Monday’s Music Moves Me Bloghop: Locations theme

Happy Monday! Today I’m taking part in a Blog Hop called Monday’s Music Moves Me. I visited my friend Mary’s blog at JingleJangleJungle today and discovered that she was honored with choosing the theme for this week’s Monday’s Music Moves Me. It’s a fun theme: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Songs that have Locations in the Title.

I thought of so many songs that I like with locations in the title that I decided to put a playlist together to share with you all. Here’s my list. Click into the YouTube video playlist and you can listen to the songs and check out the videos: some of them are pretty cool.

The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia by Vicki Lawrence

Waterloo by Abba

The Night Chicago Died by Paper Lace

Jesus Just Left Chicago by ZZ Top

La Grange by ZZ Top

Last Train to Clarksville by The Monkees

New York State of Mind by Billy Joel

Marrakesh Express by Crosby, Stills & Nash

Woman from Tokyo by Deep Purple

Philadephia Freedom by Elton John

Scarborough Fair by Simon & Garfunkel

Woodstock by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – EXCELLENT Woodstock video, for those of us who like to get retro. Check out this counterculture anthem!

Witchita Lineman by Glen Campbell

Youngstown by Bruce Springsteen – I went to college at Youngstown State University in Ohio and Bruce’s song tells about the history of the town. When I was there in the early 80s, it was a sad city of shutdown steel mills and had the highest unemployment rate in the country at the time. The song highlights the situation.

My City Was Gone by The Pretenders  — This song doesn’t have an exact location in the title but it’s meaningful to me because as it’s a song about Chrissie Hynde’s hometown of Akron, Ohio. When I was away at college in Ohio, my friend Jeff told me that every time he heard that song it reminded him of me. So it’s very special to me.

I also wanted to include New York Minute by Don Henley but it has strict copyright restrictions so there was no YouTube video and I couldn’t include it in the playlist. But you can click here to give it a listen. It’s an excellent high quality version of the song so be sure to check it out. It’s worth it!

 

Hope you enjoy my Monday’s Music Moves Me playlist of Songs with Locations in the Title. Thanks to all the hosts and to Mary for the great theme!

 

Today’s post is part of the Monday’s Music Moves Me blog hop, hosted by X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Callie of JAmerican Spice, Stacy of Stacy Uncorked and Cathy from Curious as a Cathy.  Be sure to stop by the hosts and visit the other participants as well.

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Battle of the Bands: Doctor My Eyes by Jackson Browne

It’s June 15th and the official kickoff to Battle of the Bands going monthly. From here on out, Battles will be held once a month, on the 15th of every month. (Note: some BOTB participants will still post two battles per month, on the 1st and the 15th).

My mid-month battle is featuring the song Doctor My Eyes by Jackson Browne.

“Doctor My Eyes” is a 1972 song written and performed by Jackson Browne and included on his debut album Jackson Browne. Featuring a combination of an upbeat piano riff coupled, somewhat ironically, with lyric about feeling world-weary, the song was a surprise hit, reaching #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in spring 1972, after debuting on the chart at #80. In Canada, the song peaked at #4.

Jesse Ed Davis played the electric guitar while David Crosby and Graham Nash sang backing vocals, and Russ Kunkel played drums.

I’ve always loved this song. It’s interesting in that the upbeat music doesn’t match the lyrics. Here’s some history of the song from Wikipedia: William Ruhlmann on Allmusic.com elaborated on the development of the song: “Browne first recorded a demo of ‘Doctor My Eyes’ for the Criterion Music publishing company in early 1971, and despite its striking imagery and carefully crafted writing, it was a bleak song… By the time he came to record the song for his first album in the summer of 1971, however, Browne had revised the lyric, tossing out the most pessimistic lines. Now, ‘Doctor My Eyes’ was the statement of a man who had stoically endured life’s hardships, but having done so, now worried that he had been rendered unable to feel anything. It still wasn’t an optimistic song, but the unhappy ending had been rendered ambiguous.” Ruhlmann addresses the final recorded version’s “paradoxical sense” between the music and the lyrics: “Working with other musicians, Browne drastically altered the sound of the song on record. A lively 4/4 beat, played on drums and congas, and supported by piano, set up a catchy underlying riff before the lyrics even began. Browne’s singing was supported by Graham Nash and David Crosby’s harmonies, giving the lyrics an emotional edge. On the whole, the arrangement and performance worked against the still desperate message contained in the words.” There was originally a third verse to the song, but it was not retained when Browne recorded the song for his debut album. The lost verse, however, can be found on circulating bootlegs of the song’s original demo.

