Friday Night Playlist – Spotify
Friday night, nothing much to do but hang around
“Long Flowing Robe”
From Todd’s second solo LP, “The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren,” the best work he ever did, and as a result of streaming services it’s right at your fingertips to check out. This album, and especially its predecessor, were almost impossible to find, coming out on the Ampex label, that’s right, like the tape. I bought both as cut-outs. I was astounded how good “Ballad” was and still is, in an alternative universe this is well-known, there’s not a clunker on it, listen and be AMAZED!
The sky is burnin’
I believe my soul’s on fire
From the fourth LP, the nadir of the group’s work, before the renaissance with “Desolation Angels.”
This track went through my head all last night, Friday night, because Santa Clarita is burning up, you could see the flames, a halo of destruction mere miles away, a plume of smoke blowing towards Glendale, today covering the entire Valley.
I was dirty and you took me home and washed my face
This is the other great track on the “Burnin’ Sky” album, actually the best, even better than the title track. I remember Robert Hilburn excoriating the lyrics, but I could never get over the sound, that vocal. Whoever thought of marrying Mick Ralphs and Paul Rodgers was a genius. And speaking of genius, we always thought in Mott The Hoople it was Ian Hunter, but that’s not true, the act was never as good with Ariel Bender, then again, that first Ian Hunter solo LP on Chrysalis is better than any of Mott’s work other than the first Columbia album, you know, the one with “All The Young Dudes.”
Freedom is the only thing means a damn to me
Since I’m on a Bad Company kick, this is from the previous album, “Run With The Pack,” the third. This is the second cut, maybe my favorite Bad Company cut ever, even more than “Seagull.” These lyrics go through my brain whenever I’m on top of a mountain, skis on my feet, outside the law with my own destiny in my hands. Don’t need no gun for that, just some powder and sunshine, even a storm.
“Lonely For Your Love”
Not the best cut on “Desolation Angels,” but the intensity of the vocal puts it way over the top, this is what it’s like when people sing and mean it, not the histrionics of the melisma masters, those people on TV competitions who don’t know singing comes from the soul, not the vocal cords.
Hey last night when the moon was new
“How About That”
Actually, it was full a couple of nights back, but last night you couldn’t see a damn thing. This is from the 1992 album “Here Comes Trouble,” the one with the other lead singer, Brian Howe, I know, heretical, but I always loved this. I was thinking of Bud Prager, the manager during this period last night. Long story, I watched this film on Netflix, the “Invitation,” can’t recommend it but I will, kind of a horror thingy, with an amazing twist. Starts slow, the ending could be more dramatic, but the climax, when the truth comes out, WHEW! And at the end they look out over the hills, and… I won’t ruin the movie but the last time I saw Bud Prager it was in the Hollywood Hills in a house just like that back in the early part of the century, he told me all the rock and roll stories, mostly about his best friend Felix Pappalardi and Cream and now…they’re both gone.
“It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”
Actually, I don’t.
But this song has been going through my brain all day, it’s dark, like end times in L.A. today, that’s what the smoke and ash from the fire has done.
It’s weird, it’s not fine.
My favorite R.E.M. cut, because of the majesty, and the intensity of the vocal. Seems like we need R.E.M. right about now, can they reunite, even with Bill Berry, in support of Hillary, they’re big lefties. I know, I know, we need acts that appeal to the younger generation, but they grew up in an era where you don’t do anything that might tarnish your brand, alienate some potential customers. But now that she’s pop and not country can’t Taylor Swift come out for Hillary, I mean she’s all about girl power, how about demonstrating some real belief?
Oh mama, I’m in fear for my life from the long arm of the law
I know, I know, you hate Styx. I’m not a big fan myself, however I do love me some Tommy Shaw and this is one of his cuts. I know it by heart, it got a ton of airplay way back when, as well as “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)” from the same LP, “Pieces Of Eight,” but…
It’s just for fans going to the shed for triple-headers every summer, right?
Narcos – Main Trailer – Season 2
That’s the trailer for season two of “Narcos,” and twenty odd seconds in, when the voice over ends and the Netflix logo comes on…you’ll hear “Renegade.” Could this be Styx’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” moment? That’s right, the Journey track was hiding in plain sight and then the “Sopranos” made it a cultural institution. “Narcos” could do the same for Styx.
Well, a man can dream, can’t he?
I went back to the doctor
To get another shrink
“The Real Me”
Alfie Boe, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Robert Ziegler
“Pete Towshend’s Classic Quadrophenia”
Actually, my shrink is on vacation for a month, I could use him right about now, it’s been quite a week, with too many issues still unresolved.
