I loaded the iPod with stuff to study and stuff to check on on a five-day tour, and the results have been quite rewarding.
I grabbed a Sandy Bull album, Re-Inventions, at KPFA a couple of weeks ago – my first time really listening to him. Silly me, missing Sandy Bull from my musical consciousness all these years. “Blend” was the one that really nailed me.
Also: Mudcrutch! “Crystal River” really tickled me. The Byrds meet The Doors at Donovan’s house.
Sittin’ on a Gold Mine, the latest from Free Peoples. They’ve added a trombone player since their last CD, and the new one is a whole new level of cool. Three excellent songwriters; Johnny Downer is a killer guitarist; a sort of ’40s roadhouse feel, somehow. I love this band.
I’m editing an interview with Clay Eals, who wrote a biography of Steve Goodman, and multi-instrumentalist Jim Rothermel, who played with Goodman a lot. So I’m listening to a lot of my favorite Goodman CDs and some ones I had never heard before, issued after his death. The Easter Tapes is a radio show, Goodman and Rothermel and a delighted DJ; one of the great treats of this set is “Big Iron,” which Bob Weir covered with Kingfish. Goodman’s version is a whole nother brand of wonderful.
I wish I could remember who sent me “Donovan’s Reef Jam,” from a Country Joe and the Fish Live 1969 show that was released in the ’90s. It’s 38 minutes long, with Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart, Jorma Kaukonen, and Steve Miller joining in. I need to listen again in a quieter environment, but it seems to me there’s a longish stretch of this jam during which there were multiple disagreements over the “one,” but some thrilling music anyway!
Roy Schneider and the Roadside Turtle Rescue. “Friendly, funny, smart American songs in a down-home style,” as I blurbed his last CD. “Old Friend of Mine” is the one that got me today – a tale of a long-term musical friendship.
Claudia Russell, Ready to Receive. I’ve shared a songwriter stage with Claudia and her partner; this is a full-band CD. The title song and “Just Like You,” an intense song about breast cancer, in particular.
And The Missing Moonlighters, one disc of live and one disc of studio. “Let It Rock” and “Sittin’ on Top of the World” are two songs the GD also covered, which gives me an excuse to play some of this kickass band on the radio soon. Bill Kirchen is a guitar god!