Author: <span class="vcard">Dana Davidson</span>

Midnight Confessions – The Grass Roots



The Grass Roots were originally a concept band that grew into a great group. Between 1967 and 1972, The Grass Roots set a record for being on the Billboard charts for 307 straight weeks. This one is their highest charting song and a classic from 1968. I was 15 when this was a hit and it’s one of those soul-searching songs that captured my fancy back then. Another of the American bands (San Francisco) that stood against the British Invasion.

In 1965 P. F. Sloan and Steve Barri went looking for a band that would fit their needs to cash in on the rock folk movement. The first song was “Where Were You When I Needed You” and the first group was hired, The Beaudins out of San Francisco, they were followed by The Robbs out of Wisconsin before the nucleus of the Grass Roots centered on The 13th Floor, a band from Los Angeles. More The Wrecking Crew than the band members themselves, the group had their first hit in “Let’s Live For Today”, After “Things I Should Have Said”, they released ‘Midnight Confessions”, a song written by Lou T. Josie for the band he managed, The Ever-Green Blues. The Grass Roots version would peak at #5 and spend 5 weeks in the Top 10 in October and November 1968. Their next three songs were covers that most people don’t realize that they weren’t original to the group including “Lovin’ Things”, a song that had been a UK hit for The Marmalade prior to the Grass Roots success with it.

I’ll close this post with the original single from The Ever-Green Blues, not a lot different except for the lack of horns.

;-


South City Midnight Lady – The Doobie Brothers



Michael McDonald and the Doobie Brothers had a great many hits (13 Top 30 hits) and there are some great songs in that group but as I age (gracefully, I hope), this one has become my favorite Doobie song. An album cut from “The Captain and Me”, and the flip side of “You Belong To Me”, which only reached # 79 in July of 1983, the wistfulness of this song is wonderful. Enjoy!


Without Your Love – Roger Daltrey

Who (no pun intended) would have thought that Roger Daltrey would have been the voice to render one of the best love songs of the Rock & Roll era (IMHO). The world doesn’t quite agree with me on this one, it only reached #20 on the Billboard charts in 1980 and landed at #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart. There similarities in the melody and accompaniment to Justin Hayward’s “Forever Autumn”. Daltrey formed the Who and was the lead singer, one of the best stage performers of his time, yet he often took back stage to Pete Townsend as the group’s leader. Later he had a mediocre solo career, and dabbled in acting as well. Here is Roger Daltrey asking the musical question “Where would I be without your love”



I don’t remember knowing it was Roger Daltrey that sang this song when I first heard it, but I would venture to say this would be very high in the pantheon of songs in my Love Song Hall of Fame.



“You can show me the way
And give me a sunny day
What does it mean without your love?


And if I could travel far
If I could touch the stars
Where would I be without your love?


And if I ever wander away too far
You come looking for me with, open arms
I could forget my home,
Feel like a rolling stone
But who would I be without your love?


And what does it mean without your love?
Where would I be?”


My Top 111 Songs from 1968 to 1972

I have always been a list maker. From June of 1968 to the end of 1972 I made a weekly list of my current favorite songs, I started with the Top 5, moved to the Top 12 then settled in on the Top 15. Along with that there were special lists or charts, if you would. My favorite 50 Beatle songs, my favorite instrumentals and at the end of each year there was my Top 101 for that year, now to keep it to just 101 songs was simply impossible so I found a way to expand that list. Each 10th song had a double entry, i.e. 20A and 20B, I did the same with 25 and 75 plus any record I liked both the A and B side were combined as one entry. At the end of my charting in 1972, my final music list at the time was My Top 111 from 1968 to 1972 and that’s what I’d like to share in this post. Back then there was no digital format to do this, each list or chart was typed out on a typewriter. Fortunately those lists have survived all these years and are lovingly stored in a couple of binders.


As I look back over this list, there is a lot of great music that I still love today. There might be 3 songs I’d move down out of the top ten but not that far down the list, my collection of music from those 5 years has grown enormously over the years so I’d have to not just re-arrange the songs already on the list but expand it greatly as well.


I’m sure there is someone else out there who has a list like this one in their archives, and I would love to see it. Someone I worked with years ago told me I was a (hopeless) romantic, this list probably is the only proof you’d need to convict me (why does that line make me think of Paul Simon”s “Still Crazy After All These Years”).


Here, in all it’s typed-by-hand glory, is that Top 111 covering 1968 through 1972:







A Girl Like You – Edwyn Collins



I find it interesting that among my first 50 posts there will be two songs with the identical title – “A Girl Like You” – somewhere I vaguely remember hearing this on the radio but I only found it again because it came up in the YouTube search when I was looking for The Young Rascals song of the same title (posted here somewhere). Didn’t know anything about Edwyn Collins so, of course, I went looking and here’s what I found:


Born in Edinborough, Scotland, Edwyn co-founded a band in 1976 called Nu-Sonics, 3 years later they changed their name to “Orange Juice”. Their first single was released in 1980 “Falling And Laughing”, it reached #48 in the short-lived UK Indies chart and the group would place 3 more songs on that chart before signing with Polydor Records, leaving the Indie charts behind.





