A lot of big names slipped into this month’s playlist. It’s a summertime thing. Speaking of which, I find “Girls In Their Summer Clothes” to be as majestic and beautiful a song as Bruce Springsteen has ever written, and in my mind the one absolute classic he’s recorded in the 30 some-odd years that have passed since Born in the USA made him a stadium star. (Note: while I appreciate it emotionally, I found The Rising kind of ponderous and self-derivative musically speaking.) It came out on the 2007’s generally underrated Magic album and is a must-have on any summer playlist; if you happen to have never heard it before, you’re welcome.
One you almost certainly have not heard before is the odd little Patti LaSalle nugget, “How Many Times,” which was made available this month on an intriguing compilation that just came out last week called Mid-Century Sounds: Deep Cuts From the Desert, via Fervor Records. Given that I am a sucker for anything that says either “mid-century” or “deep cuts,” I could not pass this one by. The overall quality is erratic but the story, which you can read about here, is interesting, and there are a few goodies buried in here for those willing to dig into the hot desert sand.
And talk about buried goodies, how awesome is “I Stand Accused (Of Loving You),” from the The Glories, a criminally overlooked trio fronted by Frances Yvonne (Frankie) Gearing? This was the only song of theirs to crack the Billboard charts (for a mere two weeks); their other seven singles disappeared without a trace, at least until Goldenlane Records put them all out on a CD called The Glories: Soul Legend, in 2011. Many of them, now, sound good enough to have been hits, and have been embraced by Northern Soul fans, this one perhaps most fondly of all. But, sheesh, The Glories have slipped through the internet’s cracks for sure—they don’t even have a Wikipedia page, probably because there’s no reliable source material otherwise online.
Meanwhile, I finally found a place for Todd Rundgren on one of these playlists, and “Long Flowing Robe” is a terrific example of a lead track that was not a single, the kind of thing FM radio loved to play back in the day (there were no notable hit singles from Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren; maybe because they never released this one?). And let’s not overlook the glory that is Dean Friedman’s “Ariel,” which was in fact something of a hit in 1977, coming in at number 87 for the year on the American Top 40 year-end chart. Although long since faded from the mainstream scene in the U.S., Friedman has all these years been recording and touring, and released the album 12 Songs just last month, as luck would have it. Take that as a reminder that luck does, sometimes, against the odds, have it.
Full playlist below the widget.
“Long Flowing Robe” – Todd Rundgren (Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren, 1971)
“Almost” – Sarah Harmer (All Of Our Names, 2004)
“Strange Relationship” – Prince (Sign O’ the Times, 1988)
“Contessa” – Mice Parade (Candela, 2012)
“Tell Me When the Whistle Blows” – Elton John (Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, 1975)
“Maricela” – Los Lobos (Colossal Head, 1996)
“Thrasher” – Casey Dienel (Imitation of a Woman to Love, 2017)
“I Stand Accused (Of Loving You)” – The Glories (single, 1967)
“London Rain (Nothing Heals Me Like You Do)” – Heather Nova (Siren, 1998)
“Gates of Steel” – Devo (Freedom of Choice, 1980)
“Ariel” – Dean Friedman (Dean Friedman, 1977)
“Start a Little Late” – Annie Hayden (The Rub, 2001)
“Everything Now” – Arcade Fire (pre-release, Everything Now, 2017)
“How Many Times” – Patti LaSalle (single, 1960)
“Fast Buck Freddie” – Jefferson Starship (Red Octopus, 1975)
“Black Sails in the Sunset” – Elvis Costello (originally unreleased, 1980)
“Couldn’t Love You More” – Sade (Love Deluxe, 1992)
“Girls In Their Summer Clothes” – Bruce Springsteen (Magic, 2007)
“The Magic Touch” – Melba Moore (single, 1966)
“Over There” – The Connells (Boylan Heights, 1987)