Friday, July 31, 2020

All For Love — Bryan Adams, Sting, and Rod Stewart

I almost used one of my skips on this song, to hold it for a guilty pleasures collection, but I decided to go ahead and cover it. This is a 1993 power ballad written by Bryan Adams, Mutt Lange, and Michael Lange, for the movie The Three Musketeers. (Source: Infogalactic)

The first time around, this was a likable if not remarkable love song. Like most love songs, it's not incredibly deep, but it touches a romantic chord. I managed to pick it back up on a Rod Stewart greatest hits album I didn't realize was a greatest hits album, so into the rotation it weht.

(It's technically Bryan Adams' song, but I'm going to give you the link to the Rod Stewart collection I bought it in. If you have the other songs, just buy the one MP3.) Amazon Associates Links for Songs: CD MP3

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Ghost of Our Fathers — Otis Gibbs

This song is one of my free music specials, from Amazon in 2014. It's a powerful song about a neighbor friend of the narrator's father, and how the two of them had a relationship with him. Mr. Gibbs is another of the singers that I'm going to make a priority to listen more to in 2020 and 2021.

When I was very young, we had a farmhand that everyone called "Chief". At the time I didn't understand it, but he helped keep the farm running while my grandfather was ill and in the hospital. I do remember staying nights with him, and he was very kind to me. When he moved out a few years later, I ceased to see him much, and basically grew disconnected from him. I hate that I wasn't able to be closer to him when he was older and back on the farm and then in the nursing home, but the relationship just wasn't there for me like it had been then. It's hard enough to pick a relationship up 30 years later if you were an adult 30 years ago; when you're a kid there's sometimes nothing left.

This song brings Chief to mind when I listen to it. For a few minutes, I can still try to recapture that relationship that seemed to be just out of the reach of 35 year old me.

Amazon Associates Links for Songs: CD MP3

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Chicken Fried — Zac Brown Band

Chicken Fried is what I'd consider a new classic Country song. I am not a "country" boy by most standards, and I'm definitelyy not a beer drinker, but there's something comforting about the basic image of good clothing, a good family, and good food. It doesn't help that I like good fried chicken....

Amazon Associates Links for Songs: CD MP3

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Hear You Scream -- Hania and EternalXIII

Today we change things up a bit. We're going obscure, and we're going deeper into the recesses of my psyche. We are going to visit Newgrounds.
In 2010, Hania Lee was helping her then-husband finish a Flash Game/Movie called Alice Is Dead (you'll hear that one again later). I started following her then, and have kept doing so through 2 name changes and multiple ups and downs.
In 2011 Hania released the song "Hear You Scream" for the Tarboy 2 project that never happened. I liked the original OK, but it was a bit too slow for my tastes. Then a Dubstep remixer named EternalXIII got ahold of it, and he made this:

(Sorry, NewGrounds is smart enough to stop direct linking to their music, but did so in a way I couldn't tell until the music was posted. You're going to have to go to to listen to the song...)

It's creepy, more than a bit strange, and it's fascinated me for almost a decade. I still listen to it. I wasn't able to find a YouTube version of the remix, and he never put a version up for sale that I can find. You can read more at NewGrounds, or download the song here.
If you want to check out Hania's original song, here's a YouTube lyrical video:

The song can be bought on the album "The Hero" (digital only) on Amazon.

Monday, July 27, 2020

If I Stand -- Rich Mullins

There are people who influence an entire genre of music. In a lot of ways, Rich Mullins helped define the Contemporary Christian Music genre of the 1990s, and in other ways it's never recovered from his loss or figured out what to do next.

Today's song is one of my go-tos when I need encourgement: If I Stand. "If I can't, let me fall on the grace that first brought me to you", and the classic line, "Let me weep as a man who is longing for his home." I usually cry when I listen, but it's a good cry.