The group would reach #8 in the UK charts with their biggest hit, “Rip It Up” in 1982. The group would disband in 1985 and Edwyn would start a solo career that would produce 8 UK charting songs from 1984 to 1997 and “A Girl Like You” was the biggest of the 8, reaching #4 in the UK and #32 in the States. In February of 2005, Edwyn suffered a pair of cerebral hemorrhages that affected his right side and his speech, it took 4 years of rehab before he was able to perform again. Working from his own studio label, AED Records, he has produced music for several English bands, as well as a solo album in 2013 entitled “Understated” and here’s an excellent cut from the album to close out this post “Too Bad (That’s Sad)”.




No Blue Thing/Celestial Soda Pop – Ray Lynch



One of the brightest lights for me when I turned to Contemporary Jazz/New Age/Electronic Music in the late 80s was Ray Lynch. The above composition, “No Blue Thing” may be my favorite of all the music I have collected from that genre. It always takes me to my “happy place” and puts the spring back into my step.

Ray started in Utah and moved to Texas as youngster, his musical journey started with the guitar and lute. After spending time in Barcelona, he joined the Renaissance Quartet in New York city, playing with ten for 7 years. He spent some time in Maine, where he had purchased a 125 acre farm but decided to move to California. Several years later he was moved to compose and perform music again. He borrowed the money to buy an ARP Odyssey synchesizer and began to compose music along the lines of the then new electronic music genre. In 1984 he released his 3rd LP “Deep Breakfast’ and independently sold 72,000 copies out of his small apartment. 5 years later, now under contract with Music West, he released “No Blue Thing”. The album would reach the top of the New Age charts, and Ray would be Billboard’s Top New Age Artist for both 1989 and 1990.

A lot of Ray’s music draws from his spiritual journey surrounding the teachings of Ali Da (an American spiritual teacher, writer and artist. He was the founder of a new religious movement known as Adidam). The other of Ray’s compositions I want to share is from the Deep Breakfast album – “Celestial Soda Pop”. This one reminds me of Blondie’s “Call Me”, see if you agree.


You And Me – The Moody Blues


“You And Me” is an album cut from The Moody Blues “Seventh Sojourn” album. The Moodies are easily in the upper echelon of rock and roll groups for me and, if pressed hard, “You And Me” would be my final answer for the question (pun intended) of my favorite Moody Blues song. There are many others that are right there, including “Tuesday Afternoon, Forever Afternoon” which was the first answer to that question back in 1968. Justin Haywood and Graeme Edge collaborated to write this one and the lyrics speak deeply to me, especially the second verse:

 

“You’re an ocean full of faces
And you know that we believe
We’re just a wave that drifts around you
Singing all our hopes and dreams
We look around in wonder
At the work that has been done
By the visions of our father
Touched by his loving son”

 

For a long time I was not happy that The Moody Blues were not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I’m happy to say that a year ago that oversight was rectified and they are now in their rightful place among the greats (and a few not so greats).


String Along With The Kingston Trio

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I decided that to treat this post well, I needed to tackle the whole album, I will feature 4 cuts from “String Along With The Kingston Trio” and comment on them. My Dad was a major influence on my musical tastes growing up, the country music of the 50s and early 60s, and the folk music of the times as well. He owned a copy of Capitol Records ST-1407 that I loved to play, over and over and over.My first favorite was composed by songwriter Harland Howard, who also wrote “Heartaches By The Number” and “I Fall To Pieces” among others. The Trio changed the final verse of “Everglades” – “running through the leaves from The Everly’s” as a playful jab at one of their rival singing groups.

 

The second cut I’d like to comment on is the opening song on the LP – “Bad Man’s Blunder”, written by the Weaver’s Lee Hayes and Cisco Houston, who appeared regularly with Woody Guthrie. I loved the delivery and the light hearted approach to a serious subject – “bang, you’re dead”:



The second cut on side 1 is “The Escape Of Old John Webb”, a highly spirited number telling the story of a jailbreak attributed to Tom Drake, originally an old English folk song. This one features the banjo mastery of Dave Guard:




The entire list of the songs with writer’s credits on the LP are here;

 

Side one
“Bad Man’s Blunder” (Lee Hays, Cisco Houston)
“The Escape of Old John Webb” (Tom Drake)
“When I Was Young” (Jane Bowers, Dave Guard)
“Leave My Woman Alone” (Ray Charles)
“This Mornin’, This Evenin’, So Soon” (Carl Sandburg)
“Everglades” (Harlan Howard)

 

Side two
“Buddy Better Get on Down the Line” (Bowers, Guard)
“South Wind” (Travis Edmonson)
“Who’s Gonna Hold Her Hand” (Tom Drake, Bob Shane)
“To Morrow” (Bob Gibson)
“Colorado Trail” (Lee Hays, Carl Sandburg)
“The Tattooed Lady” (Traditional, Guard, Reynolds, Shane)

 

“The Tattooed Lady”, “Buddy Better Get On Down The Line” and Carl Sandburg”s “This Mornin’, This Evenin’, So Soon” deserve a listen or two as well.

