They’re the new radio.
As a result, you’ve got to exercise tender loving care, you’ve got to be a deejay, you’ve got to earn your listeners’ trust and keep it. We’ll only tolerate a fifteen or twenty percent tune-out rate.
I was forwarded Esquire’s "Songs Every Man Should Listen to 2012" and you shouldn’t. But there are some gems, like Van Halen’s "Stay Frosty" and Ben Howard’s "Black Flies"… We’re open to new music, if you deliver it in a playlist, if you gain our trust.
Which Al Kooper has done.
Yes, the irascible musician who composed "This Diamond Ring" as an R&B track and famously played organ on "Like A Rolling Stone" is quite an A&R guy, in the traditional sense, he knows artists and he knows repertoire. And every week he sends out a playlist, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want on.
And I told him not to do ten cuts every week.
But every week there are a few gems.
And this week there’s one that cleared my sinuses and blew smoke out of my eardrums…
You’ve GOT to listen to this Paul Thorn cut "What The Hell Is Goin’ On".
A former pugilist now songwriter, I saw Paul at the Universal Amphitheatre a decade or so ago and he impressed me. But his manager called me and worked me so hard I’ve been turned off ever since. And now he’s made a COVERS album?
You’ve got to check this out…
It’s an Elvin Bishop composition, and Elvin WAILS! He hasn’t wailed this hard since he played with Mr. Kooper back at the Fillmore. Mickey Thomas always got the credit for Elvin’s hit, "Fooled Around And Fell In Love", and Elvin’s been unfairly overlooked and forgotten.
But now he’s back, and he’s as good as ever. Which is great.
It’s about the groove, the feel. And this track is so in the pocket it’s like you’ve just swallowed a jumping bean, you can’t help but get up from your seat and start flailing your limbs like Gumby. To paraphrase our forebear Ahmet Ertegun, this is the kind of cut that you hear on the radio that makes you jump out of bed and go to the all night record store in your pajamas to buy.
You won’t hear this on Top Forty radio. Paul Thorn is never going to be on "American Idol", never mind Elvin Bishop, but this is the essence, this is what this wonderful business was built upon. SOUND!!!
And while I’ve got your attention, be sure to listen to Booker T’s track "The Best Of You".
And any playlist that contains "It’s About Time" warms my heart.
And who even knew Elvis Costello had a live album out, never mind that he covered "Out Of Time"?
We’re music fans. We know it when we hear it.
But there have been so many layers of b.s. inserted between the musicians and us, the listeners, that we’ve become frustrated, we’ve tuned out, believed there’s no good new music when nothing could be further from the truth.
But we’re taking it all back. The old boys ruined it, and we’re gonna rebuild it. We’re in the process right now.