Amazon Associates Links for Songs: CD MP3

Friday, July 24, 2020

Big Time -- Peter Gabriel

I'm a little young for Peter Gabriel as part of Genesis, although I have gone back and started listening to them more with him. I remeber this song from the radio the first time around, and the occasional view on MTV or TBS' Night Tracks.

As one meme says:
Director: How many different animation technologies do you want in this video, Peter?
PG: Yes.

Even so, the song has an incredibly cutting commentary. It's about a young man who is going to outgrow his hometown and be a big man in the big city. While generally serious, it still takes the opportunity to make fun of the protagonist ("a snow white pillow for my big fat head").

It's not as good as Mercy Street, Solsbury Hill, or especially Don't Give Up, but it's still an awfully good song, and it's an experience to watch.

Amazon Associates Links for Hit: CD MP3

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Something To Talk About — Bonnie Raitt

When I was dating Paula, I told her that Bonnie Raitt was the second sexiest woman in the world. That hasn’t changed all that much. She’s still an incredible singer and guitar player, and Something to Talk About is one of her best. Luck of the Draw was the best of the three albums in her march to superstardom (even if Nick of Time and Longing in Their Hearts got the Grammys), and this was an awfully good song. It covers a playful flirtation that’s moving to more, innocent but adult. And there’s just something about a slide guitar....

Amazon Associates Links: CD MP3

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Hit The Road Jack — Ray Charles

Ray Charles was an incredibly brave musician. He worked with a lot of people, and played a lot of songs. Hit The Road Jack shows that bravery. Ray isn’t the lead singer of this song; the lead lady singer is in charge of both the singing and the situation. Ray the singer is having to react and to all but beg. Very few people would let themselves be so personally and professionally vulnerable to pay off the story of a song (anyone imagine Sinatra letting a backup singer say that he was no good?).

It may not be Ray’s most fun song or best song, but it’s a darn good one.

Amazon Associates Links: MP3 (I can't find a decent price for a Ray set that I'd recommend right now for CDs.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Pocketful of Sunshine — Natasha Bedingfield

I picked up on Natasha Bedingfield with Unwritten, and then really fell in love with her songwriting and singing with These Words (more about them later...). Pocketful of Sunshine isn’t as deep as either of them, but it’s incredibly catchy, and just plain Happy.

There is a place for sad songs, but sometimes we just need a Happy Little Song (with apologies to Bob Ross), and Pocketful of Sunshine is a Happy Little Song that I enjoy listening to, and now sharing.

Amazon Associates Links: CD MP3

Monday, July 20, 2020

Can't Shake Jesus -- Ricky Skaggs

I've been listening to YouTube playlists of late (as I mentioned, I'm starting to go down the streaming rabbit hole....). A couple of weeks ago, YouTube suggested a song that I had to put on immediate repeat: Ricky Skaggs' "Can't Shake Jesus".

A good Gospel song makes me want to cry from its strength. I had to buy this song the third time I hit repeat. It's as strong a song as I've heard since I first heard Rich Mullins' songs.

Amazon Associates Links: CD MP3

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Saturday Special -- Close Ties by Rodney Crowell

On Saturdays, I'm going to break The Rules, and talk about something musical that I just feel like it. Some weeks, it's going to be a set of songs with a unifying theme. Sometimes it's going to be X versus Y. This week, I'm going to cover an album that has one song in my favorites list now, but I just found a couple of weeks ago.

In 2017, Rodney Crowell wrote a wonderful album Close Ties, much of it in the perspective of his good friend and mentor Guy Clark. Somehow I managed to not hear this album until few weeks ago, and I've been making up for lost time. The jewel in the crown is It Ain't Over Yet.

I don't think Rodney and Rosanne could have sung this song if it was supposed to be about them (instead of about Guy and Suzanne Clark), but it's just as much about Rodney and Rosanne, or any other two older loves. Watching that video makes me sad that Rodney and Rosanne couldn't make their marriage work. John Paul White (formerly of The Civil Wars) adds an incredible dimension to the song.

