a couple of excellent records in the 80s; even Dylan is a fan. This and “Motorcycle Girl” were my faves.
John Hiatt and Matthew Sweet): “Girlfriend“. From Vh-1 Duets. You know, back when music stations actually programmed music content? They also covered “I Wanna Be Sedated” that night!
? and the Mysterians: “Do Something To Me“. Garage gods! This song wasn’t a hit for them although Tommy James had success with it. They still sound great today.
Edgar Winter Group: “Queen of My Dreams” Dan Hartman goes all Led Zeppelin on us. He was the soul of this group and an incredible talent.
Montrose: “Bad Motor Scooter“. Still smokes 36 years later. Sammy had poodle hair, Ronnie Montrose left Edgar Winter after “Frankenstein”.
J. Geils Band: “Lookin’ For a Love“. Best. Party. Band. Ever. Saw a clip of them from a recent reunion and Peter Wolf can still work that stage like a scarecrow jacked up on coke.
Van Duren: “Grow Yourself Up“. Underknown pop giant who was part of the Memphis scene circa Big Star and came up to Connecticut to record at Big Sound Records. New album in 2010.
Johnny Winter: “Jumping Jack Flash“. With Floyd Radford and Randy Jo Hobbs, although they’re just hanging on for dear life. Johnny owns this song!