In part 1 of the 2013 documentary History of the Eagles, JD Souther and Glenn Frey discuss at some length the process of Browne’s work methods while Browne was working on the song over a period of some months. The three lived in adjacent downmarket apartments; the future Eagles would hear Browne, through the walls, at work on his piano every morning.

On the song’s reception: Jeff Walker, in his review of Browne’s debut album for Phonograph Record magazine in 1972, wrote that “Doctor My Eyes” is one of a number of tracks on the album that “deal with a spiritual search; no preaching, no conclusions, just searching.”

Ruhlmann on Allmusic called it “a rollicking pop/rock song about being almost terminally burnt out.”

Here’s a terrific live performance of Jackson Browne’s appearance on Rockpalast (Rock Palace), a German music television show, in 1986. Don’t vote for this version: it’s here for your enjoyment only.

 

THE BATTLE, featuring female vocals:

CONTENDER #1: Wilson Phillips 

Wilson Phillips covered the song on their 2004 album “California”.  Wilson Phillips is an American vocal group consisting of Carnie Wilson, Wendy Wilson, and Chynna Phillips, the daughters, respectively, of Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys and of John and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas. (If the video doesn’t play for some reason, you can hear the version here)

 

CONTENDER #2: Gretchen Wilson

Gretchen Frances Wilson (born June 26, 1973) is an American country music artist. She made her debut in 2004 with the Grammy Award-winning single “Redneck Woman,” a number-one hit on the Billboard country charts. She covered the song for the 2013 album “Under the Covers“.

 

TIME TO VOTE! Which version do you like better and why? When you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:

Thanks for your participation and your votes! I’ll be back next month, on July 15th, for another battle. Until then, rock on…

Battle of the Bands RESULTS: Losing My Religion

Here are the results from my latest Battle of the Bands, which featured R.E.M.’s 1991 hit Losing My Religion. The battle was between Passenger and Jacqui Naylor.

Well, Jacqui Naylor sure didn’t fare well in this battle! She only managed to pull in one vote..and it wasn’t mine. I voted with the majority and went with Passenger.

Final Tally:

Passenger:  9 votes

Jacqui Naylor:  1 vote

I’ll be back on June 15th for another battle. Until then, I’ll leave you with a few Passenger originals. First up is Let Her Go from Passenger’s third album All the Little Lights, released in 2012:

Next up is Somebody’s Love, the lead single from his most recent album Young as the Morning, Old as the Sea, released late last year:

 

See ya on the 15th!

Battle of the Bands: Losing My Religion by R.E.M. #BOTB

It’s June 1st and in another 30 days 2017 will be half over already! But let’s stop the clock for a minute or two and groove on another Battle of the Bands. My battle today features R.E.M.’s 1991 hit Losing My Religion

“Losing My Religion” is a song by the American alternative rock band R.E.M. The song was released as the first single from the group’s 1991 album Out of Time. Built on a mandolin riff, “Losing My Religion” was an unlikely hit for the group, garnering heavy airplay on radio as well as on MTV due to its critically acclaimed music video. The song became R.E.M.’s highest-charting hit in the United States, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and expanding the group’s popularity beyond its original fanbase. It was nominated for several Grammy Awards, and won two for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Short Form Music Video.

Interesting tidbit: About the lyrics, and in particular the song title: “In the song, R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe sings the lines “That’s me in the corner/That’s me in the spotlight/Losing my religion”. The phrase “losing my religion” is an expression from the southern region of the United States that means losing one’s temper or civility, or “being at the end of one’s rope.” Stipe told The New York Times the song was about romantic expression. He told Q that “Losing My Religion” is about “someone who pines for someone else. It’s unrequited love, what have you.” Stipe compared the song’s theme to “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, saying, “It’s just a classic obsession pop song. I’ve always felt the best kinds of songs are the ones where anybody can listen to it, put themselves in it and say, ‘Yeah, that’s me.’

That was pretty cool: I never really understood what the song lyric “losing my religion” meant or to what it referred. I had no idea it was a southern expression!

The music video for “Losing My Religion” was directed by Tarsem Singh. This battle actually came to me after researching the Pepsi commercial featured in Mike Spain’s May 15th Battle (using Queen’s We Will Rock You song). I hadn’t seen the commercial before and wondered when it was produced. It led me to discover Director Tarsem Singh’s works, one of them being the award-winning R.E.M. music video for Losing My Religion. More specifically, “the music video was nominated in nine categories at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards. The video won six awards, including Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Art Direction, Best Direction, and Best Editing. “Losing My Religion” also ranked second in the music video category of the 1991 Pazz & Jop poll.” (Source: Wikipedia)

I love this song! This is the R.E.M. official music video. But don’t vote for this version! This is for your enjoyment only. TURN IT UP!

