With the 2015 edition of the Eclectic Playlist Series in full swing, I thought I may as well review the concept here, for anyone who’s more recently been stopping by to listen.
Each month the Eclectic Playlist Series features a mix of 20 songs, which are purposefully blended to encompass music from at least six decades (typically the ’60 through the ’10s but as you’ll see this week, earlier is definitely possible). Along the way, a variety of rock’n’roll genres and sub-genres are visited; you’ll get your share of R&B and/or soul here too, along with the occasional foray into international pop, jazz, blues, and any other type of music that just happens to work in any given mix.
An important self-imposed restriction impacts these playlists: I will not feature one artist more than once during a calendar year (although I should note it’s happened by mistake once; oops). As of now no artists has been featured more than four times even as we have moved into year five. In this month’s playlist, only five of the 20 artists have been previously featured on EPS mixes.
Bonus notes and observations for April:
* Levon and the Hawks are, essentially, The Band–this was one of the names they used after they quit their gig as Ronnie Hawkins’ backing band but before they became Bob Dylan’s backing band and then sequestered themselves in that big pink house with Dylan and emerged on the other side, once and for all, as The Band. This early single, though, has some rough signs of later greatness, and is just kind of fun to hear.
* Nearly two years after its release, I’m still slowly making sense of the moody but accomplished Radiohead album A Moon Shaped Pool. During a recent listen, “Present Tense” kind of jumped out at me, after my not much noticing it in the past.
* It’s easy to forget what beautiful, effortless-sounding songs James Taylor wrote back in the day. This one, from his Apple Records debut, which didn’t sell at all, quite obviously made an impact on George Harrison, who sang a bit of uncredited backing vocals on the album.
* It’s interesting how new-wave-y 10,000 Maniacs sound on this song. But hey they did form way back in 1981. And while most of their early stuff veered more towards R.E.M.-like proto-alternative/college rock, this one tells me how much they probably listened to U2’s Boy when it came out.
* And speaking, sort of, of new-wave-y things, how about this unexpectedly cool cover of a Chuck Berry song from England’s Ian Gomm, who is known, if at all, for the 1979 single “Hold On,” which somehow cracked the top 15 here in the U.S. that new-wave-y summer. The Berry cover comes from Gomm’s debut album, which came out in the U.K. in 1978 as Summer Holiday, but was slightly fiddled with and retitled Gomm With the Wind for U.S. release in 1979. Bonus trivia: Gomm was a guitarist in the legendary pub rock band Brinsley Schwarz, alongside Nick Lowe, with whom he co-wrote Lowe’s own top-15 U.S. hit, “Cruel To Be Kind.”
Full playlist below the widget.
“The Stone I Throw (Will Free All Men)” – Levon and the Hawks (single, 1965)
“Kick Me Where It Hurts” – The Booze (At Maximum Volume, 2011)
“Misty Blue” – Dorothy Moore (1976)
“Bachelor Kisses” – The Go-Betweens (Spring Hill Fair, 1984)
“¡Que Lleva!” – Juana Molina (Segundo, 2000)
“Lotta Love to Give” – Daniel Lanois (For the Beauty of Wynona, 1993)
“Whenever, Wherever” – Minnie Riperton (Come To My Garden, 1970)
“Present Tense” – Radiohead (A Moon Shaped Pool, 2016)
“Brite Side” – Deborah Harry (Def, Dumb & Blonde, 1991)
“Black Coffee” – Sarah Vaughan (single, 1949)
“Something in the Way She Moves” – James Taylor (James Taylor, 1968)
“Pattern Pieces” – Dive Index (Lost in the Pressure, 2014)
“My Mother The War” – 10,000 Maniacs (The Wishing Chair, 1985)
“Just Because” – Lloyd Price (single 1956)
“Gotta Get Up” – Harry Nilsson (Nilsson Schmilsson, 1971)
“In California” – Neko Case (Canadian Amp, 2001)
“I’ll Bet You” – Funkadelic (Funkadelic, 1969)
“Bedsitter” – Soft Cell (Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, 1982)
“Come On” – Ian Gomm (Summer Holiday, 1978)
“The Bike Song” – Kate & Anna McGarrigle (Matapedia, 1996)