The second song off the album I'll call out is I Don't Care Anymore. The album version is good, but Rodney sang an incredible acoustic version for Paste Magazine:

The entire album is good, and has reminded that I need to be buying Rodney's other albums.

A streaming link to Close Ties: Noisetrade

Some of the songs free on Noisetrade: Link

Amazon Affiliates links: CD MP3

Friday, July 17, 2020

White Flag -- Joseph

I get to start posting about music with a rant. The golden age of free music on the Internet was around 2007 to 2018. Apple was regularly giving away songs and videos on the "hit of the week". Google Play would occasionally throw together collections of classic hits trying to lure in eyeballs. And practically every music festival in existence would throw a mixtape of performers onto Amazon or NoiseTrade for free. Much of my collection came this way. (I know, the silver age of "one-cost-per-month" streaming and YouTube have replaced it; I still prefer owning my music, but I'll probably be giving in on this soon.)

Joseph's "White Flag" fits this bill to a T. I got this song as part of The Official Forecastle 2017 Playlist. The three sisters (Natalie Closner Schepman, Allison Closner, and Meegan Closner) who are singing the song have beautiful harmony. The song is an empowering, uplifting song about continuing a struggle against possibly overwhelming odds. An absolute jewel of a song, and well worth my favorites list.

One reason I'm doing this list is that I have so many songs that I can't pay attention to each one like I should. I appreciate them for 4 minutes, and then move on to the next. I want to stop for a few minutes and appreciate the gems I've let get a bit blasé. I'm going to use this opportunity to dig in and listen to more of their stuff; don't be surprised if other songs by Joseph appear on the Favorites list before we're done.

Amazon Associates Links: CD MP3

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Talking About Music ("The Rules")

There's a lot of content on Facebook, but I don't see much being posted about a subject I love and have been thinking a lot about: music.

I've been collecting music on CDs off and on for almost 30 years now, and I've been curating a favorites play list ever since the first cheap and crappy MP3 players came out (30 songs or so! sheer luxury!). It's grown to over 300 songs, with another 50 or so in an Exercise playlist I haven't kept up with for a while. I've also neglected adding favorite songs to the list as I've purchased albums (new and at second-hand stores), so that number is growing.

I'm going to talk about these songs one song at a time. To pick them "fairly", I've put them in a new playlist, and when it's time to find the next song to discuss, I hit shuffle. After doing the write-up, I remove it from the blog playlist, and go to the next song.

I reserve the right to put off talking about a song if I have a special series planned out and it's in it, and there's a few songs that are "Paula and me" songs that will take me a while to get to. I'm also going to take some Saturdays and dedicate them to talking about the newest songs in the playlist. Otherwise, I'm rolling the dice and taking my chances, and so are you.

Now, let's get on with the music.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

About Me

My name is David W. Rankin, Jr. I have blogged before under pseudonyms, but I finally quit because I found I didn't have anything worth saying that other people weren't saying better, and everyone who read my blog had quit blogging themselves (all 3-4 of them).

After my wife Paula died this year, COVID-19 hit. I kept track of extended family on Facebook, but I've been inundated with posts on one side or the other about politics, mask-wearing, "it's a hoax"/"we're all going to die", etc., and I'm tired of it.

While Paula was sick, I decided that I had way too much music that I hadn't listened to in a while, and a bunch I'd never heard at all. I collect second-hand CDs, especially clearance $1 and $2 CDs. If it's cheap, and especially if it's signed or from a Kentucky or otherwise unknown band, it's mine. I also have a large collection of downloaded music from when Amazon, Apple, and NoiseTrade gave a bunch of stuff away.

I will use this blog as my permanent home to talk about music. Most of the time, I'm talking about my Favorites collection (more about that in the Rules). Occasionally, I'll talk about new stuff, really old stuff, or something really newsworthy.