The Friday Random 10 has recently appeared over at the Daily Aneurysm (here, here, here, and here), but after a few weeks, it’s clear to me that it really belongs here. So it shall be, with the former Friday Top 5 moving to some other day of the week. And off we go.
You know those radio stations that claim “we play anything”? No they don’t. I, however, really do play anything. This may be the most schizophrenic Random 10 yet–rockin’ raveups, bedroom music, psychedelic bubblegum, and classic jazz.
“I Feel Lucky”/Mary Chapin Carpenter/Party Doll and Other Favorites. MCC never really fit the country pigeonhole; she was always more of a folkie. “I Feel Lucky,” however, is a rock record, complete with a Roy Orbison-style purr.
“But Beautiful”/Bill Evans Trio featuring Stan Getz/But Beautiful. The musical equivalent of candlelight, satin sheets, strawberries dipped in chocolate, etc. If you can’t get your sweetie into the sack with this, you’ll never do it.
“Oh Babe What Would You Say”/Hurricane Smith/Super Hits of the 70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 10. One of my favorite 70s oddities, 50 percent English music hall and 50 percent Rudy Vallee wearing a raccoon coat and singing through a megaphone.
“Flying Home”/Gary Burton/For Hamp, Red, Bags, and Cal. Burton is one of the most famous contemporary vibraphone players, and on this album, he pays tribute to four other jazz giants known for good vibes. “Flying Home” was the signature song of Lionel Hampton, the best-known of the four.
“If You Have to Know”/Lonnie Mack/Alligator Records 25th Anniversary Collection. Mack is yet another example of an influential figure who never got the widespread recognition he deserved. As often happens, a fan who became famous himself, in this case Stevie Ray Vaughan, came to the rescue, and produced the 1985 album on which this tune originally appeared.
“Ice Cream Man”/Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters/Grateful Heart: Blues and Ballads. I’m not sure, but I might be the single biggest Ronnie Earl booster on the Internet right now. You’ve got to hear this guy.
“Crimson and Clover”/Tommy James and the Shondells/Classic Rock: 1968. This tune tends to remind people who are old enough to remember it of junior-high record dances–but listen to it again. This is every bit as trippy as what more critically respectable rock bands were doing at the same moment, and a lot more fun than most of it.
“Have You Seen Her”/Chi-Lites/Billboard Top R&B Hits: 1971. This could have been one of the hokiest songs of all time: the singer, bereft at the loss of his one true love, spends his days playing with children in the park, and asking every passerby if they’ve seen his baby. And if it had been done in a pleading, histrionic way, it would have been. Chi-Lites lead singer Eugene Record doesn’t, and that’s what makes it a classic.
“Puts Me in the Mood”/Elvin Bishop/Alligator Records 25th Anniversary Collection. As a member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in the 1960s, Bishop helped bring Chicago blues to the attention of white audiences, and he helped back up Bob Dylan on the day he went electric at Newport. Oh yeah, and he recorded “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” in 1976.
“O’Yeah”/Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters/The Color of Love. Go listen. Now.