This week's fill in for myself is the legendary Al Kooper as he picks ten favorite songs from his New Music For Old People site to which you can find at Morton Report via Facebook.
1. "The Lonely Surfer" — Jack Nitzsche (2:11)
Sadly, this is the only top-tenner under his own name. Jack was a
persuasive, cognitive wheel in the studio antics of Phil Spector and the
early to mid-period Rolling Stones. His arrangements adorned many hits
by Jackie DeShannon, Gene Pitney, Darlene Love, The Crystals, The
Righteous Brothers, Neil Young, etc. This was a sweeping instrumental,
worthy of a better title, that raised the quality of the hits of 1963.
Later, he would win an Oscar for co-composing "Up Where We Belong."
2. "(These Are) Some of the Things" — Howard Tate (2:15)
A rare non-Jerry Ragovoy-produced track helmed by multi-hit artist
Lloyd Price on his signature Turntable label in 1970. It was part of a
full album they collaborated on entitled Reaction. This followed
a string of hits supervised by Ragovoy from 1966-68 on Verve. Jerry and
Howard reunited again in 1972 on Atlantic. This was the best track from
the Lloyd Price album. In hindsight, Tate’s best work was when he was
partnered with Ragovoy. His last three albums (all without Jerry) are
comparatively non-listenable and yielded no sales or airplay. This track
contained signature Tate spark and stands up nowadaze.
3. "Train of Fools" — John Fogerty (3:43)
Mr. Clearwater is back again with catalog duets and a few new tunes on his latest release, Wrote a Song for Everyone. I prefer the new tunes and here’s one, albeit devoid of his trademark snarling vocal sound.
4. "99" — Toto (3:55)
This is my fave Toto track and I celebrate the opening of their 35th
anniversary tour this week. I checked with Steve Lukather and he says
the song is NOT about Barbara Feldon, Maxwell Smart’s girlfriend. It was
more a reaction to the first Coppola film where the populace’s names
were numbers. I will NEVER tire of this track (funny wordplay #816).
5. "In Germany Before the War" — Marianne Faithfull (3:39)
The combo of this Randy Newman composition and the mature Marianne’s
voice is perfection. The arrangement by Steve Weisberg is very Kurt
Weill, and if ever Hal Wilner more perfectly produced anything else,
lemme know. The track is culled from Easy Come Easy Go, an MF album from 2009 that I shall listen to more carefully after this discovery.
6. "I'm A-Leavin' You" — Paul Rodgers (2:57)
My favorite band of all time is Free and I don’t mean “All Right
Now.” Their catalog is more amazing. So I listen to various spin-offs,
hoping for something. I bought a CD which I now can’t find but it was
European and this song was on it. I have a copy of just this song from
it on iTunes. I think it was the only one that got me on that album. I
can’t find any trace of it online so I guess it’s rare. I still like it
and if you’re a true Free fan, chances are you’ll like it too...
however, I’m not too keen on his new look
7. "I Wanna Stay Home" — Jellyfish (3:15)
When I was compiling a CD of other people doing Nilsson songs, I
asked Harry who I should call. The only act he suggested was Jellyfish.
They were in their infancy at the time, but they had already gotten to
Harry. This is from their second album Bellybutton. It’s a title I should have written since I hardly leave the house, but they beat me to it.
8. "With Any Sort of Certainty" — Streetlight Manifesto (3:09)
I’m in it for the horns and the enthusiasm. This is new
9. "Some Other Man Instead" — Spin Doctors (4:08)
They’re back! The good news is they’re stripped down and sticking
with the basics. This is tasty and worthy of a weathered welcome.
10. "Up on the Bandstand" — Al Kooper feat. Mickey Thomas (4:19)
This is from the rarely heard jam album I cut in the ‘80s, Championship Wrestling.
A Randall Bramblett tune I always loved, it gave me a rare chance to
employ the vocal skills of Mickey, who gave Elvin Bishop a big hit with
his vocal on "Fooled Around and Fell In Love." No such luck for me,
but great fun playing baritone guitar and clavinet alongside guitars by
Jeff Baxter and the rest of the studio players gang! This was produced
by Bill Szymczyk, who coincidentally produced the Elvin Bishop single.