 

THE BATTLE

Contender #1:  PASSENGER

Michael David Rosenberg (born 17 May 1984), better known by his stage name Passenger, is an English singer-songwriter and musician. Previously the main vocalist and songwriter of Passenger, Rosenberg opted to keep the band’s name for his solo work after the band dissolved in 2009. His most successful single, “Let Her Go”, has topped the charts in many countries. In 2014, the song was nominated for the Brit Award for British Single of the Year, and he received the British Academy’s Ivor Novello Award for Most Performed Work.

Passenger just came through my town last month, Austin TX, on his North American Tour. About Austin he said, “One of the tour highlights without a doubt. What a fun town and the bbq was outstanding as ever 😉 thanks to everyone at Stubb’s Austin for the amazing hospitality !!!!”

Austin is such a cool town! And Stubbs is this really awesome outdoor venue downtown that hosts so many brilliant bands. I’ve been to several events at Stubbs: Great music, great barbecue and cold beer on a gorgeous spring evening: Ah, it just doesn’t get any better…  (And Stubbs Bar-B-Q Sauce is THE BEST (and it’s the only brand I buy! I purchase it at my local grocery store but you can buy it at amazon as well. Try it, you’ll like it!). Unfortunately, I did not attend the Passenger concert last month.

Here is his cover of Losing My Religion:

 

Contender #2:  JACQUI NAYLOR

About Jacqui Naylor, Jazz Times writes: “Jacqui Naylor is the new voice of jazz-pop.”

“In the never-ending “next big thing” sweepstakes, bet on Jacqui Naylor to be a frontrunner. She bears a striking resemblance to Diana Krall and echos the Canadian diva’s roundly rich sound. Naylor’s voice suggests, though, a slightly deeper sensuality and is charged with a strong jolt of Norah Jones’ folk-jazz electricity. Her originals are Joni Mitchell good.”

On Jacqui Naylor’s site, her biography states: “Jacqui Naylor is not an easy artist to categorize. There are times when she performs straight-ahead vocal jazz, but at other times she favors more of a folk-rock/adult alternative approach. Depending on the mood she is in at a given moment, the northern Californian can bring to mind anyone from Cassandra Wilson or British jazz vocalist Claire Martin to Sarah McLachlan or Shawn Colvin — she is as comfortable among jazz improvisers as she is in the singer/songwriter world. During one of her live performances, Naylor has no problem singing smoky jazz one minute and folk-rock or adult alternative the next — and there are times when she blurs the line between the two…”

This performance is Live at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, Seattle WA:

 

TIME TO VOTE! Which version do you like better and why? When you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:

 

Thanks for your participation! I’ll be back in six days to post the results…

Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band dead at 69

photo from alchetron.com site

Another huge loss to the music industry, Gregg Allman has died today at the age of 69. Such a talented musician. I’ve always been a fan of the Allman Brothers and in fact saw them in concert a while back here in Austin at an outdoor venue that I can’t remember (it was that long ago…). The photo above is how I best remember Gregg Allman. And here he is back in 2011, arriving at the 45th Annual CMA Awards:

Gregg Allman

FILE – In this Nov. 9, 2011 file photo, singer Gregg Allman arrives at the 45th Annual CMA Awards in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)

At the end of this post I’ve included a playlist of my favorite Allman Brothers songs. Here’s an interesting tidbit that I came across regarding their 1971 Live album, “At Fillmore East”, considered to be their #1 album:

“Typically, we tend to stay away from live albums on our Best to Worst lists. But ‘At Fillmore East’ isn’t a typical live album. Before its release in 1971, the Allman Brothers were a fledgling southern-rock band with a growing cult interest but little mainstream support. The double live ‘At Fillmore East’ changed all that. The band became huge overnight, and their dynamic performances on this monumental release pretty much set them up for life. It’s a career-making and -defining live album, and arguably the greatest concert album ever made by a rock band.”                  (Source: Ultimate Classic Rock site)

 

 

But first, let’s honor Gregg’s solo work with his most successful single on his own. I’m No Angel, released in 1987 from The Gregg Allman Band’s studio album of the same name. It was an unexpected hit, reaching #1 on Billboard’s Album Rock Tracks chart:

 

I read the sad news in this AP article, as reported by RUSS BYNUM and KRISTIN M. HALL, The Associated Press:

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Music legend Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel the Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn Southern rock, died Saturday, a publicist said. He was 69.