 

And that brings me to the last “favorite” on this album – “To Morrow” is a wonderful tongue-in-cheek story of a traveler trying to reach Morrow, a town in Ohio. Back then I had no idea who Bob Gibson, the songwriter was, but I suspected that he wasn’t the St. Louis Cardinal pitcher I was a big fan of. Bob was a folk songwriter who worked with Hamilton Camp (see my post on “Here’s To You”). He also wrote the country classic “Abilene”, among many other songs. Gibson & Camp combined to write “You Can Tell The Wild” a gospel song recorded by both Simon & Garfunkel and Peter, Paul, & Mary.



2018 World Series

Baseball season is over for 2018.The Boston Red Sox are the World Champions for the 4th time since the turn of the century. They are now 16-3 in World Series games.

The one thing I probably left out on my introduction page is that I am a huge baseball fan. Growing up in New England, one would assume that I would be a Red Sox fan, and that is true, however there is one team ahead of them. In 1961 I was 8 and beginning to make decisions the would set my course in life. I choose 2 teams, one from each league. From the National League I picked the Cincinnati Reds with the likes of Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson, and in the AL, the choice was the Baltimore Orioles, at the time somewhat of a lovable user. Names like Steve Barber, Milt Pappas and Jim Gentile come to mind. Then there was a third baseman by the name of Brooks Robinson who I fell in love with, and now 57 years later, he is still my favorite player. The O’s finished 3rd that year with 95 wins but there was no play-offs back then, the top team in each league went to the World Series. The Yankees beat my Reds that year in 5 games.

My love of the game was clearly pasted down to me by my Dad, he was a long-suffering Red Sox fan (Was there any other type back in 1961!). Ted Williams was his favorite. Ted retired at the end of 1960 so all my knowledge about his career was historical.

With that as background, the 2018 post season was a good one for Boston fans, single losses in each of the 3 series they were in, beating the arch rival Yankees, reigning Champs Houston Astros and finally last year’s World Series losers, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Thee World Series was a tale of two ex-Orioles whom I have always admired. Manny Machado has been my current favorite player since his rookie year 5 yers ago. His fielding prowess at 3rd was an awesome and his skills at the plate were fun to watch. Unfortunately, the Orioles could not afford Manny after this year and traded him to the Dodgers at the All-Star break. Manny contributed well in the second half and through the first two series of the post season, but an incident in the Milwaukee series was deeply disturbing, and again in the Series he once again stepped on the first baseman’s foot but neither the Sox nor the league pursued it. The foot belonged to his ex-teammate Steve Pearce, the journeyman ball player who had worn an Oriole uniform two separate times, as well as 5 other teams. Steve had been platooned with Mitch Moreland after he arrived in Boston and had a 3 homer game against the Yankees in the regular season. Moreland was injured early in the post season and Steve  took  advantage and was chosen as the World Series MVP. (I think it should have been David Price but it wasn’t my decision).

 



Those, my friends, are my thoughts on the 2018 World Series!


Run Run Run – The Third Rail



This studio produced bubblegum song was a very minor hit in 1967 spending 9 weeks in the Top 100 and peaking at 53. For me it was a much bigger hit, and I’m sure this 45 sounds a lot better than my copy does now ;-). The lead singer is Joey Levine, probably the most successful lead singer you never heard of – well, maybe that honor should go to Tony Burrows or Ron Dante but that’s a story for another day -Levine sang lead for “Yummy, Yummy” (Ohio Express), “Quick Joey Small” (Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus) and “Life is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)” by Reunion.
He also rivaled Barry Manilow and Randy Newman as a commercial jingle writer – “Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut” (Almond Joy) “Just For the Taste of It (Diet Pepsi), “The Softer Side of Sears”, “You Asked For It, You Got It” (Toyota) and “This Bud’s For You”

The song was written by Joey and his writing partner Art Resnick. Together they wrote a ton of bubblegum and psychedelic songs you have heard. “Run Run Run” was one of their earliest charting singles. The Third Rail was Joey, Art and his wife,Kris. Art Resnick had a pedigree as a writer prior to this – he wrote “Under The Boardwalk” for the Drifters and “Good Lovin'” for the Young Rascals

The lyrics, especially the stock market piece, is outdated but I still enjoy listening.