This is what I love about Spotfy, that everything’s available, stuff that I didn’t even know existed or forgot about, like this album, check it out, it’s pretty powerful.
How many friends have I really got
You can count ’em on one hand
How many friends have I really got
How many friends have I really got
That love me, that want me, that’ll take me as I am
“How Many Friends”
From the disappointing LP “By Numbers,” but this is my favorite track on the record.
I was searching on Pete Townshend and found what I thought was a demo album but it turned out to be an entire record of interviews, I’m including the ones on “How Many Friends” here.
I’m also including the original studio track.
We know all success
When we all find our own dreams
And our love is enough
To knock down any walls
“Pure And Easy”
From the first solo album, “Who Came First,” which was unavailable for years until Rykodisc released a deluxe version in the eighties. Pete’s solo work is better than his late work with the Who, this is my favorite track of his.
They say that love often passes in a second
And you can never catch it up
So I’m hanging on to you as though eternity beckons
But it’s clear that the match is rough
“A Little Is Enough”
His best solo cut ever, from the hit album “Empty Glass” which is akin to “The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren,” however not as consistent but with peaks even higher.
One of my favorite love songs ever.
And those SOUNDS!
“We’re Not Gonna Take It”
“Live In Canada/1969”
So it’s two a.m. and I’m sitting outside and I’m deep into a Pete Townshend trance and I find this, an expanded version of “Tommy” with a live performance of the rock opera, from back when bands were testing limits, even though it took a couple of years for the mainstream to catch on, specifically after the Woodstock movie.
I saw this tour, one of the three best shows ever.
And listening to all these cuts you’ll be stunned how great Roger Daltrey’s voice is. Made me wince at Desert Trip, none of these people can still hit the notes.
Ever since I was young boy I played the silver ball
Yes, this same expanded version of “Tommy” contains demos, and Pete’s voice is underwhelming but when you hear that explosive guitar in your left ear you’re reminded of lying on your bedroom floor listening to the studio take on headphones, waiting for that stereo effect.
Every year is the same
I feel it again
I’m a loser, no chance to win
Do you have this take, from “Deep End Live!”? It’s even better than the original on “Quadrophenia.”
One thing I’ve come to realize as I’ve gotten older…
Everybody’s lost, everybody’s insecure, many just put up a good front. Of course this is common wisdom, but now I FEEL IT!
“Diamond In The Rough”
In my iTunes library I’ve got an MP3 of Pete Townshend singing this, from Shawn Colvin’s initial LP, she might have won a Grammy for “Sunny Came Home” but she was never as good as this again, this is the first cut that enraptured me, the advance cassette got me through the breakup with my wife, we all need something riding shotgun as we go down the avalanche.
I think I saw Barenaked Ladies were performing in the area, Songkick is integrated into Spotify. This is my favorite Barenaked Ladies cut, I discovered it when the 2002 Olympics when the band performed and I got hooked and downloaded so much of their work. And I saw the group last year in Vail, during the World Championships, but they didn’t do this and won’t because it’s a Steven Page song and he’s no longer in the group. And they were astoundingly good despite not having a hit in eons, they had a sense of humor about themselves and that’s always appreciated. But I wish the act could reunite. Not sure what’s going on, but I do know once you’re past your hits and you’re living off your touring revenue…no one wants to split the money further.
There was a time, not too far gone
When I was changed by just a song
“Hot Summer Nights”
I wondered if this was on Spotify, a couple of weeks back I checked and found out Walter Egan had a recent album, just a couple of years back, and I pulled it up, ready to wince, but it was really good, anybody who was a fan would like it, it’s called “Myth America,” I almost wrote about it but I know no one cares, especially when there’s not a hit, but back in the seventies we purchased albums of acts we were fans of and dropped the needle and they satisfied us, whether they were on the radio or not.
But “Hot Summer Nights” was on the radio, just not in the Walter Egan iteration, it was covered by this act Night, the lead singer was Stevie Vann, I did some research, but what I never knew was she was the wife of MUTT LANGE!
Night’s version is on Spotify but I’m not gonna put it on this playlist, because it’s the same song but not the same record. Egan’s take is intimate, it’s all about the picking…
Those songs we sung are in us still
Ringing out with all their might
In the heart of a hot summer night
I played new stuff first, I was coursing through the playlists, the pop hits, the country hits, the up and coming country tracks but…the more I listened the more disoriented I became, I needed to be rooted and when I went on my journey back I was stunned to find these acts were even more talented than acknowledged, they deserved recognition, but they’re fading in the rearview mirror…