Allman died at his home in Savannah, Georgia, publicist Ken Weinstein said. A statement on the singer’s website says he “passed away peacefully.”

Allman had cancelled some 2016 tour dates, announcing on Aug. 5 that he was “under his doctor’s care at the Mayo Clinic” due to “serious health issues.” Later that year, he canceled more dates, citing a throat injury. And in March 2017, he canceled performances for the rest of the year.

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, the rock star known for his long blond hair was raised in Florida by a single mother after his father was shot to death. Allman idolized his older brother, Duane, eventually joining a series of bands with him. Together they formed the nucleus of The Allman Brothers Band.

The original band featured extended jams, tight guitar harmonies by Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, rhythms from a pair of drummers and the smoky blues inflected voice of Gregg Allman. Songs such as “Whipping Post,” ”Ramblin’ Man” and “Midnight Rider,” helped define what came to be known as Southern rock and opened the doors for such stars as Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band.

In his 2012 memoir, “My Cross to Bear,” Allman described how Duane was a central figure in his life in the years after their father was murdered by a man he met in a bar. The two boys endured a spell in a military school before being swept up in rock music in their teens. Although Gregg was the first to pick up a guitar, it was Duane who excelled at it. So Gregg later switched to the organ.

They failed to crack success until they formed The Allman Brothers Band in 1969. Based in Macon, Georgia, the group featured Betts, drummers Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson and Butch Trucks and bassist Berry Oakley. They partied to excess while defining a sound that still excites millions.

Their self-titled debut album came out in 1969, but it was their seminal live album “At Fillmore East” in 1971 that catapulted the band to stardom.

Duane Allman had quickly ascended to the pantheon of guitar heroes, not just from his contributions to the Allman band, but from his session work with Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and with Eric Clapton on the classic “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” album. But he was killed in a motorcycle accident in October 1971, just months after recording the Fillmore shows. Another motorcycle accident the following year claimed Oakley’s life. .

In a 2012 interview with The Associated Press, Gregg Allman said Duane remained on his mind every day. Once in a while, he could even feel his presence.

“I can tell when he’s there, man,” Allman said. “I’m not going to get all cosmic on you. But listen, he’s there.”

The 1970s brought more highly publicized turmoil: Allman was compelled to testify in a drug case against a former road manager for the band and his marriage to the actress and singer Cher was short-lived even by show business standards.

In 1975, Cher and Allman married three days after she divorced her husband and singing partner, Sonny Bono. Their marriage was tumultuous from the start; Cher requested a divorce just nine days after their Las Vegas wedding, although she dismissed the suit a month later.

Together they released a widely panned duets album under the name “Allman and Woman.” They had one child together, Elijah Blue, and Cher filed for legal separation in 1977.

The Allman Brothers Band likewise split up in the 1980s and then re-formed several times over the years. A changing cast of players has included Derek Trucks, nephew of original drummer Butch Trucks, as well as guitarist Warren Haynes.

Starting in 1990, more than 20 years after its founding, the reunited band began releasing new music and found a new audience. In 1995 the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and won a Grammy Award for best rock instrumental performance for “Jessica” the following year.

In 2000, Betts was ousted from the band via fax for alleged substance abuse and poor performance and he hasn’t played with the band since.

Butch Trucks died in January 2017. Authorities said he shot himself in front of his wife at their Florida home.

In his memoir, Allman said he spent years overindulging in women, drugs and alcohol before getting sober in the mid-1990s. He said that after getting sober, he felt “brand new” at the age of 50.

“I never believed in God until this,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press in 1998. “I asked him to bring me out of this or let me die before all the innings have been played. Now I have started taking on some spiritualism.”

However, after all the years of unhealthy living he ended up with hepatitis C which severely damaged his liver. He underwent a liver transplant in 2010.

The statement on Allman’s website says that as he faced health problems, “Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans essential medicine for his soul. Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times.”

After the surgery, he turned music to help him recover and released his first solo album in 14 years “Low Country Blues” in 2011.

“I think it’s because you’re doing something you love,” Allman said in a 2011 interview with The Associated Press. “I think it just creates a diversion from the pain itself. You’ve been swallowed up by something you love, you know, and you’re just totally engulfed.”

The band was honored with a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2012.

 

R.I.P. Gregg Allman! Thanks for the memories…

 

More info on Gregg Allman’s life can be found at the Biography.com website.

And here’s a video tribute by music journalist John Beaudin: